Sunday, March 7, 2010

3rd Annual Oscar Picks

So it begins.

(Cue lightning/thunder/crazy end-of-the-world type weather. And uruk-hai.)

It’s time once again for me to announce my highly-anticipated, never wrong* Oscar picks! Read on for my thoughts on all 24 categories, and GET EXCITED! The Academy Awards are tomorrow, people!

Best Picture
: After spending quite a bit of time trying to understand the new preferential voting system that I mentioned earlier this week (the best explanation is here) and how it would impact the vote, I feel all the more confident in selecting “The Hurt Locker” as the big winner. It may not be every voter's number one choice, but it won’t be very many people’s number ten choice, like I think “Avatar” might be. If this were an ordinary year with a traditional ‘majority rules’ method, I think “Avatar” might just have it, but too many Academy voters have a strong dislike for it. In the end, I’ll be surprised if anything but “The Hurt Locker” takes it.

Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow will be the first female to ever win an Academy Award for directing. About time, right? If she doesn’t win for “The Hurt Locker” (and I feel pretty certain she will), I could see Quentin Tarantino taking home the gold before I could see James Cameron walking away with it. But it’ll be one of those three!

Best Actor: Jeff Bridges has this thing in the bag. A very deep, crazy-glued shut bag. He’s a super well-liked actor, and the Academy is awarding him as much for his entire career as for “Crazy Heart.”

Best Actress: I never thought I would ever in a million years say this, but here goes: I predict that Sandra Bullock will win an Oscar for Best Actress. Can you believe that? I mean, I do love me some Sandy (“While You Were Sleeping” anyone?), but… I don’t know. I didn’t think she was as crazy amazing in “The Blind Side” as everyone else seems to. But she’s kind of America’s sweetheart right now, and tomorrow night that’ll be enough for her to beat out runner-up Meryl Streep’s splendid performance in “Julie and Julia.”

Supporting Actor: I hope Christoph Waltz’s acceptance speech for “Inglourious Basterds” isn’t as long-winded and bizarre as his other’s have been this awards season, as he’s won about a persquillion Best Supporting Actor trophies. But I’m sure he’s practiced, because he’s virtually guaranteed a win for his ridiculously creepy/hilarious/unsettling portrayal of half-crazy/all-awesome Nazi colonel Hans Landa.

Supporting Actress: This is the one category that I had to skip writing about and come back to later. I saw "Precious" two months ago and still can't put into words how incredible I found Mo'Nique's turn as the demented and abusive mother to be. She absolutely blew me away, and I saw no better acting performance in 2009. If I continue with the praise of Mo'Nique as Mary in "Precious" (and I very easily could), it would soon grow in length and overtake this entire blog entry, so I'll end by simply saying: Mo'Nique will win this category.

Animated Feature: The rule is typically: don’t bet against Pixar. This year is no different, but not because it’s Pixar, but because it’s “Up.” “Up” is the first film since “Beauty and the Beast” to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, which is a pretty significant feat, even if there is an expanded category this year. That really says something about “Up,” and even though it won’t win in its fight with the big guys, it will most certainly beat out the other nominees in the Animated Feature category.

Art Direction: You saw “Avatar,” right? So…you really shouldn’t be wondering why I’m picking it in this category.

Cinematography: Or this one. Because…hi. “Avatar.”

Costume Design: To quote, um, me from last year: “…the Academy loves them some corsets,” and “The Duchess” did indeed win. So I’ll stick by that logic and go with “The Young Victoria.”

Editing: This is one of the categories I’ve really been struggling with this time around. Last year I just went with my Best Picture winner and that strategy worked out, but “Slumdog” was such a sure bet in the BP category! This time around, everything surrounding “Avatar” and “Hurt Locker” is so jumbled up, and I just don’t know what to do! However, since I’m naming it up top in the Best Picture category, I think I’ll just stick with “The Hurt Locker.”

Makeup: The word is that the Academy likes Fantasy and Sci-Fi for this category, which makes sense. Seems like they’d be more likely to acknowledge big over-the-top makeup than the subtler fare you’d see in something like “The Young Victoria.” “Star Trek” it is!

Original Score: Ah, score of my life! So looking forward to seeing Michael Giacchino (who also writes the music for “Lost”) win for his amazing, fantastic, wondrous, dazzling work on “Up.”

Original Song: I really loved ‘Almost There’ from “The Princess and the Frog,” and listen to it pretty much all the time (Well, when I’m not listening to “Up.”). However, I think this award is going to ‘The Weary Kind’ from “Crazy Heart.”

Original Screenplay: Quentin should get some Oscar love in this category, if nothing else. Who else could turn a World War II film into some sort of bizarre, wishful fantasy? No one, that’s who. Check the “Inglourious Basterds” box on your ballots, kids.

Adapted Screenplay: Poor “Up in the Air.” Despite being an early favorite for Best Picture, it has lost so. Much. Steam. But writer/director Jason Reitman will pick up “Up in the Air’s” only win of the evening in this category, if nothing else.

Sound Mixing: Even though “The Hurt Locker” had some really good bomb sounds, my gut tells me to throw all technical awards in the “Avatar” pile.

Sound Editing: So by default, this award goes to “Avatar” as well.

Visual Effects: If there’s any such thing as a sure bet at the Academy Awards this year, it’s that “Avatar” will win the Oscar for Visual Effects. Done and done.

Documentary Feature: “The Cove,” “The Cove,” “The Cove.” “The Cove.”

Documentary Short: Although “China’s Unnatural Disaster” sounds like Oscar bait of the purest kind, I think voters might go for a more local human interest story in the form of “The Last Truck.” I think.

Foreign Language Film: I’ve heard a lot about “The White Ribbon” this year, and haven’t heard anything about the other nominees. So… I think I’ll stick with “The White Ribbon!”

Live-Action Short: I am torn between a stack of movies that I’ve barely heard of. But I’ve seen a few people mention “Miracle Fish,” so let’s go with that.

*Not highly anticipated, and actually quite frequently wrong.


Brent said...

Another year, another missing the oscars... but at least last year I was in country long enough to do my watch-all-the-nominated-movies bit before ocean hopping... last year I made a list like this for my blog... and since I really can't do it this year... I'm just going to comment on yours! (I HAVE been reading a lot of movie blogs, listening to podcasts... so I hear all the buzz... with none of the actual movie watching... except I saw Basterds, Up, and District 9)

So... Hurt Locker, Avatar... I agree with you on those! Hoorah for K Bigs! (Can I call her that?) However, I don't like Bridges getting the award for a role so much like the one equally hyped in this category last year. That said... maybe it will go to ... Renner? Maybe... I have no idea.
I want Sandra Bullock to win, because she was my favorite actress since 3rd grade when I saw The Net... but I think actually Carey's getting this one. I hear much much more about her over here... or maybe Gabourey...
Mo! Absolutely... although Vera's running close behind I think.

Ok... that's all I have to say. I really needed to say something oscar-y this year... so thank you ...

Austin and Ashley Evans said...

I always look forward to your Oscar pics! Love it!

lauren said...

Unbelievable, Valerie! You were right on with the majority of your picks! If you had come to the local art house where I watched the Oscars, you would have won a set of New Belgium pint glasses.