The time has come. The hour is upon us. The red carpet is ready for Louboutins. I'm hoping to go 24/24, but I'll be happy with 20 correct predictions. Looking forward to a fun show with hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, and praying that The Ten Experiment pays off for the underdog/frontrunner. Without further ado, here are The InSneider's FINAL 2010 Oscar Predictions. You can thank me later.
Avatar - 30%
The Blind Side - 1%
District 9 - 1%
An Education - 1%
The Hurt Locker - 40%
Inglourious Basterds - 10%
Precious - 5%
A Serious Man - 1%
Up - 1%
Up in the Air - 10%
WILL WIN: THE HURT LOCKER - If it wins, it'll be the lowest-grossing Best Picture winner ever, but it has been steamrolling through the pre-cursors and should reap the rewards of the preferential voting system. Forgive the pun, but it'll come down to the wire.
COULD WIN: AVATAR - The highest grossing movie of all-time also helped usher Hollywood into a new technological age. It's a bona fide worldwide sensation, but its detractors may be too loud to overcome on Oscar night.
SHOULD WIN: THE HURT LOCKER - Without question, it was the best movie of the year, with characters you actually manage to care about. The most suspenseful film of the last decade and a great, edge-of-your-seat war film to boot.
HOW DARE THEY NOMINATE: A SERIOUS MAN OVER A SINGLE MAN. Why do people keep drinking the Coen Brothers' Kool-Aid? Even when it's good, it's still unsatisfying. A Single Man had feeling where A Serious Man had only self-loathing and contempt. Just spare me next time, OK?
Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker - 60%
James Cameron, Avatar - 30%
Lee Daniels, Precious - 2%
Jason Reitman, Up in the Air - 1%
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds - 7%
WILL WIN: KATHRYN BIGELOW - She'll be the first female filmmaker to win the award, and it's about damn time.
COULD WIN: JAMES CAMERON - Even I recognize what Cameron accomplished with Avatar. It's a milestone in cinema. But his ex-wife will almost certainly have the last laugh.
SHOULD WIN: KATHRYN BIGELOW - She put me right there, in the suit with Jeremy Renner, and her movie knocked my socks off. She deserves it.
HOW DARE THEY NOMINATE: NEVERMIND. I can actually live with this slate of nominees, although TOM FORD (A Single Man) or MARC WEBB (500 Days of Summer) would've been nice...
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart - 80%
George Clooney, Up in the Air - 5%
Colin Firth, A Single Man - 5%
Morgan Freeman, Invictus - 0%
Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker - 10%
WILL WIN: JEFF BRIDGES - He was legitimately great in Crazy Heart, but this is more of a Lifetime Achievement Award than anything else. Everyone in Hollywood has worked with him and loves him accordingly though, so expect him to take the stage tonight.
COULD WIN: JEREMY RENNER - Gave an explosive performance in the year's most admired movie. He anchored The Hurt Locker and if there's an upset waiting to happen in this category, it'll be Renner who ascends to the podium.
SHOULD WIN: COLIN FIRTH - Gave the single-best performance of the year in A Single Man. Lost a lot of momentum to Bridges and never recovered in the race. It's a shame.
HOW DARE THEY NOMINATE: MORGAN FREEMAN OVER ADAM SANDLER (Funny People) and ROBIN WILLIAMS (World's Greatest Dad). That's right. These guys actually put themselves out there and did something different for a change. Freeman as Mandela sounds nice on paper but it wasn't nearly as compelling as we all imagined it would be.
Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side - 40%
Helen Mirren, The Last Station - 0%
Carey Mulligan, An Education - 15%
Gabourey Sidibe, Precious - 15%
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia - 30%
WILL WIN: SANDRA BULLOCK - This race is between Bullock and Streep, and I think America's Sweetheart Sandy has this one in the bag. The Blind Side had my bitch-ass in tears throughout, but those glistening drops of saltwater weren't because of Bullock's world-class emoting or anything like that. I thought her performance was better than it had any right to be, and she definitely impressed me, but it paled in comparison to Julia Roberts' fiery turn in that other 'true story,' Erin Brockovich. Still, this is Bullock's Oscar to lose and I understand why.
COULD WIN: MERYL STREEP - The Godmother of the Oscars was very good as Julia Child, making an otherwise mediocre film not only tolerable, but downright enjoyable. That said, to reward her for Julie & Julia over her turn in last year's Doubt would be as unspeakable a crime as the one at the center of the latter film. Surely, I'm making a bad joke, but seriously, to put Julie & Julia in the history books with Sophie's Choice and Kramer vs. Kramer would be as funny as any joke in that half-good movie.
