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The 83rd Academy Awards – Postgame Coverage

March 2, 2011 1 comment

Well, not that I’ve gotten all of that out of my system, I think it’s fitting to move on to the rest of the awards presented Sunday night. As usual, they included some good, some bad, and some just downright ugly.

As far as the the show, itself, was concerned, I’d rate it about a four out of ten. Even in the face of enormous support for them, I remember stating a long time ago that selecting Hathaway and Franco as a hosting pair was just a bad idea. Finally, my convictions have been exonerated. I’m not sure what exactly was going on here, but it didn’t work. I know that Franco is not an idiot, so he was either bored, stage-frought or stoned out of his mind. Whichever path he took, he just was not there in any form of personality. Meanwhile, Anne Hathaway went way over the top in an attempt to overcompensate for Franco’s absence. A few funny lines, but overall, it was a mess.

Yes. On to the awards. I’ve already made my thoughts clear on the results of Best Picture and they are quite strong. However, if there were a race that I would have to object to, equally, if not moreso, it would have to be Best Director. The idea of Tom Hooper winning the award amongst this crop of nominees is more than absurd, it’s hilarious. Hooper’s effort in “The King’s Speech” did not merit him an Oscar and his career is substantially insufficient for such an honor. The Oscar, hands-down, should have gone to David Fincher. The man knew exactly what he wanted and got it to an extent of perfection that you don’t often see in films.

It’s true that David Fincher does not need an Oscar to make it in this industry. He’s widely considered one of the finest directors working in Hollywood and will go on to make extraordinary films. However, there is the notion of awarding in the moment. It’s quite possible that Fincher may never reach the level of perfection that he achieved here. If there’s one thing that history should have taught the Academy, it’s that Martin Scorsese should never have had to wait until “The Departed” to win an Oscar. While being in the company of “Raging Bull” and “Goodfellas” isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s sad to imagine that no matter what Fincher eventually wins for, it will be considered a “re-ward.” The Oscars should understand a man’s masterpiece when it’s put in front of their faces.

The only other moments of true disgust occurred in the design categories, which were monopolized by the showy monstrosity that was Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland.” While I predicted Colleen Atwood to take home yet another Oscar for her work on the costumes, I was really kind of hoping that it wouldn’t happen. And seeing the ridiculously gaudy, and really quite ugly, production design conquer some beautiful works of art was a horrible sight. This is an award that I actually would have preferred go to “The King’s Speech,” at least over this. However, it was “Inception”‘s intricately inventive world that was snubbed. Tim Burton’s latest is a film that really shouldn’t be able to hold the title “Academy Award Winner,” especially when none of the design was even built. I mean it’s an entire movie filmed on a green screen.

Most of the great awards of the night, sadly, were the ones that were quite expected. “Toy Story 3” was a lock for the win since the day it opened in theaters. “The Social Network” won for Best Editing because there was really no competition anywhere near in the same ballpark. If a single person didn’t vote for Aaron Sorkin’s absolutely flawless script, I might consider them clinically insane. “Inception”‘s three tech wins were all well-deserved, but it was difficult not to see that sweep occurring, much in the same style as such special-effect wonders as “King Kong,” “The Matrix” and “Jurassic Park.”

It’s hard to argue with the acting wins, even if not a single one of them has differed once, going back from the SAG, to the Golden Globes and the BFCA. The only performer who’s Oscar went hand in hand with an Edgy was Natalie Portman. A truly astonishing performance, the one aspect of “Black Swan” in which recognition is absolutely essential. Firth is definitely not my first choice for Best Actor. However, it’s the type of role that’s difficult not to respect and an actor difficult not to adore. Leo and Bale were both phenomenal and also get props for having the most out-of-control acceptance speeches of the year.

