Despite California being broke and unemployment ravaging, Academy Awards fever has gripped Hollywood.
So what will happen on Sunday?
We will hear some lame humor from the hosts and presenters and the usual uninformed political remarks, but what people want to know is who the likely winners will be.
My fearless predictions for which nominees will be making acceptance speeches are:
Mo’Nique will win Best Supporting Actress for the amazing transformation from being a comedienne to playing a despicably cruel mother so convincingly in “Precious.” She won a Screen Actors Guild Award (SAG) and a Golden Globe, and in the past, six out of eight actresses who did so won the Oscar.
Jeff Bridges will win Best Actor for his down-and-out country singer in “Crazy Heart.” He won the SAG and the Golden Globe. When that happened in the past eight out of nine other actors took home the little gold statue.
I’m afraid that George Clooney, who was nominated for “Up in the Air,” and Morgan Freeman, who was named for “Invictus,” will have to listen to someone else’s acceptance speech.
A nominee of note who deserves an award for lead actor is Jeremy Renner for his portrayal of a soldier in Iraq who has the job of finding and safely destroys hidden explosive devices (“The Hurt Locker”). But, alas, not this time.
Christoph Waltz will take the Oscar for playing an evil Nazi colonel in “Inglourious Basterds.” He won a SAG award and a Golden Globe. Four out of five actors who took both of those pre-Oscar honors won this category.
The Best Actress Oscar is a close call between Sandra Bullock and Meryl Streep.
Look for Bullock to edge out Streep and take home the gold for playing a gun-toting, prayerful, conservative NRA member in “The Blind Side.” If this announcement is made, paramedics may have to be standing by to treat Barbra Streisand.
Bullock won a SAG and Golden Globe Award for best actress. Seven out of nine actresses who won both the SAG and the Globe took home an Academy Award.
Streep won two Oscars in the past for “Kramer vs. Kramer” and “Sophie’s Choice.” And she has been nominated an astounding 15 times.
Gabourey Sidibe, who was in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire,” gave a standout performance.
Kathryn Bigelow will win Best Director, beating out her ex-husband James Cameron, for “The Hurt Locker.” She took home the Directors Guild Award. Nine out of 10 DGA winners have taken the Academy Award since 1951. Add to this the fact that she will be the first woman to win for direction. Oscar voters will respond to the call for diversity.
The Best Picture category is extremely unpredictable because of the expansion of the number of nominations to ten and a new preferential voting system.
Since 1943, best picture nominees have been limited to five films. But this year, the Academy expanded the nominees to 10 to bring in more popular films and raise ratings for the Academy Awards television show, which have lagged in recent years.
The almost 6,000 voting members will be using a preferential voting system for the Best Picture category. Instead of just voting for the single film that should win, the Oscar voters will be required to rank their favorites from one to 10. Under a complicated weighted point system, a nominee with many second- and third-place votes could win over a film that is named by more voters for their number one choice.
Part of the reason for the change was to appeal more to the public than the film critics and to avoid snubbing popular movies.
The two top contenders are “Avatar” and the “The Hurt Locker,” with “Inglourious Basterds” as a wild card. But “The Hurt Locker” has an edge because, as mentioned, Bigelow is likely to take Best Director and the movie that won for director also has won Best Picture in 42 of the 50 years Oscar has been in existence.
James Hirsen, J.D., M.A. in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, commentator, media analyst and law professor. He is admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court and has made several appearances there on various landmark decisions. Hirsen is the co-founder and Chief Legal Counsel for InternationalEsq.com, a legal think tank and educational institute for the study of law in the media. Visit: Newsmax TV Hollywood:
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