Oscars 2011 Picks & Predictions

By my count, over the past ten years, the Academy have got it right in regards to awarding the Best Picture statue to it's correct recipient film on just four occasions, resulting in a 40% success rate. The years they got it right; (2008 - No Country For Old Men, 2007 - The Departed, 2004 - The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, 2001 - Gladiator) The years they didn't; (2010 - The Hurt Locker robbed Avatar, 2009 - Slumdog Millionaire robbed Milk, 2006 - Crash robbed Brokeback Mountain in a particularly weak year, 2005 - Million Dollar Baby robbed The Aviator, 2003 - Chicago robbed The Pianist, 2002 - A Beautiful Mind robbed Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring). Sadly, as OWF's Laurent Kelly has been telling us in his great Oscar pieces lately, we are being setup tonight for the Academy to get it wrong again when the wonderful performances & score of The King's Speech manage to fool the Academy into it being awarded Best Picture over the far superior, The Social Network. It seems inevitable that this will happen but not all categories are so easy to predict. As I do each year, what follows is my Oscar picks & predictions; Best Picture €œBlack Swan€ €œThe Fighter€ €œInception€ €œThe Kids Are All Right€ "The King's Speech" €œ127 Hours€ €œThe Social Network€ €œToy Story 3€ €œTrue Grit€ €œWinter€™s Bone€ The Social Network is clearly more deserving but The King's Speech has the bigger emotional uplift and is less controversial, projecting a more hopeful outlook on the world. The King's Speech is more Oscar friendly and will therefore win. Best Director Darren Aronofsky, €œBlack Swan€ David O. Russell, €œThe Fighter€ Tom Hooper, €œThe King€™s Speech€ David Fincher, €œThe Social Network€ Joel and Ethan Coen, €œTrue Grit€ If the Academy truly believes that Tom Hooper's direction in The King's Speech is of better quality than David Fincher's in The Social Network, then we might as well all go home now and forget the Oscars. Darren Aronofsky's exhilarating direction on Black Swan could cause an upset also too and his Black Swan is, simply put, a masterpiece. Hooper's name is the weakest in this category and shouldn't even be there when considering Chris Nolan fell short for Inception. History won't be kind if he wins over Fincher. Best Actor Javier Bardem, €œBiutiful€ Jeff Bridges, €œTrue Grit€ Jesse Eisenberg, €œThe Social Network€ Colin Firth, "The King's Speech" James Franco, €œ127 Hours€ One category where we won't begrudge a King's victory. Colin Firth is on a different level to the rest of this category this year, which is an astonishing statement given the great work shown by all the above actors this year. Best Actress Annette Bening, "The Kid's Are All Right" Nicole Kidman, €œRabbit Hole€ Jennifer Lawrence, €œWinter€™s Bone€ Natalie Portman, €œBlack Swan€ Michelle Williams, €œBlue Valentine€ Natalie Portman's physically and psychologically demanding turn as a ballerina in Black Swan is the kind of effort deserving of an Oscar. She appears in every single scene and although is helped greatly by Aronofsky's smart direction of her, the fact that she makes us forget every single movie she's ruined in the films before this, should be rewarding enough. Bening was good and the rest are worthy of inclusion, but this is Portman's category. Best Supporting Actor Christian Bale, "The Fighter" John Hawkes, €œWinter€™s Bone€ Jeremy Renner, €œThe Town€ Mark Ruffalo, €œThe Kids Are All Right€ Geoffrey Rush, €œThe King€™s Speech€ I believed Geoffrey Rush more than I did Christian Bale in this category. Bale's performance was of course the more showy of the two and that usually bodes well for a win in this category but Rush had me captivated more and didn't need props to do it. Both are superb - toss a coin and I'm happy with the result, though I think Bale will take it. I thought Renner was particularly strong this year as well. Best Supporting Actress Amy Adams, €œThe Fighter€ Helena Bonham Carter, €œThe King€™s Speech€ Melissa Leo, "The Fighter" Hailee Steinfeld, €œTrue Grit€ Jacki Weaver, €œAnimal Kingdom€ Melissa Leo should and will win, though Hailee Steinfeld gives the best performance in this category. However she's in the wrong one, clearly. Best Animated Feature Film €œHow to Train Your Dragon€ €œIllusionist€ "Toy Story 3" There's a Best Picture nominee in this category, then clearly that's the winner. Best Original Screenplay €œAnother Year€ €œThe Fighter€ €œInception€ €œThe Kids Are All Right€ "Inception" No script had as much blood, sweat and tears put into it than Christopher Nolan's ten year efforts to bring his deliciously complex and cerebral script for Inception to the screen but the liklihood is The King's Speech will nab