Oscar Predictions 2011

This will be the first year in a decade where I would not be able to catch the Oscars live (thanks for nothing, Singapore Armed Forces.) but thankfully due to the advents in technology I fully expect to be up to date on the results via various social media platforms. Unfortunately for most of you, the Oscars will also only be screened “live” locally on Star Movies, which I have a feeling is not a channel many people subscribe to. For completeness, I will be making predictions in the documentary and short film categories although most of these are “blind” guesses excepting animated short film (I’ve seen the trailers or clips for most of these categories’ nominees though). Without further ado:

Best Motion Picture of the Year
Nominees:
"Black Swan" Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver and Scott Franklin, Producers
"The Fighter" David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Mark Wahlberg, Producers
"Inception" Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers
"The Kids Are All Right" Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Celine Rattray, Producers
"The King's Speech" Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin, Producers
"127 Hours" Christian Colson, Danny Boyle and John Smithson, Producers
"The Social Network" Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca and Ceán Chaffin, Producers
"Toy Story 3" Darla K. Anderson, Producer
"True Grit" Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
"Winter's Bone" Anne Rosellini and Alix Madigan-Yorkin, Producers

Should win: The Social Network
Prediction: The King’s Speech

If it were up to me I think The Social Network should sweep most of the awards, being the best film I’ve seen in 2010. However, it’s an early release and seems to have lost some momentum, while The King’s Speech seems to be riding a late wave and picking up awards left right centre. While this is no knock against The King’s Speech, which is an excellent film, The Social Network is even better in my eyes. This would be one category in which I would be happy if my prediction was wrong. Although there are ten nominations this year like the last, none of the other films apart from Inception really stand much of a chance, but Inception was released even earlier than The Social Network and has gotten even less love from the Academy in terms of nominations. 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Nominees:
Javier Bardem in "Biutiful"
Jeff Bridges in "True Grit"
Jesse Eisenberg in "The Social Network"
Colin Firth in "The King's Speech"
James Franco in "127 Hours"

Should win: Colin Firth
Prediction: Colin Firth

Colin Firth was amazing in The King’s Speech, and has been sweeping almost all the awards so far. I don’t see how the Academy would be voting otherwise. Jeff Bridges is unlikely to win another one so soon, and much as James Franco was very good in 127 Hours I don’t think it would be good enough to upset the front runner.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Nominees:
Annette Bening in "The Kids Are All Right"
Nicole Kidman in "Rabbit Hole"
Jennifer Lawrence in "Winter's Bone"
Natalie Portman in "Black Swan"
Michelle Williams in "Blue Valentine"

Should win: Natalie Portman
Prediction: Natalie Portman

Sorry ladies, this is probably the most locked-down category of the night. Natalie Portman not only puts in an amazing performance, but crazy-acting seems to be an Academy favourite too. And the strength of having won almost every single acting nod in the lead up to the Oscars means it would take a miracle for any of the other four nominees to win.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominees:
Christian Bale in "The Fighter"
John Hawkes in "Winter's Bone"
Jeremy Renner in "The Town"
Mark Ruffalo in "The Kids Are All Right"
Geoffrey Rush in "The King's Speech"

Should win: Christian Bale
Prediction: Christian Bale

This is a close one between Bale and Rush, but I feel that Christian Bale’s body of work has been a very impressive one and this should be the role that finally nabs it for him, However, Geoffrey Rush may ride the crest of the King’s Speech tsunami to once again deny Bale the statuette, though I hope that won’t be the case.
 
