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.

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Day Sixty – Oscar Predictions: Technical Awards

1 03 2010

It’s a cliché to say “It’s an honor just to be nominated”. That’s usually reserved for those who aren’t voted as Best in their category, but for the technical awards, it holds true.

These awards are voted on by Academy members who don’t necessarily know what goes into good costume design or editing, where the nominations are voted on by their peers within the craft. That results in awards going to anyone who uses their craft in excess, making the artist’s influence on the piece very clear for the voter.

Here are my predictions:

Best Art Direction
Avatar
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Nine
Sherlock Holmes
The Young Victoria

My guess is Imaginarium based in my theory that the most apparent will win. You could also make the case for Avatar and Nine in that respect, but the Imaginarium has so much going on in one single frame that laymen will believe that to be better work than something a little more sublte like The Informant!, which wasn’t nominated.

Best Cinematography
Avatar
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
The White Ribbon

Inglourious Basterds is a choice that I believe deserves to win and I predict that it will. Basterds had a glow to it that was reserved for the movies of Old Hollywood, when most of the films where shot on soundstages exclusively. For a film just as much about film as it was about the Second World War, cinematography becomes a part of the story telling.

Best Costume Design
Bright Star
Coco Before Chanel
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Nine
The Young Victoria

This category follows the theory more than any other. I’m usually able to pick a winner without ever seeing the film. Basically, the film with the most frilly and/or Victorian dresses win. This is a hard year to pick, since the choices are similar in style, but Victoria is just as much a fashion show as it is a film.

Best Visual Effects
Avatar

District 9
Star Trek

Whoever uses the most CG wins this category. Based on that alone, it goes to Avatar, which deserves it. The quality of the environments in Pixar-level good. If it doesn’t win this category, than I wouldn’t expect Avatar to win Best Picture either, since the CG was the main selling point. I’m a little upset that District 9 won’t get it, because the way that the humans interacted with the prawns hasn’t been so spot on since Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Best Editing
Avatar
District 9
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Precious

The most cuts wins. Action films tend to steal this category based on that and this year will be no different with The Hurt Locker. Avatar could surprise and collect another win here, but the film was a bit long to credit it for being able to cut stuff.

Best Makeup
Il Divo
Star Trek
The Young Victoria

The characters in Star Trek really packed on the make-up, as they always have in the series, and will likely be rewarded for doing so. The make-up was definitely the best of the series so far. Not as obvious as before and didn’t give everyone that vinyl look they have on the TV show.

Best Sound Editing
Avatar
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Star Trek
Up

Best Sound Mixing
Avatar
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Star Trek
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

I’m going to admit, I have no idea why I’m voting for what I voted for here. I don’t understand why these categories are on the big show at all, but they’re here and I’m forced to make a choice. I basically split them between the front runners, but really I have nothing to back it up outside of a blind guess.

Now with the technical awards out of the way, we can jump into the categories where I can make an educated prediction, having seen much of the pictures up for awards this year.

Tomorrow, the Short Category. I’ve already posted my reviews and threw a prediction in for the Animated category. I’m hoping to see the Live-Action shorts tonight and will post my prediction for those tomorrow, along with the Short Documentary, which I’ve only seen a couple of.

Agree or disagree? Feel free to comment.