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Virtual Pope

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Yup, This Is an Oscar Entry [Mar. 7th, 2010|09:13 am]
Virtual Pope
[Current Location |Severn, MD]
[mood |tiredtired]
[music |Joni Mitchell]

If you recall last year, I was quite proud of my OscarQuest, where I managed to see all the widely-distributed feature nominees and packed all that experience into an Oscar entry. Well, I failed my OscarQuest this year, but I'm a creature of habit, so I will offer another set of predictions and opinions in anticipation of tonight's ceremony. Unfortunately, along with my usual "Will Win," "Should Win," and "Shoulda Been Nominated," I shall also have to include a "Need to See" to point out my blind spots.

Best Picture: Avatar, The Blind Side, District 9, An Education, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious, A Serious Man, Up in the Air
As I write this, I'm in the middle of watching The Blind Side online and frankly, I'm quite happy to be taking this break. Fortunately, though, it's the only dud in the bunch, and they actually managed to nominate nine good movies as its company. Hell, when they only had five slots last year, two clunkers snuck in. Considering the general quality of the nominees and their diversity, the increase to ten nominees looks like a good move. Of course it was always just about money and ratings, and with quite a few in there that actually earned good box office, the experiment is a definite success. Still, as much as Avatar is a distinct possibilty for the win, the frontrunner seems to be the lowest grossing of the bunch, the far superior The Hurt Locker. The only others I can see threatening either of those two are Up, which could get in by being the most well-liked of the bunch, but probably won't because people will likely just vote for it in its animated category, and Inglourious Basterds, which has some pretty passionate support (I've voiced my own in Film Comment's Reader's Poll, where I annually send in year-end best-of blurbs that I really should proofread better). And while Inglourious Basterds is my absolute favorite of the year, I'd be very satisfied with The Hurt Locker taking it. (It'd also be fun to see A Serious Man win, but that does not seem to be within the realm of possibility.)
Will Win: The Hurt Locker
Should Win: Inglourious Basterds
Shoulda Been Nominated: Where the Wild Things Are

Best Actor: Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart), George Clooney (Up in the Air), Colin Firth (A Single Man), Morgan Freeman (Invictus), Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker)
Part of me wonders what this race would be like had Mickey Rourke won for The Wrestler last year. Jeff Bridges looks like a lock here, and it's totally deserved, but Crazy Heart is such a similar film to The Wrestler that I'd have a hard time seeing basically the same character type winning twice in a row. Still, Rourke's loss (and 40 years of great performances as well as a great nominated performance) is Bridges' gain, even though a win for Colin Firth here would be just as deserving. Renner's turn in The Hurt Locker is also very worthy, and while Clooney in Up in the Air is nothing new, it's certainly one nobody else could pull off.
Will Win: Bridges
Should Win: Performance-wise, Bridges and Firth are pretty much neck and neck in my mind, but I've only had my picture taken with one of them, so it's clearly Bridges.
Shoulda Been Nominated: Matt Damon (The Informant!)

Best Actress: Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side), Helen Mirren (The Last Station), Carey Mulligan (An Education), Gabourey Sidibe (Precious), Meryl Streep (Julie and Julia)
A big problem with seeing the nominees letting my opinions sway my picks against what seems to be a sure thing. Having just watched The Blind Side, I'm going to have a hard time putting Sandra Bullock in the "Will Win" category despite every sign that says she's a lock. Surely such an underwhelming performance in a downright bad movie won't get rewarded? In this case, presumed runner-up Streep isn't too much of a step up either, since the previous description also fits her Julia Child, though an underwhelming Streep still tops an underwhelming Bullock. They were both outmatched by the two breakout performances in the bunch and while there's some talk of Sidibe pulling a shocker, an outcome I'd fully support, I'm gunning for Mulligan here.
Will Win: Bullock
Should Win: Mulligan
Shoulda Been Nominated: Tilda Swinton (Julia)
Need to See: The Last Station

Best Supporting Actor: Matt Damon (Invictus), Woody Harrelson (The Messenger), Christopher Plummer (The Last Station), Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones), Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)
I'm very ignorant here, not having seen three of the films, but I will just say that there is no reason for Matt Damon to be in this category. Had he been nominated for Best Actor for The Informant!, I would be rooting for him to win that one, but this was just a wrong call.
Will Win: Waltz
Should Win: Waltz
Shoulda Been Nominated: Christian McKay (Me and Orson Welles)
Need to See: The Messenger, The Last Station, The Lovely Bones

Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz (Nine), Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Crazy Heart), Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air), Mo'Nique (Precious)
As much as I adored Anna Kendrick in Up in the Air, rooting for her would just be a pointless exercise in contrarianism, since Mo'Nique's performance is completely worthy of every award it's earned so far and will earn tonight.
Will Win: Mo'Nique
Should Win: Mo'Nique
Shoulda Been Nominated: Melanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds)
Need to See: Nine

Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), James Cameron (Avatar), Lee Daniels (Precious), Jason Reitman (Up in the Air), Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds)
OK, I might just be going along with hype here by choosing her over my beloved Inglourious Basterds, but Bigelow did craft an astounding war film and should be justly rewarded for it.
Will Win: Bigelow
Should Win: Bigelow
Shoulda Been Nominated: Joel & Ethan Coen (A Serious Man)

