Predictions for the Academy Awards this Sunday, Feb. 27.
This year’s Oscar showdown is old school — represented by the classic Oscar style of The King’s Speech — and the new school sensibilities of The Social Network. The Social Network earned a ton of critics’ awards, but has been losing steam of late as The King’s Speech racked up a surprising 12 nominations to Network’s eight, with the Coen’s brothers’ True Grit remake earning 10 nods. The director’s race should be interesting since it might be split, with the best picture not getting best director.
Here are my predictions and preferences for the major categories, plus my quick picks for the rest of the awards. The Academy Awards will be broadcast on Sunday, Feb. 27, 8pm, on ABC with James Franco and Anne Hathaway as co-hosts.
Best Supporting Actor
o Christian Bale, The Fighter
o John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone
o Jeremy Renner, The Town
o Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
o Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech
Prediction: Christian Bale
Preference: Geoffrey Rush — Bale would be my 1A choice, but I loved how Rush’s eccentric speech therapist took a king down a peg in order to help him lead a nation.
Best Supporting Actress
o Amy Adams, The Fighter
o Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
o Melissa Leo, The Fighter
o Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
o Jackie Weaver, Animal Kingdom
Prediction: Melissa Leo
Preference: Melissa Leo — She was fabulous as a dominating mother, but there has been some backlash about ads she brought heralding her performance that rubbed Hollywood types the wrong way. Still I think she holds on, with an outside shot that 14-year-old Steinfeld or her Fighter co-star Adams takes home the prize.
o Javier Bardem, Biutiful
o Jeff Bridges, True Grit
o Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
o Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
o James Franco, 127 Hours
Prediction: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
Preference: Colin Firth — Bridges beat Firth last year, but not this time. Firth has earned all the big prizes for his terrific job as a king with a wicked temper and an even worse stammer. Bridges has his award and the other nominees are young and likely to be back on this stage in the coming years.
o Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
o Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
o Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
o Natalie Portman, Black Swan
o Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine
Prediction: Natalie Portman
Preference: Jennifer Lawrence — Portman has won all the preliminary awards, although there is an outside chance that Bening, who has never won, might earn the win in a late push. Lawrence was brilliant as an Ozark teen, but the nomination will have to do for now. Kidman was also worthy as a greving parent.
o Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
o David O. Russell, The Fighter
o Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
o David Fincher, The Social Network
o Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, True Grit
Prediction: David Fincher
Preference: Tom Hooper — The feeling is the Academy wants to give this award and a screenplay nod to The Social Network while still rewarding the feel good King’s Speech with the best picture nod. It has happened before, but if there is a Speech sweep, Hooper will add gold next to his Director’s Guild trophy.
Best Motion Picture
o 127 Hours
o Black Swan
o The Fighter
o The Kids Are All Right
o The King’s Speech
o The Social Network
o Toy Story 3
o True Grit
o Winter’s Bone
Prediction: The King’s Speech
Preference: The King’s Speech — Yes, this might seem like a too obvious, staid choice, but despite the royal circumstances, this is a movie about a terrific friendship first, and features marvelous performances. My second choice would be Christopher Nolan’s delightfully twisted Inception. The Social Network will win for Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay and Toy Story 3 will get the animation Oscar.
Here are my choices for the rest of the awards: adapted screenplay, The Social Network; original screenplay, The King’s Speech; animated feature, Toy Story 3; art direction, The King’s Speech; cinematography, True Grit; costume design, The King’s Speech; documentary feature, Inside Job; documentary short, Strangers No More; film editing, The Social Network; foreign language film, In A Better World (Denmark); makeup, The Wolfman; original film score, The King’s Speech; original song, “We Belong Together” from Toy Story 3; animated short, The Gruffalo; live action short, The Confession; sound editing, Inception; sound mixing, Inception; visual effects, Inception.
After ranking the worst movies of the year in last week’s column, it is time for the more pleasant task of naming my favorite movies of 2010. It was a decent year for movies, not vintage, but solid, and here are my favorites in alphabetical order: The Ghost Writer Roman Polanski’s film is a quietly effective thriller devoted to the theme of political maneuvering during wartime. It delivers a message about men in power whose secret policies are carried out not just to protect innocent citizens, but also to keep the power-hungry politicians in power. The Girl Who Played with Fire The second in a trio in of films based on the globally popular and bestselling Millennium Trilogy novels by the late Swedish author Stieg Larsson, it is not as compelling as the first film...
Movie fanatics love to have fun putting together lists, especially when a decade comes to a close. In honor of that tradition, I’ve put together a list of my favorite movies from the past 10 years.
Before we get to the good stuff next week, when I announce my best films of the year list, here are the 10 films that either disappointed me, were flat out awful or that frustrated me because they could have been better.