Oscar 2010 Predictions

[editor's note] Every year, Hollywood Dump's resident film critic Jay Jammer and I get together to argue over who we think is going to take home the little gold dude named Oscar. Every year we get it wrong, but that doens't stop us from arguing about it nonetheless.

And if you are an in an office betting pool, you should really check out our article, "10 Steps to Picking an Oscar Winner" for ideas on how to walk away an oscar picking expert.

Listed below is this year's Predictions for the big show:

Best Picture:

  • "Avatar"

  • "The Blind Side"

  • "District 9"

  • "An Education"

  • "The Hurt Locker"

  • "Inglourious Basterds"

  • "Precious"

  • "A Serious Man"

  • "Up"

  • "Up in the Air"

Jay Jammer - I do not understand why Inglourious Basterds is up there nor do I understand why Up is there either. Inglourious Basterds was good but I don’t think it was good enough as an Oscar Top Ten. Star Trek was not only better it had more meaning behind it and less unnecessary glorification of blood and gore, though I’m well aware of what he was trying to point out via his fantasy on film. And Up is already nominated for Best Animated Picture, why was it necessary for it to take a spot on the grown up’s list? Avatar is not better than any movie on this list not even the two I mentioned that shouldn’t be there. I wouldn’t want Avatar on the list but I understand why it’s there. An Education is a clichéd mess with good acting and overall nothing special. It is also not better than anything on that list not even Avatar. I think that A Single Man, Crazy Heart and Star Trek should be up there.

This leaves me with the ones that are good and do deserve to be there. The Blind Side, District 9, The Hurt Locker, Precious, A Serious Man, and Up in the Air. Wishful thinking movies are The Blind Side, District 9 and Precious. That leaves me with the real contenders The Hurt Locker, A Serious Man and Up in the Air. Up in the Air use to have a chance but since the awards that have gone before it seem to have ignored it this leaves me with just two choices. The Hurt Locker or A Serious Man and the only reason I’ve left A Serious Man up there is because the Coen Brothers directed. I have not seen it.

I pick The Hurt Locker to win. This is hoping the Academy is only pretentious enough to nominate Avatar and not award it. Personally I think Up in the Air should win.

Judge - Not that I want to give the Golden Globes any additional credibility (because they're a bunch of no-name hacks) but I gotta go with Hurt Locker on this one. Solid directing, a compelling story, and all well shot. That is what makes a best picture.

On the flipside, Avatar has no reason being on that list. I've said it before and I'll say it several more times while watching the broadcast: it's not that good of a movie. It's gimmicky and trite, with a simple story. Is this really the standard Hollywood wants to set for future movies? All show and no go? I sure hope not.

Best Director

  • Kathryn Bigelow 'The Hurt Locker'

  • James Cameron 'Avatar'

  • Lee Daniels 'Precious'

  • Jason Reitman 'Up in the Air'

  • Quentin Tarantino'Inglourious Basterds'

Jay Jammer - If this is the list of what would have been the Five Nominated Best Picture films I think that is one of the most eclectic list.

Kathryn Bigelow for the stinging win.

Judge - For this one, you really have to look at the challenge of directing. Katheryn Bigelow had - for the most part - a pretty standard run directing Hurt Locker. "Avatar" on the other hand, was the most technologically advanced, complicated and logistically challenging film ever created. It doesn't make it a good movie (see my note above) but to be at the helm of this monumental achievement in film making should account for something. Avatar was a much more difficult film to shoot and for that reason alone, I have to put my vote down for James Cameron.

Best Actor:

  • Jeff Bridges, 'Crazy Heart'

  • George Clooney, 'Up in the Air'

  • Colin Firth, 'A Single Man'

  • Morgan Freeman, 'Invictus'

  • Jeremy Renner, 'The Hurt Locker'

Jay Jammer - I do not get why Morgan Freeman is up there nor do I get why Jeremy Renner is up there. George Clooney did a fantastic job. Colin Firth made me feel sad for that single three minute span of him welling up. But Jeff Bridges made me see a broken human who wanted to do and be more. Jeff Bridges deserves to win and he is my pick to win as well as should win.

Judge - Tossing a coin on this one and going with Clooney. Character development should play a big part in a story and Clooney did a fantastic job with "Up In The Air"

Best Actress:

  • Sandra Bullock, 'The Blind Side'

  • Helen Mirren, 'The Last Station'

  • Carey Mulligan, 'An Education'

  • Gabourey Sidibe, 'Precious'

  • Meryl Streep, 'Julie and Julia'

Jay Jammer - I do not get why Carey Mulligan is nominated. She did a good job, but not great. She was more obnoxious than anything because of that character and not in a good way. Gabourey Sibide did a fantastic job, but I just can’t pick someone to win when they have not done much else. It shouldn’t be a give away for new comers who haven’t proven what range they have. That leaves Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren or Sandra Bullock? The shocker will be Sandra Bullock. The most talented is Meryl Streep but she should have won last year, this year she was good but I don’t think she was the best and they better not award her for what they didn’t last year. But the safe bet seems to be Helen Mirren. I did not see Mirren. I saw the trailers. I don’t see much going on there. I think last year was the women year in Oscars. This year it’s the men’s. I’m going to go with the shocker Sandra Bullock.

