Oscar Predictions- Duncan

Oh, snap. Time for some straight up prognosticating.

Spoiler alert: This is going to take a while. I have thoughts about all nineteen categories (the three short films, documentary feature and foreign language will not be appearing, since I have seen a grand total of… one of them. That would be the short that ran in front of Up).


District 9
The Hurt Locker
Star Trek
Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen

I’ll stick with the guild nominees from the Cinema Audio Society on this one. Big, loud picture always have the easiest route, and the box office for Avatanic, Star Trek, Transformers, and District 9 guarantee that the screeners got maximum exposure. Thought Pixar’s been a favorite, Up wasn’t really a sonically diverse film, and it was a step back from the inventiveness of Wall-E or the The Incredibles, so I think The Hurt Locker gets a token-war-film nomination (because Nine is so dismal it won’t get a token-musical nomination).

Sadly the infamous Kevin O’Connell will not receive a twenty-first nomination (without winning) for Public Enemies. He’s always my favorite Oscar subplot when he’s got a chance to end the streak. It would be pretty cruel if his former team on Transformers wins without him, though.



District 9
The Hurt Locker
Star Trek

I put in Up on the basis that it’s an animated film, which means all sounds were created from nothing, so I see it getting a nod for the creation of effects (rather than for the mixing of effects with sound recorded on-set). And I took out Transformers: Explodier and Incoherenter because it’s got the least buzz of all the films left, and because the mixing of the fx with recordings of real military crafts and such seems like the safer bet.


District 9
Star Trek

Also, remember when the first Transformers was nominated for special effects and everyone was sure it would win and then it didn’t? I’m not getting burned like that again. Thanks for playing, movies that aren’t Avatar. Enjoy hearing your names read at the Oscars.


The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus
Inglourious Basterds
Sherlock Holmes
The Young Victoria

Two films seem pretty safe: Victoria and Nine (despite the flop) are locked in, but the other three are anybody’s guess. So I ended up with three home-picks- Basterds’s designer has been nominated for WWII work in the past, and the final two did get Costume Designer’s Guild nominations.


District 9
The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus
Star Trek

Aliens, Gilliam-induced acid hallucinations, and more aliens.


District 9
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Inglourious Basterds
Sherlock Holmes

District 9 is my gutsy call here- though it did get a BAFTA nomination. The real question is Avatar- it seems inevitable, but this award is shared with set designers, and the votes haven’t been kind to green-screen work so far. But you can’t ignore $2 billion.


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
The White Ribbon

Sorry, Nine. You were the favorite until you crashed and burned. Bruno Delbonnel, of Amelie fame, steals the spot for his Harry Potter work, and the others came straight from the guild.


Alexandre Desplat, Fantastic Mr. Fox
Michael Giacchino, Star Trek
Michael Giacchino, Up
Marvin Hamlisch, The Informant!
James Horner, Avatar

Giacchino for Up is the sure winner, but he gets the twofer this year. Desplat has something like seventeen scores eligible, but Foxwas the best (and I don’t think AMPAS wants to nominate Twilight: New Moon for anything). Everyone was super-excited about Hamlisch returning to film scores after a decade, and Avatar continues to get in every categories’ business, even though Horner’s droning score is more of a sleep aid.


- “I Will See You”
Crazy Heart- “The Weary Kind”
The Princess and the Frog- “Almost There”
The Princess and the Frog- “Down In New Orleans”
Where The Wild Things Are- “All Is Love”

This category can bite me. Every year it makes no sense. I feel comfortable predicting that much like Bruce Springsteen last year, the voters will decide that the Oscar telecast doesn’t need a performance from U2 (Brothers) or Paul McCartney (Everybody’s Fine). My gut tells me they’ll either only nominate three songs again, or do the patented Disney-double-dip again and make everyone groan. Here’s hoping Randy Newman wins and gives everyone the finger.


Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs
Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Princess And The Frog

Though it’s excitingly the first year there will be five nominees in this category, it turned out to be rather easy to predict, with the winner even easier. Oh well.


District 9
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Up In The Air

This category normally mirrors the Best Picture heavies, but with a random action movie thrown in (like The Bourne Ultimatum that one time). I went with District 9 to take the place of Precious, and Inglourious Basterds to get a mention as well, despite missing the guild nomination.


District 9
An Education
In The Loop
Precious: Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire
Up In The Air

How rare is it for this category to only have two locks in it? Those would be Precious and Up In The Air, the surefire winner. The rest could go many places, from Fantastic Mr. Fox to Star Trek, or even Where The Wild Things Are.


