Oscars 2010: Best Picture Prediction


This year we have what has been and will surely be one of the most storied competitions for the coveted Best Picture award at the Oscars: the first time in decades since there were 10 Best Picture nominees, plus there is the showdown between the highest-grossing motion picture ever made versus what would be the lowest-grossing Best Picture winner ever.

The people’s choice would be Golden Globe winner Avatar, a ground-breaking visual epic with a timeless story. Meanwhile, critics all over the country have heaped praise on the quietly released The Hurt Locker, a perspective-transforming story about action and war. There have been emails going out from producers begging them to vote for one over the other, people have been emotionally invested … it’s been bitter, people.

So, who will it be?

The way my predictions have gone so far leaves both films tied with four Oscars apiece and therefore Best Picture is this fifth award on the line. I have Avatar winning four technical categories including art direction, both sound categories and visual effects. I have “Locker” taking home the coveted director category, original screenplay, cinematography and editing.

If you look at those categories that I predict The Hurt Locker will win, you have all categories that Best Picture 2009 winner Slumdog Millionaire took home awards for (just switch original out for adapted screenplay). The two films are more similar than you think and although it would be impossible for “Locker” to run away with 8 awards like “Slumdog” did, it should win in the categories that seem to be necessary to win best picture.

I’m sure that no recent Best Picture winner ever came away with nothing in either a leading actor category, director or screenplay. The last film to do so was actually Chicago, and  Avatar has to hope the ceremony goes in that direction. Chicago won a slew of technical awards and only won Best Supporting Actress in the big categories. Avatar doesn’t even have an acting nomination.

I can say this without hesitation. If the Academy voters have not decided Avatar is a very special circumstance and is voting true to the way they always have, especially in the last ten years, then Avatar will not win Best Picture unless James Cameron wins for Best Director. The only other way it could win is if it sweeps its technical awards and leaves “Locker” short of Editing and Cinematography.

Here are some facts. In the last ten years, only two films have won Best Picture without winning Best Director: Chicago and Brokeback Mountain. In the case of the last, that was a huge upset. Chicago and Gladiator are the only two films recently that have won Best Picture without either a directing or Best Screenplay award.

So, unless voters deem Avatar worthy of a historical rarity, if Kathryn Bigelow or anyone else takes home Best Director, Avatar is almost assuredly not going to win the big prize. That said, a film grossing $700 million and touching people all over the world could very well be deemed worthy of a historical rarity. If Cameron does upset Bigelow and take director, I think that ups the likelihood of Avatar winning by about 90 – 100 percent.

There is also the voting process change due to 10 nominees this year. Each person ranks the films 1 – 10. Unless a picture receives an overwhelming majority of votes in the first count, the two films with the fewest votes are eliminated. Anyone who voted these films for Best Picture get their second choices counted. Who does that favor? Too hard to tell, but it certainly sets up the possibility of something unusual happening, which in this case favors Avatar.

As a predictor, my safest bet is to side with history, especially recent history. I also believe as much as I really enjoyed Avatar that it was not the best film of 2009 nor even the best science fiction film of 2009 (that would be District 9)

Personally speaking (not my prediction), if I were voting, Up in the Air would be my first choice based on what I liked most. “Locker” would be second. Then would likely be District 9 and A Serious Man. But, trying to guess what’s going to happen …

Prediction: The Hurt Locker

1 Comment

  1. Hi man
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