Nerdy Oscar Predictions 2010

I know, I know, everyone’s doing Oscar predictions so what makes mine special, right? Well, I didn’t say they were, but I slogged through all the 10 best picture nominees (the Coens are going to PAY for Serious Man) so I’ll be darned if I don’t have my say. And last year I only got 2 or 3 wrong, though admittedly I guessed wildly when it came to the shorts.

So, here are who I think will win and who it should be:

Best Picture: Will win—Avatar, should win—Up in the Air, which has waaayy better story and acting. I hated Avatar and fell asleep three times.

Best Actor: Will win—Jeff Bridges, should win—George Clooney. The Dude is cool and has always done solid work, but this is not supposed to be a career award. Clooney’s performance was more layered and difficult than he made it look.

Best Actress: Will and should—Meryl Streep. Few years ago, everyone thought Julie Christie would win for Away from Her because she swept all pre-Oscar awards. But I chose Marion Cotillard’s performance in La Vie en Rose because the latter was clearly superior when you compared the two and Cotillard ended up prevailing. So I’m gonna trust that Academy voters watched their screeners and saw that Streep is the obvious winner here.

Best Supporting Actor: Will and should—Christoph Waltz. This is a done deal, an indisputably stunning performance.

Best Supporting Actress: Will and should—Mo’Nique. No argument here, either. Same reason as above.

Best Director: Will win—Kathryn Bigelow. Should—Jason Reitman. I’ll be fine with Bigelow’s win because she kicks ass but Reitman made the better, more emotionally resonant movie.

Best Original Screenplay: Will win—The Hurt Locker. Should win—Up. Carl, Russell, Ellie, and company were complex, fully drawn characters, while Hurt‘s script didn’t explain why James was such a war junkie. He had no character arc and remained unchanged from beginning to end.

Best Animated Feature: Will and should—Up. I am so broken-recordy right now.

Best Foreign Language Film: Will and should win—The Secret in Their Eyes. I like crime dramas.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Will and should—Up in the Air.

Best Score: Will and should—Up. The only score I can still hum.

Best Song: Will win—“The Weary Kind” from Crazy Heart. Should win—who the hell knows? I don’t know any of the other songs except “Take It All,” which was performed amazingly well by Marion Cotillard in Nine but I can’t really remember it.

Best Visual Effects: Will and should—Avatar. Boring movie but it sure was pretty.

Best Art Direction: Will and should—Avatar. See above reason.

Best Cinematography: Will win—Avatar. Should win—The White Ribbon. It was shot on color film and converted into black and white. The result is stunning and atmospheric.

Best Makeup: Will and should—Star Trek. Eric Bana was almost unrecognizable.

Best Costume: Will and should—Young Victoria. Historical costume dramas featuring royal subjects often take this category.

Best Editing: Will and should—The Hurt Locker. The tight editing had me holding my breath at times.

Best Sound Editing: Will win—Avatar. Should win—The Hurt Locker. The silent moments were just as tense and effective as when the explosions went off.

Best Sound Mixing: Will and should win—Avatar. Whatever. I’m bored with this category.

Best Documentary Feature: Will win—The Cove. Should? I don’t know and am not even going to pretend I’ve seen or heard of the others. Which leads me to wild guesses for the remaining categories…

Best Documentary Short: The Last Truck sounds topical.

Best Animated Short: A Matter of Loaf and Death. The title’s clever, and it’s a Wallace & Gromit adventure! Nick Park has already won four Oscars for previous W&G shorts; no reason to stop now.

Best Live Action Short: The New Tenants. Why not?

I’ll also predict that Penelope Cruz will wear something stunning, some audience members will give Jeff Bridges a standing ovation when he wins, and Alec Baldwin will be funnier than Steve Martin as co-host.

Now, it’s your turn. Who do you think will and should win? How much money do you have riding on this?



