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Oscar Predictions and Selections of 2010
Oscar Time Is Almost Upon Us
The nominations have been made official and the date has been set, where the Academy Awards will choose who they feel deserves awards for their cinematic achievements. Growing up as a kid, I used to love watching the Academy Awards along with my family. In fact, it was kind of a tradition for all of us to sit around watching it. Even my dad whom always complain and gripe saying he hasn't watched the Academy Awards in years (which is a lie) because of how biased they are, watches it every single year. Indeed, at my home growing up, watching the Academy Awards was almost as prestigious as watching the Super Bowl.
As I've gotten older, I've tended to notice a lot of contradictions to the way the Academy nominates and chooses who wins these things. Not saying that most films didn't deserve the awards they've won, nor am I saying that certain actresses/actors didn't deserve their fame either. Just stating an observation.
Remember hearing about such films like "Annie Hall" win best picture, in 1978, over "Star Wars." Don't get me wrong, I loved both films just as equally. Although "Annie Hall" was a great comedy for what it was, it didn't have the same cultural and cinematic impact "Star Wars" did. "Star Wars" not only helped redefine a genre, within Hollywood, that most film makers saw as a joke, to making it a legitimate art in film making. Not only that but before "Star Wars" came out, Hollywood never released major films during the summer as most films didn't do that well. Yet "Star Wars" changed all that, to where it caused the domino affect, leading our society to seeing huge block busters, during the summer, to this day.
Then there's "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" that should have won during the Best Picture Award, in 2002, but it lost to "A Beautiful Mind." Don't get me wrong, it's a decent film, but here's the wrinkle in it. It was not only cliched, but it wasn't even that faithful to it's original source, considering it was based off a real life story. Some of you may ask why do I say that, well it's simple. The main protagonist in that film, John Nash played by Russel Crowe, was bisexual. Yet in "A Beautiful Mind" it made no references to it at all. Don't you think that would be important to bring up, since it is based off a real life story of a guy. At least, I would think so. However, I won't continue ranting at some of the Academies follies in the past, as I always found that to be part of the mystique about it.
You see even films we may deem worthy of getting nominated may not even get a consideration. Which basically means even if your film is even good, it makes it hard to get nominated.....let alone win it. That's why I always loved the Academy Awards, as you never know who's truly going to win, and the prestigious allure about it. Plus, there's always my deep founded respect for the history of films itself that contributes to it.
Now before I get into my picks for the Academy Awards, I'm just going to lay out a few ground rules and explanations. I'm not going to go over every single minor category (i.e. cinematography, make up, sound editing, documentary, and etc.), with the notable exception of Visual Effects. Why some may ask? Because as most people who know me best since I was a kid, science fiction was the very first genre of live action films I've ever gotten into. In fact, since I was eight, I was raised watching films like "Star Wars", "Terminator 2: Judgement Day", and many others. That's basically the main reason why I decided to make a notable exception to include it in this article.
During this article, I'll not only give you my predictions on whom will win in each category, but I'll go over possible upsets and runner ups. For those that are confused by what I mean by that, then I'll gladly explain. Possible upsets is basically a category, after I've predicted the winner, where I'll state which film has the best possible chance of upsetting the heavy favorite. Runner ups, basically lets me tell you exactly what I think about the film briefly and why it has virtually no chance to win, despite it's nomination.
Another thing I would like to point out is this, none of the picks that I predict to win doesn't necessarily reflect on who I think should win. Because if it were up to me, some of the films listed in the nominations wouldn't have been nominated over much more deserving movies. I'm just mainly basing my predictions off the usual trend of how the Academy Awards usually pick out winners for their films, based off watching them every single year. And based off my own assumptions of how the Academy might be a bit worried about ratings this year. Which is why they decided to nominate ten films for best picture this year, versus their usual five, to draw in more viewers.
Anyway, I hope you all enjoy reading this as much as I had writing it, and be sure to tune in to the Academy Awards this March 7, 2010; hosted by Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin.
Visual Effects Poll
Which Film Deserves Best Visual Effects This Year?
- 82% Avatar-Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones
- 18% District 9-Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken
- 0% Star Trek-Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton
This poll is now closed to voting.
