To me, there are a few races that seem to bob up more often than not. It does seem like once the Oscars get underway on March 7, it will be easy to tell if it is going to be a sweep, or the awards will be split up all over the place, and if it is a sweep, which film did they like the best? We still don’t know. We know the Globes liked Avatar. The Guilds and BAFTAs went Hurt Locker’s way. But the Academy? It’s a crap shoot.
But here are the races I see still up in the air:
Best Picture – we think maybe Avatar will triumph based on its overall popularity, we (I) hope The Hurt Locker triumphs based on its good writing, directing, and acting.¬† Precious, Up in the Air feel like they are the potential spoilers. But others seem to think Basterds.
Original Screenplay – it is down to, it feels like, The Hurt Locker vs. Inglourious Basterds. If The Hurt Locker wins Picture, it seems like it will also win screenplay, as history reflects. But a star screenwriter like Tarantino can often prevail, and his win could be seen as a consolation for that film not winning Best Pic. Plus, he has a lot of fans and supporters within the Academy. I think it will come down to how much they liked The Hurt Locker vs. how much they like Tarantino.
Cinematography – impossible to call. It could be swept up in a sweep of the Best Pic winner (Hurt Locker or Avatar). It could be Avatar sweeps all of the tech awards but not the top prizes. My guess is that the prettiest picture wins – they all won’t have seen The White Ribbon so that seems sort of impossible. Avatar is the prettiest, even if it is all computer generated digital imagery. The question seems to be how sophisticated are the Academy voters when it comes to picking cinematography? This is a tough one.
Foreign Language – it seemed like it was down to The White Ribbon vs. A Prophet. But then several people chimed in that The Secret in Their Eyes was now the film to beat. The truth is that the foreign film committee don’t seem to be swayed by either publicity or reviews.¬† Most people will probably either go with A Prophet or else go with the more conventional film, The Secret in Their Eyes.
Doc Feature – most people are going to predict The Cove. But like the Foreign Language committee, those who vote on documentary have to have seen all five films in a theater. They are not swayed by publicity nor reviews. Popular docs have won in the past. Man on Wire, An Inconvenient Truth. I’ll probably predict The Cove but I won’t be surprised if any of the other four win here.
Best Actress – contrary to the popular thinking that Meryl Streep could upset Sandra Bullock, I think the real threat here is Gabby Sidibe. The main reason the sheer number of nominations for Precious. I don’t know how you look at your ballot and pass over Gabby Sidibe. Not only does she play the most sympathetic of the bunch, but she’s so charming and confident, appearing where only super-thin actresses dare to tread, that she could win on personality alone. I don’t think voters ever vote on performance without anything extra motivating them. Either they liked the character best or they liked the actor more. Usually it is the latter. The Gabby role feels like a one-off, too. First and only time nominated, and wins the award.
The emotional pull for her character and that film is very very strong. Sandra Bullock, likewise, has an emotionally tugging film and a character you want to root for. Not you, the readers, or my colleague, Ryan. But there are a great many folks who believe in her character as savior. It is emotion vs. emotion. This is why I don’t feel Meryl Streep has a shot. She could win. They could call her name and she would walk up there and get a standing ovation. I just don’t sense that her role in this film is the kind that has that extra thing that will motivate lots of people to vote for her. It is just my opinion, however. We’ll see how it all plays out. Right now, I don’t feel that anyone other than Gabby can beat Sandra Bullock. Then again, there is Carey Mulligan. Mulligan and Sidibe will splinter off votes, but the majority will go for Bullock.
I haven’t yet dug into the shorts but suffice it to say, no one has any idea how those will go either.
What other races do you feel are not sewn up?