2010 Oscar Predictions – Pt. 2

In continuation of last week’s post, I thought I would tackle the rest of my predictions for this year’s Academy Awards. This has been such an odd year and it could be even odder. For starters, there are the obvious changes like having ten nominees for best picture. However, there are other changes including the new voting system. In the past, voters were asked to check their favorite of the film, and the one with the highest number won. However, this year, voters are instructed to rank the ten nominees from one to ten with one being their favorite film and so on. That sounds simple but alas, it’s not.

In order for a film to win, the film must get over half of the ballots. With there being ten nominees, it seems impossible that any one film would get around 3,000 votes. Therefore, the academy is doing something different this year. I shall do my best to explain, and please forgive me if I lose you. There will be ten piles on the floor representing the ten different movies. For each film, all its first place vote ballots will go to that pile. For instance, if I was to vote for “Precious” in the number one spot, my ballot would go to “Precious.” Still sounds simple? Well here is where it gets interesting. The tenth-place finisher (the film with the smallest number of number one votes) will be taken out of consideration. All of the ballots in that pile will be redistributed to the films selected as number two on those ballots. Once redistributed, the new smallest pile will be eliminated and their ballots will be redistributed until one pile reigns supreme with 51% of the overall ballots. Does that make sense?

Therefore, if I voted for “A Serious Man” as best picture (surely the lowest vote getter), then my ballot’s number two, three, and four choices might suddenly become important. If we assume that best picture will come down to “Avatar,” “The Hurt Locker,” and “Inglorious Basterds,” then the new question will be, “How do all those other films’ supporters feel about the favorites?” Do they prefer one over the other? It is safe to assume that the “District 9” people probably have “Avatar” high on their ballots. However, it is also safe to say that “An Education’s” following might have “Avatar” in the number 9 and 10 spot. This could all become very interesting and will probably allow the film with the most mainstream praise (and the least detractors) to rise up. It could end up going to the middle-of-the-road movie. I suppose that’s better than simply going by the old methods. If that were to have happened, a film could have essentially won with eleven percent of the vote. So what does this all mean?

Best Picture

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

For all intents and purposes, we can eliminate those five films that also don’t have a best director nomination. If we do that, we have “Avatar,” “Precious,” “Inglourious Basterds,” “Up in the Air,” and “The Hurt Locker.” My vote would go to “Precious,” however, I think that “Precious” and “Up in the Air” are probably out of this particular race. This is where all that voting stuff becomes important. I doubt that any one of the other three films will get fifty one percent of the vote by themselves. Therefore, it will be interesting to see how the votes are distributed. There are people who love “Avatar” and yet there are people like me who hate it. “The Hurt Locker” has done very well from the Producers Guild, BAFTAS, Directors Guild, and Broadcast Critics. Of course, so did “Brokeback Mountain” which ended up losing. I still think that “The Hurt Locker” is the least polarizing of the three major threats and I think it will prevail. However, there has been some backlash lately from the academy and veteran groups. It will be interesting to see if that plays out. Finally, there is a sector that truly believes “Inglourious” can win. I don’t know if it’s possible, but I can say that I would enjoy that immensely.

Will Win: “The Hurt Locker”
Should Win: “Precious”

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”

Well let’s do a process of elimination here! Freeman (boring) and Clooney have already won. Renner is considered way too new. That leaves Firth (the BAFTA winner) and Bridges (Globe, SAG, Critics Choice winner). I prefer Firth, but in the end, this is an achievement award for Bridges.

Will Win: Jeff Bridges
Should Win: Colin Firth

Best Actress

Sandra Bullock- “The Blind Side”
Helen Mirren- “The Last Station”
Carey Mulligan- “An Education”
Gabourey Sidibe- “Precious”
Meryl Streep- “Julie and Julia”

Okay, if I start to think about this too much, I’ll get really pissy. Sandra Bullock shouldn’t even be on this list and she will probably win. I don’t dislike her as a person, but this performance isn’t even in the same league as the others. She will win this based on a popularity contest and that is a real shame.

Mirren won just a few years ago and Sidibe should probably win, but has little chance due to her youth and newness to the industry. There are a few people who think that recent BAFTA winner Carey Mulligan has a distant chance. I would be fine with Sidibe or Mulligan.

