Every year I do an Oscar prediction, but this is more fun.
It's too early in the year to have a general consensus - every award show preceding the Oscars gives you a pretty clear picture of what's ahead. So making predictions on what the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (referred to hence as the HFPA for my sanity. Fortunately, that's their actual acronymn anyway) will select is more a test of my actual prowess in determining what awards voters at large will be voting for this year than the Oscars ever will be. Selecting the Oscar winners just means I know how to use the internet to read multiple opinions by experts.*
* I will be completely disavowing this statement when I make my Oscar selections in a month or two.
The problem is that while critics and voters have already seen screeners of these movies, I haven't seen a lot of them yet - some of them haven't even come out yet. So I have to make selections based on how good I think a movie is going to be when it comes out, compared to the quality I've already judged in movies I've already seen. Tricky.
You might ask why I'm bothering; this all seems a particularly useless triviality, like placing bets on what color car will pass by next. Sure. But I don't care. This is the area I know something about, I like guessing and I like being right.
I also hate being wrong, so look for tears and foulmouthed griping the night these winners get announced. I don't know why I'm setting myself up for it - I'm already ticked enough that my powerhouse #1 seeded fantasy football team got bounced by Jonathan's #8 seeded, losing record-holding collection of cast-offs and never-weres, some of whom I'd traded to Jonathan two weeks prior. Curses.
I'll list the nominees in each category, then mention which films I've actually seen from each group.
Up In The Air
I've seen Hurt Locker and Basterds, and I'll see Avatar tomorrow night, while Up In The Air and Precious haven't come out yet. I thought Hurt Locker was just unbelievable, but from everything I've seen and heard about Up In The Air, it looks like it might be the film to beat.
Best Actress In A Drama
Emily Blunt (The Young Victoria)
Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side)
Helen Mirren (The Last Station)
Carey Mulligan (An Education)
Gabourey Sidibe (Precious)
I've seen none of these movies (only two of them have been given a wide release yet), but I'm gonna assume that it's got to be between newcomers Mulligan and Sidibe. Precious is getting a lot of buzz and critical love, and Sidibe might be the funnel that goes through, but I'm picking Mulligan, who is already getting "breakout actress to watch in 2010" articles written about her. I'm getting a real, unknown-to-household-name, Kate-Winslet-in-Titanic vibe.
Best Actor - Drama
Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart)
George Clooney (Up In The Air)
Colin Firth (A Single Man)
Morgan Freeman (Invictus)
Tobey Maguire (Brothers)
Bad news for Freeman - the person getting all the recognition for Invictus is Matt Damon, which isn't a good sign for his chances. After all, a famed and respected supporting man playing Nelson Mandela in a Clint Eastwood movie, usually that's a guaranteed Oscar, but not this year. In fact, I'm guessing he's behind both Clooney and Firth. Not that I'd know - I've seen none of these movies yet.
Best Picture - Musical Or Comedy
(500) Days Of Summer
Julie & Julia
I saw the Vegas odds on this category today, and was stunned to see that (500) Days of Summer has 7/1 odds of winning this category - the worst odds by far of the group. This is strange because, not only is Summer a fantastic movie, some of the movies in this group are supposed to be just awful - Nine has a 35% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, It's Complicated a 33% (Summer, by the way, has an 86%, best in the category). That said, this is the HFPA, and they love musicals, and they love spectacle, and they love Oscar winners, and they love when American films feel like foreign films, and the worship Fellini as their one true god, and they're not totally sold on quality in general, and so Nine will probably win. But if I were a gambling man, I'd put $30 on Summer, and cover it with $20 on Julie and Julia (7/2). But that's just me. Anyway, I'm picking (500) Days Of Summer, one of only two movies I've seen here. Damn the odds.
Best Actress - Comedy/Musical
Sandra Bullock (The Proposal)
Marion Cotillard (Nine)
Julia Roberts (Duplicity)
Meryl Streep (It's Complicated)
Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia)
Contrary to popular opinion, the two Streep nominations probably don't actually split the vote. This is one of those categories that always needs filler, and voters love Streep, so she ended up in the category twice. The real battle here will be between Streep's performance in Julie & Julia and Cotillard, both of whom might get Oscar nominations as well. Despite only being in half the movie, it's gotta be Streep's Julia Child impression, right? I'd never pick against her. By the way, I also haven't seen any of these movies, either.
