Oscar predictions: ‘The Hurt Locker’ won’t be hurting

UPDATED: Winners are indicated with ♦s.

I made informed guesses in 20 of the 24 categories; of those, I guessed 12 correctly. (Well, 13, really, except that in the animated short category in the original version of this page, I had both “The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)” and “Logorama” checked off. I did think “Logorama” would win, but this ballot did not reflect that prediction alone. So I’m counting that in the 20 but not in the 12.) Which is a little better than chance.

Here’s an at-a-glance look at my picks for Sunday night’s Academy Awards — projected winners are Xed. Keep in mind: this isn’t a list of whom I think should win Oscars but whom I think will win. (But see my piece at Film.com “The Biggest Upset at the Academy Awards Will Be …,” the prognostications of which are not represented here.)

I haven’t made predictions in categories for which I have not seen enough of the nominated films to make a reasonable guess.

As always, take these predictions with a grain of salt. No one really understands how the Academy thinks.

(See the Academy’s site at Oscars.org and ABC’s site at Oscars.com for your further Oscar needs.)
Performance by an actor in a leading role
[ × ] Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart
[   ] George Clooney in Up in the Air
[   ] Colin Firth in A Single Man
[   ] Morgan Freeman in Invictus
[   ] Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
[   ] Matt Damon in Invictus
[   ] Woody Harrelson in The Messenger
[   ] Christopher Plummer in The Last Station
[   ] Stanley Tucci in The Lovely Bones
[ × ] Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds

Performance by an actress in a leading role
[ × ] Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side
[   ] Helen Mirren in The Last Station
[   ] Carey Mulligan in An Education
[   ] Gabourey Sidibe in Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
[   ] Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
[   ] Penélope Cruz in Nine
[   ] Vera Farmiga in Up in the Air
[   ] Maggie Gyllenhaal in Crazy Heart
[   ] Anna Kendrick in Up in the Air
[ × ] Mo’Nique in Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

Best animated feature film of the year
[   ] Coraline, Henry Selick
[   ] Fantastic Mr. Fox, Wes Anderson
[   ] The Princess and the Frog, John Musker and Ron Clements
[   ] The Secret of Kells, Tomm Moore
[ × ] Up, Pete Docter ♦

Achievement in art direction
[ × ] Avatar, Art Direction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg, Set Decoration: Kim Sinclair ♦
[   ] The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Art Direction: Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro, Set Decoration: Caroline Smith
[   ] Nine, Art Direction: John Myhre, Set Decoration: Gordon Sim
[   ] Sherlock Holmes, Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood, Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
[   ] The Young Victoria, Art Direction: Patrice Vermette, Set Decoration: Maggie Gray

Achievement in cinematography
[   ] Avatar, Mauro Fiore ♦
[   ] Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Bruno Delbonnel
[ × ] The Hurt Locker, Barry Ackroyd
[   ] Inglourious Basterds, Robert Richardson
[   ] The White Ribbon, Christian Berger

Achievement in costume design
[   ] Bright Star, Janet Patterson
[   ] Coco Before Chanel, Catherine Leterrier
[   ] The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Monique Prudhomme
[ × ] Nine, Colleen Atwood
[   ] The Young Victoria, Sandy Powell ♦

Achievement in directing
[   ] Avatar, James Cameron
[ × ] The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow ♦
[   ] Inglourious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino
[   ] Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, Lee Daniels
[   ] Up in the Air, Jason Reitman

Best documentary feature
[   ] Burma VJ
[   ] The Cove
[   ] Food, Inc.
[   ] The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
[   ] Which Way Home

Best documentary short subject
[   ] “China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province”
[   ] “The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner”
[   ] “The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant”
[   ] “Music by Prudence” ♦
[   ] “Rabbit à la Berlin”

Achievement in film editing
[   ] Avatar, Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron
[ × ] District 9, Julian Clarke
[   ] The Hurt Locker, Bob Murawski and Chris Innis ♦
[   ] Inglourious Basterds, Sally Menke
[   ] Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, Joe Klotz

Best foreign language film of the year
[   ] Ajami
[   ] El Secreto de Sus Ojos
[   ] The Milk of Sorrow
[   ] A Prohete (Un Prophète)
[   ] The White Ribbon

Achievement in makeup
[   ] Il Divo, Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano
[ × ] Star Trek, Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow ♦
[   ] The Young Victoria, Jon Henry Gordon and Jenny Shircore