Winner: "Avatar" hands down should get this award. This movie not only set a new standard for special effects last year, it also did it by using new technology that was never thought possible. For those who don't know, "Avatar" used a special type of camera that allows the director to see the finished product of the film, with cgi incorporated, as they're filming the scenes. This is largely different how most films tend to shoot actors in front of a blue/green screen, then later add in the special effects around them. This not only allowed for Cameron to make the cgi that much more realistic, but have the computer animated characters convey emotions that never before would've been thought possible in movies.
Possible Upset: To be honest, I seriously doubt there will be a upset in this category but since I have to pick one, I'll go with "District 9." Not only were the visual effects amazing for the movie, but what makes it truly remarkable was that it was all done for a measly twenty million dollars. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that's not a lot of money but compared to how much money is spent on most Science-Fiction films, makes "District 9" that much more amazing.
Runner Up: Although I loved J.J. Abrams new interpretation of the franchise "Star Trek", this film has virtually no chance to win this year. It's a great movie for not only all Star Trek fans out there, but it's also a great film for everyone else. Unlike most "Star Trek" films, where you would really need to know the history of the show or at least be a fan, to get into it. This new interpretation allowed for any general fan out there to get into, and not just trekkies. Indeed, "Star Trek" was by far one of the best origin stories ever told, and it proved you don't need to make a origin story dark and brooding to be successful. Plus, the special effects for this film, aren't anything new that you wouldn't see in any of the "Star Wars" prequels.
Best Original Screen Play Poll
What film do you think deserves Best Original Screen Play?
- 14% The Messenger
- 21% The Hurt Locker
- 43% Inglourious Basterds
- 7% Up
- 14% A Serious Man
This poll is now closed to voting.
Best Original Screen Play
Winner: "The Messenger" seems to be the heavy favorite in this category. Although it wasn't one of the most popular films of last year, it was definitely one of the best and original by far. As "The Hurt Locker" may have shown the cruel and harsh realities of war in Iraq, "The Messenger" dealt with the war on a more personal scale. Showing how soldiers' families and loved ones were affected when they died, as audiences can't help but feel moved by it.
Possible Upsets: Although some of the dialogue and character development was lacking, "The Hurt Locker" still managed to convey a very realistic portrayal of our current war in Iraq. Allowing for the harsh environment and the element of danger set the tone. Without having to resort to any typical Hollywood cliche war themes. Considering "The Hurt Locker" did seem to do fairly well in theaters and how popular it was among most critics, it only gives more reason why "The Hurt Locker" has a great chance to win this.
Then there's "A Serious Man", which also feel has a great shot to win this as well. Even though I was highly skeptical about this film, after watching it the first time. However, I came to realize after careful examination of the movie itself, it's actually quite a unique and inventive dark comedy. As a good friend of mine alluded to, when she told me her thoughts about the movie. It pays homage to the 1960's generation, while offering one of the most unique story lines and comedy style, without resorting to slap stick or foul mouthed low brow humor to convey the dark comedy.
Runner Ups: Although "Up" was another unique and touching story by Disney/Pixar, it's sad to say that this film has a small chance to win. Sure, it was a great story for what it was, but the Academy typically never takes animated films seriously. Therefore, it's highly doubtful that "Up" will take this category. It's a nice nomination, but it's a shame it won't win "Best Original Screen Play."
Then we get to Quentin Tarantino's controversial film, "Inglourious Basterds." Although if it were up to me, I think on an even playing field where quality of the story content was all that matters, then "Inglourious Basterds" would have a great shot to pull off the upset. However, here's the wrinkle here. The Academy rarely elects violent films for Oscars. Especially, overly obsessive and gory violent movies. Therefore, it's highly doubtful that Quentin's latest Nazi killing war movie, will take home the award for this category.
Best Adapted Screen Play Poll
Which film do you think should win Best Adapted Screen Play?
- 0% An Education
- 45% Up In The Air
- 18% District 9
- 0% In The Loop
- 36% Precious
This poll is now closed to voting.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Winner: "Precious" will definitely walk away this one for sure. From all the critical praise it's been getting before Oscar time, makes it very hard to believe or even imagine another film taking this Award. "Precious" was not only a moving story about one woman's struggle to overcome her abusive past, but to overcome her own worst fears to grow and evolve as a person. A powerful yet potent message that anyone can relate to.
