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Oscar Nominations Tuesday – Let’s Do This Thing!


Well, folks, it’s been a long year. Actually, I can’t tell if it’s been a long year or a short one. It seems like yesterday that I was hearing the Oscar nominations that excluded The Dark Knight from the Best Picture lineup to include The Reader instead. I didn’t think the inclusion of The Reader was what was wrong, but rather the established order of things. Films get put into an Oscars box and they kind of move alone all season in a mostly unpredictable fashion. They are usually the films that have the least amount of baggage, generally speaking, or that they have one unique thing about them that pushes them through.

Put your predictions in the comments section. If you all agree to find the winner, I will award a prize. The counting part of it will be too challenging for me.

More, with my Oscar nomination predictions after the cut.

After the upset the Dark Knight’s exclusion caused, the knowledge that the Oscars were becoming, perhaps, too obscure for their own good (but making some great choices along the way) we found ourselves in the midst of a kind of Oscars renaissance not unlike the 1970s. Or at least, it has felt that way to me. So when the Academy decided to open up the Best Picture race to ten, everyone immediately thought that meant more mainstream genre films would get in to draw more viewers to the telecast and make the Oscars more relevant overall.

There was this idea that they appealed to such a small group of people they would eventually be selected out and there would either be no more Oscars on TV, or the Oscars would move to cable. And so it goes. Now, with ten, there is the opportunity to include both the films that are great from an artistic and cinematic perspective, as well as those the public liked. If all goes according to plan, there will be quite a few films represented that made more than, or close to $100 million. Which films will they choose? With the preferential ballot, it is almost impossible to say with certainty. We can only guess.

Let’s run them down, Oscar watchers. And by Tuesday morning we can all feel gutted or elated together. Remember, nobody really knows anything and there are no such things as “Oscar experts.” It is always a best guess. What we do know, though, is that Kris Tapley and Dave Karger are really good at guessing. I’d also add Anne Thompson, David Poland, Damien Bona, Erik Childress, Pete Hammond, Tom O’Neil, and on and on it goes.

I’m going to allow three alternates for Best Picture and one alternate for each of the other categories — and we’ll not include either doc shorts or live action shorts, or shorts of any kind. These can serve as tiebreakers in the event of a tie.

Starting with surest bets and working downward in that order:

Best Picture
The Hurt Locker
Up in the Air
Inglourious Basterds
An Education
District 9
Star Trek
Alternates: A Serious Man, The Hangover, 500 Days of Summer
Long shot shocker: The Road, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Blind Side

Best Actor:
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
George Clooney, Up in the Air
Morgan Freeman, Invictus
Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker
Colin Firth, A Single Man
Just Missing Alternates: Viggo Mortensen, The Road
Long Shot Shocker: Ben Foster, The Messenger

Best Actress
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia
Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Carey Mulligan, An Education
Gabby Sidibe, Precious
Helen Mirren, The Last Station
Just Missing Alternate: Emily Blunt, The Young Victoria
Long Shot Shocker: Tilda Swinton, Julia (or I suppose Zoe Saldana for Avatar)

Supporting Actor:
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
Matt Damon, Invictus
Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
Just Missing Alternate: Alec Baldwin, It’s Complicated
Long Shot Shocker: Anthony Mackie, The Hurt Locker

Supporting Actress:
Mo’Nique, Precious
Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
Julianne Moore, A Single Man
Diane Kruger, Inglourious Basterds
Just Missing Alternate: Penelope Cruz, Nine
Long Shot Shocker: Emma Thompson, An Education

Best Director:
Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Jim Cameron, Avatar
Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
Lee Daniels, Precious
Just Missing Alternate – Neill Blomkamp for District 9
Long Shot Shocker – Lone Scherfig, An Education

Original Screenplay:
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker
Joel and Ethan Coen, A Serious Man
Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber, 500 Days of Summer
Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Up
Just Missing Alternate: Jim Cameron, Avatar
Long Shot Shocker: Oren Moverman, The Messenger

Adapted Screenplay:
Jason Reitman/Sheldon Turner – Up in the Air
Neill Blomkamp – District 9
Nick Hornby, An Education
Geoffrey Fletcher, Precious
Armando Iannucci, In the Loop
Alternate: Nora Ephron, Julie & Julia
Long Shot Shocker: Tom Ford, A Single Man

The Hurt Locker
Up in the Air
District 9
Inglourious Basterds
Alternate: Star Trek
Long Shot Shocker: Nine

The White Ribbon
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Alternate: Invictus
Long Shot Shocker: Bright Star

Art Direction:
District 9
Inglourious Basterds
Julie & Julia
A Serious Man
Alternate: A Single Man
Long Shot Shocker: Public Enemies

The Young Victoria
Coco Avant Chanel
Inglourious Basterds
Julie & Julia
Alt: Cheri
Long Shot: Bright Star

The Hurt Locker
Star Trek
District 9
Alternate: 2012
Long Shot Shocker: Up

Sound Editing:
The Hurt Locker
District 9
Alt: Transformers
Long Shot: Inglourious Basterds

The Informant!
A Single Man
A Serious Man
Alt: Up in the Air
Long Shot: The Hurt Locker

Foreign Language Film:
A Prophet
The White Ribbon
Samson & Delilah
The Milk of Sorrow
Winter in Wartime
Alt: El Secreto
Long Shot: have no clue about any of these, I’m sorry to say.

Doc Feature:
The Cove
Food, Inc.
The Beaches of Agnes
Every Little Step
Facing Ali
Alt: Valentino
Long Shot: Again, no clue.

Animated Feature:
The Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Princess and the Frog
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Alt: 9
Long Shot: Ponyo

Visual Effects:
District 9
Alternate: Star Trek
Long Shot: Transformers

The Road
The Young Victoria
District 9
Alt. Il Divo
Long shot: Imaginarium

Best Song:
The Weary Kind (Crazy Heart)
I See You (Avatar)
Stu’s Song (The Hangover)
Almost There (The Princess and the Frog
I Want to Come Home (Everybody’s Fine)
Alt. Cinema Italiano
Long Shot: it’s just too wide open of a field with quirky rules so it’s impossible to predict this category.

So there you have it. I might change a prediction here or there, but for the most part, this is how I think it will go. Let’s see how well I do, and how well you do! Remember, don’t predict any of the shorts categories.