2011 Oscar Predictions À gogo!

Sunday, February 27, 2011
By james.cooper

"The Social Network"

[update] 10:07a.m. the hangover wears off.  my oscar ballot predictions 13-24.  that’ll show me to ever bet against “the king’s speech” or movies with accents ever again.

[update] 10:40 holy rusted metal, batman!  this oscars feels like a really dumbed down version of the regular oscars (which is saying quite a bit considering the hugh jackman dance numbers last year…).

so, it looks like the oscars couldn’t help themselves but do what they always do:  go old school.  thus, the night ends with “the king’s speech” winning best picture (kudos to the marketing campaign efforts of harvey weinstein).  one day, the oscar voters will watch different movies…

[update] 10:36 best picture goes to “the king’s speech.”  or, as my friend, kim, so eloquently described the academy’s voting habits, “fucking old people.”

[update] 10:26 natalie portman and colin firth.  who knew…

[update] 10:05 tom hooper finds his next film and the best director award for “the king’s speech.”  listen to your mother, i guess.  (maybe they’re still mad at you for “the curious case of benjamin button,” mr. fincher…)

[update] 9:52  the nineties return.  celine dion takes to the oscar stage.  jerry springer, where art thou?

[update] 9:27 finally.  billion-time oscar former host billy crystals!

[update] 9:19 oscar just got all young twentysomething on us with its ‘autotunes the movies’ bit.  that ‘twilight’ riff was funny, though.  what a silly, silly film…

[update] 9:16 craft services and nyu film grad school shout out from the live action short winner!

[update] 9:07 original song performances.  mute.  play the suburbs’ new album, “arcade fire.”  commercial break.

[update] why would i ever bet against colleen atwood?  ever.  costume design fail.

[update] 8:57 horror goes to oscars.  the wolfman wins best makeup.

[update] 8:45 oscar winner, trent reznor.  was that a matt mcconaughey pot joke?  really?  one shot…

[update] 8:39 realize should have come up with drinking game for number of unnecessary hugh jackman references.  and why do i feel like i’m back in my undergrad days watching this film history 101 nonsense?  movies weren’t always silent, you know…

[update] 8:19 aaron sorkin wins; i can dig it.  ”the king’s speech” wins best original screenplay.  why not?  the acceptance speech seems charming enough.  le sigh for “the kids are all right.”

[update] 8:01 the first cussing of the night.  thanks, melissa.  and justin timberlake is banksy.  i like it.

[update] 7:47 barely two minutes later, wally pfister wins for best cinematography and makes my predictions 0-2 before the first commercial break.  whatevs.  pfister deserved it.

[update] 7:45 either way, helena bonham carter is a winner (even if i’m not on this category)

[update] 7: 38  not fair, james franco and anne hathaway.  i want to be in “back to the future part II”

******

All pretense aside, the actual program known as the Academy Awards has devolved over the decades into something of a cruel inside joke, an annual awards show that long ago abandoned consistent consideration of cinematic artistic achievement in favor of the internal politics of the Academy’s roughly 6,000 voting members who decide who wins what each year.

Year after year, we fans of cinema delude ourselves into thinking that these voting members a) watch most of the films eligible for consideration b) ever even glanced at that screener of Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s spellbinding Biutiful or saw Javier Bardem’s equally spellbinding performance in the film or c) didn’t long ago check the box for The King’s Speech or whatever period film with the most fancy period costumes and the words “Oscar bait” written across it.

Still, for every Crash over Brokeback Mountain, Dances With Wolves over Goodfellas, or Denzel Washington winning Best Actor for Training Day instead of Glory or Malcom X, the Academy has a penchant for surprises, for occasionally considering these films and performances in them as works of art rather than the result of  persistent internal politicking and external marketing and campaigning.

Thus, Adrian Brody trumps favorites Jack Nicholson and Nicholas Cage, winning the Best Actor statue for The Piano, or Eminem wins Best Original Song for “Lose Yourself.”

