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Oscar derby update: Buzzmeter experts clash over 'Avatar,' 'The Hurt Locker' and 'Inglourious Basterds'

February 11, 2010 |  2:02 pm

"Avatar" and "The Hurt Locker" may be tied with the most Academy Award nominations (nine), but most of The Envelope's Buzzmeter pundits believe "Avatar" is ahead to win best picture.

Of our 21 Oscar oracles, 11 pick "Avatar" — Erik Davis (Cinematical), Edward Douglas (Coming Soon), Greg Ellwood (Hit Fix), Paul Gaita (The Circuit, The Envelope), Peter Howell (Toronto Star), Lou Lumenick (New York Post), Michael Musto (Village Voice), Mark Olsen (The Envelope), Steve Pond (The Odds, The Wrap), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone) and Jeffrey Wells (Hollywood Elsewhere).

Avatar Oscars The Hurt Locker Academy Awards news

Nine foresee a top win for "The Hurt Locker": Brad Brevet (Rope of Silicon), Scott Feinberg (And the Winner Is), Marshall Fine (Star Magazine, Hollywood & Fine), Pete Hammond (Notes on a Season, The Envelope), Dave Karger (Entertainment Weekly), Kevin Lewin (World Entertainment News Network), Sasha Stone (Awards Daily), Susan Wloszczyna (USA Today) and me. There's one backer of "Inglourious Basterds": Jeff Goldsmith (Creative Screenwriting).

I've been warning you about that devilish "Inglourious Basterds" all derby season. While I'm currently predicting "Hurt Locker," I still believe "Basterds" can pull off the big win thanks to that wily preferential ballot. But also thanks to other key factors like the hefty push studio boss Harvey Weinstein is giving it now. Don't write Harvey off. Remember how his "Shakespeare in Love" toppled seemingly invincible war flick "Saving Private Ryan"? Now Harvey warns Pete Hammond, "We're gonna win this thing!" Read Pete's intriguing full report of how shrewdly "Basterds" is building momentum here.

Now that the mysterious preferential ballot is en route to those notoriously eccentric, contrary-minded voters, let's see how they will fill it out. Lucky for us, they'll quickly blab to us after they do so, but don't expect them to do so soon. Voters are so befuddled by the new voting procedure that they'll probably fill out the final ballot late, just like they did with the nomination ballot.

There's clear consensus among Buzzmeter pundits that the following Oscar races are over: director (Kathryn Bigelow), lead actor (Jeff Bridges), supporting actor (Christoph Waltz), supporting actress (Mo'Nique), adapted screenplay ("Up in the Air").

However, there's still much suspense over which film will prevail in the race for original screenplay. Out of our 21 pundits, 14 predict "Inglourious Basterds" and seven opt for "The Hurt Locker."

Curiously, that's the same split numerically at the Buzzmeter over pundits predicting who will win best actress: 14 say Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side") and seven say Meryl Streep ("Julie & Julia"). However, it's a mistake to assume Bullock has this in the bag. I know many Oscar voters who passionately rally behind Streep, and she trounced Bullock in our poll asking Gold Derby readers who will win: Streep (57%) versus Bullock (36%).

RECENT POSTS

Mo'Nique's and Christoph Waltz's amazing — and very rare — awards sweep

Derby nuggets: Grammys & Super Bowl boost record sales | Oscars best picture race staying at 10

Oscar voters: Check your mailbox

Poll: Do you love or hate the Oscars' official new poster?

Oscar experts battle over who'll win best original screenplay

Quiz: Who won two consecutive Oscars?

Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars to get instant engraving | A salute to Sandra Bullock | Time up for '24'?

Oscar experts agree: Jeff Bridges will win best actor

Photos: "Avatar" (20th Century Fox), "The Hurt Locker" (Summit), "Inglourious Basterds" (Weinstein Co.)

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Comments

Wait a minute. Didn't these "pundits" just pick The Hurt Locker as best pic only a week or so ago? Is it a different group this time around? How exactly does this voting work? I'm confused.

Two comments: Bullock vs. Streep isn't really how you folks should be reading these things -- nor should it be best performance. As with Hoffman's win over Ledgar, or last year's loss by Streep (which was, actually, the better performance, not that of the winners -- which was excellent, just not as good as Doubt), sometimes the winner wins for other reasons. Bridges is an excellent actor but was his performance really far and away (or even merely slightly better) than Renner's (or, for that matter, Clooney's)? No. But he'll definitely win. Likewise, fondness by the Academy for Bullocks will suffice for the win.

Secondly, for best picture, it's obvious some guy's (like Tom O'Neil himself did by ranking UP last in his ballot) will use a voting strategy. But most won't. I believe right now Hurt Locker would win and that Avatar wouldn't even come in second place.

Oh, and yeah, my gut tells me this so, of course, I'm absolutely right and you're all totally wrong.

