Once upon a time, some years ago, I used to have this really great job in which I was paid to sit at my desk and write about movies all day long. I was the DVD & VHS category manager for an Internet retailer and I made it my mission to be very well-informed about all the movies I was writing about. So I spent a lot of my time on IMDB, I read Empire magazine, and I watched an awful lot of movies, sometimes getting invited to a lavish premiere by one of my distributors.
Back then, the Academy Awards were a big event on the calendar for me; I'd seen most of the movies under consideration in the main categories and thought I had a fairly good idea who would win. To make things interesting I ran an office pool, inviting my lesser-informed co-workers to pick the winners and paying a token fee to enter. The prize pool went to the person who'd picked the most winners. As I was organising this, I didn't enter - but I think my own predictions were pretty close to the mark.
Nowadays I'm considerably less clued-up about movies. I no longer buy Empire and I rarely look at IMDB. I very rarely go to the cinema anymore (the one and only film I saw at the cinema last year was the rather brilliant Casino Royale). I never get invited out to premieres. I'm happy to wait and watch movies on DVD in the comfort of my own home.
Also, if I'm perfectly honest, many of the current offerings coming out of Hollywood simply don't appeal to me. Either the industry's changed or my tastes have turned more towards other interests. Probably a bit of both.
All that said, this year's Oscar nominations have just been announced, and since I've not seen any of the movies in contention, I thought I'd make some purely instinctive picks, and having committed these to the public gaze in this blog, I'll check back after the Oscars are awarded on 25 February and see how close I got. Just like that office pool I used to run, only there's no cash prize, alas.
Best Picture: Babel
Actor: Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland
Actress: Kate Winslet for Little Children
Supporting Actor: Eddie Murphy for Dreamgirls
Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett for Notes on a Scandal
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu for Babel
Original Screenplay: Babel by Guillermo Arriaga
Adapted Screenplay: Notes on a Scandal by Patrick Marber
Disagree with my picks? Why not post your own in the comments...