Judge - I'm going out on a limb on this one and picking Gabourey Sidibe for this one. How amazing would it be that an absolute unknown teenager, that sounds like a valley girl out of character would get the trophy over Meryl Streep or Helen Mirren? Academy members love giviing props to newcomers almost as much as they love giving props to themselves. I'd love to see Gabourey take the Oscar home.

Best Supporting Actor:

  • Matt Damon, 'Invictus'

  • Woody Harrelson, 'The Messenger'

  • Christopher Plummer, 'The Last Station'

  • Stanley Tucci, 'The Lovely Bones'

  • Christoph Waltz, 'Inglourious Basterds'

Jay Jammer - I don’t get why Matt Damon is there. I sort of see why Christopher Plummer is there. I did not see Woody Harrelson. Stanley Tucci was completely creepy and did such a great job, but Christoph Waltz was vilely great. He was an outstanding opposition to Brad Pitt’s character and entire group. He not only deserves to win, he HAS to win. There’s no one better on that list.

Judge - Waltz all the way. A character that was not only evil, but absolutely reveled in it. Like a cat playing with a mouse before killing it. Christoph's performance was creepy, mean and absolutely brilliant to watch. He upstaged Brad Pitt at every turn.

Best Supporting Actress:

  • Penelope Cruz, 'Nine'

  • Vera Farmiga, 'Up in the Air'

  • Maggie Gyllenhaal, 'Crazy Heart'

  • Anna Kendrick, 'Up in the Air'

  • Mo'nique, 'Precious'

Jay Jammer - What? Penelope Cruz? Really? That movie doesn’t even deserve a single nomination outside of set design. Vera Farmiga did a good job, but no. Maggi Gyllenhaal did a fantastic job but also no. It is Anna Kendrick vs Mo’nique. These are two completely different roles with two awesome performances.I’m going to go with Mo’nique.

Judge - Im going with Vera Farmiga just because I loved her personality that she displayed in "Up in the Air." And if Mo'nique calls me "baby" one more time Im going to scream and throw a shoe at her. Just sayin.

Best Animated Feature Film:

  • 'Coraline'

  • 'Fantastic Mr. Fox'

  • 'The Princess and the Frog'

  • 'The Secret of Kells'

  • 'Up'

Jay Jammer - I’m going to narrow this down. Coraline is up there just to be nice. I do not see how The Princess and the Frog is going to win, though it would be awesome for New Orleans in a way. The Secret of Kells has a good chance of pushing its way in, but I really think it is between Fantastic Mr. Fox and Up. I would pick Up but I have a weird feeling Fantastic Mr. Fox is going to win. But I’ll settle on saying Up will win.

Judge - I think "Up" is a lock for this one. The animation was incredibly well done, the script was fresh, the comedy was funny and the story even had the classic Disney-esque heartstring-pulling that everyone loves. Up will take this one without a doubt. Fantastic Mr. Fox, by comparison, just seemed lame: cheesy stop motion animation is not Oscar-worthy in my book.

Best Original Screenplay:

  • Mark Boal, 'The Hurt Locker'

  • Quentin Tarantino, 'Inglourious Basterds'

  • Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman, 'The Messenger'

  • Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, 'A Serious Man'

  • Peter Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy, 'Up'

Jay Jammer - This is also difficult a pick. Inglourious Basterds is really original and unique and fascinating, but I think it’s a bit dark and most likely lacks the ability to win. I believe that Tarantino is also a foot stomper and bridge burner. He should have won a thousand times over for Kill Bill Vol. 1 & Vol. 2. He did not. I don’t think he’ll win this. He should. I’d pick him. But I think the winner will be between The Hurt Locker, A Serious man and Up. I’m going to go with Peter Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy for Up. If I’m right on my want of Quentin to win then awesome, but if someone else wins other than Up or Inglourious Basterds then death to ALL!

Judge - I like Tarantino, but I dont think his story was anything special. My pick is for "Hurt Locker" on this one as well.

Best Adapted Screenplay:

  • Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell - 'District 9'

  • Nick Hornby 'An Education'

  • Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche - 'In the Loop'

  • Geoffrey Fletcher - 'Precious'

  • Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner - 'Up in the Air'

Jay Jammer - This is really difficult. District 9, Precious or Up in the Air? I pick Precious.

