Three of Amoeba's most rabid Oscar fans make their predictions before the nominations are announced this Tuesday, Feb 2. Read on to hear our thoughts about who will be nominated, who will win, how the hosting will go, the new policy of naming 10 Best Picture nominees and, of course, who will make the best and worst dressed lists!
Sally: First of all, what kind of hosts do you think Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin will be? Can they do a great job? I feel kind of weird about how having them is just an advertisement for their film, It's Complicated, but at the same time, I genuinely like both dudes and think they are talented. They have potential to be very funny. We'll see. I just hope they are cutting when necessary and also don't bloat the show with excess that is not necessary. Know what I mean? Oh, and if pressed, I would definitely rather see them do a comedic musical number than Hugh Jackman's last year, but maybe that's just me. I say bring back Jon Stewart!
Brad: I really loved last years show. But I didn't love Hugh Jackman. I thought he did a good job but I would much prefer somebody like Jon Stewart or Ricky Gervais. I also liked Ellen as host, and I even like Whoopi Goldberg, but I might be in the minority there. I think having 2 hosts is not such a bad idea. I love Alec Baldwin and I also think Steve Martin is pretty funny so I think the show will be a lot of fun to watch. It is weird that they just did a romantic comedy together. I really think that Tina Fey would make a great host with Alec Baldwin. But then that would really just be an ad for 30 Rock. But really, they are so funny together. Imagine Ricky Gervais and Steve Carell hosting the Globes together. That would be awesome. I am sure they will try to make them dance and sing and it will be uncomfortable but I think it will overall be a success. I loved the way they did the acting awards last year [having 5 past winners present the award to the winner in each acting category]. I think they are just having a friend of the nominees present them this year instead of a prior winner. Regardless of the host though, I am always excited to watch the Oscars.
Jackie: It will be very interesting to see two hosts this year. The ceremony has not used multiple hosts since the mid-80’s. I put my trust in Steve Martin. After all, he’s the veteran here (having done this twice) who knows what works & is quite comfortable. I’m excited that Alec Baldwin is joining him. Looking back at the hosts from the last 15 years, nearly all have been stand-up comedians. I think the closest to that background would be someone like Alec who has performed comedy in front of a live audience. His Saturday Night Live shows are amongst the best. I’m setting the bar pretty high for this duo.
Sally: What do you think about the Academy's new rules allowing 10 films to be nominated for Best Picture? I think they are doing what they feel they have to do to get viewers...I think it does dilute the meaning of the award somewhat, but on the other hand maybe it will allow some exposure for films that would normally never be nominated. I know the Academy just cares about ratings though, and they just want to be able to nominate children's cartoons and action flicks that everyone sees. I hope that if it doesn't work out, they will be as eager to drop the new idea as they were to put it in place. That said, I am interested to see what happens this year. What do you guys think?
Brad: I am not at all opposed to the idea. They did it before. I think it is often hard to narrow it down to just 5. There are always 10 movies every year that could be nominated. I think it is ridiculous that voters might be having a hard time picking 10. They will have to venture out into scifi and comedy to pick 10 maybe. But it doesn't always have to be the intense tear jerkers that get nominated. I am excited. If all goes like I think it will, then I have already seen the 10 movies. I always try to see all the acting nominated movies before the Oscars take place but I got a bit ahead of myself this year, at least with the probable Best Picture nominees. I rushed to see Hurt Locker, A Single Man, and A Serious Man all this last week. I know the Oscars need higher ratings and I am all for more people watching them, so if nominating 10 movies is what it takes, then so be it. I just hope really mainstream movies like It's Complicated and The Blind Side don't get nominated…but there is usually one movie in the 5 that I don't like. I still don't think Crash should have been nominated in 2005. And 2004 was a bad year with Sideways and Finding Neverland getting nominated. But I think the movies this year have been pretty good. There are a lot to choose from.
