Oscar Watch: Who is going home with the golden man?

Spinnaker

The Oscars present the best Hollywood has offered us during the past year. The event receives updates this year to the format, including the number of movies nominated for Best Picture increasing from five to 10 movies. Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin host the show this Sunday, March 7 at 8 p.m. on ABC.

I’d like to take a look at the films and actors nominated for major awards this year, looking at what movies will win and should win.

Best Picture

“Avatar”

“The Blindside”

“District 9”

“An Education”

“The Hurt Locker”

“Inglourious Basterds”

“Precious: Based on the ‘Push’ by Sapphire”

“A Serious Man”

“Up!”

“Up in the Air”

 

Will Win: “The Hurt Locker.” Kathryn Bigelow’s film involving soldiers in Iraq sent to diffuse improvised explosive devices (IEDs) has been making waves since its re-release into theaters last year. With Nine Oscar nominations, this film will be going home with the gold.

Should Win: “Inglourious Basterds.” Quentin Tarantino creates another masterful epic about how WWII should have gone down. With incredible dialogue, suspense and an awesome performance by Brad Pitt as Lt. Aldo Raine, the film unfortunately does not stand a chance against “Avatar” and “The Hurt Locker.”

Best Director

James Cameron (“Avatar”)

Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”)

Quentin Tarantino (“Inglourious Basterds”)

Lee Daniels (“Precious: Based on the ‘Push’ by Sapphire”)

Jason Reitman (“Up in the Air”)

Will Win: Kathryn Bigelow. Bigelow’s tale of an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) team in Iraq is explosive, literally. The tension the film brings is riveting and shows a unique side to the Iraqi war.

Should Win: James Cameron (“Avatar”). Cameron’s work on “Avatar” is astounding. Cameron’s vision of Pandora is fully realized through an epic “Fern Gully” rip-off. Every detail is planned out in expert fashion to bring the culture of the Na’vi to life.

Best Actor

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: Jeff Bridges. Bridges’ performance as Bad Blake has been gathering widespread praise from critics. Let’s take that check all the way to the bank.

Should Win: Jeremy Renner. Renner’s portrayal of risk-taking bomb defusal expert William James in “The Hurt Locker” is entertaining and complex. A few key scenes in the film open up emotional wounds that put Renner’s acting chops to the test.

Best Supporting Actor

Matt Damon (“Invictus”)

Woody Harrelson (“The Messenger”)

Christopher Plummer (“The Last Station”)

Stanley Tucci (“The Lovely Bones”)

Christoph Waltz (“Inglourious Basterds”)

Should and Will Win: Christoph Waltz. Waltz is a glorious bastard as “The Jew Hunter.” His presence is electrifying in every scene and keeps your eyes glued to the screen. Tarantino went through a long process of finding Waltz, and Tarantino definitely made a stupendous choice.

Best Actress

Sandra Bullock (“The Blind Side”)

Helen Mirren (“The Last Station”)

Casey Mulligan (“An Education”)

Gabourey Sidibe (“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”)

Meryl Streep (“Julie & Julia”)

Should and Will Win: Sandra Bullock. My fingers are crossed, I have wanted to see Bullock win an Oscar for years, but she never seemed to be able to fully create a believable and heartfelt character. As Leigh Anne Tuohy, Bullock brings a hilarious and heartfelt performance to one of last year’s blockbuster films.

Best Supporting Actress

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”)

Should and Will Win: Mo’Nique. There is no way Mo’Nique is leaving without an Oscar. Her disturbing performance as a belligerent, abusive mother made waves with critics even before the film hit theaters. If anyone else receives this award, Mo’Nique better hop on stage and slap a hoe.

Best Animated Film

“Coraline”

“The Fantastic Mr. Fox”

“The Princess and the Frog”

“The Secret of Kells”

“Up”

Should and Will Win: “Up.” Pixar continues to make beautiful animated films that pull at your heartstrings. The tear-jerking introduction takes a melancholy topic of loss and transforms into a presentation of fulfilling your dreams and finding new meaning to life.

Best Cinematography

“Avatar” (Mauro Fiore)

“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” (Bruno Delbonnel)

“The Hurt Locker” (Barry Ackroyd)

“Inglourious Basterds” (Robert Richardson)

“The White Ribbon” (Christian Berger)

Should and Will Win: “Avatar.” I feel like this movie is a shoe-in, with a gorgeous setting and shots of towering mountains floating through the sky. This movie is a visual treat with vivid colors and smooth transitions between scenes.

Best Adapted Screenplay

“District 9” (Neill Blomkamp and 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 and Sheldon Turner)

Will Win: “Up in the Air.” Although I have not watched the movie, critics are up in arms about the smart interpretation of Walter Kirn’s 2001 novel.

Should Win: “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire.” “Precious” is a detailed depiction of an illiterate, overweight black teenager who is abused by her parents. This serious subject matter crosses over barriers through emotional scene stealing moments by Gabourey Sidibe and Mo’Nique. The writing juxtaposes heartbreaking scenes of despair with glimmers of hope. It’s almost scary watching the scenes play out. The scenes will stay with you.

Best Original Screenplay

“The Hurt Locker” (Mark Boal)

“Inglourious Basterds” (Quentin Tarantino)

“The Messenger” (Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman)

“A Serious Man” (Joel Coen & Ethan Coen)

“Up” (Bob Peterson, Pete Docter. Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy)

Should and Will Win: “Inglourious Basterds.” The best film of the past year contains richly developed dialogue with Quentin Tarantino’s latest masterpiece. The interactions between the characters are finely tuned to shed light on aspects of a movie scene that are not naturally noticed by viewers. Scenes set major plot changing actions amidst charming “small talk.” In one scene, the “Jew Hunter” discusses the taste of milk with a French farmer. Meanwhile, Jewish fugitives hide under weak wooden floorboards. The scenes in “Inglourious Basterds” exhibit the strength of words and that with the right presentation, those words can cut you like daggers.