My Oscar picks.
In addition to expanding the field from five films to ten, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has instituted an Instant Runoff Voting system. Leaving aside the merits or flaws of this system, it’s a provocative decision that could result in a big night for The Hurt Locker. Like its director James Cameron, Avatar is a very polarizing film, which means when offered the option to rank films by preference – which is what you do with IRV – instead of voting for a single film, Avatar might not be everybody’s all American, thus allowing The Hurt Locker, which is likely to be everyone’s favorite first runner up, to snag the top prize.
Having swept many of the directing awards, including the BAFTA, it seems likely she’ll snag this one too. The film is well received, she hasn’t pissed off too many academy voters and she makes movies that straight dudes like. I am a huge fan of her work, with Strange Days and the two parter “Fallen Heroes” from season six of Homicide: Life on the Street being my favorites. That said, I am not under any illusion her win will usher in powder pink Perestroika for women filmmakers or signal the collapse of the male dominated movie industry. Bigelow makes action movies, favors hand held cameras and jump cuts. So I do feel conflicted over her nomination because it reinforces the whole idea of there being women’s stories and then real stories and only those real stories – ones about men, war or power – are worth telling. But, hey, you gotta dance with the one who brung ya!
This is The Dude’s year! After seeing the reaction Bridges received during his Golden Globe acceptance speech, I became pretty convinced he was going to be nominated and win the Best Actor Oscar. The only person who could jostle The Dude’s White Russian is Colin Firth, but unless some new shit comes to light, I really can’t conceive of that happening. This is a beloved actor from an acting family who has given stellar performances throughout his lengthy career. Am I wrong?
For some reason I thought Bullock was on that same island where they’re keeping Meg Ryan and where Rachel McAdams is going when she turns forty. Apparently not! The movie – The Blind Side – is riddled with all kinds of -ism fail, but it’s the kind of showy role the academy loves to see its leading ladies do. With all the subtlety of a trumpet fart in church, Bullock has taken a page from the Julia Roberts (Erin Brockovich), Shirley MacLaine (Terms of Endearment) and Cher (Moonstruck) How-to-win-an-Oscar play book.
Best Supporting Actor
Like Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive and Lou Gossett Jr. in An Officer and a Gentlemen before him, Christoph Waltz leveraged his charismatic megalomania for a shot at Oscar gold. He’ll get it too. The academy loves them some over the top supporting performances and oddly enough, it is this award and not the Lead Actor award that generally catapults its winner onto the A-list. Before The Fugitive, me and like Mama Lee Jones were like the only people interested in TLJ’s career.
Best Supporting Actress
While I hesitate to curse the incomparable Mo’Nique with this dubious award, I’m pretty certain she’ll get it. Like the “Best New Artist” Grammy, this award is a career killer. Mary Steen-who? If it doesn’t render you unemployed, it at least renders you irrelevant as an actress. There are a few notable exceptions, but for the most part, it’s probably better NOT to win this. Fat, Black women have done well in this category, both as noms (Whoopi and Queen L) and J-Hud won it. Of course, what are they doing now acting wise? It certainly does not do for women, what the equivalent award does for men. Still, the academy loves seeing minorities give poverty pr0n or shuck and jive performances, particularly if it seems (to the academy anyway) to be drawn on some personal experience.
Please note: these are the folks I think will win and in many cases aren’t necessarily the folks I think should win