Friends, it’s time again for that most wonderful time of year I like to call “Oscar Season.” It’s a lot like “Rabbit Season” and “Duck Season”, except with more glitz, less bird-shot to the face, and tons of forced happiness.
And with this week’s announcement of the nominees, it’s also time for my yearly tradition of giving you my knee-jerk Oscar picks – which are guaranteed to be totally accurate.*
Let’s begin shall we?
Like last year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is keeping with their new plan to nominate a whopping ten movies for the Best Picture category. This allows “127 Hours” and “Toy Story 3” to rub shoulders with powerhouses like “The Fighter” and “The Social Network”.
I actually want to make something painfully clear here. Why nominate “Toy Story 3” for Best Picture? It has it’s own category in Animated Feature Film. Say what you will about the quality of the movie – and “Toy Story 3” is indisputably amazing – but singling it out for a Best Picture award out of it’s competition for the animated category seem supremely unfair. “The Illusionist” and “How to Train Your Dragon” may as well not even show up – how can they compete when they didn’t get nominated for Best Picture?
Ah well. Lets run down some numbers. Leading the pack this year is “The King’s Speech” with 12 nominations. To put that in perspective there are 24 major awards handed out on Oscar night – so “The King’s Speech” is competing for literally half of them.
Now, most people might expect the highly touted “The Social Network” to be nipping at the King’s heels – and those people would be totally wrong. “True Grit” comes in second with a total of 10 nominations. Next up “The Social Network” ties with “Inception” with 8, and rounding out the top five is “The Fighter” with 7 nominations.
So, without further ado, we’ll start picking winners. As always we start with the crappy awards, and work our way up to the statues that people actually care about. Or you can skip to the end to see a handy list of all the nominees along with my picks depicted in glamourous Red Carpet Red.
First things off, “True Grit” will earn itself a pair of awards in sound mixing and sound editing. They can’t bank on winning much else, but they’ll pick up some fluff early on in the night.
Next up “Inception” will be awarded some of the technical awards with an Oscar for art direction, cinematography and visual effects. There’s no denying that it’s a visually wonderful film – but it’s not going to score too much in the acting or directing areas.
Into costumes and makeup, we won’t be too surprised to see “The King’s Speech” get it’s first of many Oscars for costuming. As always, the Academy loves accurate period pieces. Makeup will go to the criminally under-nominated “Barney’s Version.”
In the documentary category “Exit through the Gift Shop” will get it for long subject, and “Poster Girl” will snap up a short subject award. And in the areas of movies you’ll probably never see, foreign film will go to “Biutiful,” which is a shame because a solid Canadian film is among the contenders.
Short films will go to “Wish 143” in the live action area, and “Night & Day” for animated.
In the musical fields “The Social Network” will grab it’s first award for best original score – landing Trent Reznor a Oscar. Weird, I know. Original song will go to “Country Song” with “Coming Home.” Sorry, Disney.
This takes us up to the writing categories. Aaron Sorkin will get a shiny statue for “The Social Network” in the best adapted category. Unsurprisingly, “The King’s Speech” will take gold in the original category.
Okay. No is going to be shocked when “Toy Story 3” gets best animated feature film, right? Moving on.
We’re up to the big stuff now. Having already earned Golden Globes for themselves, Colin Firth and Natalie Portman will become Oscar winners for the best leads in “The King’s Speech” and “Black Swan” respectively. In the supporting categories, things will get a little different with Geoffrey Rush also for “The King’s Speech,” and “True Grit” actress Hailee Steinfeld snapping up the trophies.
Anyone up for a best picture Oscar who isn’t also up for best director may as well go beat the rush to the parking lot at this point. So that leaves five solid contenders – but really, most critics say it’s a battle between two films. “The Social Network” and “The King’s Speech.” And I only highlighted one of those names, and that’s the one that’s taking direction and best picture.
Good work everyone! See you at the after party!
