The 82nd Annual Academy Awards: Predicting the Nominees

Next Tuesday, February 2nd, the nominees for the upcoming Academy Awards will be announced. It's interesting to see how far a lot of the movies have come in a year.

Around this time in early 2009, everybody at Sundance was talking about how great Mo'Nique was. Now she's likely to win an Oscar come March.

When we found out that Rob Marshall was doing another musical with a cast full of award-winners, his film quickly became the early favorite. Now it's unlikely to earn anything more than technical nominations.

The teaser trailer for Avatar left most people unimpressed, with the majority of the negativity aimed at how the movie looked like nothing more than a live-action video game. Now, after beating Titanic's worldwide box office record in barely a month, it's probably looking at nominations in the double digits, and most experts say it's the one to beat for the top prize. What a difference a year makes, or even a couple of months.

So, without further ado, here are my predictions in all 24 categories. . .

BEST PICTURE

  • AVATAR
  • EDUCATION, AN
  • HURT LOCKER, THE
  • INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS
  • INVICTUS
  • PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL 'PUSH' BY SAPPHIRE
  • SERIOUS MAN, A
  • STAR TREK
  • UP
  • UP IN THE AIR

-Five of these films are guaranteed nominees: Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious and Up in the Air. The first three have each won important precursor awards, and the other two have been nominated right alongside them. An Education is the sixth safest bet, and even though A Serious Man and Up haven't made the rounds like the aforementioned five, their good reviews and overall quality should easily put them in the final ten.

The remaning two are the big question marks. A lot of people think District 9 will get in, but I'm going to go with Star Trek, mostly because I'd prefer to see that nominated than Blomkamp's film. Lastly, even though I have yet to hear one person make a case for Invictus being the best film of the year, I think it will be liked enough to make the cut. Clint Eastwood's name being attached to it probably doesn't hurt.

Two films I'd love to see in the final ten that probably don't have great chances: Bright Star and The Messenger.

DIRECTION

  • AVATAR (James Cameron)
  • HURT LOCKER, THE (Kathryn Bigelow)
  • INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (Quentin Tarantino)
  • PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL 'PUSH' BY SAPPHIRE (Lee Daniels)
  • UP IN THE AIR (Jason Reitman)

-Bigelow, Cameron and Tarantino are locks, seeing as how one of them will end up winning (and, interestingly enough, it looks like it will be between the exes). Even though I think his film is definitely getting a Picture nod, I don't think Jason Reitman is a safe bet for director, but he'll more than likely get nominated.

Lee Daniels is definitely the most vulnerable. For whatever reason, a lot of people don't think he should make the final cut (personally, I thought he did a great job directing). I'm not sure how much of a difference doubling the Best Picture nominees will have on Director, but typically, if your film's a frontrunner, your director's in, too. I think that will ultimately be the thing that makes a nominee out of Daniels (and Reitman).

Still, I wouldn't be too surprised to see Michael Haneke (The White Ribbon) or Neill Blomkamp (District 9) show up. I would be quite annoyed if Clint Eastwood got nominated.

ACTOR

  • Jeff Bridges (CRAZY HEART)
  • George Clooney (UP IN THE AIR)
  • Colin Firth (A SINGLE MAN)
  • Morgan Freeman (INVICTUS)
  • Jeremy Renner (THE HURT LOCKER)

-I'd be pretty surprised if it didn't go down this way. These five have been the projected nominees for a while, and I really don't see the lineup changing. It's possible that Nicolas Cage (Bad Lieutenant: Port of Calls New Orleans), Matt Damon (The Informant!), or Viggo Mortensen (The Road) could sneak in at the very last minute, but I wouldn't count on it. I'd love it if Michael Sheen got a surprise nod for what he did in The Damned United, but if he couldn't even get some love from BAFTA, he's got no shot here. And that's too bad, because he was really good.

ACTRESS

  • Emily Blunt (THE YOUNG VICTORIA)
  • Sandra Bullock (THE BLIND SIDE)
  • Carey Mulligan (AN EDUCATION)
  • Gabourey Sidibe (PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL 'PUSH' BY SAPPHIRE)
  • Meryl Streep (JULIE & JULIA)

-The good news: this has been one of the strongest years for Best Actress in a long time. The bad news: as a result, many good performances by female leads will be overlooked. Bullock, Mulligan, Sidibe and Streep are the locks (though I still can't quite understand why Sandra is the frontrunner). The last slot has been something I've changed virtually every month. At one point it was Abbie Cornish (Bright Star), who totally deserves to be recognized by the way. Then it was Helen Mirren (The Last Station). And for a while, I even considered Melanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds), seeing as how there's a lot of love for her film.

