Archive | February, 2011

Oscar Predictions: Best Picture and Director

25 Feb

This is the last of my Oscar Predictions posts, in which I tackle the two main races: Best Director and, of course, Best Picture. These two races will see Sunday’s two main players pitted against each other, with The Social Network and The King’s Speech considered the front-runners for both categories.

Most are saying they will split the two, with the British biopic getting the big one, and David Fincher nabbing the Best Director statue for his work on the Facebook film. Some are saying The King’s Speech will get both, some say the same of The Social Network, so yes, there’s a nice variety of ways these two races could go. Read on through for my opinions.

BEST PICTURE

Nominees

  • Black Swan (Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver and Scott Franklin)
  • The Fighter (David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Mark Wahlberg)
  • Inception (Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan)
  • The Kids Are All Right (Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Celine Rattray)
  • The King’s Speech (Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin)
  • 127 Hours (Christian Colson, Danny Boyle and John Smithson)
  • The Social Network (Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca and Ceán Chaffin)
  • Toy Story 3 (Darla K. Anderson)
  • True Grit (Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen)
  • Winter’s Bone (Anne Rosselini and Alix Madigan-Yorkin)

So, The King’s Speech or The Social Network? How this race has evolved has been the highlight of the 2010 awards season to me, The Social Network seemed unstoppable early on, winning every critic’s group award, the Golden Globe, nothing seemed to stand in its way to get the big one come Oscar night.

But then Harvey Weinstein came up with The King’s Speech and that one started killing it, winning the PGA, DGA, SAG, BAFTA, pretty much every single big award it could after that initial Social Network streak, and it’s now considered the clear front-runner.

This is obviously a question of new versus old. The tough, gritty, relevant and modern The Social Network, acted out by up-and-coming actors, a film in which there’s really no hero, no one to root for. And it’s standing against The King’s Speech, the sort of movie Oscar used to love, a biopic about the British monarchy, made by many veteran actors and which definitely tugs at the voters heartstrings with the warm relationship and message at the heart of the film.

My personal pick is actually Black Swan, but amongst these two I love The Social Network the most, I mean, to base a film on Facebook is daring enough, but to have the end product by this masterful, no one really saw that coming.

I’m gonna go and say The King’s Speech will win this one because it seems like it will, even though The Social Network is the better film. But don’t write out The Social Network just yet, it may seem like it’s all said and done, but a last minute revival may occur.

Should Win: Black Swan
Will Win: The King’s Speech

BEST DIRECTOR

Nominees

  • Darren Aronofsky (for Black Swan)
  • Joel Coen & Ethan Coen (for True Grit)
  • David Fincher (for The Social Network)
  • Tom Hooper (for The King’s Speech)
  • David O. Russell (for The Fighter

In my mind there should be a tie between Darren Aronofsky and David Fincher, the two are masters of their craft, and yeah, they should split the golden man up between the two.

But in all honesty, this one’s David Fincher’s. Even if The King’s Speech sweeps the night I think this one will still go to The Social Network. I mean, if a film about a social networking site and the story behind it was as compelling and intriguing and plain out entertaining as this was it’s because of how this man handled the material, sheer perfection.

Should Win: Darren Aronofsky/David Fincher
Will Win: David Fincher

Oscar Predictions: Best Leading Actor and Actress

24 Feb

In my second to last Oscar Predictions post I will tackle both Lead acting races, both of which are pretty much considered locks by most, but one of which really isn’t.

BEST LEAD ACTOR

Nominees

  • Javier Bardem (for Biutiful)
  • Jeff Bridges (for True Grit)
  • Jesse Eisenberg (for The Social Network)
  • Colin Firth (for The King’s Speech)
  • James Franco (for 127 Hours)

In case you were wondering, this is that one that actually is a mortal lock. There’s absolutely no way in hell Colin Firth will not walk away from the Nokia Theater without the golden man firmly in his hands. He gives a masterclass in acting in The King’s Speech, not to mention he’s coming off his other Oscar-noinated stellar performance in A Single Man last year.

Should Win: Colin Firth
Will Win: Colin Firth

BEST LEAD ACTRESS

Nominees

  • Annette Bening (for The Kids Are All Right)
  • Nicole Kidman (for Rabbit Hole)
  • Jennifer Lawrence (for Winter’s Bone)
  • Natalie Portman (for Black Swan)
  • Michelle Williams (for Blue Valentine)

These are actually my Top 5 performance by any actress in a leading role in all of 2010, so I was specifically happy about this bunch of nominees. But this is the category which I think isn’t as clear-cut as most are assuming.

Yes, Natalie Portman has swept through the precursors, and her performance, to me, is certainly the best in this group and should most certainly earn her her first Academy Award (she was previously nominated for her supporting turn in Closer).

