Oscar Predictions 2010
It will be interesting to see how the change in voting format effects anything and whether we will find out what would have won if the previous system was still in place. If the changes passed you by, basically the Academy went back to the original system and expanded the Best Picture category from 5 to 10 nominees and introduced the alternative vote system so members don't just vote for the best, but rank the nominees in order.
Enough verbal diarrhoea, on with the picks
BEST MOTION PICTURE OF THE YEAR
It seems that this category will be dominated by James Cameron's $500 million 3D extravaganza Avatar and Kathryn Bigelow's small budget Iraq war drama The Hurt Locker. Though An Education, District 9 and Up were superb films, I can't see any of those winning. Unless the big two completely split voters down the middle and let something else slip in and take people by surprise (such as Quentin Tarantino's overlong, indulgent and baggy Inglorious Basterds), I think that Avatar will get the award, despite The Hurt Locker being the best film of the year.
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING
This will, like the Best Picture Oscar, be a battle between former husband and wife James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow. Though I thought Lee Daniels did a fantastic job with Precious, I can't see the Academy rewarding him, nor Jason Reitman for the better than average Up in the Air. I don't know why Tarantino is even in this category as Basterds didn't work as a coherent whole despite the individual chapters being very well constructed. What Cameron did with Avatar was extraordinary and it was a film with a great 'wow' factor but very little else. In terms of taking a tough subject and making a tense and utterly gripping film out of it, Bigelow is the best in this category and should, and probably will, be recognised as such.
Prediction: Kathryn Bigelow
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Somehow George Clooney doing that thing that George Clooney does was considered superior acting to Andy Serkis' amazing embodiment of Ian Dury and Sam Rockwell proving what a tremendous screen actor he is in Moon - even Sharlto Copley should feel duly miffed that he was snubbed. The rest of the nominations don't really have a hope of preventing Jeff Bridges from winning with his wonderfully grizzled singer in Crazy Heart as his best performance in years and easily the best in this group. I'd love to comment on Colin Firth in A Single Man but it's been sadly overlooked by the multiplexes, just as he will be tonight.
Prediction: Jeff Bridges
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
The big question is: will Meryl Streep join Katharine Hepburn as the only other actor with three Oscars? Her performance in Julie & Julia was mesmeric but I preferred Carey Mulligan in An Education, a turn that belied her lack of experience and would personally love to see her win. I think, as with Jeff Bridges, that the tide is firmly with Sandra Bullock who has made a career out of sub-par performances and it's ironic that she will probably pick up a Razzie and an Oscar in the same weekend! It shows that she can really pick rubbish but, give her a good director, script and group of actors to play against, she has the acting chops to deliver.
Prediction: Sandra Bullock
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Quite an easy one this, with the only good thing about Inglorious Basterds being Christoph Waltz' extremely impressive, multi-lingual portrayal of a chilling SS officer. Matt Damon was the best actor in Invictus and, with Morgan Freeman approaching his best, that's quite a thing to do but neither he nor Stanley Tucci will get the nod.
Prediction: Christoph Waltz
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
A surprisingly weak field in this category, with two actresses from the same film (Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick from Up in the Air) but the clear winner, from a film boasting outstanding performances by the lead and supporting actresses, Precious was given great weight (pardon the pun) with a heartwrenchingly sadistic portrayal of a woman by Mo'nique. Given that the last thing I saw her in was the utterly abysmal Phat Girlz, I was stunned by how good she was and will be amazed if she doesn't win.
BEST WRITING, SCREENPLAY WRITTEN DIRECTLY FOR THE SCREEN
One of the tougher categories to pick a winner from, there are lots of worthy winners and I feel it will come down to The Hurt Locker or Inglorious Basterds. There may be a surprise with Up winning, but it will come down to whether The Hurt Locker begins a sweep like Slumdog Millionaire did last year.
Prediction: The Hurt Locker
BEST WRITING, SCREENPLAY BASED ON MATERIAL PREVIOUSLY PRODUCED OR PUBLISHED
Another excellent list of films with some of the finest writing I've witnessed all year (but then that's the idea!) and it is hard to see which way this one is going to go. The Brits are well represented, with An Education and In The Loop but I have a feeling that Up in the Air will take it. Really you could give it to any of these five films and think you have a worthy winner.
Prediction: Up in the Air
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM OF THE YEAR
It's going to be Up, the film is nominated for Best Picture, just as WALL-E should have been, and it is a superb film. Good to see Disney back making cell animation films with the well made, cast and hugely enjoyable The Princess and the Frog, but when Pixar releases a film, it wins awards!
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM OF THE YEAR
The only one of these I've seen is A Prophet which won awards at Cannes, the BAFTAs and, most recently, the Cesars and it's hard to look beyond that.
Prediction: A Prophet