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Oscar Predictions 2011 – Part #2: Acting Awards and Best Films

Posted on 24 February 2011 by Andrew

This year it is heating up to be a battle for Best Picture, with The King’s Speech gaining a lot of recent momentum over the critical darling The Social Network.  I haven’t been able to catch any of the short films, as most of them are played at film festivals, so I won’t even try to pick a prediction there.  I know itunes is letting you rent some on the best animated and live action short nominees for the Oscars so I recommend you check those out.  They usually are really great.  That being said here are my predictions for the acting and film awards.

Best Documentary

Exit Through the Gift shop

Gasland

Inside Job

Restrepo

Waste Land

Most of the best documentary winners are decided by the precursor ACE editing awards, which Gift Shop won.  Gift shop also has the biggest buzz going into the Oscars because of its director, the notorious street artist Bansky.  Just the thought of Bansky possibly accepting the award has given the Academy Awards a stir.  I could also see Inside Job winning this because of its political relevance in the past year.

Best Foreign Film

Mexico – Biutiful

Greece – Dogtooth

Denmark – In a Better World

Canada – Incendies

Algeria – Outside the Law

A lot of people would predict that Biutiful would win, but this category is always up for grabs.  Remember when Pan’s Labyrinth was considered a lock for this – then didn’t win?  In a Better World did win a Golden Globe and I’m predicting it will win the Oscar as well.  But look for a surprise in this category.

Best Animated Feature

How to Train Your Dragon

Illusionsit

Toy Story 3

I loved How to Train Your Dragon but Toy Story 3 was incredible.  It also has a best picture nomination so that definitely gives it the edge here.

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams – The Fighter

Helena Bonham Carter – The King’s Speech

Melissa Leo – The Fighter

Hailee Steinfeld – True Grit

Jacki Weaver – Animal Kingdom

I’m going with an upset pick here, over the frontrunner Melissa Leo.  Haile Steinfeld was the main actress in True Grit, yet somehow she got nominated in this category.  Was it to increase her chances of winning?  A most definite yes and I think the move will pay off.

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale – The Fighter

John Hawkes – Winter’s Bone

Jeremy Renner – The Town

Mark Ruffalo – The Kids are All Right

Geoffrey Rush – The King’s Speech

Bale was incredible in the Fighter and it seems like this award is all but a lock for him.  Only person to upset him could be Geoffrey Rush.

Best Actress

Annette Bening – The Kids Are All Right

Nicole Kidman – Rabbit Hole

Jennifer Lawrence – Winter’s Bone

Natalie Portman – Black Swan

Michelle Williams – Blue Valentine

A lot of indie movie actresses nominated here, but Natalie Portman’s role in Black Swan has garnered the most buzz.  She had to learn ballet in countless hours of training and played a duel personality in the psychological thriller Black Swan.

Best Actor

Javier Bardem – Biutiful

Jeff Bridges  – True Grit

Jesse Eisenberg – The Social Network

Colin Firth – The King’s Speech

James Franco – 127 Hours

A great lineup this year, especially over last year’s nominations which snubbed a lot of great performances.  This is Colin Firth’s to lose, and I feel there is no way he is going to lose.  It’s interesting to see Jeff Bridges nominated for John Wayne’s Oscar winning role many years back.  Have two different actors each won an Oscar for the same role?  Would be a great trivia question.

Best Picture

Black Swan

The Fighter

Inception

The Kids Are All Right

The King’s Speech

127 Hours

The Social Network

Toy Story 3

True Grit

Winter’s Bone

This is really going going to come down to who is voting for the best picture award.  The Social Network had won almost every critic’s choice awards leading up to the Guild awards, and the King’s Speech swept the Guild Awards (excluding the WGA’s which they couldn’t be nominated for).  That recent surge in award’s wins has led me to believe that the King’s Speech is now the frontrunner to win.  However, The Social Network still has a very good chance considering how many critic’s named it their favorite film of the year.  Only time will tell who wins – but for now I’m going with the King’s Speech.

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Oscar Predictions 2011 – Part #1: Technical Awards and Writing

Posted on 21 February 2011 by Andrew

This coming Sunday the Academy Awards will be handed out for the 83rd time.  For a while I thought this year was going to be a bad year for movies, but looking at the ten Best Picture nominees I think you can find a great film for just about anyone.  A lot of technical and writing awards have been handed out at other events leading up to the Oscars, and so far their have been a number of surprises.  Not everything is set in stone this year just yet.  Each bold nominee in each category is the one that I predict will win.

Best Visual Effects.

