2011 Oscar Picks

27 Feb

I know this is a last minute post and we’re down to a matter of hours before the award ceremony, but I still wanted to get my picks and predictions posted here. As of today, I will have seen 55 of the 56 nominated films. The lone wolf: The Tempest, which is nominated for Best Costumes and is just un-gettable. But I can see the pictures of the the costumes online. Save that film, I’ve got them all watched. It feels like such an accomplishment than no one cares about except for me – hey, we’ve all got to fill our time with something, right?

So here we go, my picks – what I think should win – and my predictions – what probably will win, along with a bit of commentary. I think I get some commentary since I can actually make qualified statements having seen pretty much everything. It’s my party, I’ll spout if I want to.

For the record, I’m actually not attending an Oscar party this year – I kind of wanted to throw one, but the time just got away from me. But I’m not attending in small part because I just know I’ll be that asshole that wants to talk about all the movies in a category – which is fine when it’s Best Picture or Best Actress – but when you want to talk in depth about all the Documentary Short Subject nominees, people start to get annoyed.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams, The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech — Will win
Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit — Should win
Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

*Weaver’s nomination in this category baffles me. I saw so many, significantly better supporting actress performances in movies that were nominated in other categories, like Julianne Moore in The Kids Are All Right and Lesley Manville in Another Year.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christian Bale, The Fighter — Will win, Should win
John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone
Jeremy Renner, The Town
Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech

*Yes, Bale’s got some tough competition – Rush is always a power-house in awards season – but I expect this will finally be the year that Bale is recognized for his beautifully acted performance. And as this is his first nomination, the win might also be in part a recognition of all the previous work he’s done that he wasn’t nominated for, like American Psycho and The Machinist.

BEST ACTRESS
Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman, Black Swan — Will win, Should win
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

*This is an unpopular opinion – most people expect Natalie Portman to win here, but most people think Annette Bening should win instead. I thought Portman’s performance was terrifying and raw and incredibly truthful. The fact that I have said about Black Swan, “It’s a movie I’m glad I saw, and one that I never want to see again,” is testiment to her acting talent and how believable she was as a young woman going through a psychotic break. Which is exactly what that was — textbook.

BEST ACTOR
Javier Bardem, Biutiful
Jeff Bridges, True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Colin Firth, The King’s Speech — Will win, should win (I think)
James Franco, 127 Hours

*Ugh, I’m still undecided. This is a huge category to be undecided on, but I am. I adored Firth’s performance, and I completely believed his stutter, but Franco’s performance was the entirety of 127 hours and I couldn’t stop watching his emotional peaks and valleys – I even watched him cut off his arm – and it was engaging the whole time. But this is one of those few categories where I’ll be happy no matter who wins – unless Jeff Bridges wins. His Rooster was just The Dude on Cowboy Boots – no stretch there.

BEST DIRECTOR
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
Joel & Ethan Coen, True Grit
David Fincher, The Social Network — Should win
Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech — Will win
David O. Russell, The Fighter

*I really, really hope that I’m wrong about Hooper winning this. I want this year to be the year that breaks the Best Director/Best Picture standard – I want Fincher to win Best Director, but I don’t think The Social Network deserves Best Picture. But Oscar voters like what they like and it’s likely they’ll give both nods to The King’s Speech. If we’re really talking about who should win, my vote goes to Christopher Nolan for Inception. Stupid voters.

BEST PICTURE
127 Hours
Black Swan
The Fighter
Inception
The Kids Are All Right
The King’s Speech — Will win
The Social Network
Toy Story 3 — Should win
True Grit
Winter’s Bone

*I don’t care. I loved Toy Story 3 and not a single one of the other Best Picture nominees made me cry like Pixar’s film did. And I think that counts for something. Add in the fully-formed, complex characters, the plotline, and the amazing animation, and I was sold. I’m a sap, sue me. Also of note, Winter’s Bone was one of my favorite films this year, not to be missed.

