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Vermaak | Entertainment > Film > Artikels | Articles

A few Academy Award predictions for 2010


Reney Warrington - 2010-03-03

Introduction

First off, of course Avatar is going to clean up at the Oscars! It will be a great pity, though. Yes, the film was groundbreaking in terms of animation. The much needed lesson in biodiversity was conveyed in a "cool" medium that would engage younger audiences as well. However, James Cameron forgot all about narrative, character development and the underrated power of subtlety. Give him an Oscar for Art Direction or Special Effects, but Best Picture? No! That honour should to go one of the other nine nominees, or, even better, to the astonishing A Single Man, a film that wasn't even nominated for this category.

Best Picture

For the first time since 1943 there are ten instead of the usual five nominees for Best Picture. What does that mean? "Diddlysquat" according to Richard Corliss from Time Magazine. “It's like filling out the Kentucky Derby field with five Central Park carriage horses.”

The racehorses are Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Up in the Air, Inglourious Basterds and Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, whilst the Central Park carriage horses are District 9, A Serious Man, Up, An Education and The Blind Side.

Obviously our blood would pump proudly South African if District 9 (Rotten Tomatoes [RT] score: 90%) came up trumps, but there is a bigger chance for Bafana Bafana to win the 2010 World Cup than for Neil Blomkamp to receive a little gold statue. Still, we appreciate the nomination.

A Serious Man (RT score: 87%) is apparently too Jewish and too anti-Semitic to win. I can’t figure that one out, but, since I haven't seen the film, I reserve judgement.

Up (RT score: 98%) was nominated in both the Best Picture and Best Animated Feature categories. Even though this recognises Pixar's inspired work, Up will ultimately not beat the likes of Avatar or The Hurt Locker. However, it will surely win Best Animated Feature.

An Education (RT score: 94%)has launched the career of Carey Mulligan, but it won’t do much more than that.

The Blind Side (RT score: 70%)was nominated only because of Sandra Bullock’s irresistible charm.

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (RT score: 91%) was co-produced and punted by Oprah. That is enough to put the Academy off. Just kidding! It was a surprise hit that took $47million at the box office, but I fear it will suffer the same fate as the Tarantino thrill ride Inglourious Basterds (RT score: 88%). It will not be able to stand up against the three main contenders for Best Picture.

Up in the Air (RT score: 90%) is just one of those rare occurrences. It's a quite serious, intricate film, but its gentle humour and George Clooney charm made it a popular hit. It took $82million at the box office! This would be my choice for Best Picture, but, then again, it's not up to me. The powers that be have decided that that 2010 Best Picture category is a two-horse race between James Cameron and his ex-wife, Kathryn Bigelow, director of The Hurt Locker (RT score 98%). In that case, please let it be The Hurt Locker.

Best Actor

The Hurt Locker’s
success was based on the breathtaking cinematography, the long, suspenseful "takes", the subject of the film, and tight editing. Jeremy Renner only had to smoke, look tough and utter a couple of cool one-liners. Not what I would call Oscar material.

Morgan Freeman was probably born to play Mandela, but was his performance in Invictus worthy of an Oscar? I think not.

Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart) and George Clooney (Up in the Air) both put in powerful yet understated performances. I suspect the Oscar will go to Jeff Bridges, the safe choice, even though Colin Firth (A Single Man) surpassed everyone with his performance as George, a man with a broken heart, going through the motions of what appears to be his last day alive.

Best Actress

Oh, just give the Oscar to Helen Mirren already.

Best Supporting Actor

Christoph Waltz is the clear winner. He has received just about every award you can win as supporting actor over the last few months. He did outshine everyone else in Inglourious Basterds.

Best Supporting Actress

This is a tough one. The underrated Vera Farmiga had an extraordinary presence in Up in The Air, but Maggie Gyllenhaal was just as potent in Crazy Heart. If pressed, my vote would to go Vera.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, whether I agree with the nominations and eventual winners or not, is irrelevant when you consider the impact of the Academy Awards since its inception in 1929. (This can be attributed to the fact that the Awards have always been broadcast publicly – first on radio - and then on TV post-1953.) Nominations do influence ticket sales and the winners are guaranteed a slightly brighter future. The biggest consequence of all is the recognition. It does inspire more films and give artists a goal to work towards. Certainly there is nothing wrong with that.

One of the highlights of the ceremony (to be held this Sunday, March 7th) will be to see the dirty rotten scoundrel that is Alec Baldwin in action as co-host. Hopefully he will live up to his 30 Rock character and behave badly.

For more Oscar predictions visit Rotten Tomatoes and Time Magazine.