I won’t lie that I have to fly in the face of popular opinion on one issue. I’m very happy that the Academy went back to showing clips for each of the acting nominees rather than just having a bunch of people on stage talking about them. While, it must be nice for the performer to hear their peers praise their work, it’s just another gratuitous way of celebrities patting each other on the back and toasting to their own successes. It’s really kind of grotesque, in a way. Besides, I always looked forward in suspense as to which clip the producers would choose to represent each actor. It’s also a way to present an example of each person’s work for those viewers who haven’t seen all of the performances and in a way that words just can’t substitute.

Perhaps the most bittersweet moment of the night was seeing Wally Pfister receive the award for Best Cinematography. If I was to pick a handful of cinematographers whose work has truly left a mark on the last decade of cinema, Pfister would be at the head of the pack. He is a true master of camera movement and has a perfect eye for lighting a shot. “Inception” is a great exhibition of both these magnificent talents and I couldn’t be happier for him. Yet, one has to wonder, at this point, if the Academy will ever be willing to finally bestow Roger Deakins with his first Oscar. He is one of the most respected directors of photography in the industry, living or dead, and his record with Oscar is now zero for nine. One year, they are really going to have to stop passing him over.

There was one moment of the night that will always live in my memory as a true favorite and that was Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross taking the stage. Even if the Academy isn’t ready to come out of their comfort zone in Best Picture, one really has to give them props for awarding one of the most unorthodox and creative soundtracks ever scored for a substantial film. Reznor and Ross engineered a combination of both traditional rhythms with radical themes of electronic rock tracks. Now that all is said and done, it’s hard to imagine any other type of music narrating “The Social Network.” In a field of fantastic nominees, this year, this is a score that truly stands out. Well done, Academy. One of your better decisions.

Well, that’s my take on the 83rd Annual Academy Awards. While it’s hard to let go of, I believe it’s about time to move on. I believe we have at least a few days time before the race for next year’s Oscars begins, and I’ve got a lot of good stuff in store. Stay tuned.

My Final 83rd Oscar Predictions

February 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Well, folks, it’s all come to an end. These will be my final predictions for this year’s Academy Awards. It has been a long year and a tough year, one with one of the biggest tide-turnings in the history of film. It’s hard to see the best, as well as my favorite, movie go from being on top of the world to fighting for its life. I still believe that it will come out victorious in the end, but I will be hanging on to that prediction by my fingernails until the first ballot is called.

This year, some of the races are a foregone conclusion. Both lead acting categories were practically finalized months ago, and the supporting awards are pretty close to sewn up, as well. You can probably take both of the screenplay awards to the bank, as well, along with animated feature. I also feel pretty confident calling both sound categories and visual effects for a single film to capture.

Several awards are thoroughly nagging on me and will be to the very end. One will be the very first ballot called, so we won’t have to wait long. Art Direction is in a very close. “The King’s Speech” is definitely the front runner with both “Inception” and “Alice in Wonderland” biting at its heals. It’s interesting to note that in all the times that a Tim Burton film has been nominated for this particular award, it has never lost. That statistic goes hand in hand with another, in that every time one such movie has been nominated for Best Costume Design, it has never won. I plan to go against that logic tonight, even as it faces a very strong contender in “The King’s Speech.”

Along with Design, both of the music categories have been severely nagging at me, as well. In Original Score, there is a showdown between the two Best Picture frontrunners, the stylish and innovative music in “The Social Network” vs. the quiet, beautiful, but really quite boring tones of “The King’s Speech.” Meanwhile, “Inception” and “How to Train Your Dragon” both have potential as spoilers. In Best Original Song, Randy Newman is looking for his second Oscar with the song “We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3,” while A.R. Rahman seeks his third (he won two for “Slumdog Millionaire). Either has potential.

Finally, we come to the big one. It’s funny how after everything else, Best Picture ends up being the closest race of all. In one corner, there’s “The King’s Speech,” the heart-warming, generally-appealing historical epic. In its pocket are the PGA, the DGA and the SAG Ensemble. It’s opposition: “The Social Network,” is the original, stylized, cold-shouldered work of art. Behind it is the Golden Globe, the BFCA, the WGA, the ACE and basically every critics award for Best Picture that exists. It will be a fight to the finish. The one question the Academy has to ask themselves now.