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Nominees:
Amy Adams in "The Fighter"
Helena Bonham Carter in "The King's Speech"
Melissa Leo in "The Fighter"
Hailee Steinfeld in "True Grit"
Jacki Weaver in "Animal Kingdom"
 
Should win: Melissa Leo
Prediction: Hailee Steinfeld

My original choice would be Melissa Leo who honestly does the better job, but voters are likely to lean toward rewarding an ingénue instead of Leo. Also, Leo has two other things working against her – the poor PR stunt of buying Consideration ads for herself, and the possibility that Amy Adams’ nomination may force a split for voters who are supporting The Fighter. Steinfeld’s acting may not have been the best of the lot but it’s still very good considering her age. Plus, she really is a lead actress put into the supporting actress category so Hailee has an advantage there too. 

Best Achievement in Directing
Nominees:
"Black Swan" Darren Aronofsky
"The Fighter" David O. Russell
"The King's Speech" Tom Hooper
"The Social Network" David Fincher
"True Grit" Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Should win: David Fincher
Prediction: Tom Hooper

This one is a toughie for me – the Directors’ Guild Award usually heralds the eventual winner of the Best Director in the Oscars, but David Fincher made such a mesmerizing film that it would seem like a great disservice to award this win to anyone else. But the DGA chose Tom Hooper to win this year, which may not bode well for Fincher.

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Nominees:
"Another Year" Written by Mike Leigh
"The Fighter" Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson; Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson
"Inception" Written by Christopher Nolan
"The Kids Are All Right" Written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg
"The King's Speech" Screenplay by David Seidler
 
Should win: Inception
Prediction: Inception

Hands down one of the most fascinating original screenplays in the past few years, if not the entire decade. I just don’t see any of the other screenplays being much of contenders except maybe The King’s Speech.

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
Nominees:
"127 Hours" Screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy
"The Social Network" Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin
"Toy Story 3" Screenplay by Michael Arndt; Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich
"True Grit" Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
"Winter's Bone" Adapted for the screen by Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini

Should win: The Social Network
Prediction: The Social Network

There’s no doubt in my mind that Aaron Sorkin should win for his exceptional screenplay for The Social Network. It’s incredibly captivating from start to finish and everything is just so well put together that the Oscar simply MUST go to him.

Best Achievement in Cinematography
Nominees:
"Black Swan" Matthew Libatique
"Inception" Wally Pfister
"The King's Speech" Danny Cohen
"The Social Network" Jeff Cronenweth
"True Grit" Roger Deakins

Prediction: Roger Deakins

It’s a toss-up between Roger Deakins and Wally Pfister, both of whom have not won any Oscars despite being nominated many times. I am personally leaning towards Roger Deakins because his cinematography in True Grit is one of the best things about the film, plus it’s just more accessible than Pfister’s work on Inception.  

Best Achievement in Editing
Nominees:
"Black Swan" Andrew Weisblum
"The Fighter" Pamela Martin
"The King's Speech" Tariq Anwar
"127 Hours" Jon Harris
"The Social Network" Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

Prediction: The Social Network

The extremely tight editing in The Social Network is an integral reason why I felt it was the best film of 2010.

Best Achievement in Art Direction
Nominees:
"Alice in Wonderland"
Production Design: Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Karen O'Hara
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1"
Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan
"Inception"
Production Design: Guy Hendrix Dyas; Set Decoration: Larry Dias and Doug Mowat
"The King's Speech"
Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Judy Farr
"True Grit"
Production Design: Jess Gonchor; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh

Prediction: Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland is the film with the most obvious art direction in this list of nominees, and as such stands a greater chance of resonating with the voters.

Best Achievement in Costume Design
Nominees:
"Alice in Wonderland" Colleen Atwood
"I Am Love" Antonella Cannarozzi
"The King's Speech" Jenny Beavan
"The Tempest" Sandy Powell
"True Grit" Mary Zophres

Prediction: The King’s Speech

Period films tend to win this category so I’m going with The King’s Speech, probably the most watched period film amongst those nominated.

Best Achievement in Makeup
Nominees:
"Barney's Version" Adrien Morot
"The Way Back" Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng
"The Wolfman" Rick Baker and Dave Elsey

Prediction: The Wolfman

I’m guessing it’s going to go to Rick Baker on the nostalgia reason alone (An American Werewolf in London is the first winner in this category, and it was to Rick Baker).

