Feb 282010

Picks for the 2010 Academy Awards

By A.G. Greebs

Oscar time. Arguably the best reason to get drunk on a Sunday night since the Super Bowl, last month. The Oscars, coming up on Sunday, March 7, might even be better, because while there is always some nut job at a Super Bowl party who likes watching football, studies show there are only 4 or 5 people on the planet who care what Sandra Bullock says, and chances are slim you’ll be spending Oscar night with one of them—which frees up a lot of attention for boozing.

At an Oscar party (and really, you should have an Oscar party, even if it’s just you in a bathrobe with a bottle of Andre), there are usually two different types of people. There’s the person who considers themselves an expert on movies, who’s seen most of the nominees, and knows the difference between a sound mixer and a sound editor. This person usually gets very emotionally involved in the results, and spends a lot of evening yelling at the television and sobbing. You don’t want to be this person.

On the other hand, you probably don’t want to be the person who thinks Up is going to win for best picture either. A good balance between being the nerd who wins the Oscar pool and has to take home the cheap plastic trophy from the Liquor Barn and being someone who lives in a box and communicates through Morse code in a cave is probably the best option.

The easiest way of striking that balance is to look up the Academy Awards on the sports betting pages, and do whatever they recommend. In fact, to make it easier, we’ve done it for you. I’ve also included my own predictions, because the only point of an Oscar pool is pointless self-gratification (and because I’ve been known to yell at my television a time or two).

Best Actor in a Leading role

Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart

George Clooney in Up in the Air

Colin Firth in A Single Man

Morgan Freeman in Invictus

Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker

Bookie says: Jeff Bridges

I say: Jeff Bridges

This is so far in the bag, he’s probably going to win twice. Too bad no one saw this.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Matt Damon in Invictus

Woody Harrelson in The Messenger

Christopher Plummer in The Last Station

Stanley Tucci in The Lovely Bones

Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds

Bookie says: Christoph Walz

I say: Chistoph Walz

Too bad, because I love me some Stanley Tucci, but very few people win awards for playing pedophiles. It’s the anti-classic autistic-musician-holocaust-survivor role, perhaps too much for the Academy.

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side

Helen Mirren in The Last Station

Carey Mulligan in An Education

Gabourey Sidibe in Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire

Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia

Bookie Says: Sandra Bullock

I say: Meryl Streep

This is a vile choice. On the one hand, there is no doubt that Meryl Streep’s “Oh me? You shouldn’t have!” shtick has gotten really old this season. On the other hand, the idea of Sandra Bullock winning any sort of award, much less for acting, much less for playing a prissy, entitled, white, Christian fundamentalist who discovers black kids are people too because they can play football, is so repugnant that even my deep, abiding cynicism about the Oscars boggles. If Sandra Bullock wins, we should probably stop making movies, because clearly dreams are dead.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Penélope Cruz in Nine

Vera Farmiga in Up in the Air

Maggie Gyllenhaal in Crazy Heart

Anna Kendrick in Up in the Air

Mo’Nique in Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire

Bookie Says: Mo’Nique

I say: Mo’Nique

The Academy needs to give Precious a win to avoid upsetting the god-like power of Oprah and Tyler Perry combined.

Animated Feature


Fantastic Mr. Fox

The Princess and the Frog

The Secret of Kells


Bookie says: Up

I say: Up

Yes, Up will probably get it, but Christ that was a really, really, really, depressing movie.

Art Direction


The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus


Sherlock Holmes

The Young Victoria

Bookie says: Avatar

I say: Avatar

Because this team helped us to see 8-foot tall blue cat people in a way that 8-foot tall blue cat people had never been seen before, blah, blah, blah…



Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The Hurt Locker

Inglourious Basterds

The White Ribbon

Bookie says: The Hurt Locker

I say: Avatar

At the end of the day, Avatar is going to win 4 or 5 Oscars. Rather than getting all clever, it seems easiest to put it down for everything, regardless of whether or not it was nominated. To misquote Keynes, it’s better to be approximately right than precisely wrong.

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

Bookie says: The Young Victoria

I say: The one that has the largest dresses. That’s probably The Young Victoria, yeah? Anyway, about half these people have already won two Oscars, and all the rest have been nominated a million times each, so it’s not like this is a battle of the underdogs.


