Friday, February 25, 2011

Oscars 2011 Preview

The 2011 Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, February 27 and there might be a few surprises in store for all of us. Then again, there might not be any at all and it could turn out to be an entirely predictable feast, where Natalie Portman, Colin Firth, Christian Bale and Melissa Leo win in their respective categories or The King's Speech sweeps the night (in which case the supporting roles could go to Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush, see below).

Usually, it's the conservative movie that wins. (In all fairness, the Oscars have offered a few surprises in the recent years.) In this case it's a King's Speech affair. However, The Social Network can still pull off an upset out of its rear end (despite all odds and statistics) and triumph in both Picture and Directing categories. Or, we may see a split: King's Speech gets Picture, while Fincher gets Directing. If you follow me on Twitter, you probably noticed that I have been KIND OF-SORT OF obsessing about the Oscars for a while now....well, a couple of months is not THAT much, is it? It's a once a year showdown and it's fun, so there ya go. Truth be told, this is one tough year. Hard to predict. It can go either way.

Why exactly is The King's Speech the favorite to win now, when the critics' darling, The Social Network, seemed to have everything going its way for quite some time? It all shifted when The King's Speech started to win the Guilds. It won Producers, Screen Actors and most importantly Directors Guild which is a good indicator for the Oscars. And since these guys are Academy voters, it's hard to imagine a different outcome, in the sense that they'll change their vote for the Oscars, or that enough of them will do so as to make a difference. But then again, anything is possible. The best we can do is have fun making predictions and see who/what movie has the best shot in each category. 

Best Picture 

The Social Network
The King’s Speech
Black Swan
The Fighter
True Grit
The Kids Are All Right
Toy Story 3
127 Hours
Winter's Bone

As stated above, the odds are favorable for The King's Speech, so that would be the safest choice if you're betting. After all, it's a good movie, why not? It's got Oscar written all over it: the acting, the inspirational story, the music, it's so what the Academy voters like. But what if they decide to go current and give it to The Social Network in a narrow win? The only possible spoilers here (both very long shots) are True Grit and The Fighter. So it ultimately comes down to this:

Best shot: The King's Speech
Could pull it off : The Social Network. This should be your No Guts, No Glory prediction if you're rooting for the underdog.

I liked both movies, but my personal preference is The Social Network. I think it's the better, stronger movie and one of the best things Fincher has ever done (if not the best).

Please don't give it to: The Fighter. Seriously. Anything BUT The Fighter. Like I said many times on my Twitter, the best thing about The Fighter is the acting (especially Christian Bale and Amy Adams), but the movie as a whole is not so strong. Directing and editing are messy, the script is flawed. I wasn't a fan of Melissa Leo's performance, even though she was highly praised for this role. I thought she came across as trying too hard. Overacting. She was great in Frozen River though, remember that one? Anyway, no to The Fighter.

Best Director

David Fincher, The Social Network
Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
Joel and Ethan Coen, True Grit
David O. Russell, The Fighter

First of all, let me get this out of my system: CHRISTOPHER NOLAN WAS ROBBED ! He truly deserved to be nominated here for Inception. Turns out the Academy doesn't love him very much. Why the heck is David O. Russell nominated here beats me. Yeah, yeah, yeah, everyone keeps saying he did a good job with The Fighter and the Academy loved this movie (hence the 7 nominations) so they got carried away. FINE. I still think it should have been Nolan's spot.

Best shot at winning: given the fact that Tom Hooper won the Directors Guild, he's considered the front-runner here, based on statistics. I still think (and hope) that David Fincher can win this one, despite the rumors that he's not very popular with the members of the Academy, but really...come on, it's his award by a mile. We all know he deserves it. Could either Aronofsky or the Coen brothers be a spoiler here? I guess it's not impossible, but it's unlikely to happen. 

