Day Sixty-Five – Oscar Predictions: Acting

6 03 2010

Acting is a weird category. Much like the big categories, Best Director and Best Picture, the awards can often go to people who are “owed” the Oscar rather than to the best performance. There are certain things you can look for to guarantee a win as well. Play a living person. Wear a ton of make-up. Be a drunk or drug addicted person. For the supporting categories specifically, play a villain.

Given that, you can guess pretty safely who is going to win:

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

Jeff Bridges hasn’t won an Oscar, but he’s been around for a while. This is his fifth time nominated without a win, so it seems like it’ll probably go to him. Plus, he played a drunk and he actually sang in his movie. I want to say George Clooney or Colin Firth should win, but Jeff Bridges was great as Bad Blake, plus the odds are in his favor.

Best Actress
Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Helen Mirren, The Last Station
Carey Mulligan, An Education
Gabourey Sidibe, Precious
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia

Meryl Streep has been here before. Sixteen times before. Yet she hasn’t won since 1982 when she won for Sophie’s Choice. Now, she’s playing a celebrity and does a dead-on impersonation. The person herself, Julia Child, is very much like a cartoon, so someone who doesn’t know of her may not understand how close Streep is to Julia herself. I’d rather see Carey Mulligan take it home for An Education, but it’s very hard to bet against Streep. Still, it could always go to Sandra Bullock.

Best Supporting Actor
Matt Damon, Invictus
Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

Last year, Heath Ledger won this category for recreating a villain that’ll go down in movie history as one of the creepiest and best ever. In Inglourious Basterds, Waltz creates the happiest and scariest multi-lingual Nazi ever. He was easily the best part of Basterds and the movie was pretty strong all around anyway. I’ve heard Stanley Tucci played an excellent villain in The Lovely Bones as well, and I haven’t seen it myself, but it would be a tragedy not to honor Waltz for this performance.

Best Supporting Actress
Penélope Cruz, Nine
Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart
Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
Mo’Nique, Precious

I was not crazy about Mo’Nique in Precious. She screams and yells. A lot. That seems to be enough to be considered great performance, but she’s also the only one that seems to follow the rules to predict this type of thing. Not to mention that every prediction out there seems to have Mo’Nique as a lock. I’d rather see it go to either of the ladies from Up in the Air, but it almost definitely won’t go to them.

Next and finally: Best Director and Best Picture.


Day Sixty-Four – Oscar Predictions: Screenplays

5 03 2010

The Screenplay category doesn’t get nearly enough respect come Oscar time. It’s the glue that holds the picture together or the wrecking ball that completely tears it apart. Realistically, if you don’t win the Screenplay Oscar, you shouldn’t even qualify to win Best Picture. Avatar has a chance to break this unwritten rule, as Titanic did with its win, since it’s not even nominated in the Best Original Screenplay category.

I didn’t get through all the screenplays quite yet, but I have seen majority of the movies nominated so I’m making my predictions that way.

Here are the pictures that are:

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

When I was in film school, I remember reading  that Tarantino was finally going to move forward with his long awaited Inglourious Basterds. Many years later, it’s finally out and it was definitely worth the wait. No one else is able to create as much tension as Tarantino with only two people sitting in a room, chatting over a glass of milk. I’m not a Tarantino die-hard at all. I haven’t really liked much of his work since Pulp Fiction, but this film, and screenplay, made me a fan once again. Such skill and craft in the writing that can’t be duplicated.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci & Tony Roche, In the Loop
Neill Blomkamp & Terri Tatchell, District 9
Geoffrey Fletcher, Precious
Nick Hornby, An Education
Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air

Jason Reitman is easily becoming one of my favorite film-makers ever. When he writes a screenplay, they are so perfectly crafted. There isn’t a wasted word in Up in the Air or his prior screenplay Thank You for Smoking. Every word of dialogue is either there for plot or to shed light on the main character. Regardless of what they are saying or who is saying it, every single word and every single action serves a purpose. It would be horrible if anything but Up in the Air took the win for this category.

I thought I’d have more to say about this category, but I’m getting it up here pretty late. I’m sure I’ll have more to say about these films in the future. Those are my predictions for now.

Next: Acting.