By Michaela Zanello

Quentin Tarantino is a jack of all cinematic trades. As a writer, director, producer, cinematographer, and actor, this multi-talented man is definitely no Susan Lucci when it comes to awards and honors. In addition to a slew of other trophies, Quentin has snagged a Golden Globe and an Academy Award both for Best Original Screenplay for “Pulp Fiction.” His 1995 “Pulp Fiction” accolades are starting to get a little dusty, however. Thus, with his latest flick, “Inglourious Basterds,” in fine fighting form, Quentin is hoping to nab Oscar number two, but this time, for Best Picture.

The critically acclaimed “Pulp Fiction” uses a highly stylized, ironic blend of humor and violence to entwine three storylines in a nonlinear, fractured fashion. Grossing $107.93, “Pulp Fiction” proved to be highly successful at the box office and soon became regarded as a cultural phenomenon. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, Best Picture, and several acting nominations.

Since then, Quentin has been lavished with substantial critical acclaim for films like “Jackie Brown,” “Kill Bill Vol. 1,”and “Kill Bill Vol. 2.” But aside from a handful of acting nominations for the actors in his films, Quentin has not seen much Oscar action in recent years. Could 2010 be Quentin’s year to return to the derby and take home the big tuna, Best Picture prize?

The only way to answer that question is with another question: does “Inglourious Basterds” really deserve to win Best Picture? With Brad Pitt on screen and Quentin Tarantino behind the scenes, “Inglourious Basterds” holds a pair of very cool aces. If the Academy Awards were anything like a poker hand, then this film would win the pot hands down. Not to mention how deliriously fun it is. “Inglourious Basterds” is a brash rewriting of history that takes the viewer on a fantastical thrill ride that incorporates a perfectly blended cocktail of blood thirsty violence, offbeat comedy, and tragic melodrama that could only be concocted by an expert cinematic mixologist like Quentin Tarantino. At the Golden Globes, the film was nominated for four awards, including Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Picture, and Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, winning the latter.

Based on the predictions of Oscarologists, it appears that the most notable Oscar contenders in the Best Picture category are going to be “Inglourious Basterds,” “Avatar,” “Up in the Air,” “Precious,” and “The Hurt Locker,” with “Avatar” being the Basterd’s stiffest competition. Yet, upon examining the traditional voting patterns of the Academy, it seems that all of the non-Basterd contenders can be systematically ruled out. Sci-fi blockbusters are typically not well-received by the Academy, so that knocks “Avatar” off the list. “Up in the Air” has several strong points, but ultimately lacks the weight. “Precious” may be too harsh in a too real-life kind of way, and “The Hurt Locker” lacks the star power. Plus, Academy voters are likely to be dodgy about choosing a film that highlights the U.S.’s involvement in the Mideast. So, that leaves “Inglourious Basterds” pretty much by default, which isn’t the most ideal way to win an Academy Award, but this Tarantino, genre-bending WWII epic about a posse of bass-ass, Jewish soldiers, which garnered the most Critic’s Choice Award nominations, definitely has the chops to back up a heavy hitter win.