Oscar Predictions and Selections of 2011
Another year is here, and it's Oscar prediction time. Unlike last year, I had such a strong passion for doing this type of hub because it was the first time I ever actually managed to open up about something that I love so much...which happens to be movies. You see, throughout my whole life, nobody really ever cared about what I thought about anything. Therefore, when I made my last year's Oscar hubs, I didn't really expect anyone to read them or take them seriously. However, when I saw how many comments and traffic they generated, I can't say I wasn't pleasantly surprised. It was like for the first time, somebody out there cared about what I had to say. Something that was very new and strange to me, as I wasn't expecting a lot of traffic for them to be quite honest. No, I was more along lines of writing those same said hubs for myself, and nothing more. Figuring that people would read them if they want, but they were more for me if anything.
However, this time it's a bit different. This year after seeing how well it went last time, I feel a bit pressured to not only live up to what was done the first time, I feel a strong obligation to try to do something better than my previous Oscar hubs. I know some of you are probably thinking, "Why don't you just write it the same way you did the last time?" Well, that's just the point. You see, I'm somewhat of a perfectionist in a lot of ways, or at least when it comes to this site, so I do feel like there's pressure to repeat the same success of last year's hubs on this topic. That's why I would personally like to thank Rafini, Darrke Thoughts and Mistyhorizon2003 for their suggestions on how to improve on what was done last year.
Also, I would like to thank everyone who followed last year's Oscar Predictions by me. If it wasn't for your support, then I'd probably wouldn't still be here. Like the other actors/actresses being nominated, I wouldn't be here if it were not for the fans. Therefore, I deeply grateful for your support, and I hope you enjoy reading this year's predictions every bit as last year. If not, then more so than the previous incarnation.
Now, before any of you start coming out with the logic of "if it's not broken, then don't fix it" analogy. Let me be the first to say, I agree with that assessment one hundred percent. However, that doesn't mean we can't make a few more tweaks here and there to make it a bit better. After all, a guy who owns a great sports car would still tweak it to make it better like adding custom rims, or even a new paint job, right? I just think of it as kind of the same way. Anyways, I apologize for my rambling and brief pity party moment there.
Now before I get into my picks for the Academy Awards, I'm just going to lay out a few ground rules and explanations. I'm not going to go over every single minor category (i.e. cinematography, make up, sound editing, documentary, and etc.), with the notable exception of Visual Effects. Why some may ask? Because as most people who know me best since I was a kid, science fiction was the very first genre of live action films I've ever gotten into. In fact, it used to be my favorite genre of movies for quite a while.
Another thing I would like to point out is this, none of the picks that I predict to win doesn't necessarily reflect on who I think should win. Because if it were up to me, some of the films listed in the nominations wouldn't have been nominated over much more deserving movies. This also applies to the actors/actresses nominated as well. I'm just mainly basing my predictions off the usual trend of how the Academy Awards usually pick out winners for their films, based off watching them every single year. Plus, I've decided to add a bit more research behind my predictions as well. Unlike last year where I merely founded my predictions based on observations of how the Academy votes every year, I decided to add in research results of other award ceremonies like the SAC and Golden Globes. Therefore, if you see me making a lot of references to those award ceremonies, then that's basically the reason why.
Now it's time for brass taxes here, as I analyze and assess who I predict will win for this year's Oscars. For those that don't know, I devised a system last year where I would tell the readers exactly who I predict would be the most likely favorites to win this year; while supplying sufficient evidence to support my claims.
From there, I would assess who my possible upsets were, as I would tell my readers who could potentially take the Oscars this year if the favorites weren't picked. Then I'd provide the runner ups; which would be where I would say why the selected films have royally no shot to win it. Well, that part has not changed at all, as I said earlier. Most of how last year's Oscar hubs format was constructed will be relatively the same, with a few tweaks here and there.
By the way, I haven't forgotten about the hubbers that have been generous to name suggestions for "Oscar Snubs", as I'll be sure to include your names in part 3. Another thing worth noting here is that this is only part one of three in a series of hubs based on the Oscars. In this first chapter, I'll go over my predictions for "Best Adapted and Original Screenplay", "Best Visual Effects", "Best Supporting Actor/Actress", and "Best Actor/Actress." Whereas part 2, it will cover my predictions for "Best Animated Feature", "Best Director" and "Best Picture." Anyways, without further delay, lets get down to business shall we.
