Before I get started on my second annual attempt at predicting the Oscar winners, let's start with some background. As I stated last year, I don’t watch or rent movies anymore. I pretty much stopped watching movies/DVD's when Hollywood studios began trying to out “special effect” each other in order to overcompensate for bad writing and a lack of original ideas, a/k/a "the George Lucas syndrome."
My formula for predicting Oscar winners is based upon a combination of word of mouth, watching trailers/reading movie posters, and my own personal analysis of how Hollywood works. Am I ready to give this another shot? Yo soy!
The Academy created some controversy amongst the movie purists this year in electing to nominate 10 films for best picture instead of 5 in order to generate some extra ratings buzz. With a diluted field of nominees this year the Academy voters will be ranking their favorite films from 1-10 instead of voting for a single winner.
Fortunately, everyone involved in the voting process agrees that this was pretty much the best idea that the Academy has ever come up with. Now let's start out by eliminating some of the pretenders that are just happy to get an invite to the party.
1. The Blind Side: This is a feel good sports fluff piece, and the Academy hates feel good sports fluff pieces. The only sports flicks that the Academy likes are dark movies about boxing. Did you know that Rocky won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1976? Of course, Rocky II, III, IV & V are all reasons why the Academy is reluctant to ever give the Best Picture Oscar to a sports movie again. Million Dollar Baby is an exception because it fits the Academy's fish out of water formula, in that it had a beautiful girl playing a role where the lead character was using an unexpected medium in boxing to change the lives and perceptions of others.
2. District 9: District 9 is a science fiction film. You're about as likely to see the Academy give the Best Picture Oscar to a science fiction movie as you are to see Sarah Palin and Levi Johnston walking out of the Kwik-E-Mart with a bottle of tequila and a pack of condoms. Then again, there's always a chance.
3. Up: This movie seems to have been pretty well received on an artistic level. However, the fact that animated films have their own category gives the Academy a pretty easy bailout on this one.
4. and 5. Inglorious Basterds and Up in the Air: These nominations were just excuses for George Clooney and Co. to be a prominent features on the red carpet and at the after parties.
6. A Serious Man: An art house movie? Oooh. A black comedy? Ahhh. Directed by the Coen brothers? Thank you, come again.
7. An Education: I really don't know anything about this film, which is causing me serious doubts as to why I am eliminating it from contention.
8. Precious: I'm cutting Precious for no other reason than it comes to the Academy Awards as a Hollywood outsider. If Precious were a real person the Academy would fly her in and talk about how wonderful she was to make themselves look good in public, and then make fun of her by saying how tacky her outfit was the first time that she left the room to take a poop.
That limits the Best Picture field down to our two finalists, Avatar and The Hurt Locker. As a side story that the Academy could only have dreamed of, Avatar was directed by Hollywood mogul James Cameron, who is the ex-husband of The Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow. I've heard their rivalry described as "friendly," but trust me, there is no such thing as a friendly rivalry when it comes to ex-wives.
In order to determine the Best Picture winner, I was fortunate enough to obtain a copy of the Academy's official scoring ballot. Let's walk through that card and figure out who our winner is going to be:
1. Does the film utilize Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI)? If yes, subtract 10 points. (If the film used CGI and you are voting for the Golden Globes, then add 10 points).
-Avatar minus 10, The Hurt Locker 0.
2. Does the film employ a groundbreaking form of technology? If yes, add 5 points.
-Avatar minus 5, The Hurt Locker 0.
3. Was the film recognized for its artistic medium? If yes, add 10 points.
-Avatar minus 5, The Hurt Locker 0.
4. Was the film one of the highest grossing movies in the history of Hollywood? If yes, subtract 3 points.
-Avatar minus 8, The Hurt Locker 0.
5. If film's director has an ex-spouse who directed some of the highest grossing films in the history of Hollywood, then add 5 points.
-Avatar minus 8, The Hurt Locker 5.
6. Was the film critically acclaimed, yet a failure at the box office? If yes, add 5 points.
-Avatar minus 8, The Hurt Locker 10.
7. Was the film independently produced? If yes, add 3 points.
-Avatar minus 10, The Hurt Locker 13.
8. Did the film advance a liberal political message? If yes, add 5 points.
-Avatar minus 5, The Hurt Locker 18.
9. Did the film have a lead character who was gay (but only if portrayed by a straight actor) or mentally challenged? If yes, add 10 points.
-Avatar minus 5, The Hurt Locker 18.
10. Was the film's director Woody Allen? If yes, write the name of his film on your card and seal it in the envelope. If the film's director was James Cameron, add 3 points.
-Avatar minus 2, The Hurt Locker 18.
11. Was there a romance in the film that was or could have been socially frowned upon? If yes, add 10 points.
-Avatar 8, The Hurt Locker 18.
12. Did the story involve a role where the lead character was a "fish out of water?" If yes, add 5 points.
-Avatar 13, The Hurt Locker 23.
And in a surprising landslide win, the Oscar for Best Picture goes to The Hurt Locker!
Wow, talk about a turd with a new coat of paint! It sounds as if Jeff Bridges is the runaway choice to win best actor for his role in Crazy Heart, which one article that I read described as a reprise of "Dude" from The Big Lebowski - only with country music.
Leading candidate or not, I can't roll with that, nor does it fit the Academy's profile. George Clooney is not going to win the Oscar until he takes a roll outside of his image and comfort zone and blows us all away. Morgan Freeman has been there and done that, so I don't see him winning either.
I can't see The Hurt Locker taking home Oscars in two of the major categories, so I'm throwing Jeremy Renner out as well. Therefore, by process of elimination, the Oscar for Best Actor goes to Colin Firth for his role in A Single Man.
Sandra Bullock is supposed to be a favorite for her roll in The Blind Side, but like the favorite in the category for Best Actor I'm not buying it. I've watched the trailers for this movie and all I see is bubble gum and overacting. Hell, I write for a sports blog and I didn't even have any desire to see this movie.
As always, Meryl Streep will garner consideration for her role in Julie and Julia, which would probably be the one movie I'd want to watch of any of the Oscar nominated films. Unfortunately, I'm more interested in Amy Adams's role than I am in Streep's portrayal of Julia Childs.
So when it comes down to it, I think the Best Actress Oscar goes to Gabourey Sidibe as Precious, but only so George Clooney can walk her on stage under false pretenses to give an unsuspecting Sidibe a "Carrie" like moment as the audience watches in horror, and the Academy slyly exits stage left having delivered their message loud and clear to any and all Hollywood outsiders.