Jackie: Ten nominees…the more the merrier, I say! This change is probably the result of the exclusion of The Dark Knight from last year’s five nominees. They want to include bigger movies in the race in order to reach more viewers—I completely understand. I love the variety of films we’ll begin seeing. Like Brad has mentioned, films that have been traditionally ignored (comedies & sci-fi) will be able to make the list. Even with all the fuss over ten nominees & how it can dilute the votes, the true Oscar race will always boil down to just 4 or 5 films anyway. The ‘fringe’ nominees will benefit from the exposure with an increase in box office & DVD sales, which only keeps the industry healthy.
Sally: What are your 10 picks for Best Picture? I have not seen enough films yet to really say; I hope A Single Man will be nominated but I doubt it, although if it is, it will be a case of the new system working for a great film. I am sure The Hurt Locker, Precious, Inglourious Basterds, and Up in the Air will be nominated. I bet Avatar will be just because they love James Cameron and they want to try to get viewers, which means that Up will probably be nominated too, since they love Pixar and everyone who has kids went to see it.
Brad: Here is what I think would get nominated if there was only 5 best picture nominees...
Avatar / Hurt Locker / Up in the Air / Precious / Inglourious Basterds
With the 10 total, I think these will be the other 5:
A Serious Man / Star Trek / An Education / Up / Invictus
But I am not really confident in these last 5. It could go different directions. Maybe (500) Days of Summer, District 9 or A Single Man will sneak in there. Maybe The Hangover?? It did win the Golden Globe.
Jackie: Here are my predictions, in alphabetical order--the way Anne Hathaway & the Academy will present them on Tuesday:
Avatar / The Blind Side / Crazy Heart / An Education / The Hurt Locker / Inglourious Basterds / Invictus / Precious: Based On The Novel “Push” by Sapphire / Up / Up In The Air
I added Pixar’s Up on this list because I saw they’re campaigning for it as Best Picture. I’m certain they could easily win the Oscar if they stay in the Best Animated Film category. But, it’s not terrible to be alongside Disney’s Beauty & The Beast as the only animated films to ever be nominated for Best Picture!
There are two films on my list that I can see being replaced by others such as Creation, Brothers, The Last Station, In The Loop, or Julie & Julia.
Sally: What do you wish would be nominated for Best Picture? I loved The Fantastic Mr. Fox and also A Single Man. Clearly I have my work cut out for me before the awards air. I have got to get out there and see more!
Brad: OK, here is what I would like to get nominated for Best Picture. These are basically my favorites of the year. Or at least the top ten of my favorites that I think deserve recognition.
Of the 10 that I think will get nominated. Here is what I want to get nominated...
Avatar / Hurt Locker / Serious Man / Star Trek / Precious / Inglourious Basterds
And although I liked Up in the Air, An Education, and Up I would replace them with:
A Single Man / The Road / Crazy Heart
and I would replace Invictus with (500) Days of Summer!
I think of my top 10 as movies that I not only loved seeing but that I would want to see again. Movies that had a strong effect on me. Movies that I will not soon be forgetting. I think Star Trek and Inglourious Basterds were both super fun and just well made movies. They are movies that I will enjoy watching over and over again. I might need to wait a couple years to watch The Road and Precious again but they were both amazing movies. Super depressing, but great, well acted movies. A Single Man and Crazy Heart were also intense, sad movies. I still can't get them both out of my head. And Avatar was just Avatar. It is the number one movie for a reason. I know certain people don't think it should win best picture but you just can't not nominate a movie like that. It's just too big to ignore and it was very impressive. And it will probably win. But I really would love it if a movie like The Hurt Locker or Inglourious Basterds ended up winning! And I love that it might be a battle between the exes with Kathryn Bigelow's Hurt Locker going up against James Cameron's Avatar.
Jackie: For me, I would absolutely love to see (500) Days of Summer make the list. It’s so incredibly original, with realistic characters you don’t often see in romantic comedies these days. Also, District 9 was my favorite of last summer’s blockbuster movies, so if that got some recognition from the Academy it would be cool.
