The 2009 Oscars: A Prediction by Nick Varnau (let’s hope I’m right)

The Academy Awards, aka The Oscars… a time where celebrities and movie fans alike sit back and look at the previous year in film, and then decide once and for all who is the best in what category. Right now, it’s the best time for moviegoers… this is the “Road to the Oscars,” where everything good is in theaters and it’s too cold to do anything else.

But if you just got back from the theater, grab a drink (to refresh you from the salt in the popcorn), print this entry, and sit back and read my 2009 Oscar predictions based on educated guesses from someone who  thinks he knows something about this stuff. Here’s what I think:

BEST PICTURE:
Nominees:
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Reader”
“Slumdog Millionaire”
“Frost/Nixon”
“Milk”
COMMENT: I’m disappointed with two of these movies being up for Best Picture when another film clearly deserved it more: eight-time nominee “The Dark Knight.” “Benjamin Button” received thirteen nominations, and deserves some of them, but I think it’s the Oscars’ most overrated film of the year. The other film I’m disgruntled about is “The Reader.” Good movie. But not great, and not Best Picture. “Frost/Nixon” is a very good movie, well-acted and well-directed. It won’t get it. It’s bested by both “Milk” and “Slumdog Millionaire.” Both films are worthy of the title.
FINAL PREDICTION: “Slumdog Millionaire.” The film is just awesome. “Milk” is excellent no doubt, and part of me wishes it would win, but I doubt the Academy would give their highest award to a film about gay rights. “Slumdog” will get it.

BEST DIRECTOR:
Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire”
Stephen Daldry, “The Reader”
David Fincher, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Ron Howard, “Frost/Nixon”
Gus Van Sant, “Milk”
COMMENT: I think this one’s a no contest. All of these directors are great, but one of them shone brightly this year, and deserves it the most.
FINAL PREDICTION: Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire.”

BEST ACTOR:
Richard Jenkins, “The Visitor”
Frank Langella, “Frost/Nixon”
Sean Penn, “Milk”
Brad Pitt, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Mickey Rourke, “The Wrestler”
COMMENT: Again, all very strong performances. I doubt Pitt or Jenkins will get it, though Pitt has a higher chance. Frank Langella could, but I think it comes down to Sean Penn and Mickey Rourke for “Milk” and “The Wrestler” respectively.
FINAL PREDICTION: Mickey Rourke, “The Wrestler.” I think Penn’s performance was more dynamic, but I think Rourke’s performance was more real. Rourke deserves it. He’s been through a lot. I pick him as an upset, but don’t yell at me if Penn wins.

BEST ACTRESS:
Anne Hathaway, “Rachel Getting Married”
Angelina Jolie, “Changeling”
Melissa Leo, “Frozen River”
Meryl Streep, “Doubt”
Kate Winslet, “The Reader”
FINAL PREDICTION: Anne Hathaway, “Rachel Getting Married.” Anne Hathaway has this one pretty easily. She’s got the skill, she’s got the hype… I think she’s got it.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
Josh Brolin, “Milk”
Robert Downey Jr, “Tropic Thunder”
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “Doubt”
Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”
Michael Shannon, “Revolutionary Road”
COMMENT: These were all great performances, but only one shone brighter than any performance this year: Heath Ledger as the Joker in “The Dark Knight.” Dead or alive, he deserves to be awarded the Oscar for that part. It was an incredible piece of acting.
FINAL PREDICTION: Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight.”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
Amy Adams, “Doubt”
Penelope Cruz, “Vicky Christina Barcelona”
Viola Davis, “Doubt”
Taraji P. Henson, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Marisa Tomei, “The Wrestler”
FINAL PREDICTION: Viola Davis, “Doubt.”

That’s all the big ones. To catch the full outcome, tune in Sunday night to the ceremony, hosted by Hugh Jackman, and look for me on the red carpet (I won’t be there, but it’s always fun to look).

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