In the end, I decided to settle on Emily Blunt for a few reasons. For one, she's gotten two very big precursor nominations (the Critics Choice and the Golden Globe). For another, her studio is investing a lot of money into her campaign. Plus, I think Mirren would have this, but people are probably tired of seeing her nominated for everything (I like her, but I definitely am). And with Blunt's BFF Anne Hathaway announcing, I'm thinking that's a sign she'll hear her name called on Tuesday morning.

SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Woody Harrelson (THE MESSENGER)
  • Alfred Molina (AN EDUCATION)
  • Christopher Plummer (THE LAST STATION)
  • Stanley Tucci (THE LOVELY BONES)
  • Christoph Waltz (INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS)

-In the grand scheme of things, it really doesn't matter who will be nominated. At the end of the day, it's just the Christoph Waltz show. Woody Harrelson is the other guaranteed lock, followed by Stanley Tucci, whose place didn't seem to change at all after the critical spanking his movie got.

That leaves two more spots, and I think both will go to two actors that have deserved nominations for some time now. Despite a long, successful career, and turning in good performances in films like The Sound of Music and The Insider, Christopher Plummer has never been nominated. I think he'll finally break through this year. The last spot I think will go to Molina. He provided a lot of the laughs in An Education, and he also had an emotional scene towards the end that he nailed.

I'm not sure who I'd boot out, but I think Anthony Mackie deserves a nomination for the way he played opposite Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker. I've never been convinced that Matt Damon's role in Invictus was Oscar-worthy, even though he got nominations from the Critics Choice, the Globes and the Screen Actors Guild. Christian McKay could be a longshot potential upset for Me and Orson Welles.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Vera Farmiga (UP IN THE AIR)
  • Anna Kendrick (UP IN THE AIR)
  • Mo'Nique (PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL 'PUSH' BY SAPPHIRE)
  • Julianne Moore (A SINGLE MAN)
  • Samantha Morton (THE MESSENGER)

-Like Waltz, Mo'Nique has had her category sewn up since day one. Still, I will be glad to see Vera Farmiga finally nominated, and her co-star deserves to hear her name called, too. It's been a while since Julianne Moore's been nominated, and that's partly why I decided to go with her over Penelope Cruz, who just won last year. I think Nine's bad buzz will bring everything around it down.

As a sort of surprise nominee, I'm picking Samantha Morton for playing the wife of a dead soldier in The Messenger. Both times Morton got Oscar nominations, she wasn't exactly a sure thing, but I think her performance is definitely worthy of some awards consideration. You really got the sense that she had no idea of how to deal with her life after getting the news of her husband's death.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • (500) DAYS OF SUMMER (Scott Neustadter; Michael H. Weber)
  • HURT LOCKER, THE (Mark Boal)
  • INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (Quentin Tarantino)
  • SERIOUS MAN, A (Joel & Ethan Coen)
  • UP (Bob Peterson; Pete Docter)

-Like Actor, these five have basically solidified their spots. And they all deserve to be nominees, so it works out. The Messenger and The White Ribbon are outside possibilities, as are Avatar and, believe it or not, The Hangover. However, I don't want to see either of the last two listed under this category.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • DISTRICT 9 (Neill Blomkamp; Terri Tatchell)
  • EDUCATION, AN (Nick Hornby)
  • IN THE LOOP (Jesse Armstrong; Simon Blackwell; Armando Iannucci; Tony Roche)
  • PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL 'PUSH' BY SAPPHIRE (Geoffrey Fletcher)
  • UP IN THE AIR (Jason Reitman; Sheldon Turner)

-Up in the Air's going to win this, and if not, Precious could (but, really, Reitman and Turner will win, so nevermind). Hornby's a pretty safe bet for adapting Lynn Barber's memoir, and District 9 keeps showing up at too many other venues to go overlooked. The final spot could go to a number of other films, but I think In the Loop will pull an In Bruges in the Adapted Screenplay field and secure a nomination for it's snappy, witty dialogue.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

