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El Luchador’s 2010 Oscar Yays! and Nays!
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El Luchador’s 2010 Oscar Yays! and Nays!

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So if you are like me you watch the Super Bowl for the commercials and wait for the Academy Awards to yell at the TV like a mad man in the delusional misconception that those inside the box hear or care about your opinions. Every year when the nominations come out there are some films that should have been adorned with adulation, and some that should have been skipped over completely, but no matter what on the night of the ceremony they rarely get it right. Much like the American Government the method for choosing winners is broken. Lobbying, ads, and grossly uninformed voters usually sway the outcome, much to a layman’s outrage. Over the next five weeks I will be listing those that I think will win, and contrasting them with those that I think should win; most times there is just a vast ocean of difference between the two and I usually come pretty close to a stroke watching the undeserved become the victors.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

PROBABLY GOING TO WIN:
The Hurt Locker (Mark Boal) – As of writing this I haven’t seen this movie. By the end of the week I will have. But for the predictions it doesn’t really matter, in fact it probably demonstrates my point better than anything else. The Oscars are politics, and they are almost never about merit. This may be an amazing film, but I think it is going to win out of process of elimination. Out of the nominations it will come down to this and Inglourious Basterds, because no one really saw A Serious Man, or The Messenger. Up was animated so no one really takes it seriously enough to give it the little golden bald man; nominated yes, win no. Also this film was shut out at the Golden Globes so it will get some “WTF” votes.

SHOULD WIN:
A Serious Man (Coen Brothers) – Out of the whole year this was the most interesting script made. It won’t win, not just because it wasn’t seen, but because despite the myth that people of the Jewish persuasion run Hollywood this one will be deemed too ethnic (really?) for it to win.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

PROBABLY WILL WIN:
Up in the Air(Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner) – This movie was decent, I would even go as far to say it is a good movie, but this is not the best adapted screenplay. It will probably win because it is so topical and deals with the decline of Western Civilization, blah blah blah, but to be honest the third act is just lazy. Vera Farmiga’s character being married was dramatically necessary for Clooney to find his way, but nasality shouldn’t be an excuse. You could see it coming from a mile away, but it might have been the best adapted screenplay if they changed it so that for some other reason she was unavailable. I don’t know what, I didn’t write it, I’m not nominated for an Oscar either so what do I know? What I do know is that all of a sudden I thought I was watching Intolerable Cruelty when Clooney ran out of speaking engagement.

SHOULD WIN:
In the Loop (Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, & Tony Roche) It is hard to say this is that much of an adaptation because it was just based on an amazing original BBC TV show called The Thick of It though that may be a better way to adapt something. Except for Peter Capaldi’s hilariously foul-mouthed Malcolm Tucker most of the characters are original, the story is original, and it takes the ideas of the series much farther down comedic and tragic avenues. Both the show and the film are a brilliant and infuriating look into the way politics work, and if this is anywhere near reality I fear the future.

VISUAL EFFECTS

PROBABLY WILL WIN:
Avatar (Joe Letteri Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham, and Andrew R. Jones) – No matter your thoughts on the quality of the story or characters or message, this movie was an amazing technical feat. The Na’vi, the luscious landscapes, the creature design, for better or for worse, will revolutionize the way movies are made, and that isn’t even talking about the 3D. Most, if not all, of Avatar’s predecessors used the technology as a gimmick, but the integration that James Cameron insisted on created a truly unique, as of now, movie going experience. Even though District 9’s effects were amazing, especially in light of the discrepancy between the two films budgets, that movie is not the “game changer” that Avatar really is.

SHOULD WIN:
Avatar (Joe Letteri Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham, and Andrew R. Jones)

ANIMATED SHORT FILM

PROBABLY WILL WIN:
A Matter of Loaf and Death (Nick Park) – I loved this movie. In fact I love most of Nick Park’s work, especially the Wallace and Gromit movies. They have such a great childlike wonderment that is absent from so many films these days. Loaf and Death is no different. Long time fans were treated to more of the brilliant same, and new comers jumped right in as Park opens the film setting up those beloved characters and their relationship as though it was for the first time. Strangely like Up this movie has a lot of great Sci-Fi references for the adult viewers, and it has a couple of funny dogs for the kids. Those that saw this will vote for it because it is a simple, fun, beautifully done little movie. Those that didn’t will vote for it because it is a familiar brand that stands out amongst a field of unknowns.