Sally: Who will be nominated for Best Actor and who should be? Will be nominated: George Clooney for Up in the Air, Morgan Freeman for Invictus (duh -- this film was made merely to win these actor nominations); I really want to see Crazy Heart; everyone says Jeff Bridges will be nominated for sure. I hope Colin Firth is nominated for A Single Man. He was amazing and completely unlike himself in any other film I've seen him in. I know Brad wants Chris Pine to be nominated for Star Trek!
Brad: You know it! I do actually think Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine were great in Star Trek. I think they were cast perfectly. And can you really imagine anyone else playing those parts. Maybe I would nominate them if they opened the acting race up to 10 nominees. But I think these will be the nominees...
Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart
Morgan Freeman for Invictus
Colin Firth for A Single Man
George Clooney for Up in the Air
Jeremy Renner for Hurt Locker
I think this is not a bad group but I wouldn't be surprised if Michael Stuhlbarg sneaks in there for A Serious Man. Viggo Mortensen for The Road would be one I would love to see get nominated, or even Sharlto Copley for District 9. I thought he was awesome in that movie. Jeff Bridges will most likely win and I think he should. I don't really know who else could have pulled that off, except for maybe Waylon Jennings. Colin Firth was really heartbreaking in A Single Man. He was perfect in that part and it was really a beautiful film. Clooney and Freeman are always good. I do like when people like Jeremy Renner get thrown into the mix. I am sure he never imagined he would be nominated for an Oscar when he first signed up to do the movie.
Jackie: I’m in agreement with everyone on Brad’s list with the exception of Colin Firth possibly being replaced by Sam Rockwell for his work in Moon. Both actors play similarly isolated characters who agonize for their loved ones. If those two cancel each other out I’d like to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt get the nod for (500) Days of Summer or Sam Worthington for Avatar. I could see Robert Downey, Jr. sneaking in there for Sherlock Holmes as well.
Sally: What about Best Actress? Of course Meryl Streep will be nominated for Julie & Julia. I'm sure Gabourey Sidibe will be nominated for Precious, which I have not seen yet. I really want to see An Education, and everyone is saying Carey Mulligan will be nominated. Is Sandra Bullock really, really going to be nominated?! Geez. It's like Julia Roberts winning her Oscar. Bland central. C'mon, Academy!
Brad: This always seems like the hardest one to pick 5 for. It really shouldn't be that way. There are some amazing actresses out there. Unfortunately the best acting roles for women are usually supporting roles. Here is who I think will be nominated:
Gabourey Sidibe for Precious
Carry Mulligan for An Education
Meryl Streep for Julie & Julia
Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side
Emily Blunt for Young Victoria
I really don't mind Sandra Bullock. I think she is good at what she does. I just don't really think she should be nominated for an Oscar. I have not seen the movie yet but I think she should just be happy with her Globe and stop there. I love Tilda Swinton. I have not seen Julia yet with Tilda, but I am sure she is amazing and I always think she deserves nominations. Helen Mirren is also amazing and I would not be surprised to see her nominated for The Last Station. Or maybe Abbie Cornish for Bright Star. That comes out on DVD soon so I can check out her performance. I think this might be the only acting category that does not have an obvious winner yet. I am a big Emily Blunt fan. Her performance was not over the top here or anything but she was very good I thought. I love Meryl Streep and think she is always great but I don't think she needs to be nominated every single year. She is just lucky Glenn Close is off doing TV! Glenn Close was nominated 5 times in the 80s but never won. Meryl already won twice in the 80s, and I think Glenn still deserves an Oscar. Maybe she will come back with an amazing film role in a couple years and go up against Meryl again. But I do like that Meryl is still getting good roles. I think this category will be a battle between Meryl and Sandra. Who would have ever thought that would happen?! Meryl Streep will always be remembered for Out of Africa, Sophie's Choice, Silkwood, Deer Hunter, Ironweed, Adaptation, and Devil Wears Prada. Bullock is obviously a star in her own way. But Lake House, Two Weeks Notice, Speed, The Net, and Practical Magic do not leave the same fond memories.
