Originally I was going to write some sort of opinionated rant about the Oscars, but really, it just doesn’t matter, does it?  I was bummed that they pushed off the Lord of the Rings awards until the last film, The Return of The King, and they gave Halle Berry her (undeserved) spotlight to put on the robe of oppression when undeniably classier actor (Denzel Washington) in the same circumstances acted like he would be there again in 2001.  They gave Sandra Bullock an Oscar for a decent performance for just about the same reason they gave Sean Connery one for a great one: lifetime achievement.  This when they even have a Lifetime Achievement award.

Really, though, they get it right just about as often as they get it wrong.  This is the beauty about everyone having opinions.  We gripe when we think others are wrong, and then we move on.  With that recognition of our national short-sightedness in mind, please allow me the privilege of putting my own, useless opinion, and slightly more valid prognostication abilities on display:

Best Picture:

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

Who Should Win: This should be a contest between two films, The Social Network and Inception.  A film about Facebook should not have worked.  As much as I love to be on Facebook and as much as I understand the way that this site has helped to change the world the way many thought that the internet had the ability, I had no wish to see a movie about the subject.  Even knowing that Fincher was directing it, I still thought it was a tall order.  He pulled it off, though.  Managing, along with Aaron Sorkin to make a universal statement of classic proportions, this is one of the best films of Fincher’s already incredible career.

Inception was an event of epic proportions that came from a place few movies do these days: the mind.  So many big films anymore are sequels, prequels or derivative of comic books, it was a mind-blowing surprise to see an original story developed, green lighted and released in the Summer Blockbuster season.  Inception has the story to match (or even exceed) the incredible depth of the special effects.  Christopher Nolan is on another plane than other directors, approaching that of David Lean, John Ford, and Steven Spielberg in non-teaching mode.  Leonardo Di Caprio, Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt should have been nominated here as well.

My pick: Inception

Who will win: This is going to be between The Social Network and The King’s Speech.  The former is actually the better movie, but the latter has the Anglophiles support at this point.  This could go either way, but I think Fincher should pull it out.

My guess: The Social Network

Best Director:

Darren Arronofsky, Black Swan; David O. Russell, The Fighter; Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech; David Fincher, The Social Network; Joel and Ethan Coen, True Grit

The biggest example of the problems with having 10 best picture nominees:  5 are ruled out almost immediately when they are

David Fincher

not represented in the director category.  The Coen brothers are so good, True Grit will be remembered as a minor work for them in the long run.  That Nolan is not part of this group is a crime.  As a result, by default, I have to give this to the Director of The Social Network.  I think that the Academy voters are leaning the same way

My pick: David Fincher

My guess: Fincher

Best Actress

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

Bening in ...Kids...

Despite the publicity that Natalie Portman has received for her wacked out ballet dancer, the real performances here were Bening’s paternal half of the lesbian couple in The Kids Are All Right, she shows a stoic sensibility, fragility and jealousy inherent in a breadwinner.  Having the most to lose, she is the one on whom the balance of the weight of the family is shifted.  I have never been a fan of Bening’s in the past, except for her role in The American President.  This will probably be her last shot to win it, and I think she had the most range in the cast.  Some points, however, go to Lawrence, who took up permanent residence in hell in Winter’s Bone.

My Pick: Annette Bening

I think there may be some backlash here.  Portman’s had a lot of pub for this role, but she really has been a huge disappointment as an actress for so long since Leon: The Professional.  There is not as much love for her out there as there would be for a lesbian role model and a multiple-nominated actress as Bening.

My Guess: Bening

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams, The Fighter; Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech; Melissa Leo, The Fighter; Halle Steinfeld, True Grit; Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

My favorite performance here is Steinfeld’s straightforward revenge seeker in True Grit.  Her performance is the single

Steinfeld in True Grit

biggest improvement over the truly wretched Kim Darby in the original.  If they could have just transported Steinfeld’s performance to the original, they would have had a perfect movie.

My Pick: Hailee Steinfeld

Leo would be the rightful favorite here were it not for the nomination of Adams from the same movie.  As it is, she still might win.  I am thinking that Steinfeld will be the only love shown to the Coens in this Awards Show.

My Guess: Steinfeld

Best Actor:

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

Firth as King George VI

Everyone but Eisenberg and Firth are an afterthought here.  Eisenberg really ran through many of the paces here, showing incredible range as a socially inept genius who created the social revolution of our time.   Firth, however, is in another league.  His King George VI is at once so majestic, stoic and vulnerable that he raised the movie into what everyone had hoped it could be.

