On January 25, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced their annual Oscar nominations for the Best Achievements in Film for the year 2010. One day prior to the announcement, I made my nomination predictions in all categories barring the Shorts. Turns out I did pretty well – I got 87% of my predictions in the top categories right. Now, with the Academy Awards little less than a month away, I’ve decided to kick off my winner predictions through a new daily column called “Countdown to Oscar.” Every weekday from now until the Oscars on February 27, I’ll pick a category (sometimes two) and make my analysis and prediction of who will win, who should win and who should have been nominated.
Here are the categories I’ve covered so far
Best Animated Feature
Best Animated Short
Best Costume Design
Best Art Direction
Best Supporting Actress
Best Original Song
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Barring the shocking win of “The Golden Compass” over “Transformers” in 2007, the Best Visual Effects Oscar tends to be the category that is one of the easiest to predict (outside Best Animated Feature i.e.). Everyone and their mother predicted “Avatar” to win the award last year and most were right in picking the groundbreaking work on “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” in 2008 too. As to be expected, this is the category that’s mostly dominated by big-budget blockbusters than the typical artsy Oscar fare. The big winners also tend to be science fiction or fantasy blockbusters. Since 1977, only three winners– “Forrest Gump,” “Titanic” and “Gladiator” – didn’t fall under the science fiction/fantasy genres. It just so happens that all three were overwhelming Best Picture favorites. With that track record, let’s take at this year’s slate of nominees, which for the first time since 1979, has been expanded to include five nominees (you’d think that with the dominance of CGI in the industry these days, they would have at least expanded the category a decade earlier).
“Alice in Wonderland”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1”
“Iron Man 2”
Wow… what a shocker – All are either science fiction or fantasy films. “Alice in Wonderland” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” and “Iron Man 2” are textbook sci-fi/fantasy nominees while “Inception” stands as the most groundbreaking nominee of the bunch. Even ultra-surprise nominee “Hereafter” (which stole the spot of the infinitely more deserving “Tron Legacy” or “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”) qualifies as fantasy since it’s about a guy who talks to dead people. Another point to consider here is since this category is voted on by the Academy at-large, the film that tends to win also happens to be the one that’s probably the best film of the group. In Oscar terms, it’s probably the nominee with the most nominations. Additionally, out of the 17 Best Picture nominees that have been nominated in this category since 1977, 15 have gone on to win the award –the two sole losers were “Apollo 13” and “Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World” which lost to “Babe” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” – both also Best Picture nominees. So if you’re a science fiction or fantasy film nominated in say, at least five categories including Best Picture, you’re guaranteed to take home the Visual Effects Oscar. From the list of nominees above, only one film qualifies: “Inception.” The fact that it is also by far the best and most deserving nominee with some of the year’s most memorable imagery makes this one of the easiest categories to predict.
WILL WIN: “Inception”
SHOULD WIN: “Inception”
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: “Scott Pilgrim vs the World”
YESTERDAY: Best Original Song
TOMORROW: Best Documentary Feature and Short Subject