Possible Upsets: This is a bit of a loaded category as almost any one of these nominations could take the "Best Adapted Screenplay" quite easily. Even though, I still believe "Precious" has the best chance to win this award, but let's take a look at some of the possible upsets here.
"In The Loop" might upset "Precious" since it's a great political satire about war and domestic issues, in Britain. Allowing for such an authentic and grounded style of comedy, reminiscent of the British version of "The Office."
"An Education" could be a serious threat since it's one of the most original movies, ever made. Plus, the character driven story line by Nick Hornby, allows for the audience to deeply relate to and resonate with the characters like no other.
"Up In The Air" is another film that could upset this year, as it's essentially a film that resonates about uncertainty and relationships, during a modern recession era.
Runner Up: "District 9" is sadly my runner up here. Although if it were up to me, I would love to put this down as my favorite to win. However, based off how the Academy usually tends to snub science fiction based films, I don't think it will. Which is kind of sad, since this is the first alien movie, where humans are portrayed to be the villains, due to our prejudice. Sure, many will argue, "Avatar" does the same thing. However, as good as "Avatar" was, the message about humanity's cruelty through prejudice isn't quite as clear or as powerfully moving as it was in "District 9." Not an easy feet considering, the aliens in this movie don't even speak our language or look like us, yet the storyline will make anyone reevaluate their own culture and prejudices.
Best Supporting Actress Poll
Who should win Best Supporting Actress?
- 15% Vera Farmiga-Up In The Air
- 0% Anna Kendrick-Up In The Air
- 69% Mo'nique-Precious
- 0% Maggie Gyllenhaal-Crazy Heart
- 15% Penelope Cruz-Nine
This poll is now closed to voting.
Best Supporting Actress
Winner: Mo'nique from "Precious" will win this hands down. Not only did she do a great job portraying the would be antagonist, in the film. She did it to the point where you really couldn't help but want to punch her in the face, for how she treated her daughter, in the movie. Seriously, her character allowed not only for her own daughter to be raped and molested by her own step father, but she also abused her daughter as well. Yeah, not an easy role to pull off so convincingly, but she manages to pull it off to perfection as audiences just really can't help but hate her guts, in the movie.
Possible Upset: Out of all the actresses nominated here, I would say Maggie Gyllenhaal has the best chance at pulling off the upset. Not only was her performance memorable and heart warming, she was also rather charming in her role as the love struck reporter to Bad Blake, in "Crazy Heart." Seriously, Maggie does an excellent job in that movie, and the press "Crazy Heart" has been getting lately being so close to Oscar time, doesn't exactly hurt her chances either.
Runner Ups: Now I just want to say that, I like Penelope Cruz as an actress. I really do, but does she really deserve this nomination? I don't think so, as she wasn't even the best supporting actress in "Nine" to begin with. I would've nominated Marion Cotillard, from "Nine", if I had to pick a supporting actress from that film, as her performance was far more superior to Penelope's.
Then there's Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick, both of whom played their parts rather well in "Up In The Air." However, none of them deserve to win this award. Not because they didn't do a great job, but because their roles weren't as significant as Maggie Gyllenhaal's or Mo'nique's performances in their films; where their characters and performances not only added more depth and story to the main protagonist's journey, but allowed the main hero of their movies to grow as individuals due to their actions. Not saying Vera or Anna's performances don't do the same for George Clooney's character, but it wasn't as heart felt or as significant as the other two I just mentioned.
Best Supporting Actor Poll
Who should win Best Supporting Actor
- 15% Matt Damon-Invictus
- 15% Woody Harrelson-The Messenger
- 0% Christopher Plummer-The Last Station
- 15% Stanley Tucci-The Lovely Bones
- 54% Christoph Waltz-Inglourious Basterds
This poll is now closed to voting.
Best Supporting Actor
Winner: This was a bit of a tough one for me, as I thought most of the actors nominated for this category all deserved their perspective nominations. Which is why it's hard for me to pick who exactly is the favorite this year. However, after doing careful research and consideration over this, I came to the conclusion that Woody Harrelson is my favorite to win this award, in "The Messenger."