  • Reply
    March 5, 2010 at 11:17 am

    THANK GOD that Cotillard beat Christie a couple of years back….but, your theory isn’t foolproof…back in 2001, Ellen Burstyn (REQUIEM FOR A DREAM) was far superior than Julia Roberts (ERIN BROCKOVICH)…..and, Roberts won….this year’s “Streep vs. Bullock” challenge is similar to the “Burstyn vs. Roberts” challenge….it seems that anytime there is a one on one competition between two front runners, the YOUNGER person wins: Swank vs. Benning, Swank vs. Benning, Rourke vs. Penn………..Don’t get me wrong, I’m on Team Streep (vs. Bullock!)

  • Reply
    March 5, 2010 at 11:54 am

    I have been lax this year in my movie watching. Mainly because of my funds or lack thereof, but I did manage to see all the nominees. I still agree with you that Up In The Air should win over Avatar. I think Avatar belongs in the Animation category. And I wasn’t that impressed with it either. I think it should win for Best Special Effects, but story? Picture? Nope. But, then again, no one really understands the academy anyway.

  • Reply
    March 5, 2010 at 11:58 am

    It’ll be an interesting show this year. Them opening up the Best Picture to 10 nominees really helped generate interest this year. I’m going to disagree with you about Avatar (saw it for the third time on Monday on a full size IMAX 3-D and it still held up for me), but I think I’m a sucker for the type of heart-tugged action and touchstones Cameron hits upon in his films. Plus, on IMAX 3-D the technical achievements were pretty damn stunning. Also, I think there is a block of voters in the Academy the last few years that tends toward NOT awarding outstanding performers repeat Oscars. Streep has done extraordinary work for years, and she’s still stuck on the same number of statuettes. See Russell Crowe for the male side of things. That’s why I think Bullock will win in her category, and the reason Fantastic Mr. Fox will upset Up for Animated Feature (they’re just looking to break Pixar’s well deserved streak). I don’t expect people to agree with me, and it’s not that I want them to choose those, I just think that’s the way they’ll vote, and why. Hopefully, I’m wrong. I’ve already cleared the decks at home for this (got the snacks ready and the home equipment tested). Bring the Academy Award Show on!

    Thanks, PCN.

    • Reply
      March 5, 2010 at 3:21 pm

      Avatar’s technology and special effects are good but not the story. When it’s not being a Pocahontas remake, it’s a very small improvement on Ferngully. And, as far as the technology goes, why was his wheelchair so 2008 when it takes place in 2154? They haven’t come up with more high-tech wheelchairs by then?

      • Reply
        March 5, 2010 at 3:52 pm

        I think the CG character rendering and detail with the facial features made it easier for the audience to look at them more as characters on the screen rather than just the obvious CG cartoons (as other special effects films have suffered from). The 3-D effects helped that tremendously (and did it without giving the audience headaches–which is easy to do with some of the newer technology). For me, it’s more realized than say George Lucas’ characters and landscapes of his Star Wars prequels.

        The story is a familiar one, as you mention. I guess that he married it so well with the effects is something I’m a sucker for, and I enjoyed it. But then, that’s just me ;-). I think it’s a wildcard in the Best Picture race because of its popularity (along with the technology). If I’d get to pick, it’d likely be UP IN THE AIR (only because it didn’t give me motion sickness via the overuse of the shaky cam in THE HURT LOCKER).

  • Reply
    March 5, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    Best Picture – Not to go all Randy Jackson on you, but ‘for me’ the best was Hurt Locker. I’m more with le0pard re Avatar. I’m anti-Cameron, but couldn’t deny the movie was just plain watchable. Was it contrite and warmed over in the plot arena? Yup, and that’s why I wouldn’t want it to win best picture. To me, best picture means more than impact on the industry. I love me some George, but I just didn’t get all the love for Up in the Air. Maybe it suffered from pre-viewing mania. My vote is very close between Hurt Locker and District 9, but, for me, for you, Hurt Locker wins.

