BY MIG WINDOWS
Typically, listing off Oscar-night disappointments can wait until after the Oscar telecast. In this case, there are enough disappointments to be seen in the nominations that we can get the ball rolling early.
BEST ACTOR: Five-time nominee Jeff “The Dude” Bridges will win for his performance of an alcoholic country music singer in “Crazy Heart.”
Other nominees in this category include Morgan Freeman for playing Nelson Mandela in “Invictus” (which would have been a shoo-in had the film been a straight-up biopic and not a sports movie), George Clooney for playing — well, pretty much George Clooney in “Up in the Air,” Colin Firth as a gay professor in “A Single Man,” and first-time nominee Jeremy Renner for playing a bomb tech in Iraq in “The Hurt Locker.”
Snubbed (in my opinion): Michael Stuhlbarg’s subtle but hilarious performance in “A Serious Man,” and Viggo Mortensen for his devastating turn in Cormac McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic drama “The Road.”
BEST ACTRESS: In one of the biggest surprises of the year, Sandra Bullock has been nominated for an Oscar for “The Blind Side” — proof that all you really need to do for an Oscar-nominated film is to find a blonde lady who did something nice, cast an actress who is best known for romantic comedies, then ask said actress to put on a regional accent. Ask Julia Roberts.
Other nominees include two-time winner Meryl Streep for playing a conspicuously sober Julia Childs in “Julie & Julia” (another fool-proof nomination strategy: be Meryl Streep), past-winner Helen Mirren for “The Last Station,” and first-time nominees Carey Mulligan for “An Education,” and Gabbourney Sidibe for “Precious.”
My prediction: Any one of them could be a surprise victory, but the little gold man will most likely either be Bullock’s conversation piece for the next decade or else join Meryl Streep’s Oscar trifecta.
Snubbed: Abbie Cornish for “Bright Star” and Melanie Laurent for “Inglourious Basterds.”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: In one of the more bizarre categories, a Nazi, a pedophile, a South African rugby player, an Army messenger, and Leo Tolstoy square off.
My Prediction: Christoph Waltz for “Inglourious Basterds.” He’s already won most of the top awards, and has an awesome beard.
Snubbed: Anthony Mackie for “The Hurt Locker,” and Peter Capaldi for a lewd and shrewd Scottish political consultant in “In the Loop.”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Mo’Nique’s going to get it. No question. She gives a bloodcurdling, jaw-dropping performance as an abusive mom in “Precious.”
The other nominees are Anna Kendrick and Vera Farmiga, both for “Up in the Air,” Maggie Gyllenhaal for “Crazy Heart,” and Penelope Cruz for “Nine.”
Snubbed: Rosemund Pike for her small but hilarious turn as a ditzy socialite in “An Education.”
BEST DIRECTOR: Now, I think that “Avatar” will and should win its share of technical awards — special effects, sound, cinematography, what have you — but the category here is best director, and, in my opinion, Kathryn Bigelow did a better job.
This may be the first year where a woman wins Best Director. And what’s more, she’s nominated for directing a war movie (“The Hurt Locker”) with an all-male cast and filmed a stone’s throw away from a war zone.
Still, there’s also a chance that Kathryn Bigelow’s ex-husband, James Cameron, will take home the statue, to add to the cellar full of statues he brought home with 1997’s “Titanic.”
The other nominees are Cameron for “Avatar,” Quentin Tarantino for “Basterds,” Jason Reitman for “Up in The Air,” and Lee Daniels for Precious – all of whom will be overlooked due to the controversy of nominating two battling exes. My money’s on Bigelow. Especially since Cameron is going to win…
BEST PICTURE. It’s kind of silly that 10 best pictures were nominated in a year where it is obvious which one will win: “Avatar,” the highest grossing film of all time. Expect it to thrash the competition like one of Cameron’s rampaging Battle Mechs.
The other nominees are “The Hurt Locker,” “Precious,” “Basterds,” “A Serious Man,” “An Education,” “The Blind Side,” “Up,” “Up in the Air,” and “District 9.”
Let’s not spill any ink on my other predictions because I know a lot of you will fast-forward through this part of the Oscar telecast, anyway.
The Oscars air on March 7th at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, 5:00 Pacific. You can see for yourselves what happens then, and laugh at me for being wrong.
Visit our online “Polls” section to vote on your Best Picture favorite. Results will be printed in the March issue of The Byline.