My pick: Colin Firth

Many people think that Firth lost a close one to Bridge’s reputation last year.  This would be true, were it not for the fact that Bridges created one of his best characters ever.  Still I think momentum is going Firth’s way this year.

My guess: Firth

Best Supporting Actor

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

This might be the most competitive category of the year.  Bale has been so good for so long, the critics are anxious to give it to

Rush as Lionel Logue

him.  Rush pulled an amazing feat, however, by reining in the crazy for the solemn and humble, as King George’s friend and therapist in The King’s Speech.  Ruffalo did a remarkably subtle turn as an ironic Pandora’s Box in …All Right.  Hawkes came from out of nowhere to prominence as Uncle Teardrop in Winter’s Bone.  After many years of great character acting

Bale is an extreme method actor

and his unforgettable role as Sol Star in Deadwood, it’s nice to see him in the big leagues.

My pick: Geoffrey Rush

The tide may have turned for Bale here, as he pulled off his second career DeNiro (after The Machinist) with his body shifting performance in The Fighter.

My guess: Christian Bale

Best Original Screenplay

Mike Leigh, Another Year; Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, story by Keith Dorrington, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, The Fighter; Christopher Nolan, Inception; Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg, The Kids Are All Right; David Seidler, The King’s Speech

Seidler and the duo Cholodenko and Blumberg all did tremendous jobs here.  I don’t think I will ever see a more deftly drawn complex script than Nolan’s Inception.

My pick: Christopher Nolan

Given the likelihood that Inception will have been shut out of the other major awards, it should get the win.  The King’s Speech is one of those films, though, that gives you the On Golden Pond moments…

My guess: David Seidler

Best Adapted Screenplay

Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy, 127 Hours; Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network; Michael Arndt, story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich, Toy Story 3; Joel and Ethan Coen, True Grit; Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini, Winter’s Bone

This is the most reliable pick of the event.

My pick: Aaron Sorkin

My guess: Sorkin

Best Animated Feature

How To Train Your Dragon; The Illusionist; Toy Story 3

Really the best animated feature of the year. Really

As good as Toy Story 3 was, it still was derivative.  How To Train You Dragon, however, is one of the most original animated features ever produced.  It was designed for 3D, but it looks fantastic in 2 dimensions as well.  A heartfelt and intelligent story at the same time, this is as good as anything I saw last year, animated or not.

My pick: How To Train Your Dragon

Good as it is, the makers of Toy Story 3, Pixar, have dominated this class for so long, I cannot picture them not winning.  In many ways, this is their category until they come up with a lame sequel, like Cars 2 looks to be.  Pixar winning here won’t be as big a crime as nothing happening in Sigourney Weaver’s bed in Ghostbusters, but it is kind of a bummer.

Film Editing

127 Hours; Black Swan; The Fighter; The King’s Speech; The Social Network

My pick: The Social Network

My guess: The Social Network


Black Swan; Inception; The King’s Speech; The Social Network; True Grit

Inception should win all technical awards

My pick: Inception

My guess: Inception

Art Direction

Alice In Wonderland; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1; Inception; The King’s Speech; True Grit

My pick: Inception

My guess: Alice In Wonderland

Visual Effects

Alice In Wonderland; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1; Hereafter; Inception; Iron Man 2

My pick: Inception

My guess: Inception

Sound Mixing

Inception; The King’s Speech; Salt; The Social Network; True Grit

My pick: Inception

My guess: Inception

Sound Editing

Inception; Toy Story 3; TRON: Legacy; True Grit; Unstoppable

My pick: Inception

My guess: Inception

Costume Design

Alice In Wonderland; I Am Love; The King’s Speech; The Tempest; True Grit

My pick: The King’s Speech

My guess: Alice In Wonderland


Barney’s Version; The Way Back; The Wolfman

My pick: The Wolfman

My guess: The Wolfman

Original Score

127 Hurs; How To Train Your Dragon; Inception; The King’s Speech; The Social Network

My pick: Inception

My guess: Inception

Original Song

“If I Rise,” 127 Hours; “Coming Home,” Country Strong; “I See The Light,” Tangled; “We Belong Together,” Toy Story 3

My pick: Tangled

My guess: 127 Hours


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