Of course, I would be thrilled with Streep. She was winning stuff left and right until the Bullock tidal wave came through. I think it all comes down to the fact that Streep is just too good. She is taken for granted. The common statement is that she gets nominated every year and that is true. However, she hasn’t won in over twenty years. Besides the fact that she is the greatest living actress, this was simply the best performance of the bunch. However, none of that really matters in a popularity contest.

Will Win: Sandra Bullock
Should Win: Meryl Streep (Over and Over)

Best Supporting Actor

Matt Damon- “Invictus”
Woody Harrelson- “The Messenger”
Christopher Plummer- “The Last Station”
Stanely Tucci- “The Lovely Bones”
Christoph Waltz- “Inglourious Basterds”

Previous winner Damon has no chance at this. He shouldn’t even be on the list. Tucci is a well respected actor and should have been on this list for “Julie and Julia.” Christopher Plummer is two hundred years old and a well respected actor celebrating his deserved first nomination. Woody Harrelson would have a chance on his second nomination in any other year. However, this is locked up. Christoph Waltz has won everything from Best Actor at Cannes to Best Supporting Actor at the BAFTAS, SAGS, Critics Choice, and Golden Globes. He is brilliant in “Inglourious Basterds” and appears to be pretty damn sweet, charming, and cute in real life, which is a nice contrast to his character.

Will Win: Christoph Waltz
Should Win: Christoph Waltz

Best Supporting Actress

Penelope Cruz- “Nine”
Vera Farmiga- “Up in the Air”
Maggie Gyllenhall- “Crazy Heart”
Anna Kendrick- “Up in the Air”
Monique- “Precious”

Cruz won last year and “Nine” tanked. The fantastic Farmiga will probably split votes with newbie Kendrick. That leaves Gyllenhall who could have a slight outside chance. However, this should go to Mo’Nique in a landslide. She won the BAFTA, Critics Choice, SAG, and Golden Globe. Her performance was THE performance (male or female) this year and demands to be recognized. If I didn’t want to jinx it, I would say that this is hers in the bag. However, all I can say is that I hope the academy gets it right and rewards this fantastic performance.

Will Win: Mo’Nique
Should Win: Mo’Nique

Best Director

James Cameron- “Avatar”
Kathryn Bigelow- “The Hurt Locker”
Quentin Tarantino- “Inglorious Basterds”
Lee Daniels- “Precious”
Jason Reitman- “Up in the Air”

This is a two-horse race between an ex-husband and wife. Of course, it’s more than that. It’s a race between an elegant, charming, and efficient filmmaker and a human douche. I was all on the “Titanic” ship when Cameron won his first three Oscars fifteen years ago. I just hope that the academy does the right thing this year and truly recognizes the best director of the year, the same way that the Director’s Guild, Critics Choice, and BAFTA’s did. If they do, the first female ever will be holding the best director statue.

Will Win: Kathryn Bigelow
Should Win: Kathryn Bigelow

Best Cinematography

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

I could see “The Hurt Locker” or even “The White Ribbon” winning this. However, in the end, it will probably go to “Avatar.” This is…if the academy chooses to see it for more than just computer animated magic…which is a big if.

Best Sound Editing

The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Star Trek

I could see “Locker” winning, but this is probably “Avatar’s” to lose.

Best Sound Mixing

The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Star Trek
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

Again, I could see “Locker” winning, especially here, but “Avatar” is probably just too big to ignore. If “Avatar” loses either of these sound categories, it could signal less than mass support for the blue people.

Best Adapted Screenplay

District 9
An Education
In the Loop
Up in the Air

I would love to see a win for “Precious” here, and I could actually see a scenario where “District 9” is rewarded here. However, this will probably go to Golden Globe winner Jason Reitman. Plus, he is the son of Hollywood royalty. It worked for Sofia Coppola in this category and will probably work for Reitman and his co-writer Shelden Turner.

Best Original Screenplay

The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
The Messenger
A Serious Man

“Up” could win in a true split vote. However, this will probably come down to “The Hurt Locker” and “Basterds.” Tarantino is extremely popular in Hollywood which could work to his credit. However, “Hurt Locker” is seen as a true best picture contender. Then again, so is “Basterds.” “Locker’s” screenwriter Mark Boal is extremely new. However, Tarantino is very odd and polarizing. Who knows? I’ll go with recent BAFTA winner Boal by a hair. I’ll probably regret that.

So there you have it. Take these with last week’s predictions and you have my full list. Of course, in the end, none of this matters, because in six weeks we will all have trouble remembering which film actually won. However, it sure is a fun game to watch and enjoy.