The Oscar awards ceremony will air this Sunday, March 7, 2010 on ABC Television. The Kodak Theatre will play host to the hundreds of red carpet celebrities who will gather to see the winners announced. There are so many great movies and performances it’s difficult to say who will walk home with the big prizes. But let’s give it a try.
Best Actor nominees are:
Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart
George Clooney for Up In The Air
Colin Firth for A Single Man
Morgan Freeman for Invictus
Jeremy Renner for The Hurt Locker
Jeff Bridges is definitely the front-runner in this race. His portrayal of a washed-up then dried out again country singer making a huge come back from pain and loss in Crazy Heart has already earned him a few awards, including the Screen Actors Guild. He lost the BAFTA to Colin Firth, but I suspect that’s because he, unlike Firth, is not British. I believe that Bridges will finally walk home with his statuette this year. It’s taken many years and a handful of nominations for Bridges to get here and this should be his year.
However, don’t rule out Jeremy Renner for his outstanding performance in the Hurt Locker. This movie has been raking in the accolades, as well, and may surprise everyone with a Best Actor award for Renner. His honest, gut-wrenching portrayal of an Army explosives expert in the dessert rings close to home. Renner has not won this award in previous ceremonies, but the Oscars tend to be a time for surprises.
Best Actress nominees are:
Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side
Carey Mulligan for An Education
Helen Mirren for The Last Station
Gabourey Sidibe for Precious: Based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
Meryl Streep for Julie & Julia
As much as I love Meryl Streep and her portrayal of Julia Child in Julie & Julia, I don’t think this movie has enough merit for her to pull the Oscar award. Gabourey Sidibe has been chided, too, at previous awards and probably will not get the Oscar either. Helen Mirren is an elegant and timeless artist and has a good shot at the award, but I believe that this year is Sandra Bullock’s year. She finally came out from behind the ‘girl next door’ persona to play a more serious, complex role and The Blind Side will most likely be her ticket to an Oscar. Her performance, though probably not a real stretch of the imagination for her, is spot on. She is believable and compassionate. The story is such a beautifully touching one, that it’s really hard to not love it.
Best Picture nominees are:
The Blind Side
Up In The Air
The Hurt Locker
Precious: Based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
A Serious Man
All of these movies are certainly worthy of being on this list. An Education, the first screenplay nomination for Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, About a Boy, Fever Pitch) to be nominated for an Oscar, stands out. James Cameron’s Avatar, an obvious favorite for its amazing cinematography and big box office appeal, reigns atop the list. Quentin’s Inglourious Basterds has been a major buzz since the awards season began. All of these are strong contenders, but I think that the Hurt Locker, with its relevant story and political message will steal this show. The Hurt Locker, produced by Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier and Greg Shapiro, and directed by Kathryn Bigelow, has come out of nowhere to steal awards from Cameron and Tarantino, as well as all the others, all season long. It beat out Avatar at the BAFTA awards for best picture and Bigelow has beaten Cameron and Tarantino for the best director spot at previous awards, as well.
Yes, this year some of Hollywood’s reigning champs have been unseated. The Oscars will prove to be an interesting evening as viewers and attendees wonder if their favorites will win and if the big dogs will fall. Cameron and Tarantino are certainly talented movie-makers, proven many times over. But this just may not be their year. With the gritty, hard, battle-weary story and out-of-nowhere talent of its newcomers, The Hurt Locker will most likely be this year’s Slumdog Millionaire and win the hearts of all.
Ref. www.oscars.org, www.bafta.org, www.sagawards.org