  • AJAMI (Israel)
  • KELIN (Kazakhstan)
  • PROPHET, A (France)
  • WHITE RIBBON, THE (Germany)
  • WINTER IN WARTIME (The Netherlands)

-I haven't seen a single foreign film this year, so I can't really say I'm partial towards any of the potential nominees. However, I do feel fairly confident in two of my picks: A Prophet and The White Ribbon. Both have received great reviews since they debuted in Cannes (which is where a lot of the foreign film hopefuls first got some good ink), and Ribbon actually won the Palme D'or. Actually, this is the first time in a very long time that none of the best buzzed about foreign entries failed to make the Academy's shortlist.

Winter in Wartime should stand a good chance, given the Academy's track record with war-related films (i.e. Waltz with Bashir, Katyn, Days of Glory, Joyeux Noel, Downfall, No Man's Land). From the previews, Kelin looks very simliar to Mongol (also from Kazakhstan), and it's supposedly full of nudity, always a good sign for foreign films. Ajami has benefited from good word-of-mouth from all who've seen it, and that's a good enough reason for me.

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

  • CORALINE
  • FANTASTIC MR. FOX
  • PONYO
  • PRINCESS AND THE FROG, THE
  • UP

-Up, Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Princess and the Frog should be shoo-ins at this point, and Coraline would be a surprise omission. For the last spot, a lot of people are picking Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. It's garned nominations from the Annie Awards, the Critics Choice and the Globes. Still, even though it's gone curiously unnoticed all year, I can't see the Academy snubbing Hayoa Miyazaki and his film Ponyo. He should be an automatic nominee on principle.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM

  • BEACHES OF AGNES, THE
  • COVE, THE
  • FOOD, INC.
  • LIVING IN EMERGENCY: STORIES OF DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS
  • UNDER OUR SKIN

-The Cove has earned every nomination it possibly could to ensure an Oscar nod, and I think it's definitely going to get one. Food, Inc. got some important precursor notice as well, and The Beaches of Agnes made a lot of end-of-the-year-best lists. I think Living in Emergency will seem especially pertinent given the recent invents in Haiti, and Under Our Skin looks like an incredibly interesting doc on Lyme disease.

DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

  • CHINA'S UNNATURAL DISASTER: THE TEARS OF SICHUAN PROVINCE
  • LAST TRUCK: THE CLOSING OF A GM PLANT, THE
  • RABBIT A LA BERLIN
  • TELL THEM ANYTHING YOU WANT: A PORTRAIT OF MAURICE SENDAK

-Call this the HBO-wins-no-matter-what category, because except for Rabbit, the others are all products of the renowned television network. Trailers and videos are hard to find on documentary shorts, so I went with what I thought would be the scenarios most likely to attract Academy voters.

SHORT FILM (Animated)

  • CAT PIANO, THE
  • FRENCH ROAST
  • KINEMATOGRAPH, THE
  • PARTLY CLOUDY
  • RUNAWAY

-I don't know how you cut films here, because they all looked great. But if I had to pick. . . The Cat Piano was one of the most visually creative shorts I've seen; French Roast utilizes some very aesthetically-pleasing stop-motion animation (which I'm a sucker for); The Kinematograph is probably the most gorgeous-looking of all the potential nominees; Partly Cloudy benefits from being the short attached to Up; and Runaway could earn a nomination for being one of the few entries that doesn't use CGI.

SHORT FILM (Live Action)

  • GROUND BENEATH, THE
  • INSTEAD OF ABRACADABRA
  • MIRACLE FISH
  • SHORT TERM 12
  • SIDNEY TURTLEBAUM

-I only meant to watch the first few minutes or so of the 17-minute short Miracle Fish. I ended up watching the whole thing, and in my opinion, it should be a nominee. The Ground Beneath looks like an original story about a troubled high school kid. Instead of Abracadabra looks like a fun, imaginative short. I can't see the Academy ignoring Derek Jacobi in the comedy Sidney Turtlebaum. And even though I've only seen the previews for it, I was most impressed by Short Term 12. It looks a comic cross between Half Nelson and another Oscar short from 2007 called The Substitute.

