The following post is from Mark Shrem.
“I’ve predicted winners for this years Oscar nominees for the 82nd Academy Awards. I have intentionally not read or listened to any reviews or other opinions on these movies, in order to have a clean point of view of the films presented.”

Best Picture:
Despite what the “experts” and everyone else is saying (The Hurt Locker), I’m going to have to stick to my guns and give my pick to James Cameron for Avatar. The simple fact that his movie has changed the way we watch and make movies and speaks for itself. This movie broke barriers in film making. The Hurt Locker, an amazing film worthy of best picture, if it wasn’t going against Avatar. The Hurt Locker was by far a better directed movie however, the movie itself is no Avatar.

Best Actor:
Great job by Jeff Bridges, and he may take it since he’s due for an award, however Morgan Freeman’s flawless performance playing Nelson Mandela was outstanding and I think he deserves the Oscar. Solid performance by the other nominees, however I didn’t see Colin Firth’s performance.

Best Supporting Actor:
I thought Woody Harrelson (The Messenger) and Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones) both did great jobs. Woody’s got lots of range and he subtly used a nice percentage of it through out this film. Stanley Tucci couldn’t get much creapier. Matt Damon did a good job, but not much of a complex character as far as I could tell. Nice South African accent though. I didn’t get to see Christopher Plummer in The Last Station, so I can’t comment on that. After all is said and done, my pick for best Supporting Actor is Christopher Waltz from Inglorious Bastards. Talk about a magic touch of charisma while bringing out an extremely complex role where the audience is intertwined in an incredible love / hate relationship with this character thanks to Chris Waltz’s performance here. I loved his performance in this movie and he gets my vote for Best Supporting Actor.

Best Actress:
I’m gonna give this one to Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side. Her grace in expressing her feelings is something that many actors are unable to touch. Sandra has an amazing combo of sweetness with a little touch of tough. Might I say … Merryl Streep is still the greatest Actress alive in my book … but since it’s 2010, I’m going to have to say it’s time for Sandra to step it up and become one of the greats. The fact that Gabourey Sidibe from Precious is running is already a win for her. An amazing job from an Actress none of us know. She won’t win best actress, but she already won. I haven’t seen Crazy Heart yet, so I’ll get back to you on that if I do and change my mind.

Best Supporting Actress:
I didn’t get to see Penelope Cruz in Nine, and I might be going off the deep end here by saying this, but I’d say Mo’Nique from Precious deserves this one. Her performance was so powerful, and she made the world hate her character to shreds, the way the writer intended. This huge feet in itself and practically made this movie what it was.

Best Director:
The Hurt Locker, Director Kathryn Bigelow. It’s no wonder this director is also James Cameron’s ex-wife. She created an environment for these actors that brought out the best in their ability to live in the moment. Through out this film, I felt as if I were there, in the war. I felt the characters, as well as the perspective of a soldier. She 100% succeeded in bringing a movie to life and did it through her impressive ability to work with a variety of actors, along with her uncanny ability to communicate a perspective to an audience. Amazing job. I will also say that the Director of Precious is also fully deserving of this nomination because of his ability to work with actors. He clearly brought out the best in his actors, which is what ever actor wants. If this award were purely based on the directors relationship with and ability to work with the actors, I’d give it to Precious.

Best Animated Film:
Either Coraline or Up. They may have given Up a nomination for Best Picture because they are going to doop them for the win here. That’s why Coraline might take it. If not, Up will take it. All just a hunch. I only saw those two.

Achievement in Art Direction:
Avatar – I don’t care. Just Avatar! OK … so it was the only movie I saw that’s running … but I’ll still say … Avatar!

Best Cinematography:
Uh … Avatar. Ground breaking vision. Amazing. We’ve already seen similar cinematography is passed Harry Potter films. Same for Inglorious Bastards and Precious. Not much new ground. I will say that the cinematography for The Hurt Locker was amazing because of that perspective she gave us. Definitely huge wow and Barry Akroyd’s eye and technical expertise in controlling light and mood, coupled with Kathryn Bigelow’s vision created something truly amazing on the big screen did something that many at an award winning level. But not as wow as the cinematography is in Avatar as far as I’m concerned.

Best Editing:
Again, Avatar. Flawless Editing. Amazing transitions. From beauty to war. Holy wow. Of course, the other nominees were also great. This could be a tough one. Can you tell I’m a little Avatar heavy? You know it’s a tough one when Quentin T’s Editor (Sally Menke) is in the running as well. Precious also had a creative kick to it’s editing.

Music (Original Score):
Not sure. Only saw Up, Avatar, and The Hurt Locker. Avatar may take this too. Up was definitely great too … but I don’t really know what the songs are side by side. I’d have to listen to them to judge for real.

Sound Editing:

Sound Mixing:

Visual Effects:

Screenplay (Adapted)
Precious. Great job in getting this book ready for the big screen. Up In The Air was a nice, clean cut screenplay with solid character development and a clear vision, well expressed to the viewer, however it’s not something we haven’t seen before. I didn’t see In The Loop.

Screenplay (Original)
I’m actually going to say Up might actually take this one. Any story that hits me in the beginning as much as the end the way Up did deserves an award for it’s writing. Not only was this a fun story, but it also stuck to the rules of good story and consistently developed the main character through out, with a fulfilling climax. A Serious Man had an interesting ending that intertwined the entire story about this main character into this theme. Why so serious??? Oh … and I do love anything written by Quentin T, and the the topic of this screenplay was a personal favorite for me, but QT may have had his time? I’d always like to see him get the award, but again, I think Up will rightfully get it. The Messenger … good concept … but I believe it could have been better within the main character’s development. Woody Harrelson’s character did however make up for it a bit.

Please, wish me luck … and Enjoy!