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Friday, February 25, 2011

THE 2011 ACADEMY AWARDS PREDICTIONS EXTRAVAGANZA


I go once more into the breach, dear friends, once more and predict who will win (and pontificate on who should win) the 2011 Academy Awards. Every single category predicted!!!  Every single category most likely incorrect!!! Feel free to leave your predictions in the comments. Here we go:


Another quick caveat – not all of these predictions may be the same as my podcast predictions. These things are subject to ebb and flow. Feel free to play along with your own predictions and follow along with my own nifty little point-scoring system. It’s double points for a will-win prediction and single points for a should–win, with triple points if you go for both and it lands. Got it? No? Well, never mind.

5 POINT CATEGORY

                  “Black Swan” Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver and Scott Franklin, Producers
                  “The Fighter” David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Mark Wahlberg, Producers
                  “Inception” Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers
                  “The Kids Are All Right” Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Celine Rattray, Producers
                  “The King's Speech” Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin, Producers
                  “127 Hours” Christian Colson, Danny Boyle and John Smithson, Producers
                  “The Social Network” Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca and Ce├ín Chaffin, Producers
                  “Toy Story 3” Darla K. Anderson, Producer
                  “True Grit” Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
                  “Winter's Bone" Anne Rosellini and Alix Madigan-Yorkin, Producers
WILL WIN:  THE SOCIAL NETWORK
SHOULD WIN: THE SOCIAL NETWORK

I want to make something very clear – I genuinely think the King’s Speech will clean up at the Academy Awards. It has won all the right awards leading up to the ceremony, features a performance the Academy loves and subject matter the Academy loves. If this was a Grand Final, and The King’s Speech was Geelong of 2007 and every other film was Port Adelaide of 2007, there’s no way you’d put your money anywhere else.

But you know what? Sometimes, your team makes the Grand Final. And when your team makes the Grand Final, you bet on them to win. You just do, and you prepare yourself to rejoice in doubly glorious victory or stew in doubly devastating defeat. And The Social Network is my team. I can’t rave or recommend this movie nearly enough, and I’ve written and talked about it plenty and still don’t feel like I’ve done it justice. It’s the best film I’ve seen in years, and will be remembered long after The King’s Speech disappears from our collective consciousness- though of course it is in no way a bad film. The King’s Speech is great. The Social Network is transcendent. It should win.

THREE POINT CATEGORIES

BEST DIRECTOR

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

WILL WIN:  TOM HOOPER
SHOULD WIN: DAVID FINCHER

I’ve ummed and aahed about this one for a long time because although it should follow that Best Director will go to the man at the helm of the Best Picture winner, I’m not totally convinced the Academy is into Tom Hooper just yet. I know the Coens are favourites of the Academy, that O. Russell has campaigned hard and that there’s a lot of love for Aronofsky. It should be Fincher. The cynic in me says it will be Hooper – purely because the cynic in me says The King’s Speech will win Best Picture. I hate that guy.

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

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

WILL WIN: COLIN FIRTH
SHOULD WIN: JESSE EISENBERG – BUT I’M TOTALLY OK WITH COLIN FIRTH

See above. I’ve written about this pretty extensively, but I genuinely think Eisenberg gives the more memorable performance. Firth is equally fantastic in every way, though and he thoroughly, thoroughly deserves this Oscar. I can’t really split them, and Firth will win anyway so it doesn’t matter.

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

                  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”

WILL WIN: NATALIE PORTMAN
SHOULD WIN: JENNIFER LAWRENCE

This would be my order of happiness with the winner of this category.
Cheering
Jennifer Lawrence, Michelle Williams
Clapping
Natalie Portman
Begrudgingly accepting
Nicole Kidman
Throwing things at television
Annette Bening.

That’s pretty much all you need to know. I’ve seen all these performances, and if you have as well, you’ll know that Lawrence is the one that sticks with you. She’s remarkable.

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

                  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”

WILL WIN: CHRISTIAN BALE
SHOULD WIN: CHRISTIAN BALE

I wouldn’t be surprised if Geoffrey Rush won, and I wouldn’t be unhappy if John Hawkes won. But Christian Bale is electric, magnetic and heart wrenching in The Fighter. It’s his year and I genuinely really hope he wins – especially because if he does win the trailer for The Dark Knight Rises can read ‘Academy Award winner Christian Bale’.

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

                  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”

WILL WIN: HAILEE STEINFELD
SHOULD WIN: AMY ADAMS

This is the one main change I’ve made in my predictions over the last few days – despite all of my instincts saying Melissa Leo will win for the Fighter I just think this is category in which an upset could happen. So I’m going to go out on a massive limb and predict Hailee Steinfeld’s wonderful performance in True Grit. I love Amy Adams and I think she’s fantastic in the Fighter so I hope that she takes it out, but I’d be happy with Steinfeld. I actually think Melissa Leo gives the worst performance of all these nominees, so if she wins we might be in projectile territory again.


