Nominees: Avatar, The Blind Side, District 9, An Education, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious, A Serious Man, Up, Up in the Air
Likely Winner: Avatar
Most Deserving: In a perfect world Up and The Hurt Locker would split the award, but if I have to pick one I give the slight edge to Up. It’s a near perfect film: it’s funny, clever, and infinitely entertaining. It has an original story, strong characterization, memorable and occasionally squirrel-related dialogue, phenomenal artwork, and boasts action scenes that, while far less grandiose than Avatar‘s, are perhaps the year’s best. Yeah, suck it, Final Destination 4.
Nominees: Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart), George Clooney (Up in the Air), Colin Firth (A Single Man), Morgan Freeman (Invictus), Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker)
Editorial Note: It is beyond ridiculous that Sam Rockwell wasn’t nominated for his work in Moon. Boo-urns. The Academy is also going to have to start paying some attention to the voice acting work that’s being put into these Pixar films. Peter O’Toole was great in Ratatouille and Ed Asner is even better in Up.
Likely Winner: Jeff Bridges. There’s a lot of talk on reputable news sources like E! and also E-online about his “powerful” performance in Crazy Heart. I wouldn’t know, I didn’t see it because it looks absolutely god-awful, but it seems to me that if playing a drunken hillbilly has-been is all it takes to earn an Oscar then Nick Nolte should be racking those things up.
Most Deserving: George Clooney. If there were any justice in this world, Bridges would’ve won back in ‘99 (instead of Roberto Benigni, yarg) for The Big Lebowski and Clooney would take home the prize this year. He deserves it; partially for his understated performance as a self-contained businessman gradually reconnecting with those around him, and partially as a hold-over from his performance in Michael Clayton which unfortunately ran into the buzzsaw that was Daniel Day Lewis’ “I drink your milkshake!” awesomeness from There Will Be Blood. “I drink it up!!” I love that shit.
Nominees: Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side), Hellen Mirren (The Last Station), Carey Mulligan (An Education), Gabourey Sidibe (Precious), Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia)
Likely Winner: Sandra Bullock.
Most Deserving: Gabourey Sidibe. Sidibe portrays Precious as a girl who is at times charming, hardened, whimsical, depressed, and resilient; a girl beaten down by some of life’s grimmest hardships who presses on, determined to provide her children with the love and support she never received, and give them the happy life that was denied her. On a completely unrelated note, I find it hard to believe that even an obese pregnant girl could consume an entire bucket of chicken on her walk to school. Just saying.
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)
Editorial Note: They could probably even have nominated Sam Rockwell in this category for Moon (That’ll make sense if you’ve seen it, if not, you suck, go watch it). Tucci just played a creepy fat guy in a crap movie, there’s one of those every year. Remember this’un? Haha! Of course not. Give Rockwell his nomination, damn you!
Likely Winner and Most Deserving: Christoph Waltz. Without question.
Best Supporting Actress
Nominees: Penelope Cruz (Nine), Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air), Maggie Gyllenhaaaal (Crazy Heart), Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air), Mo’nique (Precious)
Editorial Note: It would’ve been nice to see either Melanie Laurent or Diane Kruger nominated for Inglorious Basterds. I also thought Mariah Carey was really great in her limited role in Precious.
Likely Winner and Most Deserving: Mo’nique. Disgusting and Horrifying, she brings a brief moment of humanity to the role at the close of the film which is really what will win her this award. That said, I feel strongly that Penelope Cruz has a claim to the award simply on account of being so hot. To wit:
Best Animated Film
Nominees: Coraline, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Princess and the Frog, The Secret of Kells, Up
Editorial Note: If The Secret of Kells isn’t the name of R.Kelly’s next album I’ll be very disappointed.
Likely Winner and Most Deserving: Up. 2009 was the best year for animated films I’ve ever seen (take that, whatever year Treasure Planet came out!). In fact, four of these films made my top ten list for last year (sorry Kells). And while I really love the weirdness/awesomeness that is Coraline, Up is clearly the best of this lot, as it is indeed the best of all the films of 2009. Funny how that works out.
Nominees: Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), James Cameron (Avatar), Lee Daniels (Precious), Jason Reitman (Up in the Air), Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds)
Likely Winner and Most Deserving: Kathryn Bigelow. I’m guessing the Academy will bestow Avatar with Best Picture and toss Ms. Bigelow this award as a consolation prize (side note: I think Miz Bigelow would be a sweet female rapper name). But the jokes on them, she truly deserves to win this one after crafting the first great Iraq war film that is at times a taut and suspenseful thriller, a gripping action film, and a brilliant character study. Plus it takes the bold step of exploding Guy Pearce which, quite frankly, he had coming after this travesty.
The Cove will win. It was one of the year’s best films, more engaging and suspenseful than most Hollywood thrillers. It will fascinate and shock and enrage you. An absolute must-see. And, if you just so happen to be a Japanese fisherman, stop it. You stop it right now, mister.
Best Foreign Language Film
Nominees: Ajami, The Milk of Sorrow, A Prophet, The Secret in their Eyes, The White Ribbon
Likely Winner and Most Deserving: A Prophet (or Un Propheeet, as my dear brother referred to it). I can see The White Ribbon winning, and I don’t think it would be undeserved as it is an excellent film, but A Prophet’s depiction of a young convict’s journey from (relative) innocence to experience is both jarring and captivating, and a perfect exemplar of why our penal system, as it is, doesn’t work. It deserved a Best Picture nomination.
I really don’t care enough about the other categories to do complete write-ups. The music to Up and Sherlock Holmes were both really excellent, so it would be nice to see one of those two won, and really Up should probably win if only for that brilliant montage of Carl and Ellie’s life together. And I’m pretty sure Harry Potter is up for best Art Direction, it would cool to see it get a win. Also District 9 is up for Best Adapted Screenplay, and that’s probably the category it has the best chance in so let’s hope they win that one. And there’s a hi-larious Wallace and Gromit short entitled A Matter of Loaf and Death that I would bet will win Best Animated Short. The other categories are of little interest me as they do not concern Penelope Cruz in any way, let’s all pretend they don’t exist in that case.
The Academy Awards are on ABC on March 7th at 8 ET. You should watch it. Or spend five hours on Chatroullete. Either way.