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
[   ] Avatar, James Horner
[ × ] Fantastic Mr. Fox, Alexandre Desplat
[   ] The Hurt Locker, Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
[   ] Sherlock Holmes, Hans Zimmer
[   ] Up, Michael Giacchino ♦

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
[   ] “Almost There” from The Princess and the Frog, Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
[   ] “Down in New Orleans” from The Princess and the Frog, Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
[   ] “Loin de Paname” from Paris 36, Music by Reinhardt Wagner, Lyric by Frank Thomas
[   ] “Take It All” from Nine, Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston
[ × ] “The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart),” from Crazy Heart, Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett ♦

Best motion picture of the year
[   ] Avatar
[   ] The Blind Side
[   ] District 9
[   ] An Education
[ × ] The Hurt Locker
[   ] Inglourious Basterds
[   ] Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
[   ] A Serious Man
[   ] Up
[   ] Up in the Air

Best animated short film
[   ] “French Roast”
[   ] “Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty”
[   ] “The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)”
[ × ] “Logorama”
[   ] “A Matter of Loaf and Death”

Best live action short film
[   ] “The Door”
[   ] “Instead of Abracadabra”
[   ] “Kavi”
[   ] “Miracle Fish”
[   ] “The New Tenants” ♦

Achievement in sound editing
[ × ] Avatar, Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
[   ] The Hurt Locker, Paul N.J. Ottosson ♦
[   ] Inglourious Basterds, Wylie Stateman
[   ] Star Trek, Mark Stoeckinger and Alan Rankin
[   ] Up, Michael Silvers and Tom Myers

Achievement in sound mixing
[ × ] Avatar, Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson
[   ] The Hurt Locker, Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett ♦
[   ] Inglourious Basterds, Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti and Mark Ulano
[   ] Star Trek, Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson and Peter J. Devlin
[   ] Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson

Achievement in visual effects
[ × ] Avatar, Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones ♦
[   ] District 9, Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken
[   ] Star Trek, Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton

Adapted screenplay
[   ] District 9, Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
[   ] An Education, Screenplay by Nick Hornby
[   ] In the Loop, Screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
[   ] Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher ♦
[ × ] Up in the Air, Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

Original screenplay
[   ] The Hurt Locker, Written by Mark Boal ♦
[ × ] Inglourious Basterds, Written by Quentin Tarantino
[   ] The Messenger, Written by Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman
[   ] A Serious Man, Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
[   ] Up, Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy

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Thu, Mar 04, 2010 10:22am

Wow, if District 9 manages to win at least one award, I don’t care about what happens to the rest of the night. But you really think it has a shot at Editing especially with Avatar and Hurt Locker in the mix? Again, I would LOVE for this to happen, but it just doesn’t seem likely.

Thu, Mar 04, 2010 10:28am

Don’t neglect to write a post about how many you got right (and how many wrong)

Thu, Mar 04, 2010 11:46am

From your Film.com article:

But the real upset? Here’s what I think could happen, by the same Rules of Academy Voting: The Secret of Kells wins Best Animated Feature.

I hope so!


Thu, Mar 04, 2010 12:28pm

me too1

Thu, Mar 04, 2010 12:30pm

Hurt Locker might win best editing

Thu, Mar 04, 2010 6:58pm

Speaking of rules of Academy voting, here’s an article from the NY Times about how the voting system will be changed:

Perhaps the new rules will change the conventional wisdom of predictions.

Hank Graham
Hank Graham
Fri, Mar 05, 2010 12:20am


The live short, “Instead of Abracadra,” is about a total geek. I think you’ll like it.

Fri, Mar 05, 2010 10:10am

My Predictions:

Best Director – Kathryn Bigelow
Best Picture – The Hurt Locker
Best Actor – Jeff Bridges
Best Actress – Carey Mulligan
Best Supporting Actor – Christoph Waltz
Best Supporting Actress – Mo’Nique
Best Animated Feature – Up

I see no reason why Carey Mulligan shouldn’t beat Sandra Bullock.

Mon, Mar 08, 2010 2:01am

The live short, “Instead of Abracadra,” is about a total geek. I think you’ll like it.

I’d love to see it. I don’t know how or where, however. How did you see it?

Mon, Mar 08, 2010 3:40am

I was surprised Hurt Locker took sound mixing and editing over Avatar (or Up or Star Trek).