Alice in Wonderland

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

Hereafter

Inception

Iron Man 2

The people who worked on Tron Legacy have got to be ticked, they were seen as a frontrunner to win this category for a while.  However, I always felt Inception would win this award.  Many people forget that visual effects aren’t all things you make in the computer.  It’s the models, explosions, stunts, and some set work that create the great visual scenes.  Inception’s hallway fight is one of the most iconic scenes of the year, and it works so well because of the great visual effects team they had to create the set.

Best Sound Editing

Inception

Toy Story 3

TRON: Legacy

True Grit

Unstoppable

This was the hardest one to decide on. True Grit just won a few sound awards last week but I’m going to give the edge to Inception again, mostly because of it’s blockbuster appeal and the immersive sound.  TRON: Legacy really should win because of how crystal clear that design was, and you also can’t count out Toy Story 3 because every sound clip there has to be created from scratch.

Sound Mixing

Inception

The King’s Speech

Salt

The Social Network

True Grit

This is where the sound mixer takes the sound effects, audio and music track and makes one clean audio track for the film.  Once again, very tough pick but I’m going to go with True Grit because it was a great blend of different levels of music mixed with crisp, clear dialogue.  Inception may win this too but that mix was more about how loud can we make everything.

Best Makeup

Barney’s Version

The Way Back

The Wolfman

Rick Baker just can’t be denied.  Plus, out of the three nominees this movie seemed like it required the most makeup work.  The only thing stopping it from winning is if people debate how much was makeup opposed to CGI.

Best Cinematography

Black Swan – Matthew Libatique

Inception – Wally Pfister

The King’s Speech – Danny Cohen

The Social Network – Jeff Cronenweth

True Grit – Roger Deakins

This is an unbelievable list here, but I think Deakins is going to win his first (and long overdue) Oscar.  The Coen Brother’s movies always have great cinematography and that is due to Deakins great work.  I do think Black Swan and The Social Network both deserve this award as well.

Best Film Editing

Black Swan

The Fighter

The King’s Speech

127 Hours

The Social Network

The editing in Social Network is what really makes that movie exciting.  The script is a very long script and without a tight edit the movie would drag.  I’m Kind of surprised Inception didn’t get a nomination for this, but at the same time I really can’t disagree with these nominations.

Best Original Score

How to Train Your Dragon – John Powell

Inception – Hans Zimmer

The King’s Speech – Alexandre Desplat

127 Hours – A.R. Rahman

The Social Network – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

This will come down to Inception and The Social Network, but I am giving the edge to Social Network because of its originality.  Catch me on a different day and I may just pick Inception , I think it will be that close of a vote.

Best Original Song

Coming Home – Country Strong

I See the Light – Tangled

If I Rise – 127 Hours

We Belong Together – Toy Story 3

Does this award have any relevance anymore?  I mean you don’t honor any of the stunt teams at the academy but there is a Oscar for that chick who recorded that one sing to make money off of ???  Oh well, anyways, I think Randy Newman will win because his song wraps the Toy Story trilogy off nicely.

Best Costume Design

Alice in Wonderland

I am Love

The King’s Speech

The Tempest

True Grit

Alice had unbelievable costume designs including some really great stuff for the Red Queen.  Burton movies usually win some of these awards too.

Best Art Direction

Alice in Wonderland

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

Inception

The King’s Speech

True Grit

Once again I think this will go to Alice, though also look for The King’s Speech to possibly pick this up if it is having a good night.

Best Director

Darren Aronofsky – Black Swan

David O. Russell – The Fighter

Tom Hooper – The King’s Speech

David Fincher – The Social Network

Joel and Ethan Coen – True Grit

Poor Chris Nolan.  Three DGA nominations yet no Academy nomination for best director yet.  Maybe in a few years for Dark Knight Rises??  Anyways, this is a SUPER close race between Hooper and Fincher.  Hooper won the DGA but I feel Fincher will edge him out from the critic votes.  I also felt Fincher took what is an essentially a very dull story and made it one of the most entertaining films this year.

Best Adapted Screenplay

127 Hours

The Social Network

Toy Story 3

True Grit

Winter’s Bone

Pretty much case closed on this one.

Best Original Screenplay

Another Year

The Fighter

Inception

The Kids Are All Right

The King’s Speech

Inception did win the WGA but The King’s Speech was ineligible.  Could be a close vote and last year Precious upset Up in the Air in the screenplay categories.

In a few days I will have the rest of the predictions including acting and picture awards.

