Generation Film’s Oscar Picks

These are not meant to be what I feel should win, but rather an assessment from previous awards given to films and what the Academy might award this season. So here are my picks for all of the 24 categories. If you want to challenge any of the picks feel free to do so.

Best Picture: The Hurt Locker- This intensely suspenseful independent action film is a leap forward into modern war filmmaking. Not only are there sympathetic and multi-faceted characters that carry the film through a minefield of palpable fears and suspense but The Hurt Locker also allows for a kinetic experience to be embodied through its finely tuned direction. This is an art house film that truly takes risks but stays true to a long line of films that have original stories, characters, and relatable situations. Having secured the Producer’s Guild, the BAFTA, and the Critics Choice awards for Best Picture, it would be unfortunate if it lost its winning streak now since it rightfully deserves the award.

Best Achievement in Directing: Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker)- Only the fourth woman to be nominated for the prestigious award she has been an intriguing filmmaker throughout her career. Utilizing the best of all technical opportunities and bringing in a cast of relatively unknown actors, the film makes the situations seem real, felt, and understood, which is evidence of a filmmaker who has matured.

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart)- While my choice would have been Colin Firth for A Single Man, it is a guarantee that Jeff Bridges will win this year seeing as how it is his fifth nomination. His performance was incredibly good and deserved the nomination no doubt. It will be good to see him rightfully obtain an award he so willingly has earned throughout his 40 year career.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds)- The best part of this sadistic twist on the World War II film, Waltz shines as a demented Jew Hunter who is not only good at his job, he takes pride in it. Using four different languages fluent while mixing humor with dedicated exuberance, Christoph Waltz has already won the Golden Globe, SAG, and BAFTA so it would be a shoe in for him to win the Academy Award this year for his memorable performance.

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side)- Far from the pick that deserves the award since Carey Mulligan and Helen Mirren both gave much better performances this year, it seems as though the emotional tide has sided with Sandra Bullock for her efficient performance in The Blind Side. It’s a feel good film and a decent one at that, but the performance wasn’t as soul searching or as finessed as any of the other actresses in the category.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Mo’Nique (Precious): Already has won the Golden Globe, BAFTA, SAG, and numerous other awards (Independent Spirit) so it’s a shoe in that this actress will win for her hauntingly damaged performance of an abusive mother.

Best Original Screenplay: Mark Boal for The Hurt Locker- Would have originally stated Inglorious Basterds but the tide turned when the Writer’s Guild awarded journalist Mark Boal for his incredibly detailed script for The Hurt Locker. They are the same voters who award the Academy Award so it is a 90% chance that they will give the same award to the same person. Usually anything the Coen Brothers do (A Serious Man) should be awarded, but its The Hurt Locker’s year.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner for Up in the Air- Another script that was awarded by the Writer’s Guild, it’s difficult to imagine anything else winning unless the other glorified adaptation Precious sneaks through. While I believe An Education should be the winner for Nick Hornby’s delightful adaptation, it will go to the expected winner of the year Up in the Air.

Best Achievement in Cinematography: Christian Berger for Das Weisse Band- Originally I would have thought The Hurt Locker would have won considering it was shot with 16mm cameras in a 100:1 ratio, making the images extremely potent. However, the Cinematographer’s Guild just awarded the beautifully shot White Ribbon the grand honor for Christian Berger’s enchanting black and white cinematography. Some keep saying Avatar should win cinematography but the art of making the image reinforce the films tones is definitely more resonant in Michael Hanake’s emotionally diverse The White Ribbon.

Best Achievement in Editing: Julian Clarke for District 9– A long time ago I learned a trick when picking the best editing award and that is if any film has more than one editor nominated you can basically count them out. Only three of the five films this year had one editor on board to cut the entire picture, they are Inglorious Basterds (Sally Menke), Precious (Joe Klotz), and District 9 (Julian Clarke). Out of these three it is District 9’s fast paced and complex narrative makes for a difficult piece to make coherent in cutting the images and was done masterfully by Julian Clarke.

Best Achievement in Art Direction: Rick Carter, Robert Stromberg, and Kim Sinclair for Avatar- While I personally felt that The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus had a more unique presentation of design for buildings, location, and world; it is a shoe in that Avatar will win the Art Direction award for its digital moon of Pandora.

Best Achievement in Costume Design: Sandy Powell for The Young Victoria- Period pieces always win.

Best Achievement in Make Up: Barney Burman, Mindy Hall, and Joel Harlow for Star Trek- Not much competition here for this science fiction blockbuster.

Best Achievement in Music (Original Score): Michael Giacchino for Up- No other score rivals the beauty and fun that remarkable composer Michael Giacchino concocted for this marvelous animated feature.

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing: Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson, Tony Johnson for Avatar- This was a hugely successful technical film for the fields of sound and special effects so Avatar should secure sound mixing.

Best Achievement in Sound Editing: Michael Silvers and Tom Myers for Up- I’m going out on a limb with this one since Avatar does have a chance in taking this, but Up had a unique delivery of editing sound. Safety pick would be Avatar but I’m going to trust my gut on this one and pick Up.

Best Achievement in Visual Effects: Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham, and Andy Jones for Avatar- Did anyone not see this coming?

Best Animated Feature: Pixar’s Up- No other film has matched its originality, intriguing characters, or beauty as a film.

Best Foreign Language Film: Das Weisse Band (The White Ribbon)- France’s A Prohpet has a chance of winning but Michael Hanake’s methodical White Ribbon is visually arresting and its narrative is intensely challenging.

Best Documentary: The Cove- A hands down pick, no other documentary has triggered more of an emotional response.

Best Documentary Short: The Last Truck- The Academy loves a politically motivated film, especially documentaries.

Best Animated Short: Wallace and Gromit in a Matter of Loaf and Death- Wallace and Gromit are classic, they’ll always win.

Best Live Action Short: Miracle Fish- Don’t know why I picked this one, just heard that it’s going to win.

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