5. The Pirates! Band of Misfits
3. Wreck-It Ralph
Analysis: This is a tight three way race, with one outside shot at a spoiler. The Pirates are just happy to be nominated, so it’s out. ParaNorman could spoil, but I have a feeling those who like, probably like Frankenweenie even more (like I did). Wreck-It Ralph is probably the most out and out entertaining of the bunch (and did very well at the Annies), so it could sneak in. Frankenweenie is an opportunity to give an Oscar to Tim Burton that they probably never will another way (but it did bomb at the box office, which hurts). Brave is the safe choice – the biggest hit and Pixar.Who Will Win: Brave. I think Brave squeaks out a victory here. No, it isn’t Pixar’s best, but it’s still damn good, and arguably their most beautiful film.
Who Should Win: Frankenweenie. A pure Tim Burton delight – which he hasn’t given us in years. The fact that it’s in black and white seals the deal for me.
Least of the Nominees: The Pirates! Band of Misfits. I really did like this film – but it pales in comparison to the rest.
Documentary5. 5 Broken Cameras
4. The Invisible War
3. The Gatekeepers
2. How to Survive a Plague
1. Searching for Sugar Man
Analysis: I do think this could be a tight three way race. 5 Broken Cameras may have some emotional appeal, but I don’t think they’ll embrace it enough to get in. The Invisible War is heartbreaking, but perhaps not quite good enough. It’s down to the other three. If critics were voting, The Gatekeepers may well take the prize, but it’s the least seen of the three (it’s barely opened). How to Survive a Plague was another critical favorite, and has the important subject matter (AIDS) the Academy likes to vote for here. And Searching for Sugar Man would be the audience’s choice.Who Will Win: Searching for Sugar Man. It is the most audience friendly film. But they like important films, so it could easily lose.
Who Should Win: Searching for Sugar Man. Really hard to say since I haven’t seen The Gatekeepers, which is hugely critically acclaimed, but of the four I’ve seen, it's my favorite.
Least of the Nominees: I was not a fan of 5 Broken Cameras, a film that tells a powerful story to be sure, but feels forced, as if they have to stack the deck so much for people to feel sympathy for its subjects – which isn’t true at all.
Foreign Language Film5. Kon-Tiki
4. A Royal Affair
3. War Witch
Analysis: When one film also gets nominated for Foreign Language film, the rest don’t stand much of a chance.Who Will Win: Amour. Probably the easiest bet of the whole season.
Who Should Win: Amour. An easy choice – but then the only other film I’ve seen is A Royal Affair.
Least of the Nominees: A Royal Affair. I’ve only seen two of the nominees, and A Royal Affair, however good it may be, is no Amour.