Oscar Picks

Update: My picks have been corrected with the winners inserted.  Check it out below.

Alright folks.  Its that time of the year!  As someone that loves the movies, I truly enjoy the fanfare and pageantry of Oscar night.  Although I will most certainly yell at the t.v. at some point tonight, I still enjoy the award’s show.  I commented on a previous post on the silliness of the change in the number nominations for best picture so I’ll keep it simple with my picks.  I’m going to reserve my commentary for the main categories.

Best Picture: Of all the nominees in this category, I liked “Up in the Air” the most.  Yet I think James Cameron brings this one home.  I don’t think it was a better movie than Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker.”  But the movie is still quite the accomplishment.  Avatar was a game-changer as far as m0vie-making goes, even if it was utterly boring at times.  Prediction: Avatar

Actress in a Leading Role: I could watch Meryl Streep read the phone book.  So it wouldn’t be a shock if she brought an Oscar home for her portrayal of Julia Child in “Julie & Julia.”  But I think Sandra Bullock’s got the wind at her back.  Prediction: Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side)

Actor in a Leading Role: Arguably the surest bet in the game. Prediction: Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart)

Actor in a Supporting Role: Okay scratch that.  THIS is the surest bet in the game.  Prediction: Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds).  One of the most compelling villains I’ve ever seen in a movie; no joke.

Actress in a Supporting Role: Vera Farmiga does a bang-up job opposite George Clooney in “Up in the Air.”  But I enjoyed Anna Kendrick’s performance a tiny bit better.  Still, they both paled in comparison to Mo’Nique.  Prediction: Mo’Nique. (Precious)

Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow edges out her ex-hubbie James Cameron (Avatar) and Quentin Tarantino (Inglorious Basterds) with one of the best movies I’ve ever seen about war.  With so many stories already told about the Iraq War, Bigelow figured out a way to make this one riveting.  Prediction: Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker)

The Rest:

In full disclosure I have not seen every movie that’s been nominated so some of these are educated guesses.

Animated Feature Film: Up
Art Direction: Avatar
Cinematography: The Hurt Locker Avatar
Costume Design: The Young Victoria
Documentary: Food Inc. The Cove
Documentary Short: The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant
Film Editing: Inglorious Basterds The Hurt Locker
Foreign Language Film: The White Ribbon (Das Weisse Band) The Secret in their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos)
Makeup: Star Trek
Music (Original Score): Up
Music (Original Song): The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)
Short Film (Animated): A Matter of Loaf and Death (completely random guess) Logorama
Short Film (Live Action): The Door The New Tenants
Sound Editing: Avatar The Hurt Locker
Sound Mixing: Avatar The Hurt Locker
Visual Effects: Avatar
Adapted Screenplay: Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner (Up in the Air) Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire
Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino (Inglorious Basterds) The Hurt Locker

And the nominees are….

By now I’m sure you’re aware that Academy Award nominations were announced today.  If you’re as big a geek as I am, you’ll notice that the brain trust at the Academy decided to change the format this year.  In response to a sharp decline in viewers (a drop of nearly ten million viewers over the last decade), the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decided to expand the field of nominations in the Best Picture category to ten.  Although the logic behind the move makes some sense, this move is ultimately silly.  For several years, the movies nominated in the best picture category were less than inspiring, if not inclusive (see Atonement, No Country for Old Men).  This led many to believe that viewership was down because very few had actually seen many of the movies that were nominated.  Expanding the category for Best Picture was a response to that issue.  My problem with the move is that it undercuts the spirit of the awards.  The Academy Awards are supposed to symbolize the pinnacle of achievement in motion picture.  As such, winning an Academy Award shouldn’t be something that is easily attained.  Logic would dictate that expanding the field of potential winners makes an Academy Award less exclusive.  Having said that, here are a few observations on some of the major categories:

Best Picture: Like last year’s nominees, there are some good but not great choices here.  I know I shouldn’t be, but I am a little surprised that The Blind Side was nominated here.  Setting that aside, I’m starting to get this sneaking feeling that Avatar will win best picture but who knows.  On a positive note, I’m glad to see the Coen brothers’ A Serious Man sneak in here along with District 9.  Interestingly, Bodog lists Up in the Air as laying the best odds.

Best Actress: Its probably time I gave the Blind Side a bit more due as it looks like Sandra Bullock is the odds-on favorite here.  I’m sure that the incomparable Meryl Streep will garner some consideration, but this appears to be Bullock’s to lose.

Best Actor: I think there are some great choices here.  I  really enjoyed Morgan Freeman’s performance in Invictus and I loved George Clooney in Up in the Air.  Still, Jeff Bridges (or the dude if you’re into the whole brevity thing) appears to be headed for his first Oscar.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Christoph Waltz for Inglorious Basterds; nuff said.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: I think this one could get interesting.  Mo’Nique comes in with some momentum stemming from her Golden Globes win for her role in Precious.  But I think Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air) may give her a run for her money.  Personally, I thought Anna Kendrick was a shade better than Farmiga as the Yin to Clooney’s Yang.

Best Director: Again, I could see this going to James Cameron for Avatar.  For me its a tough call between Tarantino (Inglorious Basterds), Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), and Jason Reitman (Up in the Air).  I would love to see Bigelow become the first woman to ever win an Academy Award for best direction.  Reitman will have his day in the sun with his adapted screenplay nod.  Tarantino already has an Oscar for Pulp Fiction and is nominated this year for Best Original Screenplay.  Besides, Bigelow is a great director and she did an awesome job with The Hurt Locker.