SHOULD WIN:
Logorama (Nicholas Schmerkin) – Even though I loved A Matter of Loaf and Death this is one of the most interesting shorts I’ve ever seen. Built almost entirely of over 2,500 corporate logos this mini action film says a lot in a short amount of time. Yes, we get that consumerism is destroying the world, and capitalism will be the downfall of mankind, but damn this one is just very cool.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

PROBABLY WILL WIN:
Food, Inc. (Robert Kenner and Elise Pearlstein) – This is actually the only one of the nominees I’ve seen, but in reality this is the only one most people have seen, including Academy Voters. Much like Michael Moore’s documentaries name recognition makes the ballad. If you’ve seen only one and it was good, which this film was, it is going to rock the vote.

SHOULD WIN:
It Might Get Loud (Davis Guggenheim) – It wasn’t nominated. Ridiculous. Looking at all of the films the Academy chose they were only “issues” movies, and great docs, like this or Valentino: The Last Emperor, are skipped over because they deal with creativity and art. Unfortunately this country has lost sight of the importance of those things, which is why art and music education are the first to go during a budget crunch. Where other countries have governing bodies that set standards for food, beverages, art, music, film, basically regulating what can and cannot be called “good,” this one has nothing of the sort. Art and culture have become the weapons of politics and morality, and thus have lost any sense of import. People in this country can’t even imagine a governing body telling them what is “good” because it has been beaten into their heads that their individual opinions are just as valid as those of the educated or experts of any one field. If you are more likely to trust the opinion of a doctor, who has spent a lifetime studying the ins and outs of the human body than a lay person, wouldn’t it reason to assume you might take the opinions of a film maker or accomplished musician in higher regard as well? Yes, a diagnosis is different from an opinion, but the difference between a Serious Man and a Terminator Salvation is not subjective. There are objective qualities that just make it a better film. And that is why this film should win instead of one of the many rejected 60 Minutes pieces that are nominated; it is just a better-made movie. Then again that’s just my opinion, and I didn’t even see most of the nominations, so what do I know?

ORIGINAL SCORE

PROBABLY WILL WIN:
Up (Michael Giacchino) – I think this is one that the Golden Globes will be a predictor of. It is a smartly sweet score that harkens back to a time of adventure films and matinee serials. It is such a contrast to the work he has done for the slew of Bad Robot TV shows like Lost, Fringe, and Alias that it really shows his range. No matter what I think may be more deserved, Giacchino is right up there.

SHOULD WIN:
The Informant!(Marvin Hamlisch) – The only word to describe this score is inspired. Talk about adding to a movie, this score made the film. Had the music been any different it wouldn’t have been the same picture, and since that was one of the best, most intelligent, most interesting movies of the year this score played a huge part. It is nothing less than a travesty that it was overlooked.

ART DIRECTION

PROBABLY WILL WIN:
Sherlock Holmes (Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood, Set Decoration: Katie Spencer) – Again, this is another which always goes to period pieces, though The Young Victoria might be a slightly better bet purely on the Guy Ritchie backlash. However I am putting my money on this horse because of the dingy quality, the pure Whitehall filth that the film was infused with. To quote Ellen from Idol, “Hollywood is a filthy place,” and they always stand behind their own. Though I do respectfully renew my objections to this not being a Production Design category. There isn’t a Gaffer Category or a Key Grip Category; no, it is called Cinematography.

SHOULD WIN:
Sherlock Holmes (Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood, Set Decoration: Katie Spencer)

ANIMATED FEATURE

PROBABLY WILL WIN:
Up (Pete Doctor) – We’re finally into the big categories, ones that the layman actually care about. Sort of. Not only is this the best out of the nominees, this is definitely the best Animated Feature of the year. This is another home run for Pixar who are on a real hot streak. I hope Toy Story 3 keeps up the pace. As for Up, it was a perfect kid’s movie. It entertained the kids, kept them from crying, and kept the adults glued to the screen as well. Above all of that I loved the Star Wars, and Indiana Jones visual references in the finale of the picture. As for getting votes from the Academy, it is Pixar. They always win.

SHOULD WIN
Up (Pete Doctor)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

PROBABLY WILL WIN:
Mo’nique(Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire) – I still haven’t seen Precious, but I guarantee this one is a lock. The rest of the women are up for this category only because they needed five nominees, but it won’t matter. Mo’Nique is the winner. That way it won’t be racist when they give the award to Sandy Bullock instead of the little girl from Precious.

