California Literary Review

William and Julia’s Oscar Wager 2010!!!

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March 6th, 2010 at 12:11 am

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With the Academy Awards coming up this Sunday, March 7th, Julia Rhodes and I – William Bibbiani! – have decided to spice things up a bit with a wager. Whichever one of us avowed Oscar Enthusiasts picks the most winners gets to assign four writing assignments to the loser over the next two months, which must be completed promptly and without question.

The Oscars, aka “The Geek Superbowl.”

For my sake and yours, dear readers, I hope I win because I plan on being a real jerk about this. Here are our official and competing Fourth Wall picks for the Academy Awards. Will Avatar sweep the show or does Hurt Locker have what it takes to dethrone the giant? Find out below…

BEST MOTION PICTURE OF THE YEAR

James Cameron’s Avatar (pictured) takes aim at The Hurt Locker. Which film will take home the big prize?

Avatar – James Cameron, Jon Landau
The Blind Side – Gil Netter, Andrew A. Kosove, Broderick Johnson
District 9 – Peter Jackson, Carolyn Cunningham
An Education – Finola Dwyer, Amanda Posey
The Hurt Locker – Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolar Chartier, Greg Shapiro
Inglourious Basterds – Lawrence Bender
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire – Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness, Gary Magness
A Serious Man – Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Up – Jonas Rivera
Up in the Air – Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman, Jason Reitman

William:

WHO WILL WIN: Hurt Locker
WHO SHOULD WIN: Inglourious Basterds

Despite a grand total of ten nominees, conventional wisdom states that this year’s Oscar race is between Avatar and Hurt Locker, and frankly each of them has about a 50/50 chance, unless the new nomination process throws everything out of whack and something weird like The Blind Side squeaks in during the confusion. I’m guessing that the other crowd-pleasers among the nominees – like District 9, The Blind Side or Up – could siphon enough votes away from mainstream favorite Avatar to give the artsier Hurt Locker a slight edge. Of the nominees, my pick for the actual “best” picture is still Tarantino’s remarkable Inglourious Basterds, his most impressive cinematic accomplishment in over ten years.

Julia:

WHO WILL WIN: Avatar
WHO SHOULD WIN:
The Hurt Locker

This year’s switch to ten nominees brought in some dark horses (A Serious Man, District 9, and Up would likely not have seen this nomination were it not for the increased number). The Hurt Locker is a wonderful film. Avatar is pretty but vapid and Cameron’s an ass. I grudgingly predict an Avatar win. (Where’s the champagne? This makes me want to start drinking now.)

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING

Kathryn Bigelow is set to take home the Best Director Oscar for Hurt Locker and make Oscar history as the first woman to win in the category.

Kathryn Bigelow – The Hurt Locker
James Cameron –
Avatar
Lee Daniels –
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
Jason Reitman –
Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino –
Inglourious Basterds

William:

WHO WILL WIN: Kathryn Bigelow
WHO SHOULD WIN: Quentin Tarantino

Bigelow is considered a lock, and whether or not you think she genuinely deserves to win amongst these nominees she certainly turned in her best work since Near Dark. Even James Cameron kinda-sorta campaigned for her to win this award (so long as Avatar won Best Picture, of course). Plus: She’d be the first female director to win this Oscar, and the Academy does so love their awards to seem meaningful. Alas, Tarantino may have turned in the most impressive work of the above nominees.