CINEMATOGRAPHY

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

WILL WIN: THE KING’S SPEECH
SHOULD WIN: THE SOCIAL NETWORK

This was actually one of the hardest categories to pick a winner and a personal favourite in. It’s that rare category where I’d be genuinely happy to see anyone win – but I’m going with my old one-two punch of Speech and Network.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

                  “How to Train Your Dragon” Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois
                  “The Illusionist” Sylvain Chomet
“Toy Story 3” Lee Unkrich

WILL WIN: TOY STORY 3
SHOULD WIN: TOY STORY 3

Can How to Train Your Dragon pull of the upset of the millennium?

No.

2 POINT CATEGORIES

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 and Kirk Baxter

WILL WIN: THE KING’S SPEECH
SHOULD WIN:  THE SOCIAL NETWORK

I wasn’t crazy about the direction and general technical aspects of The King’s Speech whereas the Social Network provides a master class in being able to make the story of two depositions incredibly engrossing. This is a classic bellwether for the Best Picture Oscar, so I’m indulging my cynic and going for ‘The King’s Speech.

WRITING – ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

                  “Another Year” Written by Mike Leigh
                  “The Fighter” Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson; 
Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson
                  “Inception” Written by Christopher Nolan
                  “The Kids Are All Right” Written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg
“The King's Speech” Screenplay by David Seidler

WILL WIN: THE KING’S SPEECH
SHOULD WIN: THE KING’S SPEECH

There’s been a bit of a backlash against The King’s Speech in recent weeks – as there is against anything popular on the Internet – and I think it is all completely unnecessary. Yes, it’s a relatively stock standard historical story but it is told so well, with such wit and charm, that I think it deserves to take out this category. Sure, I don’t think it should be a Best Picture winner – but the writing here is so very, very good that this is an award it genuinely deserves. Who cares if it’s a crowd-pleaser? These are the damn movies – we want crowds and we want them pleased!!!

WRITING – ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

                  “127 Hours” Screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy
                  “The Social Network” Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin
                  “Toy Story 3” Screenplay by Michael Arndt; Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich
                  “True Grit” Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
“Winter's Bone” Adapted for the screen by Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini

WILL WIN: THE SOCIAL NETWORK
SHOULD WIN: THE SOCIAL NETWORK

I don’t need to say much about this one, except that it’s the best movie script Hollywood has produced in a long, long, long time. If it doesn’t win, it will be one of the biggest travesties of the entire evening. Sorkin is a deeply flawed genius, but a genius nonetheless. Looking forward to his speech, too.

MUSIC (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 and Atticus Ross

WILL WIN: THE SOCIAL NETWORK
SHOULD WIN: THE SOCIAL NETWORK

As much as I don’t doubt Danny Boyle’s favourite music man is a big chance to take this out – I still think this is an award the Social Network will collect. You can’t go past Nine Inch Nails, people. They know their Oscars.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

                  “Biutiful” Mexico
                  “Dogtooth” Greece
                  “In a Better World” Denmark
                  “Incendies” Canada
“Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi)” Algeria

WILL WIN: BIUTIFUL
SHOULD WIN: DOGTOOTH

As much as I would like to see the completely insane, shocking Dogtooth on the stage it has no chance. I doubt any Academy members got through it. Foreign films aren’t really my strong point, so I’m going with Biutiful because at least I know the Academy saw it all the way through. First class analysis here, people.

DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE)

                  “Exit through the Gift Shop” Banksy and Jaimie D'Cruz
                  “Gasland” Josh Fox and Trish Adlesic
                  “Inside Job” Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
                  “Restrepo” Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger
“Waste Land” Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley

WILL WIN: GASLAND
SHOULD WIN: EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP

As we discussed in our Oscar prediction edition of the Podcasting Couch, Exit through the Gift Shop is a film you should try to get around to seeing. I’m not saying any more than that.

1 POINT CATEGORIES

MUSIC – (ORIGINAL SONG)

                  “Coming Home” from “Country Strong” Music and Lyric by Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey
                  “I See the Light” from “Tangled” Music by Alan Menken Lyric by Glenn Slater
                  “If I Rise” from “127 Hours” Music by A.R. Rahman Lyric by Dido and Rollo Armstrong
“We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3" Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

WILL WIN: IF I RISE
SHOULD WIN: UHHH… I SEE THE LIGHT

One of those categories that almost no one cares about except the makers of films that haven’t been nominated elsewhere – it was the source of unexpected travesty for me when Bruce Springsteen’s sublime ‘The Wrestler’ wasn’t even nominated, and A. R. Rahman took the prize home for the song that I believe was later covered by the pussycat dolls. So I haven’t cared about this category since then. I can take the Academy giving an award to Crash over Good Night and Good Luck. They lost me here. You mess with the Boss, you mess with me.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

