Oscar Talk

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This year’s Oscars are extremely difficult to read. There are far less shoe-ins and far more wild cards. Ever year the experts make their guesses,  then wait and listen to buzz, then make their revised guesses. I won’t be doing any revised guesses on the count of no hollywood cocktail parties being on my slate for the next few weeks. So here’s some free flowing speculation.

Natalie Portman summons her inner swan.

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Annette Bening (The Kids are All Right)
Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole)
Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone)
Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine)

  • Who should win?

Natalie Portman is the obvious choice. Her performance in Swan is unlike anything she’s ever done, pushing the boundaries of her acting abilities. It certainly wasn’t what I expected to be seeingfrom her down the line when Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium was gracing theaters. So it’s a nice surprise, and one that deserves recognition. I wouldn’t mind Kidman winning, but it’s doubtful (and she has her 2002 win as consolation).

  • Who will win?

This is a slightly different story. Despite being nominated 4 times, Annette Bening has never won an oscar. As we saw last year with Jeff Bridges, this can be the determining factor in edging out one person over another. After all, Portman will have more time to churn out oscar winning performances than Bening will. The other player to worry about is Michelle Williams, whose Blue Valentine performance was eaten up by the Academy. I suspect Portman is still likely.

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

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

  • Who should win?

Colin Firth was absolutely robbed last year, despite his amazing performance in A Single Man. This year he hit back even harder, and his go as King George VI is worthy of taking top prize.

  • Who will win?

On account of Jeff Bridges’ win last year, he can safely be counted out. Jesse Eisenberg is a filler nomination. I think Firth’s biggest competition will come from James Franco, who not unlike Portman gave the best performance of a somewhat wishy-washy career and blew everyone out of the park. Jessie Eisenberg is sort of an underdog due to The Social Network not being a zany teenage comedy, but the character he played wasn’t that different from his usual bizarro Michael Cera persona. My money is still on Firth.

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams (The Fighter)
Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech)
Melissa Leo (The Fighter)
Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)
Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom)

  • Who should win?

Jacki Weaver’s portrayal as Janine Cody in Animal Kingdom was one of the most evil and delicious things I’ve ever seen. She was a magnetic force in that picture to the point where I found

Jackie Weaver plays a conniving matriarch in Australian crime drama "Animal Kingdom"

myself subconsciously waiting for her to return to the screen screen.  This is an Australian actress in an Australian picture and you’ll probably never see her again. It’s sad. And she really deserves the honor. But it’s a shame that they didn’t delay the film’s release until 2011, because 2010 is a year owned by Hailee Steinfeld.

Steinfeld was just 14 when she performed in True Grit, her first motion picture ever (under direction of the Coen brothers, no less) and held her own against heavyweights like Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges, and Josh Brolin. And considering that her character Mattie Ross is the principle in both the screenplay and the novel in which it’s based on, she really belongs in the “best actress” category. There was nothing “supporting” about this performance. In fact, it was the other way around. But she dominated.

  • Who will win?

Steinfeld. I’m pretty confident here. Melissa Leo is the only other performer who has seriously been buzzed about, but her golden globes should be enough. STOP BEING SO GODDAMN GREEDY, LEO.

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale (The Fighter)
John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone)
Jeremy Renner (The Town)
Mark Ruffalo (The Kids are All Right)
Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech)

  • Who should win?

Christian Bale should (and will) win. His turn as Dickie Eklung scored him his first nomination. He lost over 30 pounds, and visually transformed himself for the role. It’s interesting to see him take these roles in between phone-in efforts like Terminator Salvation. Geoffrey Rush is great, but outshone here. Mark Ruffalo and Jeremy Renner are the filler.

  • Who will win?

Bale’s biggest competition comes from John Hawkes’ portrayal of Teardrop in Winter’s Bone, the latter being a very subdued performance. Less people saw Bone, But it’s a great one. Still, Bale really pushed himself, and I think he’ll be rewarded.

Adapted Screenplay
127 Hours (Simon Beaufoy and Danny Boyle)
The Social Network (Aaron Sorkin)
Toy Story 3 (Michael Arndt, story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich)
True Grit (Joel Coen and Ethan Coen)
Winter’s Bone (Debra Granik and Anne Rossellini)

  • Who should win?

