2010 Academy Award Predictions


Rating: Various

Distributor: Various

Released: March 7, 2010


Written by Sara Michelle Fetters


Senior Theatrical Editor

2010 Academy Awards Predictions
Hurt Locker Looks to Blow Away the Competition


There is actually a tiny bit of mystery surrounding Sunday’s 82nd annual Academy Awards. Will Avatar make James Cameron king of the world for a second time? Or will Kathryn Bigelow steal her ex-husband’s thunder and see her Iraq War thriller The Hurt Locker blow it to smithereens, all the while Quentin Tarantino’s violent WWII fantasy Inglourious Basterds sits in the wings eager to shoot its way to the podium if either falters.


One of these Oscars will go to a Best Actress winner - Richard Harbaugh / ©A.M.P.A.S.


Drama concerning the eventual Best Picture aside there’s not a lot of mystery surrounding this year’s Oscar telecast. The majority of the winners have been known for quite some time, and while upsets are always possible it’s highly unlikely many of the frontrunners will be heading home unhappy. For all the drama involving Bigelow, Cameron and Tarantino the absence of it everywhere else is a tad disconcerting, my excitement for Sunday’s telecast nowhere near what it has been in the past.


For my part I’m starting to feel like The Hurt Locker is probably going to end up dominating the evening, Avatar taking the majority of the technical categories but falling short for both Best Picture and Best Director. I also still hold out hope that both Carey Mulligan and Colin Firth could pull off monumental upsets in their respective acting categories, and while my head knows this is probably foolish my heart just won’t give into the pressure and go with the flow.


I’m also interested in this year’s show itself. With Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin hosting the chance for a freewheeling star-studded affair are good, and while this isn’t the first time Oscar has had multiple emcees this pairing seems like a better fit for the night than Chevy Chase, Goldie Hawn and Paul Hogan were. I’m also hopeful the show will again have past acting winners introduce the nominees, this minute change last year a touch of class I want to see continue.


With all that out of the way, here are my thoughts and predictions in regards to the major categories. Much like previous years MovieF

reak’s own webmaster and editor-in-chief Dennis Landmann will also be entering the conversations offering up his own predictions as well. Hopefully after I win this year’s face-off I’ll finally get that raise I’ve long been hoping for.


Without further ado, on to the predictions!



Nominees: Avatar, The Blind Side, District 9, An Education, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire, A Serious Man, Up, Up in the Air

Will Win (Sara Michelle): The Hurt Locker – This is a tough one. Avatar has gone over $2-billion in worldwide box office, while Inglourious Basterds is apparently a big favorite amongst actors, the largest voting block in the Academy. In the end I just think Bigelow’s superb military thriller has the most momentum, and as I personally feel it’s the best film of the three I’m going to pick it to take home the Oscar.

Will Win (Dennis): Avatar – I’m betting big!  If Cameron has one joker up his sleeve, we’ll see it here.
Should Win (Sara Michelle): The Hurt Locker

Should Win (Dennis): The Hurt Locker – An incredible ride with realistic characters, and so much more.  If you haven’t seen it, you must not miss it.



Nominees: Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart), George Clooney (Up in the Air), Colin Firth (A Single Man), Morgan Freeman (Invictus), Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker)

Will Win (Sara Michelle): Bridges – This is his fifth nomination in a career spanning over 30 years and he’s beloved by the Academy at large, but while his eventual win feels like a career achievement award (much like Paul Newman’s was for The Color of Money) his mesmerizing turn in Crazy Heart is certainly worth of the recognition. In other words, this time The Dude doesn’t just abide, he wins.

Will Win (Dennis): Bridges – The Dude abides, and wins.  Well said!

Should Win (Sara Michelle): Firth – His multifaceted and riveting work in A Single Man was positively earth shattering and was in my opinion the finest delivered by an actor – male or female – in all of 2009.

Should Win (Dennis): Firth – An incredible and restrained performance in a very good film, it would be genius if it got recognized.  The other nominations, Freeman’s performance is solid, but his accent wavers, which distracted a bit, Clooney turns in a warm and thoughtful performance, and Renner surprises extremely well.