SHOULD WIN: GABOUREY SIDIBE - To be honest, the best performances in this category belonged to the newcomers, Sidibe and Mulligan, and if the Academy had any balls at all, they'd put Sidibe up on that stage. Mulligan was the young, pretty darling of the Oscar season, but Sidibe's performance was the one that stuck with me and challenged my preconceptions the most. Mo'Nique wasn't alone in those nightmarish scenes. We felt for that girl, Precious, and that's due to the skill, grace and complexity of Sidibe's startling performance.
HOW DARE THEY NOMINATE: HELEN MIRREN OVER ZOE SALDANA (Avatar), by default. I haven't seen The Last Station so I won't bother arguing for or against Mirren's performance. I've heard she's as excellent as her reputation implies, outshining even Tolstoy/Dr. Parnassus himself, Christopher Plummer. But Saldana was the heart and soul of Avatar, if Avatar in fact had a soul. Her motion-captured performance is the finest I've yet seen birthed in that medium. I could feel the humanity and sensitivity in Neytiri thanks to her. In the $400 million world of Pandora, she's what stood out.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Matt Damon, Invictus - 0%
Woody Harrelson, The Messenger - 5%
Christopher Plummer, The Last Station - 5%
Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones - 0%
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds - 90%
WILL WIN: CHRISTOPH WALTZ - He managed to be alternately terrifying and hilarious as The Jew Hunter in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. He's as good a lock to win as the Lakers. As a lifelong Celtics fan, I'm ashamed to admit I just wrote that. Or did I?
COULD WIN: WOODY HARRELSON - Showed a sensitive side beneath his tough military man exterior in The Messenger, and had a solid commercial year with Zombieland and 2012, but he's no match for Waltz.
SHOULD WIN: CHRISTOPH WALTZ - Somebody pour this guy a delicious glass of cold milk already!
HOW DARE THEY NOMINATE: MATT DAMON OVER ANTHONY MACKIE (The Hurt Locker). Seriously, that is the biggest travesty of this year's nominations. Damon made for one of the least-inspiring sports team captains I've ever seen, and his accent was In 'N Out like the fast-food joint. It was a complete shock to hear his name last month, and to ignore Mackie's contribution to The Hurt Locker is a slap in the face to that film. Rant over.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Penelope Cruz, Nine - 0%
Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air - 2%
Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart - 1%
Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air 2%
Mo’Nique, Precious - 95%
WILL WIN: MO'NIQUE - She totally let herself go for the role and embraced the nastiness of her character. Straight up, Mo'Nique deserves this Oscar. Four years ago, after seeing Lee Daniels' Shadowboxer, I would've bet One Meeeeeelllion Dollars that I'd never type that sentence in my lifetime, but here we are, and I for one, am happy as hell for this voluptuous woman.
COULD WIN: VERA FARMIGA - She's building up quite a resume but even if Mo'Nique weren't such a dominant force, she'd probably fall victim to a split vote with co-star Anna Kendrick.
SHOULD WIN: MO'NIQUE! Clap your hands everybody! Now everybody clap your hands!
HOW DARE THEY NOMINATE: MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL OVER MELANIE LAURENT (Inglourious Basterds) AND MARION COTILLARD (Nine/Public Enemies). How do you steal not one but TWO! movies and still manage to go unnoticed? Crazy Heart was a one-man show and Gyllenhaal was fairly miscast. I didn't leave the theater thinking about her, and she should've been snubbed along with Julianne Moore (A Single Man) accordingly.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
The Hurt Locker - 40%
Inglourious Basterds - 30%
The Messenger - 5%
A Serious Man - 5%
Up - 20%
WILL WIN: THE HURT LOCKER - Most web pundits have argued that this is the closest race of the night, but if The Hurt Locker is really as beloved as it seems, I don't see how even Quentin Tarantino, who has already won this award for Pulp Fiction, mind you, can derail that freight/gravy train. Boal worked his ass off and literally put his life on the line to write that script. How do you not honor that kind of commitment?
COULD WIN: INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS - If anyone is going to steal Boal's Oscar, I want it to be Quentin, whose script managed to reinvent World War II and make a rag-tag group of Jewish soldiers look positively bad-ass.
SHOULD WIN: THE HURT LOCKER - The Hurt Locker couldn't be the Best Picture of the year without an Oscar-worthy screenplay, now could it?
