Final Oscar Predictions 2011
2010 may not have been a memorable year for movies, but there's no denying the level of mystery that surrounds the 83rd Annual Academy Awards. Sure, some categories have been sewn up for months (Actor, Animated Feature, Visual Effects), but several still leave the possibility for upsets open, including Best Picture.
That alone should draw viewers Sunday night (or, at the very least, devoted awards watchers).
Below I've provided my set of predictions for all 24 categories. It's always nice to win, but this year especially, as the prizes for the 9th Annual Family Oscar Ceremony include a handsome trophy, along with the Inception Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy combo pack (that also comes with a shooting script). Two good reasons to consider every category carefully.
BEST PICTURE: The King's Speech
Although it had the momentum for the earlier part of the awards season race, unfortunately, The Social Network seems to have peaked too early. Word is that AMPAS members loved Speech, and given its recent wins at the Screen Actors Guild, the Producers Guild and, most importantly, the Directors Guild, it looks like Tom Hooper's drama started picking up the right accolades at exactly the right moment.
DIRECTOR: David Fincher (The Social Network)
Many believe that, given his win at the DGAs, Hooper is the one to beat here. But several things work in Fincher's favor. He's revered by his peers (and even a few of those who didn't gush over the film feel he deserves it more). He won this award at the BAFTAs, a ceremony that should have been a cakewalk for British-born Hooper. Additionally, there's something else to consider: when was the last time there was a Picture-director mismatch? Five years ago? Sounds like we're do for another one.
ACTOR: Colin Firth (The King's Speech)
It's funny how both Firth and Jeff Bridges are right back where they were around this time last year, although the results will be different. Truthfully, Firth has no competition. This is one category that's expected to go exactly as everyone thinks it will, and nothing has happened since awards season kicked off to suggest any other kind of outcome.
ACTRESS: Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
Earlier in the year, it looked like Best Actress would come right down to the wire between Portman and the long overdue Annette Bening. That's still a possibility, but only slightly. Portman's well-liked in the industry, she's charmed everyone with her pleasant speeches, and when it comes down to it, she gave the better performance in the better film.
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christian Bale (The Fighter)
Geoffrey Rush's win at the BAFTAs has a few awards pundits scratching their heads over who will walk away with the trophy in this category. Rush did give a great performance, and a win here certainly is within the realm of possibility, but he's already got his Oscar for Shine. Plus, Bale has too much momentum in his favor, and he turns in the flashier performance, which helps him a lot. Ruminate over this: how cool would it be for Batman and the Joker to win in the exact same category just two years apart?
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Melissa Leo (The Fighter)
Leo's controversial campaign to express how much she wanted to win an award didn't go over well. Many saw it as an act of desperation. While her chances are effected as a result, she still turned in the most outstanding supporting female performance. One could also argue that she deserved a trophy two years prior for her performance in Frozen River. Academy members may feel they owe it to her to reward her now.
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: The King's Speech
This should be a relatively easy victory for Speech writer David Seidler, given the film's current frontrunner status. Inception and The Kids Are All Right both have an outside chance of winning, but don't bet on it. Nolan didn't win here even when he was the frontrunner nine years ago for Memento, and the buzz around Kids has all but evaporated completely.
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: The Social Network
As of now, this is the only category The Social Network is guaranteed to win. Some feel that declaring the Adapted Screenplay race over may be a bit of a misstep (see last year's sure thing, Up in the Air, losing to Precious), but you can take this to the bank: Aaron Sorkin will finally win his first Academy Award on Sunday night.
ANIMATED FEATURE: Toy Story 3
Another sure thing. Perhaps in an attempt to keep things interesting, a few experts are making the case for How To Train Your Dragon, which performed well at the Annie Awards. But no matter how many accolades it picked up there, Toy Story 3 has two big things working in its favor: it was the highest-grossing film of 2010, and it's the only film in this category that's also nominated for Best Picture.
ART DIRECTION - SET DECORATION: Inception
Several other pundits think The King's Speech'smonumental buzz will see it sweep through many technical categories, including this one. But the film's production design was nowhere near as impressive as the sets built for Inception and Alice in Wonderland. Burton's films have a good track record in this category (Batman, Sleepy Hollow, Sweeney Todd), but all of the aforementioned were not as poorly received by critics as Alice. The advantage goes to Inception.
CINEMATOGRAPHY: True Grit
The good news is that one overdue cinematographer is going to win (either Inception's Wally Pfister, or True Grit's Roger Deakins). It's a tough race to call. Pfister recently won the American Society of Cinematographers award (but that doesn't always guarantee a win, as was the case last year). In the end, Deakins is more overdue, and since Inception is likely to win a few other trophies in other areas, this is one place where True Grit could pull off a victory.
