Oscar picks are to some, what track betting is to others. I have never made formal Oscar picks like this before, so it is very possible I could fall flat on my face. But nonetheless, I think this is a very interesting year where some films seem to have practically won already and others are still very much undecided. Most critics like to wait until the last minute to make their “official” picks, but for whatever reason I have decided against that. So here we go…
Actor in a Leading Role
• Javier Bardem in “Biutiful”
• Jeff Bridges in “True Grit”
• Jesse Eisenberg in “The Social Network”
• Colin Firth in “The King’s Speech”
• James Franco in “127 Hours”
The King’s Speech is highly favored this year to sweep the Oscars. Colin Firth’s performance has been heralded time and time again as being Oscar-worthy. Jesse Eisenberg is too new to win in the category and Jeff Bridges won last year. This will be the year that Mr. Firth wins his first Oscar.
Actor in a Supporting Role
• Christian Bale in “The Fighter”
• John Hawkes in “Winter’s Bone”
• Jeremy Renner in “The Town”
• Mark Ruffalo in “The Kids Are All Right”
• Geoffrey Rush in “The King’s Speech”
This category is essentially between Christian Bale and Geoffrey Rush, the others showed strong performances, but not nearly as great at these two. Geoffrey Rush may win, but my money is on Christian Bale. Bale has given a number of Oscar worthy performances in his relatively short career and since Mr. Rush already has an Oscar, I think it will be Christian Bale.
Actress in a Leading Role
• Annette Bening in “The Kids Are All Right”
• Nicole Kidman in “Rabbit Hole”
• Jennifer Lawrence in “Winter’s Bone”
• Natalie Portman in “Black Swan”
• Michelle Williams in “Blue Valentine”
This is one category that I think is pretty much already decided. Natalie Portman has the most buzz around her respective performance and while the other actresses are more than worthy, The Black Swan was also the most high profile of the films.
Actress in a Supporting Role
• Amy Adams in “The Fighter”
• Helena Bonham Carter in “The King’s Speech”
• Melissa Leo in “The Fighter”
• Hailee Steinfeld in “True Grit”
• Jacki Weaver in “Animal Kingdom”
Conventional thinking would say that Hailee Steinfeld would win this Oscar as this is the category that seems to like to honor young, up and coming starlets. But I would go as far to say that this award is more about honoring the underdog than age. Melissa Leo has been a working actor for 20+ years and I think the Academy will see her superior performance acknowledged with an Oscar.
Animated Feature Film
• “How to Train Your Dragon” Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois
• “The Illusionist” Sylvain Chomet
• “Toy Story 3” Lee Unkrich
Toy Story 3 will almost certainly win the Oscar for Animated Feature. It was better than Dragon, and will win over the more obscure Illusionist.
• “Alice in Wonderland” Production Design: Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara
• “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan
• “Inception” Production Design: Guy Hendrix Dyas; Set Decoration: Larry Dias and Doug Mowat
• “The King’s Speech” Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Judy Farr
• “True Grit” Production Design: Jess Gonchor; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh
I think this is one category is still up in the air. Alice in Wonderland has the most catching visuals, but its overall critical reception could hurt it from being known as an “Oscar winning film”. In my opinion, The King’s Speech or Inception could also easily win, but for some reason I think Wonderland will take home the statue.
• “Black Swan” Matthew Libatique
• “Inception” Wally Pfister
• “The King’s Speech” Danny Cohen
• “The Social Network” Jeff Cronenweth
• “True Grit” Roger Deakins
All of these films would be more than deserving of the award, but because True Grit will probably get snubbed in other categories, I think it will win this one. The cinematographer has also been nominated 9 times for this category and never won, so I guess you could say he’s due.
• “Alice in Wonderland” Colleen Atwood
• “I Am Love” Antonella Cannarozzi
• “The King’s Speech” Jenny Beavan
• “The Tempest” Sandy Powell
• “True Grit” Mary Zophres
Costume Design tends to love elaborate period pieces, so with that being said; I think The King’s Speech will easily take the Oscar.
• “Black Swan” Darren Aronofsky
• “The Fighter” David O. Russell
• “The King’s Speech” Tom Hooper
• “The Social Network” David Fincher
• “True Grit” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
When people talk about The King’s Speech, these are the categories they’re referring to. Directing is one of the “top” categories that hold the most bragging rights and with all the buzz around The King’s Speech, I think it will win.
• “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
I haven’t seen all of these movies, so this is more of a guess. But from what I understand, this category is pretty much between Inside Job and Restrepo. Inside Job is about Wall Street greed and Restrepo follows a platoon of soldiers in Afghanistan. I think this pick will boil down to what audiences care more about…that being the economy.
• “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
Film Editing is one of those categories that most people don’t really think about when they’re watching a movie. But The Social Network uses its edits so well that it manages to incorporate so much dialogue, on screen events and different locations that I think it will win.
Foreign Language Film
• “Biutiful” Mexico
• “Dogtooth” Greece
• “In a Better World” Denmark
• “Incendies” Canada
• “Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi)” Algeria
Because Biutiful is the most high profile movie on this list and that it stars an Oscar winning actor, it will probably win best Foreign Language Film. It is also an excellent film that relates well to American audiences and our love affair with the psychology of criminals.
