So the Oscar nominations are in, and perhaps the only surprise is that they are, in the major categories at least, completely unsurprising. Even this most staid and predictable of awards ceremonies usually manages to pull a few leftfield choices out of the bag, but this time they’ve gone for the heavy hitters all the way.
The safe money for Best Picture is on The Hurt Locker and Avatar. While Avatar still feels like the one to beat in light of the Golden Globes, a closer look at the nominations should be enough to give James Cameron pause. To miss out in the writing categories seems ominous: it’s hard to remember a Best Picture winner that hasn’t secured at least a nomination for the script, if not a win – except, worringly, Titanic.
Time Out predicts: the big ones
For the first time, there are 10 films up for Best Picture, rather than five.
• The Blind Side
• District 9
• An Education
• The Hurt Locker
• Inglourious Basterds
• A Serious Man
• Up in the Air
The smart money is on: Going with the Golden Globes as a predictor, it’d be Avatar. That said, the Globes ceremony saw fit to give The Hangover an award, so maybe we’re putting too much faith in it.
If Time Out ruled the Oscars: The Hurt Locker. It’s got a good chance, but usually when the Academy chooses to ‘go political’, it’s either woolly and melodramatic (Crash) or boosted with feelgood histrionics and dance numbers (Slumdog Millionaire).
• Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker
• James Cameron for Avatar
• Lee Daniels for Precious
• Jason Reitman for Up in the Air
• Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds
The smart moneyon is : It’s between Jim and Kathryn for sure. But if you put your money on Jim and he wins, Time Out considers this a hollow victory.
If Time Out ruled the Oscars: Nice to see Quentin receive his first Best Director nod since Pulp Fiction. But his chances are slim at best.
• Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart
• George Clooney for Up in the Air
• Colin Firth for A Single Man
• Morgan Freeman for Invictus
• Jeremy Renner for The Hurt Locker
The smart money is on: Going by the Golden Globe-ometer, it’s Jeff Bridges. Still, we think Jeremy Renner’s career-making turn as bomb disposal junky Sergeant James in The Hurt Locker might just do it.
If Time Out ruled the Oscars: We like Colin Firth for A Single Man. Who would have guessed he’d ever be up for an Oscar?
• Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side
• Helen Mirren for The Last Station
• Carey Mulligan for An Education
• Gabourey Sidibe for Precious
• Meryl Streep for Julie & Julia
The smart money is on: If only for finally clawing her way out of sub-par romcom stagnation at the age of 45, we think it could be Sandra Bullock’s year.
If Time Out ruled the Oscars: Carey Mulligan. She’s excellent in An Education, the perfect mix of naivety and maturity beyond her character’s years.
Best Supporting Actor
• Matt Damon for Invictus
• Woody Harrelson for The Messenger
• Christopher Plummer for The Last Station
• Stanley Tucci for The Lovely Bones
• Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds
The smart money is on: It’s got to be Christoph Waltz for his absorbing turn in Inglourious Basterds. The film itself may have divided audiences, but Waltz’s flawless performance is something that everyone seemed
to agree on.
If Time Out ruled the Oscars: We agree with the hot favourite here. Waltz is evil, smarmy and devastatingly smart as Colonel Hans Lander.
Best Supporting Actress
• Penélope Cruz for Nine
• Vera Farmiga for Up in the Air
• Maggie Gyllenhaal for Crazy Heart
• Anna Kendrick for Up in the Air
• Mo’Nique for Precious
The smart money is on: We’d be very surprised if Precious went home empty-handed. But with some very stiff competition in all the other categories in which it’s nominated, this is probably the place for it to shine.
If Time Out ruled the Oscars: We like Anna Kendrick in Up in the Air – she even managed to bring some fun to this year’s gloomy Twilight sequel. One to watch, wethinks.
The Oscar winners are announced on March 7