And the winners should be…. 2011 Oscar Predictions (Matt’s Picks)

Best Picture

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

Should Win I’d be the most happy with Social Network, Black Swan, or The Kids Are All Right.  There’s no real Blind Side this year, but The King’s Speech is the least deserving… and it’s also one of the front-runners.
Will Win: The Social Network has a real shot, but so does The King’s Speech. Many have already handed it to King George, but I’m leaning toward King Zuckerberg.
Snubbed: There’s really no Blind Side this year among the nominees. However, over The King’s Speech I would’ve nominated The Ghost Writer, Enter the Void, White Material, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Splice or I Am Love.

Best Director

Tom Hooper- The King’s Speech
Darren Aronofsky- Black Swan
Joel & Ethan Coen- True Grit
David Fincher- The Social Network
David O. Russell- The Fighter

Should Win: Aronofsky.  His direction on Black Swan was the best thing about the movie, which is saying a lot.  Fincher is also great, but so many other elements of Social Network would’ve worked on their own if not as well.  You can’t really say that about Black Swan.
Will Win: Fincher.  Even if The Social Network doesn’t walk away with the night’s biggest trophy, this one is a pretty safe bet.
Snubbed: Yes, yes, Christopher Nolan deserved a nomination  for Inception here over Tom Hooper, but don’t forget Danny Boyle.  His direction on 127 Hours was impeccable and his movie was better than both Inception and The King’s Speech.   I’d also throw in Lisa Cholodenko’s low-key genius in The Kid’s Are All Right, Gasper Noe’s hallucinatory brilliance in Enter the Void, Roman Polanski’s artful storytelling in The Ghost Writer and the mesmerizing work of Claire Denis in White Material.

Best Actor

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

Should Win: James Franco.  He was more vital to the success of a film than any other actor this year.  It’s up to him to carry Danny Boyle’s artistic vision on 127 Hours, and he does an admirable job of blending the comic with the tragic.
Will Win: Colin Firth.  It’s the most sure-fire bet on Oscar night, and it helps that Firth gives a fantastic performance.
Snubbed: Michael Douglas deserved some serious recognition for A Solitary Man, and Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance in Shutter Island was thrilling.  Both were better than Bridges in True Grit.

Best Actress

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

Should Win: Annette Bening.  Her acting isn’t showy, it’s subtle.  It’s also perfect.  The scene where she sings Joni Mitchell at a dinner table moves from comedy to a thing of beauty and harmony, making the heartbreak that follows all the more harrowing.
Will Win: It’s Natalie Portman’s to lose, but Bening could easily upset because she’s been nominated 3 times with no victory.
Snubbed: Isabelle Huppert in White Material and Tilda Swinton in I Am Love are two foreign performances that deserved much more recognition.  Also add in Julianne Moore in The Kid’s Are All Right, who deserves to be right up there with her acting partner Bening.

Best Supporting Actor

Jeremy Renner- The Town
Geoffrey Rush- The King’s Speech
John Hawkes- Winter’s Bone
Christian Bale- The Fighter
Mark Ruffalo- The Kids Are All Right

Should Win: Christian Bale gives perhaps the greatest performance of his career, stealing scenes left and right as a dejected drug addict in The Fighter.
Will Win: Bale is a fairly certain pick, but Geoffrey Rush may end up walking to the podium with his pupil Firth to collect this trophy.
Snubbed: Vincent Cassel in Black Swan deserved Renner’s spot.  He brings a creepy macho bravado to the largely female cast.  I also would add in Pierce Brosnan in The Ghost Writer and Andrew Garfield in The Social Network.  

Best Supporting Actress

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

Should Win: Melissa Leo gives another one of the fantastic performances from The Fighter.  As a controlling mom who’s not afraid to pick favorites among her sons, she enthralls, confounds and ultimately amazes you with her technique.
Will Win: Even though the press is making an issue out of Leo sending out personal ads, there’s no clear opposition to her victory.  The Academy made the stupid mistake of nominating Steinfeld in the supporting category instead of the lead, so some voters who would’ve picked her as Best Actress might vote her in here.
Snubbed: This category was filled with undeserved nominations.  Bonham Carter and Adams, as much as I like them in other movies, do not deserve slots here.  Jacki Weaver was the best thing in Animal Kingdom, but still didn’t deserve a nomination.  Olivia Williams in The Ghost Writer, Marion Cotillard in Inception, Lesley Manville in Another Year, and Kimberly Elise in For Colored Girls all would’ve been better choices.

Best Original Screenplay

Mike Leigh- Another Year
Christopher Nolan- Inception
Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg- The Kids Are All Right
David Seidler- The King’s Speech
Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson- The Fighter

Should Win: The Kids Are All Right had the best screenplay of the year, and it was a larger part of the success of it than some of the more visually appealing films this year.
Will Win: Cholodenko and Blumberg are the definite front-runners, but the Academy could give it to Christopher Nolan as a way of saying sorry for omitting him in the Best Director Category.  And if The King’s Speech ends up pulling a surprise sweep, look for another possible upset here.
Snubbed: All of the five nominees are adequate, but to shake things up I would toss in Splice or A Solitary Man.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Joel & Ethan Coen- True Grit
Debra Granik & Anne Rosselini- Winter’s Bone
Michael Arndt- Toy Story 3
Aaron Sorkin- The Social Network
Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy- 127 Hours

Should Win: Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay for The Social Network is astounding without the help of David Fincher’s visuals.
Will Win: Sorkin is another sure-fire bet.  If The Social Network loses Best Picture but wins the writing and directing awards, the Academy will look like fools.
Snubbed: Again all 5 are adequate, but then again so were the screenplays of Shutter Island, Let Me In, or The Town.

Best Cinematography

Roger Deakins- True Grit
Wally Pfister- Inception
Matthew Libatique- Black Swan
Danny Cohen- The King’s Speech
Jeff Cronenweth- The Social Network

Should Win: Of the five nominees, I’d go with Pfister’s beautiful work in Inception, although I’m also partial to Libatique’s gorgeously violent images in Black Swan.
Will Win: Pfister might walk away with this one if Inception takes all of the technical awards, but right now Jeff Cronenweth’s sinister atmosphere in The Social Network looks to be the front-runner.
Snubbed: I’d like to take this time to bitch about the exclusion of Anthony Dodd Mantle’s amazing work in 127 Hours.  It keeps a largely stationary movie from standing still and really injects life into the story.

5 thoughts on “And the winners should be…. 2011 Oscar Predictions (Matt’s Picks)

  1. yeah, would like to see Aronofsky get director, but think its gonna be Fincher, which is in fairness a good choice.
    disagree with you on Franco, dont think he was as good as Firth, even though Kings Speech isnt one of my favourite of the nominees

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  4. Your ‘wills’ look pretty spot on. cotillard for supporting actress? She was good sure, but hardly the most standout thing about the film. But you’re right, HBC in kings speech was a bit run of the mill, bit easy for her I reckon
    Great shout on cassel, he was brilliant. Portmans performance wouldn’t have been nearly as convincing without him

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