I'm going to be a part of an Oscar Party, as it were, next month, as the year's "finest" films are awarded for their fineness. I've inquired about whether one dresses up for such an event, as I was worried there was a good chance of blue nudity, but I have not heard back.
I haven't analyzed anything to any great degree yet, so a simple listing (and possible gut reaction) will have to suffice for the time being. Take none of these as my final choices when it comes to wagering time.
I'm 4-for-10 for seeing the Best Picture nominees (this is the first time in 40-odd years with 10 nominees instead of 5), and, from what I've seen, my gut points to District 9. It won't win, but it's the best film I've seen - Avatar is probably better directed but District 9 is a finer film.
James Cameron - Avatar
Kathryn Bigelow - The Hurt Locker
Quentin Tarantino - Inglourious Basterds
Lee Daniels - Precious: Based on the Novel Push By Sapphire
Jason Reitman - Up in the Air
Avatar will probably take home Best Picture, but I'm of the mindset that Cameron won't take home the Picture/Director pair. Having helmed the two highest grossing films in history, Cameron's turned into an even bigger dick than he was before. There is a lot of speculation that this will go to Bigelow and The Hurt Locker, which would rub it in to Cameron even more, as she was Wife #3.
Actor in a Leading Role
Jeff Bridges - Bad Blake, Crazy Heart
George Clooney - Ryan Bingham, Up in the Air
Colin Firth - George, A Single Man
Morgan Freeman - Nelson Mandela, Invictus
Jeremy Renner - SFC William James, The Hurt Locker
My initial reaction is that this will be a battle between Bridges and Freeman. I haven't seen either film, but I've heard nothing but good things about Jeff Bridge's performance in Crazy Heart, and how can someone not get serious consideration for playing Nelson Mandela?
Actor in a Supporting Role
Matt Damon - Francois Pienaar, Invictus
Woody Harrelson - Captain Tony Stone, The Messenger
Christopher Plummer - Leo Tolstoy, The Last Station
Stanley Tucci - George Harvey, The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz - Col. Hans Landa, Inglourious Basterds
Waltz deserves to win this award. The supporting actor awards can be kind of an Oscar version of "Breakout Star", so this one definitely fits. The only other movie of these five I've seen is The Lovely Bones, and while Tucci was excellent in it, he's far too creepy and the movie wasn't nearly good enough to earn him a statuette.
Actress in a Leading Role
Sandra Bullock - Leigh Anne Tuohy, The Blind Side
Helen Mirren - Sofya Tolstoy, The Last Station
Carey Mulligan - Jenny, An Education
Gabourey Sidibe - Precious, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
Meryl Streep - Julia Child, Julie & Julia
If not for All About Steve, this might have been locked up for Sandra Bullock. Unfortunately, the crapiness of that movie might taint the Academy's view of her apparently wonderful performance in The Blind Side. Still though, she must be considered the front-runner.
Actress in a Supporting Role
Penélope Cruz - Carla, Nine
Vera Farmiga - Alex Goran, Up in the Air
Maggie Gyllenhaal - Jean Craddock, Crazy Heart
Anna Kendrick - Natalie Keener, Up in the Air
Mo'Nique - Mary, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
Oh Lord, who knows? I haven't seen any of these. Farmiga and Kendrick will split the vote for Up in the Air, Nine was an ensemble picture - and not a very good one - and Jeff Bridges' performance in Crazy Heart could overshadow everyone else's performances. I guess that leaves Mo'Nique as the best choice.
Animated Feature Film
I always like to include the Animated Category, because it's usually easy points in any sort of a contest. In this case, it is beyond a no-brainer - Up is nominated for Best Picture, so there's no way it can't win Best Animated.
That's it for now, because I want to go home from work, and these will probably be amended as Oscar day gets closer, but for now, I hope you're sated.