Judge - I'm voting for Precious for this one. It seems to have wowed critics and I think the academy will vote the same way.

Best Foreign Language Film:

  • 'Ajami' Israel

  • 'El Secreto de Sus Ojos' Argentina

  • 'The Milk of Sorrow' Peru

  • 'Un Prophète' France

  • 'The White Ribbon' Germany

Jay Jammer - I have only heard of The White Ribbon and so that is the one I pick.

Judge - A big fat "who cares?" for this category. No one has seen these movies, so no one has any clue, which makes it the perfect tie breaker for most office betting pools. My pick is for "Un Prophete" because its French, probably pretentious, most-likely meloncholly and doesnt make a damn bit of sense. In other words, Oscar gold.

Best Original Score:

  • 'Avatar' James Horner

  • 'Fantastic Mr. Fox' Alexandre Desplat

  • 'The Hurt Locker' Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders

  • 'Sherlock Holmes' Hans Zimmer

  • 'Up' Michael Giacchino

Jay Jammer - Pisses me off that James Horner was NOT nominated last year for The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas, but is nominated this year. There is no doubt he’s talented but I don’t think he’s a winner this year. Let’s not forget that There will be Blood was not nominated for Original Score either…another shame. I can’t believe Star Trek isn’t nominated. I think that this category is between Fantastic Mr. Fox and Up. This hard because Up is emotional with slow piano playing and Fantastic Mr. Fox is upbeat guitar plucking fun. I pick Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Judge - I think its another lock for "Up" on this one. Its hard to try to figure out how the Academy is going to vote when it comes to score. What's the criteria? Orchestration? Melody? I dont know.

Best Original Song:

  • 'Almost There' from 'The Princess and the Frog' - Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

  • 'Down in New Orleans' from 'The Princess and the Frog' - Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

  • 'Loin de Paname' from 'Paris 36' - Music by Reinhardt Wagner Lyric by Frank Thomas

  • 'Take It All' from 'Nine' - Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston

  • 'The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)' from 'Crazy Heart' - Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

Jay Jammer - ‘The Weary Kind’ like has an Oscar seal on it. It would be cool if New Orleans sounding Disney songs won, but they won the Super Bowl…what more could they want. I pick Crazy Heart for the win.

Judge - Another category I couldnt possibly care any less about. My guess is going to be "Down in New Orleans" simply because its got "New Orleans" in the title and its still trendy to be a fan of the big easy.

Best Documentary Feature:

  • 'Burma VJ'

  • 'The Cove'

  • 'Food, Inc.'

  • 'The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers'

  • 'Which Way Home'

Jay Jammer - “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel…….”

Judge - Im going with "The Cove" on this one. Its a documentary about Japanese fisherman harvesting dolphins by banging on steel poles and scaring the dolphins into a narrow cove where they kill them. Its a tough film to watch and all the more reason why the Academy will pick it to win the award - if for no other reason but to help raise awareness at the atrocities that the Japanese continue to do on a daily basis.

Best Documentary (Short Subject):

  • 'China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province' -Jon Alpert and Matthew O'Neill

  • 'The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner' - Daniel Junge and Henry Ansbacher

  • 'The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant' - Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert

  • Music by Prudence - Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett

  • 'Rabbit a la Berlin' - Bartek Konopka and Anna Wydra

Jay Jammer - “The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant” by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert mainly because I think it speaks of this year loudly.

Judge - I agree with JJ on this one. Its timely, depressing and thought provoking. Not that I've seen it, but the title suggests its going to be good and that's enough for me to take a guess.

Best Short Film (Live Action):

  • 'The Door' - Juanita Wilson and James Flynn

  • 'Instead of Abracadabra' - Patrik Eklund and Mathias Fjellström

  • 'Kavi' - Gregg Helvey

  • 'Miracle Fish' - Luke Doolan and Drew Bailey

  • 'The New Tenants' - Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson

Jay Jammer - The Door Juanita Wilson and James Flynn

Judge - I have no clue. Going with Miracle Fish just because it was the first thing I saw when I looked at the list.

Best Short Film (Animated):

  • 'French Roast' - Fabrice O. Joubert

  • 'Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty' - Nicky Phelan and Darragh O'Connell

  • 'The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)' - Javier Recio Gracia

  • 'Logorama' - Nicolas Schmerkin

  • 'A Matter of Loaf and Death' - Nick Park

Jay Jammer - Logorama by Nicolas Schmerkin

Judge - Yet another group of movies I wont see because it only plays in a handful of art houses in LA and New York. Screw em. Im going with "French Roast" for no particular reason.