Julia:

WHO WILL WIN: Kathryn Bigelow
WHO SHOULD WIN: Kathryn Bigelow

I may throw things at the TV starting here. I adore Bigelow, and The Hurt Locker had me pinned to my seat in an ecstasy of anxiety. She’s an incredible director and deserves this award—but if they give it to her (like Cameron keeps saying as if he’s bequeathing it to her himself), it better not be because she’s a woman, or because she’s being shafted in the Best Picture category. Grumble.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Does anyone have a chance to beat Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart) for Best Actor? Not likely…

Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart
George Clooney –
Up in the Air
Colin Firth –
A Single Man
Morgan Freeman –
Invictus
Jeremy Renner –
The Hurt Locker

William:

WHO WILL WIN: Jeff Bridges
WHO SHOULD WIN: Jeff Bridges

He’s never won, and for some reason that really seems to matter (Kate Winslet really didn’t deserve the award for The Reader last year – not her best performance – but it was the first time she’d been nominated against weaker competition). Plus, if you ask me, Bridges also gave one of the best lead performances of the year – behind Sam Rockwell in Moon and Robin Williams in World’s Greatest Dad, of course. An “Honorable Mention” goes to the beautifully melancholic Colin Firth in A Single Man.

Julia:

WHO WILL WIN: Jeff Bridges
WHO SHOULD WIN: Jeff Bridges

Though all the nominees’ performances were good this year, none of them blew my mind. Bridges will likely snatch the statue by virtue of degrading himself—seeing a 50-something alcoholic man puking in his tighty-whities sticks in your brain.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Sandra Bullock may be the odds-on favorite for win Best Actress, but neither William nor Julia are terribly happy about it.

Sandra Bullock – The Blind Side
Helen Mirren –
The Last Station
Carey Mulligan –
An Education
Gabourey Sidibe –
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
Meryl Streep –
Julie & Julia

William:

WHO WILL WIN: Sandra Bullock
WHO SHOULD WIN: Carey Mulligan

Once again, a win for Sandra Bullock would turn an Academy Award into a “story,” something the Academy has always been a fan of. And she certainly did command the screen (in an excellent Dolly Parton impersonation, but still…). The most impressive performance amongst each of these deserving nominees may have been Carey Mulligan, in the difficult role of playing a teenager who is somehow smarter than her years without ever behaving wisely, a tightrope she navigated flawlessly.

Julia:

WHO WILL WIN: Sandra Bullock
WHO SHOULD WIN: Gabourey Sidibe

The Blind Side is one of the most blatant Academy bait I’ve seen in a long time. Bullock was good in her role. Sidibe, though? Holy whoa. She is a different person in Precious, and for such a young, inexperienced actor, that is a fantastic accomplishment. I have hopes, but I don’t think she’ll win. Sigh.

BEST WRITING, SCREENPLAY WRITTEN DIRECTLY FOR THE SCREEN

A Serious Man may be Julia Rhodes’ favorite in the Best Screenplay category, but that doesn’t mean she thinks it’s going to win...

Inglourious Basterds – Quentin Tarantino
The Hurt Locker – Mark Boal
The Messenger – Alessandro Camon, Oren Moverman
A Serious Man – Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Up – Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Thomas McCarthy

William:

WHO WILL WIN: Inglourious Basterds
WHO SHOULD WIN: Inglourious Basterds

Actually, this award is another tossup, since Hurt Locker probably stands an equal chance. I’m giving the edge to Basterds, which has a showier screenplay that is perhaps more likely to stick in voters’ minds, but also has the advantage of being a truly remarkable piece of writing regardless. Without a clear frontrunner, this could also be the year in which Pixar finally picks up a screenplay award, but I’m going to stick with my Basterdly choice.

Julia:

WHO WILL WIN: The Hurt Locker
WHO SHOULD WIN:
A Serious Man

Thank goodness the Academy didn’t nominate Avatar for this. I might’ve given up on life. A Serious Man deserves this one, but I predict The Hurt Locker.

BEST WRITING, SCREENPLAY BASED ON MATERIAL PREVIOUSLY PRODUCED OR PUBLISHED

William’s gambling on Up in the Air for Best Adapted Screenplay, but Julia’s not buying in.

