In one week the awards season will be finished. The Academy Awards telecast will run practically the entire evening, and provide all of the viewers in America the verdict on what was the best film of 2010. Once again this year, the Academy has nominated 10 Best Pictures. Upon announcement of the nominees last month it became apparent that once again the Academy would favor the independent film circuit more than mainstream films, but there’s still quite a bit of diversity. Here are the predictions for next Sunday – who will win, who should win, and who definitely has no chance.
There are almost always two front runners for this race. With ten movies, oddly enough, half can be cut because they stand no chance. Toy Story 3 won’t win because it’s animated, which means it’ll snag the Best Animated Feature award. Winter’s Bone could be considered a dark-horse in this race, but hardly anybody has seen it. It’s quality still high – it had too little exposure, which cripples it. The Fighter is a character driven story, a vehicle for performances, which is where it’ll shine the most. The Kids Are All Right has some notoriety but it’s a comedy, and to be honest, it’s less than “all right,” and while Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours boasts a ground breaking performance by James Franco, it’s unlikely to sway voters.
Narrowing it down to the remaining five wasn’t too difficult, the others were filler. When considering 2010 these five films did in fact stand out above the rest; they were the most talked about of the year, and ignited more discussion. True Grit received critical acclaim but also some hesitance because it’s a remake of the John Wayne classic. It’s also very un-Coen Brothers, and fails to be as great as their previous efforts. Black Swan was the little indie film that had rave reviews and a lot of viewers. Natalie Portman’s performance is incredible, but it’s impact on 2010 was nothing compared to Inception. Christopher Nolan’s original script dazzled screens over the Summer, and it was undeniably the most talked about film of the year. Unfortunately though, the Academy doesn’t like Nolan (see The Dark Knight) so his chances drop just below The King’s Speech which came barreling out of awards season with flying colors. Thanks to Colin Firth’s performance, and a witty script, The King’s Speech lands neck and neck with The Social Network, the second most talked about film of the year.
Who Will Win: The Social Network – because of its topical references, and the fact that the script is smooth and precise, an achievement by Aaron Sorkin, and directed near perfectly by David Fincher.
Who Should Win: Inception. Much like Titanic and Avatar it was a cultural event . Everyone went to see it, and everyone loved it (for the most part). It was a critical favorite, and the talent needed to pull off a film of that size and depth is pretty great.
Who Definitely Won’t Win: Inception. Because the Academy doesn’t like Christopher Nolan.
This is a two man race basically. No one sees the Coen Brothers taking this one home, because honestly True Grit was nothing spectacular (still good though). Darren Aronofsky is completely deserving of it, but this is his first feature to really stand out, and the Academy enjoys progression. Where Nolan should have been was replaced with The Fighter’s David O. Russell, for a movie that boasted strong performances but predictable narrative, his placement on the nominations list baffled everyone. Once again, it’s between Fincher and Hooper, with Fincher edging it out.
Who Will Win: David Fincher – Because The Social Network is tightly written and tightly directed, there is nothing unnecessary about it. The King’s Speech had some poor directing, but that is permissible since it was truly about Colin Firth’s performance.
Who Should Win:David Fincher – It’s long overdue for Fincher, and The Social Network is (according to some) his best film. He’s a massive talent, and that was perfectly showcased with The Social Network.
Who Definitely Won’t Win: David O. Russell – No one knows how he got on there. It was the most left field nomination of the evening. He’s no dark-horse.
This is a one person race. Colin Firth has it locked, unless this week something about his personal life spills out and people take offense to it. There’s also massive doubt in other’s contending with him. Jeff Bridges won last year, and his performance in True Grit wasn’t Earth-shattering. Jesse Eisenberg was a nice inclusion, but is he really deserving of the award? James Franco was good, but a little too silly at times, and the soundtrack to 127 Hours was too irritating.
Who Will Win: Colin Firth – The performances this year were not incredible, but his stands out at the top due to his likability and the issue presented in The King’s Speech.
Who Should Win: Colin Firth – The rest of the performances were subpar. Acting was not so strong this year.