Best Actress

Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

Here we go. A category packed with great performances, but ultimately it's Natalie Portman versus Annette Bening. Will they give it to Portman who has been getting award after award this season? Or will they give it to Bening because "she's due"? She did give a great performance in The Kids Are All Right (and so did Julianne Moore), plus she has never won an Oscar. She's been campaigning, while Portman has taken a break due to her pregnancy. Portman has the edge, but Bening could spoil. Any other spoilers? Not really, but personally I'd be perfectly okay with Nicole Kidman winning because her performance in Rabbit Hole was phenomenal.  

Best Actor

Javier Bardem, Biutiful
Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
James Franco, 127 Hours
Jeff Bridges, True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network

Best shot: Colin Firth. 
Will win: Colin Firth.
Possible spoilers: there won't by any.

Colin Firth is a lock here at this point, but it's worth mentioning that it was a good year with many solid male performances and these 5 nominees are a reflection of that. They were all great, I loved all of them, but there's no point in speculating any further. Colin Firth will win this one in all his charismatic glory and in a Tom Ford tuxedo. If he doesn't win, it will be one of the biggest surprises in Oscar history.   

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale, The Fighter
Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech
Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
Jeremy Renner, The Town
John Hawkes, Winter's Bone

Christian Bale versus Geoffrey Rush. Bale was stellar in The Fighter, but Rush was great too in The King's Speech. Here's the thing: if it's going to be a King's Speech sweep, Rush might win. As of now, Bale is the favorite. Come Oscar night, anything can happen and the same goes for the following category: 

Best Supporting Actress

Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Amy Adams, The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

Best Supporting Actress is a category that has often provided big surprises and upsets. Melissa Leo still has the best shot here (despite her tacky Oscar campaign), but it's not a lock. Either Helena Bonham Carter or Hailee Steinfeld might pull it off. Adams and Weaver are long shots, but I wouldn't rule them out. This is one of the first awards of the night and if Helena Bonham Carter wins, it could indicate a King's Speech sweep, so if you're not a fan of the movie, you're probably going to have a crappy night.

Original Screenplay

The King’s Speech
The Kids Are All Right
The Fighter
Another Year

Did anyone say The King's Speech? Yep. Unless, they might want to make up for the fact that Inception was snubbed in 2 major categories and give it to Nolan instead, but I'm not holding my breath. He didn't get much love from the Academy, so it's a really long shot. 

Adapted Screenplay

The Social Network
Winter’s Bone
True Grit
127 Hours
Toy Story 3

The Social Network should and will win this. It has to. 


The Social Network
Black Swan
The Fighter
The King’s Speech
127 Hours

As stated above, Inception was snubbed in this category (great editing, but the Academy doesn't seem to agree). The Fighter shows up in a category where it really should not be, yet again. Nevermind. Ultimately, it's down to The Social Network versus The King's Speech and I'm hoping it will be the former, but it's probably going to be the latter.   

Animated Film Feature

Toy Story 3
How to Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist

This one is a no-brainer. Toy Story 3 will win this and it's hard to imagine there will be spoilers.


True Grit
Black Swan
The Social Network
The King’s Speech

The general consensus is that it's going to go to Roger Deakins for his great work in True Grit 

Original Score

The Social Network
The King’s Speech
127 Hours
How To Train Your Dragon

It should be a win for Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (The Social Network), but the French composer Alexandre Desplat could easily steal it for his work in The King's Speech. Le sigh. 

Original Song

Coming Home (Country Strong)
I See the Light (Tangled)
We Belong Together (Toy Story 3)
If I Rise (127 Hours)

Looks like it's down to We Belong Together or I See The Light, although either of the remaining two could spoil.

Best Foreign Language Film

Biutiful (Mexico)
In A Better World (Denmark)
Incendies (Canada)
Dogtooth (Greece)
Outside the Law (Algeria)

Incendies and In A Better World have the best shot here, with Biutiful as possible spoiler. 

So, where does Inception fall in this grand scheme? It will probably win for Visual Effects, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing, or so it should. The Wolfman is tipped to win for Make Up and as far as Costume Design goes, it's probably between Alice in Wonderland and The King's Speech.

The 83rd Academy Awards will take place February 27, 2011 at Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre and will be hosted by Anne Hathaway and James Franco. The show will be broadcast live on ABC (USA) and HBO Romania.

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