by Sara Michelle Fetters -
SGN Contributing Writer
There is actually a tiny bit of mystery surrounding Sunday's 82nd annual Academy Awards. Will Avatar make James Cameron king of the world for a second time, or will Kathryn Bigelow steal her ex-husband's thunder and see her Iraq War thriller The Hurt Locker blow it to smithereens? Remember that Quentin Tarantino's violent WWII fantasy Inglourious Basterds sits in the wings, eager to shoot its way to the podium if either falters.
Drama concerning the eventual Best Picture aside, there's not a lot of mystery surrounding this year's Oscar telecast. The majority of the winners have been known for quite some time, and while upsets are always possible, it's highly unlikely many of the frontrunners will be heading home unhappy. For all the drama involving Bigelow, Cameron, and Tarantino, the absence of it everywhere else is a tad disconcerting, and my excitement for Sunday's telecast is nowhere near where it has been in the past.
For my part I'm starting to feel like The Hurt Locker is probably going to end up dominating the evening, Avatar taking the majority of the technical categories but falling short for both Best Picture and Best Director. I also still hold out hope that both Carey Mulligan and Colin Firth could pull off monumental upsets in their respective acting categories, and while my head knows this is probably foolish my heart just won't give into the pressure and go with the flow.
I'm also interested in this year's show itself. With Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin hosting, the chance for a freewheeling star-studded affair are good, and while this isn't the first time Oscar has had multiple emcees, this pairing seems like a better fit for the night than Chevy Chase, Goldie Hawn and Paul Hogan were. I'm also hopeful the show will again have past acting winners introduce the nominees, as this small change gave last year's show a touch of class I'd like to see continue.
With all that out of the way, here are my thoughts and predictions in regards to the major categories.
Nominees: Avatar, The Blind Side, District 9, An Education, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire, A Serious Man, Up, Up in the Air
Will Win: The Hurt Locker - This is a tough one. Avatar has done over $2 billion in worldwide box office, while Inglourious Basterds is apparently a big favorite amongst actors, the largest voting block in the Academy. In the end, I just think Bigelow's superb military thriller has the most momentum, and as I personally feel it's the best film of the three I'm going to pick it to take home the Oscar.
Should Win: The Hurt Locker
Nominees: Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart), George Clooney (Up in the Air), Colin Firth (A Single Man), Morgan Freeman (Invictus), Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker)
Will Win: Bridges - This is his fifth nomination in a career spanning over 30 years and he's beloved by the Academy at large, but while his eventual win feels like a career achievement award (much like Paul Newman's was for The Color of Money), his mesmerizing turn in Crazy Heart is certainly worth of the recognition. In other words, this time The Dude doesn't just abide; he wins.
Should Win: Firth - His multifaceted and riveting work in A Single Man was positively earth-shattering and was, in my opinion, the finest delivered by an actor - male or female - in all of 2009.
Nominees: Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side), Helen Mirren (The Last Station), Carey Mulligan (An Education), Gabourey Sidibe (Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire), Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia)
Will Win: Bullock - Streep could take this, seeing as she hasn't won in almost three decades and a lot of people really adored her turn as legendary chef Julia Child, but I'm starting to think that's unlikely. Bullock has the momentum, the chances she's going to score an Oscar touchdown looking pretty darn good.
Should Win: Mulligan - This darling ingénue was positively effervescent in An Education, and to think she's not going to get recognized for her spellbinding performance just about breaks my heart.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Nominees: Matt Damon (Invictus), Woody Harrelson (The Messenger), Christopher Plummer (The Last Station), Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones), Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)
Will Win: Waltz - While just about everyone in Inglourious Basterds was good, just imagine the film without its villainous central figure Col. Hanz Landa. It's impossible to do, this Austrian native scoring a gigantic bingo that will be talked about and remembered for many years to come.
Should Win: Waltz
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Nominees: Penélope Cruz (Nine), Vera Farminga (Up in the Air), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Crazy Heart), Ann Kendrick (Up in the Air), Mo'Nique (Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire)
Will Win: Mo'Nique - The one-time sitcom star and current BET talk show host has had this one in the bag since the moment her film screened at Sundance. If she happens to lose, the resounding thud of jaws slapping against the floor would probably push the Earth off its axis and send us all to our Irwin Allen-esque doom.
Should Win: Mo'Nique - This is one instance where the hype has actually been justified, and as much as I adored Kendrick in Up in the Air, if Mo'Nique doesn't win this one I might just break down and cry.
Nominees: Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), James Cameron (Avatar), Lee Daniels (Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire), Jason Reitman (Up in the Air), Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds)
Will Win: Bigelow - Cameron may have crafted another technical marvel and Tarantino might have made a WWII fantasy that's as mischievous as it is invigorating, but what Bigelow did with The Hurt Locker is head and shoulders above both of their accomplishments, and the Academy is sure to recognize that fact.
Should Win: Bigelow - The Hurt Locker is a masterpiece, pure and simple, and there isn't any more to say than that.
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