HOW DARE THEY NOMINATE: A SERIOUS MAN OVER 500 DAYS OF SUMMER. The Clint Eastwood myth is not real. The Academy doesn't go for everything the guy does. They're WAY too busy going for everything the Coen Brothers do. I mean, are you shitting me? A Serious Man was a what-the-fuck kinda movie, as in, a movie you walk out of saying to your friend/date/whoever, 'what the fuck was that?' This is a Best Picture nominee with a 10-minute Yiddish prologue. 500 Days of Summer spoke to my generation. The generation that was raised thinking we'd find love like some dork on a sitcom, or in a movie. We were sold a pack of lies, and 500 Days of Summer exposes the sad, ugly truth. There may not be such a thing as a soulmate, and we might have to deal with that at some point. It doesn't mistake practicality for cynicism. If anything, it promotes realism, and what that means to two people looking at their relationship from two very different perspectives.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
District 9 - 5%
An Education - 15%
In the Loop - 5%
Precious - 25%
Up in the Air - 50%
WILL WIN: UP IN THE AIR - Has been losing altitude but I'll go with the safe landing and pick the writing non-team of Reitman and Turner to win the gold.
COULD WIN: PRECIOUS - Has maintained its momentum throughout the season, to the point where I could see an upset, but something tells me Fletcher is too much of a newcomer here to knock off Reitman.
SHOULD WIN: UP IN THE AIR - Think of it as a consolation prize for being relegated to the bench in the Best Picture discussion.
HOW DARE THEY NOMINATE: DISTRICT 9 OVER A SINGLE MAN. All due respect to District 9, which I generally liked but thought was remarkably overpraised/overrated, but who left District 9 talking about the script. I loved the ending and I'll grant its enthusiasts that, but for me, District 9 didn't reinvent the wheel of anything. Anyone who had been following Hollywood for the past few years couldn't have been THAT surprised by its 'surprise' success. A Single Man used words like daggers. It was a screenplay with soul, that was responsible for the best performance of the year, bar none (Colin Firth's). Again, this race is between Up in the Air and Precious. The former has been losing altitude while the latter has maintained its momentum throughout the season. I could see an upset, but I'll go with the safe landing and pick the writing non-team of Reitman and Turner to win the gold.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Coraline - 5%
Fantastic Mr. Fox - 15%
The Princess and the Frog - 5%
The Secret of Kells - 5%
Up - 70%
WILL WIN: UP - It's the only animated nominee with Best Picture and Best Screenplay nominations. 'Nuff said.
COULD WIN: FANTASTIC MR. FOX - Its late surge actually came too early, and Clooney/Streep were too busy campaigning for their other movies. An Adapted Screenplay nom would've helped, and its other nomination, for Best Original Score, won't be enough to help pull off the upset.
SHOULD WIN: FANTASTIC MR. FOX - Up was great for 20 minutes and forgettable for the next 70. Fantastic Mr. Fox had more charm in its protagonist's tail than that talking dog had in his. Don't get me started on this one.
HOW DARE THEY NOMINATE: Who cares? Pixar wins. The fix is in and the Academy is down with Up.
Burma VJ - 5%
The Cove - 60%
Food Inc. - 20%
The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers - 10%
Which Way Home - 5%
WILL WIN: THE COVE - A great documentary that actually managed to make the world a better place. Oscar is going to swim with The Cove team this year, and rightfully so.
COULD WIN: FOOD INC. - Food Inc. wasn't half the documentary The Cove was, and sadly, I think that's its main competition.
SHOULD WIN: THE COVE
HOW DARE THEY NOMINATE: ANYTHING BESIDES THE COVE OVER ANVIL: THE STORY OF ANVIL. The Anvil! documentary was awesome and if you haven't seen it, you had to add it to your Netflix queue or rent it from your local video store before they go out of business. It embodied the American dream. Come to think of it, I think the Oscars would've benefited from an Anvil performance.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Ajami (Israel) - 5%
The Milk of Sorrow (Peru) - 0%
A Prophet (France) - 30%
The Secret in Their Eyes (Argentina) - 35%
The White Ribbon (Germany) - 30%
WILL WIN: THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES - A Prophet and The White Ribbon are the two best-known films and thus, the front-runners, but The Secret in Their Eyes has been getting rave revieWs, and could pull off the upset. We'll see when Quentin opens that envelope...
COULD WIN: THE WHITE RIBBON - Michael Haneke's confusing bit of ominous German business might've rubbed some voters the wrong way.
SHOULD WIN: A PROPHET - A truly great prison movie that might be a tad too violent for the prudish Academy.
HOW DARE THEY NOMINATE: N/A. I didn't seen enough foreign films this year, outside of horror movies on DVD. Let's just be thankful that THOSE don't get nominated for Oscars and move along peacefully, shall we?