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Oscar Predictions Part 2 – Acting and Picture Awards

Posted on 02 March 2010 by Andrew

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Yesterday I went through all the writing and technical awards, giving the complete list and my prediction for the winner.  Today will be the rest of the awards, notably the big acting awards and best picture.  Once again, some of these I will have to guess on because I haven’t seen all of the nominated films.  The group with the dot before it is the one I predict to win.  As always leave your comments below.

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province – Job Alpert and Matthew O’Neill

The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner – Daniel Junge and Henry Ansbacher

  • The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant – Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert

Music by Prudence – Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett

Rabbit a la Berlin – Bartek konopka and Anna Wydra

I haven’t seen any of these but I feel the GM documentary is the most relevant, and I’m sort of biased because I live in Michigan.

BEST DOCUMENTARY

Burman VJ – Anders Ostergaard and Lise Lense-Moller

  • The Cove – Louie Psihoyos and Fisher Stevens

Food, Inc. – Robert Kenner and Elise Pearlstein

The Most Dangerous Man in America:Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers – Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith

Which Way Home – Rebecca Cammisa

I have heard nothing but excellent things about The Cove and it has been tearing up the festival circuit.  It already has a slew of awards and I expect that it will top its run off with the Academy Award.

BEST ANIMATED SHORT

  • French Roast – Fabrice O. Joubert

Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty – Nicky Phelan and Darragh O’Connell

The Lady and the Reaper – Javier Recio Gracia

Logorama – Nicolas Schmerkin

A Matter of Loaf and Death – Nick Park

Nick Park has a great shot at this, especially with his past “Wallace and Gromit” films, but I’m giving the edge to French Roast because of the way it is shot and it’s originality.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Ajami (Israel) – Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani

The Milk of Sorrow (Peru) – Claudia Llosa

  • A Prophet  (France) – Jacques Audiard

The Secret in Their Eyes (Argentina) – Juan Jose Campanella

The White Ribbon (Germany) – Michael Haneke

A real race here between Ribbon and Prophet.  Originally about a month ago it seemed like White Ribbon had this one in the bag.  But A Prophet has built up some recent momentum, especially with it’s BAFTA win for best foreign film (which it tied with White Ribbon). Over the past few years the Academy has not given this award to the favorite so I am picking The White Ribbon to be upset here.

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT

The Door – Juanita Wilson and James Flynn

Instead of Abracadabra – Patrik Eklund and Mathias Fjellstrom

  • Kavi – Greg Helvey

Miracle Fish – Luke Doolan and Drew Bailey

The New Tenants – Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson

I’ve only seen Abracadabra so this is a guess here but I am going to pick Kavi – no real reason, sorry.

BEST ANIMATED FILM

Coraline – Henry Selick

Fantastic Mr. Fox – Wes Anderson

The Princess and the Frog – John Musker and ron Clements

The Secret of Kells – Tomm Moore

  • Up – Pete Doctor

What a HUGE upset that would be for Up not to win.  It is nominated for Best Picture as well, so doesn’t that make it an automatic winner. I almost think so.  Plus, it was the best animated film this year and has won almost every animation award that exists.  If Pixar hadn’t made a film this year I would be pulling for Coraline, which was way better than I expected.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Penelope Cruz – Nine

Vera Farmiga – Up in the Air

Maggie Gyllenhaal – Crazy Heart

Anna Kendrick – Up in the Air

  • Mo’Nique – Precious

Mo’Nique has won a lot of praise for her portrayal in Precious.  The Academy loves to award people who take on roles that are polar opposites of their personality.  Mo’Nique’s scary transformation and character should award her with the Oscar.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Matt Damon – Invictus

Woody Harrelson – The Messenger

Christopher Plummer – The Last Station

Stanley Tucci – The Lovely Bones

  • Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds

Waltz has created one of those iconic characters in film that will transcend generations to come.  He was the best thing about that movie and I’m glad  the Academy has acknowledged his acting in this film.  This is one of those roles that will help jump start a long and prosperous career for Waltz.

BEST ACTRESS

  • Sandra Bullock – The Blind Side

Helen Mirren – The Last Station

Carey Mulligan – An Education

Gabourey Sidibe – Precious

Meryl Streep – Julie & Julia

I haven’t seen any of these movies but based off people’s reactions and perceptions this was Bullock’s comeback year.  Streep is the other strong contender because well, she’s Meryl Streep, but like Waltz, Bullock has created an iconic character that helped sell her film and make it popular.

