The Academy has nominated ten movies this year, but only three of them have a real shot. For the last few months, the battle has been between Avatar and The Hurt Locker. They tied for the most nominations. It’s a David vs Goliath battle, except that David is the movie that made a billion dollars and Goliath is the movie that made 12 million. While casual moviegoers probably expect Avatar to win the to prize, it’s not the favorite. The Hurt Locker has all the momentum. It won the most critics’ awards, the Producers Guild Award, the Writers Guild Award, and the Directors Guild Award. Avatar ruled the box office and won the Golden Globe but then began to lose steam quickly. Both movies have a major obstacle to overcome. The Hurt Locker would be the lowest grossing film ever to win best picture. Avatar would mean an embrace of the sci-fi genre, something that the Academy has shown reluctance to do.
The dark horse in this race is Inglourious Basterds. It received only one fewer nomination than the two frontrunners, and it won the Screen Actors Guild Award. That’s crucial, because actors constitute the largest voting bloc in the Academy. It’s also the only major award that Crash won before it upset Brokeback Mountain. Basterds has Tarantino, Pitt, an impressive box office tally, and a ruthless campaigner in Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein famously orchestrated Shakespeare of Love’s upset of Saving Private Ryan from behind the scenes. Basterds also has a major obstacle to overcome, though. The scalping and other acts of excessive violence do not appeal to many voters. The Academy has awarded violent films, but not Tarantino’s violence. It’s as if he enjoys it a little too much for their taste.
The Consensus Pick: The Hurt Locker
The Underdog Pick : Avatar
The No Guts, No Glory Pick: Inglourious Basterds
If you dare, make your prediction in the comments section. You can also cast a ballot in the resource center for a chance to win a prize, and don’t forget to watch the Oscars on Sunday in the Events room starting at 7!