District 9 – Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell
An Education – Nick Hornby
In the Loop – Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire – Geoffrey Fletcher
Up in the Air – Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner

William:

WHO WILL WIN: Up in the Air
WHO SHOULD WIN: In the Loop

Up in the Air is a very good movie but its competition in every other category is overwhelmingly strong. None of the other screenplays have a lot of momentum behind them, so this may be the Academy’s only chance to reward the film. Geoffrey Fletcher’s strong adaptation of Precious (which was apparently based on a novel!) is probably the next most likely candidate, but it was the hilarious and unexpected In the Loop – which plays like a modern day Dr. Strangelove (without the apocalypse part) that really stands out in this category.

Julia:

WHO WILL WIN: Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
WHO SHOULD WIN:
District 9

Frankly I’d like to see District 9 pick up some awards, but I don’t think it’ll happen. That movie was written and put together pretty flawlessly, but Precious is Academy bait (and is a good, though manipulative, film).

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Christoph Waltz is expected to win Best Supporting Actor this year. We’re not betting against him. You shouldn’t either.

Matt Damon – Invictus
Woody Harrelson –
The Messenger
Christopher Plummer –
The Last Station
Stanley Tucci –
The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz –
Inglourious Basterds

William:

WHO WILL WIN: Christoph Waltz
WHO SHOULD WIN: Christoph Waltz

For the third year in a row, the heavily-favored frontrunner in the Supporting Actor race is more-or-less a supervillain, and for the third year in a row that’s perfectly all right because the performance in question was instantly iconic and brilliantly handled. An honorable mention is owed to Stanley Tucci, who were it not for Christoph Waltz would be a lock in this category.

Julia:

WHO WILL WIN: Christoph Waltz
WHO SHOULD WIN: Christoph Waltz

This was a serious tossup for me between Tucci and Waltz. Both were remarkably good. But Waltz is absolutely, definitely the most memorable part of Inglourious Basterds. He is fantastic in that role, and I hope for his sake (and mine) he pulls it off.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Like it or not (William doesn’t), Mo’Nique is pretty much guaranteed an Academy Award for Precious.

Penelope Cruz – Nine
Vera Farmiga –
Up in the Air
Maggie Gyllenhaal –
Crazy Heart
Anna Kendrick –
Up in the Air
Mo’Nique –
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

William:

WHO WILL WIN: Mo’Nique
WHO SHOULD WIN: Vera Farmiga

All the acting categories seem like foregone conclusions this year, and if anyone other than Mo’Nique wins the award for Best Supporting Actress it would be the surprise of the evening. Sadly, Mo’Nique’s broad, monstrous performance – which given the Oscar-bait qualities inherent to the character probably could have earned a nomination for just about any actress who played the role competently – lacks the nuance of Vera Farmiga’s more subdued and complicated performance in Up in the Air.

WHO WILL WIN: Mo’Nique
WHO SHOULD WIN: Mo’Nique

Again, all the nominees were good, but Mo’Nique was the only one that really blew her part out of the water. Considering she is a stand-up comedienne, her work in Precious is massively impressive.

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY

William wants Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince to win Best Cinematography. You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find that it’s almost definitely going to either Avatar or Hurt Locker.

Avatar – Mauro Fiore
Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince – Bruno Delbonnel
The Hurt Locker – Barry Ackroyd
Inglourious Basterds – Robert Richardson
The White Ribbon – Christian Berger

William:

WHO WILL WIN: The Hurt Locker
WHO SHOULD WIN:
Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince

The Best Cinematography award and I have a long and antagonistic history. Case in point, the actual Best Cinematography of 2010 (A Single Man – Eduard Grau) wasn’t even nominated. I refuse to completely give in, so I predict The Hurt Locker’s competent but familiar desert hues will win over Avatar, in which the bulk of the “cinematography” was completed in the computer. If Avatar gets to be nominated for Best Cinematography, why not The Princess and the Frog? Of course, everyone in the Academy might not appreciate this distinction and Avatar could end up with the award, ignoring Bruno Delbonnel’s truly exceptional work on Harry Potter.