So, it seems reasonable to make some Oscar predictions— to guess at what the Academy might do tonight, to huff and puff about what they should do, and to scream and shout about what they end up doing.

What follows, then, is just that.  Expect some live-blogging throughout the night.  And, for the one person paying attention to what I have to say, feel free to leave your own predictions, preferences, and rants in the comment space below.

Best Picture

will win:  The Social Network

should win:  The Social Network

winner:  The King’s Speech

***I know “The King’s Speech” is where all the buzz is tonight and that it is a rare day for a film to sweep the SGA, the DGA and the PGA and not win Best Picture at the Oscars but everyone loves a last-minute backlash.  Either way, “The Social Network” is the better film and the film we’ll likely be talking about years from now.  That, and “Black Swan” is better than “The King’s Speech.”  Bam!  I said it…

Best Director

will win:  David Fincher (The Social Network)

should win:  Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan)

winner:  Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech)

David Fincher directed the better film.  Darren Aronofsky’s direction is the best direction this year but Aronofsky is quickly becoming the David Lynch in this category (i.e. “we love your work but we’re not sure we get it, so…”).  ”The King’s Speech” may sweep but, if it does, it changes little.

Best Actor

will win:  Colin Firth (The King’s Speech)

should win:  Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network)

winner:  Colin Firth (The King’s Speech)

Colin Firth was way better in director Tom Ford’s “A Single Man” last year.  Thus, the Academy will do what it does best:  award someone with an Oscar they deserved for earlier work (see Scorsese, Martin or Washington, Denzel).  Jesse deserves it.

Best Actress

will win:  Natalie Portman (Black Swan)

should win:  Natalie Portman (Black Swan)

winner:  Natalie Portman (Black Swan)

Years from now, undergraduate film students will study Ms. Portman’s performance in Aronofsky’s “Black Swan” the way they once did Marlena Dietrich’s in Josef Von Sternberg’s 1932 film, “Blonde Venus.”  She is that good.  Annette Bening and Jennifer Lawrence surely deserve some runner-up accolades.

Best Supporting Actor

will win:  Christian Bale (The Fighter)

should win:  Christian Bale (The Fighter)

winner:  Christian Bale (The Fighter)

“The Fighter,” while predictable and predictably sentimental, is as good as it is because of Mr. Bale and Mark Wahlberg’s performances.  Bale deserves the award and we deserve whatever wacky speech he delivers in accepting it.

Best Supporting Actress

will win:  Melissa Leo (The Fighter)

should win:  Melissa Leo (The Fighter)

winner:  Melissa Leo (The Fighter)

Everyone’s favorite toss-up category!  Ms. Leo and Ms. Adams deliver the best performances; Hailee Steinfeld or Helena Bonham Carter are likely spoilers.

Best Documentary

will win:  Inside Job winner

should win:  Banksy for “Exit through the Gift Shop.”  Sure, “Inside Job” is the better film but don’t we all want to see Banksy do his Banksy thing on stage?

Animated Feature Film:  Toy Story 3 winner

Art Direction:  The King’s Speech winner:  Alice in Wonderland

Sound Editing:  Inception winner

Sound Mixing:  Inception winner

Visual Effects:  Inception winner

Adapted Screenplay:  Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network) winner

Original Screenplay:  Lisa Cholondenko (The Kids Are All Right) winner:  The King’s Speech

***will The King’s Speech roll to victory here?

Cinematography:  Roger Deakins (True Grit) winner Wally Pfister

***Though, to be honest, why not Inception’s Wally Pfister?  And, if The King’s Speech should win this category, all bets are off.

Costume Design:  The King’s Speech winner Alice in Wonderland

Documentary Short:  The Warriors of Quigang winner Strangers No More

Film Editing:  The Social Network winner

Foreign Language Film:  Biutiful winner In a Better World

Music (Original Score):  The Social Network winner

Music (Original Song):  Randy Newman (Toy Story 3) winner

Makeup:  Barney’s Song winner The Wolfman

Animated Short:  Day and Night winner The Lost Thing

Live-Action Short:  Na Wewe winner God of Love

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