But then there’s Annette Bening. This woman is heavily involved in the Academy, absolutely loved and revered by everyone in the business, as she should be because she’s one seriously awesome lady, and has already lost three times before (twice to Hilary Swank, one of those, to me, quite unjustly), so the Academy may feel like she’s due (and she honestly is) and give her the award, even if her performance, stunning as it may be, isn’t as great as Portman’s.

So yes, I’m saying Portman for now. Not because she has won all the other awards, just because I liked her performance better. But maybe Annette Bening will pull off the upset, I mean, just look at her face during the scene at dinner in Paul’s house and it’s tough to argue against giving her the golden man.

Should Win: Natalie Portman
Will Win: Natalie Portman

Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actor and Actress

24 Feb

In my recent Oscar Predictions entry we will discuss two of the most interesting categories at this years Academy Awards, the Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress awards.

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Nominees

  • Christian Bale (for The Fighter)
  • John Hawkes (for Winter’s Bone)
  • Jeremy Renner (for The Town)
  • Mark Ruffalo (for The Kids Are All Right)
  • Geoffrey Rush (for The King’s Speech)

Yeah, Christian Bale has this one all sewn up, in my mind. And rightfully so, the fact that the guy doesn’t have a single prior nomination to his name is a crime, but at least he’ll cash in the gold with his first one, his performance is truly riveting.

However, if The King’s Speech turns the night into a massive sweep then maybe an upset may occur here at the hands of Geoffrey Rush who’s participating with his fourth nomination (he won Lead Actor in 1996), and as amazing a performance as he gives, it’s not as great as Bale’s.

Should Win: Christian Bale
Will Win: Christian Bale

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)

Now this, ladies and gents, is my favorite category of this year’s Oscars. I could potentially see any of these ladies pick up the award. Jacki Weaver I guess is the long-shot among this group, but her performance was electric. Amy Adams, on her third nomination overall and in this category, is my personal pick and was absolutely unbelievable. Helena Bonham Carter may ride the gold wave if The King’s Speech turns the night into a sweep. Newcomer Hailee Steinfeld, in what was really a leading role, may actually provide the upset. And then there’s the frontrunner, Melissa Leo, who has won this award at most of the precursors. So yeah, five nominees and five worthy winners.

Should Win: Amy Adams
Will Win: Melissa Leo

Oscar Predictions: Best Original and Adapted Screenplays

24 Feb

In my seventh Oscar Predictions post I will examine the state of both writing races, the Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay ones, who seem to both have pretty clear-cut winners already.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Nominees

  • 127 Hours (Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy)
  • The Social Network (Aaron Sorkin)
  • Toy Story 3 (Michael Arndt)
  • True Grit (Joel Coen and Ethan Coen)
  • Winter’s Bone (Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini)

Any other year and Toy Story 3 would have had a really solid chance, and it really would have been nice to see an animated film be the winner of a screenplay category, but the script Aaron Sorkin penned for The Social Network is shoulders above anything in contention this year, and there’s no way it’s losing this one.

Should Win: The Social Network
Will Win: The Social Network

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Nominees

  • Another Year (Mike Leigh)
  • The Fighter (Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson)
  • Inception (Christopher Nolan)
  • The Kids Are All Right (Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg)
  • The King’s Speech (David Seidler)

This category is full of exemplary screenplays, even though it’s insane to me that the Black Swan screenplay wasn’t nominated. The King’s Speech is all but guaranteed to take this one, but boy would I really love an upset at the hands of Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg.

Should Win: The Kids Are All Right
Will Win: The King’s Speech

Oscar Predictions: Documentary, Foreign Film, Animated Film

24 Feb

This is the sixth of my ten Oscar Predictions posts, and one that will tackle three categories, those honoring the best achievement in Documentary, Foreign Language and Animated films. Here are my predictions.

BEST DOCUMENTARY

Nominees

  • Exit Through the Gift Shop (Banksy and Jaimie D’Cruz)
  • Gasland (Josh Fox and Trish Adlesic)
  • Inside Job (Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs)
  • Restrepo (Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger)
  • Waste Land (Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley)

Though an upset by Exit Through the Gift Shop is something I could actually see happening, even though Banksy has been banned from attending the ceremonies under disguise (which means now he won’t attend at all), I really want this to go to Inside Job, and I think it just might. Charles Ferguson’s look at what made the recent economic crisis happen is really stunning and spellbinding, and after already having been nominated for another terrific and timely documentary, No End in Sight, I think he’ll get his due.

Should Win: Inside Job
Will Win: Inside Job

BEST FILM IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE

Nominees

  • Biutiful (Mexico)
  • Dogtooth (Greece)
  • In a Better World (Denmark)
  • Incendies (Canada)
  • Hors-la-loi (Algeria)

Even though I would personally like nothing more than to see Biutiful pick this one up, I doubt that’ll ultimately happen, that film, though thoroughly masterful, is too dark and moody for many, which means the decision upon it will certainly be divisive, which sucks considering Mexico, with seven previous nominations in the category, hasn’t won this award once, not even when its contenders were Pan’s Labyrinth and Amores Perros.

