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Final Oscar Picks: The Hurt Locker vs. Avatar

by Anne Thompson
March 6, 2010 1:38 AM
11 Comments
  • |
Thompson on Hollywood

Here are my final picks for this year's Oscars.

My logic is based on the premise that in an ordinary year, James Cameron would be the obvious win for best director for the sheer enormity of his achievement with Avatar, technologically and visually.

But his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow has been anointed as the first woman to win best director for The Hurt Locker. Because Avatar doesn't have screenplay or acting nominations, and based on The Hurt Locker's many wins, including the ten-best PGA, as well as the DGA and WGA, in an ordinary year it would be safe to assume that The Hurt Locker is the front-runner for best picture.

But this is the year of ten best picture contenders, which throws everything out of whack. (I hope that the Academy sees the wisdom of throwing out this needlessly complex and impure method of picking the year's best motion picture.) I predict that The Hurt Locker will win both best picture and director (despite the late-innings controversies--600 people handed in ballots on the last day) and that Avatar will dominate the technical categories.

UPDATE: I admit that it is likely that The Hurt Locker will win one or two of the categories I have ceded to Avatar. I just don't know which ones. In my gut I feel Avatar advancing on best picture. But my head says it's The Hurt Locker. Check out the final Gurus 'O Gold, where several Oscar experts, including me, have made changes in the past week. We all want to look good tomorrow!

The contests that are not in the bag include original screenplay--WGA winner for The Hurt Locker, newcomer Mark Boal vs. popular Quentin Tarantino, whose Inglourious Basterds wasn't eligible for the WGA--and various technical categories that pit The Hurt Locker against Avatar: cinematography, editing, sound mixing and sound editing. In the 24th episode of Oscar Talk Kris Tapley and I run through our reasoning on all our picks. Tune in Monday for our recap.

Picture:
The Hurt Locker

Director:
Kathryn Bigelow The Hurt Locker

Actor:
Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart)

Actress:
Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side)

Supporting actor:
Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)

Supporting Actress:
Mo'Nique (Precious)

Original screenplay:
Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds)

Adapted screenplay
Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner (Up in the Air)

Animated feature
Up

Documentary feature
The Cove

Foreign film
El Secreto de Sus Ojos

Art direction:
Rick Carter & Robert Stromberg Avatar

Cinematography:
Mauro Fiore Avatar

Costume design:
Sandy Powell The Young Victoria

Editing:
Stephen Rivkin, John Refua, James Cameron Avatar

Make-Up
Star Trek

Score
Michael Giacchino Up

Song
“The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)" Crazy Heart

Sound editing:
Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle Avatar

Sound mixing:
Christopher Boyes, Tony Johnson, William B. Kaplan, Andy Nelson, Gary Summers, James M. Tanenbaum Avatar

Visual effects:
Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones Avatar

Animated short film
A Matter of Loaf and Death

Live action short film
The Door

Documentary short subject
The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant

11 Comments

  • d.a | March 20, 2011 12:58 PMReply

    the oscar picks was totally unfair.
    AVATAR should win best picture and best director

  • ghazaleh | March 9, 2010 7:45 AMReply

    the hurt locker sucks!the worst movie so far!Kathryn Bigelow sucks the worst director so far!cast of the hurt locker sucks!hollywood sucks!the oscars suck!the worst winners this year so far!avatar is one of the worst movies of the century!politics shoud not involve with hollywood!

  • Brian | March 9, 2010 3:28 AMReply

    In addition, of course, to the REAL genius on this blog...Anne herself.

  • Brian | March 9, 2010 3:24 AMReply

    Well, there's at least one genius in this thread. Good work, Michael.

  • alan | March 7, 2010 1:42 AMReply

    yeah, couldn't agree more. still have not seen THL but, (and herein lies the rub) the bits i've seen are the goods.

    on the other hand, i've seen avatar and am not that impressed. great popcorn flick but not much substance beyond that level.

    a few seconds of THL have more weight than all of avatar. THL deserves best picture and the safe money is bigelow for director.

    ps -- re: 10 noms for best picture. the academy should either go back to 5 or bump it to 20. just to get out of the gray-zone of credibility. there simply aren't 10 movies in a year that deserve attention as 'the best'.

    at least if they made it 20 nominated movies it would clarify their intentions -- 'this is just pure bubble gum'. i mean, winning a gold, silver, or bronze is one thing, but winning a copper? flattened tin foil?

  • Matt | March 6, 2010 9:39 AMReply

    I'd say "Ajami" for foreign picture. i agree with the rest of your predictions. Did you see the sarcastic prediction by Tomedes - http://www.tomedes.com/2010-Oscar-winner.php

  • Mark | March 6, 2010 9:19 AMReply

    I still reckon Avatar will get Best Picture and Bigelow Best Director.

  • copper | March 6, 2010 6:50 AMReply

    Oscars is no fun anymore.
    I wish those awards would disappear as there are nothing but political games.

  • JohnDoe | March 6, 2010 5:57 AMReply

    So disappointed that EVERY blogger is predicting The Hurt Locker. Sounds like its going to be a boring Oscar ceremony again. I like THL, but I'll predict Inglourious Basterds to win, because of the same phenomena that happens in some countries with preferential voting ballots.

  • Michael | March 6, 2010 4:56 AMReply

    No way The Hurt Locker only wins Best Picture and Director. It will win at least two more (most likely editing and sound mixing, but original screenplay and cinematography are strong possibilities also).

  • aspect ratio | March 6, 2010 2:27 AMReply

    So you're predicting The Hurt Locker to be the first film since The Greatest Show On Earth in 1953 to win Best Picture and only one more Oscar? I'd say that's a practically implausible scenario, you'd get better odds that The Hurt Locker gets shut out completely.

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