Best Actor - Comedy/Musical
Matt Damon (The Informant!)
Daniel Day-Lewis (Nine)
Robert Downey Jr. (Sherlock Holmes)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt ((500) Days Of Summer)
Michael Stuhlbarg (A Serious Man)
Whew. Tough one. Voters love Day-Lewis, Stuhlbarg has both the "unknown carrying a movie" and the Coen Brothers' mystique working for him, Damon gained all that weight for his role, and Gordon-Levitt was just solid. The only one we can eliminate offhand is Downey in Sherlock Holmes, even though the movie hasn't come out yet and for all I know, he's all sorts of groundbreaking in it. Instead, I'm gonna assume that Damon has the edge here, but I'm gonna pick Gordon-Levitt, since I'm guessing he's actually the got the strongest case that he deserves it here.
Best Supporting Actress
Penélope Cruz (Nine)
Vera Farmiga (Up In The Air)
Anna Kendrick (Up In The Air)
Julianne Moore (A Single Man)
Hmm... I'm gonna bet it's between Cruz and Mo'nique, and I'm gonna pick Mo'nique. There's too much there - grunging herself up for the role, acting crazy, plus all the accolades the movie's getting. No one else's performance has as many hooks to hang votes on.
Best Supporting Actor
Matt Damon (Invictus)
Woody Harrelson (The Messenger)
Christopher Plummer (The Last Station)
Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones)
Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds)
I've only seen one of these movies - Basterds - but the moment I walked out of that theater, I knew that Waltz was winning this award. He was impeccable in every detail, he dominated the screen, and he fluently speaks four different languages (English, German, French, and Italian) over the course of the film and is mesmerising in all of them. People point to that first scene in the farmhouse, but I found his back-and-forth with the sadly unnominated Mélanie Laurent in the French restaurant to be even more stomach-clenching - and his conversation in Italian with Brad Pitt the funniest moment in the film.
Best Animated Film
Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs
Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Princess and the Frog
It's nice to see diversity in animation this year - two stop-motion films, two computer-animated films, plus Disney's return to hand-drawn features - but I doubt we're seeing any diversity in awards. Pixar will almost certainly win the day for the deeply moving Up.
Best Foreign Language Film
Broken Embraces (Spain)
The Maid (Chile)
A Prophet (France)
The White Ribbon (Germany)
The only films I've heard any buzz over were Broken Embraces and The White Ribbon - and Embraces just because it stars Penélope Cruz (though it is a Pedro Almodóvar movie). Still, I'm picking The White Ribbon.
Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker)
James Cameron (Avatar)
Clint Eastwood (Invictus)
Jason Reitman (Up In The Air)
Quentin Tarantino (Inglorious Basterds)
First of all, in case you haven't heard Bigelow and Cameron were once married, are now divorced, and are competing against each other in this category, which must be loads of fun to field questions about from reporters, day after day. I'm assuming it's a run-off between the two of them and Reitman, with each of them having a very good reason to be selected: Bigelow because women directors are never recognized, Cameron because of the tremendous scope of his film, and Reitman because it's the likely Best Picture winner. Put it this way, whoever wins Best Picture wins this award. Therefore, I'm keeping my vote in line with my predictions and picking Jason Reitman.
The Hurt Locker
Up In The Air
District 9 and The Hurt Locker are both mostly triumphs of direction, and It's Complicated has no chance (also, ick. Why is this film nominated for anything?). Therefore it's a run-off between Up In The Air and Inglorious Basterds, and this is the category that Tarantino shines in. I'm gonna pick Basterds against my better judgment, just 'cause I think it'll make me look smart if I win and merely gutsy if I lose.
Best Original Score
Up - Michael Giacchino
The Informant! - Marvin Hamlisch
Avatar - James Horner
A Single Man - Abel Korzeniowski
Where The Wild Things Are - Karen O and Carter Burwell
Who knew the lead singer of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs would be nominated for a Golden Globe someday? Bizarre. Anyway, I'm picking James Horner here, because scores with a lot of scope - like Avatar's surely will be - tend to win these categories.
