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Feb. 26, 2011

Oscar predictions 2010

by Eli Okun, Print Managing Op-Ed Editor and Ava Wallace, Online Editor-in-Chief
After what seems like an endless stream of red carpets and Natalie Portman's baby bump, awards season is finally coming to an end this Sunday as audiences everywhere will tune in to watch the 83rd annual Academy Awards. 2010 was a dream year for movie lovers; Hollywood cranked out flawlessly executed franchise hits, thrillers, love stories, dramas, westerns, charming animations and epics. But soon it will be time for the dream to end, for actors, directors and crews to accept their little golden statues and get back to work on making even more fantastic films for 2011.

Superstars James Franco (also nominated for Best Actor) and Anne Hathaway will be hosting this year's awards. Courtesy of reelmovienews.com
Superstars James Franco (also nominated for Best Actor) and Anne Hathaway will be hosting this year's awards.
But before then, we self-proclaimed movie snobs are here to keep the dream alive and tell you who's going to win the biggest awards on Sunday. Stay tuned, Blazers - this is going to be an Oscar night worth watching.

Best Picture
And the nominees are... “Black Swan,” “The Fighter,” “Inception,” “The Kids Are All Right,” "The King's Speech," “127 Hours,” “The Social Network,” “Toy Story 3,” “True Grit,” “Winter’s Bone”

Ava says:
Will win: “The King’s Speech”
Should win: “The Social Network”
America's Anglophilia proves to be worse than ever as critics throughout the country continuously shower "The King's Speech" with awards and nominations. The Academy will be no different. The film is supposedly the most moving in the category – though personally, nothing brought me to tears more than the headache I endured throughout "Inception" – and definitely has all of the carefully contrived elements that The Oscars generally look for. "King's Speech" was fascinating and emotional, yes, but honestly, movies like "127 Hours" and "The Fighter" are better and more creative examples of a heartwarming, Oscar-deserving triumph. Nonetheless, it's "The Social Network," with its epic drama, marvelous characters and ultimate relevance, that deserves the statue.

Eli says:
After a slew of awards already this season, the emotional "The King's Speech" is the favorite for Best Picture. Courtesy of kingsspeech.com
After a slew of awards already this season, the emotional "The King's Speech" is the favorite for Best Picture.

Will win: “The Fighter”
Should win: “The Fighter”
Most in the press have cast this race as a battle between head and heart, with the crowd-pleasing British royalty film, “The King’s Speech,” snatching the lead in recent weeks from the chilly, cerebral Facebook epic (and critical favorite), “The Social Network.” But I’ll go out on a limb and say that Academy voters might split the difference and go for the underdog boxing movie that’s intelligent and emotional: “The Fighter.” Would it be one of the greatest upsets in Oscar history? Sure, but the movie’s been gathering steam lately, and these guesses aren't for money. Besides, I don’t believe in predictions without risk.

Best Director
And the nominees are... Darren Aronofsky, “Black Swan”; Joel and Ethan Coen, “True Grit”; David Fincher, “The Social Network"; Tom Hooper, “The King’s Speech”; David O. Russell, “The Fighter”

Ava says:
Will win: David Fincher, “The Social Network”
Should win: Darren Aronofsky, “Black Swan”
All five directors in this category are geniuses who were involved in seriously great movies this year, but it takes a special kind of genius to pull off the crazy that was "Black Swan." But I'm guessing that the Academy will decide that Darren Aronofsky's piece was too edgy and instead turn to the extremely popular David Fincher just so that "The Social Network" doesn't get left high and dry at the awards this year.
"The Social Network" director David Fincher already picked up the Best Director award at the Golden Globes this year. Courtesy of guardian.co.uk
"The Social Network" director David Fincher already picked up the Best Director award at the Golden Globes this year.

Eli says:
Will win: David Fincher, “The Social Network”
Should win: Darren Aronofsky, “Black Swan”
Although many Oscar prognosticators have set aside “The King’s Speech” as a shoo-in for the top prize, Best Director is a bit trickier to predict. That’s primarily because David Fincher is well liked and “The Social Network” is a clear directorial showcase; “Speech’s” Tom Hooper, on the other hand, is a relative newcomer with a stately, more traditional film. And if voters loved “Speech” but admired “Social,” this is the most obvious place to convey their respect. This is close, though.

Best Actor
And the nominees are... Javier Bardem, "Biutiful"; Jeff Bridges, "True Grit"; Jesse Eisenberg, "The Social Network"; Colin Firth, "The King's Speech"; James Franco, "127 Hours"

Ava says:
Will win: Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech”
Should win:Javier Bardem, “Biutiful”
I have no doubt that the Academy will reward Colin Firth, a well-respected man (though I don't know if he's who The Kinks had in mind) among his peers and a veteran of high-grossing and highly praised films, will go home with an Oscar on Sunday night. Firth admittedly did a bang-up job portraying the almost unbelievable pressure that King George VI felt in a realistic and even relatable manner, and to be frank the other nominees won't come close. Despite Firth's inevitable win, I would love to see dark horse Javier Bardem steal the statue (not literally. Though actually, I would love to see that too), as long as he leaves his serial killer hair behind.

Eli says:
Thank goodness Javier Bardem's nominated role this year didn't require a bowl cut. Courtesy of movietrailerbuzzard.com
Thank goodness Javier Bardem's nominated role this year didn't require a bowl cut.

Will win: Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech”
Should win: James Franco, “127 Hours”
This is the easiest of any category to predict. Colin Firth delivered a powerful, showy performance (with a disability to boot!) and then steamrolled through awards season. And it’s a reasonable opportunity to reward Firth for his more nuanced characterization in 2009’s “A Single Man.” None of the other nominees – from James Franco’s now-this-is-acting naturalistic “127 Hours” turn to reigning champion Jeff Bridges’ gruff Rooster Cogburn in “True Grit” – really stands a chance.