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
Nominees:
"How to Train Your Dragon" John Powell
"Inception" Hans Zimmer
"The King's Speech" Alexandre Desplat
"127 Hours" A.R. Rahman
"The Social Network" Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

Prediction: The King’s Speech

Much as I would like Trent Reznor to win, after awarding it to A.R. Rahman two years back I’m guessing it’s going back to basics and a classical score is going to win this.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
Nominees:
"Coming Home" from "Country Strong" Music and Lyric by Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey
"I See the Light" from "Tangled" Music by Alan Menken Lyric by Glenn Slater
"If I Rise" from "127 Hours" Music by A.R. Rahman Lyric by Dido and Rollo Armstrong
"We Belong Together" from "Toy Story 3" Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

Prediction: We Belong Together

I’m not really a fan of any of the nominated songs this year, but since this traditionally goes to animated films, I will pick the more high-profile of the two to win this.

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
Nominees:
"Inception" Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo and Ed Novick
"The King's Speech" Paul Hamblin, Martin Jensen and John Midgley
"Salt" Jeffrey J. Haboush, Greg P. Russell, Scott Millan and William Sarokin
"The Social Network" Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick and Mark Weingarten
"True Grit" Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland

Prediction: Inception

I hardly get these technical awards right, but I am guessing Inception wins out the rest for the two Sound categories.

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
Nominees:
"Inception" Richard King
"Toy Story 3" Tom Myers and Michael Silvers
"Tron: Legacy" Gwendolyn Yates Whittle and Addison Teague
"True Grit" Skip Lievsay and Craig Berkey
"Unstoppable" Mark P. Stoeckinger

Prediction: Inception

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Nominees:
"Alice in Wonderland" Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas and Sean Phillips
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz and Nicolas Aithadi
"Hereafter" Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojanski and Joe Farrell
"Inception" Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb
"Iron Man 2" Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright and Daniel Sudick
 
Prediction: Inception

Personally I think Inception is one of the most visually astounding films of 2010. Alice in Wonderland looks too oddball, Hereafter’s only claim to glory would be the tsunami scene in the beginning of the film, and the other two are sequels which I feel have a far lower chance of winning.

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
Nominees:
"How to Train Your Dragon" Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois
"The Illusionist" Sylvain Chomet
"Toy Story 3" Lee Unkrich

Prediction: Toy Story 3. Duh.

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Nominees:
"Biutiful" Mexico
"Dogtooth" Greece
"In a Better World" Denmark
"Incendies" Canada
"Outside the Law" Algeria

Prediction: Incendies

Best Documentary (Feature)
Nominees:
"Exit Through the Gift Shop" Banksy and Jaimie D'Cruz
"Gasland" Josh Fox and Trish Adlesic
"Inside Job" Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
"Restrepo" Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger
"Waste Land" Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley

Prediction: Restrepo

Best Documentary (Short Subject)
Nominees:
"Killing in the Name" Nominees to be determined
"Poster Girl" Nominees to be determined
"Strangers No More" Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon
"Sun Come Up" Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger
"The Warriors of Qiugang" Ruby Yang and Thomas Lennon

Prediction: Killing in the Name

Best Short Film (Animated)
Nominees:
"Day & Night" Teddy Newton
"The Gruffalo" Jakob Schuh and Max Lang
"Let's Pollute" Geefwee Boedoe
"The Lost Thing" Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann
"Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)" Bastien Dubois

Prediction: Day & Night (Yes, another Pixar product. Surprise surprise)

Best Short Film (Live Action)
Nominees:
"The Confession" Tanel Toom
"The Crush" Michael Creagh
"God of Love" Luke Matheny
"Na Wewe" Ivan Goldschmidt
"Wish 143" Ian Barnes and Samantha Waite

Prediction: Na Wewe
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