Wednesday, February 23, 2011

OSCARS: Who Will Win (and, More Importantly) Who Should

It’s funny that such a competitive awards race has stemmed from one of the slowest most sporadic movie years I’m able to recall.

When the winners to the 83rd Academy Awards are announced this Sunday, we may be thrown very few surprises.  The King’s Speech, Fincher, Firth, Portman, Bale, Leo, good night.  But here’s the thing: every major category could shift to a King’s Speech sweep.  Whatever acting category is awarded first; that’s your first sign.  If Helena Bonham Carter steals Supporting Actress, expect Geoffrey Rush to take it from Christian Bale. 

You have to think like the average Oscar voter (which is to say, an elderly white guy): “If I voted for The King’s Speech here, then I may as well here, too.” In short, I think it’s either all or nothing for The King’s Speech (save Best Actor, of course).

Here’s who I think will walk away with the 13 inch, 8 pound golden boy come Sunday.  And, of course, who I think SHOULD nab said statuette. 

Black Swan
The Fighter
The Kids Are All Right
The King’s Speech
127 Hours
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter’s Bone
Game changer The Social Network was the heavy early favorite, but at this point, it seems destined to lose to The King’s Speech, a glorified HBO movie with no real impressive feats (other than, of course, it’s flawless acting).

Will Win: The King’s Speech
Should Win: Black Swan

Darren Aronofsky - Black Swan
David O. Russell- The Fighter
Tom Hooper - The King’s Speech
David Fincher - The Social Network
Joel and Ethan Coen- True Grit
David Fincher
Same story as Picture.  David Fincher, one of the most far reaching, acclaimed auteurs working in American cinema, should in no way lose out to Hooper’s still-got-a-lot-to-learn direction for The King’s Speech. But he just might.

Will Win: Fincher
Should Win: Christopher Nolan for Inception (oh, right, sorry… Fincher, or Aronosfky)

Javier Bardem- Biutiful
Jeff Bridges- True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg- The Social Network
Colin Firth- The King’s Speech
James Franco- 127 Hours
Firth. A lock.
Colin Firth is this year’s lock.  No question.  Moving on.

Will Win: Firth
Should Win: Ryan Gosling for Blue Valentine (oops, I meant Firth, or Bardem)

Annette Bening- The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman- Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence- Winter's Bone
Natalie Portman- Black Swan
Michelle Williams- Blue Valentine
Can Portman pull it out?
Bening has been heavily favored to win twice (in 1990 for The Grifters and 1999 for American Beauty), but has never pulled it out.  I’m not saying she’ll take it from Portman (who delivered the best acting performance of the year, period) but it wouldn’t surprise me if she did.

Will Win: Portman
Should Win: Portman

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
There better be Bale
Bale has swept most every honor out there so far, but Rush has steadily gained momentum for his strong-willed, deft performance in The King’s Speech.  Bale deserves this Oscar five times over, but, again, don’t be shocked if Rush takes the stage… again (as he did in 1996 for Shine).

Will Win: Bale (let us hope)
Should Win: Bale

Amy Adams- The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter- The King's Speech
Melissa Leo- The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld- True Grit
Jacki Weaver- Animal Kingdom

Ms. Leo's got some tough competition.
This is the real curveball category.  Like Bale, Leo has nabbed nearly every pre-Oscar prize, but her name isn’t being thrown around as much as it was a month ago.  I could easily see Steinfeld, Adams, or Bonham Carter replace Leo.  Ironically, the person who deserves it the most doesn’t have a shot.

Will Win: Leo (I suppose)
Should Win: Weaver

Another Year
The Fighter
The Kids Are All Right
The King’s Speech

David Seidler
The Kids Are All Right was the buzz-heavy favorite, but as I’ve said, The King’s Speech could, and probably will, swoop in for the steal.

Will Win: David Seidler for The King’s Speech
Should Win: Christopher Nolan for Inception

127 Hours
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter’s Bone
Aaron Sorkin
The other lock of the night should justly go to Aaron Sorkin for his brilliant, mile-a-minute Social Network prose.  Sorkin’s screenplay reminded people that screenwriting is indeed an art form.

Will Win: Sorkin
Should Win: Sorkin

-- Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross had better walk away with Best Original Score for their Social Network music; a movie score unlike any every heard.

-- Give it to Roger Deakins for his True Grit cinematography.  Deakins’ work wasn’t the best in his category this year (that would be Matthew Libatique for Black Swan) but the dude has been nominated nine damn times and never won.  Well deserved.

-- I’d love to see Banksy wave his proverbial middle finger around as Exit Through the Gift Shop wins documentary, and Alejandro González Iñárritu gracefully accept Best Foreign Language Film for Biutiful.  Although, I doubt either will happen.

The Oscars are Sunday Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. on ABC

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