COSTUME DESIGN: Alice in Wonderland
Aside from Colleen Atwood's colorful designs, what other nominee has the potential to win? No other nominated film presented costumes that popped quite as vividly as those seen in Wonderland, except for maybe The Tempest. This is another area where The King's Speech could win not because it deserves to, but due to the fact that members of the Academy ate it up.
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: Inside Job
This is one of the hardest races to call. From the very beginning, the general consensus was that 2010 was a great year for documentaries, and the nominated films prove that to be true. Except for GasLand, which was good but doesn't have the staying power to win, any of the others could win. Inside Job has been the frontrunner for some time now, but both Exit Through the Gift Shop and Restrepo are outstanding choices. Additionally, buzz for Waste Land suggests the impact of what happens stays with you long after the credits roll.
DOCUMENTARY SHORT: The Warriors of Quigang
I didn't see any of the shorts, only extremely brief clips (approximately 30 seconds or so). Because of this, it's a bit of a crapshoot. Nevertheless, based on what was seen and what's been heard, the winner sounds like it will come down to either Warriors or Strangers No More. Given the serious subject matter around Warriors, I put it out in front, but only by a small margin.
FILM EDITING: The Social Network
Truthfully, the film that should have been a threat to win this isn't even nominated (Inception). Nevertheless, The Social Network makes for an adequate substitute. 127 Hours and The King's Speech are viable options, but neither benefited from an editing team that managed to put scenes together as seamlessly as Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: In A Better World
In A Better World feels like the safest bet. The Golden Globe win helps, and it has a polished look to it that's reminiscent of 2002's winner Nowhere in Africa. Incendies is the biggest threat, although Biutiful has a powerhouse performance by Javier Bardem it can rely on. That entry, however, is a little too bleak to win. It'd be nice to see Dogtooth pull off a surprise victory, but don't hold your breath on that one.
MAKEUP: The Wolfman
Rick Baker has proven time and time again that when it comes to makeup, he's a force to be reckoned with at the Oscars, having won six statues in the past (Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Men In Black, The Nutty Professor, Ed Wood, Harry and the Hendersons, An American Werewolf in London). Plus, he has zero competition this year. Mr. Baker should expect to earn his seventh trophy.
MUSIC SCORE: The King's Speech
Discounting How To Train Your Dragon, this is another area that's up for grabs. The Social Network has the Critics Choice and Golden Globe awards to its credit, but for some reason, this doesn't feel like a category it can win. Aside from the fact that Hans Zimmer and A.R. Rahman have already won before, Alexandre Desplat is due, and he managed to compose a pleasant score Oscar voters are unlikely to overlook.
ORIGINAL SONG: "We Belong Together" (Toy Story 3)
Country Strong should be happy with the nomination. 127 Hours doesn't have the kick to it a winning song needs. That means a lyricist that's already won in the past is likely to win again. Alan Menken's "I See the Light" (Tangled) is okay, but it's got nothing on Randy Newman's extremely catchy "We Belong Together."
SHORT FILM (Animated): Madagascar, Carnet de Voyage
The general consensus is that The Gruffalo definitely won't win, but that doesn't really make predicting the winner that much easier. It does help, however, if the animation is constructed in a creative way (a la last year's winner Logorama). For that reason, the slight edge goes to the visually impressive Madagascar short film, although Day & Night and Let's Pollute! seem like viable candidates as well.
SHORT FILM (Live Action): Wish 143
This is another tough call. God of Love's endearing humor had it in the frontrunner status for a while, then Ma Wewe's subject matter bumped it off. Now, word is that Wish 143 is incredibly well-liked, and anytime a film (short or feature-length) puts a subject matter like cancer in the forefront, and it manages to move people as well as make them laugh, you have to take notice.
SOUND EDITING: Inception
This should be a cakewalk for Inception. The only other threat for the win is probably Tron: Legacy, and that's a long shot, considering the mixed reception the film received (evidenced by its failure to secure nominations in Sound Mixing and Visual Effects).
SOUND MIXING: Inception
Common sense would tell you that Inception should win here, too, but this one isn't as locked up. Although True Grit won at the Cinema Audio Society, it's not the biggest threat for the win. The Academy has a thing for rewarding films that incorporate microphones (Chicago, Dreamgirls, Ray), which puts The King's Speech in prime position. If it wins here, it's an early sign of a big night for Tom Hooper and company.
VISUAL EFFECTS: Inception
Should be an easy win for Inception.
Predicted Winners Tally:
- 4 Wins: INCEPTION; THE KING'S SPEECH
- 3 Wins: THE SOCIAL NETWORK
- 2 Wins: THE FIGHTER; TOY STORY 3
- 1 Win: ALICE IN WONDERLAND; BLACK SWAN; IN A BETTER WORLD; INSIDE JOB; MADAGASCAR, CARNET DE VOYAGE; TRUE GRIT; THE WARRIORS OF QUIGANG; WISH 143; THE WOLFMAN
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