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Experts predict the Oscars' best picture derby: 'Avatar,' 'Hurt Locker,' 'Inglourious Basterds' ...

December 20, 2009 |  5:49 am
Inglourious basterds 9

Since "The Hurt Locker" swept the New York and L.A. film critics' awards and "Avatar" got nominated by the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards and swept the box office, they're both picking up prophets' support in Oscar's best-picture race. However, I still remain the only pundit on the planet forecasting the big win for "Inglourious Basterds" as this contest really heats up. Below are the conflicting views of Ed Douglas (Comingsoon.net), Pete Hammond (Notes on a Season, The Envelope), Dave Karger (Entertainment Weekly), Michael Musto (Village Voice), Richard Rushfield (Gawker) and me, ranked according to likelihood to win. See pundits' predix for best actor and best actress.

BEST PICTURE Douglas Hammond Karger Musto O'Neil Rushfield
"Avatar"

5

1

5

3

5

4

"District 9"      

9

 

 

"An Education"

8

9

8

6

9

5

"Hurt Locker"

1

3

2

2

4

2

"Inglourious Basterds"

4

4

4

5

1

"Invictus"

6

6

6

8

7

7

"Julie & Julia"    

 

   

10

"Lovely Bones"

10 

 

  

 

   

 

"The Messenger"      

 

10

 
"Nine"

7

8

9

10

 

9

"Precious"

3

5

3

4

3

3

"A Serious Man"

 9

  

10

8

8

'This Is It'  

10

       
"Up"

7

7

7

7

6

6

"Up in the Air"

2

2

1

1

2

1


Photo: "Inglourious Basterds" (Weinstein Co.)

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Comments

Hey "Steve Real" -- it might have been nice if you had attributed your comment to Annalee Newitz at io9.com...since she actually wrote the entire thing.

Instead of predicting the 10 nominees for Best Picture, it would be far more interesting (and, ultimately, far more edifying) to predict which of those 10 will also end up with a directing nomination. Only once in the past 75 years (!) has a movie without a nominated director ended up winning the Gold. True enough, the BP votes will be tabulated a bit differently this year but, even so, at least five of the contenders will be (correctly) written off as also-rans as soon as the nominations are announced. My guess is that the five left standing will be "Up in the Air," "Hurt Locker," "Avatar," "Inglorious" and either "Precious" or "Invictus." Assessing the chances of any of the other films would represent a complete waste of time.

Without Christoph Waltz, "Basterds" becomes a colossal bore deserving of nothing more than a best supporting actor win.

@Steve: Problem is, of those only "Dances With Wolves" won Best Picture, and it also had going for it the fact that "Cimarron" was the only Western to win before it; its place in history was hurt by "Unforgiven" (truly the greatest of the three) winning a few years later.

I'm sure "Avatar" will be nominated, but its biggest problems with winning are (a) it's "Titanic" on a planet and (b) its script is flat. Your "White Guilt Fantasy" theory has nothing to do with those.

White Guilt Fantasy

Avatar is a classic scenario you've seen in Hollywood epics from Dances With Wolves, Dune, District 9 and The Last Samurai, where a white guy manages to get himself accepted into a closed society of people of color and eventually becomes its most awesome member.

If we think of Avatar and its ilk as white fantasies about race, what kinds of patterns do we see emerging in these fantasies?

A white man who was one of the oppressors switches sides at the last minute, assimilating into the alien culture and becoming its savior.
These are movies about white guilt. Our main white characters realize that they are complicit in a system which is destroying aliens, AKA people of color - their cultures, their habitats, and their populations.

The whites realize this when they begin to assimilate into the "alien" cultures and see things from a new perspective. To purge their overwhelming sense of guilt, they switch sides, become "race traitors," and fight against their old comrades. But then they go beyond assimilation and become leaders of the people they once oppressed.

This is the essence of the white guilt fantasy, laid bare. It's not just a wish to be absolved of the crimes whites have committed against people of color; it's not just a wish to join the side of moral justice in battle. It's a wish to lead people of color from the inside rather than from the (oppressive, white) outside.

How the hell do you even interpret this matrix?! Maybe your predix could come with instructions, TOM!!

I've said it before: Avatar is gonna win best picture.

Oscar loves to embrace the big audience crowd pleaser from time to time --- Titanic, LOTR III. And it hasn't done this for about five years. Avatar brings audience pleasing movie magic back to the theatres. In the past four years, Oscar has chosen edgy contemporary pics -- Crash, The Departed, No Country for Old Men, and Slumdog Millionaire. I think people will be happy to vote for an old fashioned movie spectacle this year.

If not Avatar, then the critical favourite Hurt Locker.

Up in the Air is gonna start sinking. It's a small film, a little overrated. Not the kind of film that is typically chosen for Oscar's best pic -- remember the buzz on Juno? Little Miss Sunshine?

Why did they forget The Last Station?? It has a better chance than the half of the movies here.

I'm starting to think that Tom is right about "Inglourious Basterds", because until the SAG nominations came I had "Up in the Air" as the favorite to win, but it was out of the Ensemble cast category, and since the SAG awards give their awards only one best picture winner hasn't been nominated for best cast, "Braveheart", and that was the first time they gave the SAG's. And the nomination to Diane Kruger also proof that actors loved Basterds.


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