this category and the majority of the others, sadly. Best Adapted Screenplay €œ127 Hours€ "The Social Network" €œToy Story 3€ €œTrue Grit€ €œWinter€™s Bone€ Aaron Sorkin's genius in The Social Network should and will win. Best Art Direction €œAlice in Wonderland€ €œHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I€ "Inception" €œThe King€™s Speech€ €œTrue Grit€ The King's Speech is the most memorable to me.... please, please, please, please don't give Alice in Wonderland any Oscar for it's tired work in all departments. I think King's Speech will take it though. Best Costume Design €œAlice in Wonderland€"I Am Love" €œThe King€™s Speech€ €œThe Tempest€ €œTrue Grit€ True Grit for me personally, but The King's Speech will win. Best Original Song €œComing Home€€”€œCountry Strong€ "I See The Light" - "Tangled" €œIf I Rise€€”€œ127 Hours€ €œWe Belong Together€€”€œToy Story 3€ Randy Newman's Toy Story 3 effort was the most memorable to me and I think it will win too. Best Original Score €œHow to Train Your Dragon€€”John Powell €œInception€€”Hans Zimmer "The King's Speech" - Alexandre Desplat €œ127 Hours€€”A. R. Rahman €œThe Social Network€€”Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross Tough call. The King's Speech would be about half as effective without Alexandre Desplat's emotional score, however Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' work on The Social Network was just out of this world and unique. So Social Network should take it but I'm not convinced it will over The King's Speech. Best Documentary "Exit Through the Gift Shop" €œGasland€ €œInside Job€ €œRestrepo€ €œWaste Land€ The whole media frenzy around what would happen if Bansky wins has certainly helped stir up some interest in a lesser category. I imagine the Academy wants Exit Through the Gift Shop to win and I hope it does. Best Film Editing"Black Swan" €œThe Fighter€ €œThe King€™s Speech€ €œ127 Hours€ €œThe Social Network€ Black Swan should win but I'm thinking this might be one they give to The Social Network, as a 'sorry you didn't win Best Picture' consultation. Best Cinematography €œBlack Swan€€”Matthew Libatique €œInception€€”Wally Pfister €œThe King€™s Speech€€”Danny Cohen €œThe Social Network€€”Jeff Cronenweth "True Grit" - Roger Deakins Come on Roger Deakins! Finally your time has come Sir. Very, very well deserving for your excellent work in True Grit (for once, The Coens are overshadowed in their own movie). Best Makeup €œBarney€™s Version€ €œThe Way Back€ "The Wolfman" Oh lord, are they really going to give The Wolfman an Oscar? And in a weak category that no movies seemed to be bothered to enter this year, maybe it has too? Best Sound Editing €œInception€ "Toy Story 3" €œTRON: Legacy€ €œTrue Grit€ €œUnstoppable€ Most of the time with these technical categories, I like to plump for what was most memorable. The sounds of Inception reverberate in my brain everytime I read the film's title, so that's what I'm basing my pick on. I think Inception could win it too. Best Sound Mixing"Inception" €œThe King€™s Speech€ €œSalt€ €œThe Social Network€ €œTrue Grit€ I'm not convinced I know the difference between Editing and Mixing, so I'm just gonna say Inception again. Best Visual Effects €œAlice in Wonderland€ €œHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1€ €œHereafter€ "Inception" €œIron Man 2€ A travesty that The Social Network wasn't even nominated but regardless, Inception wins it from just the effects we saw in the trailer alone. So how the night should go.... The Social Network - 4 wins (Best Film, Best Director, Adapted Screenplay, Original Score) Inception - 4 wins (Original Screenplay, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing) The King's Speech - 2 wins (Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor) Black Swan - 2 wins (Best Actress, Best Editing) True Grit - 2 wins (Cinematography, Costume) Toy Story 3 - 2 wins (Animated, Original Song) The Fighter - 1 win (Best Supporting Actress) begrudgingly, The Wolfman - 1 win (Make-Up) But how it will go... The King's Speech - 7 wins (Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Original Score, Best Costume) Inception - 3 wins (Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing) The Fighter - 2 wins (Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor) The Social Network - 2 wins (Adapted Screenplay, Editing) Black Swan - 1 win (Best Actress) True Grit - 1 win (Cinematography) The Wolfman - 1 win (Make-Up) Remember to join our live Oscar chat from 10-11pm tonight....
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Matt Holmes is the co-founder of What Culture, formerly known as Obsessed With Film. He has been blogging about pop culture and entertainment since 2006 and has written over 10,000 articles.