Julia:

WHO WILL WIN: Avatar
WHO SHOULD WIN:
Inglourious Basterds

From its opening vignette, Inglourious Basterds is positively dazzling. Unfortunately I predict Avatar’s sweep will continue here.

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN EDITING

Julia’s betting that The Hurt Locker‘s intense set pieces will earn Best Editing, while William has less faith in the Academy and is betting on just another Avatar win.

Avatar – Stephen E. Rivkin, John Refoua, James Cameron
District 9 – Julian Clarke
The Hurt Locker – Bob Murawski, Chris Innis
Inglourious Basterds – Sally Menke
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire – Joe Klotz

William:

WHO WILL WIN: Avatar
WHO SHOULD WIN:
District 9

The Best Editing Academy Award often goes alongside the Best Picture winner, so this award will probably go to either Avatar or Hurt Locker. Still, I’m predicting that Avatar will probably sweep most of the technical awards – whether I like it or not – so I’m guessing James Cameron’s abominably paced epic will probably win this Oscar even though District 9 was a more impressive accomplishment.

Julia:

WHO WILL WIN: The Hurt Locker
WHO SHOULD WIN:
Inglourious Basterds

Mehhh. None of them were holy-wow in the editing department. I predict Hurt Locker will get this one because it is so incredibly tense. Inglourious Basterds may be my favorite among the rest of them for editing.

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN ART DIRECTION

Will the Academy declare Avatar‘s CGI environments the same achievement as practical set design, or will a darkhorse like The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus (pictured) – William’s pick for Best Art Direction – steal the Oscar from Cameron’s rampaging, awards-devouring monster?

Avatar – Rick Carter, Robert Stromberg, Kim Sinclair
The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus – David Warren, Anastasia Masaro, Caroline Smith
Nine – John Myhre, Gordon Sim
Sherlock Holmes – Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer
The Young Victoria – Patrice Vermette, Maggie Gray

William:

WHO WILL WIN: The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus
WHO SHOULD WIN:
The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus

It’s hard to miss exceptional art direction. Avatar could easily take this award in a sweep, but it would be stupid since again, most of the really impressive “locations” and “sets” were either computer-generated or heavily manipulated in post. I’ve only seen clips of Parnassus but it’s clearly a stunning production that Academy members all probably watched if only for Heath Ledger’s involvement. I also haven’t seen The Young Victoria which also has the potential to take away this award on merit alone.

Julia:

WHO WILL WIN: Avatar
WHO SHOULD WIN:
Sherlock Holmes

This is where I predict Avatar will start to sweep. Visually it’s beyond beautiful, and I think it’s going to get most of the visually-oriented awards for which it’s nominated. Sherlock Holmes was amazingly well-done, though. Nineteenth-century London has never been so gorgeous.

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN

Julia picks the period piece The Young Victoria for Best Costume Design. William didn’t see it. Whoops! That could cost him in the long run…

Bright Star – Janet Patterson
Coco Before Chanel – Catherine Leterrier
The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus – Monique Prudhomme
Nine – Colleen Atwood
The Young Victoria – Sandy Powell

William:

WHO WILL WIN: Nine
WHO SHOULD WIN:
???

My opinion for who should win means little in this category, having not seen most of the nominees, but Nine may take home this award for its gaudy theatricality and the heavy emphasis on costume design/costume designers in the narrative.

Julia:

WHO WILL WIN: The Young Victoria
WHO SHOULD WIN:
The Young Victoria

I am way behind on this category. Because I haven’t seen 3/5 nominees, I’m going to put my vote in for The Young Victoria because it was a better film than Nine and because the costumes were quite incredible.

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKE-UP:

Both of our esteemed critics expect pointy ears and prosthetic foreheads to win the day in Best Make-Up.

Il Divo – Aldo Signoretti, Vittorio Sodano
Star Trek – Barney Burman, Mindy Hall, Joel Harlow
The Young Victoria – John Henry Gordon, Jenny Shircore

William:

WHO WILL WIN: Star Trek
WHO SHOULD WIN: ???

