Oscar Predictions, 2011

In my capacity as a professional film commentator of two decades standing — seriously, I started my job as a film critic in 1991, MAN I AM OLD — it’s time for my annual Oscar predictions. This is the first stab, and then a couple days before the actual ceremony I’ll make any adjustments and corrections I feel like. Got it? Let’s begin.

BEST PICTURE

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

Since the Academy switched over to the “ten nominees” slate, I see the Best Picture slate functioning two ways. The first is a very self-conscious attempt by the Academy to celebrate the diversity of film by suggesting all these films, blockbuster and indie, animated and live action, science fiction and social study, all represent the best film making has to offer. And in that respect, yup, it sure is a nice spread of films. Well done, Academy; we’ll all very impressed out here.

The other way, of course, is as a slate to pick the eventual winner from, and in that respect, as a practical matter, we can throw out any film that didn’t also pick up a Best Director nod, since in the 80-some years of the Oscars, only three films have won Best Picture without their director getting a nomination, and the last time was more than two decades ago. So that’s Inception, The Kids Are All Right, 127 Hours, Toy Story 3 and Winter’s Bone out the window to start.

Of those that remain I think Black Swan and The Fighter are next out the window; their rewards are likely to be in the acting categories. True Grit is next out; a similar Coen brothers film (No Country For Old Men) won Best Picture just a couple of years ago, so I don’t really see the Academy repeating itself so soon.

That leaves The Social Network and The King’s Speech to duke it out. The Social Network is probably the better film from the standpoint of social relevance and simple art, and it’s vacuumed up all sorts of run-up awards, but I think there might be a concern that it’s peaked just a little too soon. The King’s Speech, on the other hand, is very handsome and very well acted and very much in the Academy sweet spot. So it’s really going to come down to whether the Academy wants to pretend it’s hip or admit it wants to be in bed by ten.

What will win: At this point, I’m thinking The King’s Speech is going to pull a Shakespeare in Love on us.

What should win: The Social Network. As much as I dislike Facebook, this film is a set piece for What The World Is Like Now, for better or worse.

 

BEST DIRECTOR

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

Russell out first; he’s happy he has his career back. I think the Coens are next off; it’s not that they don’t deserve the award, but they each have a couple of these on their shelf and, again, True Grit is not too far off from what they’ve been awarded for before. Aronofsky is still too weird; I think one accurate comparison for him perceptually — directing wise, not in his personal inclinations — is Roman Polanski; someone whose talent is undeniable but too aggressively off-center for the middle-of-the-road Academy voter to warm up to. Black Swan is sort of his Rosemary’s Baby, if you get what I mean.

So this leave Tom Hooper and David Fincher, whose films are the ones I expect will go neck and neck for the Best Picture Oscar. Hooper’s major problem, simply put, is: Dude, who is Tom Hooper? Well, he’s done some TV and a couple small British films. He’s kind of like 2011’s version of Hugh Hudson: In the right place at the right time with the right film, but not necessarily with enough recognition to get him over the finish line.

However, David Fincher does have the recognition: He was here before with Benjamin Button, and although his career has been stylized and idiosyncratic — Seven, Fight Club, Zodiac — he’s matured, i.e., hasn’t sunk himself into the black hole of his own stylistic choices. Also, since I think the Academy is likely to play it safe with Best Picture this year, I think giving Fincher the director Oscar will make the voters feel they’ve given his film sufficient recognition. In the Shakespeare in Love scenario, Fincher is Steven Spielberg. And that doesn’t suck.

Who will win: Fincher

Who should win: Fincher

 

BEST ACTOR

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

Academy screener DVDs were sufficient to get Bardem on the ballot; good for him. They’re not going to get him the award. Jesse Eisenberg is just happy to be here. Likewise, I think James Franco is pleased as punch that he’s being taken seriously, although frankly the man’s sudden ascent in the realm of serious acting still has me feeling a little flat-footed. He was so shouty in those Spider-Man films, you know? If Jeff Bridges hadn’t won last year for Crazy Heart, I would say this would be his year, but he did, and it was a career sort of award, and you don’t win two career awards.

That leaves Colin Firth, who was nominated last year, did a fine job this year, and who has the good fortune of being in a film that I suspect will suck in a bunch of awards and therefore would have enough momentum for him to take this even if he wasn’t deserving of it, which he is.