Nominees: 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)

Will Win (Sara Michelle): Bullock – Streep could take this seeing as she hasn’t won in almost three decades and a lot of people really adored her turn as legendary chef Julia Child but I’m starting to think that’s unlikely. Bullock has the momentum, the chances she’s going to score an Oscar touchdown looking pretty darn good.

Will Win (Dennis): Bullock – It’s time Sandra gets recognized with an award (and not to mention her two films this year made a boatload of money at the box office, setting a new record for most B.O. by any actress), as the Academy totally missed their chance in 1994 with Speed!

Should Win (Sara Michelle): Mulligan – This darling ingénue was positively effervescent in An Education, and to think she’s not going to get recognized for her spellbinding performance just about breaks my heart.

Should Win (Dennis): Mulligan



Nominees: Matt Damon (Invictus), Woody Harrelson (The Messenger), Christopher Plummer (The Last Station), Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones), Christoph Waltz

Will Win (Sara Michelle): Waltz – While just about everyone in Inglourious Basterds was good, just imagine the film without its villainous central figure Col. Hanz Landa. It’s impossible to do, this Austrian native scoring a gigantic bingo that will be talked about and remembered for many years to come.

Will Win (Dennis): Waltz

Should Win (Sara Michelle): Waltz

Should Win (Dennis): Woody Harrelson – It would be brilliant if he would win, because it would be highly deserving, his performance one of the best of his career.



Nominees: Penélope Cruz (Nine), Vera Farminga (Up in the Air), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Crazy Heart), Ann Kendrick (Up in the Air), Mo’Nique (Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire)

Will Win (Sara Michelle): Mo’Nique – The one-time sitcom star and current BET talk show host has had this one in the bag since the moment her film screened at Sundance, and if she were happen to lose the resounding thud of jaws slapping against the floor would probably push the Earth off its axis sending us all to our Irwin Allen-esque doom.

Will Win (Dennis): Mo’Nique – A powerful performance in the drama will outshine the rest of the competition, which doesn’t seem all too strong this year.

Should Win (Sara Michelle): Mo’Nique – This is one instance where the hype has actually been justified, and as much as I adored Kendrick in Up in the Air if Mo’Nique doesn’t win this one I might just breakdown and cry.

Should Win (Dennis): Mo’Nique



Nominees: 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)

Will Win (Sara Michelle): Bigelow – Cameron may have crafted another technical marvel and Tarantino might have made a WWII fantasy that’s as mischievous as it is invigorating but what Bigelow did with The Hurt Locker is head and shoulders above both of their accomplishments and the Academy is sure to recognize that fact.

Will Win (Dennis): Bigelow – A rock-solid directing achievement that towers above the rest.  Tarantino has matured as a filmmaker, Daniels is a surprise find, Reitman is on a hot streak, and the Academy isn’t likely to want to hear Cameron brag about being the King of the (Na’vi) World, again.

Should Win (Sara Michelle): Bigelow – The Hurt Locker is a masterpiece, pure and simple, and there isn’t any more to say than that.  

Should Win (Dennis): Bigelow



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

Will Win (Sara Michelle): Up in the Air – Supposed disagreements and feuding between Reitman and Turner aside, this seems to be the script with the most heat behind it.

Will Win (Dennis): Up in the Air – The film is pretty good and it’s not going to win best picture, so this is it.

Should Win (Sara Michelle): In the Loop – My pick as 2009’s best film, this script is a freewheeling and profane satirical whirlwind deserving of praise.

Should Win (Dennis): Up in the Air – A solid script and it deserves the win, but the competition is tough this year.



Nominees: The Hurt Locker (written by Mark Boal), Inglourious Basterds (written by Quentin Tarantino), The Messenger (written by Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman), A Serious Man (written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen), Up (screenplay by Bob Peterson and Pete Docter, story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson and Tom McCarthy)

Will Win (Sara Michelle): Inglourious Basterds – I just get the feeling like Quentin has to win something and as actors like this film so much I think this is the award he’s going to get.

