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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Winner Predictions and Preferences

The time has come to make my final predictions. Despite a few categories which have been locked for a while, there are some tough picks in the lower categories, many of them having to do with how big The King's Speech will sweep. Here's who I predict will win, who is the alternate, and who should win.

Best Motion Picture of the Year
127 Hours
Black Swan
The Fighter
The Kids Are All Right
The King's Speech
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter's Bone

Will Win: The King's Speech
Alternate: The Social Network
Should Win: Black Swan

Almost until nomination morning, The Social Network was sweeping every critics award, many critics' top 10 lists, and the Golden Globes. Then The King's Speech went on a role and there's been no stopping it. At this point, The Social Network winning would be a shocker, and anything else winning would be unthinkable.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Biutiful: Javier Bardem
True Grit: Jeff Bridges
The Social Network: Jesse Eisenberg
The King's Speech: Colin Firth
127 Hours: James Franco

Will Win: Colin Firth
Alternate: James Franco
Should Win: Jame Franco

After his tremendous nominated performance in A Single Man last year and his prominent role in the Best Picture frontrunner, there is no way Colin loses this. While I guess Franco would probably be next up, we'll have to content ourselves with his hosting duties. I'm excited to see what Franco and Hathaway have for us, you?

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
The Kids Are All Right: Annette Bening
Rabbit Hole: Nicole Kidman
Winter's Bone: Jennifer Lawrence
Black Swan: Natalie Portman
Blue Valentine: Michelle Williams

Will Win: Natalie Portman
Alternate: Annette Bening
Should Win: Annette Bening

I'm fairly confident that Portman has this in the bag, with a small chance for a surprising upset by Bening. Oscar tends to like younger women for their actress awards. Let me just say that this field is enormously accomplished this year. I think I actually prefer all the nominated performances this year to any of the nominated performances from last year.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
The Fighter: Christian Bale
Winter's Bone: John Hawkes
The Town: Jeremy Renner
The Kids Are All Right: Mark Ruffalo
The King's Speech: Geoffrey Rush

Will Win: Christian Bale
Alternate: Geoffrey Rush
Should Win: Christian Bale

While there's a chance Geoffrey Rush rides The King's Speech train to victory, I think Bale's performance is too truly great to ignore. On my blog yesterday, every single one of the 8 participants picked him as their favorite. Just as in the actress category, this category is amazing this year, exactly the five I would have picked as well.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
The Fighter: Amy Adams
The King's Speech: Helena Bonham Carter
The Fighter: Melissa Leo
True Grit: Hailee Steinfeld
Animal Kingdom: Jacki Weaver

Will Win: Hailee Steinfeld
Alternate: Melissa Leo
Should Win: Amy Adams

This is the most exciting race of the night. It could easily go to Leo, Steinfeld, or even Bonham Carter. It seemed like Leo had it in the bag, but she's gotten some backlash for her over-the-top campaign ads. I'm making a somewhat risky bet that Steinfeld will charm enough votes her way to get the win. She'll be damn cute at the podium if she wins.

Best Achievement in Directing
Black Swan: Darren Aronofsky
True Grit: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
The Social Network: David Fincher
The King's Speech: Tom Hooper
The Fighter: David O. Russell

Will Win: Tom Hooper
Alternate: David Fincher
Should Win: Darren Aronofsky

Another tough call. Some are calling a split, with The King's Speech taking Best Picture and Fincher taking Best Director. I'm betting The King's Speech takes Hooper along for the ride. That said, I'll be thrilled if Fincher pulls through.

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Another Year: Mike Leigh
The Fighter: Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, Keith Dorrington
Inception: Christopher Nolan
The Kids Are All Right: Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg
The King's Speech: David Seidler

Will Win: The King's Speech
Alternate: The Kids Are All Right
Should Win: Another Year

The King's Speech will win this. Bet your money. My pick was tough. I eventually went for Another Year, perhaps because its screenplay was just a tad more naturalistic and intricate than The Kids Are All Right. I'd be happy if TKAAR somehow upset, though.

