After a pretty stellar year of films, I am truly impressed with the quality of good cinema that I have seen over this past year. Independent and smaller budgeted films such as Winter’s Bone, Black Swan, and Incendies are rivaling some of the bigger budget films such as Inception, Social Network and Toy Story. But, after great deliberation, here are my 2011 Oscar Predictions – let’s see how many of them are correct.
While there are nine contenders in this category, let’s face it, it’s going to come down to two – The Social Network and The King’s Speech. While The Social Network is a great film on many levels and defines a generation, my money is on The King’s Speech. Personally, I think Black Swan is a brilliant film but just Aronofsky’s previous films, most notbably, The Wrester, Requieum for a Dream and Pi, the Academy is sadly not ready to nominate a film that shows the darker side of the human soul.
I think this could very well be a situation where Best Picture and Best Director split. I believe that Fincher does a great job directing The Social Network but if The King’s Speech takes it this could be Hooper’s Oscar. I’m going with David Fincher on this one – to me, he directed, what could have been a very boring film about guys at their computers into a compelling drama with suspense, intrigue and relevance. Danny Boyle should have been in this category though for 127 Hours and Christopher Nolan was robbed of a nomination too.
There isn’t an actor in this category that does not deserve to be there. All stand out performances but I think Colin Firth will walk away with the golden statue in hand. That being said, don’t miss any of these performances, particularly James Franco who stands out in a movie where he carries 90% of it on his own. On a personal note, I was saddened to see Ryan Gosling missing from this category for his brilliant work in Blue Valentine.
Get your tutu out because you’ll be pirouetting when Natalie Portman does a pas de deux with her golden partner on Sunday. She’s truly heart-wrenching and riveting to watch in her transformation in this role. Having worked with and around dancers, she’s bang-on in her portrayal of the dance obsessed world. Annette Benning is the only other actress who could swoop this if the Academy thinks it’s her year. But, my pointe shoes are on Portman!
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
If the Golden Globes and the People’s Choice are any indication, this will be Christian Bale’s year for Oscar. He truly seemed to embody the real Dickey and bring this character to life for us on the big screen. But, before we hear Bale’s long speech Sunday, I want to acknowledge John Hawkes and Mark Ruffalo – definitely worth more than nods and perhaps Oscar wins in coming years.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
While The Fighter in my opinion is not the best film but certainly a good film, the performance of Melissa Leo is what great acting is all about. A mother’s love that is so unconditional and yet at the same time so blinded by it, Leo pulls out all the stops and makes us take notice. Gloves off for Leo on this one!
BEST FOREIGN FILM
I’ll be honest here, I’ve only been able to see Incendies in this category. I’ve read the buzz about the others and I’m going to be patriotic and vote for Incendies on this one. Villeneuve’s direction of this intense family drama and being authentic to the original play, Scorched, has me voting for this one. I’m true Canuck – what can I say eh?
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Unless the Academy decides to go for the independent, low budget, 2D animated feature The Illusionist, my animatic vote is on Toy Story 3. I will be pleasantly surprised if The Illusionist took this one but Pixar seems to be the golden child of animated features.
BEST ART DIRECTION
Creating the dream world with visual effects, Inception gets my vote.
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Pull the thread through the needle for Alice in Wonderland on this one.
My personal fave is for Matthew Libatique, (Black Swan) but I think the Academy is going to choose Jeff Cronenweth for The Social Network. Roger Deakin (True Grit), is another fave DOP of mine, I think he will not win in this category.
After seeing 127 Hours, I was very impressed with how a pretty minimalistic film could keep me riveted for so long. Boyle’s direction was great and while I’d like vote for this one, I’m putting my Final Cut on Black Swan.
It will probably go to Wolverine. Too bad this is the only nomination Barney’s Version got.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
My cue sheet is for Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for The Social Network. High notes go to 127 Hours though.
I’d like to be less traditional here and vote for Dido for “If I Rise”, but I’m going to go with “Coming Home” from the Country Strong movie. Why? It’s very American, a heart pulling song and let’s not forget, it’s sung by Hollywood’s sweetheart, Gwenyth Paltrow. Sorry Randy Newman, I don’t this one it your year.
SOUND EDITING / SOUND MIXING
I know these are distinctly two different categories but I’m running out of space so… my eardrums are betting on Inception for Sound Mixing and Social Network for Sound Editing.
If Inception does not take this one, then I’ll truly be surprised here. For me, this is one of the few categories it should have been nominated in.
WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
My pen to paper prediction is on Aaron Sorkin for The Social Network – today’s Mamet, his dialogue kept us going for over 120 mins. Fast paces, smart, witty & a very well told story. I also think True Grit should be acknowledged for adapting a classic film for today’s audience and doing only the way the Coen Brothers can do.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Considering it was a 20 year labour of love, The King’s Speech could very well walk away with this one. However, The Kids Are Alright is everyone’s fave in California that is a supporter of Prop 8. So, depending on who is voting, this one could win to help support that movement and be one of those surprise wins.
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
I’m disappointed to see that Waiting for Superman was not in this category as it rightly should have been. With that said, I’m guessing on this one as I’ve not seen the others but the hype on local LA grafiti artist Banksy has me betting that Exit Though the Gift Shop will bring this one home Another contender is Inside Job.
Final Thoughts… I’ve left out predicting any of the short films as I’ve not seen any of them so my guess would simply be that, a guess without any reference. Whether I’m right or not will remain to be seen after the 83rd Academy Awards this Sunday. But, what is absolutely true is that this year has been a year to be in the theatres watching good cinema. I’m glad to see that good stories are still at the heart of good films and that more and that creative filmmakers such as Aranofsky and Boyle inspire me to keep doing what I do. Let’s hope the bar doesn’t drop for next year and I’m sitting here again pondering over more good stories & hard decisions. Until then.. Happy 83rd birthday Oscar!