The glitz! The glamor! The hype! The wretched excess! Yes, friends, it’s that time of year again, time for Hollywood to make itself feel even better than it does on most days, the 2010 Academy Awards are here! And while Oscar-”worthy” films aren’t our usual “thang” here at TFG, your host does enjoy the awards not so much for the ceremony itself and the nauseating sight of Hollywood spending hundreds of millions of dollars to tell itself how great it is while, you know, 90-plus percent of the world starves, but because a couple of my very best friends always throw a terrific Oscar party that’s become one my absolute favorite annual traditions as it provides a chance to catch up with old friends I don’t see often enough, take in the spectacle of the show with fellow cynics, eat some unhealthy food, get a little buzzed, and usually, in my case, win a few bucks in the traditional Oscar pool. And since this is the first year I’ve been here on WordPress at Oscar time (I think I started this blog last April), I thought I’d publish my predictions on here for posterity. Or something. So, without further ado, here are TFG’s best bets for the winners at the 2010 Academy Awards —
Best Sound Mixing — “Avatar.” James Cameron’s ludicrously expensive and amazingly overrated spectacle will win pretty much all the technical awards.
Best Sound Editing — “Avatar.” James Cameron’s ludicrously expensive and amazingly overrated spectacle will win pretty much all the technical awards.
Best Live Action Short — “Kavi.” I haven’t seen any of the films nominated, but this is supposed to be a mini-”Slumdog Millionaire.” That’s probably good enough for the Academy.
Best Documentary Short — “The Last Truck: Closing Of A GM Plant.” In truth, “China’s Unnatural Disaster:The Tears Of Sichuan Province” seems to be getting the most buzz and could well win, but I just don’t think that in these turbulent economic times Hollywood can pass on the opportunity to pretend it gives a fuck about ordinary working Americans that giving the award to “The Last Truck” would give them. They feel our pain, you know?
Best Animated Short — “A Matter Of Loaf And Death.” Most Academy voters don’t see these things and usually give it to the one with the most clever title.
Best Makeup — “Star Trek.” The Trek franchise has been a cash cow for Hollywood for years and here’s a chance to give it a cursory little nod while still letting it know it’s not able to play with the grown-ups in the major, “serious” categories. Trekkies/Trekkers/whatever-the-hell-they-call-themselves-these-days were pulling for it to get a nomination in the laughably-expanded Best Picture field, but the Academy declined. They’ll throw them a bone here and figure everyone can walk happy.
Best Art Direction — “Avatar.” Not a technical award per se, but James Cameron’s ludicrously expensive and amazingly overrated spectacle is just that, spectacle. And spectacle wins in this category.
Best Costume Design — “The Young Victoria.” British period costume dramas usually win this category.
Best Cinematography — “The Hurt Locker.” In point of fact, “The White Ribbon” deserves to win this and very well could — I may even break from my published predictions and pick it in the Oscar pool tonight just to make things interesting — but I can tell you from historical experience that the most worthy nominee usually doesn’t get this one, it usually goes to the best-shot film that’s nominated for Best Picture.
Best Editing — “The Hurt Locker.” A breakneck-paced film with lots of impressive cuts and jarring action, this is one technical award I’m guessing “Avatar” won’t take home. The editing really makes “The Hurt Locker” what it is, the script is flimsy and the acting is good, but entirely one-dimensional.
Best Original Song — “The Weary Kind” from “Crazy Heart.” The Academy loves this flick and wants to give it more than one Oscar, and this category gives them their best chance to do that.
Best Original Score —Likewise, the Academy would love to look magnanimous and inclusive by giving Pixar’s latest soulless, by-the-numbers money press an award besides Best Animated Feature, for which it is, of course, a lock, and this category gives them their best chance to do that.
Best Documentary Feature — “The Cove.” Personally speaking, I’d love to see “Food Inc.” win in this category, but taking on global agribusiness requires guts, and taking on the slaughter of dolphins doesn’t. We all know which way Hollywood goes if given the choice to be brave or to be safe, so I think “The Cove” is pretty much a given here.
Best Foreign Film — It hasn’t opened here in town yet, but “Un Prophete,” a strong dark horse contender here, is really supposed to be quite a flick. I don’t think its late push is enough to dislodge Michael Haneke’s “The White Ribbon” from its early front-runner status, however.
Best Animated Feature — “Up.” Pixar owns this category lock, stock, and barrel, and while they have some strong competition this year from the likes of “Coraline” and “The Fantastic Mr. Fox,” at the end of the day Hollywood knows which side its bread is buttered on, and will fork this award over to the guys who keep the cash flowing in.