Do they want to be smart or do they want to be saps? I still have faith.

My final predictions:

BEST PICTURE
Winner: “The Social Network”
Runner-Up: “The King’s Speech”

BEST DIRECTOR
Winner: David Fincher – “The Social Network”
Runner-Up: Tom Hooper – “The King’s Speech”

BEST ACTOR
Winner: Colin Firth – “The King’s Speech”
Runner-Up: Jesse Eisenberg – “The Social Network”

BEST ACTRESS
Winner: Natalie Portman – “Black Swan”
Runner-Up: Annette Bening – “The Kids Are All Right”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Winner: Christian Bale – “The Fighter”
Runner-Up: Geoffrey Rush – “The King’s Speech”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Winner: Melissa Leo – “The Fighter”
Runner-Up: Hailee Steinfeld – “True Grit”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Winner: “The King’s Speech”
Runner-Up: “Inception”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Winner: “The Social Network”
Runner-Up: “Toy Story 3”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Winner: “In a Better World”
Runner-Up: “Incendies”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Winner: “Toy Story 3”
Runner-Up: “How to Train Your Dragon”

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Winner: “Inside Job”
Runner-Up: “Exit Through the Gift Shop”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Winner: “True Grit”
Runner-Up: “Inception”

BEST EDITING
Winner: “The Social Network”
Runner-Up: “The King’s Speech”

BEST ART DIRECTION
Winner: “The King’s Speech”
Runner-Up: “Inception”

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Winner: “Alice in Wonderland”
Runner-Up: “The King’s Speech”

BEST SOUND MIXING
Winner: “Inception”
Runner-Up: “The Social Network”

BEST SOUND EDITING
Winner: “Inception”
Runner-Up: “TRON: Legacy”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Winner: “Inception”
Runner-Up: “Alice in Wonderland”

BEST MAKEUP
Winner: “The Wolfman”
Runner-Up: “Barney’s Version”

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Winner: “The Social Network”
Runner-Up: “The King’s Speech”

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Winner: “We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3”
Runner-Up: “If I Rise” from “127 Hours”

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
Winner: “The Gruffalo”
Runner-Up: “Day and Night”

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILM
Winner: “Strangers No More”
Runner-Up: “Poster Girl”

BEST LIVE-ACTION FILM
Winner: “Na Wewe”
Runner-Up: “The Confession”

Enjoy the Oscars folks!

“King’s Speech” and “Social Network” Win at BAFTAs

February 14, 2011 Leave a comment

It kind of went without saying that “The King’s Speech” was destined to rape the living hell out of these awards since September when the film debuted at the Venice Film Festival. Apparently, it’s the most widely popular and acclaimed British film since, I don’t know….”Lawrence of Arabia,” though I surely don’t understand it. This is a big moment for our English brethren across the Atlantic to pat themselves on the back. A pretty strong example of this is how the British Academy Awards actually have two awards for Best Picture: Best Film and Best British Film. For years they have made it so that no film wins both awards, but rather spread the wealth. Guess what’s the first film ever to take home every Best Picture award on the market?

“The King’s Speech” ended up taking home seven awards, total. Aside from being the first film to achieve the accolade above, the film also became the first film in BAFTA history to take home three awards for acting. Colin Firth, of course, nailed the Best Actor win (not even the real King George risen from the dead could stop Firth from sweeping straight to Oscar glory). However, the film also won supporting awards for both Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter. While Geoffrey Rush is definitely picking up a bit of steam, don’t expect a repeat in the American Academy Awards. If anyone can unseat Melissa Leo, it will be Hailee Steinfeld (sadly).

Despite all of the above, “The King’s Speech” was not the only big winner of the night. Many believed that “The Social Network” was TKOed, not just for these awards, but for year, as well. Some of this ideology was attributed to the film only garnering six nominations (compared to “The King’s Speech”‘s fourteen) or perhaps the heavy American sentiment laden in the work. However, all of this was rendered false, last night, when “The Social Network” won three very substantial awards: Best Editing, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Director for David Fincher. If the Brits won’t even give their award to newcomer Tom Hooper, I can’t see any reason why the American awards circuit would stoop that low.

