Hey, Barbecutie

I Predict the Oscars

Posted on: February 23, 2011

Or,
A boring person puts too much thought into something that doesn’t matter

As the world turns away and politely diverts its eyes from political revolutions, social disintegration and natural disasters, its attentions are drawn to things that don’t matter: SHOWBIZ. I’m a film dork and the Academy Awards are like Springtime Hallowe’en for me. Given that I have a qualification in Filmic Bullshittery, I have decided to give my predictions for Sunday’s event, just to see how wrong one woman can be:

BEST PICTURE
127 Hours
Black Swan
The Fighter
Inception
The Kids Are All Right
The King’s Speech
Winter’s Bone
True Grit
The Social Network
Toy Story 3

WILL WIN:
Somehow, bizarrely, I have seen all but one of the ten nominees this year (sorry, the Fighter, you look boring). This is probably the closest one to call, and it’s probably between The King’s Speech and The Social Network. I suspect The Social Network might snag it, since the Academy may consider awarding Colin Firth prize enough. (For what it’s worth, I would rank The Social Network in my bottom two – along with The Kids Are All Right – for dullness and the near-terminal presence of Justin Timberlake.)
SHOULD WIN:
Inception. The first intellectual blockbuster in a long time, proving that the industry has massively underestimated the audience’s capacity and willingness to pay to see something more than the usual mindless shoot-em-ups and explodathons. (Subtext: Hollywood thinks you’re stupid.) And perhaps this is why Inception has been somewhat left behind.



Christopher Nolan is so sad.

BEST DIRECTOR
Darren Aronofsky – Black Swan
David O Russell – The Fighter
Tom Hooper – The King’s Speech
David Fincher – The Social Network
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen – True Grit

WILL WIN:
Again, it’s tight between The King’s Speech and The Social Network. The Directors’ Guild historically backs the right horse, in this case Tom Hooper (who has the more artistic eye of the two) but Fincher’s a strong opponent. I’ll stick with Hooper though.
SHOULD WIN:
It’s a cliché to complain about Christopher Nolan’s exclusion for Inception, but it’s also a shame not to see Danny Boyle for the idiosyncratic stylishness of 127 Hours. Out of the five, I lean towards Hooper’s Lowry-esque vision, where every shot looks like a painting.

BEST ACTOR
Colin Firth – The King’s Speech
Jesse Eisenberg – The Social Network
James Franco – 127 Hours
Javier Bardem – Biutiful
Jeff Bridges – True Grit

WILL WIN:
Obviously, Colin Firth. Expect plenty of “is crowned Hollywood royalty” puns. (EDIT: told you so…)

SHOULD WIN:
Firth was excellent, but Franco was better. He’s young, his opportunity will come again, blah blah, but he’s pretty extraordinary in 127 Hours, onscreen for the entirety, and locked in the same position for more than half, of the running time, playing someone faintly insufferable.

BEST ACTRESS
Annette Bening – The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman – Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence – Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman – Black Swan
Michelle Williams – Blue Valentine

WILL WIN:
Natalie Portman, not unfairly, for contrasting her usual fragility with scenery-chewing histrionics, with Annette Bening just missing out again (but at least to someone other than Hilary Swank, for a change).

SHOULD WIN:
Michelle Williams had an extremely tricky role in Blue Valentine, unsympathetic, inscrutable, portraying a journey through adulthood where her character begins and ends as two completely different people, but making it all entirely believable and compelling.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
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

WILL WIN:
Christian Bale, but only because Geoffrey Rush already has one.
SHOULD WIN:
John Hawkes, steely and unknowable as Teardrop, going from terrifying antagonist to unlikely hero without showing the audience the join. I am SO happy he made the cut. An amazing performance.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams – The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter – The King’s Speech
Melissa Leo – The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld – True Grit
Jacki Weaver – Animal Kingdom

WILL WIN:
Melissa Leo, if the campaign ad controversy hasn’t hurt her (which it may have). If so, Bonham Carter could grab it.
SHOULD WIN:
Hailee Steinfeld, who should really be nominated as best actress, and who should actually win in that category also. Leaving Julianne Moore to take her place for being the best thing about The Kids Are All Right (which isn’t hard, but still).

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Biutiful – Mexico
Dogtooth – Greece
In a Better World – Denmark
Incendies – Canada
Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi) – Algeria

WILL WIN:
Biutiful. Despite the mediocre reviews, Javiar Bardem’s nomination means that more people will have seen it. It will win by virtue of people having heard of it.
SHOULD WIN:
You know I’m crazy for Dogtooth, but as many others have noted, it’s a damned shame Of Gods And Men didn’t even make the longlist. But Dogtooth is a truly special film.

BEST ANIMATION
How to Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Toy Story 3

WILL WIN:
Toy Story 3
SHOULD WIN:
Any one of the three would be worthy.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Mike Leigh – Another Year
Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson (screenplay), Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson (story) – The Fighter
Christopher Nolan – Inception
Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg – The Kids Are All Right
David Seidler – The King’s Speech

WILL WIN:
I’m of the opinion that any screenplay based on someone’s life story – vis The Fighter or The King’s Speech – isn’t any more original than something loosely based on a previous work, as with Toy Story 3. And it would have
been great for something like Four Lions to sneak in in the interim. However, David Seidler has a great story (patiently waiting 30-odd years for the Queen Mother to die, as per her request) and looks like Santa Claus, so it’s his to lose.
SHOULD WIN:
I’m somewhat stimied by having not seen Another Year, which I suspect would be a strong contender. So I’m happy with The King’s Speech. It’s rousing.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy – 127 Hours
Aaron Sorkin – The Social Network
Michael Arndt – Toy Story 3
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen – True Grit
Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini – Winter’s Bone

WILL WIN:
The Social Network. Aaron Sorkin’s the most famous screenwriter in Hollywood, and The Social Network’s dense wordiosity is general considered to be the film’s greatest strength, but Toy Story 3 is a very dark horse.
SHOULD WIN:
I liked True Grit a lot and feel guilty that I haven’t been fighting its corner. But I can’t think of anyone who would begrudge Pixar, and especially Toy Story, a victory.

BEST ART DIRECTION
Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
Inception
The King’s Speech
True Grit

WILL WIN:
Inception
SHOULD WIN:
I think it’s hard to argue against Inception for any of the technical awards.

BEST SOUND MIXING
Inception
The King’s Speech
The Social Network
Salt
True Grit

BEST SOUND EDITING
Inception
Toy Story 3
Tron: Legacy
True Grit
Unstoppable

1. I don’t know the difference and can’t be bothered to google it
2. Inception’s got both of these in the bag
3. The King’s Speech had some amazing sound work – you can hear every click and strain of his throat
4. I love that Unstoppable has been nominated for an Oscar.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Black Swan
Inception
The King’s Speech
The Social Network
True Grit

WILL WIN:
At this stage, they begin to panic and hand awards to Inception regardless.
SHOULD WIN:
The King’s Speech. Like I said, any frame could be a photograph, a painting, a facsimile image from the 1930s. Gorgeous.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1
Hereafter
Inception
Iron Man 2

WILL WIN:
Come on.
SHOULD WIN:
The Oscars go on for a long time, don’t they?

BEST MAKE-UP
Barney’s Version
The Way Back
The Wolfman
WILL WIN:
The Wolfman
SHOULD WIN:
At this point I’m having trouble with the concept of winning. What is winning? What is “is”? Remind me never to do one of these again.

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