• “Barney’s Version” Adrien Morot
• “The Way Back” Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng
• “The Wolfman” Rick Baker and Dave Elsey
Makeup is often a tossup that goes to the most high profile movie nominated. While The Wolfman was more high profile than The Way Back, it wasn’t nearly as good of a movie. The makeup in both is so different that it’s like comparing apples to oranges, but because The Way Back used makeup in a very visceral way and it is arguably the best movie overall on the list, I think it will win.
Music (Original Score)
• “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
I think The Academy will want to show some love to The Social Network on this one. It will also get some “cool” points by having Trent Reznor on stage. But even objectively, the score of The Social Network was amazingly good. It managed to relate to the story, identify with the time period and be ear catching all at the same time.
Music (Original Song)
• “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
Randy Newman became almost as popular as Buzz and Woody with the first Toy Story and considering his panache for creating extremely emotional songs, I think We Belong Together is the clear winner in this category.
• “Black Swan” Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver and Scott Franklin, Producers
• “The Fighter” David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Mark Wahlberg, Producers
• “Inception” Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers
• “The Kids Are All Right” Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Celine Rattray, Producers
• “The King’s Speech” Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin, Producers
• “127 Hours” Christian Colson, Danny Boyle and John Smithson, Producers
• “The Social Network” Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca and Ceán Chaffin, Producers
• “Toy Story 3” Darla K. Anderson, Producer
• “True Grit” Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
• “Winter’s Bone” Anne Rosellini and Alix Madigan-Yorkin, Producers
If you, the reader have enough interest in movies to look at Oscar picks, you’re probably aware that The King’s Speech is highly favored in this category. But the question is…why? The King’s Speech has the right combination of elements that The Academy loves to reward with their sought after golden statue. The King’s Speech is an English period biopic with elements of humor that showcases the talents of several Oscar worthy actors. Not to mention the technical aspects of this film are all superb as well.
• “Inception” Richard King
• “Toy Story 3” Tom Myers and Michael Silvers
• “Tron: Legacy” Gwendolyn Yates Whittle and Addison Teague
• “True Grit” Skip Lievsay and Craig Berkey
• “Unstoppable” Mark P. Stoeckinger
This pick may be a bit of wishful thinking, but I’m calling Tron for the upset. While Inception is favored in this category, I think the use of sound editing in the battle scenes of Tron alone make it worth this award.
• “Inception” Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo and Ed Novick
• “The King’s Speech” Paul Hamblin, Martin Jensen and John Midgley
• “Salt” Jeffrey J. Haboush, Greg P. Russell, Scott Millan and William Sarokin
• “The Social Network” Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick and Mark Weingarten
• “True Grit” Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland
Because I believe Tron will win in Sound Editing, I’m giving Sound Mixing to Inception. Its atmosphere of sound makes the fight scenes and dream states come alive with visceral reality.
• “Alice in Wonderland” Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas and Sean Phillips
• “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz and Nicolas Aithadi
• “Hereafter” Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojansky and Joe Farrell
• “Inception” Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb
• “Iron Man 2” Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright and Daniel Sudick
Much like the viewers at home, I think The Academy will see Inception’s folding city in their mind’s eye as they cast their ballots for Visual Effects. Few of its competitors can hold a candle to Inception’s countless examples of surreal anti-gravity eye candy.
Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
• “127 Hours” Screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy
• “The Social Network” Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin
• “Toy Story 3” Screenplay by Michael Arndt; Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich
• “True Grit” Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
• “Winter’s Bone” Adapted for the screen by Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini
Before it was released, many thought The Social Network was just a flailing attempt to capitalize on the Facebook phenomenon. What audiences got was a captivating story that infused razor sharp dialogue and a relentless plot that connected with audiences in a way that has since claimed to have captured a generation.
Writing (Original Screenplay)
• “Another Year” Written by Mike Leigh
• “The Fighter” Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson;
Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson
• “Inception” Written by Christopher Nolan
• “The Kids Are All Right” Written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg
• “The King’s Speech” Screenplay by David Seidler
Whenever a film is favored to win best picture it becomes highly likely that it will also win for writing. While based on a true story, The King’s Speech is a touching original screenplay that captures the audiences’ compassion for the underdog.
I figured the Shorts don’t really count since nobody watches them. It’s not like you can run out to your local theater or video store to check them out. But if you’re still curious about what’s up, here are the nominees.
Documentary (Short Subject)
• “Killing in the Name” Jed Rothstein
• “Poster Girl” Sara Nesson and Mitchell W. Block
• “Strangers No More” Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon
• “Sun Come Up” Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger
• “The Warriors of Qiugang” Ruby Yang and Thomas Lennon
Short Film (Animated)
• “Day & Night” Teddy Newton
• “The Gruffalo” Jakob Schuh and Max Lang
• “Let’s Pollute” Geefwee Boedoe
• “The Lost Thing” Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann
• “Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)” Bastien Dubois
Short Film (Live Action)
• “The Confession” Tanel Toom
• “The Crush” Michael Creagh
• “God of Love” Luke Matheny
• “Na Wewe” Ivan Goldschmidt
• “Wish 143” Ian Barnes and Samantha Waite
What do you think of my picks? Who do you think will win? Let us know in the comments section below.