Check out the full list of winners, below:

BEST FILM: “The King’s Speech”
BEST DIRECTOR: David Fincher – “The Social Network”
BEST LEADING ACTOR: Colin Firth – “The King’s Speech”
BEST LEADING ACTRESS: Natalie Portman – “Black Swan”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Geoffrey Rush – “The King’s Speech”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Helena Bonham Carter – “The King’s Speech”
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: “The Social Network”
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: “The King’s Speech”
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: “True Grit”
OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM: “The King’s Speech”
OUTSTANDING BRITISH DEBUT: “Four Lions”
BEST EDITING: “The Social Network”
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: “The King’s Speech”
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: “Inception”
BEST COSTUME DESIGN: “Alice in Wonderland”
BEST SOUND: “Inception”
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: “Inception”
BEST MAKEUP AND HAIR: “Alice in Wonderland”
BEST SHORT FILM: “Until the River Runs Red”
BEST SHORT FILM, ANIMATION: “The Eagleman Stag”
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
BEST ANIMATED FILM: “Toy Story 3”
RISING STAR AWARD: Tom Hardy

First Oscar Winner Predictions

February 2, 2011 Leave a comment

It’s time for phase 2, ladies and gentleman. Things aren’t going as well as I would have liked, but they almost never do. As Sasha Stone at Awardsdaily quotes “All the President’s Men,” in regards to the Oscar race, “The trick is not minding.” You’ve got to roll with the punches and accept that even if the deserving film doesn’t win, hopefully your predictions are still right. Therefore, at least your pride is still intact.

I have “The King’s Speech” down for the big win, sadly. Maybe later on, if there’s a potential change in vibe, I might make an alteration back. But for now, one has to put the money where the money’s gonna win. I have, meanwhile, kept David Fincher in the frontrunner position for Best Director. I simply cannot imagine a world in which Tom Hooper wins that trophy from him. It’s simply unnatural that the Academy could be that ridiculous.

You can pretty much take all of the acting wins to the bank. Melissa Leo is the only one who’s kind of flimsy, at this point, but I have a feeling her age and fantastic personality will help her beat out the unworthy newcomer.

Going over this, it still boggles me that Lee Smith missed an editing nomination for “Inception.” It really makes no sense. I have the “The Social Network” down, and my God, it deserves it. Yet, the nomination feels flimsy, and yet I can’t figure out what could possibly take it down.

With that, here are my first winner predictions for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards, complete with all of the nominees ranked in order of their chances. I will keep them posted and, hopefully, updated in the “PREDICTIONS” tab at the top of the homepage.

Click “Read More” to see the full list and tally.

BEST PICTURE
1. “The King’s Speech”
2. “The Social Network”
3. “The Fighter”
4. “True Grit”
5. “Black Swan”
6. “Toy Story 3”
7. “Inception”
8. “127 Hours”
9. “Winter’s Bone”
10. “The Kids Are All Right”

Read more…

The DGA and the SAG: Now It’s Time to Vent…

February 1, 2011 1 comment

Well folks, Tom Hooper has just won the DGA and the cast he directed took home Best Ensemble at the SAG. Coupled with the PGA win last week, “The King’s Speech” has now emerged as not only the frontrunner, but pretty much the inevitable winner of the Best Picture award at the Oscars. As this film has picked up speed in the last few weeks, I’ve tried to keep an open mind. I’ve tried to tell myself that this kind of healthy competition will make for a better Oscars and would make “The Social Network”‘s eventual victory all the more sweet. However, now that the race has shifted from a neck and neck dogfight to a potential sweep for “The King’s Speech,” it has become impossible to suppress my rage.