@Adam the question is not "how many times will they be able to give it to Bullock?" but rather does she deserve it this time? Streep is not her only competitor.It is also not clear she gave a better performance than Sidibe in Precious or Mulligan in An Education.

the back lash against Bullock winning shows that there is an emotional gap between the media hype surrounding Bullock's front runner status and the nagging sense that she may not deserve to win. the more the media pushes her win as a 'done deal', the greater the backlash will be against her.

also, why do we under estimate Bullock by thinking that she will not be nominated again? why is this going to be her one and only shot at a nomination? She is a talented actress who is serious about her craft. Don't count her out for future nominations.

Oh, comedic actresses definitely SHOULD be considered for Oscars. But Sandra Bullock is not anywhere the same league as classic comediennes as Jean Arthur (who had been nominated) and Betty Hutton. Hell, Mary Tyler freaking Moore's been nominated in the same category, but that's because she shed her bubbly tv comedy persona and made us all forget about MTM. She gave a gut-wrenching, difficult-to-watch-but-hard-to-turn-away performance in "Ordinary People", and she was a strong contender. We all know that's Sandra in a wig putting on an accent while watching the movie, taking away from the performance. Pro-Sandra people have no leg to stand on, aesthetic-wise.

Want modern-day performances with a comedic bent? How about Renee Zellwegger in "Bridget Jones' Diary" (who was getting serious buzz), or Meryl Streep for "The Devil Wears Prada" (who had growing buzz). Jeez. Even Meryl's nominated this year for a piece of schlock chick flick and she's neck-and-neck with Sandra.

The Oscars have gone down the toilet. AMPAS is sullying their own name by nominating and awarding crap over merit. Only things that could save it now are kerosene and matches.

I'm sick of all the anti-bullock sentiment and I think it stems from the fact that she is primarily known as a comedic actress and god forbid any comedic actress get an Oscar, no matter how great an actress she is and what a powerful performance she gives in the blind side -- that led her to be the ONLY woman to have a female led movie pass 200 million, not to mention her feat of having the highest grossing romantic comedy ever -- the 164 million THE PROPOSAL. This was all done in one year, Meryl will get another chance, but how many times will they be able to give it to Bullock?? I for one will be jumping up and down if she wins best actress. Why don't you all turn your sights on Jeff Bridges who doesn't deserve to win for Crazy heart -- that award should go to Jeremy Renner or George Clooney -- nothing special, nor oscar worthy in that performance.

with all this talk about established "frontrunners," one thing i find rather curious is that Meryl Streep has been winning many of the online polls by a wide margin. The poll at the Envelope is not the only one. Over at the AMC tv website, Streep wins by clinching a whopping 58% of the votes.

http://blogs.amctv.com/movie-news/2010/02/avatar-leads-oscar-poll.php

isn't this odd given that media and pundits are all predicting Sandra Bullock at this point?

If Avatar doesn't win then shame on the academy. Avatar changed movies in a way sound and color did, while breaking records all over the world due to it's universal message with wide appeal and a DRAW. Every movie out there had the same chance but didn't succeed on such a commercial level. Why the heck Hurt Locker win when hardly anyone even saw it? It was out there, people just chose not to go. If the Academy slights Avatar and jips it out of it's rightful win, then I hope their ratings go to hell for the next 10 years. I know I won't be watching ever again because basically it will prove that it's all hollywood political bullcrap and that with enough friends you can influence the award. Well shame on them if that happens and they will get exactly what they deserve. Avatar brought people back to the theater in record numbers and the Academy should bit the hand that feeds it, even if they can't stand James Cameron.

I'm really pulling for a non-Streep or Bullock win. I'd really like to see Carey Mulligan to take it home. But seeing that she's not going to take it home, it should be Streep between the two. Both didn't give amazing performances but I have to say playing Julia Child is a little more difficult considering her over-the-top character. Plus, Bullock just isn't that great of an actress.

I'm really disappointed to see people going the "Avatar" route. "Avatar" really sucked. It should win for visuals and effects, but best picture? You've got to be kidding me! "THL" ALL THE WAY!

I'm hoping the pundits are correct in saying Sandra Bullock will win the Oscar.
I'm tired of "pollers" crying about Meryl Streep needing to win. The woman has two Oscars. We all know she will be awarded a lifetime achievement Oscar at some point in her career (giving her 3), and will no doubt win some other year for acting. "Julie&Julia" was not a great film or Meryl's best work.
I love the woman, but give it to Sandra. Oh, by the way, the Wednesday edition of "The Envelope" in the Times newspaper in the "buzzmeter" section claimed Meryl and Sandra are tied with awards. Odd, how that big award called "SAG" which Sandra Bullock took, not Meryl Streep was left out of mention. LA Times, don't let your bias show. Report the facts.

My Oscar "gut feeling" tells me that Streep will take BA. My Oscar gut is usually right on...Even Bullock thinks Streep will win...


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