Should win: Toy Story 3
Will win: The King's Speech
My Pixar bias is clearly showing (or maybe that's animation bias…How To Train Your Dragon was the second best movie I saw all year and clearly Dreamworks Animation's finest work.) If you look below at my other picks, you'd think I'd have The King's Speech as my "should win." It has all the ingredients I place high value on (screenplay, score, and cinematography) and has great acting on top of that. However, I still think TS3 was the best film of the year, maybe just because I grew up with the first two films, and because it is so well-written.
I'm not going to come in here and complain like I always do that the crop of movies this year really sucked. I was quite surprised that TS3 didn't pick up the Golden Globe nomination, seeing as how the slightly inferior Toy Story 2 actually won the damn thing, even beating Being John Malkovich.
As usual, we eliminate everything that wasn't nominated for film editing (127 Hours, Winter's Bone, Toy Story 3, True Grit, The Kids Are All Right) and we pick one from what's left. Black Swan is too bizarre, Inception was released too early, and The Fighter had good acting, but not much else. That leaves The King's Speech and The Social Network. And really, it's as close as I can ever remember it. So The Social Network possesses the Globe and the NBR award, along with most of the awards in the critics' circles, but The King's Speech has SAG, DGA, PGA, and BAFTA power behind it. While BAFTA is inherently biased toward the British films and have made some really screwy picks for Best Film over the years, the Producers' Guild has been on the same page as the Academy for the last three years and 14 of the last 20 years. Roger Ebert said it best: "A British historical drama about a brave man struggling to overcome a disability and then leading his people into World War II looks better to the academy than a cutting-edge portrait of hyperactive nerds." I'm going against the Vegas odds and leaving the 3:2 favourite on the table in exchange for the 5:2 film: The King's Speech.
Should win: Tom Hooper
Will win: David Fincher
Well, if I can't have Lee Unkrich, that makes it a tough call. I really wanted to pick Darren Aronofsky, just because of how much Black Swan scared the shit out of me. I pick Hooper because he has three actors in the film with legitimate shots of winning. But my prediction is that Fincher's name will be called. Maybe I'm just hedging my bets a little bit since I'm unsure of Best Picture. It has only happened three times in the last decade where a director won and their film lost. (Ang Lee, Roman Polanski, and Steven Soderbergh) Fincher winning wouldn't bother me at all…Fight Club is one of my favourite movies of all time. Still, the smart money is definitely on Hooper since he won the DGA.
Should win: Natalie Portman
Will win: Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman for that white hot lesbian scene. That's all I can say. Playing a dual personality role can be tricky, so she deserves it. I howled when Bening lost to Swank in 2000, denying American Beauty the Big 5, so I'd be happy if she got some redemption. But I do think Julianne Moore was better in Bening in The Kids Are All Right.
Should win: Colin Firth
Will win: Colin Firth
It's Firth's to lose, clearly. I dare say it was the finest male performance since Daniel Day Lewis in There Will Be Blood three years ago. James Franco overacted, nobody could understand Jeff Bridges, and nobody saw Biutiful. I could watch Firth's final speech scene over and over…it's hard to imagine being on the edge of my seat for five minutes of monologue, but that is exactly what happened. Potential upset is Jesse Eisenberg. He's not entirely undeserving, but he'll only win if it so happens that the Academy is heaping praise onto The Social Network. But I don't think they will.
Best Supporting Actress:
Should win: Hailee Steinfeld
Will win: Melissa Leo
I think the category is weak this year. Hailee Stanfield belongs in the leading category. Nobody saw Animal Kingdom. My pick for Leo is risky, because for some stupid reason, people nominated for the same film split the support, even though Amy Adams deserves no votes at all. Helena Bonham Carter was just kind of there…I think she was upstaged by Rush and Firth.
Best Supporting Actor:
Should win: Geoffrey Rush
Will win: Christian Bale
This is risky. I believe that the Academy may not vote for Bale because of his tirade against some poor cinematographer while filming Terminator: Salvation, but maybe I just think that because I don't like the guy. But I never let things like that get in the way. I'm partial to drug addict loser performances, although Bale's kind of weakened in the second act. I prefer scummy characters with no redeeming qualities. Geoffrey Rush could win…we know the Academy likes him. I think he benefitted from a great screenplay more than anything.
Best Original Screenplay:
Should win: The King's Speech
Will win: The King's Speech
I'd be really surprised to see anything else win. The Academy loves a biopic, and so do I. It's pretty tricky to write stammers into a screenplay…only the Coen Brothers do it better. David Seidler is a 73 year old guy who hasn't really written anything else, but looking at the other four nominees, I don't think he has anything to worry about.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Should win: Toy Story 3
Will win: The Social Network
I should note that my string of 15 consecutive correct predictions in the writing categories came crashing down last year, because for some stupid reason, I thought the academy would pick Up in the Air over Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire. So, time to start anew. Toy Story 3 has credibility as three of its four writers are past Oscar winners. Michael Arndt's screenplay for Little Miss Sunshine was one of the best in years so I'd be delighted if he were to win again. Unfortunately, there are three other all-star screenwriters nominated in this category (Aaron Sorkin and Ethan and Joel Coen.) The Coens have won twice, so maybe there's some upset potential here. But, if they couldn't beat The Hurt Locker with their script for A Serious Man then I don't know what.
Animated Feature: Toy Story 3
Art Direction: Alice in Wonderland
Cinematography: True Grit
Costume Design: Alice in Wonderland
Documentary Feature: Inside Job
Documentary Short Subject: The Warriors of Qiugang
Film Editing: The Social Network
Foreign Language Film: Incendies
Makeup: The Wolfman
Music (Original Score): The Social Network
Music (Original Song): "We Belong Together", from Toy Story 3
Short Film (Animated): Madagascar, Carnet de Voyage
Short Film (Live Action): God of Love
Sound Editing: Inception
Sound Mixing: The Social Network
Visual Effects: Inception