Jackie: This year’s Best Actress contenders seem much easier for me to pick out than the supporting roles. Here’s what I have:
Sandra Bullock ~ The Blind Side
Helen Mirren ~ The Last Station
Carey Mulligan ~ An Education
Gabourey Sidibe ~ Precious
Meryl Streep ~ Julie & Julia
It was a tight race for me between Emily Blunt in Young Victoria, Abbie Cornish in Bright Star, and Helen Mirren in The Last Station. I think Carey Mulligan’s performance represents the best of the British period characters, so that might leave Cornish & Blunt out of this year’s race. Mirren’s portrayal of Sofya Tolstoy keeps things more broad. I want to throw in a dark horse favorite of mine and say Catalina Saavedra in The Maid was absolutely great, and I wish the film had made the short list of Foreign nominees.
I think this is Sandra Bullock’s year to win it. Several of my friends have commented to me how they think The Blind Side is cheesy—but they have yet to actually SEE it! You don’t have to like football or sports to enjoy this movie. It’s just a good old-fashioned story—you will want to root for this family. Bullock had her comedic turn last year in the popular hit The Proposal, and that is the type of character we’re used to seeing her portray. Like her character Leigh Anne Tuohy, Sandra Bullock is the driving force behind The Blind Side’s success. She took a chance on this film, & the gamble has paid off.
Sally: Now on to Best Supporting Actor. I am guessing Matt Damon will be nominated for Invictus, and maybe Peter Sarsgaard for An Education.
Brad: Peter Sarsgaard was great and creepy in An Education but I don't think he will be nominated. I think it will be:
Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds,
Matt Damon for Invictus
Woody Harrelson for The Messenger
Stanley Tucci for The Lovely Bones
Chrisopher Plummer for The Last Station
Those were the nominees for the Globes and I think the Oscars might be the same. I think Zack Galifianakis is brilliant and I would absolutely love for him to be nominated in this category but they rarely nominate that kind of humor. Christoph Waltz will probably win here. He won the Globe. I actually have not seen any of these other movies yet except The Hangover and Inglourious Basterds. I am keeping my fingers crossed for Zack!
Jackie: The moment you finish watching Inglourious Basterds you realize that there’s something great in store for Christoph Waltz. His nomination is almost certain, and his win looks even more likely. My other nominees:
Matt Damon ~ Invictus
Peter Sarsgaard ~ An Education
Paul Schneider ~ Bright Star
Stanley Tucci ~ Julie & Julia
I went with Tucci’s other performance versus Brad’s choice of The Lovely Bones. I just think more people will have seen him in Julie & Julia. I chose Paul Schneider because he really stands out as Keats’ friend Charles Brown. Like Michael Shannon in 2008’s Revolutionary Road, his presence in just a few scenes makes Bright Star all the more worth watching.
Sally: And finally, what about Best Supporting Actress? I hope Julianne Moore is nominated for A Single Man. I thought she was spot-on. Everyone is saying Mo'nique will be nominated and I hope she is just because she is such a wild card. She seems a shoo-in to win and I am excited to see her get up there.
Brad: I love Julianne Moore and I absolutely think she should be nomin ated. She won't win this year but I really do think she will win at some point in her career. She was not even nominated for Safe in 1995 but she really should have won that year! I think she should have been nominated for Supporting for Short Cuts as well. So the nominees I think will be:
Julianne Moore for A Single Man
Monique for Precious
Vera Farmiga for Up in the Air
Diane Kruger for Inglourious Basterds
Anna Kendrick for Up in the Air
I think Anna Kendrick was good in Up in the Air but doesn't really deserve a nomination. I would much rather see Maggie Gyllenhaal get nominated for Crazy Heart. And I would rather see Inglourious Basterds get two nominees in this category. Melanie Laurent was fantastic in this movie and I would love to see her get nominated as well. Penelope Cruz might sneak in here for Nine. She is great but I think this movie might get shut out of any nominations. Mo'nique is obviously the favored winner here and I am sure she will win. She was really fantastic in this movie. Her character was brutal and it is impossible to forget her performance.