The 83rd Academy Awards
Performance by an actor in a leading role
Javier Bardem (“Biutiful”), Jeff Bridges (“True Grit”), Jesse Eisenberg (“The Social Network”), Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech”), James Franco (“127 Hours”)
Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Christian Bale (“The Fighter”), John Hawkes (“Winter’s Bone”), Jeremy Renner (“The Town”), Mark Ruffalo (“The Kids Are All Right”), Geoffrey Rush (“The King’s Speech”)
Performance by an actress in a leading role
Annette Bening (“The Kids Are All Right”), Nicole Kidman (“Rabbit Hole”), Jennifer Lawrence (“Winter’s Bone”), Natalie Portman (“Black Swan”), Michelle Williams (“Blue Valentine”)
Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Amy Adams (“The Fighter”), Helena Bonham Carter (“The King’s Speech”), Melissa Leo (“The Fighter”), Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”), Jacki Weaver (“Animal Kingdom”)
Best animated feature film of the year
“How to Train Your Dragon” (Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois), “The Illusionist” (Sylvain Chomet), “Toy Story 3” (Lee Unkrich)
Achievement in art direction
“Alice in Wonderland” (Robert Stromberg, Karen O’Hara), “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” (Stuart Craig, Stephenie McMillan), “Inception” (Guy Hendrix Dyas, Larry Dias, Doug Mowat), “The King’s Speech”(Eve Stewart, Judy Farr), “True Grit” (Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh)
Achievement in cinematography
“Black Swan” (Matthew Libatique), “Inception” (Wally Pfister), “The King’s Speech” (Danny Cohen), “The Social Network” (Jeff Cronenweth), “True Grit” (Roger Deakins)
Achievement in costume design
“Alice in Wonderland” (Colleen Atwood), “I Am Love” (Antonella Cannarozzi), “The King’s Speech” (Jenny Beavan), “The Tempest” (Sandy Powell), “True Grit” (Mary Zophres)
Achievement in directing
“Black Swan” (Darren Aronofsky), “The Fighter” (David O. Russell), “The King’s Speech” (Tom Hooper), “The Social Network” (David Fincher), “True Grit” (Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)
Best documentary feature
“Exit through the Gift Shop” (Banksy, Jaimie D’Cruz), “Gasland” (Josh Fox, Trish Adlesic), “Inside Job” (Charles Ferguson, Audrey Marrs), “Restrepo”(Tim Hetherington, Sebastian Junger), “Waste Land” (Lucy Walker, Angus Aynsley)
Best documentary short subject
“Killing in the Name” (tba), “Poster Girl” (tba), “Strangers No More” (Karen Goodman, Kirk Simon), “Sun Come Up” (Jennifer Redfearn, Tim Metzger), “The Warriors of Qiugang” (Ruby Yang, Thomas Lennon)
Achievement in film editing
“Black Swan” (Andrew Weisblum), “The Fighter″ (Pamela Martin), “The King’s Speech” (Tariq Anwar), “127 Hours” (Jon Harris), “The Social Network” (Angus Wall, Kirk Baxter)
Best foreign language film of the year
“Biutiful” (Mexico), “Dogtooth” (Greece), “In a Better World” (Denmark), “Incendies” (Canada), “Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi)” (Algeria)
Achievement in makeup
“Barney’s Version” (Adrien Morot), “The Way Back” (Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk, Yolanda Toussieng),“The Wolfman” (Rick Baker, Dave Elsey)
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original Score)
“How to Train Your Dragon” (John Powell), “Inception” (Hans Zimmer), “The King’s Speech” (Alexandre Desplat), “127 Hours” (A.R. Rahman), “The Social Network” (Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross)
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original Song)
“Coming Home” (“Country Song”, music and lyrics Tom Douglas, Troy Verges, Hillary Lindsey), “I See the Light” (“Tangled”, music Alan Menken, lyrics Glenn Slater), “If I Rise” (“127 Hours″, music A.R. Rahman, lyrics Dido, Rollo Armstrong), “We Belong Together” (“Toy Story 3”, music and lyrics Randy Newman)
Best motion picture of the year
“Black Swan” (Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver, Scott Franklin), “The Fighter” (David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman, Mark Wahlberg), “Inception″ (Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan), “The Kids Are All Right” (Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, Celine Rattray), “The King’s Speech” (Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Gareth Unwin),“127 Hours” (Christian Colson, Danny Boyle, John Smithson), “The Social Network” (Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca, Cean Chaffin), “Toy Stroy 3” (Darla K. Anderson), “True Grit” (Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen), “Winter’s Bone” (Anne Rosellini, Alix Madigan-Yorkin)
Best animated short film
“Day & Night” (Teddy Newton), “The Gruffalo” (Jakob Schuh, Max Land), “Let’s Pollute” (Geefwee Boedoe), “The Lost Thing” (Shaun Tan, Andrew Ruhemann), “Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)” (Bastien Dubois)
Best live action short film
“The Confession” (Tanel Toom), “The Crush” (Michael Creagh), “God of Love” (Luke Matheny), “Ne Wewe” (Ivan Goldschmidt), “Wish 143” (Ian Barnes, Samantha Waite)
Achievement in sound editing
“Inception” (Richard King), “Toy Story 3” (Tom Myers, Michael Silvers),“Tron: Legacy” (Gwendolyn Yates Whittle, Addison Teague), “True Grit” (Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey), “Unstoppable” (Mark P. Stoeckinger)
Achievement in sound mixing
“Inception” (Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo, Ed Novick), “The King’s Speech” (Paul Hamblin, Martin Jensen, John Midgley), “Salt” (Jeffrey J. Haboush, Greg P. Russell, Scott Millan, William Sarokin),“The Social Network” (Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick, Mark Weingarten), “True Grit” (Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff, Peter F. Kurland)
Achievement in visual effects
“Alice in Wonderland” (Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas, Sean Phillips), “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1″ (Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz, Nicolas Aithadi), “Hereafter” (Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojansky, Joe Farrell), “Inception” (Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley, Peter Bebb), “Iron Man 2” (Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright, Daniel Sudick)
“127 Hours″ (Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy), “The Social Network” (Aaron Sorkin), “Toy Story 3” (Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich), “True Grit” (Joel Coen, Ethan Coen), “Winter’s Bone” (Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini)
“Another Year” (Mike Leigh), “The Fighter” (Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, Keith Dorrington), “Inception” (Christopher Nolan), “The Kids Are All Right” (Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg), “The King’s Speech” (David Seidler)
* Accuracy not guaranteed.