Who will win: Firth

Who should win: Firth

 

BEST ACTRESS

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

Jennifer Lawrence off first; a fine performance but she’s young and I don’t think anyone thinks she’s paid her dues yet. Nicole Kidman off next; she’s in this year’s “Meryl Streep” slot, i.e., “Academy members had four nominees, couldn’t think of a fifth and there was the screener DVD right in front of them.” Michelle Williams has come a long way from Dawson’s Creek and has a previous nomination, but I’m not sure Blue Valentine is the film that’s going to take her all the way.

So we’re left with Bening and Portman. I have a soft spot for Bening, who I think should probably have won an Oscar by now, and who may yet if enough voters are in a “career award” sort of mood this year. But on the other hand Portman is The Actress of The Moment, with a hit film, an envious commercial and critical pedigree, is happily engaged and pregnant and, not inconsiderably, represents the Academy’s most rational way to award Black Swan with an Oscar. I’m pretty sure it’s hers.

Who will win: Portman

Who should win: Bening. I think career awards are perfectly fine.

 

SUPPORTING ACTOR

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

Dear John Hawkes: Enjoy it, dude. You too, Ruffalo. Jeremy Renner: you’re having a heck of a couple of years. Don’t do anything stupid. Geoffrey Rush could take this if the voters are being lazy and just checking off every time The King’s Speech is on the ballot, but I very strongly suspect that Christian Bale’s walking about the door with the Oscar, both for his meth-tastic performance and also because this is how the Academy will choose to say “nice job” to The Fighter.

Who will win: Bale

Who should win: Bale.

 

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

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

This category is always the hardest to handicap (i.e., the one I always screw up) because, honestly, I don’t think even the Academy members know who to choose in this category, in the years where Woody Allen doesn’t make it easy for them. That said, everyone I know says this year is likely to come down to a fight between Melissa Leo and Amy Adams, and I don’t really see any reason to doubt that. If it does come down to the two of them, the coin flip I just did points to Adams.

Who will win: Adams.

Who should win: Steinfeld, with the note that she’s as much a “supporting actress” in True Grit as Jeff Bridges is a supporting actor.

Other categories: I’m having a hard time imagining a world in which Toy Story 3 doesn’t win the Animated Film Oscar. In screenplays, I think Aaron Sorkin is a good bet for Adapted, and I think Inception actually has a chance at Original, by way of consolation for Chris Nolan being stiffed in the director category. I suspect Inception may also sneak off with Cinematography. I would be chuffed if The Social Network won original score, because the idea of Trent Reznor being an Oscar winner fills me with glee. Finally, I and every science fiction geek in the known universe is rooting for “The Lost Thing” in the Animated Short category, because Shaun Tan is one of our own. Go, Shaun! Go!

 

 

46 thoughts on “Oscar Predictions, 2011

  1. Re; Best Picture – I don’t know, it felt like there was a run of years where the Academy couldn’t get their fill of Tom Hanks for Best Actor (Philadelphia, Forest Gump, Castaway, Apollo 13), so I could see the Coens possibly walking away with another one.

    Re: Best Actor – Again, for Jeff Bridges it could happen. Tom Hanks took it twice in 1993 and 1994. Do I think he deserves it? I don’t know, his acting was superb but for my own personal opinion I’d like to see Colin Firth get it.

  2. I haven’t even seen almost any of these. But OH YEAH! re. “The Lost Thing” (which I was surprised you didn’t count in your column, under either SF or fantasy)!

  3. I literally haven’t seen a single one of any of these movies.

    Can I say “literally” there? If I really, really, really haven’t seen any of these movies, I think “literally” is accurate. Yes?

    Man, I feel like I need to get out more, but there really wasn’t much of a draw for me to go to the big screen the last twelve months. Last couple of times, people in teh audience were extremely annoying and the cost of tickets and popcorn is completely outrageous. Lately, I’ve been inclined to just wait for it to come out on demand and watch it when I want, in the quiet comfort of my own home, hit pause if I need to pee, and make some cheap snacks.

  4. It’s just absurd that they listed the protagonist of True Grit as a supporting actress. Is everyone still thinking about the previous adaptation of the book, where it was a vehicle for John Wayne to act like John Wayne? I was surprised she hadn’t gotten a best actress call-out at all until I hit that category and realized they’d downgraded her for no apparent reason. If ever a teenager deserved an Oscar, it’s this one.

  5. I’m gonna disagree with you this year, John! (At least in your final choices, because I think you’re throwing out the right non-contenders.) I actually think King’s Speech deserves to win and that Social Network is overrated, but I also think Social Network will take it. With you on Fincher and Firth, but I think Bening will get that career award. Agree on Bale, but I think Hailee Steinfeld is going to win in the supporting category; she was just that awesome. (And she was a leading actress, no question. I think that works in her favor too.)