Will Win (Dennis): The Hurt Locker – What makes the movie work? It’s the script, and my reason for picking it to win.

Should Win (Sara Michelle): A Serious Man – The Coen’s do it again crafting another spellbinding piece of comedic euphoria that’s as blissfully entertaining as it is bitingly intelligent.

Should Win (Dennis): The Messenger - The obvious underdog here that deserves a win, because it tells a heartwarming and interesting story, and is very well written. I hate to repeat myself, but it’s a very tough competition this year.



Nominees: Coraline, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Princess and the Frog, The Secret of Kells, Up

Will Win (Sara Michelle): Up – It’s got a nomination for Best Picture, too, so it’s winning in this category is pretty much a forgone conclusion

Will Win (Dennis): Up – An incredibly moving film, and the best animated picture of the year.

Should Win (Sara Michelle): Up – Personally, it’s a tough choice between this and Fantastic Mr. Fox but in the end Pixar’s latest is another winner I just can’t help but adore.

Should Win (Dennis): Up – Your sentiment is echoed, it’s a tough choice as both films are… fantastic.



Nominees: Ajami (Israel), The Milk of Sorrow (La Teta Asustada) (Peru), A Prophet (Un Prophète) (France), The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos) (Argentina), The White Ribbon (Das Weisse Band) (Germany)

Will Win (Sara Michelle): The White Ribbon – This category is never as easy to predict as you would think it is, upsets almost a yearly occurrence. That said I’m sticking with director Michael Haneke’s unsettling frontrunner, The White Ribbon, a sensational achievement deserving of winning this award.

Will Win (Dennis): The White Ribbon

Should Win (Sara Michelle): The White Ribbon

Should Win (Dennis): A Prophet



Nominees: Burma VJ, The Cove, Food, Inc., The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, Which Way Home

Will Win (Sara Michelle): The Cove

Will Win (Dennis): The Cove

Should Win (Sara Michelle): The Cove – A damning indictment that should make the Japanese government feel beyond ashamed.

Should Win (Dennis): The Cove – An incredible film; suspenseful, invigorating, and sends a powerful message.  Food, Inc. is also very good, and damning, but like the former, it features a subject matter that is, well, hard to stomach.  (Excuse the pun, if you will.)



Nominees: Avatar, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Nine, Sherlock Holmes, The Young Voctoria

Will Win (Sara Michelle): Avatar – James Cameron’s 3-D sci-fi epic finally wins an award.

Will Win (Dennis): Avatar - … except most of the art direction takes place in the visual effects world.

Should Win (Sara Michelle): The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus – I may not have fully cared for Terry Gilliam’s latest effort but that doesn’t mean it was any less of a visual masterpiece.

Should Win (Dennis): Sherlock Holmes



Nominees: Avatar, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, The White Ribbon

Will Win (Sara Michelle): The White Ribbon – Christian Berger’s sensational black and white images are one of the main reasons Michael Haneke’s fascist exposé is so monumentally powerful.

Will Win (Dennis): Inglourious Basterds

Should Win (Sara Michelle): The White Ribbon

Should Win (Dennis): Inglourious Basterds



Nominees: Bright Star, Coco Before Chanel, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Nine, The Young Victoria

Will Win (Sara Michelle): The Young Victoria

Will Win (Dennis Steven): The Young Victoria – Definitely some good choices here, it’s going to be interesting to see who is dressed for success, who’s got style, who will be top gear, who’s got the best duds … but enough with he puns.

Should Win (Sara Michelle): Bright Star – I want this to win if only because I feel it’s criminal that this is this masterfully realized poetic love story’s singular Academy Award nomination.



Nominees: Avatar, District 9, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire

Will Win (Sara Michelle): The Hurt Locker

Will Win (Dennis): Inglourious Basterds

Should Win (Sara Michelle): District 9 – Watching this again recently on Blu-ray I realized just how wonderfully this one was put together, Julian Clarke’s editing absolutely top-notch.

Should Win (Dennis): District 9 – A very well put-together film, also exceptionally paced.