I haven’t seen the other two nominees, but Star Trek is still heavily favored in this category. Add on the fact that it’s the only award that Trek actually has a chance of winning and it’s pretty much a lock.

Julia:

WHO WILL WIN: Star Trek
WHO SHOULD WIN:
Star Trek

Star Trek is an all-around fun viewing experience, and the makeup is incredible. There you go.

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES, ORIGINAL SCORE

Julia wants Up to win Best Original Score. William thinks it actually will. They will resolve their differences in a one-handed knife fight by the railroad tracks at the crack of dawn.

Avatar – James Horner
The Fantastic Mr. Fox – Alexandre Desplat
The Hurt Locker – Marco Beltrami, Buck Sanders
Sherlock Holmes – Hans Zimmer
Up – Michael Giacchino

William:

WHO WILL WIN: Up
WHO SHOULD WIN: The Fantastic Mr. Fox

Great work, but not exactly the best year for this category. How many of the above scores can you hum off the top of your head? Even Avatar didn’t really have a theme that stuck with you, so none of these scores stands out as a frontrunner. Avatar could, once again, take it in a sweep, but I actually think Michael Giacchino is finally going to take home an Oscar for his exceptional work on Up. I preferred Alexandre Desplat’s lovely score for Mr. Fox (plus I just love saying that last name), but Up still had beautiful music and deserves the award just about as much.

Julia:

WHO WILL WIN: Avatar
WHO SHOULD WIN:
Up

Another tossup. Horner and Cameron know how to push our emotional buttons with music, and I predict the Academy will reward this. Michael Giacchino’s score for Up is by far the most memorable and is really fantastic.

BEST ACHIEVEMENT FOR MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES, ORIGINAL SONG

After a brutal one-handed knife fight by the railroad tracks at the crack of dawn, William and Julia resolve their differences by agreeing on “The Weary Kind” for Best Original Song.

Crazy Heart (“The Weary Kind”) – T-Bone Burnett, Ryan Bingham
Nine (“Take It All”) – Maury Yeston
Paris 36 (“Loin de Paname”) – Reinhardt Wagner, Frank Thomas
The Princess and the Frog (“Almost There”) – Randy Newman
The Princess and the Frog (“Down in New Orleans”) – Randy Newman

William:

WHO WILL WIN: “The Weary Kind”
WHO SHOULD WIN: “The Weary Kind”

Songs that are integrally linked to a film’s story have a leg up in this category, particularly when none of the competing songs were a breakout Top 40 hit. The beautiful “Weary Kind” is pretty much guaranteed to win this award, and deservedly so.

Julia:

WHO WILL WIN: “The Weary Kind”
WHO SHOULD WIN: “The Weary Kind”

I am a sucker for Randy Newman, and both songs from The Princess and the Frog made me smile. T-Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham deserve this one, though. “The Weary Kind” is perfect for that film and a great song (I came out of the theater wanting to download it).

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING

Julia thinks The Hurt Locker is going to sweep both the Academy Awards for sound.

Avatar – Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson, Tony Johnson
The Hurt Locker – Paul N.J. Ottosson, Ray Beckett
Inglourious Basterds – Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti, Mark Ulano
Star Trek – Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson, Peter J. Devlin
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Geoffrey Patterson

William:

WHO WILL WIN: Avatar
WHO SHOULD WIN:
Avatar

Excellent work all around, but as much as I disapprove of Avatar winning most of the awards for which it’s nominated, the sound mixing was incredible. But then all of the above work was incredible, too.

Julia:

WHO WILL WIN: The Hurt Locker
WHO SHOULD WIN:
Inglourious Basterds

Major tossup here. As William has said, the Academy is likely to fall back on whichever was the most entertaining movie. I worry The Hurt Locker will start getting the smaller awards to make up for losing Best Picture. Inglourious Basterds contained some of the most gruesome sound imagery ever produced, and I certainly hope it pulls this one off.

