Sunday, March 07, 2010

Oscar Predictions Are in the (Autographed) Cards

The red carpet is open and some gold statues are apparently being handed out in a little while. Looking at the list of nominees, there's not much out there from this year's lot in the way of autograph cards. Still, there's a few.

And the nominees are:

Best Actor

The odds-on-favorite in this category is Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart. Honestly, I wasn't a big fan, however The Dude was great (isn't he always), as was his co-star Maggie Gyllenhaal (nominated for Supporting Actress). Bridges signed for 2008's Iron Man set from Rittenhouse Archives. It was the toughest autograph to find in the set and is quite costly, despite the unflattering bald head that doesn't look right on the normally shaggy actor. An autograph went today on eBay for a touch under $250, which was $100 more than the previous copy went for a couple weeks ago. Clearly, there's an Oscar bump happening here. Should Bridges pull off the expected, I suspect the card will settle back into the $200-range, which is what it was originally selling for when the set first came out.

Complete Iron Man Autograph Gallery 

The only other nominee in this category to have a certified autograph is George Clooney for Up in the Air. The Facts of Life-alum is well-respected for making films that are usually both entertaining and intelligent. His turn as Batman in Batman and Robin was neither. Even still, his tallboy autograph from Skybox's set based on the film is one of many highlights in a remarkable checklist that also includes Uma Thurman and Arnold Schwarzenegger. eBay currently has one Clooney Batman and Robin autograph listed. The price: $1,125. The prices from this set have always been through the roof and because the card pops up so infrequently and is already high, I'd say that if Clooney pulls the upset, the values will still stay the same.

Complete Batman and Robin Autograph Gallery

Best Supporting Actor

Autographs are even more sparse in this category. Veteran Christopher Plummer (The Last Station) is the only nominee to have a certified signature card, but even if you saw it you likely wouldn't recognize him.  That's because the card highlights his role as a Klingon general in Star Trek VI. The card is from Rittenhouse Archives' Star Trek Movies in Motion set, released in 2008. Expect to pay $40-50 for the card online. And don't look for a spike because Plummer has no chance of winning here and The Last Station will be even more forgotten than it already is in a couple of weeks.

Complete Star Trek Movies in Motion Autograph Gallery

Best Director

This is the only other major category that has nominees with autograph cards, both of whom are the biggest names nominated. First up is some guy named James Cameron for some movie called Avatar. Cameron's made a couple of other movies too: Titanic, The Terminator and it's wittily titled sequel Terminator 2. His lone autograph is from none of these, but rather a short-lived TV show called Dark Angel, which is most notable for launching the tabloid career of one Jessica Alba. Alba's autograph might be prettier to look at, but in the spirit of the post, here's the nominee:

Complete Dark Angel Autograph Gallery

The second nominee in this category is Quentin Tarantino for Inglorious Basterds. A personal favourite of mine, his signature has appeared in two of Donruss' Americana sets: Americana II and Celebrity Cuts.

Donruss Americana Gallery Index

Hosting the show tonight are Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin. Martin had an autograph a few years ago for his role in Looney Tunes: Back in Action. Pick up the card for the legend's signature, not for the attractiveness of the card.

Looney Tunes: Back in Action Autograph Gallery

For the sake of predicting and prognosticating, here's my picks for tonights show in the Acting, Directing and Best Picture races.

Best Picture:

“The Blind Side”
“District 9”
“An Education”
“The Hurt Locker”
“Inglourious Basterds

“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
“A Serious Man”
“Up in the Air”

My choice: The Hurt Locker
Will win: Avatar 

Best Director 

“Avatar” James Cameron
“The Hurt Locker” Kathryn Bigelow
“Inglourious Basterds” Quentin Tarantino
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Lee Daniels
“Up in the Air” Jason Reitman

My choice: Kathryn Bigelow
Will win: Bigelow

Best Actor

Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart”
George Clooney in “Up in the Air”
Colin Firth in “A Single Man”
Morgan Freeman in “Invictus”
Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker”  

My choice: Jeremy Renner (yeah, I like The Hurt Lock a lot and I don't think Bridges deserves it this year as it feels like rewarding his career rather than a slightly better-than-average film)
Will win: Jeff Bridges

Best Actress

Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side”
Helen Mirren in “The Last Station”
Carey Mulligan in “An Education”
Gabourey Sidibe in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
Meryl Streep in “Julie & Julia” 

My choice: Carey Mulligan
Will win: Sandra Bullock

Best Supporting Actor

Matt Damon in “Invictus”
Woody Harrelson in “The Messenger”
Christopher Plummer in “The Last Station”
Stanley Tucci in “The Lovely Bones”
Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds” 

My choice: Christoph Waltz
Will win: Waltz

Best Supporting Actress

Penélope Cruz in “Nine”
Vera Farmiga in “Up in the Air”
Maggie Gyllenhaal in “Crazy Heart”
Anna Kendrick in “Up in the Air”
Mo’Nique in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” 

My choice: Maggie Gyllenhaal
Will win: Gyllenhaal provides the biggest upset of the night.

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