Oscars according to Cadenza

The Oscars are fast-approaching, and we here at Cadenza wanted to put in our two cents. There doesn’t seem to be much disagreement about who will win, but who should win?

Best Picture

Nominees

“Avatar”
“The Blind Side”
“District 9”
“An Education”
“The Hurt Locker”
“Inglourious Basterds”
“Precious”
“A Serious Man”
“Up”
“Up in the Air”

Who will win?

Paul Johannet: “The Hurt Locker” (A guess, as I’m guilty of having not seen it).
Alex Terrono: It’s down to “The Hurt Locker,” “Avatar” and “Inglourious Basterds,” but “Hurt Locker” will pull out the win in the end.
Davis Sargeant: “The Hurt Locker.”
Andrew Senter: “The Hurt Locker.”
Percy Olsen: “The Hurt Locker.” I feel so unoriginal, but then again, why fight it?

Who should win?

Paul: Rather than who should win, I’ll pitch a controversial who should NOT win: “Avatar.” This visually enchanting behemoth’s financial success has launched James Cameron into the ranks of creative directors completely void of narrative ability. George Lucas was at the initiation ceremony.
Alex: Well, in MY opinion, “Avatar” is a work of cinematic genius. It is beautiful, engaging and creative. “Avatar” for the win!
Davis: Before I saw “The Hurt Locker,” I thought of the war in Iraq as an abstract political issue. This movie should share a shelf with “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “Saving Private Ryan” and “Apocalypse Now” as a compelling examination of emotion in war.
Percy: Look, I don’t know if it’s the best movie the year, but I really, really, really want “Inglourious Basterds” to win. If you just size up the movie based on general traits (World War II epic, maybe a smidge of biopic), then it should win. But clearly, anyone who actually saw the movie will tell you it is so much more than Oscar bait. The more I think about the nominees, the more I want “Inglourious Basterds” to take it.
Andrew: There is a small part of me that wants “The Blind Side” to win. Why? So I can permanently disregard the Oscars and every terrible movie they decide to name “Best Picture” because it is popular. Or has Sandra Bullock in it.

Best Actor

Nominees

Jeff Bridges, “Crazy Heart”
George Clooney, “Up in the Air”
Colin Firth, “A Single Man”
Morgan Freeman, “Invictus”
Jeremy Renner, “The Hurt Locker”

Who will win?

Andrew: Jeff Bridges, “Crazy Heart.”
Alex: Jeff Bridges is on a roll that no one can stop.
Percy: It’s gotta be Jeff Bridges.

Who should win?

Alex: Colin Firth shines in “A Single Man” in an emotion-packed, beautiful performance. Recognize!
Andrew: Jeff Bridges, who transforms what should be a Lifetime “movie of the month” into a memorable story about music and the perils of alcoholism, should take it.
Percy: Not to take anything from Bridges, but George Clooney was absolutely fantastic in “Up in the Air.” I would be incredibly surprised if he wins this year, but then again, I’d also be a little happy.

Best Actress

Nominees

Sandra Bullock, “The Blind Side”
Helen Mirren, “The Last Station”
Carey Mulligan, “An Education”
Gabourey Sidibe, “Precious”
Meryl Streep, “Julie & Julia”

Who will win?

Alex: Sandra Bullock will no doubt pull this one out. She’s the whole reason the film got nominated for Best Picture, so obviously the Academy loves her. Plus, the movie was the first female-driven film to cross $200 million. She made that happen.
Percy: Did you know that she said she was unhappy with her performance in “The Blind Side”? There should be some stipulation that you have to approve of your performance to win an Academy Award. Unfortunately, there isn’t, and she’ll take it.

Who should win?

Alex: I don’t care what anyone says, Zoe Saldana should win this award for “Avatar.” Even though she didn’t really appear on screen, her performance did, and it knocked my socks off.
Percy: Really, Alex? Zoe? Put your socks back on, this should go to Meryl Streep. Her winning percentage (two wins for 16 nominations) shows that she is consistently underappreciated.
Alex: Underappreciated? Really? 16 nominations later…

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees

Matt Damon, “Invictus”
Woody Harrelson, “The Messenger”
Christopher Plummer, “The Last Station”
Stanley Tucci, “The Lovely Bones”
Christoph Waltz, “Inglourious Basterds”

Who will win?

Paul: Christoph Waltz.
Alex: Without a doubt, Christoph Waltz.
Andrew: Christoph Waltz.
Percy: Agreed, it’s Christoph Waltz. Man, just writing that gave me chills.

Who should win?

Andrew: Waltz gives one of the most riveting and horrifying performances of the year.
Paul: Putting aside the ethical pitfalls of “Inglourious Basterds,” Waltz was brilliant. He colored the sadistic, cunning interrogative approach of Col. Hans Landa. Without sacrificing Landa’s perceptive abilities, Waltz made his character surprisingly inhuman, even for a Nazi.
Percy: Matt Damon really brought the goods in “Invictus”—he should win if the Academy has any sense. Nah, I’m just kidding. Waltz.
Alex: I’m going to go off on a limb and say that Harrelson should win.

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees

Penelope Cruz, “Nine”
Vera Farmiga, “Up in the Air”
Maggie Gyllenhaal, “Crazy Heart”
Anna Kendrick, “Up in the Air”
Mo’Nique, “Precious”

Who will win?

Alex: Mo’Nique had this in the bag in September.
(Silence)
Alex: So no one’s going to argue?

Who should win?

Alex: Anna Kendrick really shone through in “Up in the Air.” She was my favorite part of the movie.
(More silence)
Alex: Seriously, guys?

Best Animated Feature

Nominees

“Coraline”
“Fantastic Mr. Fox”
“Princess and the Frog”
“The Secret of Kells”
“Up”

Who will win?

Paul: “Up.”
Alex: “Up” is a Best Picture nominee, enough said.
Andrew: “Up.”
Percy: “Up,” and it won’t be close.

Who should win?

Paul: “Up.” The film begins with a 15-minute montage of truly beautiful storytelling showing the relationship of Carl and Ellie.
Alex: Pixar can’t go wrong, and “Up” is no exception. It is beautifully made and completely adorable.
Andrew: The best picture nomination says everything.
Percy: But I don’t think we can forget about “The Princess and the Frog.” Yes, “Up” was the better movie, but Disney’s first hand-animated film in years dazzled, while bringing back a flood of childhood memories about “The Lion King” and “Aladdin.” It even made me have an emotional moment (and I’m not keen to admit that.) “Up” deserves it, but wow, that is some tough luck for “The Princess and the Frog.”