If I'm a self confessed tragic in anything, it has to be this: I love the Oscars. I'm not sure entirely what it is that makes them so compelling, maybe its just the perfect culmination of all my tragic loves; films, fashion, celebrities and reality TV-esque competition. As you may be aware, tomorrow is Oscars day, so a we speak you can almost hear to pitter patter of celebrities feet scrambling around making sure the clothes are ready, doubling checking the hairdresser appointment, scrawling acceptance speeches that get thrown in the bin and practicing their losing faces... except for Monique. She probably doesn't need to.
There's a really fascinating article in the Good Weekend in yesterdays Sydney Morning Herald from a journalist who follows the intense campaigning that happens every year to get nominated and then win an Oscar. The conclusion is comes to is that Oscars can't be bought per say, but it helps if the studio backing the nominee has the funds for a "A Night With Jeff Bridges", showcasing his career to Academy members. It also appears that to make it to the Kodak theatre stage, you can't just act well, winning an Oscar has to be the final chapter of story, whether thats a comeback, bright new talent or most commonly "it's their time".
By following these campaigns, as well as the precursor awards, favourites emerge as well as the dark horses behind them making me over giddy with excitement in predicting who wins. My Mum's work used to run an Oscar bet, where staff put in five bucks each and whoever guessed the most winners at the Oscars won all the money. They don't do it anymore after my Mum *cough*me*cough* won in a landslide three years in row. I follow the Oscar race far more than is healthy. That being said, here are my predictions.
Best Picture: The Hurt Locker
Why? Had a strong critical success all year. Topical, and possibly the first actually decent film about the Irag war. All the branches of the Academy have recognized it some way so far, even if it's just nominations, but it's had its fair share of wins too, especially where it counts the most. The story of a Kathryn Bigelow being the first woman to win Best Director is carrying over into this category too. Plus, the film is incredibly well made an thoroughly deserves to in my opinion.
Dark Horse: Avatar
Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker
Why? First and foremost, if there's a more tightly and expertly directed film released in the 2009 season, I'm yet to see it. No woman has ever won the award before and people are calling "It's about time!". There's also an absurd rumour that people are wanting her to win over her ex husband, none other than Avatar director James Cameron, I say it's just a rumour, but hey, who knows, where there's smoke.
Dark Horse: James Cameron for Avatar
Best Actor: Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart
Why? He's earnt it apparently. He's been nominated many times but never made it all the way to having the Oscar is his hands. The role is pure Oscar bait, he's an alcoholic, musician, with a redemptive character arc. Perfect meat for the academy to chew on.
Dark Horse: Colin Firth - A Single Man
Best Actress: Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side
Why? In a matter on weeks, through sucessful campaigning she blind sided (pun fully intended) ever Oscar tracker, and became America's sweetheart. The film made a lot of money, which seems to help and it's apparently a real heart warmer. Despite never being nominated, she's had a long career and people are recognising that. The fact that she has an accent, big hair and her role is showy also helps her. She carries a film also nominated for Best Picture. She shouldn't get too confident though, her category is probably the most likely to recieve an upset.
Dark Horse: Meryl Streep for Julie and Julia. But they all have a chance apart from Mirren. The nomination was her reward.
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz for Inglorious Basterds
Why? He's been the one to beat ever since he recieved glowing reviews and a best actor award at the film premiere at the Cannes film festival. Almost every award on the awards circuit has gone his way, and tomorrow night will be no different. He's in a Best Picture winner. Not to mention the fact he's fantastic. Funny and menacing all at once.
Dark Horse: None. The other nominees shouldn't bother writing speeches.
Best Supporting Actress: Monique for Precious
Why? Her role as Mary in Precious is such a memorable and meaty role for an actor and Monique doesn't let it go to waste. She's shockingly fantastic in every moment. The fact that in real life she is such a juxtapostion and an established comedian helps greatly. Similarly to Waltz she's been the name on everyones lips since the films debut, but this time at the Sundance film festival and has almost every award out there possible to win.
Dark Horse: None. She smashes to competition and she doesn't even need a TV.
Best Adapted Screenplay: Up In the Air
Best Original Screenplay: Inglorious Basterds
Best Editing: The Hurt Locker
Best Cinematography: The Hurt Locker
Best Art Direction: Avatar
Best Costume Design: The Young Victoria
Best Makeup: Star Trek
Best Visual Effects: Avatar (Biggest lock of the night)
Best Original Score: Up
Best Original Song: 'The Weary Kind' from Crazy Heart
Best Sound Mixing: Avatar
Best Sound Editing: Avatar
Best Animated Film: Up
Best Foreign Film: The White Ribbon
Best Documentary: The Cove
Best Short Film: The Door
Best Animated Short: Wallace and Gromit: A Matter Of Loaf and Death
Best Documentary Short: The Last Truck
Of course these aren't the films I WANT to win for the most part. If it was up to me, The Fantastic Mr Fox, Bright Star and An Education which feature more prominantly. And as you can tell, doing the "Why" and "Dark Horse" thing got tedious quickly.