BEST ANIMATED FILM
How to Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Toy Story 3 — Will win, Should win

*My only commentary here is about how disappointed I am that The Illusionist got nominated over Tangled and Despicable Me. I absolutely HATED The Illusionist; I was angry when I walked out, and including it over those other two was one of Oscar’s biggest snubs for me. Also I loved How to Train Your Dragon. I watched it twice.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Hors la Loi (Outside the Law) (Algeria)
Incendies (Canada) — Should win
In a Better World (Denmark)
Dogtooth (Greece)
Biutiful (Mexico) — Will win

*Biutiful is going to ride the publicity given to it’s Best Actor nominee, Javier Bardem, to the win, but Incendies was masterful and I encourage everyone to seek it out when it gets a wider release this spring. I was haunted by it for days, weeks, and I get very angry at people who didn’t try to understand it’s beauty because they were so horrified by the violence in the film. Even the violence was well-handled and I didn’t feel affronted by it. I will say – understanding that I haven’t seen Dogtooth yet – all of the nominees were incredibly strong and I loved all of them.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg, The Kids Are All Right — Will win
Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson, The Fighter
Mike Leigh, Another Year
Christopher Nolan, Inception — Should win
David Seidler, The King’s Speech

*This is going to have to suffice for Nolan – and I’m actually just guessing on what will win this category, so I hope they agree with me that he deserves a golden man for ANY part of creating Inception.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich, Toy Story 3
Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy, 127 Hours
Joel & Ethan Coen, True Grit — Will win
Debra Granik and Anne Roselini, Winter’s Bone
Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network – Should win

*I’m such an Aaron Sorkin fan that I have to root for The Social Network. His style is so distinctive, and in some places it’s well-suited, like in The West Wing and The Social Network. In some places, not so much, like Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. But I digress. True Grit will most likely win this because the Coen bros actually adapted from the book, not the movie that was adapted from the book. Smart move and also well-handled. I’m still rooting for Aaron though.

BEST ART DIRECTION
Alice in Wonderland
Happy Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1
Inception — Should win, will win
The King’s Speech
True Grit

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Black Swan — Should win
Inception
The King’s Speech — Will win
The Social Network
True Grit

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Alice in Wonderland — Should win, will win
I Am Love
The King’s Speech
The Tempest
True Grit

BEST DOCUMENTARY
Exit Through the Gift Shop
Gasland — Should win
Inside Job — Will win
Restrepo
Waste Land

*I was pretty impressed with every single one of this year’s documentary nominees, and I had a tough time making my picks. Each of these would be worthy of the win (except maybe Exit Through the Gift Shop – good movie, but I wasn’t entirely sure what point the filmmaker was trying to make – or who the filmmaker was).

BEST EDITING
127 Hours — Should win
Black Swan — Will win
The Fighter
The King’s Speech
The Social Network

BEST MAKEUP
Barney’s Version
The Way Back — Should win
The Wolfman — Will win

BEST SCORE
127 Hours — Should win
How to Train Your Dragon
Inception
The King’s Speech — Will win
The Social Network

BEST SONG
“Coming Home,” Country Strong
“I See the Light,” Tangled
“If I Rise,” 127 Hours
“We Belong Together,” Toy Story 3 — Should win, will win

BEST SOUND EDITING
Inception
Toy Story 3
TRON: Legacy
True Grit
Unstoppable

BEST SOUND MIXING
Inception
The King’s Speech
Salt
The Social Network
True Grit

*I’ll be honest, I have no clue what sound editing and sound mixing are. Or what makes a movie have good editing and mixing. So I’m not making any picks here.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1
Hereafter
Inception – Should win, will
Iron Man 2

*It would be a travesty if Inception doesn’t win this category. And great as the effects were in the rest of the movies, Inception was all about the effects.

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
Killing in the Name
Poster Girl
Strangers No More — Should win, will win
Sun Come Up
The Warriors of Qiugang

*I love all of these films but Strangers No More was the one that has stuck with me well after the fact.

BEST ANIMATED SHORT
Day & Night — Will win
The Gruffalo — Should win
Let’s Pollute
The Lost Thing
Madagascar, Carnet de Voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)

*Day & Night is a Pixar creation so there’s a good chance they’ve got it in the bag; however, The Gruffalo, based on a children’s book of the same name, was absolutely my favorite and the animation was fantastic.

BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT
The Confession — Should win, Will win
The Crush
God of Love
Na Wewe
Wish 143

*Again, all five of these movies were excellent, and to be honest, each of them has a good chance at winning, but The Confession was my favorite.

So there we go. I wrote most of this post before I’d seen all the movies I needed to, but this end part, I’m writing after seeing all 55 that I could. It’s been a commitment, that’s for sure, but I love all the fantastic films I’ve seen (and some of really odd ones too).

How about you? How many of the nominees did you see? Any big plans for the awards?

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