Oscars: My Picks

I'm not so good at making predictions, and my gambling record is a clear reflection of that (go Vikes!). However, I still have some opinions about how the Oscars will/should go and after tonight those ideas are going to be moot. So for without ado (or provocation), here are my picks for the best movies of 2009:

Best Actor:
I haven't seen A Single Man yet, but Colin Firth is a huge contender for an award for that film since he portrays a gay dude, and the academy seems to like that. In Crazy Heart, Jeff Bridges was almost completely unrecognizable as traveling country musician Bad Blake, so I am going to give it to him as my personal favorite.
My Pick: Jeff Bridges

Supporting Actor:
Stanley Tucci did a fantastic job portraying a sicko child molester in The Lovely Bones, and was argubaly the best thing about an otherwise boring movie. Unfortunatley, that might ultimatley work against him since his character was so despicable that it was hard to watch him on screen. He literally made me cringe. So I am going to have to give this one to Christopher Waltz, who played the also terrifying yet charming Hans Landa in Inglorious Basterds. That's a bingo.
My Pick: Christoper Waltz

Supporting Actress
I will admit that I didn't see The Blind Side (mostly because I felt like I didn't need to), and it's inclusion in this year's Oscars is a real head-scratcher. The only movie that I caught in this category was Precious, and if Gabourey Sidibe walks away with the award it would be absolutely amazing; however premature her Oscar may be. I have a feeling we won't see much more of Gabourey after this year. Also, I'll be really happy if I never have to type her name out again.
My Pick: Gabourey Sibide

Supporting Actress:
Both featured actresses from Up in the Air will competing against each other is this category, however neither of them were overwhelming enough to really deserve it, in my eyes. I've also never been impressed with Maggie Gyllenhaal, so I am definitely rooting or Mo'Nique with this one since she surprised a lot of folks, including me. Especially after being subjected to Soul Plane.
My Pick: Mo'Nique

Animated Feature Film:
Didn't see any of these, but I'm going to say, oh, Fantastic Mr. Fox. I heard good things about that one, and the visuals that I saw in the theatrical trailer were pretty impressive. Either that or Up, since this the category that it really belongs in.
My Pick: Fantastic Mr. Fox

Art Direction:
I don't know if massive CGI can be counted as “Art Direction,” if so, Avatar should definitely win. However, I was also impressed with the set pieces in Sherlock Homes and The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus. Still, I think Avatar will take this one.
My Pick: Avatar

The Hurt Locker is a major contender in this one. The shaky hand-held style was a tension-building character in itself and was one of the most noticeable things about the movie. One will have to consider how much computer animation should factor into this category for Avatar to be taken seriously.
My Pick: The Hurt Locker

Costume Design:
Parnassus all the way. That movie crazy.

As much as I loved Inglorious Basterds and the work of Quentin Tarantino, I think the Directing award should go to Precious. I thought some of the acting in Basterds was a bit cheesy and over the top, namely Brad Pitt's Waldo "The Apache" Raine. Precious was a great movie that would have fallen apart without competent direction to the actors and actresses.
My Pick: Precious

Sound mixing/Sound Editing:
I really don't know what these are for, so even though I have seen most of the movies that've been nominated for this category I can't call this one. However, I think Avatar is going to win most if not all technical categories that it has been nominated for, so I pick Cameron's sound people for both of these trophies.
My Pick(s): Avatar

Visual Effects:
Avatar. Duh.

Writing: (Adapted
I thought the dialogue from In the Loop was fantastic and am glad to see it nominated here. In the Loop is my pick for this category, with Precious as a close second. I'll be happy if either of them win.
My Pick: In the Loop

Writing (original):
Did I mention I love Inglorious Basterds? Well I did, yet I actually want to nominate another picture for this category, since the writing in Basterds wasn't as taut as it could have been. A Serious Man had some great dialogue accentuated by the deadpan delievery with which it was given. The Hurt Locker did a great job of adding dimensions and shades of light and dark to its characters, however the writing didn't jump out at me with that film. The Messenger, however, had some fantastic writing that took a daring look at the effects of war on not only the soldiers but they ones they love as well.
My Pick: The Messenger

Best Picture:
I saw Inglorious Basterds three times while it was in the theater and I definitely enjoyed it more than any other movie this year. However, I just don't see it winning unless the academy wants to make up their boo-boo of snubbing Tarantino's Pulp Fiction back in 1994. I also thought Precious was an amazing film, but it wasn't exactly the feel-good movie of the year and I don't think many people saw it. The main contest this years seems to be between James Cameron's Avatar, arguably the biggest movie ever even if only for the box office receipts, and his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow's portrayal of an american bomb-squad working in Iraq in The Hurt Locker. I think Hurt Locker is gonna take it. If Avatar's visually stunning yet hollow epic wins the Oscar for best picture it will only confirm how increasingly meaningless the academy's golden statuette really is. I'm not mentioning any other films because they aren't worthy of a mention and I personally believe they were added to the list just to pad out the nominee list to attract viewers. Another dirty trick from an academy which just loves to pull the old bait-and-switch.
My Pick: Hurt Locker
(My Hope: Inglorious Basterds)

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