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
127 Hours: Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy
The Social Network: Aaron Sorkin
Toy Story 3: Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich
True Grit: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Winter's Bone: Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini

Will Win: The Social Network
Alternate: Toy Story 3
Should Win: The Social Network

Another one to easily mark off your ballot. I think most would agree that so much of The Social Network's success hinged on its screenplay.

Best Achievement in 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: True Grit
Alternate: Black Swan
Should Win: Black Swan

The great Roger Deakins, who has collaborated on countless Coen Brothers movies, will probably finally get rewarded for his lovely and atmospheric cinematography. I think there's actually a small chance for any of these movies to win, and they're all worthy nominees.

Best Achievement in Art Direction
Alice in Wonderland: Robert Stromberg, Karen O'Hara
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1: Stuart Craig, Stephenie McMillan
Inception: Guy Hendrix Dyas, Larry Dias, Douglas A. Mowat
The King's Speech: Eve Stewart, Judy Farr
True Grit: Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh

Will Win: The King's Speech
Alternate: Inception
Should Win: Inception

I think this is a true 3-way race between TKS, Inception, and Alice in Wonderland. I'm hedging my bets on people wanting to reward The King's Speech.

Best Achievement in 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
Alternate: The King's Speech
Should Win: True Grit

A battle between TKS and Alice in Wonderland. This category tends not to correlate too strongly to Best Picture, and it also tends to go with showy work. Sounds like Alice in Wonderland to me.

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

Will Win: Inception
Alternate: True Grit
Should Win: Inception

Yup, Inception.

Best Achievement in Editing
127 Hours: Jon Harris
Black Swan: Andrew Weisblum
The Fighter: Pamela Martin
The King's Speech: Tariq Anwar
The Social Network: Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall

Will Win: The Social Network
Alternate: Black Swan
Should Win: Black Swan

I can see any of these except 127 Hours winning. I think the voters will notice, however, how much The Social Network's editing kept the audience thrilled at a story without much real action.

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
Inception: Richard King
Toy Story 3: Tom Myers, Michael Silvers
TRON: Legacy: Gwendolyn Yates Whittle, Addison Teague
True Grit: Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey
Unstoppable: Mark P. Stoeckinger

Will Win: Inception
Alternate: True Grit
Should Win: Inception

Another one for Inception.

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

Will Win: Inception
Alternate: Alice in Wonderland
Should Win: Inception

Best Achievement in Makeup
Barney's Version: Adrien Morot
The Way Back: Edouard F. Henriques, Greg Funk, Yolanda Toussieng
The Wolfman: Rick Baker, Dave Elsey

Will Win: The Wolfman
Alternate: The Way Back
Should Win: I haven't seen any of these...

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
127 Hours: A.R. Rahman, Roland 'Rollo' Armstrong, Dido
- "If I Rise"
Country Strong: Tom Douglas, Hillary Lindsey, Troy Verges
- "Coming Home"
Tangled: Alan Menken, Glenn Slater
- "I See the Light"
Toy Story 3: Randy Newman
- "We Belong Together"

Will Win: Toy Story 3
Alternate: 127 Hours
Should Win: 127 Hours

Not a great category for songs, but hopefully the performances will be pleasant.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
127 Hours: A.R. Rahman
How to Train Your Dragon: John Powell
Inception: Hans Zimmer
The King's Speech: Alexandre Desplat
The Social Network: Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross

Will Win: The King's Speech
Alternate: The Social Network
Should Win: The Social Network

I would be soooo thrilled if The Social Network score one this. It was awesome.

Best Short Film, Animated
Day & Night: Teddy Newton
The Gruffalo: Jakob Schuh, Max Lang
Let's Pollute: Geefwee Boedoe
The Lost Thing: Shaun Tan, Andrew Ruhemann
Madagascar, a Journey Diary: Bastien Dubois

Will Win: The Lost Thing
Alternate: Day & Night
Should Win: I've only seen Day & Night

While at the foreign film screenings, I spoke with Academy member Marjorie Simpkin (casting director for such films as Avatar and Footloose....) who told me The Lost Thing was charming the audiences at Academy screenings. I'm not seeing many other pundits it predicting it. I hope Marjorie guided me right!