This situation is, more or less, a travesty for American cinema. For the last half of the previous decade, the AMPAS showed that they had the potential to change with the times. By awarding films like “The Departed,” “No Country for Old Men,” and “The Hurt Locker,” the Academy has proven that they have the ability to not only award phenomenal films, but ones that represent a shift in the balance of power. These are films that show a new Hollywood, emerging from the ashes, making art for a new generation and ultimately changing movies for the better. With “The Social Network,” the AMPAS were given an opportunity to crystalize this new reputation by awarding not only the best movie of the year, but one that is an absolute game-changer in the world of filmmaking. Instead, they are willing to flush it all down the drain.

“The King’s Speech” is not a bad film. It is simply a good film. It has good acting, good writing, good direction, good production quality and good music. In case you haven’t noticed, “good” is the key word, here. I don’t think there is a single aspect of this film that achieves a level of “greatness.” It is an iconic example of middle-of-the-road filmmaking, directed straight at a block of people yearning for that warm and fuzzy feeling in their stomachs. It’s “triumph of the human spirit” pornography. More than anything else, however, it is straight-up Oscar fodder, and they are eating it up, hook, line and sinker. They’re all too willing to vote their souls away for a chance to award this heart-warming work of mediocrity.

“The Social Network” is the best film of the year. Even if people’s opinions cannot agree with or grasp this concept, the title still pretty much remains the same. Never in history has a film garnered so much recognition and awards. Never has the population of this nation’s film critics solidified so strong and unanimous an opinion about a single film. However, it’s more than just a critical tally or mantlepiece full of statues. This is a film that resonates so strongly with this societal climate, much in the same way did “Network” in 1976, “Bonnie and Clyde” in 1967, and “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” in 1939. When looking down the road, it is a film that will be remembered, not only for it’s cultural impact, but for the flawless nature of its filmmaking prowess. And since I am one such person who can actually make this statement from a position of age and experience (I started college only a year after “The Facebook” was created, back when it was just a college thing), this is, in fact, the movie that defines my generation.

The Academy Award is called that for one reason: it is awarded upon the voted decision of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It’s their award and they can technically do whatever they want with it. However, I really have to ask just what the hell is wrong with these people? Are they really that much an organization of pure saps? Are they really that cynical that they would deliberately snub the frontrunner for an inferior underdog just because their sick of the unanimous praise? Have they really not gotten tired of having Harvey Weinstein’s lips wrapped around their you-know-whats?Can they really not look beyond four weeks from now and consider what history will judge as the more educated and lasting decision? Most importantly, has the Academy really gone back to its old ways? God, let us hope not.

So is the race over? The answer is no. Even when things get to their bleakest point of flat-out certainty, the race is never over until the last envelope is opened. However, it’s really not looking good for David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin’s masterpiece. With the combined weight of the SAG, PGA, and DGA, anyone who has spent any time in the industry of awards prognostication would be a fool to not call it for “The King’s Speech.” After all, the actors and producers, put together, make up nearly half of the Academy’s voting block. Hope is not lost, completely, but I would now peg “The Social Network”‘s chances at around twenty to twenty-five percent.

At points like these, one can only find comfort by constantly reminding themselves of the most important lesson the awards season has ever taught us: as many fantastic films have won the Oscar for Best Picture, there are exponentially more amazing films that have lost it. “The Social Network” may soon join the ranks of films like “Fargo” and “Saving Private Ryan,” “Pulp Fiction” and “Goodfellas,” “Raging Bull” and “Apocalypse Now,” “Taxi Driver” and “All the President’s Men,” “Chinatown,” and “Jaws,” “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?” and “The Graduate,” “Vertigo” and “Rear Window,” “Double Indemnity,” and, yes, “Citizen Kane.” Coupled with the movies I mentioned previously in this article, this is not exactly bad company to be kept with. However, if you listen very closely, you can clearly hear Orson Welles rolling over in his grave, that after seventy years of history, lessons have yet to be learned.

