james debate
james debate

Tuesday 2 March 2010

academy awards 2010

In just a few days, the Kodak theatre in Hollywood will be set to host the biggest event in the movie business, the Oscars. You'll have the biggest stars in the world, the glitziest dresses, and if past form is anything to go by, some very cheesy and lame jokes from the host(s). That being said, this year will be hosted by none other than legends Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, so if ever we are in for a good show, this is the year.

And of course, people will be there to see the winners and losers of the evening. Last year I was pretty dead on with my predictions, but then it was a particularly obvious set of winners. This year's event promises to be a far less predictable affair, with certainly three or four films in with a shout of winning the coveted best movie award. In advance of the big night, and so that you my wonderful readers, have some idea of what to expect if you have not seen many of this year's big films, I present for you my carefully considered predictions for the major awards.

Best Picture


  • Avatar
  • The Blind Side
  • District 9
  • An Education
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire
  • A Serious Man
  • Up
  • Up in the Air

Who Should Win:
First let me express annoyance at whoever came up with the retarded idea of having 10 nominees this year instead of 5. Not only does it cheapen the honor of being nominated, but it makes the list just too long, it's silly. Clearly it was only done so that the Academy wouldn't piss off any movie studios.
That being said, while I would love to see an outsider like District 9 or Up in the Air (my personal favorite, though perhaps not the best film) win, for me this one is a toss up between the two divorcees, Bigelow and Cameron, Hurt Locker and Avatar. Between these two, I think Hurt Locker SHOULD win. The Hurt Locker manages to balance great suspense with a powerful yet subtle analysis of the pyschology of war. Possibly the best war film of our generation.

Who Will Win:
But unfortunately, I see this award going to Avatar. A good film no doubt, and an absolute landmark in technological terms, but this film has been hyped beyond the point of absurdity. Special effects don't make a movie great, though they may make it a revolution, and one can't help but feel that if not for these bells and whistles this film would not be getting the Best Movie overtures that it is currently seeing.

Best Director

  • Kathryn Bigelow – The Hurt Locker
  • James Cameron – Avatar
  • Lee Daniels – Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire
  • Jason Reitman – Up in the Air
  • Quentin Tarantino – Inglourious Basterds

Who Should Win:
We have some very good competition for this category. Indeed, director Jason Reitman, formerly the best thing about the movie Juno, now the best thing about the movie Up in the Air, would fully deserve this win if it were to happen, but he wouldn't be my choice. Quentin Tarantino is an oddity, but he has a unique style like no other. With Inglourious Basterds generating a lot of buzz and several nominations this year, this one seems a very real possibility for him.

Who Will Win:
However, I can't help but shake the feeling that this too will go to one of the big frontrunners in this year's Oscars, Cameron or Bigelow. Especially this year where the stories of the two directors have been hyped and discussed as much as the films themselves, I'd be surprised if it didn't go to one of them, regardless of the actual quality of direction (which is still very high).

Best Actor

  • Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart as Bad Blake
  • George Clooney – Up in the Air as Ryan Bingham
  • Colin Firth – A Single Man as George Falconer
  • Morgan Freeman – Invictus as Nelson Mandela
  • Jeremy Renner – The Hurt Locker as Sgt. William James

Who Should Win:
This is a tough one. Part of me would like to see Clooney get his first oscar, but while his performance is impressive, I don't see it happening. Based on my experience, the two most likely candidates are Jeff Bridges and Colin Firth. It's close, but in this case I'm going to go with Colin Firth.

Who Will Win:
And I think he will win as well. But it really is a toss up between those two.

Best Actress

  • Sandra Bullock – The Blind Side as Leigh Anne Tuohy
  • Helen Mirren – The Last Station as Sofya Tolstoy
  • Carey Mulligan – An Education as Jenny Miller
  • Gabourey Sidibe – Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire as Claireece "Precious" Jones
  • Meryl Streep – Julie & Julia as Julia Child

Who Should Win:
Personally, I would love to see Mulligan win for her fantastic breakout performance in An Education.

Who Will Win:
This year all the buzz is about one woman, Sandra Bullock, this very much looks to be her year.

Best Supporting Actor

  • Matt Damon – Invictus as François Pienaar
  • Woody Harrelson – The Messenger as Capt. Tony Stone
  • Christopher Plummer – The Last Station as Leo Tolstoy
  • Stanley Tucci – The Lovely Bones as George Harvey
  • Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds as Col. Hans Landa

Who Should Win:
Matt Damon gave a great performance in Invictus, but at the end of the day this is the one award I can predict with absolute certainty. Christoph Waltz was just spellbinding at the sinister Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds, and fully deserves this win.

Who Will Win:
Much like last year, I would be stunned if one man in particular didn't walk away with the Best Supporting Actor award. This is surely Waltz's award.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Penélope Cruz – Nine as Carla Albanese
  • Vera Farmiga – Up in the Air as Alex Goran
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal – Crazy Heart as Jean Craddock
  • Anna Kendrick – Up in the Air as Natalie Keener
  • Mo'Nique – Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire as Mary Lee Johnston

Who Should Win:
This is another award I can predict with pretty good certainty. The buzz surrounding Mo'Nique has been deafening, and her victory in this category seems almost inevitable.

Who Will Win:
See above.

Best Original Screenplay

  • The Hurt Locker – Mark Boal
  • Inglourious Basterds – Quentin Tarantino
  • The Messenger – Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman
  • A Serious Man – Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
  • Up – Tom McCarthy, Bob Peterson and Pete Docter

Who Should Win:
Again, some good contenders this year. But for me the obvious choice has to be the Coen brothers' latest film, A Serious Man, as typically sharp and complex as one would expect from them, with an added dose of nostalgia and personal significance for the author/directors.

Who Will Win:
In reality I would say it's a toss up between A Serious Man and Inglourious Basterds. In the end I think the hype for Inglourious Basterds will give it the victory in this one.

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • District 9 – Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell from Alive in Joburg by Blomkamp
  • An Education – Nick Hornby from An Education by Lynn Barber
  • In the Loop – Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci and Tony Roche from The Thick of It created by Iannucci
  • Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire – Geoffrey Fletcher from Push by Sapphire
  • Up in the Air – Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner from Up in the Air by Walter Kirn

Who Should Win:
Now this is a tough one. Every one of the contenders is a strong script and could potentially win. I was surprised to see District 9 nominated for this, but it's inclusion is a worthy one. However, my pick has to be Up in the Air.

Who Will Win:
Up in the Air, my favorite film from this year, should be able to win this one.

Best Animated Feature

  • Coraline – Henry Selick
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox – Wes Anderson
  • The Princess and the Frog – Ron Clements and John Musker
  • The Secret of Kells – Tomm Moore
  • Up – Pete Docter

Who Should Win:
Well there's just no question about this one. Wall-E won the award easily last year, and Pixar's latest film, Up, has been, if possible, even more positively received. Coraline was a wonderful animated film too, but it doesn't have what it takes to beat Up.

Who Will Win:
Up will win for sure.

Various Technical Awards:
You have to feel bad for Star Trek, a film which any other year would have been a shoo-in for these technical awards. But let's face it, there's no way Avatar won't win most of those technical awards this year.

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