Movie fans, even those like me who dislike a lot about Hollywood culture and lifestyle, generally pay attention to the Oscars. We are particularly interested in things like “Best Picture,” “Best Actor,” “Best Actress,” etc. I do not usually watch the whole show, but I do pay some attention, and I always want to know what movie was deemed the “Best Picture of the Year” by the Academy. The Oscars will be presented in prime time tonight.

Best-Picture_gallery_primaryAvatar” will win the best picture or I will be shocked at the Academy. I have been shocked before but this would be a huge surprise. The surprise movie might really be “The Hurt Locker” if any film is to knock off “Avatar” as the surprise film of the year. It was interesting to see that the British Academy actually gave the best film award to “The Hurt Locker.” I am less certain about best actor and best actress but would love to see Sandra Bullock win for “The Blind Side.” She is so typecast in terms of her roles in the past but she really broke out of that in this marvelous film. I think Jeff Bridges was moving and amazing in “Crazy Heart” and would not be surprised if he won best actor for this role. The best supporting actor should be Matt Damon for his role in “Invictus.” He was a rugby player who forged a bond with Nelson Mandela, played marvelously by Morgan Freeman. (This just might be Morgan Freeman’s finest film role ever but he may not win an award for it!) The best supporting actress is a big toss-up. I liked Anna Kendrick in “Up in the Air” and Maggie Gyllenhaal in “Crazy Heart.” The best original screenplay will likely be given to Quentin Tarantino for “Inglorious Basterds.” And the best adapted screenplay should go to Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell for “District 9,” a very fine film with some clearly redemptive messages in the script. The best original score, hands-down, is James Horner in “Avatar.” I love foreign films but usually only see the best ones after the Academy awards. This is the case this year so I cannot comment on this category which often produces my very favorite films.

But are my predictions my actual favorites? Not in many cases. Here is my top three in several categories:

Best Film

1. Invictus

2. The Blind Side

3. The Hurt Locker

Best Actor

1. Jeff Bridges, in “Crazy Heart”

2. Morgan Freeman, in “Invictus”

3. Jeremy Renner, in “The Hurt Locker”

Best Actress

1. Sandra Bullock, in “The Blind Side”

2. Meryl Streep in “Julie and Julia

3. Gabourney Sidibe in “Precious

Best Supporting Actor

1. Matt Damon in “Invictus”

2. Stanley Tucci in “The Lovely Bones

3. Christoph Waltz in “Inglorious Basterds”

Best Supporting Actress

1. Maggie Gyllenhaal, in “Crazy Heart”

2. Anna Kendrick in “Up in the Air”

3. Mo’nique in “Precious”

Actress-in-a-Leading-Role_gallery_primary By far and away the most redemptive movie of the year was “The Blind Side.” I have written a great deal about this movie (elsewhere) but this is one of the most incredible (and true) stories of the power of Christ’s redemptive love shown on major movie screens, and nominated for Academy major awards, since the great film that won it all, “Chariots of Fire.” “The Blind Side” is not as overtly Christian as “Chariots of Fire” but the message is there and this movie captures the worldview that Christians need to hear and feel deeply in 2010 and beyond. If you haven’t seen it go. If you don’t even like the movies that much go see it anyway. And do not let the football theme keep you away. This is a human story of love, courage and redemption, first and foremost. While you are at it check out the several things ABC television did on “The Blind Side” since the movie was released. You must see the ABC 20/20 special as well. It is all worth seeing if you want to know how the kingdom really advances in the lives of faithful and courageous Christians. There is a lot more to discover about this story on the Internet but these two links are a great place to begin.