ART DIRECTION - SET DECORATION

  • AVATAR
  • DISTRICT 9
  • IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS, THE
  • INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS
  • NINE

-Seeing as how most of the movie was visually created, I'm not sure why Avatar stands such a great chance at getting nominated, but get nominated it will. As for the others, I think they each deserve the recognition they're likely to get.

CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • BRIGHT STAR
  • HURT LOCKER, THE
  • INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS
  • NINE
  • WHITE RIBBON, THE

-The last four I'm pretty sure about. Bright Star will probably follow the pattern it's been on all season, meaning it will more than likely be screwed out of a nomination here and replaced by Avatar. Also, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, A Serious Man and A Single Man were some fine-looking movies that I doubt will get noticed in this category.

COSTUME DESIGN

  • BRIGHT STAR
  • COCO BEFORE CHANEL
  • IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS, THE
  • NINE
  • YOUNG VICTORIA, THE

-Like The Devil Wears Prada in 2006, I think Coco Before Chanel will make the cut thanks in large part to its subject matter: fashion. Bright Star, Imaginarium and The Young Victoria have the flashiest outfits, and Nine will likely get in because Colleen Atwood eats up nominations. Sherlock Holmes and Inglourious Basterds are potential spoilers.

FILM EDITING

  • AVATAR
  • DISTRICT 9
  • HURT LOCKER, THE
  • INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS
  • STAR TREK

-I think Film Editing will be very, very good to sci-fi this year. And outside of that genre, war pictures tend to fair well here. Up in the Air stands an outside chance.

MAKEUP

  • DISTRICT 9
  • IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS, THE
  • STAR TREK

-This looks about right. District 9's likely to win, and previous Star Trek films have earned makeup nods. I wouldn't be too surprised, though, if The Road got in.

MUSIC SCORE

  • AVATAR (James Horner)
  • COCO BEFORE CHANEL (Alexandre Desplat)
  • PUBLIC ENEMIES (Elliot Goldenthal)
  • SINGLE MAN, A (Abel Korzeniowski)
  • UP (Michael Giacchino)

-Next to Cinematography, this is probably my favorite Oscar category. And it's also one of the most frustrating, because no matter how bad a year it is for movies, there's always some really great film music. I thought about this one for a while, and in the end, I think these are the safest bets. But the music from Bright Star, Broken Embraces, Fantastic Mr. Fox and Sherlock Holmes deserves some loving, too.

ORIGINAL SONG

  • AVATAR ("I See You")
  • CRAZY HEART ("The Weary Kind")
  • EVERYBODY'S FINE ("I Want To Come Home")
  • NINE ("Take It All")
  • PRINCESS AND THE FROG, THE ("Almost There")

-This is Crazy Heart's trophy to lose. The Princess and the Frog had several good songs, even though my favorite from the film ("Friends on the Other Side") didn't make the shortlist. "Almost There" seems like the most likely to earn some recognition. I can almost guarantee you that if "I See You" had shown up in any other movie, it wouldn't even be a possibility. But seeing as how it's attached to the box office beast that is Avatar, it's probably looking at a nomination. I think "(I Want To) Come Home" is nice-sounding enough to land a nod, and if Nine does get nominated, I hope it isn't for "Cinema Italiano," which I thought was terrible.

SOUND MIXING

  • AVATAR
  • HURT LOCKER, THE
  • STAR TREK
  • TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN
  • UP

-I think District 9 could edge out Transformers, which I hope DOESN'T get nominated. But it utilized much louder, flahsier sound mixing, and sometimes, that's enough.

SOUND EFFECTS EDITING

  • AVATAR
  • HURT LOCKER, THE
  • STAR TREK
  • TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN
  • UP

-This usually matches up well with Sound Mixing, and I'm not sure who to kick out, so I'm just going to play it safe.

VISUAL EFFECTS

  • AVATAR
  • DISTRICT 9
  • STAR TREK

-It's never this easy, and I'm sure Academy voters will try to throw something in that's not a sci-fi movie. But I don't see any other film breaking in.

