The Oscar nominees were announced yesterday. Once again I'm having a bit of a contest at my office to see who can pick the most winners. Things are a bit different this year with ten nominees in the Best Picture category, so it'll be a bit harder to pick the winner. Still, here are my early predictions, still subject to change as we see how the wind blows over the next few weeks.
Jeff Bridges - Crazy Heart
George Clooney - Up in the Air
Colin Firth - A Single Man
Morgan Freeman - Invictus
Jeremy Renner - The Hurt Locker
There's no huge stand-out here. I think Freeman having won in the supporting actor category in the past makes him a long shot, Firth's movie isn't as well known, and Clooney...well, I don't know. I'm sure the performance is great but remember back when it seemed like every other movie out had Gene Hackman in it? Clooney has taken over in that department, some folks are a bit tired of him. I think it comes down to Bridges and Renner. Since Bridges has been nominated four times in the past and never won, I think the little gold man is his this year. Having just won a Golden Globe doesn't hurt either.
Sandra Bullock - The Blind Side
Helen Mirren - The Last Station
Carey Mulligan - An Education
Gabourey Sidibe - Precious
Meryl Streep - Julie and Julia
Sidibe has an outside chance since the Academy often awards great performances by actresses in their first movie (Marlee Matlin, Jennifer Hudson). However, I think the battle is between Meryl Streep and Sandra Bullock. Streep can never be counted out, but I think the award goes to Bullock.
Best Supporting Actor
Matt Damon - Invictus
Woody Harrelson - The Messenger
Christopher Plummer - The Last Station
Stanley Tucci - The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz - Inglorious Basterds
Here you have another two man battle. This one between the person many think SHOULD win, and the one who probably WILL win. Who should win? I think most would say Waltz as the main baddie of Quentin Tarrantino's latest. However, in Plummer you have a 50-year veteran of the film industry who has never been nominated before. The Academy would be honoring his whole career with a win this year. My pick would be Plummer.
Best Supporting Actress
Penelope Cruz - Nine
Vera Farminga - Up in the Air
Maggie Gyllenhaal - Crazy Heart
Anna Kendrick - Up in the Air
Mo'Nique - Precious
Nothing's for sure, but this may be the easiest one to pick. It's never good to have two actresses nominated in the same category for the same movie. So Farminga and Kendrick cancel each other out. Gyllenhaal doesn't seem to have the buzz the others do so she's a long shot. Cruz has won this award recently, and besides, "Nine" has not exactly been greeted with rave reviews. Mo'Nique gets it not just by process of elimination, but from what I understand, her performance is truly one of the best of the year.
James Cameron - Avatar
Kathryn Bigelow - The Hurt Locker
Quentin Tarantino - Inglorious Basterds
Lee Daniels - Precious
Jason Reitman - Up in the Air
Did you know Cameron and Bigelow were once husband and wife? Well they'll be battling it out again, as it would appear they are the front runners. This award is so closely tied to the Best Picture award (get there in a minute), right now it's hard to say how things will go. But I think, even if another film goes away with the top prize, Cameron's innovation on "Avatar" will lead him to his 2nd directing Oscar.
The Blind Side
The Hurt Locker
A Serious Man
Up in the Air
No lie, with 10 films instead of 5 it's harder to pick...and could lead to an upset. I think there are 3 films that have the best chance. "Avatar" dominated the technical categories and is a true movie milestone..."The Hurt Locker" has had almost unanimous critical praise and since it's about the Iraq war some voter may feel they are making a statement by placing their vote with it...and the safe choice for voters "Up in the Air." Anything could happen, but I think enough voters are still amazed enough with "Avatar" to lead it to the win.
I'll probably change my mind on some of this...the awards are March 7.