Best Adapted Screenplay — “Up In The Air.” Let’s be honest, “Precious” deserves it, but Jason Reitman is the latest supposed next big “auteur” director, and the Academy really wants to give this movie something. Early on this was a Best Picture favorite, but it’s lost its steam there and will probably walk away with this one as consolation.
Best Original Screenplay —”Inglourious Basterds.” No snide commentary here, Tarantino wrote a heck of a script that deserves to win and probably will.
Best Supporting Actress — Mo’Nique for “Precious.” No serious competition whatsoever, this is hers to lose.
Best Supporting Actor — Christoph Waltz for “Inglourious Basterds.” No serious competition whatsoever, this is his to lose.
Best Actress — Sandra Bullock for “The Blind Side.” I haven’t seen this sanctimonious pile of shit and don’t intend to, but Bullock seems to have a slight edge over her nearest competition, Meryl Streep, and the most deserving nominee, Gabourey Sidibe. Hollywood loves a story that says there’s nothing wrong with the lives of poor black people that rich white people can’t fix in ways that don’t involve, you know, actually raising taxes on these bastards to give some of it to the poor, and this is their chance to give this unexpected mega-blockbuster a pat on the back for coming out of nowhere and fattening up the Tinseltown coffers. Hell, they’d probably love to be able to give this thing Best Picture, but they need to maintain some semblance of credibility even though they have none, everyone knows they have none, and they know everyone knows they have none. It’s just one of those things.
Best Actor — Jeff Bridges for “Crazy Heart.” A decent little flick with a fine performance by a great actor who’s deserved it ten times over, although maybe not for this film. Still, it’s his time, as the saying goes, and hey, the fact he even does his own singing in the movie impresses the fuck out of the Academy. They should have given him the nod about fifteen years ago for another “Heart” movie, though — “American Heart.” Awesome flick, check it out sometime if you haven’t seen it.
Best Director — Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker.” Here’s where the hyped “Avatar”- vs. -”The Hurt Locker,” Bigelow- vs. -Cameron “issue” gets “resolved.” But first, let’s be honest about something. The whole argument about a “quality” film taking on a megalithic Hollywood blockbuster, the whole David vs. Goliath scenario we’re being sold on? It’s all bullshit, because even though we all know “Avatar” isn’t very good, the truth is that “The Hurt Locker” isn’t, either. It’s a typical, tedious testosterone-fest that somehow manages to be set in the midst of the most controversial war since Viet Nam yet offer no commentary on that war whatsoever. That’s almost as amazing accomplishment in and of itself, when you think about it. I couldn’t make an apolitical movie about Iraq if I tried, and neither could most anyone else. Bigelow pulls it off, though, and if she deserves a prize it’s for sheer gutlessness. That being said, it’s still slightly better than “Avatar” because, well, most anything is. The fact that this film was directed by a woman is what’s getting it all the buzz, that’s just a fact. If it was directed by an old male action movie workhorse like Richard Donner or John Badham or Renny Harlin (or, for that matter, Brian DePalma, who actually gave us far and away the best Iraq war film, “Redacted”) or something, we wouldn’t even be talking about it at this point. Bigelow didn’t prove that women can be great film directors — that’s already been proven a million times over. She just proved that a woman can make a movie that you would guess was directed by a guy. Which has also been proven many times over. But she’s gonna win an Oscar for it here. Whatever. It’s an important historical first that’s long overdue, sure — but Christ, it’s just a shame that it’s going to her for this. It’s nowhere near as good as countless other films directed by women, and in fact isn’t even nearly as good as the earlier work of Bigelow herself. But again, whatever.
Best Picture — “Avatar.” And so the “epic battles” ends with a draw, of sorts — Bigelow gets the Best Director nod for “The Hurt Locker,” allowing Hollywood to congratulate itself for finally recognizing a woman in the category, and “Avatar” gets Best Picture. Oh, sure, there’s a chance “The Hurt Locker” will win this — it’s won all the”mid-major” pre-Oscar awards, after all, and those usually set the table for the Academy’s decision by letting them know what it’s “okay” or “safe” to vote for — but shit, people, this is still Hollywood. James Cameron just handed them their biggest fucking money-maker of ALL TIME. That trumps all other considerations, and your host predicts that the members of the Academy will, in the end, simply not know how NOT to give this award to “Avatar.” It should come down to something else besides that, I suppose, but like I just said, this is Hollywood. Not only is it best not to expect too much, it’s best not to expect anything at all.
Anyway, enjoy the Oscars if you’ll be watching them, and if you happen to be reading this sometime after the awards, feel free to officially brand me as either a genius or a fool in your mind, as I’ll surely have proven myself to be one or the other depending on how things shake out this evening.