Best Picture
-Who will win: Avatar. Its technological advances are changing the way movies are made. The filmmaking positives outweigh the negatives (an unoriginal story, bad acting and mediocre script), giving it the win. The Hurt Locker would have won, but after a producers flub, they wont want him to win an award. It will win best director instead.
-Who should win: Inglourious Basterds. Not only is Basterds an entertaining adult fairytale (hence the “Once Upon A Time…” opening), but it is the most well-rounded candidate of all the nominees; it could have/should have been nominated in every single category. This flawless film is perfectly crafted and Tarantino and his crew deserve the recognition.

Actor in a Leading Role
-Who will win: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart. Bridges gives the most natural, unforced all the candidates. He is an actor that can pull any type of role and his strong performance in Crazy Heart will finally earn him an award, something he should have received all along.
-Who should win: Jeff Bridges. Clooney plays Clooney. Firth is boring here and his character only does one thing. Freeman is inconsistent. And Renner plays the same character he played in S.W.A.T. – an arrogant cowboy – the only character he knows how to play.

Actor in a Supporting Role
-Who will win: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds. Who of all the other nominees could have played the most sick and twisted killer that you loved to watch. He played the most likable villain of all time.
-Who should win: Christoph Waltz. Damon’s muscles should have been nominated, not him. Plummer was good, not great. And although both Tucci and Harrelson gave amazing performances, Waltz’s was still the best.

Actress in a Leading Role
-Who will win: Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side. The Academy usually favors Streep, but she has won too many times. So this time they’ll give it to Bullock for the sole reason that she actually gave a decent performance (although this movie was absolute crap).
-Who should win: Carey Mulligan, An Education. The best little film of the year that nobody saw. I was lucky to see him in a Sundance 2009 film titled The Greatest, so I already the potential of her acting abilities before seeing An Education – and even then she still blew me away.

Actress in a Supporting Role
-Who will win: Mo’Nique, Precious. Coming from delightfully bad movies like Beerfest, nobody knew she could actually pull of a serious role. For that reason, she will receive the Oscar. Had I played the role, I could have won. All that role required was someone who could yell a lot and throw things.
-Who should win: Anna Kendrick, Up In The Air. If Mo’Nique can win the award for being in bad (yet hilarious) movies, then shocking everyone with a good performance, then Kendrick should win for the same reason. Kendrick is awful in the Twilight movie, but brings so much to her performance in Up In The Air. She is a jewel of an actress that is sure to actually win an Oscar in the near future.

Animated Feature Film
-Who will win: Up. Another perfect film. Who would’ve expected to see a Pixar movie that made you cry in the first five minutes, then make you laugh constantly for the remainder of the film? The oddness of strange animals and talking dogs is acceptable because of the genuineness of Up. Full of so much heart and personality, it deserves the win.
-Who should win: Up. Coraline is well-crafted, but the story is bad. Nobody has seen The Secret Of Kells (myself included). The Princess and the Frog and Fantastic Mr. Fox are also worthy nominees, but Up has them beat.

Art Direction
-Who will win: Avatar.
-Who should win: Avatar.

-Who will win: Avatar. The movie works on such a grand level that it wont be overlooked.
-Who should win: The Hurt Locker. I never knew what it was like or how intense it would be to diffuse bombs for a living, but The Hurt Locker shoves you right into those situations, making your heart beat outside your chest as if you are the one actually doing it.

Costume Design
-Who will win: The Young Victoria. Period pieces always win due to the fine amount of detail. Bright Star would have won, but the period costumes in it were too drab – nothing fancy and elegant.
-Who should win: The Young Victoria. Doctor Parnassus and Coco Before Chanel were both fantastic, but Victoria will take it.

-Who will win: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker. With Bigelow accepting the prestigious award, the loud-mouthed producer wont get an award, yet the film will still receive high honors. The bomb-diffusing scenes are some of the most intense I have ever seen in a film. Too bad the rest of the movie sucks.
-Who should win: Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds. Like I said in the Best Picture section, Tarantino has made a perfect film. Every single aspect of it flawless. Inglourious Basterds is the best film of 2009 and Tarantino deserves the credit for putting it together and making it as such.

Documentary Feature
-Who will win: The Cove. If you have not seen it, go out and rent/buy it immediately.
-Who should win: The Cove. At the 2009 Utah Film Critics Association awards voting meeting, I said, “Prior to seeing The Cove, I didn’t give a crap about dolphins – but The Cove changed that.” And it will for anyone who sees it. It is the most intense documentary I have ever seen. It is like a real-life Ocean’s 11 heist with a cause. Absolutely brilliant.

Documentary Short
Can’t say, have not yet seen the nominees.

Film Editing
-Who will win: The Hurt Locker.
-Who should win: District 9.

Foreign Language Film
Can’t say, have not yet seen all the nominees. We’ll see – but I’m guessing A Prophet (Un Prophète).

-Who will win: The Young Victoria. Period pieces always win these awards.
-Who should win: Star Trek. A movie this awesome deserves some love!

Music (Original Score)
-Who will win: Michael Giacchino, Up. Giacchino is the new John Williams. Up‘s score is brilliant. When my two-year-old daughter can hear two bars from the score and recognize it as music from “The Grandpa Show,” you know you’ve got something memorable and special.
-Who should win: Michael Giacchino, Up. You got both my and my daughter’s votes!

Music (Original Song)
-Who will win: Crazy Heart, “The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart).” Hollywood is loving this movie, so why not its theme?
-Who should win: The Princess And The Frog, “Down In New Orleans.” In this song, Randy Newman captured the heart and vibe of the city that nearly died. It perfectly fits the film, its setting and tone.

Short Film (Animated)
Cannot say. Haven’t seen the nominees yet. Check back Sunday!

Short Film (Live Action)
Cannot say. Haven’t seen the nominees yet. Check back Sunday!

Sound Editing
-Who will win: Avatar.
-Who should win: Star Trek.

Sound Mixing
-Who will win: Avatar.
-Who should win: Star Trek.

Visual Effects
-Who will win: Avatar. With an obscenely high and secret budget, it had better look amazing. They brought Pandora to life.
-Who should win: District 9. For only $30 million (which is at least one tenth the budget of Avatar), the visuals and effects are just as good. But because of the technology invented for Avatar, it will win.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
-Who will win: Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, Up In The Air. People love this movie even though it is nothing like the supposedly bad book. I can see why it would win – take a bad thing and make it good? Sure. Why not.
-Who should win: Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, District 9. Nobody knew anything about District 9‘s story before seeing it. As the story unraveled, we were all blown away at its creativity and brilliance. No reason why it shouldn’t win.

Writing (Original Screenplay)
-Who will win: Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds. Because they will snub him on the other awards he deserves, the Academy will give him this one to make up for it. Afterall, who else in the history of filmmaking has had the stones to machinegun Hitler in the face?
-Who should win: My vote is for Basterds, even though every other these nominee than The Hurt Locker deserves it. As long as Mark Boal does not win for The Hurt Locker, I will be happy. And no matter which of those four wins (Basterds, The Messenger, A Serious Man, Up), I will be happy.

The Academy Awards air Sunday afternoon/evening on ABC. Check your local cable provider for times.

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