With the Academy Awards coming up on this Sunday night, it’s time to take one last look at all the contenders for the movie industry’s coveted top prize. Over the course of this week, keep it here for profiles of every “Best Picture” nominee as well as a breakdown of all the major categories. New York is one of the top markets for movies in the country, so make sure to hit the comments and have your voice heard about this year’s race.
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
Chance of winning: 5%
People were surprised when Darren Aronofsky was snubbed last year for his critically acclaimed drama “The Wrestler.” Many deemed him simply too dark for the Academy voters, which could still hold true in some aspects, but he did receive a nod this year, which is a step in the right direction. Unfortunately that step won’t translate to a win as this year as it is really a two horse between David Fincher and Tom Hooper.
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, True Grit
Chance of winning: 15%
The Coen brothers won this award a few years back for “No Country For Old Men,” and definitely have a few fans among Academy members. It is widely believed they snagged the nomination many expected Christopher Nolan to receive for “Inception.” Although that’s not to take anything away from the talented filmmakers, if anything it could give them an edge. If voters have a hard time choosing between Hooper and Fincher, it is entirely possible they could be the beneficiaries of some of those split votes.
David Fincher, The Social Network
Chances of winning: 40%
First here’s a little background on “The Social Network” and “The King’s Speech.” Starting around the time of the Golden Globes, “The King’s Speech” was slowly losing its grasp on the front-runner position to “The Social Network.” The well-made Facebook-inspired movie would later go on to win a number of key awards, before falling back into a dead heat with “Speech.” Throughout it all though, David Fincher has remained the favorite. Yes, Tom Hooper won the prestigious and usually reliable Director’s Guild Award, but Fincher is still going to prove to be a force at this year’s ceremony. The Academy likes to share the wealth among the more popular movies and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Fincher win but his film lose.
Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
Chances of winning: 35%
Usually the winner of “Best Director” comes from the film winning “Best Picture,” but over the last decade, the Academy has broken from that pattern three times. It could very well happen again here. Hooper is a relative newcomer on the scene and doesn’t have the same pedigree Fincher does, but that doesn’t take away from the amazing job Hooper did on “Speech.” An upset here isn’t out of the question.
David O. Russell, The Fighter
Chances of winning: 5%
“The Fighter” could very well produce winners in both the “Best Supporting Actor” and “Best Supporting Actress” categories, which speaks to the skilled direction of David O. Russell. The problem here is that the lion share of the focus and early awards have gone to either Hooper or Fincher, which essentially take most of the other directors in the category out of the race. It is also interesting the “The Fighter’s” lead actor Mark Wahlberg was snubbed in his category, which in the past has been a telling sign.
You can watch the 83rd Annual Academy Awards locally on WABC, this Sunday February 27, 2011 at 8pm EST.