Nominees: Il Divo, Star Trek, The Young Victoria

Will Win (Sara Michelle): Star Trek – J.J. Abrams’ successful reboot of the Gene Roddenberry franchise has to win something. This will be that something.

Will Win (Dennis): The Young Victoria  (thank the lord for no Eddie-Murphy-dressed-in-fat-suit comedy this year! Because “Norbit” was nominated several years ago, utterly ridiculous, but I digress… sorry.)

Should Win (Sara Michelle): Il Divo



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

Will Win (Sara Michelle): Up – A second win for Pixar’s latest animated marvel.

Will Win (Dennis): Avatar – This is always a tough category for me because I’m a film score enthusiast, and I believe the Academy has strange rules which disqualify many films from contention.  Horner’s is probably his best work in many years, scoring a large-scale sci-fi action movie that features several themes and layers, and is worth honoring.  Desplat and Giacchino are at the top of their game, and Zimmer’s score is entertaining, although I shake my head at the inclusion of Beltrami, who has done much better work.

Should Win (Sara Michelle): Sherlock Holmes – Zimmer’s best score in ages and one he definitely deserves an Oscar for.

Should Win (Dennis): Avatar



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

Will Win (Sara Michelle): “The Weary Kind”

Will Win (Dennis): “The Weary Kind”

Should Win (Sara Michelle): “The Weary Kind”



Nominees: Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglorious Basterds, Star Trek, Up

Will Win (Sara Michelle): The Hurt Locker

Will Win (Dennis): The Hurt Locker

Should Win (Sara Michelle): The Hurt Locker

Should Win (Dennis): Star Trek



Nominees: Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Star Trek, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Will Win (Sara Michelle): Avatar

Will Win Dennis): Avatar

Should Win (Sara Michelle): The Hurt Locker

Should Win (Dennis): Star Trek



Nominees: Avatar, District 9, Star Trek

Will Win (Sara Michelle): Avatar – Cameron again broke all the rules and reinvented the medium so it goes without saying the Academy is going to recognize him for doing it.

Will Win (Dennis): Avatar – The Academy may deny Cameron the big prize, but in terms of the visual bonanza it seems unreasonable to deny the movie a win in this category.  Also, what she said.  (Pardon the pun.)

Should Win (Sara Michelle): District 9 – I want this to win if only because the film’s $30-million price tag is significantly smaller than Avatar’s reported $300-million.

Should Win (Dennis): AvatarDistrict 9 and Star Trek utilized their respective visual effects very well and impressively, but the competition is just too great (this year).



Nominees: China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province, The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner, The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant, Music by Prudence, Rabbit à la Berlin

Will Win (Sara Michelle): The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant – This solid short just seems all-too timely considering current economic events.

Will Win (Dennis): The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant – Going to throw it out there and take a wild guess, because I haven’t seen these documentary shorts.

Should Win (Sara Michelle): The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner – I admit to being a bit of a homer on this one, if only because I’d love to see some Washington State locals take home an Oscar.



Nominees: French Roast, Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty, The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte), Logorama, A Matter of Loaf and Death

Will Win (Sara Michelle): A Matter of Loaf and Death – Hard to bet against a new Wallace and Gromit short.

Will Win (Dennis): A Matter of Loaf and Death – I haven’t had the chance to see any of the other nominated shorts, but this latest Wallace and Gromit adventure is nothing short of genius hilarity.

Should Win (Sara Michelle): French Roast – So good and so inventive I watched it a good five or six times before returning the screener to the publicist.



Nominees: The Door, Instead of Abracadabra, Kavi, Miracle Fish, The New Tenants

Will Win (Sara Michelle): Kavi – I didn’t really care for any of these and don’t have the first clue which one will strike a chord with voters.

Will Win (Dennis): Kavi

Should Win (Sara Michelle) Miracle Fish – The only short I watched twice so if I had to choose (which thankfully I don’t) then I guess this is the nominee I’d have voted for.


- Portions of this article reprinted courtesy of the SGN in Seattle

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