Not only was his performance brilliant, but he also remained grounded in his role. In the movie, Woody plays a tough as nails "by the book" type Army Officer, who has the daunting task of informing loved ones of fallen soldiers, about their loss. Not an easy job to say the least, considering what he has to go through on a daily basis. However, what I really liked about Woody's role is that even though he's often the hard a**, in the movie, he's also portrayed as a man that's laid back about his life, during his down times. Thus, allowing for the audience to see that he's not a complete jerk, but a man that's merely trying to do his job. Regardless of how we me might perceive it.
Possible Upsets: Although "The Last Station" wasn't anywhere near as commercially popular as most of these other films being nominated, I would have to put my money on Christopher Plummer on pulling off an upset here. Not only did Christopher do an excellent job portraying such an iconic historical figure, Leo Tolstoy, he does it in a more realistic and grounded way. Without having portrayed as some cliche heroic figure, where he gets the last word on every argument and such. Which probably would have been so easy to do, considering the traits of his character's personality towards passive aggressiveness; a trait shared commonly with other civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Ghandi.
Then we have Stanley Tucci of "The Lovely Bones." Although his role is a bit controversial, I thought he did a great job in the movie. In fact, it's almost eerily weird on how the guy could go from playing such a loving and supportive husband in "Julie & Julia", to a murderous pedophile in "The Lovely Bones" so gradually and convincingly; that the mere thought will make anyone's skin crawl. For that reason alone, I think Stanley Tucci stands a great chance to possibly upset here.
Runner Ups: Although I personally loved how Christoph Waltz played the egotistical and opportunistic bad guy, in "Inglourious Basterds", something tells me the Academy is going to ignore any nomination Quentin's Nazi killing war film is up for. Not because it wasn't great by any means, as Tarantino's WWII movie was probably one of the best of it's genre. However, it's also one of the most violent and gory as well. Which is something the Academy frowns on most of the time, so it'll be hard to think Christoph will stand much of a chance here. Sure, it'll get him a lot of well deserved recognition like it did for Gary Sinise, when he was nominated for "Forrest Gump." However, I doubt seriously he'll win.
As for Matt Damon who got nominated for his role as Francois Peinaar, in "Invictus", I firmly don't think stands much of a chance of winning this award. Although he did play his part well as the rugby team captain, who tried to lead his team to the 1995 world cup victory, in an effort to inspire ethnic unity in South Africa. However, his role wasn't anywhere near as moving or as influential as the other actors mentioned here, in their roles.
Best Actress Poll
Who should win Best Actress?
- 50% Meryl Streep-Julie & Julia
- 0% Gabourey Sidibe-Precious
- 0% Carey Mulligan-An Education
- 6% Helen Mirren-The Last Station
- 44% Sandra Bullock-The Blindside
This poll is now closed to voting.
Winner: If any of these girls besides Sandra Bullock takes the "Best Actress" award, then I'll be very freaking surprised. Especially considering the amount of hype surrounding "The Blindside", before Oscar time. There has not been a role since Marisa Tomei played the cute, sassy, and smart mouthed girl friend, in "My Cousin Vinny", that an actress has donned a character that eerily resembles their own personality, so it allows for the movie to play more towards their strengths. Well luckily for Sandra Bullock, she managed to find a character that has almost the same strong willed, smart mouth, and independent personality she has, in real life. Thus, allowing for Sandra to take the role, and make it her own.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying she doesn't deserve this award. Far from it. If anything, I think the main reason "The Blindside" was even being considered in the Oscars is because of her performance alone. Now before, we get into the whole, but it's based off a real life story nonsense. Take into account, films like "Remember the Titans" and "Gridiron Gang" were also based on real life stories, and had similar concepts to "The Blindside." Sure, it involved different scenarios and time frames, but the concept was still the same. Overcoming adversity by playing football. If you stop to break down "The Blindside", it's really not that much different from "Gridiron Gang." However, what makes it different is that the character Sandra Bullock plays, allows her to really shine and carry the movie. Plus, she's a hell of a better actor than Dwayne Johnson.
Possible Upsets: Like I said before, I'll be very freaking surprised if Sandra Bullock doesn't walk away with this. As I feel she literally owns this category hands down. However, like the special effects category, I'm obligated to list a possible upset(s), so here's who I think could win it if the Academy decided to go another route.
Gabourey Sidibe, in "Precious", has a lot of potential to steal this award, as I found her role of being the abused pregnant overweight teen, to be very tear jerking. In fact, she does such a great job portraying her character that goes through various problems in her life, due to domestic abuse, that audiences can't help but relate to her character.