  6. I think Hailee Steinfeld will win for Best Supporting Actress. As you said, she deserves to win (hell, she deserves to win Best Actress, but since that’s not the award for which she’s nominated…), but I bet she does win.

  7. Is “walking about the door” a common expression, or a typo? Sounds like something Lancastrian.

    Funny, my wife had the same comment about Steinfeld being a supporting actress.

  8. I think that “Winter’s Bone” is superb, and am glad it was at least nominated for several awards. I’m also sadly sure it’s not going to win anything, but it’s at least nominated!

  9. No question about Best Animated Film. You might as well hang a Pixar sign (complete with Luxo Jr.) on that category and have done with it.

    And WTF? TRON: Legacy got snubbed for Visual Effects, and Daft Punk got snubbed for Best Original Score? Total bullshit. That movie was badass. During the bar fight scene, I was caught between wanting to cheer for our heroes and just wanting to groove to the soundtrack!

  10. I’m totally with you on the Best Score winner. I *love* the thought that the phrase “Oscar winner Trent Reznor” could be used.

  11. Re: The Social Network. Not a terrible film, but certainly an over-rated one. It’s strengths are due to David Fincher and the performers. It’s weaknesses are almost all due to Sorkin’s glorified courtroom transcript….I mean, screenplay.

    Winter’s Bone might not win any of the big categories, but I’m hoping it picks up “Best Adapted Screenplay.”

  12. I don’t have any interest in seeing The Social Network because if I understand correctly, it takes a few liberties with the real history. Yes, that’s me being nitpicky about biographical movies. Sorry.

    Having seen “True Grit”, I agree about Hailee Steinfeld – she ought to have been in the “Best Actress” category, especially when you consider that this version of the movie is pretty much told from her viewpoint. What I’ve noticed over years of amateur film appreciation is, young actors are seldom accorded their due – look at how frequently a film is about a child but the poster only lists the adults in the film.

  13. I will be super miffed if Inception wins Original Screenplay, because honestly. When your script is all ceaseless exposition, I get bored. I understood the implications of the technology the first time, darn it!

  14. You said:

    Who will win: Portman

    Who should win: Bening. I think career awards are perfectly fine.

    I have to disagree here. The better performance should win. What if Natalie Portman gets in a disfiguring car accident that ruins her career the day after the awards, or dies? What if she never acts again for whatever reason? Then there’s no chance to make up for the “sorry, kid, you were better but we have to give it to the old-timer this time around.”

    I don’t know which performance was better, so it’s possible that maybe Bening should win. But not based on career. If they want to give career awards they need to establish a career award category.

  15. You’re probably right on Toy Story 3, which is a perfectly cromulent choice for the win here, but I think it’s nice that this might be the first year in which Pixar’s not the obvious choice from a quality standpoint – there’s an argument to be made that How to Train Your Dragon at least deserves consideration here. The fact that Dragon was not only financially successful, but garnered really positive reaction gives me hope that Dreamworks and other computer animation shops will start stepping up their game, rather than continuing with the endless cycle of Shrek/Ice Age riffs.

  16. I’ll be rooting hard for Toy Story 3 in Best Picture, even thought it is a very long shot. It would be nice for the Academy to recognize Pixar’s years of quality films on top of advancing computer animation to new levels. However, no one could claim that Pixar has been snubbed at the Oscars.

    @Brian – I agree that How to Train Your Dragon is a good film, and any other year it would be in contention.

  17. A few comments, some of which I wanted to make on yesterday’s article, but the registration process at filmcritic.com was giving me headaches:

    In re Nolan’s lack of a directorial nomination: nearly every year, there’s one mismatch between best picture and best director (sometimes two). And it seems like every year, there’s hemming and hawing about how movie was “snubbed” in the oposite catagory (picture if the director was nominated, director if the picture was nominated). Why this hasn’t just become accepted as a typical result esacapes me. And now, with 10 picture nominations but only 5 director nods, it’s not even remarkable anymore – at least 5 directors of best picture nominees will not get nominated.

