Friday, March 5, 2010

The Long Walk - Final predictions and a few thoughts.

I really don't have much to say at this point. Sunday is the Oscars, at which point we'll FINALLY know the winners, after what's been the longest, and quite honestly, ugliest Oscar season in years (damn Olympics). I do have a few things I want to point out. I think that the ten Best Picture nominees was successful in the nominations themselves, as it reflects a wide range of filmmaking. However, I think the ten nominees coupled with the impossibly complex and impure new system of preferential ballots was a disaster waiting to happen from the moment it was announced. This season has seen some of the most ugly campaigning in the last ten years (the worst since Saving Private Ryan vs. Shakespeare in Love back in 1998). The last-minute controversies and anti-Hurt Locker campaigning has raised more than a few eyebrows, but that's what happens when it's a horse race. When things aren't are inevitable as a Slumdog Millionaire, Return of the King, or Titanic, or even No Country For Old Men, you get ugly campaigning because the competition to the front-runners think they really have a shot

And why shouldn't they go for it? After all, the fact is, jobs are on the line here. For as much as people want to go after James Cameron for being a megalomaniac and difficult to work with, the people at Fox have honestly run the cleanest campaign of the season. Surprisingly enough, Cameron has never once presumed Avatar to be the front-runner. He isn't even trying to convince people to give him Best Director, he's telling them to vote for Kathryn Bigelow, who is not only his competition, but his ex-wife. On the other hand, when you have people like Harvey Weinstein declaring "We're going to win Best Picture" in his usual abrasive manner whilst campaigning for Inglourious Basterds, it rubs people the wrong way.

When voters feel like the result is inevitable, they vote with their hearts. And really, The Hurt Locker is the movie I see people calling their favorite film more often than any of the others. Sure Avatar and Inglourious Basterds have support, and for a moment there, I was actually beginning to think Inglourious Basterds had a good chance. But right now, despite controversies late in the game and a somewhat unsettling revelation that over 600 ballots (out of 5500 voting members, around 15%) were turned in on Tuesday, the last day of voting, I still think The Hurt Locker has the support to win. My hope is that people will vote with their hearts, not campaign-weary ears.

If Avatar wins, it would be wholly deserving. The film is a historic milestone in cinema. And people love it. The box office totals reflect that, at $712 million domestically and $2.555 billion worldwide. And it's a great film. Inglourious Basterds is an incredibly well written, well acted, well made film. Tarantino truly outdid himself, making the best and most mature film of his career, finally topping out his classic masterpiece Pulp Fiction. And the film is beautifully made. Handsome cinematography, sets, costumes, and unique vision. But The Hurt Locker just has all the right factors going for it right now. Earlier in the week, after having seen Avatar one last time (presumably) before it leaves theatres, my gut feeling was that the film could pull a last minute, and somewhat unprecedented (with no writing and acting nominations) Best Picture upset Sunday night. At the time, I said that my head was telling me that by all logic, based on enormous precursor support (including a big PGA upset), that The Hurt Locker would overcome last minute bad press and win Best Picture, but that my gut instincts were telling me that Avatar would win.

Since then, I've flipped (as I've been doing a lot on this issue) and began to feel that my instincts were telling me that The Hurt Locker would still win. Ultimately, I decided that The Hurt Locker is the film more people love and that it will pull through Sunday night. I see a couple of scenarios happening. First off, the only other category I'm so split down the middle on is Original Screenplay. Either Inglourious Basterds wins, or The Hurt Locker wins. If The Hurt Locker wins Original Screenplay, I'm 95% sure wins Best Picture. If it takes Original Screenplay and Editing, it wins Picture. If it wins more techs than most are predicting, like Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, Cinematography, or Score, it's winning Best Picture. However, if Inglourious Basterds wins Screenplay, I'm not so worried, but if The Hurt Locker loses screenplay AND Editing, it's in trouble, specifically if Avatar or Basterds take Editing.

My personal theory is that they'll split the difference and give The Hurt Locker Picture, Director, Editing, and maybe Original Screenplay, while letting Avatar sweep the techs. Ultimately, unless The Hurt Locker steamrolls a near clean-sweep (minus Best Actor), it's a nail-biter all night. But that's more exciting than usual. I just want a little more certainty, but I want some suspense at the same time. Sunday night can't come soon enough.

Anyways, here are my final predictions, which I'm likely to regret tomorrow morning and continue to worry about until the show is over, but you gotta take a stand at some point right? Feel free to share your thoughts, as well as your predictions!

Kevin's Final Oscar Predictions

Best Picture - The Hurt Locker
Best Director - Kathryn Bigelow
Best Actor - Jeff Bridges
Best Actress - Sandra Bullock
Best Supporting Actor - Christoph Waltz
Best Supporting Actress - Mo'Nique
Best Adapted Screenplay - Up in the Air
Best Original Screenplay - The Hurt Locker
Best Art Direction - Avatar
Best Cinematography - Avatar
Best Costume Design - The Young Victoria
Best Film Editing - The Hurt Locker
Best Makeup - Star Trek
Best Original Score - Up
Best Original Song - Crazy Heart
Best Sound Editing - Avatar
Best Sound Mixing - Avatar
Best Visual Effects - Avatar
Best Animated Feature Film - Up
Best Documentary Feature - The Cove
Best Foreign Language Film - The White Ribbon
Best Animated Short Film - Wallace & Grommit: A Matter of Loaf and Death
Best Live Action Short Film - The Door
Best Documentary Short - The Last Truck


elizagolightly said...

I like your breakdown. I think you're right about The Hurt Locker. I will understand if Avatar wins, however, pissed to high hell about it, but I will understand. I really just want this to be Bigelow's year. I want The Hurt Locker to win, and I want many more people to see it that haven't until perhaps they hear about it from the Oscars tonight.

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