GonzoGeek vs. The Oscars 2010: Best Picture

GonzoGeek vs. The Oscars 2010

The 82nd Annual Academy Awards are just three weeks away, and between now and then, your GonzoGeek panel will be making their picks alongside our resident Oscar expert: Matt’s copy of “Wrestlemania 2000” for the Nintendo 64.

Today: Best Picture

A Serious Man – 75/1  
An Education – 75/1  
Avatar – 1/1  
District 9 – 100/1  
Inglourious Basterds – 12/1  
Precious – 50/1  
The Blind Side – 50/1  
The Hurt Locker – 20/29  
Up – 75/1  
Up in the Air – 25/1 

Bruce (last year: 2/5)

First, let me just express my disappointment that eeven with the field of nominees expanded to 10, the Academy couldn’t give one of those spots to “The Hangover,” without a doubt the funniest movie I’ve seen in years.  That it was left off and “The Blind Side” was nominated gives further evidence to the myopic, middling nature of the Academy.  The Academy’s continual refusal to acknowledge outstanding work in comedy is pathetic.  Dying is easy.  Comedy is hard.
 
Now, for my pick.  I’ve only seen a handful of the movies in question, so, in fairness, I’ll pick one I’ve actually seen.  The opening sequence of Up is some of the finest film work of the year, sweet, touching and heartbreaking, and set a new bar for Pixar.  Inglorious Basterds was fun, but there is absolutely no chance its going to win.  The Academy hates Tarantino, which is ironic given how much QT loves film.  No, I’m going with Up in the Air.  I really enjoyed the seamlessness of this movie.  We watch a man’s world unravel around him as he tries to broaden himself.  I lost George Clooney in his role and would recommend this one to anyone.  Up in the Air is my choice for best picture.

Chris (last year: 3/5)

First of all, I’ll narrow the field. The five nominees are The Hurt Locker, District 9, An Education, A Serious Man, and Avatar. That’s right, no Inglorious Basterds. QT always delivers, and did again. I like what he does. A lot. But when the fuck is this dude gonna change it up a little?
 
It’d be really cool if one of the ‘real’ movies won it. You know, a movie dealing with real topics realistically. In this case we have:
The Hurt Locker – the realest portrayal yet of the Iraq war (from what I’ve been told. I wasn’t there.)
District 9 – Dealing with the eventually real problem of how to deal with aliens who come here cuz their spaceship breaks down (dude, check ‘Pitch Black’. That’s gonna be more like it. But I’ll still be out there trying to lend a hand. Brothers gotta stick together.)
An Education – that’s right man. You British and got enough jack up in the hizzy you can take your 16-year old crush anywhere you want (from what I’ve been told. Ain’t British, ain’t never had that much jack, and those girls are better at spotting folks ain’t form here than you might guess).
A Serious Man – The realest thing about life on earth since the classic ‘Falling Down.’
 
The winner, however, will be ‘Avatar.’ Those folks don’t exist anywhere out there. And being American I don’t give a shit about anybody not like me anyway. But the damn thing earned so much money and broke so much new technological ground that it’ll bring home the gold.

Chuck (last year: n/a)

…and the winner is – The Hurt Locker.

Matt (last year: 3/5)

Wait a second, I’ve spent the entirety of these predictions pointing out the (undeserved) lack of love/respect for Quentin Tarantino by the Academy.  So why do I think Inglourious Basterds will win Best Picture?  Chalk it up to The Dark Knight.

The expansion of the category to ten nominees has changed the Best Picture voting format: instead of picking one winner, voters are asked to rank each nominee.  This new system is begging to be gamed, and the man to do it is Harvey Weinstein, whose company distributed Basterds.

Hollywood is split between Avatar and The Hurt Locker.  It’s bitter, whether they admit it or not.  Bigelow vs. Cameron.  Big budget vs. indie.  Fantasy vs. the reality of war.  People who love Locker will vote it high and rank Avatar low, to submarine the totals.  Likewise, Na’vi lovers will do the same to THL.  What movie ends up #2 on both those lists?  Inglourious Basterds, a happy medium, a war fantasy with a familiar face behind the camera.

IB has just one fewer nomination than Avatar and The Hurt Locker do, plus the added benefit of NOT being Avatar or The Hurt Locker (about which some voters are undoubtedly sick of hearing) and could benefit from a nice “change of pace” vote.  In the middle of it all, Weinstein – whose politicking for last year’s abysmal The Reader led to The Dark Knight’s omission and indirectly, the new format – will be stirring the pot and turning minds to Tarantino’s masterwork.  This year, Harvey isn’t the hero that film geeks want, but he’s the hero they need, and he’ll bring a statue home for Quentin.