The Coen Brothers did an amazing job of adapting Charles Portis’ novel. Debra Granik, too, did a phenomenal job adapting Bone. God knows the Coens have enough wins under their belt. I think

I don't expect "Inception" to get the recognition it deserves.

Granik deserves to be recognized for her efforts here (she was snubbed in the director’s category).

  • Who will win?

The Academy loved Aaron Sorkin’s script for The Social Network, which garnered eight nominations and earns my proclamation of the year’s most overrated picture. I think he’ll get it, but I’m not

happy about that.

Original Screenplay
Another Year (Mike Leigh)
The Fighter (Paul Attanasio, Lewis Colich, Eric Johnson, Scott Silverand Paul Tamasy)
Inception (Christopher Nolan)
The Kids are All Right (Stuart Blumberg and Lisa Cholodenko)
The King’s Speech (David Seidler)

  • Who should win?

Christopher Nolan’s screenplay for Inception is so masterfully done that I still know people who are grappling with exactly what happened. It’s a rare, cerebral, summer blockbuster- written with a great deal of love and perspiration. It deserves to win (in several categories, actually). Inception’s huge box office intake could make it somewhat of a pariah, but that’s not fair.

  • Who will win?

This will be close. Mike Leigh has been nominated about 6 times and never won. They clearly love the guy. The question is whether they think these other contenders were better. Stuart Blumberg’s script for The Kids are All Right has garnered universal praise. I suspect it will be whittled down to David Seilder for Speech, and Blumberg.

Achievement in Directing
Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan)
David O. Russell (The Fighter)
Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech)
David Fincher (The Social Network)
Joel and Ethan Coen (True Grit)

  • Who should win?

This is the first nomination for both Aronofsky and Hooper, and both of their pictures have a tremendous amount of buzz. But so does Fincher’s. I really want the Coens to win. Yes, again. It’s that

Jeff Bridges and Haylee Steinfeld size up some bad guys in the Coen Brothers' "True Grit"

good. But in lieu of that, Aronofsky should take it home for his impressive work saving a lackluster script in Black Swan.

  • Who will win?

It’s sort of a grab bag here. I suspect Hooper may pull it out last minute.

Best Motion Picture
Black Swan
The Fighter
The Kids are All Right
The King’s Speech
The Social Network
The Town
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter’s Bone

  • What should win?

There are a lot of great contenders here, and many have very good chances of winning for different reasons. I would be happy with Inception (won’t happen), Black Swan, The King’s Speech, or True Grit winning. To me, they’re the most deserving.

  • What will win?

Probably a drama, ruling out Toy Story and The Kids are All Right. Probably not The Town. Its rare for the best director pick not to coincide with the best picture pick (it does happen, though). If my gut about Tom Hooper is correct, The King’s Speech will have gained enough momentum to win this thing. It’s important to note just how political this thing is. The academy has pushed digital film over the past few years, which may give an edge to “The Social Network.”

Written by Ryan

February 10th, 2011 at 11:07 am

Posted in Articles,Opinions

4 Responses to 'Oscar Talk'

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  1. Not big on award shows, but Inception was one of the best films I’ve seen in awhile. Toy Story 3 was also amazing, and my favorite Pixar film so far. Don’t have much of an opinion on specific awards though. Haven’t seen enough of these films, or films this year in general to really judge.


    10 Feb 11 at 3:16 pm

  2. Christopher Nolan being snubbed for best director was a monumental diss.

    If he gets best screenplay, it will be a sort of half-assed apology. But it won’t be enough. Inception is a masterpiece.

    Ryan Anderson

    11 Feb 11 at 7:17 pm

  3. It’s amazingly well written and directed. He took what was an insanely complicated story and made it quite easy to follow. Enough subtlety was left in though, to keep it from being too simplistic.

    That is a difficult line to walk with those kinds of stories, and he really pulled it off.


    12 Feb 11 at 12:32 am

  4. I can safely say I’m happy with all of this year’s nominations. I say this year after year, but 2010 was definitely a great year for movies. I would be unsurprised to see something win over something else.


    12 Feb 11 at 11:57 pm

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