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And the Oscar should go to...

BBC’s Tom Brook, an expert on international cinema, believes it will be a neck-to-neck competition between Avatar and The Hurt Locker this year.

india Updated: Mar 06, 2010, 19:36 IST
Nikhil Taneja
Nikhil Taneja
Hindustan Times

The Oscar AwardsThe year 2009 has been great in the choices in all the Oscar categories. There are 10 movies in the running for Best Picture for the first time in over 50 years, presumably because the Academy wants to bring more popular movies into the fold. Usually, most Oscar nominees are movies that the audience isn’t familiar with. That’s why you see popular blockbusters like District 9 and The Blind Side nominated this year too.

I don’t think any movie will sweep the awards this time. It will be a neck-to-neck compeition between Avatar and The Hurt Locker

On Best Picture

There’s a new, complicated voting system this year. Voters had to cast ballots for the top 10 movies in their order of preference. If any movie gets more than 50 per cent votes as first preference, it would win. But if none gets a majority, the second preference, and so on, will come into the picture.

That could mean that a movie like Inglorious Basterds, which would be the number two preference for many, could end up winning, if votes are split between Avatar and The Hurt Locker.

The Academy may also decide awards in a way that if Kathryn Bigelow wins Best Director for The Hurt Locker, Avatar will get the Best Picture Award. Personally, I think Avatar should win, because it took moviegoers into another realm with its technology, but The Hurt Locker has been championed by film critics, and since the Academy voters are aware of their image, they may endorse it.

The other movies don’t stand much of a chance. Up is the first animated feature to be nominated for Best Picture, and it’s an ingenious film, while Up In The Air is a very relevant movie.

I’d love to see either of them win, but the Academy has a resistance to certain categories like Comedy and Animation.

Even if Avatar wins, it will be the first sci-fi movie to win.

On Best Director

The Academy likes to be seen as socially progressive, and it’s good for the Academy’s image to give an Oscar to a woman. So, I think, Kathryn Bigelow will be a more appealing choice for the Oscars, rather than James Cameron.

Quentin Tarantino is unbelievably talented, but I think Inglorious Basterds has rubbed some people in Hollywood the wrong way by his portrayal of the World War. He’ll probably get an Oscar at a later stage in his career, like Martin Scorsese did.

On Best Supporting Actors

Both these categories are fairly predictable this year. Christopher Waltz, who played the ‘Jew hunter’ in IngloriousBasterds, wasn’t well-known, so everyone was amazed at his performance. Even though Christopher Plummer has been nominated for the first time in his 60-year career and another favourite of mine, Stanley Tucci, has been nominated, I think the force is with Waltz.

Mo’Nique should win The Best Supporting Actress Award for her spell-binding, performance in Precious. Both actors have won all awards leading up to the Oscars.

On Best Actor

I’m pretty confident that Jeff Bridges will win the Best Actor award for his fantastic performance as a country singer in Crazy Heart. He has never won before and this is his fifth nomination. In a way, it would be like a Lifetime Achievement Award. It does happen a lot that the Academy awards people for sentimental reasons sometimes. Like Martin Scorsese won his Best Director Award for The Departed not because it was his best movie, but as a reward for his career.

But in the case of Jeff, he deserves this year’s award. He’s showed off his acting skills in the right movie at the right point of his career and the award would be a celebration of his talent. George Clooney stands a thin chance, but I don’t see anyone else winning the award.

On Best Actress
It’ll be a tough call between Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side and Meryl Streep for Julie & Julia. Again, I think Sandra has the edge here because she’s a great actress and has been in the business for quite long but has never been nominated. The Academy may feel it’s time to reward her.

This is Meryl Streep’s 16th nomination, and I don’t see her winning this time. Helen Mirren was fantastic as the wife of Leo Tolstoy in The Last Station, and she may cause an upset. Gabourey Sidibe from Precious may deserve it as much as anyone else, but she’s a newcomer and the Academy is resistant towards such a thing.

Tom Predicts

Best PicturE:Avatar
Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker)
Best Actor: Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart)
Best Actress: Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side)
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Waltz (Inglorious Basterds)
Best Supporting Actress: Mo’Nique (Precious)
Best Original Screenplay: Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker)
Best Adapted Screenplay: Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner (Up In The Air)
Best Cinematography: Barry Ackroyd (The Hurt Locker)
Best Animated Feature:Up
Best Foreign Language Film:The White Ribbon – Michael Haneke (Germany)
Best Original Score: Michael Giacchino (Up)
Best Original Song: ‘The weary kind’ – Ryan Bingham and T-Bone Burnett (Crazy Heart)
Best Art Direction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg (Avatar)
Best Costume Design: Sandy Powell (The Young Victoria)
Best Visual Effects: Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum,Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones (Avatar)

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