Sunday, March 07, 2010

Oscar picks 2010

The long crawl of this Oscar season culminates this evening when the awards are finally handed out. Winners in the major categories seem pretty easy to target, so if you're in an Oscar pool with a semi-informed crowd, it's going to take success in the tech categories and such to win. For what it's worth, here are my picks to win the gold and hopefully net me a fistful of dollars:

Best Picture: Avatar

A movie this financially successful has to win, doesn't it? The feel good story the press wants to write can come in...

Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker

It isn't common for these two awards to split, but I don't foresee any other outcome.

Best Actor: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
Best Actress: Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Best Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique, Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire

These all seem like locks, but I am getting the sense that we will get one surprise here. The Supporting Actress category often seems to produce the unexpected. While the idea of Mo'Nique winning an Oscar fits the bill, she's been the prohibitive favorite since Sundance 2009. I wouldn't be stunned if someone else walked away with the trophy. Still, Mo'Nique gets picked on my pool sheet.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air
Best Original Screenplay: Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker

Best Animated Feature: Up
Best Documentary Feature: The Cove
Best Foreign Language Film: Un proph├Ęte

The "experts" are nearly unanimous in The Cove winning that I'm backing off my gut instinct to go with The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers. Foreign Language Film has been such a crap shoot of late, with lesser seen films beating better known ones. I'm betting the Audiard plays better than the Haneke, although I've seen neither. So watch one of the others to come out on top.

Best Art Direction: Avatar
Best Cinematography: Avatar
Best Costume Design: The Young Victoria
Best Editing: The Hurt Locker
Best Makeup: Star Trek
Best Original Score: Up
Best Original Song: "The Weary Kind", Crazy Heart
Best Sound Editing: Avatar
Best Sound Mixing: The Hurt Locker
Best Visual Effects: Avatar

If there's this kind of back and forth through these categories, it keeps things interesting for Picture and Director. If Avatar comes up short here, not including the mortal lock that has to be Visual Effects, then it likely indicates a tipping of the scales toward The Hurt Locker.

Best Animated Short: A Matter of Loaf and Death
Best Documentary Short: The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant
Best Live Action Short: Instead of Abracadabra

I've seen all the Animated Shorts and think the Wallace and Gromit short is clearly the best of the bunch. I've seen none of the others. I'm being somewhat the sentimental homer in selecting Dayton filmmakers Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert's entry in Documentary Short, but keep in mind that multiple nominee Reichert has never won.

If everything goes according to my picks, the breakdown looks like this:

5 - Avatar
4 - The Hurt Locker
2 - Crazy Heart
2- Up
1 - The Blind Side
1 - The Cove
1 - Inglourious Basterds
1 - Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire
1 - Un proph├Ęte
1 - Star Trek
1 - Up in the Air
1 - The Young Victoria

We'll find out soon enough if these awards are as predictable as I've felt they will be.

Post-Oscars addition: 17 of 24 overall, including a pathetic 0 for 3 on the shorts. My instinct was correct that neither of the better known Foreign Language Films might not win, but I didn't have the temerity to check the box for the winner. In other words, no credit.

What I saw and heard of the show amid the party conversation was not exactly riveting television. The Actor and Actress nominee testimonials took far too much time. The biggest surprise was the casualness with which the Best Picture was awarded.

The best news: awards season is over.

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