With the nominations for the 82nd Academy Awards less than 24 hours away, we thought it might be helpful (for your betting purposes and otherwise) to see how the online critical community is placing their bets. A casual stroll through the sites yields no radical decisions (unless you consider my oscarpredictions.com's choice of "Amelia" for best picture radical, though I think there's a more appropriate term for it), but a few interesting inclusions amid the volley of votes for "Avatar," "The Hurt Locker," "Precious" and "Inglourious Basterds."
Dave Karger at EW.com resurrects his biggest surprises post from 2009, with some impressively feasible selections. Chief among them: "Invictus" gets shut out of the nominations entirely, and "Avatar's" Zoe Saldana trumps Helen Mirren in the best actress category. I wouldn't be slack-jawed to see at least one of these come true Tuesday, though his pick of "Stu's Song" from "The Hangover" for best original song seems the least likely.
Jeff Sneider has a few surprises of his own at his blog, The InSneider. Jeff has "Where the Wild Things Are" among his 10 in the best picture category (as did I), and he's favoring Lone ("An Education") Scherfig over Lee Daniels as best director. Biggest deviation from the accepted Oscar picks: his selection of Javier Bardem from Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's "Biutiful" for best actor; he's given the film, which has yet to be released in the States, a nod in the original screenplay department.
There's quite a bit of pull for J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek" to make its way into the best picture race; Peter Keogh at the Boston Phoenix makes an imaginative argument for its political relevancy a la "Avatar" by comparing Kirk and Spock to George W. Bush and Barack Obama (!). Same goes for Disney/Pixar's "Up," which many hope to see in the best picture category rather than best animated feature, including the voters polled at The Daily Beast.
The Oscar predicts also seem to be the final chance for many critics and bloggers to put in a good word for favorites that flew under the radar this year. Case in point: Peter Knegt's Lost Boy blog, which favors Ang Lee's "Taking Woodstock" for best picture and best director, and Michelle Pfeiffer in "Cheri" as the lock for best actress. Sweet but unlikely in the face of the "Avatar" juggernaut.
Anyway, it's all moot come the dawn Tuesday, but it's interesting to play "What if ...?"
Meanwhile, the movie list tabulators over at They Shoot Pictures, Don't They (TSPDT) have updated their ongoing list of the 21st century's most acclaimed films. The list, based on critical year-end lists from 2000 to 2009 and some mathematical computations that I won't even try to explain to you, now includes a number of 2009 releases and a few Oscar hopefuls among them, including "The Hurt Locker" (the best reviewed film of last year, according to TSPDT), "The Fantastic Mr. Fox," "A Serious Man" and "Up in the Air." And the most acclaimed film of the 21st century? Wong Kar-Wai's "In the Mood for Love," followed by David Lynch's "Mulholland Dr.," which topped most critics' best-of-the-decade lists.
-- Paul GaitaPhoto: Image from "Avatar." Credit: 20th Century Fox.
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