Best Actress
And the nominees are... Annette Bening, "The Kids Are All Right"; Nicole Kidman, "Rabbit Hole"; Jennifer Lawrence, "Winter's Bone"; Natalie Portman, "Black Swan"; Michelle Williams, "Blue Valentine"

Ava says:
Will win: Natalie Portman, “Black Swan”
Should win: Michelle Williams, “Blue Valentine”
Natalie Portman, in addition to being in about 7,000 movies this year, is working the heck out of her baby bump – as if to remind all Academy members that she is sweet and innocent and (literally) full of life and isn't it impressive how she can act so destructive and demonic and scary? Girlfriend wants that Oscar. Though Portman's greatest competition is the more subtle Annette Bening, I'm betting that the former's disturbed ballerina beats out the latter's conflicted, if "alternative," wife.
After becoming spookily skinny for her role in Black Swan, Natalie Portman's been making headlines lately because of her pregnancy (and acting chops, we guess). Courtesy of guardian.co.uk
After becoming spookily skinny for her role in Black Swan, Natalie Portman's been making headlines lately because of her pregnancy (and acting chops, we guess).


Eli says:
Will win: Natalie Portman, “Black Swan”
Should win: Jennifer Lawrence, “Winter’s Bone”
For her demented, deceiving turn in “Black Swan,” Natalie Portman spent half a year in ballet and fitness training. Her ride through the critical circuit has lasted nearly as long, and along the way she’s acquired a fiancée, a baby bump and a slew of additions to her mantelpiece. Nonetheless, the Academy plainly loved the film less than expected (it’s the only Best Picture nominee to miss out on a screenplay nod), and the “it’s her time” campaign for veteran Annette Bening in “The Kids Are All Right” has held up well. It’s unlikely that she can reverse the frontrunner’s momentum now, though.

Best Supporting Actor
And the nominees are... 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"

Ava says:
Will win: Christian Bale, “The Fighter”
Should win: Christian Bale, “The Fighter”
If Christian Bale gets snubbed for this Oscar, something is seriously wrong with the Academy. Bale played his strung-out yet charming character so impeccably that I shrieked with glee when the real-life man whom Bale was mimicking came on screen at the end of "The Fighter" – you can barely tell the two apart! Geoffrey Rush is the other big contender in this category, but even Rush's best acting can't hold a candle to Bale's undeniable commitment.
Christian Bale's portrayal of a washed-up, strung-out boxer (Mark Wahlberg's on-screen brother) past his prime was easily the most impressive of the year. Courtesy of ifc.com
Christian Bale's portrayal of a washed-up, strung-out boxer (Mark Wahlberg's on-screen brother) past his prime was easily the most impressive of the year.

Eli says:
Will win: Christian Bale, “The Fighter”
Should win: Christian Bale, “The Fighter”
Method actor Christian Bale was generally considered one of the best working actors never to receive an Oscar nomination – until his neurotic, jittery performance as a delusional crack addict way past his glory days scored a nod last month. His on-screen power and off-screen plaudits are undeniable, but those who foresee a “King’s Speech” sweep think Geoffrey Rush has an outside shot at an upset. For Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner and John Hawkes, it seems, the nomination is the reward.

Best Supporting Actress
And the nominees are... Amy Adams, "The Fighter"; Helena Bonham Carter, "The Kids Are All Right"; Melissa Leo, "The Fighter"; Hailee Steinfeld, "True Grit"; Jacki Weaver "Animal Kingdom"

Ava says:
Will win: Amy Adams, “The Fighter”
Should win: Melissa Leo, “The Fighter”
Melissa Leo: the cautionary tale. Because of Leo's distasteful advertisements prior to the Oscars, she may just lose the statue. Courtesy of gofugyourself.com
Melissa Leo: the cautionary tale. Because of Leo's distasteful advertisements prior to the Oscars, she may just lose the statue.

Some genuinely great women were nominated this year, and I was pleasantly surprised that the Academy recognized Jacki Weaver's lesser-known but equally as admirable acting in "Animal Kingdom." A month ago I would have said that Melissa Leo was a shoo-in for the award, but she's taken the oddball route of late (overly-teary acceptance speeches, personalized "For Your Consideration" posters), and I wouldn't be surprised if Amy Adams got the statue instead. Both were fundamental roles in the exquisite family drama in "The Fighter," though Leo was often the cog that held the cast together. Nonetheless, the Academy runs on politics more often than not. I say that voters turn to the more likable Adams.

Eli says:
Will win: Hailee Steinfeld, “True Grit”
Should win: Amy Adams, “The Fighter”
Here is by far the most intriguing of the major categories. Melissa Leo seemed poised to capitalize on a streak of awards for her deliciously over-the-top role as the protective mother hen of “The Fighter,” but a tasteless rush of ads over the past few weeks that dressed her in fur coats under the gleaming word “CONSIDER” may have stirred a backlash. If so, “Fighter” fans may go for the more deserving Amy Adams, or voters could turn to the Coen brothers’ spunky 14-year-old find, Hailee Steinfeld. Helena Bonham Carter might sneak in, but she delivered such a non-performance in “The King’s Speech” that I can’t bring myself to predict her.



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  • let's get it (View Email) on February 26, 2011 at 2:20 PM
    Colin and Nat all the wayyy
  • j on February 26, 2011 at 6:14 PM
    Ava and Eli should host the Oscars next year. No duo will ever that of Hathaway/Franco.
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