The 82nd Annual Academy Awards: Predicting the Winners
Well, it's finally time. As quickly as 2009 came and went, the 82nd Annual Academy Awards are now upon us. All the other precursor awards given out during the year were leading up to this, and for the most part, it looks like things will play out in more or less the same fashion.
Let me just take a moment right now to quickly apologize for the picture to the right. After the Oscars produced excellent posters like this one, and this one, and this one (my favorite), they really dropped the ball with this photoshopped-esque display that came equipped with a cliched slogan: "You've Never Seen Oscar Like This."
I'm sure we have.
While the poster is boring, I am excited to see what Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin can do as hosts. Hopefully the former will be as consistently hilarious as he is on 30 Rock, and while I don't remember a whole lot from the 2001 Oscar ceremony, I do recall Martin making fun of Russell Crowe, and the brief interaction between the two was awkward, but funny.
Anyway, let's get down to business. Here's who I think will win what (and why) come Sunday, March 7th. . .
BEST PICTURE: The Hurt Locker.
Why? Except for the Golden Globe, it's won all of the big awards, including the DGA, the PGA, the BAFTA and the Critics Choice trophies. It's very well-liked by critics and people who work in the industry. It didn't break the bank when it was in theatres, but it was the best-selling DVD the week it came out. The enthusiasm over Kathryn Bigelow likely becoming the first woman to win the Oscar for directing isn't hurting (no pun intended) too much either.
True, the film might be in a little bit of trouble given the recent events involving a producer trying to get his academy friends to vote for the film. But I think its momentum is strong enough to plow through that. And after reading this chart put up on Awards Daily (which shows that all 7 films that won the DGA, WGA and ACE each went on to win Best Picture), it's hard to see this film not going the distance. I really hope it does win the top prize. It would be the first time in a long while that the film I considered to be the best of the year was actually named as such by the academy.
Potential Upsets: Avatar; Inglourious Basterds.
DIRECTOR: Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker).
Why? The DGA was big enough, but wins at BAFTA and the Critics Choice really put her in the driver's seat. Jason Reitman said that he thinks she will (and should) win, and so did James Cameron. It has to help when your own competition is pulling for you. Not to mention, she totally deserves it.
Potential Upsets: James Cameron (Avatar), Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds).
ACTOR: Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart).
Why? Except for the BAFTA, he's gotten all the precursor awards (Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globe, Critics Choice) needed to make him the frontrunner. He has the "due" factor in his favor, and with relatively weak competition, Bridges should expect to earn his first Academy Award on Sunday night.
Potential Upsets: Not seeing any.
ACTRESS: Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side).
Why? Whether I agree with the way things are or not, it's obvious that 2009 was Bullock's year. After tying with Meryl Streep twice at the Critics Choice and Golden Globes (sort of), Bullock moved out in front after winning the SAG. The fact that her mediocre film was nominated in the Best Picture category means her chances of picking up an Oscar are very high.
Potential Upsets: She's too far out in front, but her closest thing to competition is Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia).
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds).
Why? Because he's won virtually every award possible, he actually is the best supporting actor of the year, decades from now people will still be talking about his performance, and he has zero competition. None.
Potential Upsets: I guess the other boys can show up if they want to mingle and hear Waltz give his speech, but combine all of their chances at winning, and you'd still come up with 0%.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Mo'Nique (Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire).
Why? Her record this year mirrors Waltz's, and people really like seeing her win. Also like Waltz, she actually deserves her win. There really is no reason for her to lose.
Potential Upsets: I'm not sure why, but I've heard many people mention Crazy Heart's Maggie Gyllenhaal as a possible upset, which I don't get at all. The closest thing to competition Mo'Nique has is probably Up in the Air's Anna Kendrick, and she's not exactly a major threat at this point.
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: The Hurt Locker (Mark Boal).
Why? I just swapped out Inglourious Basterds for Locker, mostly due to the fact that the latter keeps winning and, more importantly, because it won the WGA, which Tarantino wasn't eligible for. The match-up between the WGA and the screenplay victors at the Oscars is very good. Personally, although I thought Hurt Locker was the better film, I thought Inglourious Basterds was the best screenplay of 2009. This is one of the closest races going into the Academy Awards.
Potential Upsets: Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino).
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Up in the Air (Jason Reitman; Sheldon Turner).
