The Oscar Nominations have been announced, and so, as a blogger, it is my solemn duty to comment. That I didn't do so for the Grammys should tell you in itself the esteem with which I fail to regard that particular award show. The Grammys are to music what the Blockbuster Movie Awards were to movies, and should go the same way they did.
At any rate, let's start small and work our way up. I will list both my personal choice and my prediction, when those two things don't coincide.
Best Adapted Screenplay
'In the Loop'
'Up in the Air'
My choice, and prediction, coincide on the superlative 'Up in the Air', but look for a possible upset from 'District Nine' or 'In the Loop,' which is the token "Excellent film we couldn't be arsed to nominate in any other category, so we're doing it here" entry. 'In Bruges' was given a similar distinction in its time, though it didn't win.
Best Original Screenplay
'The Hurt Locker'
'A Serious Man'
My mind says 'The Hurt Locker,' but my heart says 'Up.' I would be surprised if it went elsewhere. 'Inglorious Basterds' was too messy to rightfully take this award home.
Best Animated Feature
'Fantastic Mr. Fox'
'The Princess and the Frog'
'The Secret of Kells'
It's going to go to 'Up.' I say so with certainty because of what I've cunningly coined the 'Crouching Tiger' Principle of Oscar Nominations; When and if a film is nominated both in a 'lesser' film category, such as Best Foreign Film or Best Animated Film, and in the 'greater' film category of Best Picture, said film will, inevitably, win the 'lesser' category, essentially by a process known as 'default.'
Oh, before I forget, I hadn't heard of 'The Secret of Kells' prior to reading the nominations, and so I looked it up. It's a foreign animated film, and it looks absolutely gorgeous. Gob-smackingly so. It doesn't come out in the United States until March, but I very much look forward to it.
Best Supporting Actress
Penelope Cruz, 'Nine'
Vera Farmiga, 'Up in the Air'
Maggie Gyllenhaal, 'Crazy Heart'
Anna Kendrick, 'Up in the Air'
The smart choice, both on buzz and on current award season success, is Mo'nique, and I won't stray from that. But I want Anna Kendrick to win. Her tightly-coiled performance in 'Up in the Air' was a source of much of that movie's humour and, more importantly, its emotional heart. Mo'nique should win for her incredible, brutal work in 'Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire,' but I want Kendrick to win. I know it's selfish. Leave me alone.
Best Supporting Actor
Matt Damon, 'Invictus'
Woody Harrelson, 'The Messenger'
Christopher Plummer, 'The Last Station'
Stanley Tucci, 'The Lovely Bones'
Christoph Waltz, 'Inglorious Basterds'
I like that The Tuc is getting all these nominations. It's nice to know 'The Lovely Bones' had at least one redeeming quality to it. Let me be clear, here and now, that Christoph Waltz will win, and Christoph Waltz should win, and Christoph Waltz gave what is, for my money, one of the all-time great performances of cinema. I mean it. Watch it, Oscars. Don't fail me here.
Sandra Bullock, 'Blind Side'
Hellen Mirren, 'The Last Station'
Carey Mulligan, 'An Education'
Gabourey Sidibe, 'Precious'
Meryl Streep, 'Julie and Julia'
Oooooh, a real knuckle biter, this one. Honestly. Sandra Bullock keeps winning awards, but so does Meryl Streep. Carey Mulligan won't win, but her career has been made, provided she uses this momentum properly, and we'll be seeing her name many, many times in the future. This much I promise. Hellen Mirren thinks it's nice to be nominated, I'm sure, and she's still got Oscar for 'The Queen.' It comes down to a vicious three-way fight between Meryl, Sandra and Gabourney. Gabourney hasn't won many of the major awards yet, despite across-the-board praise, and that could work in her favour. On the other hand, Meryl Streep hasn't taken an Oscar home since the early '80's, believe it or not. On the third hand, this is the only time Sandra Bullock will ever be nominated for an Oscar. So she has that going for her. Well, that and a Golden Globe and a SAG Award. She has all those things going for her, too. Consider my arms thrown up.
Jeff Bridges, 'Crazy Heart'
George Clooney, 'Up in the Air'
Colin Firth, 'A Single Man'
Morgan Freeman, 'Invictus'
Jeremy Renner, 'The Hurt Locker'
Jeremy Renner was overlooked by the Globes, and it really bothered me. Without him, 'The Hurt Locker' wouldn't have worked. So he's where my personal choice goes, though George was great in 'Up in the Air.' He's a close second. Jeff Bridges is going to win, as a beloved veteran actor who's rarely appreciated in awards seasons. But wouldn't it be swell if Renner or Clooney won? It certainly would.
James Cameron, 'Avatar'
Kathryn Bigelow, 'The Hurt Locker'
Quentin Tarantino, 'Inglorious Basterds'
Lee Daniels, 'Precious'
Jason Reitman, 'Up in the Air'
I would ultimately be okay with this going to Cameron, under the strict, strict condition that he not take home Best Picture. I say this because it was an incredible job, arranging everything for 'Avatar' to function properly, and I'm not above awarding that accomplishment. Kathryn and Jason, however, should be the winners. There have been ties in the past at the Academy Awards. Wouldn't it be wonderful if they tied? They won't. James Cameron will win. But it, too, would be swell.
'The Blind Side'
'The Hurt Locker'
'A Serious Man'
'Up in the Air'
Let's start by getting rid of the films which certainly wouldn't have been nominated had it not been for the increased number of nomination slots. That kills 'The Blind Side,' 'An Education,' 'District 9,' and 'A Serious Man.' I'd have gotten rid of 'Up' as well had 'Beauty and the Beast' not set the precedent back in 1991 for Animated movies occasionally (re; twice) getting nominated for Best Picture.
This leaves us with 'Avatar,' 'The Hurt Locker,' 'Inglorious Basterds,' 'Precious,' 'Up,' and 'Up in the Air.' We can say with great confidence that 'Inglorious Basterds,' 'Precious,' and 'Up' will not win, though I may do flips if 'Up' wins. 'The Hurt Locker' and 'Up in the Air' were undoubtedly the two best movies made in the last year, with 'Up,' in my opinion, very close behind. I'd like it to go to 'Up in the Air,' but I think it needs to go, whatever that means, to 'The Hurt Locker.'
I can't say with as much confidence as I'd like that 'Avatar' won't win, but, honestly, it better not. That's a threat, Academy.
My Betting Ballet:
Best Adapted Screenplay: 'Up in the Air'
Best Original Screenplay: 'The Hurt Locker'
Best Animated Feature: 'Up'
Best Supporting Actress: Mo'nique, 'Precious: Based on the novel Push by Sapphire'
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, 'Inglorious Basterds'
Best Actress: Sandra Bullock, 'The Blind Side'
Best Actor: Jeff Bridges, 'Crazy Heart'
Best Director: James Cameron, 'Avatar' *
Best Picture: 'The Hurt Locker'
* I would love to be wrong. You don't even know.