Filming location for spaghetti westerns in Almería, Spain

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© 1987-2016
Scott Larson

Building façade in Cannes, France

My 2010 Academy Award Predictions (for movies released in 2009)

Too bad about Viggo Mortensen. What, you say, he wasn’t nominated for anything. Exactly.

I was just looking back at what I wrote in this space last year and I was reminded that a childhood friend, whom I hadn’t been in touch with since puberty, had appeared mysteriously in my inbox to predict, a full year in advance, that Mortensen would get the Best Actor gong this year. And in hindsight, that wasn’t at all a ridiculous forecast. The Road was just the kind of movie that can be expected to get a Best Actor nomination and maybe even an Oscar. But it didn’t. And that just goes to show how arbitrary all of this award stuff is. There are way too many great performances out there for all of them to be recognized. And while new acting faces show up in the nom list every year, many of the old standards keep showing up too. After all, you can never give Meryl Streep too many nominations.

As far as my own predictions, I can only point out in my defense that, to make this little game of mine challenging, I make my forecasts as soon as I can manage after the nominations are announced—in this case, 25 days ago. If I had come up with these during the past week, the vibes around The Hurt Locker may well have persuaded me to shift the Best Picture and Director categories to that film. Of course, we will never know for sure and, frankly, none of us care, including me. Instead, I have been contenting myself to play my Oscar Night Before and Day After Drinking Game, with revised rules. It goes like this: during the night one shot of scotch for each guess I got wrong, the next day one shot of espresso for each guess I got right. Somehow it evens out.


Most Likely to Win

Most Deserving to Win


Best Picture


The Hurt Locker

Best Actor

Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart)

Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker)

Best Actress

Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side)

Gabourey Sidibe (Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire)

Best Supporting Actor

Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)

Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)

Best Supporting Actress

Mo’Nique (Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire)

Maggie Gyllenhaal (Crazy Heart)

Best Director

James Cameron (Avatar)

Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker)

Best Original Screenplay

Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds)

Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner (Up in the Air)

Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner (Up in the Air)

Geoffrey Fletcher (Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire)

Best Animated Feature



Best Foreign Language Film

Das weisse Band – Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte (Germany)

Un prophète (A Prophet) (France)

El secreto de sus ojos (The Secret in Their Eyes) (Argentina)

Total Scores

5 categories that even I could predict

4 cases where I should have had more faith

2 reminders of life’s randomness