As Kris Tapley wrote over at In Contention, I feel like this could be an off year for me too. ¬†I figure, it suddenly became unpredictable once two things were set in motion. ¬†The first was the Chartier email seemed to give voters a reason not to pick The Hurt Locker, and the second was that people really started seeing Avatar and talking about it. ¬†Avatar seems to just now be hitting its true peak and if the Oscar season started today it would sweep the awards no matter what.
It has been a strange year for Best Picture, as if to make up for the utter lack of surprise last year. ¬†There was so much drama in the race, so many things going on that made it more than just an Oscar race. ¬†It was the Academy trying to save its failing ratings by hiring a reality-TV producer to bring the Oscars up to the modern age. ¬†It was ten Best Picture candidates instead of five, in order to draw in more of the voting public. ¬†It was Jim Cameron vs. Kathryn Bigelow. It was the 3-D, motion-capture of the future vs. the nuts-and-bolts filmmaking of the past and present. ¬†It was a happy ending vs. an ambiguous one. ¬†It was popular vs. a critics’ darling. ¬†And then there was Harvey Weinstein back in the race in a big way, the same year the name “Miramax” was back in play. ¬†Yes, drama and a half.
The Hurt Locker is a film that constantly surprised. ¬†From the moment it got pushed into 2009 from 2008, everyone thought it was done for. ¬†Then, when it made no money at the box office, everybody thought it was done for. ¬†Then, when it swept the critics’ awards everyone thought, wow. ¬†That’s interesting. ¬†But it didn’t make any money. ¬†Kathryn Bigelow was headed for Best Director accolades it felt like. ¬†At the very least, that might happen.
Then the Golden Globes hit. ¬†James Cameron wins Best Director and Best Picture. ¬†Suddenly, the dreams were dead for The Hurt Locker and the Avatanic juggernaut felt like it was underway. ¬†But ten Best Picture nominees for the Producers Guild and a preferential ballot resulted in a win for The Hurt Locker. ¬†That was, by far, the biggest surprise in this year’s race. ¬†That turned it around completely. ¬†From there, the cards fell: The DGA, the WGA, the CAS and the Eddie. ¬†The only thing it didn’t win was the Screen Actors Guild, and that was because Inglourious Basterds was not only sent out to the entire guild membership (Hurt Locker was not), but it is the kind of film that the Ensemble prize is made for: a lot of stars, a lot of great actors, a true ensemble piece.
The producers Guild and the Oscars have all but two films in common. ¬†Left off the Oscars’ list was Star Trek and Invictus. ¬†So, unless you think Star Trek could have had an impact on the votes, one would assume that there could be a similar scenario at play at the Oscars. ¬†Membership to the PGA is around 3,500 – The Academy is around 5,800.
|The Hurt Locker (DGA, ACE, CAS, WGA)||The Hurt Locker|
|Avatar (GG, MPSE, VES)||Avatar|
|Inglourious Basterds (SAG ensemble, MPSE)||Inglourious Basterds|
|Up in the Air||Up in the Air|
|District 9||District 9|
|An Education||An Education|
|Star Trek||A Serious Man|
|Invictus||The Blind Side|
Even though history tells us that The Hurt Locker can’t lose, we know it can. We also know that Avatar has last-minute heat. The trick here is to figure out how Inglourius Basterds comes into play. It probably can’t win (unless somehow the votes are all split up). Inglourious Basterds will take away number one votes from either Avatar or The Hurt Locker. It probably damages Hurt Locker more than it damages Avatar, I’m going to guess. So, though I don’t think it can win, I think it might put THL at a disadvantage coming in on the first round. If Avatar leads in the first round by a big enough margin, it will probably win.
I also agree with Kris that Gabby Sidibe is the one who could upset Sandra Bullock, not Meryl Streep, but I would cheer on Streep if she won as she is probably my own personal favorite in the category.
A word about Sound. I feel like Sound could go to either Hurt Locker or Avatar, with Basterds as the spoiler. I just don’t know how they will split. I sort of feel like the opposite is true from what some are predicting, that Avatar will win Sound and Hurt Locker will win Sound Editing. I think they will split, I don’t know how, so I might predict one film for both so that I at least get one right. Safe bet is Avatar but I’m going to go with Hurt Locker for the hell of it. The consensus pick for both is Avatar, I think.
Awards Daily always does two sets of predictions. One is the sidebar, or the consensus. And then, because I get bored with the same o’, same ‘ol, I predict my own. 99% of the time, my predictions score very low compared to the consensus. You must know this going in. Trust yourself.
Best Picture: The Hurt Locker (alternate: Avatar)
Director: Kathryn Bigelow (alt. either Cameron or Tarantino, who could Steven Soderbergh it)
Original Screenplay: The Hurt Locker (Basterds is the alt.)
Adapted Screenplay: Up in the Air (District 9 is the alt.)
Actor: Jeff Bridges (Jeremy Renner is the alt)
Actress: Sandra Bullock (Gabby Sidibe is the alt)
Supporting Actress: Mo’Nique (alt: Maggie Gyllenhaal)
Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz (alt: Woody Harrelson)
Editing: The Hurt Locker (alt: Inglourious Basterds or Avatar)
Art Direction: Avatar
Sound: The Hurt Locker (alt: Inglourious Basterds or Avatar)
Sound Editing: Avatar (alt. The Hurt Locker)
Cinematography: Avatar (alt. Hurt Locker or Basterds)
Costumes: The Young Victoria (alt. Coco Avant Chanel)
Documentary: The Cove (alt. Food, Inc)
Foreign Language: A Prophet (alt. The Secret of Their Eyes)
Animated Film: Up
Animated Short: Logorama (alt. Loaf and Death)
Live Action Short: Abracadabra (alt. The Door)
Doc Short: China’s Unnatural Disaster (alt. The Last Truck)
Makeup: Star Trek
Song: The Weary Kind
Visual Effects: Avatar
& Ryan’s picks:
Best Picture: The Hurt Locker (or else Avatar)
Director: Kathryn Bigelow (or else‚Ä¶ nobody)
Original Screenplay: Inglourious Basterds (or The Hurt Locker)
Adapted Screenplay: Up in the Air (or An Education)
Actor: Jeff Bridges (or Colin Firth)
Actress: Meryl Streep (or Sandra Bullock)
Supporting Actress: Mo‚ÄôNique (or Maggie Gyllenhaal)
Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz (or Woody Harrelson)
Editing: The Hurt Locker (or Inglourious Basterds)
Art Direction: Avatar (or Sherlock Holmes)
Sound Editing: Star Trek (or The Hurt Locker)
Sound Mixing: The Hurt Locker (or Avatar)
Cinematography: The White Ribbon (or The Hurt Locker)
Costumes: The Young Victoria (or Bright Star)
Documentary: The Cove (or Food, Inc)
Foreign Language: A Prophet (or The White Ribbon)
Animated Film: Up (or Fantastic Mr Fox)
Animated Short: The Reaper (or French Roast)
Live Action Short: The Door (or The New Tenant)
Doc Short: China‚Äôs Unnatural Disaster (or The Last Truck)
Makeup: il Divo (or Star Trek)
Score: Up (or Fantastic Mr. Fox)
Visual Effects: Avatar
Song: The Weary Kind