The Nominations – My Thoughts and Reactions

January 25, 2011 Leave a comment

The nail-biting is over, at least for a few weeks. The Oscar nominations are here, and I believe that for the first time in years, my joy outweighs my sorrow. I suppose its appropriate to get into the bad news, first.

One thing’s official. As much as the Academy seems to have the most outrageous hard-on for Stephen Daldry (3 films made, 3 Best Director nods), they seem to have an everlasting grudge against Christopher Nolan as a director (3 DGA noms, no Oscar nods for Director). I just don’t understand what the man has to do to get their recognition. You can’t feel completely bad for him, pulling down two nominations for producer and writer, but are those the types of roles that any great director wants to be remembered for? I’m sure it wasn’t good enough for Stanley Kubrick. Honestly, Christopher Nolan is one of the most talented directors in Hollywood. Who else can take a film with such originality, intelligence, grandeur and finesse and bring in 300 million dollars with it or more. And on top of that, do it twice in three years. Nobody since Steven Spielberg, I’ll tell you that much.

The second-most disturbing snub has got be the exclusion of Andrew Garfield in the Supporting Actor category. Ridiculous. Definitely one of the best performances of the year, Garfield’s portrayal of innocence-lost is the soul of “The Social Network.” Though, while I bemoan the lack of Eduardo Savrin, I simply could not be more thrilled about the inclusion of John Hawkes for his turn in “Winter’s Bone.” People who’ve visited this site often must be aware of my penchant for this particular acting job, and this morning’s news of his inclusion is the crowning jewel of almost a year’s worth of supporting him on my part.

Since I’m ever so thrilled about Hawkes, I can’t blame him for the Garfield snub. Therefore, I’m gonna have to just go ahead and blame Jeremy Renner. I never thought that in one year, I could turn so much on this performer. In “The Hurt Locker” he was phenomenal, truly deserving of a lead actor nomination. Here, he is an average performance in an average film. I don’t think I ever considered him a candidate for my supporting actor picks, not even back in October. I was genuinely shocked and confused when accolades and Oscar talk began surfacing a few months ago. It baffled me then and it truly baffles me now.

At least its consolation that Renner was “The Town”‘s only nomination, missing out on that Best Picture nod that everyone was predicting….well almost everyone ;). The fact that “Winter’s Bone” took its place could not be more gratifying, as well. What a glorious film that more than deserves all of its bestowed nominations.

Let’s look at how some films made out on the whole. “127 Hours” defied pundits with a huge 6 nomination comeback, including yet another double category nomination for A.R. Rahman (Best Original Song, Best Original Score). Meanwhile, maybe the biggest shocker of the day, was “Black Swan” achieving only 5 nominations. For a while now, many people have been projecting Aronofsky’s film to be the potential nomination frontrunner, amassing perhaps ten or twelve. Instead, the film missed out on Supporting Actress (for both of its contenders), Original Screenplay, Art Direction, Costume Design and both Sound categories. I didn’t have it predicted in all of those, but it certainly had potential. Perhaps the biggest crime here is its Sound Effects exclusion. The work done on the sound of pattering feet and flapping feathers was phenomenal.

The worst overall snub of a film had to be Martin Scorsese’s “Shutter Island.” Not an amazing film, by any standards, but certainly one in which at least its technical achievements deserved some recognition. It should have easily made the grade for both Cinematography and Art Direction. Some of the best work of the year. I’m also depressed that Ryan Gosling missed out on a more than deserving nomination for Best Actor in “Blue Valentine.” It’s very nice to see Michelle Williams nominated, but not enough of a consolation. I’m sure that when I see “Biutiful” this weekend, however, Javier Bardem will wow the living shit out of me and I will be able to praise his surprise inclusion.

Let’s move on to some of the brighter aspects of day. The big story in the news is “The King’s Speech” being the nomination leader, but “The Social Network” really did have a pretty damned good day. 8 nominations, tied for the third highest, including four technical nominations, not an easy feat for a contemporary comedy/drama. It’s true that we definitely have ourselves a race now. Yet in terms of the race, “The King’s Speech” may have gained ground, but “The Social Network” hasn’t lost any of its.

