@ February 9, 2010

[Jesse and Jim will be making their picks for every Oscar over the next few days. To participate in this year's ObscureCraft Oscar Pool, email your own picks to The rules are here. On with the picks!]

Jesse's take

Jim, its our favorite time of year. Is this how Christians feel around Christmas? Or how Muslims feel around 9/11? We've been Oscar prognosticating for as long as we've known each other. There's something about the mixture of showbiz, art, and gambling that you can't get anywhere else. We're going to take turns picking categories and then we'll each pick a winner. In the past, our wager has been more than just a gentleman's agreement: care to make it interesting? You can let me know after we get through this first category.

Achievement in Sound Mixing

Nominees: Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Star Trek, Inglorious Basterds, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

This category is a rarity for me this year, as I've seen almost every film on the list. The only one I've missed is Transformers. As Oscar season as wound up, my movie going rate has wound down (I haven't been in theaters since Avatar; before that, god help me, New Moon). Have you been as disinterested in this year's Oscar bait as I have?

The only Oscar that Star Trek should win is for Achievement in Lens Flares, and Transformers didn't even have the sense Chris Brown did to use the transforming sound effect. The safe bet is Avatar, as that movie is in the Best Picture ranks only because of its technical achievements (well, that, and the move from 5 to 10 nominees as turned the Oscars into Everybody Gets A Trophy Day). However, I'm not feeling safe. I'm feeling an adrenaline rush. I'm feeling The Hurt Locker.

Pick: The Hurt Locker

Jim's take

Aah, sound mixing. This one has trended towards musicals as of late. However, Nine wasn't well-received and failed to get a nomination, so I'm going with Avatar. Why? It's like Titanic 2, but with smurfs. The freaking movie has made more than six hundred million dollars in the domestic box office. It got a ton of nominations -- none of them for writing or acting -- it just feels like 1997 all over again.

As for making it more interesting, I already owe you for the World Series, you trying to bleed me dry?

Pick: Avatar

Achievement in Sound Editing

Nominees: Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Star Trek, Inglorious Basterds, Up

Oh, Sound Editing. Does this nominee list look familiar? Yeah, just trade out Transformers for Up and you have the same batch from the other sound category. I'm not changing my answer, though, Avatar -- the six hundred million dollar steamroller -- becomes the King of the World of Sound Editing this year. Damned Smurf Apocalypse.

Pick: Avatar

Jesse's take

I see the lines are drawn. You are on Team Cameron, I am on Team Bigelow. Although I still don't know whether you are on Team Edward or Team Jacob. Did I mention I saw New Moon?

Pick: The Hurt Locker

Achievement in Costume Design

Nominees: Bright Star, Coco Before Chanel, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Nine, The Young Victoria

Let's go to a category where none of the major contenders have a nominee. In fact, let's go to a category where basically nobody has even seen the nominees, including me. Based on the limited information I have (the titles of the movies), I'm going with the one with the name of a designer in the title. Think you can do better?

Pick: Coco Before Chanel

Jim's take

Oh, costume design. Going with the designer is not a bad choice here. However, the problem is that the clothing designers for this one didn't actually design anything. Coco Chanel designed everything, died, and then they made a movie about how she designed stuff. I'm going with the costume drama.

Pick: The Young Victoria

Achievement in Art Direction

Nominees: Avatar, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Nine, Sherlock Holmes, The Young Victoria

Oh, art direction. I'd think that, normally, Dr. Parnassus might have a shot here -- you know, if people actually went out to see it. I'm pretty sure that Heath Ledger's family even missed this one in the theaters. Hope Gilliam sent them a screener! (What, too soon?)

The Young Victoria is a tempting choice here, what being all costume drama-ey. I'm going to go with Avatar again, because, you know what, I remember the Titanic year. This is like Titanic on crack. James Cameron had a team of art direction gnomes who created each frame of film individually using "computers" to create some weird planet with a bunch of blue people with tails. Plus, The Aviator won this award, and Ernest Borgnine might vote for Avatar because he thinks it's the same movie.

Pick: Avatar

Jesse's take

If you are hanging your Oscar hopes on Avatar sweeping the night, then I think you are in for a poor showing. On the other hand... it is pretty widely accepted that the dialogue, acting, and story of Avatar are not the reason it was a Best Picture nominee. Technical awards should be where it makes its bones.

On the OTHER other hand, Avatar is not going to win Best Picture, so I don't see any reason to assume that its going to win these awards, either.

Pick: Sherlock Holmes

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Nominees: Mo'Nique (Precious), Anna Kendrick (Up In The Air), Vera Farmiga (Up In The Air), Penelope Cruz (Nine), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Crazy Heart)

Time for a real award. Too bad I picked such an obvious one, right? For the sake of argument, let's start by assuming this was actually a contest: Kendrick and Farmiga split the votes between the Up In The Air supporters, if such a beast exists. I'm surprised Gyllenhaal was let out of jail after murdering all her scenes in Dark Knight last year, and wasn't Nine a movie about little animated ragdolls in the future or something?

No, this award goes to Mo'Nique as Ronald Reagan's fever dream of a welfare mother in Precious. The applause in the auditorium won't actually be for the award; instead, it will be the sound of everyone clapping themselves on the back for being so socially aware.

Pick: Mo'Nique (Precious)

Jim's take

I don't have anything to add for supporting actress. Mo'Nique is going to win this one, without question.

Pick: Mo'Nique (Precious)


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