By Tay Yek Keak
NUMBERS-WISE, the fight for the Oscars is over two films - Avatar and The Hurt Locker.
Both have garnered nine nominations each - including the two big ones, Best Picture and Best Director.
The Hurt Locker is also up for Best Actor (Jeremy Renner as a bomb-disposal squad member), and the two flicks are also facing off in the Best Cinematography, Editing, Original Score, Sound and Sound Editing categories.
In an ironic twist, Avatar director James Cameron will be going up against his former wife, The Hurt Locker's helmer, Kathryn Bigelow. What a delicious race.
My guess is that Cameron, with his "feminine" eco-movie, will win big for Best Picture. But Bigelow, with her explosive "male" war flick, will take home Best Director in a historic move.
There are other great films to be feted - Precious, District 9, Up, Up In The Air, Inglourious Basterds, and so on. Here's my take on the biggest categories and the smackdown to watch in each one.
Here's my Oscars vote:
The contenders: The Explosive War Drama v Glossy Hi-Tech Marvel, aka The Hurt Locker v Avatar The fight: The Hurt Locker was hauled out of its box-office doldrums to go mano-a-mano against colossal Avatar for one main reason: to stop the billion-dollar juggernaut.
An intense film about a bomb disposal squad in Iraq, The Hurt Locker is infused with the tension, spot-on acting and human drama which a fancy flick about phony, blue-skinned folk cannot possibly match.
But, in every big-bang theory, it is about how big the bang is. Avatar is too huge for any backlash.
Locker, with its strong, sympathetic portrayal of American soldiers, cannot blow up Avatar, a bleeding heart eco flick about bad invaders.