Avatar: James Cameron

The Hurt Locker: Kathryn Bigelow

Inglourious Basterds: Quentin Tarantino

Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire: Lee Daniels

Up in the Air: Jason Reitman

Bookie says: The Hurt Locker

I say: Avatar

People have been making a really big deal out of the fact that James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow were married for about 15 minutes in the late 80s—despite the fact that Cameron has had approximately 34 other wives since then. The two are also frequent collaborators, but to read the press you’d think that this was some sort of War of the Roses scenario, where Bigelow—the woman scorned—is going to get an Oscar as a consolation prize.

On the other hand, James Cameron spent a record amount of money to make a movie with a ridiculous premise that finished over-budget, and really, really late—one which everyone in the world said would be a monumental flop and quite possibly the worst movie of all time, but which ended up being the highest grossing movie ever made. And then last year, he did it again. I’m just saying…

Documentary Feature

Burma VJ: Anders Østergaard and Lise Lense-Møller

The Cove: Louie Psihoyos and Fisher Stevens

Food, Inc.: Robert Kenner and Elise Pearlstein

The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers: Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith

Which Way Home: Rebecca Cammisa

Bookie says: The Cove, by a long shot. Betting $10 on this will lose you money even if you win.

I say: The Cove, because it’s the only one anyone’s heard of.

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 à la Berlin: Bartek Konopka and Anna Wydra

Bookie says: China’s Unnatural Disaster

I say: Sure, why not?

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: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire: Joe Klotz

Bookie says: Avatar

I say: Avatar

Foreign Language Film

Ajami (Israel)

The Milk of Sorrow (La Teta Asustada) (Peru)

A Prophet (Un Prophète) (France)

The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos) (Argentina)

The White Ribbon (Das Weisse Band) (Germany)

Bookie says: The White Ribbon

I say: Avatar


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

Bookie says: Star Trek (natch).

I say: District 9 didn’t even get nominated? That’s just cold.

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

Bookie says: Avatar

I say: Avatar

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

Bookie says: “The Weary Kind”

I say: Anything not from The Princess and the Frog

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

Bookie says: A Matter of Loaf and Death

I say: Check out www.buzzsugar.com to watch these all on the same page. God the internets are awesome.

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

Bookie says: Instead of Abracadabra

I say: I think the bookies are just picking the coolest title. Buzzsugar also has these up, so you can decide for yourself if you feel like being really hardcore.

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

Bookie says: Avatar

I say: Avatar, although God knows, if there is one category Avatar deserves to lose in, it’s this one. A $300 million dollar budget and they couldn’t be bothered to re-dub all the times Sam Worthington reverted to an Australian accent? Really?

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

Bookie says: Avatar

I say: Avatar

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

Bookie says: Avatar

I say: Star Trek! Just kidding.

Adapted Screenplay

    District 9: Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell

    An Education: Screenplay by Nick Hornby

    In the Loop: Screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche

    Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire: Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher

    Up in the Air: Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

Bookie says: Up in the Air

I say: Up in the Air

Original Screenplay

The Hurt Locker: Written by Mark Boal

Inglourious Basterds: Written by Quentin Tarantino

The Messenger: Written by Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman

A Serious Man: Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

Up: Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy

Bookie says: Inglourious Basterds

I say: Inglourious Basterds. Because what could possibly be more edgy and creative than misspelling your own title?

Best Picture

Avatar: James Cameron and Jon Landau, Producers

The Blind Side: Gil Netter, Andrew A. Kosove and Broderick Johnson, Producers

District 9: Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham, Producers

An Education: Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers

The Hurt Locker: Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier and Greg Shapiro, Producers

Inglourious Basterds: Lawrence Bender, Producer

Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire: Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, Producers

A Serious Man: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Producers

Up: Jonas Rivera, Producer

Up in the Air: Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman, Producers

Bookie says: Avatar, though The Hurt Locker is very close behind it.

I say: The entire reason the Academy adopted this ridiculous new “everything gets nominated” policy was so that it could attract the interest of people who would never voluntarily see films like A Serious Man. They aren’t going to undue all their hard-earned irrelevance by snubbing a movie that’s been seen by as many people as watch the World Cup.

Scratch that. They totally would.

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