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING

William’s convinced that Avatar‘s going to take both sound prizes instead.

Avatar – Christopher Boyes, Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
The Hurt Locker – Paul N.J. Ottosson
Inglourious Basterds – Wylie Stateman
Star Trek – Mark P. Stoeckinger, Alan Rankin
Up – Michael Silvers, Tom Myers

William:

WHO WILL WIN: Avatar
WHO SHOULD WIN:
Avatar

Sound Editing is not the same award as Sound Mixing, but like Best Picture and Best Director they often go hand in hand. Avatar had a genuinely unique soundscape and deserves credit for that achievement.

Julia:

WHO WILL WIN: The Hurt Locker
WHO SHOULD WIN:
Star Trek

Transformers (a horrible, terrible, no-good very bad movie) did have incredible sound editing. Star Trek deserves this one, as even on my computer its sound is amazing.

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS

It was nice of the Academy to actually nominate other movies for Best Visual Effects. Wait, not nice… “Cruel.” That’s the word we were looking for.

Avatar – Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham, Andy Jones
District 9 – Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Richard Habros, Matt Aitken
Star Trek – Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh, Burt Dalton

William:

WHO WILL WIN: Avatar
WHO SHOULD WIN:
Avatar

Duh.

Julia:

WHO WILL WIN: Avatar
WHO SHOULD WIN:
Avatar

Duh.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM OF THE YEAR

William genuinely thinks The Fantastic Mr. Fox is going to win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. In contrast, Julia thinks William has, quote, “A stupid, stupid head full of stupid, stupid, stupid.” (Note: May not be an actual quote.)

Coraline – Henry Selick
The Fantastic Mr. Fox – Wes Anderson
The Princess and the Frog – John Musker, Ron Clements
The Secret of Kells – Tomm Moore
Up – Pete Docter

William:

WHO WILL WIN: The Fantastic Mr. Fox
WHO SHOULD WIN:
The Fantastic Mr. Fox

This is the dark horse I’m backing this year. Up is a beautiful and unforgettable film that made my Top Ten list last year, but not only is Mr. Fox a more distinctive accomplishment artistically, it also isn’t risking splitting its votes with a Best Picture nomination. Plus, Wes Anderson is a critical darling who has never won another Academy Award, perhaps unjustly, so that twinge of sympathy could give him the slight edge over Pixar this year.

Julia:

WHO WILL WIN: Up
WHO SHOULD WIN:
Up

I gave both Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Princess and the Frog 4 stars. They are great movies. Up is one of Pixar’s really good ones, though. Any movie that can make kids giggle and adults laugh out loud and sob (aside from Veggie Tales) is fantastic in my book. The Academy loves Pixar, too (with good reason: who doesn’t?).

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM OF THE YEAR

Neither William nor Julia have seen the nominees for historically treacherous Best Foreign Film Oscar, but they both think that all the buzz points to Michael Haneke’s critically-acclaimed The White Ribbon.

Ajami – Israel
The Milk of Sorrow – Peru
A Prophet – France
The Secret in Their Eyes – Argentina
The White Ribbon – Germany

William:

WHO WILL WIN: The White Ribbon
WHO SHOULD WIN: ???

Haven’t seen the nominees, so I’m just going with my gut, and my gut says White Ribbon’s critical acclaim could earn it this award. On the other hand, Best Foreign Film can be a real spoiler category (since Academy members are actually required to see all the nominees), so it could be anyone’s game. The Secret in Their Eyes has a lot of critical acclaim to its credit as well.

Julia:

WHO WILL WIN: The White Ribbon
WHO SHOULD WIN: ???

Once again, throwing in the towel. I haven’t seen any of the nominees. The White Ribbon is getting tons of buzz, so I’m going to guess at that one.

BEST DOCUMENTARY, FEATURES

Julia thinks The Cove should win Best Documentary Feature. William thinks he wants to see Fisher Stevens win an Oscar on sheer principle.