BEST ACTOR

  • Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart

George Clooney – Up in the Air

Colin Firth – A Single Man

Morgan Freeman – Invictus

Jeremy Renner – The Hurt Locker

I can’t believe some of the people that are NOT nominated for this award.  Viggo Mortensen gave his best performance to date in The Road and Sharlto Copley kept us emotionally engaged in the great District 9.  Even Sam Rockwell in Moon gave an award’s worthy performance as the only actor in that entire film.  Instead I felt the Academy played it safe with people like Clooney and Freeman.  Their performances were great, but I think in 5 years no one will even be talking about those characters.  Jeff Bridges is an excellent actor and recently he has been racking up the awards left and right for his performance, and I think he will come away with this one.

BEST PICTURE

  • Avatar – James Cameron and Jon Landau

The Blind Side – Gil Netter, Andrew A. Kosove and Broderick Johnson

District 9 – Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham

An Education – Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey

The Hurt Locker – Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier and Greg Shapiro

Inglourious Basterds – Lawrence Bender

Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire – Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness

A Serious Man – Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Up – Jonas Rivera

Up in the Air – Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman

It truly is a David vs. Goliath in the Best Picture category.  It really is down to two films now – The Hurt Locker and Avatar.  If the Hurt Locker wins it will become the lowest grossing movie ever ($15 million) to win Best Picture.  If Avatar wins it will become the highest grossing movie ($2.5 billion and counting) ever to win best picture.  These two movies couldn’t be any more different.  The Hurt Locker recently has won a lot of critic’s awards for best picture, including the BAFTA.  But I think Avatar is going to pull an upset. I only call it an upset because, other than the Golden Globes, it hasn’t won best picture at a major event.  The reason I think it will win is because of its gross and mass appeal.  Part of the reason the Academy had opened up the nominations to ten films this year was to get blockbuster type films (Disctrict 9, Blindside) into the awards, where usually they would be left out.  This decision comes a year after many people felt the Dark Knight was left out of the Best Picture category.  Avatar is that ‘big’ type of epic film that has been missing for a few years, and having such a small film like the Hurt Locker win seems contradictory to what the Academy is trying to say with these 10 nominations.  I feel that Avatar or the Hurt Locker have reasons to deserve Best Picture, and I would not be disappointed in the outcome either way.  However, I have a little bias for Avatar because science fiction and fantasy films usually get the shaft by the Academy.  Avatar had everything going against it before it was released, and what it has done so far is so extraordinary that it almost seems destined to have one final blow in winning the Academy Award for Best Picture.

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Oscar Predictions Part 1 – Technical Awards and Writing.

Posted on 01 March 2010 by Andrew

academy_award_poster1

This upcoming Sunday is the big dance for the movie industry.  Awards have been given out to films for the past few months now, all leading up to this year’s Academy Awards.  Listed below I will have all the nominations for each category and my prediction for the winner.  Granted, many of the movies nominated this year I haven’t seen, so on some of the categories I will be making a guess (short film, costume ect.).  I don’t call myself an expert on this, however I am a lover of film and have done a lot of research and tracking on most of these films. This will be part 1 of 2 of predictions.  Today’s entry will be all the technical awards and writing categories. I placed a dot in front of the one I am predicting to win. Feel free to leave comments below.

BEST SOUND EDITING

  • Avatar – Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle

The Hurt Locker – Paul N.J. Ottoson

Inglourious Basterds – Wylie Stateman

Star Trek – Mark Stoeckinger and Alan Rankin

Up – Michael Silvers and Tom Myers

Avatar definitely had the loudest and most immersive sound design, which is why I am picking it over other notables like Star Trek’s great space/sound design – which I feel may be more deserving but will ultimately fall short of Avatar.

BEST SOUND MIXING

Avatar – Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson

  • The Hurt Locker – Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett

Inglourious Basterds – Michael Minkler, tony Lamberti and Mark Ulano

Star Trek – Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson and Peter J. Devlin

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson

Hurt Locker’s sound mixing is what blended the music and sound design into one natural track that gave you an eerie sense and kept you in suspense.  Usually loud ones like Transformers or Star Trek would win this but I think Hurt Locker’s sound mixing was most the notable this year.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

District 9 – Neil Blomkamp and Terri Tachell

An Education – Nick Hornby

In the Loop – Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci and Tony Roche

Precious – Geoffrey Fletcher

  • Up in the Air – Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

Up in the Air is the type of script perfect for this year.  It deals with unemployment during a recession, and the Academy is going to feel the most touched by it (though I doubt any of them have to deal with unemployment).  I would love to see Disctrict 9 win though!