Jackie: Supporting Actress…could Anna Kendrick & Vera Farmiga both be mentioned for Up In The Air? Here’s what I see:
Penelope Cruz ~ Nine
Maggie Gyllenhaal ~ Crazy Heart
Anna Kendrick ~ Up In The Air
Diane Kruguer ~ Inglourious Basterds
Mo’nique ~ Precious
For nominating purposes I picked Kendrick to represent Up In The Air because her character had more emotional depth. (Pssst…see Farmiga in Orphan!)
I know the movie Nine started out as having awards potential, but it’s quickly losing steam. Cruz (along with Fergie) is one of the very few good things about this movie, and for that she deserves a nomination. But if her push for Best Actress goes through for Broken Embraces, I would then add Julianne Moore for A Single Man.
Sally: Ok, what about Best Director? Again, I hope Tom Ford will be nominated. It's possible but unlikely. But I also want the ladies to get nominations! Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker! I'm all for more women who make features being nominated. I literally can't believe how few have been -- i think it's 3 total. That's crazy!!
Brad: This category is usually like 4 of the directors of the best picture nominees and then someone like David Lynch, Mike Leigh or Pedro Almodovar thrown into the mix. There is always the one director that gets left out of this one. I am going to assume that the movie that ends up winning Best Picture will have its director nominated as well. This is not always the case but the last 3 years have seen the Picture and Director going to the same film. It happened for Slumdog Millionaire, No Country For Old Men and The Departed and it will probably happen again for Avatar and James Cameron. Although, I think Avatar might win Best Picture and maybe Kathryn Bigelow will sneak in there and win best Director. Or they will cancel each other out and Quentin will sneak in there and win! The awards were split in 2005 when Ang Lee won for Brokeback Mountain and Crash won for Best Picture. But I think in the years where Picture and Director didn’t go to the same movie, the Best Picture winner always had its director nominated, so the nominees will probably be:
James Cameron for Avatar
Kathryn Bigelow for Hurt Locker
Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds
Jason Reitman for Up in the Air
Lee Daniels for Precious
These are the directors of the five films that would have probably gotten nominated if there had only been five. Clint Eastwood or the Coen Brothers might sneak in there. But I bet those will be the five.
Jackie: The five I see being nominated will be of no surprise:
Kathryn Bigelow ~ Hurt Locker
James Cameron ~ Avatar
Lee Daniels ~ Precious
Jason Reitman ~ Up In The Air
Quentin Tarantino ~ Inglourious Basterds
Sally: What about Best Screenplay, Adapted and Original? For Adapted Screenplay, I liked Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson & Noah Baumbach), as I said, though I could have done without the meditation bit. Other than that, I have not seen enough films to comment much here. I am sure the Coen brothers will be nominated for A Simple Man. They are a lock for the Original Screenplay category. If they put something out, it's nominated, every year. I'd like to see Quentin Tarantino nominated for Inglourious Basterds just because he's a nut and if he wins he'll have an entertaining speech. Everyone also says (500) Days of Summer (Scott Neustatder & Michael H. Weber) is a lock for the Original Screenplay category and I have a one-word response: meh.
Brad: I think this always the category that gives recognition to some great films that didn't make the cut for Best Picture in a normal year. There are 10 nominees here, so this year it might just be the 10 nominated for best picture -- although I doubt a film like Star Trek or Avatar will get nominated here. So it will probably be: Quentin for Inglourious Basterds for Original Screenplay along with the Coens for A Serious Man, Mark Boal for Hurt Locker, Neustadter and Weber for (500) Days of Summer, and Peterson and Docter for Up. Avatar will get nominated for every other category but I don't think it should be for this one. Hangover might sneak in here. Reitman and Turner will get nominated for Up in the Air for Adapted along with Geoffrey Fletcher for Precious, Scott Cooper for Crazy Heart, Nick Hornby for An Education and maybe Tom Ford for A Single Man. District 9 might sneak into this category, or Fantastic Mr. Fox or Where the Wild Things Are, or maybe Invictus. I am betting on Inglourious Basterds and Precious winning these.