Best 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, Samantha Waite

Will Win: Wish 143
Alternate: Na Wewe
Should Win: God of Love

I saw these and never had the chance to blog. Here's a twitter style rundown.
The Confession-Turgid and overly grim, no thank you.
The Crush- Charming and slight. Won't win.
God of Love- Clever, goofy, and luxuriously filmed. This generation's Woody Allen?
Na Wewe- Global importance, great production values, a little weird at the end.
Wish 143- Topic sounds sleazy (cancer patient trying to lose his virginity), but the movie is really charming, funny, and moving.

This is a tough category. I would not be shocked if Na Wewe, Wish 143, or even God of Love won. I'm taking some more advice from Academy member Marjorie, who said voters were loving Wish 143.

Best Documentary, Short Subjects
Poster Girl: Mitchell Block (producer), Sara Nesson (director)
Killing in the Name: Nominees TBD
Strangers No More: Karen Goodman, Kirk Simon
Sun Come Up: Jennifer Redfearn, Tim Metzger
The Warriors of Qiugang: Ruby Yang, Thomas Lennon

Will Win: Strangers No More
Alternate: The Warrios of Qiugang
Should Win: ?

Haven't seen these, just going on what I've read.

Best Documentary, Features
Exit Through the Gift Shop: Banksy, Jaimie D'Cruz
GasLand: Josh Fox, Trish Adlesic
Inside Job: Charles Ferguson, Audrey Marrs
Restrepo: Tim Hetherington, Sebastian Junger
Waste Land: Lucy Walker, Angus Aynsley

Will Win: Inside Job
Alternate: Exit Through the Gift Shop
Should Win: Exit Through the Gift Shop (I've only seen Gift Shop and Restrepo)

I expect Inside Job will win, but it would be so cool if street artist Banksy claims the prize! I've also heard Waste Land might have a shot.

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Biutiful: Alejandro González Iñárritu
- Mexico
Dogtooth: Giorgos Lanthimos
- Greece
In a Better World: Susanne Bier
- Denmark
Incendies: Denis Villeneuve
- Canada
Outside the Law: Rachid Bouchareb
- Algeria

Will Win: In a Better World
Alternate: Incendies
Should Win: In a Better World

I also saw all of these-over 3 days-so fun! Here's my run-down.

Biutiful- Bardem is extraordinary, the movie not so much. Overlong and "too many issues in the scene."
Dogtooth- Completely bizarre and, depending on who you are, repellent or fascinating. I thought fascinating and hilarious, but no way in hell it wins.
In a Better World- Gracefully written, acted, and performed by both the children and adults by great Danish director Susanne Bier
Incendies- Made with great skill and a near-masterpiece for the first hour and a half. It's ending let me down.
Outside the Law- Well-made but overly familiar and a little tedious.

This is widely thought of as a race between In a Better World, Biutiful, and Incendies. To vote, voters have to have seen all five movies. I honestly don't think Biutiful will win. Incendies is kind of up their alley, but also a little graphic in its violence. That's why I'm going with In a Better World, a movie it's hard not to like and also really well made. They've disappointed me before, though.

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
How to Train Your Dragon: Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders
The Illusionist: Sylvain Chomet
Toy Story 3: Lee Unkrich

Will Win: Toy Story 3
Alternate: How to Train Your Dragon
Should Win: Toy Story 3

Toy Story 3, you think??

Based on my predictions, I am guessing we will get:
-6 awards for The King's Speech (Picture, Actor, Director, O. Screenplay, Art Direction, Score)
-3 for Inception (Sound, Sound Editing, Visual Effects)
-2 for The Social Network (Adapted Screenplay, Film Editing)
-2 for Toy Story 3 (Animated, Song)
-2 for True Grit (Supporting Actress, Cinematography)
-1 for Black Swan (Actress)
-1 for The Fighter (Supporting Actor)
-1 for The Wolfman (Makeup)
-1 for Alice in Wonderland (Costumes)
-1 for In a Better World (Foreign)
-1 each for the documentary and shorts categories.

Tune in to the liveblog tonight at 7:30 pm for full coverage and to see how I do!

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