    I do have to note that Up was an animated move that held up start to finish, which isn’t usually the case for me. I generally find some lag in the slack of the middle or mid-end. That was a great movie from frame 1 to end.

    Best actress. I like Sandra Bullock. I haven’t seen Blind Side. So I shouldn’t partake in the discussion. But in my gut I just feel that’s not an Oscar role. But maybe it’s all the raw cookie dough I just ate.

    The one category I really care about is Best Supporting Actor. I know everyone thinks Waltz is a shoe-in and I hope that’s right, because that was perhaps the most flawless performance of the year in my unlearned opinion. Captivating from moment one to end and not a false note in the entire performance. Brilliant, it was, and deserving of the nod.

    Ok, gotta go get the Bjork swan dress cleaned for Sunday…

  • Reply
    March 5, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    My review of Avatar was “all glitz, no substance,” and it still stands. I also thought that Cameron robbed us of some wonderful 3D moments by pulling the camera away. However, if there was any movie that deserved a technical award, it would be Avatar.

    I thought The Hurt Locker was amazing, and I am admittedly rooting for the first female director to take that award. I also liked George (and Vera — did no one else think that she was phenomenal?) and Up in the Air overall, though I thought it had some story flaws.

    I am horrible at picking the winners because I apparently don’t think like the Academy members. And maybe that is why I haven’t yet made it in Hollywood…. Sigh….

  • Reply
    March 5, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Still haven’t caught up to what’s out there. [wearing the cone of shame ;-)] We saw Avatar in IMAX 3-D as well…highly recommend that experience, but I don’t think it deserves Best Picture. And you know, PCN, how much I love Up! But as much as I adore the film, I think it should either have been nominated for Best Picture or Best Animated, but not both.

    I’m cheering for The Last Truck because it’s about a GM plant in Moraine, OH near my husband’s hometown of Dayton.

  • Reply
    March 5, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    I think expanding the nominees to 10 this year is really dangerous. Notice how past nominees cancel each other out due to irresponsible voting? This is why we have ended up scratching our heads when people like Mira Sorvino win over Kate Winslet and Alan Arkin’s performance in Little Miss Sunshine wins over Jakie Earle Haley’s in Little Children. Give the academy too much to think about and they all get lazy.

  • Reply
    Jen Forbus
    March 6, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    I haven’t seen enough of the nominees to weigh in on this, and I’ll not be able to watch it…so I’ll check back afterward to see the post-Oscar reactions.

  • Reply
    Shell Sherree
    March 6, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    I’ll have to wear the Cone of Shame after Christine’s finished with it. 🙂 I’m way behind on movie watching, so won’t offer any wishes/hopes/beliefs {except that I’d give myself a high five if George Clooney wins!}, but I’m unashamedly looking forward to watching! I’m inclined to go along with you re: Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin ~ though I’m just a recent convert to the Alec Baldwin Fan Club.

  • Reply
    Mysti Berry
    March 6, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Very nice calls, very well reasoned!

    I disagree about the character arc in Hurt Locker. It’s there, it’s just a tragic arc. When a movie asked the kind of dramatic question that Hurt Locker asks, there’s nothing else you can really do (I think). Or perhaps I’m just so used to filling in the backstory with Kathryn Bigelow. Did Jamie Lee Curtis have an arc in Blue Steel? Caleb in Near Dark? Shoot, now I’m going to have to watch them all again…

    Her ability to mix art tropes & zeitgeist setting is like no one else’s…

    That said, I bought a copy of Up for the house, not Hurt Locker (though it’s got my vote for everything!)

  • Reply
    April 11, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    OK, I am starting to sound like a broken record here, always talking about the motivations of the characters (that is finally getting decent in Lost), but Hurt locker is just lacking this. The characters act irrational in a way that normal people don’t and their motives are unclear. Maybe I am too calculating and logical but it just doesn’t appeal to me at all. To me it’s just another below average movie… that won?!

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