People are banging the Oscar drums, even my old boss Peter Bart. But I can't imagine District 9 landing in the top ten. It's an alien sci-fi thriller with a serious ick factor. As an example, Silence of the Lambs boasted established director Jonathan Demme and top-notch performances from Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster.
District 9 should gets some technical nods, absolutely. But the real member of the Oscar club is producer Peter Jackson. Director Neill Blomkamp is new, as are co-writer Terri Tatchell and rookie producer-turned-actor Sharlto Copley. Cinematography, VFX, editing and sound are the noms the film could win, deservedly. I know it has a serious theme, and the critics will go nuts at the end of the year, lots of ten best lists. But the old folks in the Academy? I don't think so. Women? Nope. That said, would I have ever guessed that Crash would win best picture? Not a chance.
If I was a member I'd vote for it. But many of the folks in the executive and publicity branches, especially, tend to vote more mainstream. And will the actors vote for this? This movie is shot doc-style with lots of improv. It isn't what they tend to go for. They should. But they tend to vote for their own.