(500) Days Of Summer
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds

Sorry, Coen brothers. I’m still not even clear why it’s in this category and not adapted, anyway, since A Serious Man was based on the book of Job, but hey, Avatar is just Pocahontas with new names. Summer takes the last spot among Best Picture nominees here.


Vera Farmiga, Up In The Air
Anna Kendrick, Up In The Air
Diane Kruger, Inglourious Basterds
Mo’Nique, Precious: Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire
Julianne Moore, A Single Man

Can we ever have a year when three of the four acting races aren’t clearly decided months before the ceremony? No?


Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
Anthony Mackie, The Hurt Locker
Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

Boom! Mackie’s going to pull a Michael Shannon and sneak in to this category. You read it here… maybe not first, but at some point. Mark it. The rest of the field is pretty set.


Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Helen Mirren, The Last Station
Carey Mulligan, An Education
Gabourey Sidibe, Precious: Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia

It’s not going to be long before someone edits all of the “Julie” portions out of Julie & Julia (much like how people edited Jar Jar Binks out of The Phantom Menace) and leave only Meryl Streep’s performance as Julia Child. But Sandra Bullock could deny her a third Oscar, though her win would feel like little more than a bone toss to The Blind Side fans, with their “values” and “decency” and other foreign things.


Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
George Clooney, Up In The Air
Matt Damon, The Informant!
Colin Firth, A Single Man
Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker

Let me just say, if Morgan Freeman gets in over Matt Damon, I’ll be pissed- because I feel like it shouldn’t happen, but many other places are predicting it will. But he was great in The Informant!- it was even one of those Oscar-type roles where you gain weight and act crazy.


Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Neil Blomkamp, District 9
James Cameron, Avatar
Jason Reitman, Up In The Air
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

Going for broke: Daniels out, Blomkamp in. There’s usually one DGA nominee that’s not in the category, and Daniels is number five on the list right now.


I’m going to do this in order of probability to win, with thoughts on each one.

1. The Hurt Locker

Hopefully it didn’t move to front-runner status a bit too soon, with more than a month for people to settle back into acceptance of Avatar’s inevitability. But how great would it be if the critics and AMPAS agreed on the best film of the year for once?

2. Avatar

Look, I was pretty upset last year when the academy decided it didn’t have to nominate The Dark Knight just because it made a ton of money. I suppose, however, that I can at least respect the attempt at integrity. But if they go ahead and reverse themselves and give Cameron little Oscars with 3D glasses on them, I am done. You hear me? Done*.

3. Up In The Air

Still not quite dead, the favorite from festival season is still the most traditional “Oscar picture” left in the race. And Clooney demonstrated with the Haiti telethon that his smile alone can get a whole lot done.

4. Inglourious Basterds

Tarantino’s film is a masterpiece, but it still had enough edge to keep it from the top of AMPAS’ lists, even though it seems relatively mild compared to something like Kill Bill. It’s only a matter of time before he makes his No Country For Old Men and is fully embraceable.

5. Precious: Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire

At one point it seemed like this year’s Slumdog, a small picture destined to ride a wave of white guilt to the podium. But after a little backlash, it seems to have lost steam to the point that Mo’Nique’s award is all it will get.

6. District 9

I seriously feel that this film will be the Nader to Avatar’s Al Gore, if you know what I mean.

7. An Education

Old-school Oscar film number two. Carey Mulligan and the screenplay have kept the profile high enough to keep it in mind.

8. Up

Hooray for animated films getting token respect. I liked Up as much as the next person, but was it better than Wall-E?

9. Star Trek
10. Crazy Heart

Yep, those are my last two. Yeah, that’s right- I’m predicting an across the board shut-out for BOTH A Serious Man and Invictus. No one seems to mention them at all.

We’ll see you back tomorrow with how the predictions went, and some counter-programming from Dave.


Avatar- 11
The Hurt Locker- 9
Inglourious Basterds- 9
District 9- 9
Star Trek- 6
Up In The Air- 7
Up- 5
Precious- 4
An Education- 3
Crazy Heart- 3
The Princess and the Frog- 3
Sherlock Holmes- 2
The Imaginarium Of Dr. Parnassus- 2
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince- 2
Fantastic Mr. Fox- 2
The Informant!- 2
A Single Man- 2
The Last Station- 2
A Bunch Of Others- 1

*This is not true. I'll never be done with the Oscars.

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