Jackie: Screenplay nominees can go all over the place. Here’s what I’m guessing:
Best Original: Avatar, (500) Days of Summer, Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Up.
Best Adapted: An Education, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Julie & Julia, Precious, Up In The Air.
I think quirky, off-beat films like (500) Days of Summer & Fantastic Mr. Fox have an excellent chance of being nominated over more serious fare like Bright Star or The Messenger. Remember last year’s list, which included In Bruges and Happy-Go-Lucky?
Sally: And, most importantly, care to guess who will be the best and worst dressed of the potential nominees?! I am sure for the men George Clooney will be lookin' good. I've liked him since he was on Night Court, so we go way back. For the ladies, if Julianne Moore is nominated I am sure she will look fabulous as always. Worst dressed? For the guys it is hard to say, since there's not too much variation there. If Mickey Rourke shows up to present the Best Actress award, I would guess he will commit many fashion crimes. For the ladies, I don't always love what Meryl Streep wears, though I love her. I am definitely interested and excited to see what Mo'nique wears.
Brad: I kind of love people like Mickey Rourke and Sally Kirkland. They make the red carpet more interesting…and the best dressed need somebody to be judged against! I always look forward to Tilda Swinton. I will also be looking forward to Mr. Tom Ford and the A Single Man crew. Hopefully Matthew Goode will walk down the red carpet with Colin Firth. I always like seeing all the men in their tuxedos, although it does get a bit boring. I don't really know enough about designers to care what people are wearing but it is always fun to hear what people have to say and what they end up wearing. I just usually hate the people who are doing the interviewing. I just wish Roger Ebert was well enough to be on the carpet. Imagine Kathy Griffin doing interviews with Roger Ebert on the red carpet! That would be amazing!
Jackie: While I do enjoy watching the red carpet parade, I really just want to hear interviews with nominees & presenters. I’ll never forget one particular year when Roger Ebert had interview celebrities with the ABC Los Angeles affiliate station’s George Pennacchio. Here’s Mr. Ebert, trying to ask informative film questions, with this so-called “entertainment guru” from KABC who can only seem to mutter the phrase, “Tell us who you’re wearing.” I remember Roger snapping at George and saying something along the lines of ‘Who cares what she’s wearing!’
I’m not opposed to all the hype about the clothing, it’s just that I like to know more about that stuff later. For instance, when E! does their fashion specials the next day, or browsing through an issue of Us Weekly.
Sally: What films do you think would have been nominated last year for Best Picture if there had been 10?
Brad: I bet it would have been:
The Wrestler / Wall-E / The Dark Knight / Doubt / Vicky Cristina Barcelona
...although I could have seen Revolutionary Road or In Bruges sneaking in there. Frozen River was one of my favorites of that year, so I would have loved to see that in the list of 10. I also like Defiance a lot. And I really would have liked to see Rachel Getting Married in there although I know a lot of people hated that movie.
I still think the list of 10 is a good idea. It would have been nice to see some other movies in the past in this category too. 1991 could have seen The Fisher King, Boyz in the Hood, Thelma & Louise, Cape Fear, and Fried Green Tomatoes in the race against the Silence of the Lambs. I would have loved to see Leaving Las Vegas, Dead Man Walking, Casino, The Usual Suspects and Se7en get nominated in 1996. Those were all much better movies than the five that got nominated. Braveheart won that year, but also nominated were Babe, Sense & Sensibility, Il Postino, and Apollo 13. What a weird year. Some years would be easier than others to pick 10 films but I think overall it would have allowed the inclusion of some movies that are actually better than the 5 nominated.
Jackie: The five I would add:
The Dark Knight / The Wrestler / Vicky Cristina Barcelona / Frozen River / Tropic Thunder
I threw Tropic Thunder on there because it gave us Robert Downey, Jr’s nomination for Best Supporting Actor. In Bruges could easily be placed there instead, or take WALL-E out of the animated category and it deserves a spot on that list as well. As a whole, Revolutionary Road didn’t do it for me, same for Doubt. I don’t know if Defiance had a chance with The Reader already firmly in place.