“Predictions for the 83rd Academy Awards”
The 83rd Academy Awards will be aired this coming Sunday, February 27, 2011 and it is appearing like The King's Speech will come out the most ahead. However, there are a few potential upsets I see coming, as The Social Network may take away a bit of thunder for a couple of the major categories. So here are my own predictions for who I think will take home the Oscars and my preferences for who I think should win.
Nominees: 127 Hours, Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, The King’s Speech, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit and Winter’s Bone.
The smart money dictates, at this point, The King’s Speech will win since it has grabbed both of the major precursors that are the PGA and the Directors’ Guild Awards. If there is a dark horse upset, it will come from The Social Network, which seemed to take off as an instant awards favorite but then started to fade from memory as December rolled around. However, the last string of Best Picture winners has leaned on the heavy and sometimes rather depressing side as of late and I have a feeling they would like to choose more of a feel-good movie as the winner this time. Of course, I would go for the real best film of the year, Inception but the fact that it got egregiously snubbed on a Best Director nomination indicates that it is not one of the top contenders.
Prediction: The King’s Speech
Nominees: Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan; Joel and Ethan Coen, True Grit; David Fincher, The Social Network; Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech; and David O. Russell, The Fighter.
The conventional wisdom says that Tom Hooper will follow up his surprise DGA victory to get the statuette on Oscar night. After all, Oscar has agreed with DGA 90 percent of the time. However, I have a feeling that David Fincher will be given the statuette because he gives off the strongest feeling of being long due. He is the only nominee who has a past nod but no actual Oscar and the Academy will likely feel that Tom Hooper can wait. Of course, that this category snubbed Christopher Nolan for Inception sticks out like a sore thumb for me but of the nominees, I would go for Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan. However, I think that the long-due card of Fincher will allow him to pull off an upset over Hooper here.
Prediction: David Fincher, The Social Network
Preference: Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
Best Actor in a Leading Role:
Nominees: Javier Bardem, Biutiful; Jeff Bridges, True Grit; Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network; Colin Firth, The King’s Speech; and James Franco, 127 Hours.
Colin Firth, case closed. He is the most long due, the Academy loves British royalty and, you know what, he deserves it, too.
Prediction: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
Preference: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
Best Actress in a Leading Role:
Nominees: Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right; Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole; Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone; Natalie Portman, Black Swan; and Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine.
At one point, I thought there might be a strong possibility Annette Bening would gain some steam for The Kids Are All Right mainly because she is a veteran who has not won yet. While I still would not rule out that prospect, the precursors have been showing that is becoming less and less likely. Natalie Portman has been the favorite and she gave the kind of gutsy performance most people would instantly notice and Black Swan was all her show. I personally have great affection for Jennifer Lawrence’s work in Winter’s Bone and eagerly look forward to what she will do next. But this is Natalie Portman’s year and her physically and emotionally demanding work is due to be recognized on Oscar night.
Prediction: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Preference: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominees: Christian Bale, The Fighter; John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone; Jeremy Renner, The Town; Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right; and Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech.
With the exception of Geoffrey Rush, everyone in this category is a first-time nominee. Rush has already won before though and, while it is plausible that the likely sweep of The King’s Speech may carry him along, that tends to happen less with supporting categories and particularly when there are others who have not won yet. Of the other four remaining, I think Christian Bale will take this one as he is the biggest star and it is the showiest performance. The precursors up until now also dictate that he will be the most likely winner, although I personally would let out a whoop if John Hawkes pulled off an upset for his strong, subtle performance in Winter’s Bone.
Prediction: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Preference: John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominees: Amy Adams, The Fighter; Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech; Melissa Leo, The Fighter; Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit; and Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom.
Two years ago, I really cheered for Melissa Leo to win Best Leading Actress for Frozen River because I thought she truly was the deserved underdog. This time, her self-campaign to win the Oscar for The Fighter whiffs of desperation and is getting a bit grating. I think, despite that she has won the Golden Globe and the SAG, the Academy will likely feel the same way, too. Add to the fact that she may also split votes with Amy Adams in The Fighter, that will leave room for Hailee Steinfeld to take home the prize here. It has been a while since an upset from a child actress like Anna Paquin from The Piano and many voters, I suspect, would recognize that Steinfeld is really a lead in True Grit and it will be a way to honor that film.
Prediction: Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Preference: Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Best Original Screenplay:
Nominees: Mike Leigh, Another Year; Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson and Keith Dorrington, The Fighter; Inception, Christopher Nolan; Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg, The Kids Are All Right; and David Seidler, The King’s Speech.
There is little contest here that David Seidler will take home the prize for The King’s Speech here. It is the most verbal and thus the most noticeable of the nominees here. Of course, I would love for Christopher Nolan to win for his imaginative, ambitious screenplay of Inception but that will not happen.
Prediction: David Seidler, The King’s Speech
Preference: Christopher Nolan, Inception
Best Adapted Screenplay:
Nominees: Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy, 127 Hours; Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network; Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich, Toy Story 3; Joel and Ethan Coen, True Grit; and Debra Granik and Anne Rossellini, Winter’s Bone.
As I mentioned before, of the nominees in this category, there is only one I consider to be truly great. I would really let out a cheer if Debra Granik and Anne Rosselini won for Winter’s Bone but it will be Aaron Sorkin’s time to win for the verbal chess-like sparring of The Social Network. While I actually think he is a little bit overrated (for all his acerbic wit, his plotting frequently resorts to convenient shortcuts and telegraphing), most voters will feel that he should be recognized for his trademark style of verbal daggers.
Prediction: Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Preference: Debra Granik and Anne Rosselini, Winter’s Bone
Best Animated Feature:
Nominees: How to Train Your Dragon, The Illusionist and Toy Story 3.
No one at this point would bet against Toy Story 3 being the winner because it has the Best Picture nomination. I will refer you to my review of Toy Story 3 to see why I thought it was enjoyable but still derivative, but I personally feel the really outstanding choice here is The Illusionist, which was yet another quirky gem from Sylvain Chomet who also made The Triplets of Belleville. However, Toy Story 3 has this category down cold and it would be unwise to bet against it.
Prediction: Toy Story 3
Preference: The Illusionist
Predictions for the remaining categories:
Best Animated Short: Day & Night
Best Art Direction: Alice in Wonderland
Best Cinematography: Roger Deakins, True Grit (who is very long due)
Best Costume Design: The King’s Speech
Best Documentary, Features: Charles Ferguson’s Inside Job (his previous nomination for No End in Sight will help him here and the subject matter of the economic meltdown is very relevant)
Best Documentary, Short Subjects: Strangers No More
Best Film Editing: The Social Network
Best Foreign Language Film: In a Better World
Best Makeup: The Wolfman
Best Original Score: Alexandre Desplat, The King's Speech
Best Original Song: “If I Rise”, 127 Hours
Best Short Film: The Confession
Best Sound Editing: Inception
Best Sound Mixing: Inception
Best Visual Effects: Inception