BEST ART DIRECTION
Avatar - 60%
The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus - 15%
Nine - 0%
Sherlock Holmes - 25%
The Young Victoria - 0%
WILL WIN: AVATAR - They designed a new world, and that's pretty cool.
COULD WIN: SHERLOCK HOLMES - Victorian London looked pretty gnarly.
SHOULD WIN: THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR. PARNASSUS - Gilliam's movie was a nightmare but it looked like a wonderful dream.
HOW DARE THEY NOMINATE: WHO CARES? This category bores the shit out of me.
Avatar - 30%
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - 0%
The Hurt Locker - 35%
Inglourious Basterds - 15%
The White Ribbon - 20%
WILL WIN: THE HURT LOCKER - Ackroyd's work was masterful and put you right in the sweat-soaked middle of Iraq.
COULD WIN: AVATAR - There were some some gorgeous shots, especially of Jake Sully flying. The fact that some voters won't be able to separate its computerized contributions could hurt it.
SHOULD WIN: THE HURT LOCKER - Cinema verite at its finest.
HOW DARE THEY NOMINATE: HARRY POTTER 6 OVER A SINGLE MAN. The cinematography in A Single Man is both brilliant and breathtaking, with the camera's color filters changing in accordance with George's disposition. I didn't see Harry Potter 6 but did it really look all that much nicer than Harry Potter 4 or 5. I doubt it...
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Bright Star - 20%
Coco Before Chanel - 20%
The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus - 10%
Nine - 10%
The Young Victoria - 40%
WILL WIN: THE YOUNG VICTORIA - Because the Academy loves Sandy Powell and Emily Blunt is a bigger movie star than Abbie Cornish.
COULD WIN: BRIGHT STAR - Janet Patterson is well liked in the industry, but was the movie?
SHOULD WIN: N/A. I only saw Nine and Dr. Parnassus and neither of those were particularly Oscar-worthy in any regard.
HOW DARE THEY NOMINATE: ALL OF THOSE OVER INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS. I haven't seen the girly movies on this list like Bright Star, The Young Victoria or Coco Before Chanel, but I truly loved the costumes on display in Inglourious Basterds, especially Brad Pitt's white tuxedo and Melanie Laurent's red dress. Va-va-voom, Shoshanna!
Avatar - 35%
District 9 - 0%
The Hurt Locker - 45%
Inglourious Basterds - 10%
Precious - 10%
WILL WIN: THE HURT LOCKER - The movie is all about creating suspense and tension, and the editing is what ratchets those up to almost unbearable levels.
COULD WIN: AVATAR - Did Avatar even have an editor?
SHOULD WIN: THE HURT LOCKER - If it wins early in the night, it's a good sign that The Hurt Locker will also win Best Picture.
HOW DARE THEY NOMINATE: DISTRICT 9 OVER STAR TREK. I relished the editing in Star Trek, which seemed to move at light-speed and certainly felt like the fastest movie of the year. I actually loved Dana Glauberman's work in Up in the Air, too. Didn't love District 9 but at least it wasn't 3 hours like some other overrated sci-fi movie on this list. The Precious editing is a love-it-or-hate-it thing but I respect its inclusion in this category, as it married some ugly images that were nonetheless profound within their unfortunate context.
Il Divo - 20%
Star Trek - 70%
The Young Victoria - 10%
WILL WIN: STAR TREK - With no District 9 to compete with, this one should be a cakewalk.
COULD WIN: IL DIVO - The Academy loves its old-age makeup.
SHOULD WIN: STAR TREK - Those Romulans were far out, dude!
HOW DARE THEY NOMINATE: When I start crying about Make-Up awards, unplug my laptop and delete my life, OK. Star Trek takes this one for giving Eric Bana pointy ears.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Avatar - 15%
Fantastic Mr. Fox - 5%
The Hurt Locker - 15%
Sherlock Holmes - 20%
Up - 45%
WILL WIN: UP - Giacchino delivered a memorable, fanciful score that made its silent opening sequence pure cinematic joy.
COULD WIN: SHERLOCK HOLMES - Hans Zimmer is a beloved veteran, and his twangy Sherlock score brought a unique flavor to that film.
SHOULD WIN: UP - Don't question it, just go with it.