Best Visual Effects
Winner: Unlike last year, I can't really say there's a clear cut favorite this time for special effects. After all, "Avatar" not only featured mind blowing special effects, it also introduced a brand new type of CGI technology. Therefore, I doubt seriously this category will be a forgone conclusion like last year. However, if I had to take a shot in the dark about this, I would have to go with "Inception." Not only was "Inception" the top grossing film of last year, it was also highly critically acclaimed; thus making it the heavy favorite to win this year.
Possible Upsets: However, as I said before, I doubt this will be a forgone conclusion with "Inception" running away with this award. As one could say that "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1" has just as much of a chance to win this, as "Inception." Mainly for the same exact reasons to boot. Not only were both films among the top grossing films of last year, but they were both openly praised by many film critics. Besides, lets not forget that the Academy has been in desperate need to improve their ratings over the years, so it wouldn't be too much of a surprise if they elected the new "Harry Potter" film to win. Plus, it would help in marketing for the upcoming "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-Part 2", that would surely generate a lot of revenue for mainstream Hollywood.
Another remote possibility here is "Alice In Wonderland." Although it's a bit of a stretch trying to fathom the Academy electing this film over the previous two mentioned, but it does have a fighting chance. After all, the film was still commercially popular among box office goers, and Johnny Depp was recently nominated for a Golden Globe for his role as the Mad Hatter, in the film. Therefore, I would have to say "Alice In Wonderland" is my dark horse pick to win this category.
Runner-Ups: Although I'll probably come off sounding like a huge hypocrite for saying this, but I make it a point to never ignore the painfully obvious. Unfortunately, "Iron Man 2" has virtually no shot to win this award; despite it's box office success. Sure, it made a lot of overwhelming money, due to it's hype, and it was one of the more commercially successful films of last year. However, the special effects aren't anything special a fan wouldn't have seen back in the first "Iron Man" movie. In fact, I'll be even so bold to say that if you looked at the special effects for both films, "Iron Man" had much better CGI fight scenes than it's own sequel. Sure, we can debate all day on how cool it was to see Tony Stark put on the automated armor at the race track, or the War Machine fight scenes. I'll give you that. However, if you watch the fight scenes of "Iron Man 2", the CGI tends to be a bit shoddy at times and often inconsistent. Therefore, I doubt seriously this will win. It's a nice nomination, but the CGI (like it's story) could have been a bit better.
Then we get to "Hereafter", the new Clint Eastwood film. Don't get me wrong, I personally loved the film myself. However, the special effects really aren't that impressive for this category to win it. Hell, I've seen more TV specials that have produced the same level of special effects as "Hereafter." Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's a bad film. I just doubt it will win for this category because the special effects were not that impressive.
Visual Effects Poll
Which film do you think should win best visual effects?
Best Original Screenplay
Winner: "The King's Speech" seems to be dominating a lot of nominations across not only the Academy, but many other Award shows as well; which would lead one to believe that it's the film to beat this year. Although I did like the movie quite a bit, it's not exactly my first choice on having the best story out of the other films nominated in this category. However, for prediction purposes, I think it would be foolish to bet against "The King's Speech" this year.
Possible Upsets: Although I doubt it, I think "Inception" has a fairly good chance at pulling off the upset. Not only was it one of Hollywood's marquee films of last year among critics, and according to box office numbers, it was arguably one of the best films that Christopher Nolan ever made. Not only was the plot thought provokingly deep, it challenged it's audience perception of reality; while deriving many other concepts correlating to dreams. Sure, there were other films that had similar concepts before, but none of them were ever as deep as "Inception."
"The Fighter" is another possibility that could win this category, as well. Mainly for the same reasons that "Crazy Heart" had such a strong run at last year's Oscars. Not only did the film catch a lot of commercial popularity right before the Academy nominations were even announced, it was also highly critically acclaimed as well. Plus, having four actors nominated for Golden Globe Awards, along with the SAC nominations as well, doesn't exactly hurt their chances much either. Therefore, it's safe to say that "The Fighter" does seem to have a fighting chance in this category. No pun intended.
