Archie's Oscar Predictions


Written by Archie Thomas
11 Thursday 11th February 2010

Established film oracle Archie Thomas gives his predictions for the Oscars 2010.

Some people flat-out loathe the Oscars. They don’t give a flying four XXXX whether Sandra Bullock is wearing vintage Balenciaga or box-fresh Hello Kitty. They couldn’t give a root about how cute Will Smith’s kid looks in a tuxedo.

Oscar deniers’ vitriol is not reserved for the riotous red carpet razzmatazz. They hate the all-singing, all-dancing show too, getting zilch kick from seeing horrendously overpaid thespians showered with gaudy prizes whilst a room of similarly loaded SAG (Screen Actor’s Guild) brethren clap and smile like robotic maniacs.

Do the haters find the acceptance speech cry-a-thons moving? Hell no. More like positively nauseating. They’d rather watch a cat play with a half-dead bird than hear one more teary bombshell thank her agent, manager, lawyer, mom, God etc. 

In the interest of full disclosure, I understand how these people feel. It’s true; the Oscars are the Tinseltown hype machine’s ultimate navel-gazing wank-off. If there was any more back-patting everyone would leave with shattered shoulder blades.

But that doesn’t mean I won’t be glued to the tellybox through the night on March 7 watching events unfold from the Kodak Theater. I’ll be all over it like a cheap suit because I’m an occasional gambling man and I smell easy greenbacks. There’s money to be won people. And lots of it. Forget that yearly each-way wager on the Grand National (you know your horse never clears Becher’s Brook) and follow these red-hot tips. Thank (or punch) me later.


*** Top of the nominations pile (with nine nods apiece) are box office behemoth Avatar and nerve-shredding Iraq war thriller The Hurt Locker. One of the two is expected to win the most coveted Oscar statuette: best film. That’s because in 14 of the past 20 years the most nominated film has won best film.

But recent history paints a more intriguing picture. In four of the past five years, the nominations leader has not gone on to win the top honour: The Aviator, Brokeback Mountain, Dreamgirls and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button were unseated by, respectively, Million Dollar Baby, Crash, The Departed and Slumdog Millionaire.

So, can one of the eight outsiders steal the glory this time? Cameron denies it’s a ‘two-horse’ race and talks up the chances of George Clooney star vehicle Up in the Air proving a 'spoiler'. He might have a point. Up in the Air's chances are boosted by the timeliness of its central theme – economic downturn – and Clooney’s enduring popularity in the film industry. However, and perhaps crucially, no film lacking an editing nomination has won the top prize since 1980 and “Up in the Air” has no editing nod. Of the rest, “Up” is  highly rated but likely to make do with a win in the animated category and An Education might have had a small chance had another plucky Brit pic - Slumdog Millionaire - not won big last year.

Assuming it will be one of the top two, which will win? Will the Academy voters reward Cameron for his game-changing 3D labour of love or go with the underdog? 

Studying the results of other awards which are considered reliable Oscar bellweathers doesn’t help much, since “Avatar” won the Golden Globes best drama award but “Hurt Locker” bagged the Director’s Guild and Producer’s Guild top prizes.

The David-versus-Goliath story is further spiced up by the fact that Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow is James Cameron’s ex-wife. The estranged duo are downplaying the ‘battle of the exes’ angle and Cameron has even predicted a “Hurt Locker” win, describing it as “the Platoon of Iraq war films."

Anyway, time for my prediction; it’ll be a split decision. Bigelow will become the first woman to win best director and “Avatar” will have to ‘settle’ for the best film prize.

*** The White Ribbon will scoop the best foreign language Oscar. Revered Austrian director Michael Haneke’s black and white epic about distrust and malice in pre World War I rural Germany has it all. It scored five-star reviews from the critics, has been a commercial hit on the arthouse circuit and collected multiple prizes at Cannes (where Haneke has long been a favourite) and other top film festivals. The White Ribbon’s main competition comes from French director Jacques Audiard’s stylish prison drama “A Prophet” – a beaut of a movie for sure but more appealing to European than Yank taste-buds.


*** Mo’Nique (a female person by the way) will win the best supporting actress Oscar for her arresting turn as an abusive, illiterate mother in Precious, the gritty film which has got tongues wagging about the sorry plight of American urban underclass. Harlem-based Precious clocked up an impressive six nominations, including one best film and best director (Lee Daniels) but the captivating Mo’Nique win could well prove its sole triumph. Remember, the average age of Oscar voters is a considerable 57.7 meaning 'difficult' or 'challenging' cinema like "Precious" often gets overlooked for safer options (or anything starring or directed by Clint Eastwood).


Archie is a freelance journalist, blogger and poet. He has contributed to the Guardian, The Independent and Hollywood trade paper Variety. (He loves kedgeree and hates Flavio Briatore). More Archie Thomas here.


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  • Guest: editinspire
    Sun 21 - Feb - 2010, 20:44
    Nice prediction for the best foreign film