Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Academy Awards Column: Predictions, Analysis, & Passion

The 83rd Annual Academy Awards
If there's at least one positive thing I can say about the AMPAS this year, it's that they picked the right films for Best Picture. While I'm still disappointed only one comedy was nominated (and in reality, The Kids Are All Right can be considered a drama), every film is worthy of its nomination. In terms of who will actually win, it's between The Social Network and The King's Speech. In terms of who got the shaft (again) is Christopher Nolan. What does the man have to do to get a nomination? In terms of predictions, here they are...

Best Picture
Nominees: Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, The King's Speech, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit, Winter's Bone

Who Will Win: The Social Network
Why? Because it has to. Sure, The King's Speech has the same chance of winning (and it won't be a surprise to me if it wins) and the average voter in the academy is nowhere near the demographic of The Social Network, but this is landmark movie. It captures the here and now in such profound ways that it truly is a once-in-a-generation film. I know this sounds like conjecture in terms of who will win, but if the Academy doesn't recognize these terms, it will be forever regretful.

Who Should Win: The Social Network

Even though I gave Inception the best movie of the year (plus I gave up on its chance once Christopher Nolan was insultingly snubbed), I think The Social Network is the movie that needs to establish the benchmark. Citizen Kane failed to win in 1941, so why make another mistake now?

Best Director
Nominees: Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), Joel & Ethan Coen (True Grit), David Fincher (The Social Network), Tom Hooper (The King's Speech), David O. Russell (The Fighter)

Who will win: David Fincher
Because even if The King's Speech takes it, the academy cannot afford to not recognize what Fincher did. He took an impossible premise for a movie and made it real. Aaron Sorkin will get his with an Adapted Screenplay win, but it would be nothing without how Fincher brought it to life.

Who should win:
David Fincher.
For the same reasons.

Best Actor
Nominees: Javier Bardem (Biutiful), Jeff Bridges (True Grit), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), Colin Firth (The King's Speech), James Franco (127 Hours)

Who will win: Colin Firth
There's no arguments here. This is his year.

Who should win: Colin Firth
This is his time.

Best Actress
Nominees: Annette Benning (The Kids Are All Right), Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole), Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone), Natalie Portman (Black Swan), Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine)

Who will win: Natalie Portman
Even though Annette Benning may pull the veteran card and take her long overdue Oscar, I think Portman has the advantage of letting everyone know that she is on top of the world. Black Swan is a $100 million hit and I think it's a much stronger contender than what people have come to perceive. With the overwhelming support of the film, it looks like Portman is about to top the top of the world she is already on.

Who should win: Natalie Portman
She completely engulfed herself in the role. And now, it will completely payoff.

Best Supporting Actor
Nominees: Christian Bale (The Fighter), John Hawkes (Winter's Bone), Jeremy Renner (The Town), Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right), Geoffrey Rush (The King's Speech)

Who will win: Christian Bale
He gives the performance of the year in one of the best acted movies of the year. His portrayal of Dicky Eklund is nothing short of a revelation. Finally, this is his year of recognition.

Who should win: Christian Bale
What don't you f****** understand?

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Amy Adams (The Fighter), Helena Bonham Carter (The King's Speech), Melissa Leo (The Fighter), Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit), Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom)

Who will win: Melissa Leo
Even though she's off-putting voters with an aggressive campaign, Leo has the advantage of playing a standout character. And it's not just the hair.

Who should win: Melissa Leo
This is almost by default. Leo isn't a clear winner, she just barely edges out the competition.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominees: Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy (127 Hours), Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network), Michael Amdt. (Toy Story 3), Joel & Ethan Coen (True Grit), Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini (Winter's Bone)

Who will win: Aaron Sorkin
Is there anything more sweet to the ears than Aaron Sorkin dialogue? This is a rapid fire script that is tightly written and beautifully executed. This is a combination the Academy can't ignore.

Who should win: Aaron Sorkin
Usually I get turned off when one movie dominates the whole night, but when it's deserving, there's nothing sweeter. Sorkin all the way.

Best Original Screenplay
Mike Leigh (Another Year), Scott Silver & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson (The Fighter), Christopher Nolan (Inception), Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg (The Kids Are All Right), David Seldler (The King's Speech)

Who will win: David Seldler
Because the Academy has The King's Speech in frontrunner status, therefore knocking everything else out by default.

Who should win: Christopher Nolan
The fact that he wasn't nominated for Best Director is more than shameful. It doesn't make any sense. Yet somehow, the Academy still has a chance of redeeming itself. Don't expect a Nolan win here, but if they ever want the good graces from fans again, this is where they can get it.

2010 was a robust year for movies, but the Oscars are always something special, regardless. I am proud to say that every movie nominated for Best Picture is worthy of its status. I just hope the right movie walks away with the prize. To The Social Network, I hope you take it all.


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