SHOULD WIN:
Marion Cotiliard (Public Enemies) – I know she had a little bit of trouble with the accent, but her final scene in the movie is the reason she should have at least been nominated. She was much better in the underrated Public Enemies than in the supremely overrated La Vie en Rose, for which she won last year. And let’s be honest, this award usually goes to a pretty girl, and between Cotillard and Mo’Nique she holds a slight advantage.

SUPPORTING ACTOR

PROBABLY WILL WIN:
Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds) – This is another category this year that will be almost unanimous. Waltz makes this movie, he is so fun and charming it makes you cringe that he’s a Nazi. Plus if he doesn’t win we’ll all have to put up with another one of those “Hitler Hears About…” parodies on YouTube. Funny at first, now not so much.

SHOULD WIN:
Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)

ACTRESS

PROBABLY WILL WIN:
Sandra Bullock (Blind Side) – “Since I voted for Mo’Nique for Best Supporting Actress it is okay that I vote for the white lady in the slightly racist football movie, right?” Then again I didn’t see Precious so maybe that little girl is just honored to be nominated. I think Sandy is taking this one because she was good enough in that movie to make people over look the pretty ridiculous juxtaposition of the “White” life style versus that of the “Black” in this movie.

SHOULD WIN:
Charolotte Gainsnourg (Antichrist) – In this movie Gainsbourg gave one of the most harrowing, disturbing performances ever, one that deserves to be rewarded with more than just the psychological scars the role must have provided. She was so good in this movie that I never want to see it again.

ACTOR

PROBABLY WILL WIN:
Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart) – This guy has some pretty stiff competition in Jeremy Renner. I have a feeling that it is going to be an Avatar year, but it could be a Hurt Locker year. If that is the case then change every one of my picks from Dances with Jakesully to Point Break 2: Bagdad! If not then Jeff Bridges gets this one.

SHOULD WIN:
Colin Firth (A Single Man) – Even though most of the movie looks like a Vanity Fair fashion spread Firth puts the goods on screen… and I’m not talking about his junk, which he does too. This is one of the more subtle and understated performances I’ve ever seen. I guess drunk hillbilly beats erudite queen most days though. Art does imitate life. Wow!

DIRECTOR

PROBABLY WILL WIN:
James Cameron (Avatar) – Like I’ve said a hundred (six) times before, this movie is just going to sweep, and in this category it really should. No matter what one thinks of the picture this is James Cameron’s baby. He directed the hell out of every single frame of this movie; nothing was left up to anyone else. The guy who said film was a collaborative art didn’t tell Jimmy Cameron. From what I’ve heard in his world film is like a Stalinist dictatorship.

SHOULD WIN:
James Cameron (Avatar)

BEST PICTURE

PROBABLY WILL WIN:
Avatar (James Cameron and Jon Landau) – This film was just a juggernaut, it was more pandemic than H1N1. Everyone saw it, and everyone was blown away, if not by the actual movie than by the visual accomplishment. Plus it made more than the Gross National Product of most developed nations. And at the end of the day these are movies. Movies made by corporations. Corporations that aren’t making art, they are making money. So, like Titanic before it, Avatar can enjoy the rewards that all the money in the world can buy.

SHOULD WIN:
A Serious Man (Joel and Ethan Coen) – Commerce aside, this really was the best picture of the 2009. It could have been the best picture of the decade, but it will never be showered with the accolades that an “Avatar” will because it is too impenetrable, too cerebral, too perfect. At least that’s what the Coen Brothers’ agent keeps telling them. I have a feeling that this movie wouldn’t have even been nominated if the category hadn’t been expanded to ten. It would have been Avatar, Blind Side, The Hurt Locker, Precious, and Up in the Air, and this amazing little movie would have been left out in the cold like the Rabbi at the beginning of the movie.

This is the end of the Oscar race. I’ve pulled out all my Tarot Cards, shaken every Magic Eight Ball I own, pondered every bowl of chicken innards in the house, and this marks the end of El Luchador’s Oscar picks. I have six going to Avatar as the big winner of the night. So print these up and use them on your Oscar pool. Kick the crap out of that one nerdy film student who professes to understand everything about the Academy. Put your degree in Communications against his BFA in Film Making and see who comes out on top, just don’t tell him from where all of these came. The small print on all of this is that if you use my picks on your Oscar pool on Sunday I get 10% of all your winnings. That’s just the bidniss.

Article by: Paul Myers

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