    It’s a strange set of awards, anyway. While I understand how an actor’s performance, or even a screenplay, could be better than the movie as a whole, it’s hard to imagine, let alone produce examples of, a film where the direction was better than the movie, or vice versa. How would that even happen? Also, considering the near-lockstep with which films and their directors get nominated and awarded, one wonders why AMPAS doesn’t do away with the best director award, and give best picture Oscar to both the producers and the director. The answer, of course, is that they won’t because the director category is voted on by directors, and they (and their egos) won’t want to give that up.
    Which brings me to my next comment: why do you, and most other film journalists for that matter, attribute all of the awards to “the Academy”. Meaning, why do you say that a Natalie Portman win would be how “the Academy” rewards Black Swan, or that a screenplay Oscar would be how “the Academy” consoles Nolan for denying him a director nomination (let alone an award). These things are not voted on by the same people. The categories are voted on by peers in that category (actors vote for actors, directors for directors, writers for writers, etc.). Only Best Picture is voted on by the Academy membership at large. Are you suggesting that the nearly 5000 voting members of AMPAS get together and decide who is getting what and why?

  18. An excellent and well defended series of choices, as usual. Just as usually, I disagree a bit (hey, you’re WAY more better than Nate Silver is at this, given that you actually, KNOW a LOT about the subject). I have to agree with previous comments that The Social Network is vastly over-rated as much as I do like Sorkin’s work. I’ll be disappointed if it wins, but I really don’t think it will. Annette Bening is an amazing actress and should win sometime, but IMNSHO career awards shouldn’t go to performances in trifling movies, and that’s my opinion of The Kids are All Right. Haven’t seen True Grit yet as it hasn’t opened here, but it might be best, for her, if Ms. Steinfeld doesn’t win. It’s hard to think of anyone for whom winning at a young age has turned out to be a really good thing.

  19. Amy said:

    If they want to give career awards they need to establish a career award category.

    Between the Thalberg award and the Honorary Oscars, they already have. That doesn’t prevent AMPAS voters (actors in particular) from casting a sentimental vote.

  20. I agree with pretty much all of your predictions, except cinematographer. Roger Deakins (True Grit) is considered the best cinematographer working today by an awful lot of people and should have won one of these long ago. This is his eighth nomination. I think the industry feeling will be that he’s due.

  21. ^22

    I know the AMPAS votes cast sentimental votes. I’m just saying I think they shouldn’t. When they do so, they’re counting on the fact that the deserving actor who didn’t win will have another chance in the future, and that’s far from certain.

  22. Amy:

    “I’m just saying I think they shouldn’t.”

    There is also the small matter that generally speaking the career award in question is enabled by a performance that is also in itself worth note. If Bening wins this year, as an example, one would have a difficult time saying that she didn’t deserve it for her performance, independent of any career sentimentality.

    Beyond that, I think the idea that intangibles are not to be considered when comparing five high-level but entirely different sorts of performances isn’t feasible. If Bening, Portman, et al were all essaying the same role it would be one thing, but their roles are in fact very different and in the end intangibles will matter as regards votes. That Bening has her career going for her; Portman has being an actress of the moment going for her. Are these relevant to the performance at hand? No, but people are people, and the Oscars (and indeed most high level awards) are really very rarely just about the work at hand.

  23. .”…there’s an argument to be made that How to Train Your Dragon at least deserves consideration here.”

    I agree that ‘Train Your Dragon” deserved consideration, but I think that ‘Toy Story 3′ was a much better film. “Dragon” is a great movie…but “Toy Story 3″ brings whole audiences to unreserved tears…and that’s not hyperbole. I don’t know of anyone who didn’t well-up at least a little; that’s powerful stuff, especially in a movie whose main villain is ‘Hugs-a-Lot Bear’. “Dragon” is a fairly standard, ‘outsider fits in, boy comes of age’ story. A great one, mind you…I sincerely believe it deserves the nod, especially as the film was a surprising underdog.

    What I don’t understand is why there are only three slots for the category? “Tangled” was a joy that I did not expect to love as much as I did and “Despicable Me”, while probably not on the same level as these others, was both extremely funny and surprisingly enjoyable. There were at least five good animated movies this year…why not nominate all of them?

  24. Only 15 animated movies qualified for the Oscar. When there are eight to fifteen eligible then the maximum number of nominees is three. If there had been 16 then up to five could have been nominated.

  25. What I don’t understand is why there are only three slots for the [best animated feature] category?

    You have to keep in mind the history of the medium and of the Academy. 20 years ago, there wasn’t an animated feature category because there was no need for one. Only 2 animated films had ever been nominated for Oscars and at the time, animated features were few and far between. The animated feature category was created because the academy recognized that the art form had matured and wanted to separate it from the best picture category (and also so that actors wouldn’t have their fee fees hurt competing with cartoons). But no one saw Dreamworks and Pixar coming. These days, we have a dozen animated features a year from different studios and independent houses all over the world. That was unexpected. If the trend keeps up, I have no doubt we’ll see the animated feature category expanded.