Best Original Song
"Cinema Italiano" - Nine (Maury Yeston)
"I See You" - Avatar (James Horner)
"I Want To Come Home" - Everybody's Fine (Paul McCartney)
"The Weary Kind (Theme From Crazy Heart)" - (Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett)
"Winter" - Brothers (U2)
Well, this is a mess. A traditional composer, a musical theater number, two aging rockers, and the guy who brought us the soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou?. Also, I've never heard any of these songs. Not an easy call. I'm gonna pick McCartney, because... I dunno. He used to be a Beatle.
Alright, moving to television:
Best TV Series - Drama
Big Love (HBO)
Mad Men (AMC)
True Blood (HBO)
Mad Men will win. Because that's what Mad Men does.
Best Actress - Drama
Glenn Close (Damages)
January Jones (Mad Men)
Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife)
Anna Paquin (True Blood)
Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer)
Margulies might be a rising star here, but I've got to assume that Glenn Close gets the win here in a tight field. Still, Paquin had a upset here last year, so all bets are off.
Best Actor - Drama
Simon Baker (The Mentalist)
Michael C. Hall (Dexter)
Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
Hugh Laurie (House)
Bill Paxton (Big Love)
I'm gonna assume that Jon Hamm'll nab the win because, y'know, he's in "Mad Men" (and also, he's very good), but I wouldn't discount Hall, who's getting more press than usual this year.
30 Rock (NBC)
Modern Family (ABC)
The Office (NBC)
"30 Rock" is the logical pick, but I wouldn't discount an upset from "Glee", who snagged four nominations this year. Plus, "The Office" had a particularly strong comeback this fall and can't be discounted.
Best Actress - Comedy
Toni Collette (United States Of Tara)
Courteney Cox (Cougar Town)
Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie)
Tina Fey (30 Rock)
Lea Michele (Glee)
Collette got the win during the Emmys, but I'm predicting a Tina Fey comeback this time around.
Best Actor - Comedy
Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)
Steve Carell (The Office)
David Duchovny (Californication)
Thomas Jane (Hung)
Matthew Morrison (Glee)
Even with the newcomers to the group, it's still Baldwin's category to lose.
Best Mini-Series or TV Movie
Georgia O'Keeffe (Lifetime)
Grey Gardens (HBO)
Into The Storm (HBO)
Little Dorrit (PBS)
Taking Chance (HBO)
Barring an upset from Taking Chance, it's gotta be Grey Gardens, which was the TV movie of the year in every aspect.
Best Actress - Mini-Series or TV Movie
Joan Allen (Georgia O'Keeffe)
Drew Barrymore (Grey Gardens)
Jessica Lange (Grey Gardens)
Anna Paquin - The Courageous Heart of Irena
Sigourney Weaver - Prayers For Bobby
Lange won the Emmy for this role, so it's logical she'd win it again here. Whenever possible, I'm gonna stick with the Emmy vote, as best I remember it.
Best Actor, Mini-Series or TV Movie
Kevin Bacon (Taking Chance)
Kenneth Branagh (Wallander: One Step Behind)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (Endgame)
Brendan Gleeson (Into The Storm)
Jeremy Irons (Georgia O'Keeffe)
Gleeson won the Emmy, I'll stick with him here.
Best Supporting Actress, Series, Mini-Series or TV Movie
Jane Adams (Hung)
Rose Byrne (Damages)
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Janet McTeer (Into The Storm)
Chloe Sevigny (Big Love)
I'm picking Byrne, because I think she's just hit that climax point of recognition for her acting chops opposite Glenn Close. Possible upset? Has to be Lynch.
Best Supporting Actor, Series, Mini-Series, or TV Movie
Michael Emerson (Lost)
Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
William Hurt (Damages)
John Lithgow (Dexter)
Jeremy Piven (Entourage)
This is a crapshoot of comedic roles and dramatic ones, with a number of past winners in this very category, so I'm gonna assume that there's enough "Lost" love out there to give Emerson the win in this category. Tough call, though.
The Globes aren't until... let me check... January 17th, so I'm a little early here. But at least you can't say I copied anyone else. In a world of near-duplicated prediction lists, that's gotta count for something.
Tune in to NBC January 17th to see how right I end up being. Or, do what I assume you'll do - ignore the event entirely and check my blog the next day to see how many I ended up getting right, then leave a snarky message in the comments section.
Hopefully, by then, I'll actually have seen some of these movies.