Best Art Direction:

  • 'Avatar' - Art Direction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Kim Sinclair

  • 'The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus' - Art Direction: Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro; Set Decoration: Caroline Smith

  • Nine - Art Direction: John Myhre; Set Decoration: Gordon Sim

  • Sherlock Holmes - Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer

  • 'The Young Victoria' - Art Direction: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Maggie Gray

Jay Jammer - Sherlock Holmes – Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer. The nomination for Avatar makes me laugh.

Judge - If you consider art direction to include an army of computer programmers working feeverishly to create sets and backgrounds in a virtual world, I have to go with Avatar on this one.

Best Cinematography:

  • 'Avatar' - Mauro Fiore

  • 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince' - Bruno Delbonnel

  • 'The Hurt Locker' - Barry Ackroyd

  • 'Inglourious Basterds' - Robert Richardson

  • 'The White Ribbon' - Christian Berger

Jay Jammer - How does CGI = whoa awesome cinematography!!!? The Hurt Locker or The White Ribbon? Barry Ackroyd for the win.

Judge - Cinematography is a tough one. I disagree with Jammer's assessment of Avatar, but I'll choose Hurt Locker for the win on this one as well.

Best Costume Design:

  • 'Bright Star' - Janet Patterson

  • 'Coco Before Chanel' - Catherine Leterrier

  • 'The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus' - Monique Prudhomme

  • 'Nine' - Colleen Atwood

  • 'The Young Victoria' - Sandy Powell

Jay Jammer - The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus costumes by Monique Prudomme.

Judge - How can you do a movie about Coco Chanel and not win the Oscar for costume design? I think this is a shoe in.

Best Art Direction:

  • 'Il Divo' -Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano

  • 'Star Trek' - Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow

  • 'The Young Victoria' - Jon Henry Gordon and Jenny Shircore

Jay Jammer - Star Trek Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow!

Judge - Going with Star Trek on this one as well. A great looking film, in spite of all the crazy lens flares and specular highlights everywhere.

Best Film Editing:

  • 'Avatar' - Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron
  • 'District 9' - Julian Clarke'
  • 'The Hurt Locker' - Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
  • 'Inglourious Basterds' - Sally Menke
  • 'Precious' - Joe Klotz

Jay Jammer - District 9 Julian Clarke for the win.

Judge - I think Inglourious Basterds is going to take this one. Tarantino has a certain frenetic style about his films and Menke must have been in her own personal circle of Hell working with him on this. She should get a medal of honor as well.

Best Visual Effects:

  • 'Avatar' - Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones

  • 'District 9' - Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken

  • 'Star Trek' - Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton

Jay Jammer - Sorry. I wish I could say Star Trek because visually it was amazing and totally seamless. District 9 was also awesome as well as eerie. But if there is one thing that Avatar has to win hands down it’s Best Visual Effects. Unbelievable looks and outstanding imagination just pours out of those visuals. Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones for the win.

Judge - I think Avatar is a lock for this one. In addition to the CGI and the complications of integrating that much computer and human interaction, but then making the film 3D and rushing to get the print done in time...Its got to go to Avatar for that alone.

Best Sound Editing:

  • 'Avatar' - Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle

  • 'The Hurt Locker' - Paul N.J. Ottosson

  • 'Inglourious Basterds' - Wylie Stateman

  • 'Star Trek' - Mark Stoeckinger and Alan Rankin

  • 'Up' - Michael Silvers and Tom Myers

Jay Jammer - Star Trek or The Hurt Locker. I pick Star Trek.

Judge - Just so everyone is clear, "Sound Editing" refers to the creation of sounds that are then mixed into the film. "Sound Mixing" is the overall mix of all ingredients in the final print. With that thought in mind, I have to go with Avatar again for this one. I dont have a particular reason, just that I think its going to win hands down over Hurt Locker in this category.

Best Sound Mixing:

  • 'Avatar' - Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson

  • 'The Hurt Locker' - Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett

  • 'Inglourious Basterds' - Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti and Mark Ulano

  • 'Star Trek' - Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson and Peter J. Devlin

  • 'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen' - Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson

Jay Jammer - Star Trek or The Hurt Locker. I guess I pick Star Trek.

Judge - How in the wide wide world of sports did "Transformers" get on this list? Coming from a background in sound, I feel qualified to say that the film was noting but noise. Noisy robots smashing into other noisy robots and making big explosions. How is that MIXED well? Michael Bay doesnt need a bigger ego out of this than he already has. My vote is for ANYTHING other than Transformers. Star Trek is fine with me. Hurt Locker is fine with me. But if Transformers wins Im going to drink heavily and throw stuff at my TV. OK, I'll probably do that anyway, but you get the point. If I have to pick only one, I'll say Star Trek.

So there you have it. Our exhaustive guide to who will win and why. What are your thoughts? Post your picks below.

[ED NOTE: please excuse any formatting issues above. Blogger likes to throw in extra code depending on which computer Im using at the time. I hate blogger.]

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