  26. You know, I thought Amy Adams was fine in The Fighter, she was. But Melissa Leo was awesome. And then again, so was Hailee Steinfeld (in True Grit, not The Fighter, although I love the image of seeing her face off against Christian Bale’s character and wearing him down the way she did the horse-trader… ). Anyway, back to Adams and Leo: Leo has paid her dues, and then some: she’s doing character work that outshines a lot of her male agemates, and unlike most of her female peers, isn’t afraid to age on camera. She’s fabulous and deserves the award.

    The best actress performance? Hailee Steinfeld’s. The best supporting Female Actress performance? Melissa Leo.

  27. I just saw the Kings Speech and I find it hard to imagine an actress pulling of a better performance that Bonham Carter on that ballot, she was fantastic. Although I haven’t seen The Fighter yet, I kind of avoided it because I really, really, really, really detest Marky Mark. He’s one of those people who seems to nullify karma.

  28. Well, I don’t completely agree with your choices, but your predictions are right on the money. I would have reasoned the results out in the same manner. Therefore, I think that we could probably use this as a template for how the night will go.

    I do think that SOCIAL NETWORK stands as good of a chance to win as KING’S for best film, especially since it’s such a contemporary film.

    Nice work.

  29. Honestly, I don’t think Portman is going to win because the Academy shot its bolt on misogynistic art house horror back in 1991 — and while I liked Black Swan a lot, it’s certainly not been the critical darling (and commercial success) Silence of the Lambs was back in the day.

  30. I don’t understand some of the nominees or likely winners. I never do. The King’s Speech is such a poor premise for a movie. Maybe a Hallmark channel original. Everybody in it is trying so hard to take themselves gravely seriously (except Rush) that I couldn’t enjoy their proformances.

    Natalie Portman was terrible in the Black Swan, and the movie was terrible as a result. But then again, with as much hallucination as her character has to go through, even a good actress probably couldn’t have saved this movie. Story Telling depending that much on Hallucination is never going to produce something of very high quality.

    The Figher is essentially a derrivative Boxing movie. It offers so little originality that I cringe at the thought of awarding it. The actors do fine, but don’t distinguish themselves from all of the other actors from other better boxing movies that have gone before.

    Winter’s Bone is the freshest thing this year, and is worthy. True Grit is such a great execution of great source material, and the most enjoyable movie of the year. It deserves consideration. The Social Network was the tighest script in some time. It belongs in contention.

    It was a bad year for movies, but there was some quality out there. Unstoppable deserves a best director nod for the best pacing of the year. The Company Men should be on Best Picture list for being so aware of the times. Let Me In was fresh and well puttogether. It should have been nominated.

    BEST PICTURE – True Grit
    BEST DIRECTOR – Tony Scott for Unstoppable
    BEST SCREENPLAY – The Social Network
    BEST ACTOR – Jesse Eisenberg in “The Social Network”
    BEST ACTRESS – Hailee Steinfeld in “True Grit”
    SUPPORTING ACTOR – Jeremy Renner in “The Town”
    SUPPORTING ACTRESS – Chloe Moretz in “Let Me In” – might be stretching the category a bit.

  31. I don’t think that you can just throw out all of the non-director nominated best picture contenders right off the top considering the new way that the academy votes for best picture. Sure, the fact that directors are not nominated may have some influence on the first place vote distribution, but it seems like it would be statistically insignificant during later rounds of the instant-runoff voting (Nate Silver did a pretty good analysis of this process http://carpetbagger.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/24/critics-love-the-social-network-will-the-academy-defriend-it/#more-17355). I do agree that King’s Speech and Social Network will be the odds on favorites, but I think True Grit (although deserving) will be out of the running early in the vote tallying since the system does not account for 2nd place votes and so on.

    Lastly, The Kids Are All Right is completely overrated.

  32. Dave:

    “I don’t think that you can just throw out all of the non-director nominated best picture contenders right off the top considering the new way that the academy votes for best picture.”

    I do, and I think the current way the best picture awards get counted won’t change that in the slightest. We’ll never know this for sure as the Academy doesn’t release vote totals, but my suspicion is that when the voter list their preferences, the movies with associated director nods will generally rank higher than those without, which means in the end we’ll be substantially more likely to see a winner with a director nod than without. One aspect of this will be that the movies with director nods also generally have relatively higher nomination counts (12 for King’s, 10 for True Grit, 8 for Social Network, etc) and that will work in their favor. There are other reasons, too.