One thing that’s really got me happy is the semi-snub of “Alice in Wonderland.” True, it did receive three nominations, yet I call it a snub for the one award it had almost always been not only a lock, but a frontrunner: Best Makeup. It appears that this branch of the Academy really does know the difference between makeup and CGI. Some very interesting choices replaced it, including “Barney’s Version” and “The Way Back.”

Without a doubt, the biggest joy for me, this morning, was seeing the results that the Doc branch rolled out. This has been one of the best years I’ve ever seen for documentary films. Lately, it’s seemed as though the lackluster “Waiting for Superman” was lined up to sweep the Oscar after wins at the BFCA and PGA. However, that belief was certainly swayed when the movie did not even show up among the nominees. The Academy also chose to avoid “The Tillman Story,” a pretentious and jumbled look at the soldier’s tragic story. Instead, among the nominations, are my three favorite documentaries of the year: “Restrepo,” “Inside Job” and the glorious “Exit Through the Gift Shop.” Well done, guys.

My predictions were some of the best of my time doing this gig. out of 109 nominations, I correctly predicted 82. Not bad at all. If you were to ask my girlfriend, I was inches away from predicting Bardem at about 2 o’clock this morning. Oh well. Got to stick to your guns.

This race has gone from being a one trick pony to a cutthroat race to the finish. It is going to be “The Social Network” vs. “The King’s Speech” right to the last note. While, for sure, I have a favorite, it’s refreshing to have a very close race. While last year was a nice David and Goliath battle, looking back, it was always “The Hurt Locker”‘s for the taking. And before that, it was two years of no competition. Now we have a race the likes of “The Departed” vs. “Little Miss Sunshine” or “Million Dollar Baby” vs. “The Aviator.” However, in reality, I don’t think we’ve ever had a race quite like this one before. Should be a good time. Stay tuned.

My FINAL Oscar Predictions – 1/22

January 23, 2011 6 comments

This is it. Last call before closing. Nominations for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards will be announced this Tuesday, January 25th, at 7:30am CST (and you can bet I’ll be up hours before then, pumping myself up). For sure, there is a science behind the whole prediction game. A combination of elements, including what’s been happening with the critics groups awards, the different guild nominations and, in some cases, the film’s box office success. Along with that, there’s likability in each contender, how many times they’ve previously been nominated and won, a pseudo-mathematic question of their overall “due” status. Dozens of factors take shape in hugely methodic process, and this is all before anyone even takes into effect how good each contender is. Crazy, huh?

Well, a year-long process has now come to a close, and it’s time for me to nut up and offer my final predictions. The Best Picture line-up is basically down to 11 contenders, with two films vying for the final slot. It’s possible that either “Shutter Island” or “The Ghost Writer” could stage a massive coup and fight their way in their, but I doubt it. Some predictions that I’m sticking my neck out on? I’m still holding on to my convictions (and hopes) that the incredible John Hawkes can beat out Jeremy Renner in the Best Supporting Actor category. I’m also holding out hope that both of “Blue Valentine”‘s stars will outdo their older competition for leading notices. I’m also really hoping that “Exit Through the Gift Shop” can actually tickle the documentary branch’s funny bone (a feat not easily accomplished). Finally, here’s to “Winter’s Bone” edging out “The Town” for Best Picture. In fact, I’m predicting an across-the-board snub of the film. It’s only a slightly above action feature that has no business in the top ten. I have a strong feeling, though, that it will be this year’s “Blind Side.”

Without further adieu, here are the nominees (and once again, these are ranked in order of their chance of getting nominated, not winning):

BEST PICTURE
1. “The Social Network”
2. “The King’s Speech”
3. “The Fighter”
4. “Black Swan”
5. “Inception”
6. “Toy Story 3”
7. “True Grit”
8. “The Kids Are All Right”
9. “127 Hours”
10. “Winter’s Bone”

Alt 1: “The Town”
Alt 2: “Shutter Island”

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