Saturday, March 06, 2010

2010 Oscar predictions

NOTE: Updates to this post, showing the actual winners, are in red.

I have no idea why I'm doing this since, excepting "Star Trek," I haven't seen any of the films that have been nominated. All the same, here we go. Commentary accompanies each prediction.

Best Motion Picture of the Year:

"Avatar," for sheer scope and ambition. I still haven't seen the film, but I've read a lot of commentary on it. Yeah, I know: "Hurt Locker" is the current favorite. All the same, I think this might be Cameron's moment. I doubt "Avatar" will clean up in every category, but a Best Picture nod isn't implausible. The film's had incredible buzz.

UPDATE: Nope. "The Hurt Locker."

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role:

Morgan Freeman for "Invictus," mainly because Freeman pretty much is God in my mind. The man can do no wrong. Sure, sure: like his buddy Clint Eastwood, Freeman basically plays himself in every movie. But also like Eastwood, he fully inhabits his limited range with the same degree of mojo you find in fellow narrow-rangers like Nicholson, De Niro, and Hackman.

UPDATE: Wrong! Jeff Bridges.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role:

Helen Mirren for "The Last Station." It was painful for me to choose between Mirren and Streep. Both women are ferociously talented actresses; both understand how to disappear completely and egolessly into a role (which I suppose makes them the professional opposites of the guys mentioned above); both deserve every award they pick up -- and they seem to pick them up every year. In the end, it was a coin toss for me, and I decided to go with the Brit. Sorry, Meryl.

UPDATE: Right! Hooray!

Wrong! Sandra Buttock-- uh, Bullock. Hooray.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role:

Christopher Plummer for "The Last Station." Although I've heard that Christoph Waltz was incredible in "Inglourious Basterds," Plummer is a sentimental favorite. Remember when he was the Satan-worshiping reverend in the Tom Hanks/Dan Aykroyd version of "Dragnet"? Remember Dabney Coleman as the other villain in that movie, lisping to Plummer, "Reverend? You got ballth ath big ath church bellth!" --to which Plummer responds with a sly smile and a purred, "Thank you"? Genius!

(OK, I'm joking. But Plummer resembles Ricardo Montalban in his unpretentiousness: he'll play amazingly serious roles and amazingly goofy ones. Cf. his scenery-chewing, Bard-quoting Klingon general in "Star Trek 6: The Undiscovered Country.")

UPDATE: Per many other people's predictions, Christoph Waltz was the wiener. Winner.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role:

Penélope Cruz for "Nine": sheer sexiness. I'm driven to this prediction primarily by animal lust.

UPDATE: Wrong again! Mo'Nique won the award.

Best Achievement in Directing:

Kathryn Bigelow for "The Hurt Locker," mainly because this seems like a safe prediction, and because the Academy will want to snub Cameron wherever they can. Not that I blame them: from what I hear, the man is a temperamental dick.

UPDATE: Indeed.

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen:

"Inglourious Basterds," Quentin Tarantino. The man can write, and of the nominees on offer, Tarantino's writing is the style I know best. I would kill to have written "Pulp Fiction."

UPDATE: Incorrect! "The Hurt Locker" clinched the award.

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published:

"Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire," Geoffrey Fletcher. I just don't think "District 9" can win, given the prejudices against SF films. And I have no idea about the other nominees in this category. "Precious" is my wild guess.

UPDATE: My wild guess was correct.

Best Achievement in Cinematography:

"Avatar," Mauro Fiore. I expect it to come down to either this movie or "Inglourious Basterds," and of the two, I suspect that "Avatar" was ballsier in terms of cinematography. Just a guess, of course, but fully rendered alien landscapes can be very impressive, especially in 3-D.

UPDATE: I somehow got this one right.

Best Achievement in Editing:

"Avatar," Stephen E. Rivkin, John Refoua, James Cameron. I suspect that, much as George Lucas did in his heyday, Cameron's SF adventure will be recognized less for its story value and more for what it represents in terms of the technical aspects of filmmaking.

UPDATE: Well, testicles. "The Hurt Locker" won.

Best Achievement in Art Direction:

"Avatar," Rick Carter, Robert Stromberg, Kim Sinclair. Again, it's the George Lucas factor. Lucas was and is primarily an editor at heart, or so the prevailing wisdom goes. Cameron is generally better than Lucas with story and character, but despite the much-discussed weaknesses of the script for "Avatar," I suspect that the visuals alone might be enough to net Cameron and Company the Oscar.

Then again-- and I promise that this will be the only category in which I hedge-- there's a very good chance that Terry Gilliam's "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus" (which, if I'm not mistaken, also features Christopher Plummer!) might steal the Oscar away from Cameron. Another reason for me to pick Gilliam is that his film isn't nominated in nearly as many categories as "Avatar": "Parnassus" is vying for only two Oscars. Pity for Gilliam and residual sympathy for Heath Ledger might augur well for the film.

UPDATE: I got this right. Unbelievable.

Best Achievement in Costume Design:

"The Young Victoria," Sandy Powell. When you say "costume design," I think "period pic."

UPDATE: YES! I got it right!

