The Oscars are tonight! After checking out a few last-minute movies, I can now give you my Oscar picks. Sadly I missed the shorts again this year, but I’ll do my best with my predictions. Feel free to post your own here, and we’ll see who does well!
I’ve been doing my best to catch up on the nominees, but there are only 5 categories where I’ve seen everything (same as last year!) – Director, Supporting Actress (we’re watching Animal Kingdom on DVD this afternoon), Art Direction, Cinematography and Sound Mixing. But you know I do my homework and I never do worse than half. So listen up!
Ten nominees still seems ridiculous – but at least this year they are all strong and well-reviewed. We managed to get to nine of them, which I’m rather proud of. After careful consideration, I really think the Academy is going to play it old school and honor the very worthy The King’s Speech, but of course The Social Network is the potential spoiler if young Hollywood exerts its influence. Honestly I think a decade from now we’ll look back and wonder why Inception wasn’t considered a strong contender.
Last year I was hoping Colin Firth would win, and this year he will get it. The Academy loves a male character that is overcoming a disability of any kind, and Firth is going to be honored for two strong roles two years running. I will also tip my hat to Jeff Bridges who was really strong in True Grit.
Just like last year, the hottest contest amongst the acting categories is here. It’s a shame that Jennifer Lawrence isn’t a front-runner, as she made Winter’s Bone what it is. It’s also a shame Julianne Moore wasn’t nominated, as she was stronger than Annette Benning, in my opinion. The winner will be Natalie Portman, for her fierce portrayal of one (or is it two?) fierce woman, while dancing like a true ballerina.
Best Supporting Actor
Two years running, this category is a an easy pick – Christian Bale all the way. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it, but his crack-addicted boxer/trainer is his best work to-date. I’ll still give props to Geoffrey Rush, who in another year could have walked away with the prize for his excellent, excellent performance.
Best Supporting Actress
This category could be the most interesting of any this year. The conventional wisdom for some time was that Melissa Leo had it locked up. But after an ill-advised self-promoting ad campaign, I think voters reconsidered. And if they really watched The Fighter, perhaps they recognized what I saw – that Amy Adams was in fact stronger in the movie. So I’m going out on a limb here and say that the two actresses will split the vote, and running up the aisle will be newcomer Hailee Steinfeld, who was charming, strong and quite funny in True Grit.
It’s rare that the Academy splits the Director/Picture winners between two films, but it’s become increasingly common in recent years. I see that trend continuing here, as David Fincher brought together many elements to make The Social Network so compelling.
Best Documentary Feature
I’ve only seen one of the nominees – it’s got buzz, and a director that will likely only show up to the ceremony in disguise – so it’s all about Exit Through the Gift Shop. I have heard great things about Inside Job, but I suspect that Academy members are trying to forget the pain of the recession and move on.
Best Documentary Short Subject
This is a shot in the dark – I’ll go with Entertainment Weekly‘s prediction of Killing in the Name, which deals with the fallout from a suicide bomber in the Middle East, a very timely topic.
Best Animated Feature
Pixar is still the king – Toy Story 3 was another triumph. Who didn’t cry watching it?
Best Foreign Language Film
The only one I’ve heard much about is Mexico’s Biutiful, but I’ll throw my hat in with the Golden Globe-winning Danish film In a Better World.
I would say three of the five nominees have a good shot at this one. Generally I find the Academy likes to award a film that shows a lot of landscapes and imposing settings, so my gut says the winner is True Grit‘s visuals by Roger Deakins, a frequent nominee that has never won.
Best Original Screenplay
Really tough call. Inception was so inventive, and The King’s Speech is certainly at the front of the pack. I am most likely to be wrong in this category than any other, but I think there is going to be a consolation prize given to The Kids Are All Right, which was given a lot of praise when it first came out for presenting an original family. That’s thanks to scribes Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Easy choice again this year – The Social Network was all about rapid-fire dialogue, written by the expert, Aaron Sorkin.
Best Visual Effects
If Inception doesn’t win, I’ll eat my new fedora.
Best Animated Short
This could go any direction – so why not an environmental piece – Let’s Pollute?
Best Live Action Short
Two of EW‘s writers said they think a strong contender is Na Wewe, which is set in Burundi. Sounds great to me.
Best Art Direction
Several good options this year; I’m going to say it’s the striking colors and visuals of Alice in Wonderland.
Best Costume Design
Again, there were a lot of wild and fanciful costumes in Alice in Wonderland, so I think that will win (not much else to say about that movie, except it was pretty to look at). Normally a period piece would win, but The King’s Speech is full of very subdued outfits, and the Academy will find True Grit‘s costumes to be too grungy (which is a shame, as I was impressed).
Best Film Editing
The true crime is that Inception wasn’t nominated here, even though it’s major sequence of overlapping dreamscapes was amazing. That being said, the rapid shifts of time and place in The Social Network should win the prize.
Best Sound Mixing
Big explosions and lots of gunfire – Inception.
Best Sound Editing
See above – Inception.
Best Original Score
I’m actually hoping the Academy doesn’t award schmaltz, and instead gives a deserved award to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, whose score was a major reason The Social Network was so impressive.
Best Original Song
I can’t handle Randy Newman winning for another of his trite tunes! So let’s give this one to Dido’s song from 127 Hours – “If I Rise.”
The nominees here are not ones anyone has seen, so let’s assume it goes to the creature feature – The Wolfman.
So how about you folks? How do your picks stack up? Will young co-hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway knock it out of the park?