Runner-Ups: "The Kids Are Alright" was a great movie, and I think anyone would be foolish to think otherwise. Sadly, I doubt this film has much of a chance to win. If this category was solely based on how well the stories were, then I would say that "The Kids Are Alright" has a great chance to runaway with this. However, I doubt it. As great as "The Kids Are Alright" was when it came out early last year, chances are that many of the voters, on the Academy, probably forgotten how good the film actually was. Add in the fact that it was nowhere near as commercially popular as some of the other films nominated, then it's easy to see why the film may not have had much of a chance to pull off the upset. It's a nice nomination, but I doubt it's going to be much more than that.
Then we get to "Another Year." No, that's not a typo, as that's the actual name of the film itself. "Another Year" had arguably one of the best stories ever written for a movie, period. Sadly, that might not even be enough for it to win. The reality is that not only was the film so under the radar when it came out, it went unnoticed by the SAC and Golden Globes as well. Therefore, I doubt seriously this film has any remote chance at pulling off the upset. If it were up to me, I'd definitely consider it, but it's not...
Best Original Screenplay Poll
Which film deserves to win Best Original Screenplay?
Best Adapted Screenplay
Winner: This is a bit of a loaded category for me, as I can see a lot of these films having a potential chance to win. Well, maybe except for one of them, but I'll get to that in a minute. However, my money would be "The Social Network." Not only was it one of the more critically acclaimed films of last year, "The Social Network" was also recognized by the Golden Globes, as the best drama film of 2010. Therefore, I think it would be a bit foolish to bet against this film for "Best Adapted Screenplay." However, like I said before, this is a bit of a loaded category, so I cold be wrong.
Possible Upsets: "True Grit" is arguably one of the best remakes ever written. Not only did it exceed the original in almost every possible way, it also delivered one of the best westerns we've seen in quite a while. Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld are certainly no Kim Darby or John Wayne, for sure. However, what they both have is true grit reminiscent of the old west. No offense to the Duke, but Jeff Bridges portrayal of Rooster Cogburn was much more realistic versus John Wayne's version.
Then there's "127 Hours", another film that's been getting some hot lately too. Which might be a good thing considering how much that worked in favor for "Crazy Heart" and "Up In The Air" for last year's Oscars. Those films generated a lot of commercial buzz right before the Oscars; which some argued that it helped them become somewhat of a factor during the Academy Awards in various categories.
Of course, let's not forget about "Winter's Bone." To be quite honest, I didn't really care for it that much. However, it's still one of the many films that garnered a lot of critical praises last year, and Jennifer Lawrence is gaining a lot of recognition for her role in it. Therefore, it wouldn't be that big of a surprise if "Winter's Bone" walked away with this award.
Runner-Ups: Sadly, I'm going to have to say "Toy Story 3" is the runner up in this category. In fact, I'm so confident that it won't win "Best Adapted Screenplay" that I'll stake my own reputation on it. Although "Toy Story 3" is arguably one of the best films of last year, it still doesn't diminish the fact that it's a cartoon. Something that most Academy Award voters don't often take seriously. Sure, they'll nominate a cartoon for best picture (pre-ten nominated best film format) with "Beauty and the Beast", or give out a special technical award for being the first full length animated movie; ala "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." However, has the Academy ever given much consideration to animated films besides that? Not really, as I can name several Japanese Animes that should have gotten nominations over some of the live action films elected in the past. Not that I'm disrespecting the Academy, nor some of their selections in recent years, but I'm merely stating an observation.
Best Adapted Screenplay Poll
Which film do you think deserves Best Adapted Screenplay?
Best Supporting Actress
Winner: Melissa Leo seems to be the heavy favorite here with winning "Best Supporting Actress" for both the SAC and Golden Globe Awards. Therefore, why should we expect the Academy to vote any different? Not that I'm saying she doesn't deserve it, as she certainly does. Hell, I think outside of Jacki Weaver, whom I'll get to in a moment, she probably gives one of the strongest performances that I've ever seen by an actress. Plus, as I said earlier, "The Fighter" is gaining a lot of hype right around Oscar time, so it certainly doesn't hurt her chances.
Possible Upsets: I honestly don't care what anyone says, but Jacki Weaver deserves this award more so than any of the other actresses in this category. Not only was her performance, in "Animal Kingdom", so much better than Melissa Leo's, she also managed to play a much more convincing combination of eerily affectionate mother to heartless wench. Granted, I wouldn't exactly describe Melissa Leo's character as vicious or conniving, but the complexities of her character were nowhere near the level of Jacki's character.
