Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Awards drama finally ends Sunday night

HOLLYWOOD -- Look for “Avatar” to clean up in the technical categories, but does the highest grossing film of all time still have enough flight left in it to win Best Picture at Sunday night’s 82nd annual Academy Awards ceremony?
Consensus out here is split, since “The Hurt Locker” – critically acclaimed but barely seen – has been collecting recent “best” hardware from bellwether voters in the Producers, Writers and Directors guilds, to name just a few. (Of course, there’s also the e-mail adventure that resulted in one of its producers getting banned from the Big Show.)
A little extra suspense is added this year anyway with 10 movies nominated in the top category. Better -- or maybe worse yet -- a complex new ballot procedure may confuse voters, who were asked to rank nominees from 1 to 10 for the first time, too.
Some argue that the intricacies of the officially called “single transferable vote” -- which we won’t get into here – easily could make it possible for “Inglorious Basterds” and even a darkhorse such as “An Education” to move into the competitive mix. It has been reported that the traditional voting was changed so the victorious film would be assured to win with more than a conceivable 11 percent (of the final total) in a 10-film field.
Regardless, even with Best Picture still a bit of a guessing game, the four acting Oscars likely will follow the leaders in every glitzy competition since the Broadcast Film Critics Association officially started this awards season by handing out their Critics Choice trophies way back on Jan. 15. And, it says here, the Oscars will go to:
Best Picture – “The Hurt Locker” (and justifiably so); Best Director – Kathryn Bigelow, “The Hurt Locker” (“Avatar” helmer James Cameron will smile politely at his ex-wife’s win from the appreciative audience).
Best Actor – Jeff Bridges (shown above), “Crazy Heart” (take it to the bank); Best Actress – Sandra Bullock (at right), “The Blind Side” (only Meryl Streep might stop her, but Streep’s “Julie & Julia” is not a Best Picture nominee and Bullock’s movie is).
Best Supporting Actor -- Christoph Waltz, “Inglorious Basterds” (with a performance running the gamut from frightening to comical); Supporting Actress – Mo’Nique, “Precious” (followed by another very emotional acceptance speech).
Best Original Screenplay -- Mark Boal, “The Hurt Locker” (though I’d love to see the Coen Brothers sneak in with “A Serious Man”); Adapted Screenplay – Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner, “Up in the Air” (the lone likely win for a film that peaked much too soon).
Best Animated Feature – “Up” (and away from the rest of the field); Best Documentary Feature – “The Cove” (in a very weak year for docs).
Best Score – Michael Giacchino, “Up” (though Hans Zimmer certainly deserves something for the zing he brought to “Sherlock Holmes”); Best Original Song – “The Weary Kind,” Ryan Bingham, “Crazy Heart” (and what’s going on with this mostly tone-deaf category the last few years?)
Best Foreign Language Film – “A Prophet” (please just remember I never claimed to be one, particularly in this anything-goes group).
(Check out Awards Daily for a complete ballot.)


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