Helen Mirren is another actress that could have the potential to steal this award from Sandra this year, if the Academy were to ignore the commercial hype surrounding "The Blindside." As audiences will find her role as Sofya Tolstoy, in "The Last Station", moving and ground breaking. As she not only brings a certain amount of drama and romanticism to the role, but she also portrays her character as a vulnerable yet frustrated woman who allows her fears and paranoia get the best of her; when she suspects one of her husband's alleged followers tries to take advantage of him. Indeed, her performance in "The Last Station" was truly well deserved for this nomination, and one that the Academy might not choose to ignore either.
Runner ups: I just want to say first of all, I love Meryl Streep as an actress. Seriously, I do. In fact, she's one of my favorite actresses to watch. Having said that, she has no chance to win this. In fact, this wasn't even her best role of last year, as I found her role in "It's Complicated" to be a much better performance by her, than "Julie & Julia." Although like Sandra Bullock, Meryl does carry the movie, "Julie & Julia." However, it won't be enough to add another Oscar to her trophy case this year. As the amount of hype, "The Blindside" is getting, it guarantees she won't win.
Then there's Carey Mulligan, who was rather charming as the innocent, sweet, artistic, yet naive young girl in "An Education." However, I doubt seriously she'll win this award. The reality is her performance was no where as thought provoking as Sandra Bullock or Gabourey Sidibe's performances were, nor as memorable. Which makes it highly doubtful she'll win. She definitely deserved the nomination, but this isn't her year to win it.
Best Actor Poll
Who should win Best Actor?
- 50% Jeff Bridges-Crazy Heart
- 17% George Clooney-Up In The Air
- 8% Colin Firth-A Single Man
- 17% Morgan Freeman-Invictus
- 8% Jeremy Renner-The Hurt Locker
This poll is now closed to voting.
Winner: Jeff Bridges, from "Crazy Heart", seems to have the highest chance to win this category, as his new film has been critically popular, and it's getting a lot of hype right before Oscar time. Therefore, it seems fairly obvious that Jeff is the heavy favorite here, as I predict he'll win this. His performance was not only memorable and great, but it was also one of the most moving of his career.
Possible Upsets: Colin Firth seems like he has a great chance to upset this category, since he did do a great job, in "A Single Man", playing a closet homosexual having to mourn the loss of his lover. Yet conflicted as he can't mourn over his loss publicly. Plus, the Academy normally loves to play politically safe when it comes to nominations. Not saying there's anything wrong with it or that Colin wouldn't deserve the Oscar, but it usually seems like that when an actor plays a character of this ilk. Just look at last years winner for this category. Mickey Rourke had a much better performance, in "The Wrestler", but he lost to Sean Penn, who won for "Milk." A film that was neither as highly critically appraised or successful, in terms of ticket sales.
Another possible threat to this is George Clooney. Like "Crazy Heart", "Up In The Air" has also garnered a lot of critical praises and has been getting some fairly good hype before Oscar time. Although some viewers may think his role was a bit stagnant in the movie, as "Up In The Air" has more of a subtle approach on things. However, his role as man detached from his family and confused about where he wants to go in life, plays true about our modern recession era. A heartfelt story that shouldn't be missed by any movie fan.
Runner Ups: Although I love and respect Morgan Freeman as an actor, he royally has no shot to win this. If Eastwood had made "Invictus" more about Mandela's entire presidency, then it might have stood more of a chance, as the Academy loves to be political around these type of nominations. However, since Eastwood decided to go the more generic cliche sporting route, where it shows Mandela using rugby to unite the people, back in 1995. Then it'll be a nice nomination for Freeman's already credible resume, but he's not going to take the gold this year.
Then there's Jeremy Renner, from "The Hurt Locker" fame. Don't get me wrong, I liked Jeremy Renner in "The Hurt Locker", as I found his performance to be grounded and realistic. Having said that, I don't even believe he should have gotten nominated; let alone win this. Nothing against his performance as he did play his role well, but he's nowhere near as charismatic as Clooney and Bridges in their perspective films, or at least carries his movie like Colin Firth does in "A Single Man."
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And now, we get into the actual predictions... wish me luck. I'll need it. ***************************************************************************************************************** ORIGINAL...