We are officially one week away from this year's Academy Awards, and in this article, I'm going to run through a few of the possible upsets that could occur on Oscar night.
Most notably, there is the growing belief that Inglourious Basterds is climbing its way up the Best Picture ladder. There is certainly enough evidence out there to back up this theory, and it is film with more qualifications than Avatar to own the #2 spot. It has Christoph Waltz as a Best Supporting Actor lock, and Quentin Tarantino as a very strong contender in the Original Screenplay category. Avatar, on the other hand, has no acting or screenplay nominations, and that could very well be what puts this film out of the race. I still feel that The Hurt Locker is the one to beat, but if I had to pick a film with a strong possibility to upset, I'd have to go with Inglourious Basterds at this point.
Three out of the four acting categories are sure-fire locks, but there is still a slim possibility for an upset in the Best Actress race. Sandra Bullock is without a doubt the frontrunner, but she has some viable contenders to deal with. Carey Mulligan, Gabourey Sidibe, and Meryl Streep are all in a good enough position to garner some last-minute votes. Bullock has had the lion's share of late season awards, particularly at the Golden Globes and the SAGs, but there is still a small part of me that thinks she could still get knocked off. For me, the most likely contender is Carey Mulligan, simply because she was the frontrunner for so long, and in reality, nothing other than time caused her to fall from that peak position. If voters take the time to re-watch An Education, there's no reason that the initial love for Mulligan shouldn't be reignited.
One of the most intriguing categories for me is Best Foreign Language Film. The White Ribbon looked like the safe bet for quite a while, especially after it won the Globe, but as of late, The Secret in Their Eyes has emerged as the consensus favorite. Michael Haneke's blistering drama isn't up the Academy's alley by any stretch of the imagination, but both the critical support and the general respect for Haneke as a filmmaker give his film a very good chance to take home the Oscar. Jacques Audiard's A Prophet must not be counted out either. The film opened in limited release this weekend, and it is set to expand next weekend. What better time is there for a film to win an Oscar?
The last one worth mentioning is the Best Animated Film category. Up is far and away the favorite, and it is more than a safe bet to predict it will win next Sunday, but the widespread support for Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox is enough to raise some eyebrows. Throughout the awards season, it seems as if people have been wondering when Up would get dethroned by Anderson's stop-motion dazzler. Well, it hasn't thus far, but perhaps Oscar Sunday is when the film will finally get its due.
There are obviously more potential upsets, but I'm not sure any of them have enough of an argument to be included among the most likely. Feel free to try and prove me wrong in the comments section.