But yeah, I think Biutiful ultimately won’t pick this trophy up, but rather the race will be between In a Better World and Incendies. The Dutch film probably has more momentum, especially after the Golden Globe win, and will most likely earn Denmark their third win in this field, and as such I’ll pick it as my winner. However, I think Incendies is the better film out of the two, so seeing that one win would be even better.

Should Win: Incendies
Will Win: In a Better World

BEST ANIMATED FILM

Nominees

  • How to Train Your Dragon (Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois)
  • L’Illusionniste (Sylvain Chomet)
  • Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich)

Are we really planning on discussing this one? It’s the biggest no-brainer of the night. Since the inclusion of the Best Animated Film category in the Oscars all seven of the Pixar films released during that time have been nominated for it, with five going on to win the award. Look for the animation house to now make it six for eight with this one.

Should Win: Toy Story 3
Will Win: Toy Story 3

Oscar Predictions: Cinematography and Editing

24 Feb

In my fifth Oscar Predictions post I will tackle two of my favorite categories, those honoring achievement in Cinematography and Editing. The candidates for both of these awards this year are pretty damn strong, and the race will be pretty interesting to watch unravel.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Nominees

  • Black Swan (Matthew Libatique)
  • Inception (Wally Pfister)
  • The King’s Speech (Danny Cohen)
  • The Social Network (Jeff Cronenweth)
  • True Grit (Roger Deakins)

This will most likely go to the master that is Roger Deakins, who has had eight other nominations previously (4 of those for some of his other collaborations with the Coen brothers), and yet has never won. The look he achieved in True Grit is rather breathtaking and really sets the tone for the amazing film that was True Grit, it’ll be a well deserved win.

My personal vote, however, would no doubt go to Matthew Libatique, the first-time nominee who worked on Black Swan, 2010’s best film. The stuff he did in this film is really stunning, creating scenes of ballet and making them feel not only technically outstanding, but also conveying some really deep feelings with how he showed those dances, truly spectacular work.

Should Win: Black Swan
Will Win: True Grit

BEST EDITING

Nominees

  • Black Swan (Andrew Weisblum)
  • The Fighter (Pamela Martin)
  • The King’s Speech (Tariq Anwar)
  • 127 Hours (Jon Harris)
  • The Social Network (Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter)

This should be one of The Social Network‘s big wins on Sunday, the editing of this film is truly amazing, and is definitely a big part of why this film ended up being so perfect, the way the scenes of just computer programming were cut, making them seem more entertaining than a car chase, or just the scenes of the characters delivering their very fast and witty Aaron Sorkin-penned lines was just incredible. So yes, unless there’s no justice in this world this should be a very deserved win for Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter, who were both previously nominated two years ago for their work on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, another David Fincher film.

Should Win: The Social Network
Will Win: The Social Network

Oscar Predictions: Original Song and Score

24 Feb

In my fourth Oscar Predictions post we will take a look at both of the musical categories, those for Best Original Song and Best Original Score.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

Nominees

  • “Coming Home” from Country Strong (Music and Lyric by Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey)
  • “I See the Light” from Tangled (Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Glenn Slater)
  • “If I Rise” from 127 Hours (Music by A.R. Rahman; Lyric by Dido and Rollo Armstrong)
  • “We Belong Together” from Toy Story 3 (Music and Lyric by Randy Newman)

My personal pick here would by the Country Strong song, if only because I’m pretty much in love with Gwyneth Paltrow and her voice. However, the race here is probably between “If I Rise” or “We Belong Together”.

A.R. Rahman won both Original Song and Original Score when he was nominated two years ago for his other collaboration on a Danny Boyle film with Slumdog Millionaire, and while the song is fantastic, and features pretty good vocals by Dido (though on the televised broadcast her part will be sung by the even more awesome Florence Welch), my hunch is that the Academy will go with Randy Newman’s tune, who has been nominated 20 times but won only once.

Should Win: Country Strong
Will Win: Toy Story 3

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Nominees

  • How to Train Your Dragon (John Powell)
  • Inception (Hans Zimmer)
  • The King’s Speech (Alexandre Desplat)
  • 127 Hours (A.R. Rahman)
  • The Social Network (Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross)

All five nominees here did superb work that was really felt in their films and that elevated their overall quality. However, this category is one of those battles between The King’s Speech and The Social Network. Even though I can see why the Academy may want to reward Alexandre Desplat, who’s competing on his fourth nomination with no prior wins, and who really communicated the unspoken emotions of the King with his beautiful score I think, and really hope, they will go on the other direction.

Atticus Ross and NIN mastermind Trent Reznor should win for the mesmerizing score they created for David Fincher’s latest. It’s their music, I think, that had the biggest impact on any film this year, how those very unique and different sounds punctuated every bit of action on-screen was truly spectacular, and even if Sunday turns into a sweep by The King’s Speech I think they should walk away with this one.

Should Win: The Social Network
Will Win: The Social Network