Elsewhere, you will see fellow FilmBuff Online contributor Michael McGonigle’s picks for this Sunday’s Oscars. His selections were well thought out and taken from an intelligent and well-researched perspective. Well, I’m going to give you my selections now, but mine will not be quite as scholarly. Mine will be basically educated guesses taken from the perspective of a life long fan of the Oscars. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even see all of the nominated films in every category! (Gasp! Shock!) (You can check out the complete list of nominees here.)
Without any further adieu, here are my choices.
Honestly, I can’t say I’ve seen any of these selections. But the Academy has shown love to the creators of Wallace and Gromit in the past. My hunch is that they will do so again.
My Pick: Wallace And Gromit In ‘A Matter Of Loaf And Death’
The Academy Pick: Wallace And Gromit In ‘A Matter Of Loaf And Death’
Best Short Film: Live Action:
Again, as a guess, based on what I have heard about these selections, I think Miracle Fish might have a better chance than Michael gives it.
My Pick & The Academy Pick: Miracle Fish – Luke Doolan, Drew Bailey
Best Documentary: Feature:
I have to go on record in saying that this category is a joke. Well, it’s more of a joke this year than it has been in year’s past. When films like Capitalism; A Love Story, Anvil! The True Story of Anvil, and Tyson not only aren’t nominated but don’t even make the eligibility short list, you can’t view the category as anything less that a joke. That being said, I think that the buzz is greatest for The Cove, but I think The Most Dangerous Man In America: Daniel Ellsberg And The Pentagon Papers is more worthy.
My Pick: The Most Dangerous Man In America: Daniel Ellsberg And The Pentagon Papers
The Academy Pick: The Cove.
I think that Up deserves the Best Picture award, but it will never win because it’s animated. However, it should be a dead solid lock for winning this category.
My Pick: Up
The Academy Pick: Up
Best Achievement In Visual Effects:
Avatar’s best feature was its visual effects. The time and effort put into creating Pandora really paid off. This is really no contest.
My Pick: Avatar
The Academy Pick: Avatar
I think Avatar is in line for a lot of undeserved awards Sunday night, and this is one of them. This might show my ignorance about the category or the work Fiore actually did, but it’s not hard to capture a striking image when you can create the image from whole cloth. The White Ribbon, however, is filled with striking and haunting images that stay with you long after you see them. Christian Berger deserves the award more than any others.
My Pick: The White Ribbon – Christian Berger
The Academy Pick: Avatar – Mauro Fiore
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score:
While James Horner’s score for Avatar was essentially a structural copy of his score for Titanic (Count how many times notes that appear in that Leona Lewis song appear in the score and then do the same for “The Heart Will Go On” and Titanic), I still think it served its film best.
My Pick: Avatar
The Academy Pick: Avatar
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen:
I think every thing Quentin Tarantino does should be given an award. But the Academy usually gives this award to films that they might have slighted. That means The Messenger would be my Academy pick here.
My Pick: Inglourious Basterds
The Academy Pick: The Messenger
I think that Fletcher should be given credit for making such a negative story more palatable for movie going audiences. And I do think his writing might have an outside shot. But Reitman and Turner’s script, although predictable, was good enough to give it the edge with Oscar voters.
My Pick: Precious: Based On The Novel Push by Sapphire
The Academy Pick: Up In The Air
Best Performance By An Actress In A Supporting Role:
The conventional wisdom states this award is Mo’Nique’s to lose. Usually, the Academy has a hard time recognizing actors known for comedy when they do serious work but Mo’Nique’s performance was enough for them to take notice. I think she will go home with the award. But I can’t begin to explain how impressed I was with Anna Kendrick’s work. She took what could have easily been a one-dimensional character and made a real person out of it. She’d get my vote, if I had one.
My Pick: Anna Kendrick
The Academy Pick: Mo’Nique
Best Performance By An Actor In A Supporting Role:
Now, let me explain my selection before I give it. The Oscar is certain to have at least one category in the “big six” be a complete and utter surprise. They always have one award where the odds-on favorite loses to an underdog. Christoph Waltz has been the one to beat since awards season started. And I think he deserves the award more than anyone else. However, after a career that spans almost 60 years, this is Christopher Plummer’s first Oscar nomination. I feel that he will be the big surprise of the night and will walk away with the award.
My Pick: Christoph Waltz
The Academy Pick: Christopher Plummer
I haven’t seen The Blind Side, but the first thought I had when I saw the first trailer was, “Wow, Sandra Bullock is really hamming it up in this one, isn’t she?” Now, maybe in the film she adds nuances to her performance that rises it above the corn-pone pidgin Southern drawl that appears in the trailers, but I still can’t understand why she is the odds on favorite. My pick would be Carey Mulligan, who by all reports was absolutely brilliant in a difficult role in her film.
My Pick: Carey Mulligan
The Academy Pick: Sandra Bullock
Best Performance By An Actor In A Leading Role:
This award has quickly become Jeff Bridges to lose. He’s a great actor, but George Clooney’s performance spoke to me. Yes, wags might say he is only performing a version of himself in the film, but just for the look on his face in the closing scene shows how brilliantly he acted this role.
My Pick: George Clooney
The Academy Pick: Jeff Bridges
Could Kathryn Bigelow go from being just the fourth woman nominated for a Directing Oscar to being the first one to win the award? Could be. And while I am rooting for her to make history, if I had to pick anybody else besides her to win the award, it would be Jason Reitman. He guided his cast to great performances, constructed a solid story and crafted a film that comments on today’s economic situation without ever getting preachy about it. Sorry Mr. Cameron.
My Pick: Jason Reitman
The Academy Pick: Kathryn Bigelow
Best Motion Picture Of The Year:
Personally, I think the fact that Avatar is the front-runner is baffling. Yes, the visual effects are spectacular and will shape the future of effects films for decades to come, but remove the special effects, move it from outer space to the old west, change the Na’Vi to American Indians, and you have Dancing With Wolves which stands as one of the weakest films ever to win an Oscar. I think the Academy will see through this and give the award to The Hurt Locker. However, I will say the silent portion of the first third of Up was better than any film I have seen in a long time, and the rest of the film was just as good. If the Academy didn’t have such a closed mind when it comes to animated features, then this film would be a shoo-in for Best Picture and Best Animated film.
My Pick: Up
The Academy Pick: The Hurt Locker