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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I Want it Naked, Hard and Golden

On Feb. 2, Anne Hathaway will announce the nominations for the 2010 Academy Awards, and the 2010 Oscar race will hit the closing stretch. Which means it's time for us to make our official predictions.

It's getting easier and easier to do this. Many years ago, there weren't nearly as many awards shows televised, and our 24 hour news society wasn't as celebrity-obsessed as it is now, so come Oscar night, there were many surprises when the envelopes were opened. Not now. By the time the Golden Globes, the SAG Awards, the Producers Guild and the Directors Guild Awards have been handed out, it's almost a lock to know who will win the naked, golden man. Remember that the SAG, Producers Guild and Directors Guild voting members are the same people who vote for the Oscars, so, duh, they give their hands away with those earlier awards shows. So with that said...

Best Supporting Actress:
The "Up in the Air" women will be nominated, and probably Diane Kruger from "Inglorious Basterds", and maybe another long shot, (someone from "Nine"?), but this one's a lock for Mo'Nique in "Precious". You can take this one to the bank. It's done. They've already inscribed her name on the trophy.

(mo'nique in "precious")

Best Supporting Actor:
Somebody from "The Hurt Locker" will get a nomination, and maybe Robert Duvall from "Crazy Heart" for sentimental appeal, and almost certainly Stanley Tucci from "The Lovely Bones", but this one also looks like a sure thing for Christoph Waltz from "Inglorious Basterds". As with Mo'Nique, he's won every award leading up to the Oscars.

(christoph waltz in "inglorious basterds")
(sandra bullock in "the blind side")

Best Actress:

The nominations will include Meryl Streep for "Julie and Julia" and Gabourey Sidibe for "Precious", but we hate to say it, this looks like the year for Sandra Bullock from "The Blind Side". It's another "Julia Roberts' Oscar year", which means Sandra will win, not for the strength of her performance, but because Hollywood and the public has had a long-standing love affair with her, but she's alway made light-weight, fluff movies which never garnered critical praise. But this year she put on an accent, changed the color of her hair and acted in some scenes in which her character glared hard at others and acted like a "forceful woman", and the Oscar voters will eat it up. These are the type of award annointments which erode what little credibility the Oscars have left; sentimentality and popular appeal rule the day, instead of critically meaty acting performances. Meryl Streep might surprise, but we doubt it.

Best Actor:As with the Best Actress category, this one's not a lock, but it's looking pretty good for Jeff Bridges from "Crazy Heart". Bridges is another Hollywood favorite who's long paid his dues with little to no glittering hardware to show for it, but in his case, as opposed to Sandra's, by all accounts, Bridges seems to have actually turned in a gritty, meaningful, deserving performance. Plus, as Oscar loves the Julia Roberts/Sandra Bullock roles where nice girls put on push-up bras and kick some ass, Oscar loves it even more when actors grovel in their own emotional vomit as washed-up down-and-outers. Robert Duvall won his Oscar for playing a country singer character very similar to Bridges'. George Clooney will get a nomination for "Up in the Air", but it's most likely Jeff Bridges' year.
(jeff bridges and robert duvall in "crazy heart")
Best Picture:
This one, of the major categories, is about the only toss-up. Almost certainly the major contenders will be "District 9", "Up in the Air", "Precious", "Inglorious Basterds", "The Hurt Locker" and "Avatar", but we're not sure who'll take it. We're guessing it might be "Avatar", which would be painful for us considering that we dislike science fiction films, and we certainly hate the egomaniac that is director James Cameron. But Hollywood seems almost afraid not to reward the big, epic, huge money-making crowd pleasers, i.e. "Titanic", "Lord of the Rings", etc. Don't hold your breath, though, "The Hurt Locker" could pull off the upset.

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