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Friday, December 18, 2009

AND WE'RE HEADED FOR THE FIRST STRETCH: My preliminary guesses as to who will get Academy Award noms

The Golden Globe and SAG nominations have been released, which is the strongest indication of what films and actors are going to be nominated for Academy Awards. The Golden Globe gave even more impetus to Nine and Avatar, but just how well that will translate to Oscar nominations can’t be truly gauged until they open this week in L.A. SAG gave some leg up to Sandra Bullock (the Blind Side), Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker), Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones, he also got a Golden Globe nom) and Matt Damon (supporting for Invictus).

It should be noted that The Hurt Locker has reopened at the Vista in L.A. and the Road has reopened at the Nuart. Since …Locker is bound to get nominations as it is for picture, director and screenplay, the main beneficiary of this would be Jeremy Renner who is trying to get a best actor nomination. The Road just never really connected with the industry, so it’s hard to say whether this reopening will help it much. But it is being distributed by The Weinstein Company and one should never count them out. It should also be noted that this strategy was also tried for Bad Lieutenant and Bright Star, but I don’t think it’s going to help Nicholas Cage or the actors from Bright Star get noms.

Below is my present guess as to the nominations with ruminations. This list will change as movies open and buzz rises or dies.

Best Motion Picture

District 9

The Hurt Locker

Inglourious Basterds

Julie & Julia



A Single Man


Up in the Air

The doubtful ones right now are District 9 (since Avatar is also science fiction); Julie & Julia (which may get replaced by It’s Complicated); Nine (which may sink once it opens); Up (which may be done in by voters only putting it in the animation category, added to the fact that two other well received animated films opened, The Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Princess and the Frog, with The Princess… possibly pulling an upset and winning best animation). Some that may sneak in are The Messenger, A Serious Man, An Education, Star Trek (though the last is doubtful). Up in the Air is expected to win.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture

Emily Blunt, The Young Victoria

Helen Mirren, The Last Station

Carey Mulligan, An Education

Gabourey Sidibe, Precious

Meryl Streep, Julie and Julia

The most precarious here is Emily Blunt whose film is not opening with a lot of fanfare. This may mean that Marianne Cotillard may sneak in for Nine, even though she only has a supporting role. And of course, there's Sandra Bullock who is really gathering steam (she got a SAG nom). Meryl Streep is expected to win.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture

Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart

George Clooney, Up in the Air

Colin Firth, A Single Man

Morgan Freeman, Invictus

The fifth entry is the hardest to decide this year. But it should be among the following, Daniel Day-Lewis, Nine; Michael Stuhlbarg, A Serious Man; Matt Damon, The Informant!, with Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker possibly being the one if The Hurt Locker can work up a little more steam. It looks like Nicholas Cage is out of it.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

Marion Cotillard, Nine

Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air

Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air

Mo'Nique, Precious

Julianne Moore, A Single Man

If Marion Cotillard does get a best actress nomination, then Penelope Cruz could get in for Nine. Mo’Nique is suppose to walk away with it.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Pictur

Woody Harrelson, The Messenger

Christian Mckay, Me and Orson Welles

Alfred Molina, An Education

Christopher Plummer, The Last Station

Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

This is the expected list, but don’t be surprised in Alfred Molina or even Christian McKay are knocked out for Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones or Matt Damon, Invictus. Though this category often goes for a career award (which would mean Christopher Plummer), Christoph Waltz is suppose to walk away with it.

Best Animated Feature Film

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

The Princess and the Frog


This pretty much seems to be the category. I still think The Princess and the Frog will win.

Best Director - Motion Picture

Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker

James Cameron, Avatar

Lee Daniels, Precious

Jason Reitman, Up in the Air

Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

Since there are ten movies, this is a hard category to predict. Reitman is expected to win. Lee Daniels might get knocked out for, well, to be honest, I don’t know.

Best Screenplay - Motion Picture - Original

Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker

Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

Joel and Ethan Coen, A Serious Man

Harold P. Manning, Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Ian Martin, Tony

Roche, In the Loop

Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber, 500 days of summer

A tough category. Too many good, original screenplays. But In the Loop and 500 days could be knocked out for Pete Docter, Bob Petersen, Thomas McCarthy, Up; Alessandro Camon, Oren Moverman, The Messenger; and Nancy Meyers, It's Complicated (who is popular in L.A.). But if In the Loop can be nominated, it could win. Other than that, since the Hurt Locker won’t win best picture, but is the critics and cult favorite, it might win.

Best Screenplay - Motion Picture – Adapted

Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, District 9

Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air

Nick Hornby, An Education

Geoffrey Fletcher, Precious

Tom Ford, David Scearce, A Single Man

I suppose Nine or Julie & Julia might get in here, but this sort of looks like the line up at this point.

This list is subject to change, of course.

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