Why? Look at all the precursor awards it's won: BAFTA, Critics Choice, Golden Globe, Scripter, Writers Guild of America. Look at all the awards the other nominees have won for writing: none. Should be a pretty open-and-shut case.
Potential Upsets: None.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: The Secret in Their Eyes (Argentina).
Why? The White Ribbon and A Prophet were the frontrunners for the better part of the year. But over the last few months, I've heard nothing but good things about The Secret in Their Eyes, with a growing number of those who've seen it predicting it as the upset. Given that this situation sounds a lot like last year (Waltz with Bashir was the frontrunner the whole time, then lost to Departures at the last minute), I'm predicting the two early favorites will be bested by a little film from Argentina.
Potential Upsets: The White Ribbon, A Prophet.
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM: Up.
Why? Because it's going to win.
Potential Upsets: That's funny.
ART DIRECTION - SET DECORATION: Avatar.
Why? Because winning the Art Directors Guild, the BAFTA and the Critics Choice awards really help.
Potential Upsets: The only threat is Nine, and given that film's unfavorable reviews, I don't expect it to win anything all night.
Why? This is really, really tough to call. Personally, I think Half-Blood Prince is the best-looking of the nominees, but don't expect that to win. Hurt Locker won the BAFTA, Avatar won the Critics Choice award, and The White Ribbon just won the ASC. I can't really explain why, I just have a feeling this will tip in Avatar's favor.
Potential Upsets: It's anybody's game.
COSTUME DESIGN: The Young Victoria.
Why? This is one of those films that was designed to win awards for its costumes, whether the movie itself is well-received or not. And since this has won the BAFTA, the Critics Choice and the Costume Designers Guild, I don't see how it could lose.
Potential Upsets: Possibly Bright Star, but it's a huge longshot.
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: The Cove.
Why? It's won way too many awards to lose at this stage in the game.
Potential Upsets: Food, Inc., but don't hold your breath on that one.
DOCUMENTARY SHORT: China's Unnatural Disaster: Tears of the Sichuan Province.
Why? Given the recent events in Haiti (and now, Chile), I think this incredibly timely film could really resonate with Oscar voters.
Potential Upsets: The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant.
FILM EDITING: The Hurt Locker.
Why? It's got the win from the ACE on its side, and films set in wartime benefit from nice editing jobs. This case was no different.
Potential Upsets: Avatar.
MAKEUP: Star Trek.
Why? Wrongfully snubbed in the Best Picture race, this is the one category where Star Trek stands a good chance at winning.
Potential Upsets: The Young Victoria's win at BAFTA has me thinking this may not be a done deal. . .
MUSIC SCORE: Up (Michael Giacchino).
Why? It's got the BAFTA, the Critics Choice award, the Golden Globe and the Grammy. It's a great piece of music by Michael Giacchino, and seeing as how neither A Single Man or Where the Wild Things Are made the cut, it shouldn't have too much of a problem taking it home.
Potential Upsets: This is Giacchino's to lose.
ORIGINAL SONG: "The Weary Kind" (Crazy Heart).
Why? It's been the frontrunner to win for sometime now, it's got Critics Choice and Golden Globe awards to its credit, and it's a movie where music is at the centerpiece. That can only help.
Potential Upsets: None of the other songs have that kick to them they need to win here.
SHORT FILM (Animated): A Matter of Loaf and Death.
Why? Because it's a Wallace & Gromit short, and they're very well-liked by the academy.
Potential Upsets: Logorama.
SHORT FILM (Live Action): Kavi.
Why? Just a guess, but the subject matter (child labor) seems likely to leave a powerful, lasting impression.
Potential Upsets: Any of the others, though I've seen Miracle Fish, and I enjoyed it.
SOUND MIXING: Avatar.
Why? Seems like the most obvious choice, and sound is always a major factor when it comes to fantasy films that incorporate a lot of animal noises and gun use.
Potential Upsets: The Hurt Locker. Winning the Cinema Audio Society award (along with the BAFTA) really help.
SOUND EDITING: Avatar.
Why? Again, lots of guns and machines. Those always help with Sound Editing hopefuls.
Potential Upsets: The Hurt Locker. The sound was edited in a very creative way (i.e. the slow motion shots that change into fast-paced, real-time moments). And it's hot off the winning circuit right now, which means every category it's eligible in carries with it the possibility of a win.
VISUAL EFFECTS: Avatar.
Why? Some of the best effects ever put on screen came from this film.
Potential Upsets: No way Avatar is losing this.
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