Day Sixty-Six – Oscar Predictions: Best Picture and Director

7 03 2010

It’s the big night. The Oscars are mere hours away and it’s time for the Best Picture and Best Director to be decided.

This year has been interesting. They included an extra 5 nominees for Best Picture to make sure that a snub, like The Dark Knight from last year, wouldn’t happen again. Instead, even with all the extra nominations, it has become a three picture race. I think the Best Director category is a good signal of what would have made the cut had the extra five slots not been introduced.

Without stalling any further, here are my predictions for Best Director and Best Picture:

Best Director
Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
James Cameron, Avatar
Lee Daniels, Precious
Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

Jim Cameron said it himself that the Academy wouldn’t be able to resist giving the Best Director to a woman for the very first time in the Oscars’ 82 year history. Though the fact that she’s a woman had very little to do with the influence on the movie, which is as macho a film as you can get, it will have something to do with the voting. Sadly, the Oscars isn’t always about the merits of the films, but what voting for certain films can symbolize. In this case, it’s a sign of “equality”, which is kind of a joke when the purpose of an award is setting something above all others. Much like a member’s Facebook page, they put a lot of thought into the image they’ll have as much as, if not more than, the actual films themselves. Given that, Bigelow is a safe bet to win.

Best Picture
Avatar
The Blind Side

District 9
An Education
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Precious
A Serious Man
Up
Up in the Air

Although I wasn’t its biggest fan, Avatar will likely win Best Picture. This year, particularly, is trying to get a mainstream audience to watch the Oscars get handed out. You don’t get much more mainstream than Avatar. Many have said it “changed the way films are made”. I don’t believe that statement to be true, but I think the Academy will. Also, if you win the box office, you’ll likely win Best Picture. That is, unless you’re Star Wars.

Those are my picks. I’ll post all my picks and the Academy’s picks tomorrow and tally them up. Any predictions of your own? Feel free to leave them in the comments section.

Enjoy the show and see you tomorrow.

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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.