With the Academy Awards 10 days away, the predictions are starting to line up and everyone seems to have a different opinion on who will win Best Picture. Steve Pond is a firm believer in number and he predicted "The hurt locker" to win as "Avatar" apparently needs a lot of votes to even come close to the amount of votes "The Hurt Locker" will receive. This system of prediction makes sense, but he doesn't take into consideration people within each branch that will vote the other way around. The actor's branch is the largest in the Academy, and they might go in another direction, maybe even favoring "Inglourious Basterds" as Tarantino is known to be an actor's director and very popular within the Hollywood community. In other situations, the actor's branch may not have even seen "The Hurt locker", and they will give their votes to the most popular film. I do agree with him that the producers and writers will favor "The hurt locker", but the rest of the field seems to me a little too hypothetical, there are going to be divergent votes in each group.
David Krueger seems to favor my own way of predicting the Academy: looking at the awards season and then predicting who will win. So far "The Hurt locker" has won the Writers guild award, the producer's guild award, the director's guild award, and many critic's choice. The upset came during the Golden Globes ceremony when James Cameron won best director and best motion picture - drama. Yet this has been the only major award "Avatar" has won, and the globes almost never reflect the final results of the Oscars. For example, in 2007 "Babel" won the globe and "The Departed" won the Oscar. In 2006 "Brokeback mountain" won the globe, and "Crash" won the Oscar.
Now, 2006 is a year to remember because "Brokeback" won almost every major award leading up to the Academy awards - the PGA, DGA, WGA, Globe, almost all awards except the SAG award, very similar to "The hurt locker". If this says anything it is that the acting branch of the Academy (which are all members of SAG) have a very decisive vote come Oscar night. In 2006 the SAG went to "Crash", and then the Academy award for best picture went to "Crash". Actually, since 1999 the SAG award for best performance for a cast in a motion has coincided with the best picture winner in all but 4 cases (2001 - "Traffic", the Oscar winner was "Gladiator", 2002 - "Gosford Park", Oscar Winner = "A beautiful mind", 2005 - "Sideways". Oscar winner = "Million dollar baby", 2007 - "Little miss sunshine", Oscar Winner = "The departed").
In 1999 as well the SAG was given to "Shakespeare in love" and that film went on to win the best picture academy award to everyone's surprise, just like "Crash" did. It seems then that the SAG predicts the Oscar upset (in both cases the favorite of the season didn't win, while in other years the favorite among everyone did go on to win the Oscar), which means that there is a third contestant this year: "Inglourious Basterds". Christoph Waltz is definitely going to win best supporting actor, the film is a strong contender for best original screenplay (against none other than "The hurt locker", and the cast of "Inglourious Basterds" is a power house as it includes Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger and Eli Roth. Will the Academy favor this dark horse come Oscar time?
There is a slight possibility. The film has been gaining momentum the past month as a possible third choice which will happen if the votes separate between "The hurt locker" and "Avatar", but the voting process does not favor this because the Academy ranks the films in the order they like, and disqualifies them one by one (so for example I would personally vote "Up in the air" first, "Inglourious Basterds" second, "The hurt locker" third, "Up" fourth, "Avatar" fifth, etc, and depending on how many points each movie makes among all members of the academy it is either disqualified or continues competing). For "Inglourious" to beat either "Avatar" or "The hurt locker" it needs a lot of first position votes and the other two films will have to be numbers 4 or 5 on most lists, which will unlikely happen. Still, it might win with a very slight advantage, and even Harvey Weinsten has stated that the film will win.
What is certain is that Bingelow will win best director, and that automatically puts "The hurt locker" at an advantage. My prediction goes to "The hurt locker" although my gut feeling is telling me it is not going to win. I fear not enough people have seen the film, and the award will go to the more popular "Avatar" or "Inglourious Basterds" Out of the two, I think "Inglourious Basterds" has a better chance of winning because a lot of people were upset after "Avatar" won the Globe, so the academy won't want to make that mistake again.
So here is my prediction with 10 days to go: "The hurt locker" will win, but if it doesn't, the best motion picture academy award will go to "Inglourious Basterds" not "Avatar".