Who Definitely Won’t Win: Jesse Eisenberg – He did a fantastic job in The Social Network, everyone could see him as Zuckerberg, but the fact remains, the story itself is not as accurate as originally believed, which hurts the credibility of the performance.
Another two person race – Annette Benning and Natalie Portman are the only ones really being considered here. Nicole Kidman in Rabbit Hole was gut wrenching, but very few people actually saw that movie. Michelle Williams did fantastic in Blue Valentine but just like Rabbit Hole, no one saw it really. Her performance also depended on Ryan Gosling.
Who Will Win: Natalie Portman – Black Swan was a sexually charged thriller that showed Portman at her strongest. She’s long overdue for an award like this, and she’s swept most award shows already.
Who Should Win: Natalie Portman – Nothing compared to her really, this year.
Who Definitely Won’t Win: Jennifer Lawrence – A gifted actress but hardly anyone saw Winter’s Bone which is a shame, because it was very good.
Best Supporting Actor
One man race. Christian Bale delivered another iconic role in The Fighter and as a method actor he went to great lengths again to play the part. Geoffrey Rush could pull an upset here, he was wonderful in The King’s Speech. John Hawkes stands no chance, and it was another random nomination. Mark Ruffalo was the only redeeming part of The Kids Are All Right but not even he could save that film from being bloated. Jeremy Renner was the greatest part of The Town but he’s living in the shadow of Bale right now, who casts a large one.
Who Will Win: Christian Bale – He’s a method actor and he changed his entire life again for a role. The Academy would be stupid not to recognize it.
Who Should Win: Christian Bale.
Who Definitely Won’t Win: John Hawkes – His performance was subtle… but it wasn’t very memorable.
Best Supporting Actress
Quite possibly the tightest race of the evening. Everyone’s spilling over The Fighter’s support cast of Melissa Leo and Amy Adams. Both are dynamic in their roles, but Leo would edge out Adams. But Helena Bonham Carter cannot be counted out, she moves a powerful portrayal in The King’s Speech. Jackie Weaver is another “what the?” moments, so she probably has the furthest chance, but then there’s Hailee Steinfeld. Steinfeld held her own alongside The Dude and Jason Bourne, not an easy feat.
Who Will Win: Melissa Leo – She barely edges out Helena Bonham Carter. She transformed into her character for The Fighter which is what people are looking for in acting ability.
Who Should Win: Hailee Steinfeld – Holding your own with veteran actors like Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and Josh Brolin, is not an easy task. On top of that, she’s being directed by the two headed director, the Coen Brothers. That’s no simple task, but she flew out of it unscathed.
Who Definitely Won’t Win: Jackie Weaver – No one saw Animal Kingdom, and quite frankly she’s another one of those left fielders that seem to just be taking up space on the nominations list.
Best Adapted Screenplay
There’s really no competition here, Aaron Sorkin will win it because part of the draw to The Social Network is strictly in the tightness of the script.
Who Will Win: Aaron Sorkin.
Who Should Win: Aaron Sorkin.
Who Definitely Won’t Win: Everyone else.
Best Original Screenplay
Six weeks ago there was only one response to this – Inception. Nolan’s multilayered mind bending script was all of the rage for 2010, until The King’s Speech started picking up awards. It’s a close race now between the two and nothing else matters. But which one is better? Inception is an original concept but it comes off vacant and cold in certain areas. The King’s Speech is uplifting but also really just based on true events (which it manages to fudge a little).
Who Will Win: Inception – After being shut out of the Director race, Nolan is more deserving. Inception was completely original, shot wonderfully, and such a deep script that people were scratching their heads afterwards. A pretty daring experiment for Nolan.
Who Should Win:Inception .
Who Definitely Won’t Win: The Fighter – Despite this nomination, another puzzling one, the film itself was just not that engaging and that’s solidified by its poor narrative structure. It’s also based off of true events, which is typically unfavorable, unless it’s about a story that changed the nation.
As far as the rest of the nominations are concerned, it’ll be a domination from Inception, The King’s Speech, The Social Network, Black Swan, and True Grit. Which fits into the point that those were the five most important films of the year.