Of course, there's Hailee Steinfeld, who I know is awfully young to be nominated. However, that still doesn't diminish how great she was in "True Grit." Not only did she demonstrate a brash toughness necessary for the role of Mattie Ross, she did it with a style of her own. Sure, she may lack a lot of the quirky cuteness of a young Kim Darby, but her take on the role had a helluva a lot more conviction to it. Making her easily one of the main contenders to upset Melissa Leo's chances.
Runner-Ups: Although I know I'll probably get some flak for this, I doubt Helena Bonham Carter has much of chance to win this award. No offense to her, as I always loved her in almost any role she plays. However, if I have to be honest about her role in "The King's Speech", then I'd have to say she barely stands out. Sure, there's a few heartfelt scenes here and there, where you'll see her at her best, but the main strength of that movie came from Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush.
Finally, we have Amy Adams, which brings me to a huge confession that I have to make. Since seeing her in "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian", I've been a fan of hers ever since. Not only is she one of the prettiest actresses that I've ever seen, she's also very talented in her performance. That's why I'm glad she got nominated for her role in "The Fighter." Seriously, she deserves it, and I hope she wins an Academy Award someday. Unfortunately, it's just not going to happen this year. Sure, she did a great job in "The Fighter." I'll give her that. However, she wasn't even the best supporting actress of that film. No, that honor goes to heavy favorite, Melissa Leo. Sorry Amy.
Best Supporting Actress Poll
Who should win Best Supporting Actress?
Best Supporting Actor
Winner: After a abysmal year in 2009, Christian Bale bounces back in a performance like no other. In "The Fighter", Christian reminds us why he's still considered one of Hollywood's best actors. As he not only takes on any role with serious conviction and poise, the man is like a freaking chameleon when it comes to his characters. Just take a look at his acting resume thus far. In the "The Machinist", the man lost so much weight that one could mistake him for being anorexic in that role. Followed by a year later when Bale not only managed to gain back the weight, he also put on quite a bit of muscle for the role Bruce Wayne in "Batman Begins."
Therefore, it's no surprise that he's the favorite for "Best Supporting Actor" in year's Oscars.
Possible Upsets: Well if I was a betting man, then my money would be on Jeremy Renner to pull off the upset here. Not only did he deliver a strong performance as the gun toting bad a** in "The Town", he also put on a show reminiscent of another Hollywood legend, Joe Pesci from "Goodfellas."
Another candidate to consider here would be Geoffrey Rush for his performance in "The King's Speech." Geoffrey Rush not only captivated audiences with his dramatic flair as the King's speech therapist. He also added quite a bit of humor to the role as well.
Runner-Ups: Although I thought John Hawkes' performance was one of the bright spots to "Winter's Bone", I just don't see how he'll win this award. The man was barely in most of the film and to be quite honest, his performance was nowhere near as memorable as the other actors nominated in this category. That's why if he wins this award, then I'll be very freaking surprised to say the least.
Of course, lets not forget about Mark Ruffalo, who offered up his best middle aged "Fonze" impression for "The Kids Are Alright." Don't get me wrong, Mark played the part rather well, and I can see why he was nominated. However, if it were me, I thought his role in "Shutter Island" was much more deserving for him to get nominated than this.
Best Supporting Actor Poll
Who should win Best Supporting Actor?
Winner: Anyone who says Natalie Portman won't win this year for "Best Actress" is crazy. Not only did she deliver quite possibly the best performance by any other actress last year, she also won the SAC award for "Best Actress" in a drama. That's why I doubt seriously anyone will pull off the upset this year. Besides, as good as the rest of these actresses are in their perspective roles, Natalie Portman's performance, in "Black Swan", was simply better than all the rest.
Possible Upsets: Out of the rest of the actresses remaining, I think Jennifer Lawrence has possibly the best chance to upset this category. Although I didn't really care much for her film, "Winter's Bone", I do know that it got a lot of buzz at the SAC and Golden Globe Awards this year. Which leads me to believe that Jennifer Lawrence might end up walking away with this award. Assuming the Academy decides to go a different route.
Of course, there's always Annette Bening, who has yet to even win her first Oscar. Sure, she's been nominated a few times, but she never wins. Therefore, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if the Academy decided to give Annette Bening the award this year. Granted, there's been a lot of actors and actresses out there that have never won; despite their credentials. However, the Academy has chosen actors/actresses before to give them their just due, so to speak. Take a look at Martin Landau in his performance for "Ed Wood." No offense to Landau, but he was hardly worth giving the Oscar to in that film. Especially in a year when you had great performances by Gary Senise (Forrest Gump) and Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction) to pick from for "Best Supporting Actor" in 1994.