R.J. (last year: n/a)

I already tipped my hand last round and said my best picture winner (The Hurt Locker), so for the heck of it I’ll rank the ten nominees from least deserving to most:

10)The Blind Side
9)The Hurt Locker
8)An Education
7)Up in the Air
6)District 9
5)Precious
4)A Serious Man
3)Avatar
2)Inglourious Basterds
1)Up

Stephe (last year: 1/5)

For best director I asked the question, which do you prefer with your movie, meaning or popcorn.  Since this is pretty much the same slate of movies +5, I’ll ask it again.
 
Meaning or popcorn?
 
If you like meaning, then you’ll favor ‘Up in the Air’, ‘The Hurt Locker’, ‘Precious’, ‘A Serious Man’, ‘An Education’.
 
If you like popcorn: ‘Avatar’, ‘Inglorious Basterds’, ‘Up’ and  ‘District 9’
 
‘The Blind Side’ doesn’t deserve to be nominated. 
 
With 10 choices, there are a lot of voting scenarios that could play out with one film drawing votes from another opening the door for a surprise win.   And even though I root for that kind of thing, I doubt it’ll happen.  Avatar is the 700M Gorilla in the room and while not a great film, seems to impress a lot of people because it looks impressive.  All that color and movement and 3D.  In fact, I believe that the entertainment industry is shallow enough to give an award that is supposed to recognize excellence to eye candy.
 
Winner: ‘Avatar’.  Should win: ‘Hurt Locker’.  Could Win:  All others but ‘The Blind Side.’

Wrestlemania 2000 (last year: 2/5)*

Sadly, Neil Blomkamp’s opus, District 9, has no shot here, so it’s out early.  We have to eliminate two in this category, and An Education, A Serious Man and Up are all tied at 75/1. As a shoo-in for Best Animated Feature, Up is already getting a statue, so it’s out, too.

Avatar: The Rock
The Blind Side: Mideon
An Education: Test
The Hurt Locker: Triple H
Inglourious Basterds: Stone Cold Steve Austin
Precious: D’Lo Brown
A Serious Man: Steve Blackman
Up in the Air: Mankind

At the start, The Blind side keeps trying to get out of the ring, obviously realizing that it doesn’t belong.  An Education follows it out and takes it to school.  Meanwhile, Precious and A Serious Man brawl it out in the ring, and A Serious Man gets the upperhand, ultimately pinning Precious after an axe kick at 5:51.  The Hurt Locker enters and The Blind Side drags it outside and forces the favorite to play its game (getting recognition through relentless publicity instead of quality) and THL doesn’t fare so well.  Finally they re-enter the ring, and once finally faced with the real competition of Best Picture, The Blind Side folds, getting taken out by An Education’s inside cradle at 9:45. 

Avatar storms the ring and immediately makes an impact, battering A Serious Man and overwhelming the minimalist drama with 3-D graphics and massive set pieces.  A Serious Man is finished off at 16:51 with Omaticaya Pxuntil (Na’vi for People’s Elbow).  The newfangled technology doesn’t hold up for long, though, as An Education quickly swoops in to give it a few lessons on emotional character development.  Ever since they both entered the match, The Hurt Locker had been trying to mix it up with Avatar at every turn, and seeing the double team opportunity, it pounced.  One double piledriver later and James Cameron’s opus is eliminated at 21:52 by An Education.  So far, An Education had been pulling a nice underdog run, but Up In The Air was determined to be the top darkhorse.  Up In The Air drags the action outside the ring, where a single-leg Boston crab on the concrete floor forces An Education to give up at 23:10. 

Back inside, Up In The Air, The Hurt Locker and Inglourious Basterds battle it out in a three-way dance.  Basterds and Locker were taking the time to double-team Up In The Air, and Basterds even brought a foreign object into the ring.  Unfortunately The Hurt Locker lost sight of the goal and turned on Inglourious Basterds.  Up In The Air attacked The Hurt Locker and Inglourious Basterds followed suit, leading to the odds-on favorite going down at 26:01 under the relentless double-team assault.  With two unexpected fan favorites going down to the wire, it doesn’t take long for Inglourious Basterds to take control, hitting Up In The Air with a Lou Thesz press and more than its share of middle fingers before finally forcing the submission via sleeperhold at 28:58.

Odds were chosen from various online betting sites, including Bodog and Bet365. Kids, gambling is illegal in many states when your brother-in-law says he has a good tip on a horse, sometimes that ends with you doing consecutive life sentences for shooting a cop, the horse, his trainer and your brother-in-law.  So be careful out there, kids.  And if you’re really serious about it, I’ve got a sure thing I’d like to tell you about…

* Wrestlemania 2000 picks the Oscars by (1) eliminating the two nominees with the longest odds, (2) matching up the remaining eight with a character from WM2K’s extensive circa-1997 WWF roster and (3) Staging a CPU-generated rumble elimination match where the last man standing is the Oscar winner. No wrestlers are repeated during the contest.

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