Best Original Screenplay: The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, The Messenger, A Serious Man, Up
It seems like a toss-up between The Hurt Locker and Inglourious Basterds, but considering the huge authorial stamp on Inglourious Basterds and just how noticeably written it was, I'm gonna guess it'll swing Tarantino's way.
Will Win: Inglourious Basterds
Should Win: Inglourious Basterds
Shoulda Been Nominated: ? (If The Messenger's on par with the rest of these films, the category's spot-on, but if not, Summer Hours)
Need to See: The Messenger

Best Adapted Screenplay: District 9, An Education, In the Loop, Precious, Up in the Air
Will Win: Up in the Air
Should Win: Up in the Air
Shoulda Been Nominated: Where the Wild Things Are

Best Cinematography: Avatar, The White Ribbon, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds
No idea how this will go. Thanks to so many instantly classic shots, I've got The Hurt Locker in the slot for all my Oscar pool submissions, but now I'm thinking Avatar's innovations in 3D photography will win the day. Or something else entirely.
Will Win: Avatar
Should Win: The Hurt Locker
Shoulda Been Nominated: Where the Wild Things Are
Need to See: The White Ribbon, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Best Film Editing: Avatar, District 9, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious
Will Win: The Hurt Locker
Should Win: The Hurt Locker
Shoulda Been Nominated: A Serious Man

Best Art Direction: Avatar, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Nine, Sherlock Holmes, The Young Victoria
Will Win: Avatar
Need to See: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Nine, Sherlock Holmes, The Young Victoria

Best Costume Design: Bright Star, Coco Before Chanel, The Imaginarious of Doctor Parnassus, Nine, The Young Victoria
Will Win: The Young Victoria
Need to See: All of 'em

Best Make-Up: Il Divo, Star Trek, The Young Victoria
Will Win: Star Trek
Need to See: Il Divo, The Young Victoria

Best Score: Avatar, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Hurt Locker, Sherlock Holmes, Up
Will Win: Up
Should Win: Up
Shoulda Been Nominated: The Informant!, A Single Man
Need to See: Sherlock Holmes

Best Original Song: "The Weary Kind" (Crazy Heart), "Loin de Paname" (Paris 36), "Take It All" (Nine), "Almost There," "Down in New Orleans" (The Princess and the Frog)
Will Win: "The Weary Kind"
Shoud Win: "The Weary Kind"
Shoulda Been Nominated: "Hideaway," "All Is Love" (Where the Wild Things Are), "Petey's Song" (Fantastic Mr. Fox)

Best Sound Mixing: Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Star Trek, Transformers: Revenger of the Fallen
I never know how this and Sound Editing will go, and never feel very confident determining what's best in either field. Probably gonna be between The Hurt Locker and Avatar, though, so I'm gonna split 'em up.
Will Win: The Hurt Locker

Best Sound Editing: Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Star Trek, Up
Will Win: Avatar
Shoulda Been Nominated: A Serious Man

Best Visual Effects: Avatar, District 9, Star Trek
Easiest category of the night.
Will Win: Avatar
Should Win: Avatar
Shoulda Been Nominated: Where the Wild Things Are

Best Animated Feature: Coraline, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Princess and the Frog, The Secret of Kells, Up
Will Win: Up
Should Win: Up
Need to See: The Princess and the Frog, The Secret of Kells

Best Foreign Language Film: Ajami, The White Ribbon, El Secreto De Sus Ojos, The Milk of Sorrow, A Prophet
Will Win: El Secreto de Sus Ojos
Need to See: All of 'em

Best Documentary: Burma VJ, The Cove, Food Inc., The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, Which Way Home
Will Win: The Cove
Need to See: All but Food, Inc.

Best Documentary Short: China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province, The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardener, The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant, Rabbit a Berlin, Music by Prudence
Will Win: China's Unnatural Disaster
Need to See: All of 'em

Best Animated Short: French Roast, Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty, La Dama y la Muerte, Logorama, Wallace and Gromit in a Matter of Loaf and Death
This is a tough call between the yet-to-lose Wallace and Gromit series and the imaginative world created by Logorama. Gonna call it for the newcomer.
Will Win: Logorama
Should Win: Logorama

Best Live Action Short: The Door, Instead of Abracadabra, Kavi, Miracle Fish, The New Tenants
Will Win: The Door
Need to See: All of 'em

And just for kicks, here's my personal rankings of the nominated feature films I've seen:
1. Inglourious Basterds
2. The Hurt Locker
3. Up
4. A Serious Man
5. An Education
6. Up in the Air
7. Crazy Heart
8. A Single Man
9. Coraline
10. District 9
11. Avatar
12. Precious
13. In the Loop
14. Invictus
15. Fantastic Mr. Fox
16. Food, Inc.
17. Star Trek
18. Julie and Julia
19. The Blind Side
20. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: elluithauren
2010-03-07 05:07 pm (UTC)
Wait, is The White Ribbon not the forerunner for Best Foreign Language Film?
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: virtualpope
2010-03-07 08:12 pm (UTC)
It is, but that category has been kind of a bitch lately about not going with frontrunners. (The Lives of Others over Pan's Labyrinth, Departures over Waltz With Bashir or The Class.) My pick is sort of a Hail Mary to win Oscar contests.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)