Oscar Predictions: Best Picture

The Nominees:

  • Avatar
  • The Blind Side
  • District 9
  • An Education
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • Precious
  • A Serious Man
  • Up
  • Up in the Air

First off, 10 nominations is ridiculous.  It completely cheapens the award.  In any given year, there are only 2 or 3 (at most) nominees that have a realistic chance of winning anyway.  This year is no different.  With that being said, this year’s race is still rather interesting and unpredictable.

I’m only going to address the movies that I consider to be the “real Best Picture nominees.”  These are the ones signified by having their respective directors also nominated:  Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious and Up in the Air.  The other five should just be grateful that they get to put “Best Picture Nominee” on their DVD cases.

Precious and Up in the Air were strong contenders early on in the race, but their Oscar hopes kind of fizzled out when Avatar started breaking all sorts of records.  They’ve been relegated to mere afterthoughts.

Basterds has gained a lot of momentum lately, especially coming off the “Best Acting Ensemble” win at the SAG awards.  It has become the wild card in what I now consider to be a two-horse race between The Hurt Locker and Avatar.  The fact that it is right between The Hurt Locker and Avatar in terms of both gross and budget could help it, but I still consider it a massive longshot.

These top two contenders are essentially polar opposites.  The Hurt Locker is an independent, small-budget film that would become the lowest-grossing “Best Picture” winner if it can manage to beat Avatar, the highest grossing movie of all-time.

I’m going to pick The Hurt Locker on this one, and I’ll explain why.  Avatar does not have a single acting nomination, nor did it get nominated for its screenplay.  It is sure to take home a bevy of technical awards, but I just don’t see a movie winning “Best Picture” under those circumstances.

Sure, Avatar is an outstanding achievement.  Does that make it a great movie?  Call me a purist, but I’m thinking no.  Its cliché story, corny dialogue and mediocre acting seem to have been pointed out by the Academy when they didn’t recognize it in these categories.

For years, filmmakers have been determined to make the great war movie for our generation.  Body of Lies, The Kingdom and Rendition are just a few that come to mind.  The Hurt Locker has succeeded where those movies, and others, have failed.  At some point in the future, people will look back at The Hurt Locker the same way we look back at movies like Full Metal Jacket and The Deer Hunter as portraits of the conflict in Vietnam.

Prediction:  The Hurt Locker

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