 

 

 

Projected Nomination(s) Tally:

9: Avatar

8: The Hurt Locker

7: Inglourious Basterds

6: Star Trek - Up - Up in the Air

5: District 9 - Precious

4: An Education - Nine

3: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus - A Single Man

2: Bright Star - Coco Before Chanel - Crazy Heart - Invictus - The Messenger - The Princess and the Frog - A Serious Man - Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen The White Ribbon - The Young Victoria

1: (500) Days of Summer - Ajami - The Beaches of Agnes - The Blind Side - The Cat Piano - China's Unnatural Disaster - Coraline - The Cove - Everybody's Fine - Fantastic Mr. Fox - Food, Inc. - French Roast - The Ground Beneath - In the Loop Instead of Abracadabra - Julie & Julia - Kelin - The Kinematograph - The Last Station - The Last Truck - Living in Emergency - The Lovely Bones - Miracle Fish - Short Term 12 - Sidney Turtlebaum - Partly Cloudy - Ponyo - A Prophet - Public Enemies - Rabbit a la Berlin - Runaway - Tell Them Anything You Want - Under Our Skin - Winter in Wartime

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Comments 5 comments

Kamini 6 years ago

Ok, time to tear your predictions apart! Jk. haha. Let's see:

For Best Picture, I do think District 9 will make it in (it helps that Peter Jackson is a producer on this and would get a nom)...probably over Star Trek. I'm starting to think A Serious Man won't get nominated here. It's a small film...compared to the Star Treks and Hangovers waiting in the wings. Also...watch out for something terrible to happen. I have a sinking feeling that The Blind Side will be nominated for Best Picture. It's made almost $250 Million at the box office and it isn't a sci-fi movie, sequel, or summer blockbuster.

I agree with you 100% on Director, Best Actor, Original Screenplay and Animated Film...although in Actor, I'd like to see a very overrated Morgan Freeman snubbed in favor of Ben Foster in The Messenger, but that won't happen.

In Actress, Emily Blunt won't get in over Helen Mirren. Having seen both performances, Blunt's doesn't even compare. Mirren gets to play crazy and Oscar loves that...plus they love honoring past nominees/winners.

In Supporting Actor, it's been a long time since Matt Damon's been nominated at the Oscars. I personally wouldn't nominate him, but a lot of people were impressed with his spot-on accent and the physicality of his performance. Unfortunately, I think Alfred Molina will play an Oscar bridesmaid once again (like when he wasn't nominated for Frida).

Supporting Actress could definitely turn out the way you predicted...and I hope it does...but I have feeling that Penelope Cruz will still get a nomination, despite how bad Nine is and how little money it made at the Box Office. Plus she hasn't missed out on a precursor nomination yet...plus Nine has some support in the actor's branch of the Academy, given its SAG ensemble nomination this year.

In Adapted Screenplay, agreed pretty much. I loved In The Loop, but not sold on a nomination for them. Would love to see Tom Ford recognized for his adaptation of A Single Man or a nomination for Crazy Heart, which is one of my favorites of the year. Watch out for suprise nom for The Blind Side director/writer here. I hope I'm just paranoid about that one, but you never know.

I leave the tech noms alone for now. haha

As for Original Song, I have a feeling we'll only get 3 nominations (maybe only 2)...this category is hard to predict. We should at least get one nomination from Princess and the Frog and a nomination for Crazy Heart. Beyond that...no one is safe. I don't McCartney's song makes it though.

Overall, solid predictions! Now that I'm in L.A. I have to watch the nomination announcement at frickin' 5:30 AM! That sucks. haha. We'll see what happens next tuesday morning!


yenajeon profile image

yenajeon 6 years ago from California

Really? I feel as if Avatar will pretty much sweep the board all across! But just because of the general buzz!


Too Many AJs 6 years ago

What do you mean, Nick Hornby adapted his own work? He adapted a memoir by Lynn Barber.


mandawg9 profile image

mandawg9 6 years ago Author

Oops. I was thinking about him writing the novel for "About a Boy" (even though he didn't adapt it). Thanks for that. It's changed.


jellydonut25 profile image

jellydonut25 6 years ago from Buffalo, NY

If Avatar wins best picture I'm never watching another Academy Awards ceremony again...

Saving Private Ryan should have won BP

Last year's noms were a JOKE (Gran Turino, Wrestler, Dark Knight, Wall-e ALL got snubbed)

Avatar winning BP would be strike 3...and I'd be OUT

on a somewhat related note...why even BOTHER with 10 BP noms??? you KNOW that if a movie nominated for best Picture isn't also nominated for Director that it has NO chance, so why bother?

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