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • The Hurt Locker – Mark Boal

Inglourious Basterds – Quentin Tarantino

The Messenger – Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman

A Serious Man – Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Up – Bob Peterson, Pete Doctor and Tom McCarthy

A really great year for original scripts.  It could be a close vote between Boal and Tarantino, but I am giving the edge to Boal because he made an Iraq war movie watchable and his film is getting more recognition in other awards.  Boal took what was basically considered a failed genre, and jumped up the suspense and showed people a military division that most people aren’t familiar with, and what some call the most dangerous profession in the world.  Major snub for (500) Days of Summer though, a great new take on a familiar genre.  I thought even the Hangover could have made this list as well.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

  • Avatar – Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones

District 9 – Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken

Star Trek – Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton

Why do Visual Effects and Makeup only get three nominees instead of five?  Many movies like Half Blood Prince or Transformers didn’t make it because of the small amount of nominees, even though I thought they had excellent visual effects.  No matter what though Avatar was going to win.  They created a new line a fusion cameras, built an entire new way to shoot 3D and animation, and to top it off had really convincing CGI effects.  Overall, Avatar has changed the landscape for visual effects to come.

BEST MAKEUP

II Divo – Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano

Star Trek – Barney Burman, Mindy Hall, and Joel Harlow

  • The Young Victoria – Jon Henry Gordon and Jenny Shircore

I’ve only seen Star Trek, but I’m going to go with a wild guess here for Victoria because it is a period piece.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Avatar – James Horner

Fantastic Mr. Fox – Alexandre Desplat

The Hurt Locker – Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders

Sherlock Holmes – Hans Zimmer

  • Up – Michael Giacchino

Up will win this award because it has the most memorable music this year, and the themes beautifully complimented the images that Pixar created, notably during the opening montage sequence.  Avatar and Sherlock’s were great too, but i bet many people would tear up if you started to play Elle’s theme on a piano.  It was a bummer Where the Wild Things are got disqualified because it definitely deserved to be up here on this list. The Academy needs to revamp their rules for original score nominations pronto.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

The Princess and the Frog “Almost There” – Randy Newman

The Princess and the Frog “Down in New Orleans” – Randy Newman

Paris 36 “Loin de Paname” – Reinhardt Wagner and Frank Thomas

Nine “Taki it All” – Maury Yeston

  • Crazy Heart “The Wearry Kind” – Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

Weary Kind should win because it’s just one of those songs that are great end to the movie, and make you sit that extra five minutes in your theatre chair during the credits.

BEST FILM EDITING

Avatar – Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron

District 9 – Julian Clarke

  • The Hurt Locker – Bob Murawski and Chris Innis

Inglourious Basterds – Sally Menke

Precious – Joe Klotz

The editing in Hurt Locker was what made that movie watchable and intense.  Kathryn Bigelow used three different units for each scene so their was a lot of footage to go through, and the film could have been plagued by an overuse of shots.  But instead it was a tightly woven adrenaline rush that never bores.

BEST ART DIRECTION

  • Avatar – Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg, Kim Sinclair

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus – Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro, Carolin Smith

Nine – John Myhre, Gordon Sim

Sherlock Holmes – Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer

The Young Victoria – Patrice Vermette, Maggie Gray

Avatar had a great production design and succeeded in creating an entirely new world from scratch.  There was so much detail that it would take repeat viewings just to see everything on Pandora.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Avatar – Mauro Fiore

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince – Bruno Delbonnel

The Hurt Locker – Barry Ackroyd

Inglourious Basterds – Robert Richardson

The White Ribbon – Christian Berger

This is some ridiculous talent here.  The White Ribbon recently won the cinematographer’s award, so it very well could win the big prize, but I’m going to go with Avatar again.  I could honestly pick almost any of these on a different day.  I thought Harry Potter’s was awesome as well. notably during the sequence at the Weasley house in the middle of the film.  Whether you liked Watchmen or not I felt it got snubbed here.  Awesome nighttime cinematography and the lighting and camera movements really were the best things about that film.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Bright Star – Janet Patterson

Coco Before Chanel – Catherine Leterrier

  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus – Monique Prudhomme

Nine – Colleen Atwood

The Young Victoria – Sandy Powell

I haven’t seen any of these movies so a total guess here – but I’m going with Imaginarium based off the awesome costumes I saw in the trailer.

BEST DIRECTOR

Avatar – James Cameron

  • The Hurt Locker – Kathryn Bigelow

Inglourious Basterds – Quentin Tarantino

Precious – Lee Daniels

Up in the Air – Jason Reitman

The big showdown is between Cameron and Bigelow this year, who used to be husband and wife.  But Bigelow has been winning all the big awards, including the DGA this year.  She used three different camera units to get some really great performances out of her actors.  Most of the time they didn’t even know where the cameras were. If Bigelow wins she will be the first female director to ever win this award, so it could be a historic night.

Tomorrow will be acting and picture predictions!

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