Oscars outcome: Sure things and tough calls
BY GENE TRIPLETT
The battle of the exes is the main event on an Oscar night that promises to be long and arduous thanks to the wisdom of Academy governors, who figured doubling the number of Best Picture nominees will boost the show’s sagging ratings.
It’s really down to two of the 10, with two former spouses James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow facing off for top pic and director prizes—unless Quentin Tarantino and his “Inglourious Basterds” spring a surprise attack.
Other top categories seem easy to call. Or are they? Here’s how I see things playing out.
Jason Reitman’s heartbreaking and timely comedy-drama about a high-flying bachelor who fires people for a living and can’t make connections of the human kind is my favorite of all the contenders, but “Up in the Air” lost some altitude at the Golden Globes when James Cameron’s blue giant “Avatar” weighed in with its stunning technical virtuosity and novelty appeal. But it’s tied with “The Hurt Locker” in nominations (9 each), and after blowing away the competition at the BAFTA Awards in London, this taut indie war drama from producer-director Kathryn Bigelow could defuse her ex-husband’s 3-D box office rocket. Barring an “Inglourious” upset, that is.
Should win: “Up in the Air.”
Will win: “The Hurt Locker.”
Some voters might think George Clooney was simply playing himself as the high-flying playboy of “Up in the Air,” but he actually gave the most perfectly nuanced and affecting performance of his career, imminently worthy of Academy gold. But Clooney and co-nominees Colin Firth (“A Single Man”), Morgan Freeman (“Invictus”) and Jeremy Renner (“The Hurt Locker”) will have to step aside for The Dude. Jeff Bridges has said Bad Blake, the booze-soaked, washed-up country singer he portrayed in “Crazy Heart” was a part he was born to play, and he’s right. He nailed it. After four no-wins in as many decades, it’s time to recognize His Dudeness.
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