Therefore, it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to fathom that the Academy might just try to give Annette Bening her just dues, as they've been known to do that in the past.
Runner-Ups: Sadly, I would have to say Nicole Kidman is a long shot to win this if anything. Sure, she was great in her performance for "Rabbit Hole", but the thing that hurts her is that her performance is nowhere near as captivating as the other actresses nominated in this category. At least for the other actresses, there's a lot of heartfelt memorable scenes for each perspective film. Whereas "Rabbit Hole", there really wasn't that many to quite honest. Sure, it was a good film, and she certainly earned her nomination. However, I doubt she walks away with the hardware this year.
Michelle Williams definitely earned her nomination, so I have no problem with her getting nominated for "Blue Valentine." It was a great film full of heartbreak and emotion about how relationships grow and dissolve over time. I get that. Unfortunately, as great as "Blue Valentine" was, it still doesn't diminish the fact that it's nothing more than a generic rip off of "Revolutionary Road." Sure, she may have gotten a nice nomination for this year's Academy and SAC awards, but I'll be very freaking surprised if she wins the Oscars this year.
Best Actress Poll
Who should win for Best Actress?
Winner: Could this be the year that Colin Firth wins the Academy Award for "Best Actor?" I certainly think so, as he was simply brilliant in his role for "The King's Speech." Add in the fact that he's coming off a year where his film is already dominating other award shows like the Golden Globes, SAC and others, then it seems pretty much like a forgone conclusion that he might pull this off. Sure, one could say that this is a bit of a loaded category, as any one of these actors could easily upset. However, with as much press time it's been getting lately, I doubt anyone else will take this award.
Possible Upsets: Having said all that, I think Jesse Eisenberg has a great chance to pull off the upset here if there is a chance. As I said earlier, "The Social Network" was one of the more commercially popular and critically acclaimed films of last year. Plus, it's coming off a Golden Globe win for "Best Picture" for a drama. Sure, he's the underdog, but stranger things have happened at the Academy in the past.
Another possible candidate here is James Franco. Like "The King's Speech", "127 Hours" is gaining a lot of commercial popularity right before the Oscars, so that can only help his chances even more. Not only that, but he also delivered an inspirational performance in spite of his character's limited surroundings.
Finally, we have Jeff Bridges, who did a great job in "True Grit." Sadly, that's part of the problem. Although "True Grit" has as much going for it as "The Social Network" and "The King's Speech", the reality is I doubt the Academy is going to give him the Award for "Best Actor." I know many will be confused by why I'm saying that, but allow me to explain.
When John Wayne was alive, he was nominated for a couple of Academy Awards for "Sands of Iwo Jima" and "The Alamo", but he never won. It wasn't until he made "True Grit" that he finally won his only Oscar. Therefore, it's highly unlikely the Academy would give Jeff Bridges another Academy Award that could possibly allow him to overshadow the Duke's performance; especially considering that would put him in exclusive company as being one of the few actors to win back to back awards for the Oscars.
Then again, the Academy has been in desperate need to boost ratings over the past few years; hence the reason behind the ten nominations for best films versus the usual five. Therefore, I guess it wouldn't be that surprising if Jeff Bridges pulls off the upset. After all, what better way to boost ratings for the show then by making Oscar history, right?
Runner-Ups: As much as it pains me to say this, I don't have a choice but to say it anyway. Otherwise, I wouldn't be honest. I know for some readers, they might remember me saying that Javier Bardem should win the Academy Award for his performance in "Biutiful." Well, my thoughts really haven't changed on that, as I still want him to win for that role. Although , Leonardo DiCaprio would've been my first choice for his performance in "Shutter Island." However, since he's not even nominated, I'm going to root for Bardem personally. Although he has a snow ball's chance in hell to pull it off, but I'll still show my support for him. Sure, his film is arguably one of the best foreign films that I've seen, but he's the only actor that wasn't nominated for a SAC award; which is normally the strongest Oscar predictor you can get.
Plus, most foreign movies rarely get recognized by the Academy; outside of the "Best Foreign Film" category. Sure, it would be nice to see him win, but I wouldn't hold your breath on it.