HOW DARE THEY NOMINATE: Avatar over A SINGLE MAN. Abel Korzeniowski was robbed! The guy composes maybe the lushest musical score of the year and he can't even crack the top 5, nor can Marvin Hamlisch, who came out of retirement to do the witty score for The Informant!. They even denied Giacchino a dual nomination by ignoring his work on Star Trek, which boldly reinvented that theme and kept that film propelling that blockbuster from one set piece to the next. Oh well... the Academy will make it up to him with an Oscar for Up.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Crazy Heart - 'The Weary Kind' by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett - 75%
Nine - 'Take It All' by Maury Yeston - 5%
Paris 36 - Loin de Paname by Wagner/Thomas - 0%
The Princess and the Frog - 'Almost There' by Randy Newman - 10%
The Princess and the Frog - 'Down in New Orleans' by Randy Newman - 10%
WILL WIN: 'The Weary Kind' from CRAZY HEART - The song drives the movie, and it's a good song too. How unusual!
COULD WIN: 'Down in New Orleans' from THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG - When New Orleans is involved, anything is possible. Remember the Super Bowl?
SHOULD WIN: 'The Weary Kind' from CRAZY HEART - It's the only song I've heard but I dug it so I will it well.
HOW DARE THEY NOMINATE: N/A. I'm just relieved that 'Stu's Song,' Ed Helms' ridiculous piano-driven ditty from THE HANGOVER, didn't get nominated.
BEST SOUND EDITING
Avatar - 50%
The Hurt Locker - 25%
Inglourious Basterds - 5%
Star Trek - 10%
Up - 10%
WILL WIN: AVATAR - Avatar is a good bet anywhere below-the-line.
COULD WIN: THE HURT LOCKER - The Hurt Locker will challenge Avatar everywhere below-the-line, except for Visual Effects, of course.
SHOULD WIN: N/A. I don't know enough about sound to have an opinion, but another Hurt Locker win sounds pretty good to me.
HOW DARE THEY NOMINATE: N/A. The nominees and I have reached a peaceful understanding.
BEST SOUND MIXING
Avatar - 40%
The Hurt Locker - 35%
Inglourious Basterds - 5%
Star Trek - 10%
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - 10%
WILL WIN: THE HURT LOCKER - Whoa! I'm predicting a split in the sound categories! Crazier things have happened...
COULD WIN: AVATAR - Coulda, woulda, shoulda and probably will, but I like to be a contrarian.
SHOULD WIN: N/A. My opinion on sound is moot. Hoping the Academy 'mixes' it up, and gives The Hurt Locker team another Oscar to add to its tally.
HOW DARE THEY NOMINATE: N/A. If I'm OK with it, you're OK with it. Although Transformers 2 was a true piece of shit and no one who worked on it has any business being inside the Kodak on Oscar night. This is all about that dude, Greg Russell, who gets nominated every year and has the same number of Oscars as I do. ZERO! Though one could make the case that because I worked as a production assistant on The Departed for one day, that I share in its Best Picture win.
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Avatar - 98%
District 9 - 1%
Star Trek - 1%
WILL WIN: AVATAR - The single biggest lock of the night, even more so than in the acting categories. Changed the way movies are made. Consolation prize for losing Best Picture to The Hurt Locker... I hope.
COULD WIN: N/A
SHOULD WIN: AVATAR
HOW DARE THEY NOMINATE: For shits and giggles, I'll say DISTRICT 9 OVER 2012. But really, I could give a shit. I just thought 2012 had some sweet, End of the World CGI-mayhem, while none of the visuals in District 9 had me doing backflips on the way out of the theater.
SHORT CUTS: I haven't seen any of these 15 films so these predictions are just total shots in the dark.
BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
French Roast - 20%
Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty - 10%
The Lady and the Reaper - 0%
Logorama - 25%
A Matter of Loaf and Death - 45%
WILL WIN: Logorama - The Academy has to be sick of Nick Park's Wallace and Gromit series by now, right?
COULD WIN: A Matter of Loaf and Death - Then again, who doesn't like Wallace and Gromit?
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILM
China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province - 30%
The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner - 5%
The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant - 40%
Music by Prudence - 5%
Rabbit a la Berlin - 20%
WILL WIN: The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant - Timely and decidedly American.
COULD WIN: China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province - Emotional subject matter with far-reaching implications.
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
The Door - 25%
Instead of Abracadabra - 5%
Kavi - 25%
Miracle Fish - 40%
The New Tenants - 5%
WILL WIN: Kavi - Because I like the name. Sue me.
COULD WIN: Miracle Fish - Because trusted prognosticator Scott Feinberg (And the Winner Is...) is predicting this one.
Post your predictions in the comment section below, and if you beat The InSneider, I'll see to it that you win a prize to be named later! Enjoy Oscar night and GO HURT LOCKER!