Thank God awards season is almost over, since we can only take so much Ryan Seacrest and Joan Rivers squawking away on the red carpet. We’ve seen heavyweights like the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild go down in a blaze of glory and gossip, but of course they’re nothing compared to the granddaddy of all awards shows, the Oscars. We here at A&E like to throw down bets just as much as the next person, so here’s who we’d like to see take home the trophies.
Kara says: This award should go to charming ingénue Carey Mulligan, who is enchanting in her star-making turn in “An Education.” But it probably won’t, which means the statue will end up in the hands of Sandra Bullock for her chicken-fried turn in “The Blind Side.” Forgive me if I’m wrong, but highlights and a Southern accent do not a Best Actress make. I’m still sore about Abbie Cornish being snubbed for “Bright Star.”
Tony says: The simple fact that Sandra Bullock is even nominated for Best Actress says a lot about the validity of the Academy Awards, but that’s another matter. As — ahem — precious as it would be to see Gabourey Sidibe win the gold, I’m going to go with Helen Mirren. A) She’s already got an Oscar under her belt and B) At 65 years old, she’s a stone-cold cougar.
Local director Chris Strouth says: The Academy does like underdog actresses in breakout roles, so it could be Gabourey Sidibe. But then Sandra Bullock’s role in “The Blind Side” has been super buzzed since before it came out. In my mind it’s a toss up between those two. Sure, there’s a slight chance for Meryl Streep, but she already has two. Three might be a tad gauche.
Kara says: I have a soft spot for movies about washed-up and timeworn troubadours, so even the trailer for “Crazy Heart” makes me cry. My vote’s for Jeff Bridges. I generally find Colin Firth brilliant in everything except “Mamma Mia!” and wouldn’t mind him stealing it for Tom Ford’s “A Single Man,” but I might be fashion-biased.
Tony says: With his grizzled nonchalance and drunken machismo, Jeff Bridges seems like a lock for Best Actor. Still, it was not too long ago that Sean Penn ripped ol’ Osckey-boy from Mickey Rourke’s leathery grasp. Here’s hoping The Dude has better luck.
Chris Strouth says: Jeff Bridges seems the best bet for best actor. The movie has a buzz, and it seems like after 10 nominations over 30 years, it’s about damn time.
Star Tribune movie critic Colin Covert says: I think it’d be a huge upset if anyone other than Jeff Bridges won Best Actor. He’s got so many things going for him. It was an outstanding performance, no question about it, but it’s also the latest in a very distinguished body of work. He has always been consistently good. He’s a well-liked person who’s probably going to benefit from that. It’s his turn. Jeremy Renner did a very good job in “The Hurt Locker,” and upsets are possible.
Best Supporting Actress
Kara says: It is a universally acknowledged truth that this award will go to Mo’nique for “Precious.” She won the Globe and the Screen Actors Guild Award, so do the math. The Academy is predictable.
Tony says: Again, there’s a lack of talent in the pool, which makes Mo’nique the best bet. She’s an absolute psychopath in “Precious,” and something about psychos just rubs Academy voters the right way. (See: “Monster.”)
Chris Strouth says: Mo’Nique, since “Precious” is sort of the anti-”Slumdog Millionaire.” It’s the feel bad movie of the year and she is the other breakout in it — I think it’s hers to lose.
Best Supporting Actor
Kara says: The trophy for Best Supporting Actor has Christoph Waltz’s name written all over it. Even my mom was freaked out and amused by his sadistically charming Colonel Hans Landa. I was pleasantly surprised to see the delectable Stanley Tucci nominated for “The Lovely Bones,” a movie that was generally ignored/panned by critics.
Tony says: If Christoph Waltz doesn’t win, there should be rioting in the streets. His performance as Landa is as creepy as it is strangely comedic, and he’s got a joie de vivre that’s refreshing in comparison to his Hollywood competition.
Chris Strouth says: The only reason it wouldn’t be Christoph Waltz would be an act of God. I mean did you see the movie? Tucci was too creepy; no one saw “The Messenger” and Matt Damon is a strong contender, but in a field crowded with names, I think it belongs to the unknown.
Best Animated Feature Film
Kara says: During the course of “Up,” I cried (a lot) — about four times. It usurped all other Pixar movies in my heart forever, so since it won’t win Best Picture, it should win Best Animated. From the whiskers on Carl’s face to the impeccable sound editing to the vibrant colors, it’s perfect.
Tony says: This might be the closest category of the whole ceremony. “Coraline,” Henry Selick’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s masterpiece, is a worthy choice for its macabre visuals and its masterful use of 3-D technology and “Up” could win for its simultaneously tragic and heartwarming story, helped by Pixar’s unmatched track record. But as a Wes Anderson devotee, I’d like to see “Fantastic Mr. Fox” win. The stop-motion photography is so intricate that it makes “Gumby” look like a third grade production, and the all-star cast — featuring George Clooney and Meryl Streep, two current Oscar nominees — pushes this film into the realm of the sublime.
Kara says: Everyone knows by now that at one point, nominees James Cameron (“Avatar”) and Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker“) were married. What “Us Weekly“-worthy drama will ensue if she wins over him! But she won’t, because even though Cameron basically remade “Ferngully,” I have a feeling that he’ll grab another award for “Avatar.” If Bigelow wins, which is unlikely, she’d be the first woman in Academy history to do so. If we’re putting money on it, my dollars go to Cameron, though of course I’d love to hear Quentin Tarantino’s slightly unhinged acceptance speech.
Tony says: Isn’t it about time that that Frankenstein monster Quentin Tarantino took home the prize? Yeah, chances are that James Cameron’s going to win it, but “Inglourious Basterds” shows Tarantino at his directorial peak. Killing Nazis has always been fun, but never has it looked so good.
Kara says: Let’s have a look-see at some of the contenders in this newly-expanded category. We’ve got two emotional heavy-hitters, “Precious” and “The Blind Side,” two films with the word “Up” in the title (“Up” and “Up in the Air”), a Minnesota movie courtesy Coens (“A Serious Man”) and
a retro piece starring the deliciously sexy Peter Sarsgaard (“An Education”). Then there’s an alien movie (“District 9“) and a war piece (“The Hurt Locker”). Cross your fingers that “Avatar” doesn’t nab the Best Picture Oscar and that Quentin Tarantino’s epically awesome Nazi-killing “Inglourious Basterds” swoops in instead.
Tony says: It would be a real treat if “Avatar” didn’t win, just because it would add some semblance of legitimacy to the Awards. Sure, “Avatar” is dazzling and fun to watch, but eye candy doesn’t merit an Oscar win. “Inglourious Basterds” might be imperfect, but the bar scene alone should win Best Picture.
Chris Strouth: Personally I like “Avatar,” because it really upped the ante on what filmmaking can be. That said, I doubt it will win. My money is on “Precious.” Films like that don’t come along often enough, and when they do, they rarely make that kind of connection with the public.
Colin Covert says: It’s probably a 50/50 split between “Avatar” and “The Hurt Locker.” “Avatar” is greatest financial success of all time and “The Hurt Locker” has just barely made its money back. It would really say something about the art house versus the multiplex if “Hurt Locker” won. I think it’s only slightly likely, but likely, that “Avatar” will win because in so many ways, it pushes the concept. Here’s a possible future for the movies, let’s take it in this direction.
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