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Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

My Oscar Predictions – Part 3: The Story Aspects

Alright, on to part 3 of my predictions.  This time we’re going with the parts of the film which build the story; screenplay, cinematography, editing.  I also threw in the music categories because… well, because.  I think they work here pretty well.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:
The Hurt Locker (Summit Entertainment), Written by Mark Boal
Inglourious Basterds (The Weinstein Company), Written by Quentin Tarantino
The Messenger (Oscilloscope), Written by Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman
A Serious Man (Focus Features), Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Up (Disney•Pixar), Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy

Some strong choices on this one, but I think that Tarantino is going to be rewarded for his excellent dialogue and tension-building scenes.  I’m not very certain on this one, but I’m going to put my chips on Basterds.

Prediction: Inglourious Basterds

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:
District 9 (TriStar), Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
An Education (Sony Pictures Classics), Screenplay by Nick Hornby
In the Loop (IFC Films), Screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
Precious (Lionsgate), Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher
Up in the Air (Paramount), Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

This is another tough category with a lot of strong contenders.  The Oprah-controlled masses may push hard for Precious to win this one, but I think that the Oscar is going to Up in the Air for its slice of life dialogue and its well-ingrained themes.

Prediction: Up in the Air

CINEMATOGRAPHY:
Avatar (20th Century Fox), Mauro Fiore
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Warner Bros.), Bruno Delbonnel
The Hurt Locker (Summit Entertainment), Barry Ackroyd
Inglourious Basterds (The Weinstein Company), Robert Richardson
The White Ribbon (Sony Pictures Classics), Christian Berger

I am always very interested in this category, and this year confuses me.  I’m surprised to see Harry Potter in there, for one thing.  I also wonder if Avatar will win, despite all of the CG involved.  I suppose camerawork is camerawork regardless, and so I think that Avatar will take it for the way it portrays the sweeping vistas of Pandora.

Prediction: Avatar

FILM EDITING:
Avatar (20th Century Fox), Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron
District 9 (TriStar), Julian Clarke
The Hurt Locker (Summit Entertainment), Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
Inglourious Basterds (The Weinstein Company), Sally Menke
Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire (Lionsgate), Joe Klotz

I think that a lot of the well-paced suspense in Hurt Locker’s bomb-scenes (as well as that long sniper showdown) owed a lot to the editing.  Those scenes were certainly the strong point of this slightly overrated movie, and they should be acknowledged.  I think Hurt Locker takes this one.

Prediction: The Hurt Locker

ORIGINAL SCORE:
Avatar (20th Century Fox), James Horner
Fantastic Mr. Fox (Fox Searchlight), Alexandre Desplat
The Hurt Locker (Summit Entertainment), Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
Sherlock Holmes (Warner Bros.), Hans Zimmer
Up (Disney•Pixar), Michael Giacchino

Avatar was too close to Titanic in score, I don’t remember a score in Hurt Locker, the score of Fox is a little too quirky for the Academy, and I just can’t see Holmes winning.  Up, however, had a score which always fit the tone of the movie at every moment, being light-hearted at one point and heart-retching the next.

Prediction: Up

ORIGINAL SONG:
“Almost There” from The Princess and the Frog (Walt Disney), Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
“Down in New Orleans” from The Princess and the Frog (Walt Disney), Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
“Loin de Paname” from Paris 36 (Sony Pictures Classics), Music by Reinhardt Wagner, Lyric by Frank Thomas
“Take It All” from Nine (The Weinstein Company), Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston
“The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)” from Crazy Heart (Fox Searchlight), Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

I really don’t like this category.  I wouldn’t care to see it go, to be honest.  But its here, so lets make a prediction.  I’m almost certain that the Crazy Heart song is taking this one.  Nine didn’t make the impact it hoped it would, the two Princess and the Frog songs will probably cancel each other out, and a lot of buzz is going to this T Bone guy and his song.

Prediction: Crazy Heart

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