No nonsense this year. I have not the taste nor the stomach for it. I just hope that James Franco understands the folly of hosting during his own nomination. The acid may dissolve him permanently due to overexposure and he shows no signs of relenting. Don’t push our buttons too hard, Frank.
Besides that, Hi :)…
Below are my predictions for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards which airs Sunday February 27 at 7:30 pm Central/5:30pm Pacific on ABC…
Colin Firth for “The King’s Speech” is a lock. He’s paid his dues and deserves it over all others.
Although I think John Hawkes should win for his menacing performance in “Winter’s Bone”, it seems that Christian Bale is the favorite for “The Fighter”. I’m guessing the Academy has been rooting for Bale for a long time and despite my dislike for the film and the performance, it’s simply a matter of “it’s his time”.
Another sure-fire lock for Natalie Portman in “Black Swan”. When I first saw a 12 year-old Portman in “The Professional” back in the 1994, I remember telling others the little girl would win an Oscar one day. I’m pleased to say I told them so. I will now make that prediction for Portman’s fellow nominee Jennifer Lawrence in “Winter’s Bone” who unfortunately is up against too stiff a competition this year.
Since this category has a reputation for rewarding up-and-comers, I’d say Hailee Steinfeld for “True Grit” and Amy Adams in “The Fighter” have the best chances as they are the younger of the five nominees. Steinfeld reminds me a bit of Anna Paquin back when she became the youngest Oscar winner for “The Piano” so my money’s on her. However, don’t count out Adams who with her previous nomination. Although I found her character unlikable, she has paid her dues and the majority may feel she deserves to win.
“Toy Story 3” appears to have this one in the bag, but “How to Train Your Dragon” was a huge audience and critical favorite. The Academy tends to favor Pixar animated films over Dreamworks so “Dragon’s” chances aren’t so great.
A tough call. A lot of people think the garish “Alice in Wonderland” should win but this may be for a political reason within the industry. I’m going to be more optimistic and hope that “Inception” wins as it deservedly should. The other nominees are strong so anything can happen here.
Another hard one to call simply because all of the work here was so outstanding. Roger Deakins for “True Grit” is an undisputed master and will probably win but I actually prefer the cinematography of “Inception” and “Black Swan” this year.
This section of the industry loves to award European period pieces so I’m going to go the safe route and say “The King’s Speech” will win. However, “Alice in Wonderland” was all about the costumes so if it wins, I will not be shocked.
A very strong category which I think David Fincher for “The Social Network” will win. He has been nominated once before and I feel he has been one of the most under appreciated directors in the last 15 years. He nailed “The Social Network” which was very difficult subject matter to pull off. Although I would love for Christopher Nolan (“Inception”) or Darren Aronofsky (“Black Swan”) to win, I think even they might lose against the Coen Brothers for “True Grit”.
The Afghanistan military documentary “Restrepo” has gained the majority of attention without fanning the flames of controversy. Although it’s the only nominated documentary feature I have seen, War documentaries usually have the upper hand so I will give it to “Restrepo”. “Exit Through the Gift Shop” about the underground world of street art has received a lot of notoriety, but has been plagued by allegations that much of it was fake may hurt its chances. Plus there are rumors that the Academy is nervous about the potential live appearance of director/street artist known as “Banksy” who loves to make spectacles despite the fact that he will not reveal his face to the public
I’ve seen none of these but foreign-themed documentaries are often favored. Let’s go with “The Warriors of Qiugang”.
Since “Inception” wasn’t even nominated as it should have been, it gives me the impression that the Academy editing category voters are a bit stuck-up this year. Because of this, I will guess that my least favorite (and possibly the most pretentious) nominee for the category will win. In this case: “The Social Network” will get it. “127 Hours” has a good chance as well since the editing made the film what it is, despite its overbearing obnoxiousness.
Foreign Language Film:
Although I have only seen one of these, I hear “Biutiful” is the Academy favorite. Strangely it’s the only one I haven’t heard good things about, but since I’m out of the loop I’ll shrug and say “whatever”. I will say that I doubt the Academy has the guts to award the win to “Dogtooth”, the only 2010 Foreign Film Nominee I have seen. It’s one of the most uncomfortable and richly bizarre films I have seen and only the bravest would dare vote for it.
What? “Alice in Wonderland” wasn’t nominated? Okay, then “The Wolfman” seems to be the best option despite being a terrible, terrible movie.
Oh how badly I want “Inception” to win this. It singlehandedly veered the course of composing music for film into a bold new direction but Hans Zimmer already has a million Oscars and the film has been unfairly maligned by some of the more uppity critics. The other awards ceremonies seem to find novelty in giving alternative music icon Trent Reznor (“The Social Network”) an award so I expect him to win against my highest objections. Even “How to Train Your Dragon” had a far more rousing score than that snooze music.
I flat-out don’t care this year. Give it to Randy Newman for “Toy Story 3” so maybe he’ll retire. I’m hearing some buzz about the song “If I Rise” from “127 Hours” but I don’t even remember it from the film. “Toy Story 3” it is then.
Short Film – Animated:
I’ve seen none of these but I have a really weird feeling that “Madagascar, carnet de voyage” will win. It hints at an animated feature film series that many people have seen and that might somehow stick in their head when they casually vote for this category. Sometimes recognition comes solely from recognition.
Short Film – Live Action:
Now this one I have a large personal stake in. I saw a little short film called “God of Love” at the Feel Good Film Festival in August and it completely blew me away. It’s an amusing black and white film about goofy lounge singer/pro dart thrower who suddenly becomes entrusted with the powers of Cupid. It’s made by a bunch of NYU Film School kids. I’ve seen none of the other films so I will gladly root for this one.
“Inception” should win this based on technical bravado alone.
If “Inception” doesn’t win this, I might throw a tantrum. Why anyone would vote for “Alice in Wonderland” over this is beyond me.
Screenplay – Adapted:
“The Social Network” seems to have this one in the bag. Aaron Sorkin can do no wrong in the writing department and I give him all the credit I can muster for taking the story of the rise of a current pop-culture phenomenon and turning into an Academy-worthy screenplay.
Screenplay – Original:
“Inception” should win this despite the naysayers. It was so original and complex, it would be a crime if it lost against a couple of biopics or indie films.
While I still feel “Inception” should win (but it obviously won’t), I have some strong opinions as to why many of the other nominees won’t win either: I’d like to see “Black Swan” win, but the more squeamish Academy voters will surely pass it over. “The Fighter” didn’t have a single likable character in it. “Toy Story 3” is a cartoon and will win its respective category anyway. “Winter’s Bone” was brilliant but too dark and gritty for voters who favor the uplifting stories. “The Kids Are Alright” is too indie and is also politically correct to an annoying degree. “127 Hours” didn’t strike the right tone and the do-it-yourself amputation scene was nearly impossible to stomach even for me. “The Social Network” doesn’t exactly speak to the current generation of Academy voters and they might feel put off by a film about the rise of a current internet fad. “True Grit” has a fine chance of winning but “No Country For Old Men” was superior and the Coen Brothers already have their statues. “The King’s Speech” completely surprised and won me over with a fascinating story and brilliant performances. It precisely reflects the type of film the voters adore. I am betting on it taking the gold.
Coop Cooper is an independently syndicated film critic in Clarksdale, Mississippi. He graduated from Southern Methodist University with a B.F.A in Cinema, and received his Masters in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute in Hollywood. You can read his past reviews at: http://www.smalltowncritic.com/