    That said, I would laugh my ass off if Inception or Toy Story 3 pulled it out. That would be awesome.

  33. Story Telling depending that much on Hallucination is never going to produce something of very high quality.

    Well, that’s Alfred Hitchcock put in his place…

  34. Like lots of other people, I think Annette Bening is an amazing actress but don’t think she should win for this performance when she was as good or better in American Beauty, The American President, Bugsy, Regarding Henry, The Grifters, and even The Siege and probably others I can’t remember (yes, I know she wasn’t the lead in all of those and don’t care). I think at least four of those were also better movies than The Kids are All Right. I have no probelm with a person’s career of work entering into winning (impossible for that not to be true)but would hope that the quality of the movie would have considerable weight also. Just as MVPs in sports seldom come from weak teams, I’d prefer Oscar winners to come from really good movies and I don’t think The Kids are All Right qualifies.

  35. Do you have any predictions on the best foreign film? I am from Montréal, Québec, Canada, so you can guess what I wish (Incendies which I saw yesterday), however, I have not seen the others. Have you?

  36. I don’t want to be condescending, but I honestly don’t understand how anyone who has seen both considered The Social Network a superior film to The King’s Speech. It seems like a lot of it has to do with the fact that The Social Network is a film that is seen as culturally relevant, and sure it is, but that doesn’t make it the superior movie. The King’s Speech was better acted, for starters, it overall had better writing (though I think TSN’s writing as good and I feel like a lot of the credit Eisenberg is getting for his performance is actually on the part of the people writing his lines), and I was super-impressed by the fact that an idea that seemed so boring on paper was made engaging enough that I couldn’t take my eyes off it. And unlike The Social Network, they didn’t have to make things up to make that story engaging!

    I think us fans of genre movies tend to bristle at the Oscar-bait films automatically taking the lead, but that doesn’t mean the Oscar-bait films don’t sometimes deserve it. Hell, traditional “Oscar bait” hasn’t won BP since A Beautiful Mind in 2000; I don’t see what the big tragedy if a deserving film like this one does.

    And as someone who hated Shakespeare in Love, I bristle at the comparison. Shakespeare in Love was basically on the level of the shitty rom-coms that are ordinarily nominated for Razzies, but it got dressed up in historical garb so people took it more seriously than they should have. It didn’t even deserve to be nominated, let alone win. The King’s Speech is one of the best films of the past year, whether you think it deserves that #1 spot or not.

    All that being said, speaking as a composer, I hope The Social Network wins for Best Original Score and I’m surprised at The King’s Speech being nominated when I felt all the most effective musical moments in that movie came from their use of Mozart and Beethoven. I can’t remember anything of the original music from it.

  37. I have seen quite a number of the nominations for best film and like a few other people can’t really understand why so many people seem to think that The Social Network would be a worthy winner ahead of The Kings Speech (or indeed Toy Story 3). It’s a reasonable film but no more and nothing like the quality of The Kings Speech.

  38. You gotta be kidding on the supporting actress category. Not only did Melissa Leo give by far the best performance in that category, she gave the best performance of the year period hands down. If she doesn’t win I think I’ll have to quit the business.

  39. Elizabeth: I consider several of the Best Picture nominees superior to The King’s Speech, including The Social Network, Black Swan, and 127 Hours. The King’s Speech is exceptionally bland, well-acted, well-directed, but bland in every single way possible. There’s no surprise (we all know how it will end), no complexity, not even depth.

    Sadly, that’s why it will win Best Picture, because it is the safest choice for the Academy. After they have gone with more off-kilter choices of No Country for Old Men and The Hurt Locker, they’re going to return to their standard fare of historical dramedy with nothing offensive. People feel strongly (both good and bad) about movies like Black Swan and The Social Network, but there aren’t many people who watch The King’s Speech and leave the theater talking about it. I left thinking, “That was really good. What should I get for dinner?”

    After Black Swan, The Social Network, 127 Hours, even Inception, I was talking about them at length with friends and coworkers. The King’s Speech is the simplistic choice, and that’s why it will win Best Picture on Sunday.

  40. As much as I would kill for Nolan to win for screenplay, the fact remains the Academy has an unreasonable hard on for The King’s Speech so original screenplay will probably go to that movie rather Inception, despite it should win. Check out my list and opinions when you can!

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