Best Achievement in Makeup:

The nominees in this category are merely three:

"Il divo," Aldo Signoretti, Vittorio Sodano
"Star Trek," Barney Burman, Mindy Hall, Joel Harlow
"The Young Victoria," John Henry Gordon, Jenny Shircore

Of the three, I'd say "The Young Victoria" will win. As mentioned before: period pic. I can't see how "Star Trek" could possibly win, especially since the costume designer for "Trek" decided merely to go retro with the Enterprise crew's uniforms.

UPDATE: "Star Trek" won. I find this absurd.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score:

"Avatar," James Horner. Horner is up there in the pantheon with the likes of John Williams and John Barry. The sheer scale of the "Avatar" story demands an equally ambitious score. I think a win not only possible, but probable. The main factor working against Horner is his annoying tendency to crib themes and leitmotifs from his own previous work. This is more obvious in some films than in others.

UPDATE: Michael Giacchino won this one for "Up." Nuts.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song:

"Crazy Heart," T-Bone Burnett, Ryan Bingham ("The Weary Kind").

Just a guess, but some member of the Academy might have a soft spot for country music. (I don't.) If Jeff Bridges doesn't win Best Actor for "Crazy Heart," this category might serve as a way to get him an Oscar, anyway. I assume that Bridges sings "The Weary Kind" in the movie.

UPDATE: Correct!

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing:

"Avatar," Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson, Tony Johnson. As before: the Lucas factor. "Avatar," if it garners any Oscars, is most likely to win them in categories like this one.

UPDATE: Wrong, wrong, wrong! "The Hurt Locker" won.

Best Achievement in Sound Editing:

"Avatar," Christopher Boyes, Gwendolyn Yates Whittle. Yep: same deal.

UPDATE: And... NO! The winner was "The Hurt Locker." Dammit.

Best Achievement in Visual Effects:

"Avatar," Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham, Andy Jones. And here again, if the Academy wants to recognize Cameron, it's likely to be in a category like this one. "Star Trek" is also nominated in this category, but I don't think it had anywhere near the same number of effects shots. Cameron basically had to invent a whole new method of shooting and editing on the fly; "Trek" (if the DVD special features are any indication) went the opposite direction and found clever ways to create special effects in as thrifty and technologically simple a manner as possible. The Academy won't reward thrift, so it's a sure bet that "Trek" will NOT win this category.

(Now watch me turn out to be wrong.)

UPDATE: "Avatar" won! So I wasn't wrong.

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year:

"Up," Pete Docter. I kept hearing good buzz about this film. "Coraline" is also nominated in this category, but I don't see how stop-motion animation can win against beautifully rendered CGI.

UPDATE: Yes! I got it right!

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year:

"Un prophète," France. Gotta root for my adoptive homies.

UPDATE: Balls, balls, balls. "El secreto de sus ojos" won. Ach, du liebe PENIS!

Best Documentary, Features:

"Burma VJ: Reporter i et lukket land," Anders Østergaard, Lise Lense-Møller. Here, I have no idea who might win, so this is a shot in the dark. The names sound Scandinavian, and Scandinavians make good porn, so I'm going with Østergaard and Lense-Møller.

UPDATE: Damn. "The Cove" won. Another kick in the nuts.

Best Documentary, Short Subjects:

"China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province (TV)," Jon Alpert, Matthew O'Neill. The title of this documentary was the scariest of the bunch, so I'm going with it.

UPDATE: No! The winner was "Music by Prudence." Drat.

Best Short Film, Animated:

I didn't realize that that dude was still churning out "Wallace and Gromit" films (does he do them just to be nominated in this category?), but I'm going to predict that "La dama y la muerte," Javier Recio Gracia, will win. No reason. Just a cool title.

UPDATE: Wrong again! The winner was "Logorama."

Best Short Film, Live Action:

"Miracle Fish," Luke Doolan, Drew Bailey. Total guess. The title sounds like some sort of allusion to Christian scripture. Hollywood has a love/hate relationship with religion, and that ambivalence might serve as an attractant during Oscar season.

UPDATE: Ha ha-- WRONG! The winner was "The New Tenants."

So-- voilà. There are my 2010 Oscar predictions. I'll revisit them after the show's over on Sunday and see how well I did. If I score more than 60% right, this will confirm my psychic ability. I will then spend the rest of the year using my mind to command entire ant colonies to march in formation and perform miniature Arirang Festival maneuvers.



hahnak said...

most people see at least a few of the films. i love that youve seem none cept for star trek!

even if you dont get more than half right you should still try to coach ant colonies. worthy endeavor.

Kevin Kim said...

Thank you.

Anne said...

The only nominated film I've seen is Il Divo, which I can highly recommend. A pacy, stylish stiletto to Andreeotti's reputation. Fab music. But nominated for make-up? His ears were weird, for sure.

John from Daejeon said...

"Freeman pretty much is God in my mind."

Yeah, those Greek gods who slept with their 17 year-old granddaughters and then kept on with the affair for 10 years while married to her grandmother. How he isn't in jail is beyond my comprehension.

The guy can act, but he is severely lacking as a human being.

Jelly said...

I wonder if you're now interested in seeing any of the winning or nominated films. Which ones?

Hey Kevin, I think you have to correct your update on the winner for best actress - it was Sandra Bullock who won, right?

Kevin Kim said...


The man's been naughty. No doubt about it.


Corrected. Thanks.