Burma VJ: Reporter i et lukket land – Anders Ostergaard, Lise Lense-Moller
The Cove – Louie Psihoyos, Fisher Stevens
Food, Inc. – Robert Kenner, Elise Pearlstein
The Most Dangerous Man in America – Judith Ehrlich, Rick Goldsmith
Which Way Home – Rebecca Cammisa

William:

WHO WILL WIN: The Cove
WHO SHOULD WIN: ???

I haven’t seen any of the nominees, but the only documentary I’ve heard great things about this year was The Cove. Plus, it was produced by Fisher Stevens, and I like the idea of the bad guy from Hackers getting an Academy Award.

Julia:

WHO WILL WIN: The Cove
WHO SHOULD WIN:
The Cove

This is another huge tossup for me. The Cove and Food, Inc. (the only two I’ve seen) are getting the most buzz. Food, Inc. was great, and has me rethinking the way I eat and grouchy that so few pay attention to such. The Cove is an incredible, well made, important film about injustices that we may be able to do something about. I think it’ll tip the scales.

BEST DOCUMENTARY, SHORT SUBJECTS

Neither of our critics have seen any of the nominees for Documentary Short Subject, so they have both gone the traditional route… picking the nominee with the most compelling name, like The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant (pictured).

China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province – Jon Alpert, Matthew O’Neill
The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner – Daniel Junge, Henry Ansbacher
The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant – Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert
Krolik po berlinsku – Bartosz Konopka, Anna Wydra
Music by Prudence – Roger Ross Williams, Elinor Burkett

William:

WHO WILL WIN: The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant
WHO SHOULD WIN: ???

I missed my opportunity to see these shorts, so I’m going with my gut and betting that a topical film about the economy could tug at the right heartstrings.

Julia:

WHO WILL WIN: Music by Prudence
WHO SHOULD WIN: ???

I haven’t seen any of these, so I’m going to throw in the towel and say Music by Prudence because it has a cool name.

BEST SHORT FILM, ANIMATED

Nick “Oscar Magnet” Park has been nominated for a new Wallace and Gromit short. Let’s hope everyone else enjoyed just being nominated.

French Roast – Fabrice Joubert
Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty – Nicky Phelan, Darragh O’Connell
La dama y la muerte – Javier Recio Gracia
Logorama – Nicolas Shmerkin
Wallace & Gromit in “A Matter of Loaf and Death” – Nick Park

William:

WHO WILL WIN: Wallace and Gromit in “A Matter of Loaf and Death”
WHO SHOULD WIN: ???

Again, I missed my chance to see the nominees. Logorama has some great word of mouth, but come on… Nick Park’s been nominated. If anyone else wins it’ll be a mindblower.

Julia:

WHO WILL WIN: Wallace and Gromit in “A Matter of Loaf and Death”
WHO SHOULD WIN: ???

Haven’t seen any of these. I’ll go with A Matter of Loaf and Death because it has the coolest name.

BEST SHORT FILM, LIVE-ACTION

In what would normally be a great equalizer – a category in which neither William nor Julia have seen any of the nominees – both critics are coincidentally betting on Instead of Abracadabra. Looks like it’s time for a chainsaw fight behind the Hollywood sign at midnight. We might need a first aid kit this time…

The Door – Juanita Wilson, James Flynn
Instead of Abracadabra – Patrick Edlund, Mathias Fjallstrom
Kavi – Gregg Helvey
Miracle Fish – Luke Doolan, Drew Bailey
The New Tenants – Joachim Back, Tivi Magnusson

William:

WHO WILL WIN: Instead of Abracadabra
WHO SHOULD WIN: ???

Again, I screwed up and didn’t see them this year. Instead of Abracadabra sounds like the film I’d enjoy the most.

Julia:

WHO WILL WIN: Instead of Abracadabra
WHO SHOULD WIN: ???

I have nothing on these. Let’s say Instead of Abracadabra because it sounds cool.

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