Thursday, February 24, 2011

Oscar Predictions 2011

With the awards coming up on Sunday, here's are my predictions, offered with the same caveat as last year (they're predictions made by someone who has only seen one nominated movie - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 - which is up for Best Visual Effects and Best Art Direction, neither of which it will win). And, as last year, we'll stick with what Wikipedia considers "major" awards, because I'm too lazy to pick all of them.

That being said, I do have two comments about those down-ballot awards:

1. Best Documentary - Feature looks like it's going to be a bloodbath, with a solid slate of nominees. As there's something to offer for pretty much every political stripe, I'm thinking those voters split and allow Bansky's Exit Through the Gift Shop to win. Not that he'll be there to pick up his award.

2. Salt got nominated for an Oscar. It's for Best Sound Mixing, but still. Salt?

Anyway, on to the "major" awards.

Best Foreign Language Film - I tried to come up with a rationale for this award last year and failed miserably. Thus, this year I'm saying it goes to the only movie that has a nomination in another category - Biutiful, for which Javier Bardem landed a Best Actor nod. Given recent events I suppose there may be some support for the Algerian film Outside the Law.

Best Animated Feature - I have nothing against this category, but it seems like every year the winner is a foregone conclusion (though as I look over past winners, the Wallace and Grommit win over Howls' Moving Castle stands out). Anyway, Toy Story 3 is winning this.

Best Adapted Screenplay - I think Aaron Sorkin will win for The Social Network, but I am intrigued by the nomination for 127 Hours.

Best Original Screenplay - In most years I'd expect this to be a battle between Best Picture contenders The King's Speech and The Fighter. But as often happens here, I think the award will be kind of a Miss Congeniality award, honoring a writer whose work led to a great movie, just not the Best Picture. And, in the case of Chris Nolan winning for Inception, it's also a bit of a make-up for him not getting a Best Director nod.

Best Supporting Actress - This is the only competitive acting award, and even then it's probably not in doubt. Melissa Leo has garnered accolades for her work in The Fighter, most notably the Golden Globe and the SAG Award. But in the dark horse role is Jacki Weaver, an Australian actress nominated for Animal Kingdom, where she plays the matriarch of a Melbourne crime family. She won whatever awards Leo didn't get, mostly from critics. I suppose you could also call Helena Bonham-Carter a dark horse for her role in The King's Speech, but all of the individual awards she's won are British.

Apparently there's some added drama here as Leo recently took out a series of "Consider" ads and paid for them herself, which (according to whatever talking head NBC found to interview for Today) has turned off some voters (which, really, Hollywood types getting their panties in a bunch over self-promotion?).

Anyway,I still think it's Melissa Leo for the win.

Best Supporting Actor - will be Christian Bale.

Best Actress - will be Natalie Portman.

Best Actor - will be Colin Firth. Which will make the wife very happy.

Best Director - finally, some drama. David Fincher has won pretty much every award for which he was nominated as best director for The Social Network. Most of those he did not win were critics awards, which isn't something to lose sleep over.

However, losing the Director's Guild of America's award to Tom Hooper for The King's Speech is. Assuming you lose sleep over these sorts of things.

So I'm kind of torn here, but I'm going to go with David Fincher. I've some things talking about how The Social Network is a director's movie and The King's Speech is an actor's movie, and that seems like just a stupid enough distinction to carry the day.

Best Picture - I think it's a split year, which means I'm going with The Kids are All Right. Joking! I'm actually going with The King's Speech. Th-th-th-that's all, folks!


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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ruh-roh, Fincher

In case you missed it, Tom Hooper won the DGA Award for his work on The King's Speech. As noted in an earlier post (and in the DGA release I've linked to), this is a very strong indicator of who will win the Oscar for Best Director. And as that's also a very strong indicator for what film eventually wins Best Picture honors, you have to wonder if The Social Network is going to have an epic fail Oscars or pull of a split.

For what it's worth Aaron Sorkin did win a WGA Award for his screenplay, so we can still look forward to whatever nonsense in the guise of a speech that he'll come up with. I'm hoping for an apology over Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

2011, #10: The Illusionist

This year's "It's never heard of you, either" entry in the Best Animated Feature category is Sylvain Chomet's (The Triplets of Belleville) adaptation of an unproduced Jacques Tati screenplay. It's beautiful but very melancholy, and the storytelling loses a little something along the way. The titular magician has a companion; a young girl. She comes off as a needy, ungrateful little thing. In reading about the movie after the fact, it turns out that she apparently believes the main character to be doing something more than sleight-of-hand. Okay, so I misread her. Apparently she's only an idiot. Huh. In reading further, it seems Tati may have intended this film-to-be as a comment on his failed relationship with an illegitimate daughter. Ouch!


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2011, #8-9: Krrish, There Will Be Blood

After you've seen a 3-hour Bollywood musical that itself was a curious ripoff of Flowers for Algernon, Forrest Gump, Close Encounters, and E.T. -- and did I mention that it was a musical? -- I guess one can't help being a little let down when the sequel, Krrish, is a fairly standard superhero film. If you're looking for a rainy-day movie, you could do worse than the loopiness that is Koi...Mil Gaya, the original, and give Krrish a pass.

There Will Be Blood
...and with that, 2007 becomes only the second year for which I've seen all the Best Picture Oscar nominees (the other is 1976). I'm a little take-or-leave with Paul Thomas Anderson (mostly because I don't find Robert Altman all that worthy of copying), so I was happy to see those tendencies restrained here.


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