                  “Alice in Wonderland” Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas and Sean Phillips
                  “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz and Nicolas Aithadi
                  “Hereafter” Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojansky and Joe Farrell
                  “Inception” Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb
“Iron Man 2” Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright and Daniel Sudick

WILL WIN: INCEPTION
SHOULD WIN: INCEPTION

It has to be Inception, doesn’t it? Hereafter had one stunning special effects sequence, Iron Man 2 was spectacular but uninventive, Alice in Wonderland was terrible, Harry Potter has never won and only been nominated once. The Academy desperately wants to reward Inception, I feel, and this is their chance. The effects here were outstanding, inventive and integral to the story. There is no other choice. If the award goes to Alice in Wonderland I will throw something at the television.

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)

                  “Killing in the Name” Jed Rothstein
                  “Poster Girl” Sara Nesson and Mitchell W. Block
                  “Strangers No More” Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon
                  “Sun Come Up” Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger
“The Warriors of Qiugang” Ruby Yang and Thomas Lennon
WILL WIN: STRANGERS NO MORE

ART DIRECTION

                  “Alice in Wonderland” 
Production Design: Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Karen O'Hara
                  “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” 
Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan
                  “Inception” 
Production Design: Guy Hendrix Dyas; Set Decoration: Larry Dias and Doug Mowat
                  “The King's Speech” 
Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Judy Farr
“True Grit” 
Production Design: Jess Gonchor; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh

WILL WIN: ALICE IN WONDERLAND
SHOULD WIN: HARRY POTTER

The fact Alice in Wonderland might win two Oscars pains me greatly. But for the animation portion of the Deathly Hallows, and the fact I don’t totally understand what this category is rewarding, I’m giving Harry an Oscar.

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

WILL WIN: ALICE IN WONDERLAND
SHOULD WIN: TRUE GRIT

I’ve included a should win here because I reckon True Grit should win an Oscar somewhere and here’s the most likely area – up against widely disliked or ignored films I’d like to see the Western get some accolades.

SOUND MIXING

                  “Inception” Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo and Ed Novick
                  “The King's Speech” Paul Hamblin, Martin Jensen and John Midgley
                  “Salt” Jeffrey J. Haboush, Greg P. Russell, Scott Millan and William Sarokin
                  “The Social Network” Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick and Mark Weingarten
“True Grit” Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland

WILL WIN: THE KING’S SPEECH
SHOULD WIN: N/A

I can’t possibly comment on this with any kind of credibility whatsoever – except to say that this is generally a category where four movies that are Oscar nominated elsewhere get lumped in with a blockbuster film that has no business being anywhere near the Oscars apart from the fields of technical proficiency (Transformers, Wanted, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.) Five of the last ten winners have gone on to win Best Picture though, so I’m sticking with the King’s Speech.

SOUND EDITING

                  “Inception” Richard King
                  “Toy Story 3” Tom Myers and Michael Silvers
                  “Tron: Legacy” Gwendolyn Yates Whittle and Addison Teague
                  “True Grit” Skip Lievsay and Craig Berkey
                  “Unstoppable” Mark P. Stoeckinger

WILL WIN: INCEPTION
SHOULD WIN: INCEPTION

Slightly different from the Sound Mixing category in that Editing tends to go to films with much bigger tasks ahead of them so I’m going to go with the blockbuster Inception here. The latter sequences that tie four different story threads together at once are a real achievement in this field. With any luck, another one for Richard King here after his 2008 win for The Dark Knight.

SHORT FILM: ANIMATED

                  “Day & Night” Teddy Newton
                  “The Gruffalo” Jakob Schuh and Max Lang
                  “Let's Pollute” Geefwee Boedoe
                  “The Lost Thing” Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann
“Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)” Bastien Dubois

WILL WIN: DAY & NIGHT
SHOULD WIN: DAY & NIGHT

A simple, joyful thing of beauty. See it if you haven’t already.

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)

                  “The Confession” Tanel Toom
                  “The Crush” Michael Creagh
                  “God of Love” Luke Matheny
                  “Na Wewe” Ivan Goldschmidt
“Wish 143” Ian Barnes and Samantha Waite

WILL WIN: GOD OF LOVE

MAKEUP

                  “Barney's Version” Adrien Morot
                  “The Way Back” Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng
“The Wolfman” Rick Baker and Dave Elsey

WILL WIN: THE WOLFMAN

I’m going to finish on this note. Firstly, because I want to see Rick Baker up on the Oscar stage, secondly because I want to see one of the worst films of 2010 up on the Oscar stage. Outstanding.

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