25 February 2011
  oscar predictions. . .

it's really just smoke and mirrors, but somehow, what once everyone expected to be the simple reading of long-anticipated names at this sunday's oscars, has suddenly become something a little bit more dramatic. i give credit for this to sasha stone and other social network diehards who a) wanted to make this awards season a little more interesting and b) wanted to make their chosen movie into an underdog in a well-played attempt to garner even more support for the film, while at the same time creating a nice back story for when it finally goes home on sunday with the year's biggest film award (à la last year's similar hurt locker faux underdog drama). that being said, for the first time in a few years we are going into an oscar ceremony with several major categories that are not entirely foregone conclusions-- most notable the races for picture, director, supporting actress, documentary, foreign language film and adapted screenplay. here are my final predictions:

supporting actor:
will win. . . christian bale is one of those actors who has been delivering fine perfomances for years and is finally getting his due, for one performance as much as for his entire career. however, unusual in these sorts of oscar scenarios, bale actually will win for the best work he has ever done. there is an outside chance that geoffrey rush could upset here, but it isn't going to happen.
should win. . . christian bale not only gave the best performance in this category but perhaps the single best performance of the year. bale isn't my favorite actor, and his tabloid fodder personal life gets on everyone's nerves, but i have to give the man his due.
my five. . . christian bale, john hawkes, sam rockwell (conviction), bill murray (get low) and pete postlethwaite (the town)

supporting actress:
will win. . . um, hailee steinfeld? honestly, i wouldn't be surprised if any of the five nominated women win this category. first of all, the oscar voters tend to make off the wall choices in this category perhaps more than any other, which makes me think jacki weaver has a shot. at the same time, they also like to nominated women here for the larger body of work they have done in their career, which leads me to think helena bonham carter has a shot. then there is melissa leo who seemed to be a lock until she revealed some unsavory elements of her personality, so i think she is most likely out. everyone loves amy adams, and she gives some of the best work she has ever done in the fighter, so she definitely has a shot. in the end i am going with steinfeld who i think might possibly have a slight leg up.
should win. . . at the same time, i can't really decide who my favorite in the category is either. i like hailee steinfeld, but her performance is clearly true grit's lead. i like melissa leo's performance in the fighter, but i can't say that i am looking forward to seeing her on the podium. i think if i had a vote, it would go to jacki weaver for her haunting work in animal kingdom.
my five. . . jacki weaver, melissa leo, amy adams, dale dickey (winter's bone) and keira knightley (never let me go)

will win. . . colin firth. this year's best actor race is the most sewn up one of the year at this point. i am not exactly sure why his performance is the single thing that everyone seems able to agree on this year, as it doesn't excite me nearly as much as it seems to excite everyone else, but i don't have any problem with him winning for his fine performance. still, i wouldn't completely rule out a shocker upset by jesse eisenberg if the social network has the mini sweep i expect.
should win. . . jeff bridges is nothing short of outstanding in true grit. it really is a shame that he won best actor last year for a far inferior performance, because his work in true grit is really the oscar-worthy one. my favorite acting performance of the year, hands down.
my five. . . jeff bridges, colin firth, ryan gosling (blue valentine), robert duvall (get low), leonardo dicaprio (shutter island)

will win. . . natalie portman has all the support in this category this year. there is the distant outside possibility of an annette bening upset, but it just isn't going to happen. it's portman's year.
should win. . . natalie portman. i want to see bening win an oscar as much as anyone, and it really does seem that this could be her last shot (i hope not), but natalie portman was simply, undeniably better in her much better role in her much better film. what portman shows in black swan is that she is a truly fearless actress, willing to take huge risks in the hope of yielding extraordinary results. i never thought so until seeing black swan, but i really do think she has the potential to be the next julianne moore or nicole kidman.
my five. . . natalie portman, nicole kidman, michelle williams, jennifer lawrence and hailee steinfeld

original screenplay:
will win. . . this is one of the few awards i expect the king's speech to take home on saturday, along with actor and maybe one technical award.
should win. . . along with supporting actress, this is one of the two hardest categories for me to pick a favorite this year. i love black swan, but i have to say that the melodramatic screenplay is probably a slightly weak element of this film. if i had a vote, it would go to david michod for his screenplay for animal kingdom, simply because he managed to artistically elevate a genre that has really been done almost to death. runner up for me, chris provenzano for get low
my five. . . animal kingdom, get low, black swan, hereafter and biutiful

adapted screenplay:
will win. . . aaron sorkin has snowed everyone with his trite, overwrought screenplay for the social network. i hope he takes it home and goes back to writing for television shows.
should win. . . last year the coen brothers produced the year's best writing for the screen with their clever, intricate screenplay for a serious man. this year they have produced the year's best screenwriting with their work on true grit. they have pretty much proven themselves to be the best writers working in hollywood today. my runner up, alex garland's screenplay for never let me go.
my five. . . true grit, never let me go, shutter island, winter's bone, rabbit hole

will win. . . david fincher, who i will say flat out right now is absolutely one of the worst working filmmakers, will win the oscar for a film that, is completely flawed from a directorial level (fake breath anyone?) that it will go down as one of the worst best picture winners of all time.
should win. . . darren aronofsky is one of my favorite directors, and he has put out some of the best work he has ever done this year. he has taken tremendous risks in making black swan, and the result is a brilliant, studied look at sexuality, female identity, art and celebrity. it isn't a seamless work of filmmaking, but nothing that takes so many risks could or should be perfect.
my five. . . darren aronofsky, the coen brothers, tom hooper, clint eastwood (hereafter) and mark romanek (never let me go)

will win. . . this is going to be one of those years where the social network wins nearly every award it is nominated for (think lotr:rotk) and voters simply see the film listed on their ballots and put a check next to it without even reading the category they are voting on. hence, its bizarre, unjustified win here.
should win. . . i was really taken by the interesting camera work on 127 hours. however, i also thought there were some spectacular shots in black swan, and i think my single favorite camera shot of the year was that one at the end of the ghost writer. still 127 hours gets my vote here.
my five. . . 127 hours, black swan, the ghost writer, true grit and shutter island.

art direction:
will win. . . this will probably be the third of the king's speech's three wins on sunday (along with actor and original screenplay), in part because the social network couldn't pull off a nomination here.
should win. . . maybe i don't understand exactly what constitutes good art direction, but i don't get at all why black swan wasn't nominated here. it should win the category. the king's speech would be my runner up.
my five. . . black swan, the king's speech, true grit, never let me go and the ghost writer

will win. . . *sigh* other than mike leigh's nauseating screenplay nod for another year, the one nomination that irritates me more than any other is the one for the social network's score. yes it is going to win. no competition.
should win. . . i am torn between two this year, but i have to ultimately go with a.r. rahmann's film-sustaining score for 127 hours. the best thing about the movie. runner up, rachel portman's score for never let me go.
my five. . . 127 hours, never let me go, black swan, hereafter, winter's bone

best picture:
will win. . . i don't care what sasha stone says, the social network has and has always had this one in the bag.
should win. . . there were quite a few great movies this year and quite a few other that at least contained elements or moments of greatness. in a very competitive year, black swan stands out above the rest.
my five (using the power of positive thinking to bring the category back to its rightful number). . . black swan, never let me go, animal kingdom, true grit and winter's bone
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