Best Supporting Actor:
Matt Damon, Invictus
Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz, Inglorious Basterds
If you gave me this list of nominees a year ago and asked me to predict who would win, I would guess Plummer as this is the category where they usually give it to the veteran actor and usually when someone is over sixty in this category, then they usually win (see Arkin, Alan; Caine, Micahel; Freeman, Morgan; Broadbent, Jim; Ameche, Don; Coburn, James; okay, well you get the idea). Of course we all know Waltz will win. His is the only performance I've seen in this category, so I can't compare it to the others. This will be the third consecutive win for an actor playing a villain in this category and compared to Anton Chigurh and the Joker, Waltz's role as a Nazi didn't really scare or mesmerize me like Bardem and Ledger did with their roles. I did like Inglorious Basterds (for the most part), so I'm happy it's getting an acting award and it's pretty unprecedented when the one actor in a category that has the least name recognition wins an Oscar.
Best Supporting Actress:
Penelope Cruz, Nine
Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart
Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
I'll admit that I have not seen Precious. There were a few times when I thought about going to see it, but I have to be in the right frame of mind to see a movie like that. It's like trying to schedule the best two hours of your life to feel depressed and exhausted and, eh, that's probably why I keep putting it off. I hear Mo'Nique, the obvious winner of the Oscar (the Academy eats up roles like that), is pretty phenomenal in it, so I will watch it one of these days on DVD... eventually. Gotta love that a comedienne is winning an Oscar for a dramatic role, but will a dramatic actor ever win an Oscar for a comedic role? Probably not.
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
George Clooney, Up in the Air
Colin Firth, A Single Man
Morgan Freeman, Invictus
Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker
Bridges has this already locked up and it will be a deserved win and the Academy will want to reward him, this being his fifth nomination. However, if I'm being honest, I actually preferred Clooney over Bridges. Of course, it could be because I liked Up in the Air better than Crazy Heart or, on a shallow note, Clooney is nicer to look at than Bridge's aging, overweigh, ungroomed country crooner who spends the majority of the movie drunk and/or passed out. Not a good look on anyone. Perhaps Clooney would have had a fighting chance if he hadn't already (undeservedly) won for Syriana four years ago, but we all know that was more for his work on Good Night and Good Luck.
Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Helen Mirren, The Last Station
Carey Mulligan, An Education
Gabourey Sidibe, Precious
Meryl Streep, Julie and Julia
This is a race between Bullock and Streep and those are the only two performances from this category that I've seen. This will be the most exciting moment of the night for me because I could see the vote going either way, so at least there might be some notion of suspense. For Bullock, winning the Golden Globe and SAG is definitely in her favor, she's been promoting the hell out of her Oscar nod (she may tell the press she thinks Meryl will win, but c'mon Sandy, you're just being modest), and she appears to be very well liked. Not that being nice should make you automatically win an Oscar (look at Sean Penn and Russell Crowe, haha!), but it probably helps. Also, The Blind Side was nominated for Best Picture and Julie and Julia wasn't. For Streep, she also won a Golden Globe and you KNOW the Academy are itching to give her that third Oscar and I really wish they would just give it to her already so they can stop nominating for every freaking movie. I mean, I love Meryl, but enough is enough, you know? I also think that if she had won last year forDoubt, she wouldn't even be nominated this year. JUST GIVE HER THAT DAMN OSCAR ALREADY!!! :::takes a deep breath::: If there's anything not in favor of Streep, it's that Bullock seems to be unstoppable this year and while everyone says it's going to be a tight race, they're giving her the edge. The one thing going against Bullock is that while that performance may be HER best, compare it to other Best Actress Oscar winners (Charlize Theron or Hilary Swank) and it will probably be one of the weakest Best Actress performance if she wins. Actually, it reminded me a lot of Julia Roberts' role in Erin Brockavich, except that EB was a better movie. I mean, honestly, I didn't think either performance was SUPER OSCARS WORTHY or anything. Golden Globe worthy? Yeah, sure, that's fine. Some people are predicting Mulligan or Sidibe will upset, but there is no way in hell that will happen. That would be the biggest upset in Oscar history. I think Bullock will win, but I'm kinda hoping for Streep just so she can stop getting nominated all the time. (Watch her win and still get nominated next year!)
James Cameron, Avatar
Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Quentin Tarantino, Inglorious Basterds
Lee Daniels, Precious
Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
This category is very diverse, featuring the fourth woman ever to be nominated and the second black director ever to be nominated. Bigelow will make history on March 7th by becoming the first woman to win an Oscar for Best Director. She already won the DGA and whoever wins that is pretty much guaranteed the Oscar. Case closed.
The Hurt Locker
Up in the Air
I've seen Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglorious Basterds, and Up in the Air and you already know why I haven't seenPrecious yet. It appears The Hurt Locker is most poised to take the award and while I liked it, it doesn't exactly scream Academy-Award winning movie to me. Perhaps it's because it's such a small movie. I read that if it wins, it will be the lowest-budget movie ever to win the Best Picture Oscar. But on the other spectrum, and close on its heels, is Avatar the most expensive movie ever made and the highest grossing movie ever (though Titanic will always hold that honor in my heart!) I liked Avatar, but I hope it doesn't win the Oscar because there will come a time when this movie looks extremely outdated. Trust me, that day will come. Maybe not for awhile, but it will. To me, a movie that wins the Oscar should be timeless, and more importantly should focus on the MOVIE and not the special effects. I wouldn't mind seeing Inglorious Basterds win, but it won't because Hollywood takes their Holocaust movies seriously. I really liked Up in the Air and would probably vote for it if I were an Academy member, but it has appeared to lose momentum, however there's always the chance -
Oh, wait, what did you say? I didn't hear you. Oh...there's TEN Best Picture nominations this year? Oh, damn, I was hoping you would forget. You know, I really wish I knew who the "one time Best Supporting Actress nomination" was who shared her ballot with Entertainment Weekly because I totally agree with her about it being "one of the most idiotic things the Academy's ever come up with." Hee! I don't know who she is, but I love her for that! And I totally agree! I bet you that if The Dark Knight had been nominated last year we wouldn't be in this predicament. So the other movies are The Blind Side, District 9, A Serious Man, An Education, and my favorite of these five and will win the Oscar for Best Animated Movie, Up.