BEST PICTURE: Avatar, The Blind Side, District 9, An Education, Precious, The Hurt Locker, Inglorious Basterds, A Serious Man, Up, Up In The Air.
Well, first off the new game everybody has to play is “which five of these wouldn’t have gotten nominated if the Oscars hadn’t decided to super-size this category?” My guess is Up, District 9, An Education, The Blind Side and Inglorious Basterds. So that leaves Precious, The Hurt Locker, Up In The Air, A Serious Man and, yes, Avatar. Precious and A Serious Man have no chance. Up In The Air can play spoiler and potentially win, but I don’t think it quite has the support to do it. But really, this is about whether James Cameron making a zillion dollars impresses people more than the best war movie in years and a major artistic achievement.
BEST DIRECTOR: Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker, James Cameron for Avatar, Lee Daniels for Precious, Jason Reitman for Up In The Air, Quentin Tarantino for Inglorious Basterds.
Basically I’m just gonna repeat my comments from Best Picture for this one: this is between Bigelow and Cameron. Bigelow has the DGA award, Cameron has the Golden Globe.
BEST ACTOR: Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart, George Clooney for Up In The Air, Colin Firth for A Single Man, Morgan Freeman for Invictus, Jeremy Renner for The Hurt Locker.
Renner’s nomination is a pleasant surprise – he got a couple of SAG noms and a lot of critics’ awards, but no Golden Globe nomination at all. I think he has an outside shot at it as a dark horse. That having been said, the award this year is primarily a two-way fight between Jeff Bridges for never having won an Oscar and George Clooney for never having won an Oscar. Freeman has two Oscars and isn’t going to win one for Invictus, which was kinda boring. Firth isn’t going to win for A Single Man because he’s had better odds with other things.
BEST ACTRESS: Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side, Helen Mirren for The Last Station, Carey Mulligan for An Education, Gabourey Sibibe for Precious, Carey Mulligan for An Education, Meryl Streep for Julie and Julia.
I’ve never even heard of The Last Station and Helen Mirren has an Oscar already so forget about that one. Carey Mulligan isn’t famous and beloved enough to win an Oscar in young-ingenue mode so she’s not gonna get it. Gabourey Sibibe has a shot, but I don’t think Oscar gives her a statue because A) her movie wasn’t that good and B) Oscar is still wary of the black people. So it comes down to whether Hollywood feels like giving Sandra Bullock an Oscar for making Hollywood so much money over the years, or whether they want to give Meryl Streep another award for being Meryl Streep, because Meryl Streep is probably about four or five Oscars short of her deserved total right now and everybody knows it. I’m pulling for Meryl Streep because she is fucking awesome.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Woody Harrelson for The Messenger, Matt Damon for Invictus, Christopher Plummer for The Last Station, Stanley Tucci for The Lovely Bones and Christoph Waltz for Inglorious Basterds.
Matt Damon was in a movie so dull that Hollywood actually didn’t give Clint Eastwood a directing nomination, so no. My high opinion of The Lovely Bones is an outlier and Tucci won’t win for it. (If he’d been nominated for Julie and Julia, he might actually have had a longshot chance.) Harrelson has made a lot of enemies in Hollywood and I don’t think even a truly great performance will get him the award. Christopher Plummer has a serious chance because he’s never won an Oscar and he’s quite old and everybody thinks he’s great, so he might get the proxy lifetime achievement award. But Christoph Waltz has to be considered the odds-on favourite.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Penelope Cruz for Nine, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick for Up In The Air, Maggie Gyllenhaal for Crazy Heart and Mo’Nique for Push.
Cruz is only here because she’s really popular with a lot of nominators; Nine was an overblown piece of crap and everybody knows it. The Up In The Air ladies will probably cancel each other out. Gyllenhaal has a good chance with her turn in Crazy Heart, but she’s young yet and will get more nominations in the future (or so goes the logic). Really, I would be shocked if Mo’Nique doesn’t win this.
BEST ANIMATED FILM: Coraline, Up, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Princess and the Frog and The Secret of Kells. There is some serious competition in this category this year so I’m mentioning it, although I think Up still squeaks out with the win.