It’s that time of year again, and the show starts in an hour, which is traditionally when I like to dump my over-opinionated Oscar picks on an unsuspecting world.
Best Picture – Avatar. Usually this category is a popularity contest, so Avatar should win handily. Of the nominees, I think Up and An Education are the best films. Precious was amazing in many ways, but a bit over dramatic at times. Repetitive thematically, but grounded in some of the best acting this year. Hurt Locker was also incredibly well made, although I thought the theme was a bit derivative of most war films. I would have loved to seen the war adrenaline junkie angle explored more in depth.
Best Actor – Jeff Bridges is due. This a tough call. Colin Firth is amazing, as is Morgan Freeman. Clooney’s turn in Up in the Air is great as well, but it doesn’t stand out IMHO as much as the others. It would be nice to see Jeremy Renner come from behind and take it all.
Best Actress – Sandra Bullock. The Academy loves to give the statuette to America’s Sweetheart. And, not being nominated has been a matter of lackluster roles for Sandy B. It’s surprising she hasn’t jumped into a character role like this in the past. Gabourey Sidibe should be the winner dead to rights. Her performance dusts all others for sheer emotional power and raw intensity. Alas… If she does win, it will be the great single moment of this years awards. And, truth is: when an established actress who is not established as a strong character actress (like Bullock) wins, it usually means they disappear for several years. See: Mira Sorvino, Julia Roberts, Gwyneth Paltrow.
Director – Katheryn Bigelow will win as she took home the DGA. This category is rather weak this year IMHO. Pete Docter’s absence for Up is glaring.
Actor Supporting Role – Christoph Waltz will probably win. But, it should be Christopher Plummer for two reasons: he’s a gentleman and he has never been nominated before, which is a crime. A really hard call, since I’d love to see Stanley Tucci take it home as well. All great performances.
Actress Supporting Role – Mo’Nique will take it home for sure. An amazing and dramatic performance.
Animated Feature – Up. In many ways, the best film of the year. Nearly perfect.
Cinematography – Barry Ackroyd‘s work in The Hurt Locker is mind bending numbing and electric and gritty without losing the narrative. Not an easy task.