It's time, after all the drama, all the intrigue, all the scheming, the millions spent, the 82nd Academy Awards are finally here. Will "Avatar" or "The Hurt Locker" rule the night? Can someone upset Sandra Bullock for Best Actress? Let's sit back and enjoy the wonders of when Adam Shankman and Bill Mechanic produce the Oscars.
Will 'Avatar' or 'Hurt Locker' dominate the night? A blow by blow account of Hollywood's Super Bowl.
Some quick thoughts before the award season Super Bowl begins
It's finally here, Oscar Sunday. The current award season technically stars each August with a kick off during the Toronto and Telluride Film Festivals, but this one seemed a bit longer with all the players from the 2009 Sundance Film Festival in the mix. And considering "Hurt Locker's" impressive June debut and "Avatar's" amazing journey which hit a bump during last July's Comic-Con, it's been almost non-stop. Plus, the extra weeks because of the Olympics didn't necessarily provide anyone with any relief. In fact, running into some of Awards Campaigns talented peers Friday night at the Independent Spirit Awards including Kris Tapley (In Contention), Pete Hammond (The Envelope), Anne Thompson (Thompson On Hollywood) and David Poland (Movie City News) there was certainly a sense of utter exhaustion (such troubles, I know).
Oh, and those pesky Sound Editing and Sound Mixing categories
It's hard to believe that at one time during this extended awards season "Nine" was the frontrunner for Best Picture (especially after everyone finally saw it). And then it was a seemingly invincible run for Jason Reitman's "Up in the Air," but even that bubble burst before had barely started. And now? The 82nd Academy Awards will feature a long night of back and forth wins as "Avatar" and "The Hurt Locker" line up for an epic David vs. Goliath showdown for Best Picture.
Predictions for Live Action Short, Documentary Short and Animated Short
We're guessing if you are a hardcore Oscar fan, when you come in second or third place in your Oscar pool to that intern who just lucikly "guessed" the best to win the big pot you wanted to pull your hair out. Awards Campaign is also pretty sure it was the Animated, Live Action and Documentary Short categories that ruined your predictions. Well, never fear, if there is anything this pundit usually gets right it's the short categories. Sound Editing and Mixing? We'll that's another issue entirely...
Meryl Streep will lose again, America's fortysomething sweetheart still has competition
Meryl Streep is a loser. Yes, it's true. America's greatest living actress is a certifiable loser and no, it's not at the box office where she's become a powerhouse in the 21st Century, but at the annual event that should be her shrine: the Academy Awards.
After this year, the two-time winner will have lost at the Oscars 12 straight times since 1984. That's a horribly depressing stat considering her performances in films such as "Silkwood," "Out of Africa, "The Bridges of Madison County," "Adaptation" and "Doubt" are in that mix. And still, no third Oscar for the beloved Streep on Sunday night. Instead, it appears Sandra Bullock's comeback year will be capped off with a stunning win for her role in the unexpected blockbuster "The Blind Side." How is this possible? Well, it's complicated.
'Crazy Heart' legend should easily win Best Actor
There is a long list of acclaimed actors and actresses who have received multiple nominations, but are still awaiting their first Academy Award. Many of those names might surprise you: Glenn Close, Signourney Weaver, Peter O'Toole, Joan Allen, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ed Harris, Albert Finney and Annette Bening just to name a few. This year, that list is going to get significantly shorter after Jeff Bridges wins Best Actor.
The early contender for this year's honor was George Clooney for his great performance in "Up in the Air." However, once Fox Searchlight moved the drama "Crazy Heart" into the mix at the last minute, everything changed. Bridges turned the race upside down as he received the LA Film Critics, Golden Globe, Critic's Choice and, most importantly, SAG Award for Best Actor. That may have partially been because Clooney, a former Best Supporting Actor winner for "Syriana," hardly campaigned for it out of respect for the longtime industry veteran (and his "Men Who Stare At Goats" co-star). And if you look over Bridges career, the mantra "it's time" is hard to argue.
Predictions for Cinematography, Art Direction, Make Up and Costumes
The craft awards often don't get enough attention from the media, but this year a number of the races deserve the spotlight, mostly because they are just too close to place money on. Two exceptions, however, are art direction and make up where it will come as no surprise to anyone who has seen the nominations list already that those statues are already earmarked for "Avatar" and "Star Trek" respectively. As for cinematography and costume design? That's another matter entirely.
A tough one. Through year-end critics' awards and Oscar precursor shows, not one single film has dominated the cinematography race even though the nominees themselves have been amazingly consistent. Christian Berger's work on "The White Ribbon" won the American Society of Cinematographer's Award, but Barry Ackroyd and "The Hurt Locker" won the BAFTA while Maurice Fiore's "Avatar" was honored with the Critics' Choice Award. Now, you can easily debate who should win this category on merits alone. Purists will say "Ribbon" or "Locker" deserve it for the intricate skill in their lighting and camerawork, but there is a strong contingent who believe Fiore's contributions were integral to allow director James Cameron to create the world of "Avatar." Fiore is lucky here, because the entire Academy can vote for this one and the drumbeat for "Avatar" is so strong they will easily check the film off as they go down their ballot. It may seem surprising to simplify a vote that way, but sometimes it really is that easy. However, if "Locker" ends up winning this early award, it could also mean Best Picture is in its sight as well. So, happily, this one actually means something to more than the D.P's in question.
'You Meet A Tall Dark Stranger' hits theaters this fall
The last decade was much kinder to Woody Allen than the end of the 90s were and now it appears he'll be getting off on a solid footing as the next decade begins. Sony Pictures Classics announced today that it has acquired North American rights to the legendary filmmaker's latest film, "You Meet A Tall Dark Stranger," for a fall 2010 release.
As always with Allen flicks, plot details are being kept on the down low, but the ensemble dramedy features an intriguing cast including Josh Brolin, Naomi Watts, Anthony Hopkins, "Slumdog Millionaire's" Freida Pinto and Antonio "don't call it a comeback" Banderas. The picture continues Allen's new love affair with London and was financed by the same international backers who brought "Vicky Christina Barcelona" to the screen.
Plus: Animated Film and Documentary predictions
It may be hard to believe, but there are actually a few Academy Award categories this year that don't have anything to do with the expected battle between "Avatar" and "The Hurt Locker." Here's a rundown of three of the more prestigious Oscar races that have received little attention so far this season.
Nicolas Chartier may have irrevocably scarred his career
The consequences of what's come to be known as the "Lockergate" scandal took a dramatic turn today when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences ruled to deny entry to the 82nd Oscars to nominated producer Nicolas Chartier.