Greetings again from the darkness. Since I jumped on the soapbox in my intro for last year’s Oscar Predictions, I shall remain firmly planted on the ground for this year’s edition. I do love movies and I have a real affinity for the Academy Awards … despite the fact that many/most winners will not be aligned with my personal preference. No matter – it’s a glamorous event dedicated to an art form I appreciate.
With Anne Hathaway and James Franco entrusted to host the show, I believe it is the first time that a Lead Actor nominee will serve as host in the same year as their nomination. It will be interesting to see what they do with Mr. Franco (127 Hours) during the presentation of his category. These two young actors are immensely and diversely talented, and should bring a refreshing edge to the show.
Now for my disclaimer: Over the past 21 years, I have quite an impressive track record of predicting the winners. However, this year, I am at a loss as to who and what are the real front-runners in some of the big categories. The “warm-up” awards events have varied widely and provide very little hint as to what Academy voters have decided. Below, I have recapped the main categories and offered up my predictions as well as my preferences. I have (mostly) resisted the urge to comment if my true preference did not even receive a nomination (aka, snub). So following are my best guesses …. Let me know yours! (I apologize for the formatting issues)
BEST PICTURE – It would be no shocker if the evening turned into a sweep for either The King’s Speech or The Social Network. Since I am hanging my hat on the stuttering King, my sterling record will be trashed if the Facebook movie gets on a roll.
PREDICTION: The King’s Speech – very well made historical and personal drama
PREFERENCE: Toy Story 3 – no chance of a win in this category, but it deserves to be here and was my favorite movie of 2010.
PREDICTION: David Fincher (The Social Network) –I am predicting an Oscar rarity: Best Director will not have directed the Best Picture.
PREFERENCE: Darren Aronfsky (Black Swan) – since Christopher Nolan was snubbed, my meaningless vote would go to the creative force behind my number 2 movie of 2010
PREDICTION and PREFERENCE: Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) – not the strongest year for this category but Mr. Firth is deservedly a heavy favorite.
PREDICTION: Natalie Portman (Black Swan) – Annette Bening could slip in, but I hope not. Last year was bad enough when media darling Sandra Bullock stole the prize from the great Meryl Streep.
PREFERENCE: Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) – no chance to win, but easily my favorite lead actress performance of 2010. Plus, she knows how to properly prepare squirrel stew!
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
PREDICTION: Christian Bale (The Fighter) – very close race between he and Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech). Not sure Mr. Rush received enough credit for providing much of the interest and entertainment value for his movie.
PREFERENCE: John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone) – Bale and Rush were superb, but Mr. Hawkes was incredible as the mysterious uncle who was both friend and foe.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – my favorite category this year!
PREDICTION: Melissa Leo (The Fighter) – it could be argued that Amy Adams gave a better performance, but Ms. Leo’s character best exemplified Micky Ward’s plight.
PREFERENCE: I struggle with this because Hailee Steinfeld was remarkable in True Grit, but I consider it to be a Lead role. As for true supporting expertise, Jacki Weaver in the little seen Animal Kingdom was the most frightening onscreen mother since Faye Dunaway wielded a coat hanger!
PREDICTION and PREFERENCE: Toy Story 3. All three nominations are strong, but TS3 is the best movie of the year, animated or not.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
PREDICTION: In a Better World (Denmark) – seems to be the lead horse by winning some early awards.
PREFERENCE: This is a very frustrating category for me this year since I have only seen Biutiful (Mexico). As often occurs, most of the films in this category will obtain limited U.S. distribution later this year.
PREDICTION: The King’s Speech by David Seidler
PREFERENCE: Inception by Christopher Nolan
PREDICTION: The Social Network – by Aaron Sorkin (slam dunk)
PREFERENCE: Toy Story 3 – actually an original story with familiar characters
PREDICTION: True Grit, Roger Deakins – a mild upset
PREFERENCE: Black Swan, Matthew Libatique – the onstage dancing was brilliantly shot
PREDICTION: The King’s Speech
PREFERENCE: I Am Love – the fabrics and colors compliment the setting
ANIMATED SHORT FILM
PREDICTION and PREFERENCE: Day & Night – not winning would be due to Pixar backlash
LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
PREDICTION: Wish 143
PREFERENCE: The Crush
PREDICTION: The Social Network – Trent Reznor onstage at the Oscars!
PREFERENCE: Inception – startling piece by Hans Zimmer
PREDICTION and PREFERENCE: “We Belong Together” (Toy Story 3) Dear Academy: please don’t subject us to Gwyneth Paltrow singing that dang Country Strong song.
PREDICTION AND PREFERENCE – This is a very strong category full of work that deserves to win. The only thing that would eclipse Trent Reznor onstage at the Oscars would be an appearance by the reclusive Banksy should his film Exit Through the Gift Shop win. If I must predict a winner, I’ll go with Restrepo, but it could be that Academy voters are just as intrigued by Bansky as I am.
If you would like to see my Best of 2010 list:
If you would like to see my recap of the Nominated Shorts: