Sunday, February 20, 2011

The 83rd Annual Academy Awards- FINAL PREDICTIONS

On Sunday, the 83rd Annual Academy Awards will air LIVE on ABC, hosted by Anne Hathaway and Best Actor nominee James Franco. In recent years, there haven't been that many big surprises on Oscar night, but Oscar pundits, both amateur, like A Man and His Awards, and professional, like the guys from Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, and so forth, think that this year's top Oscar races are sealed shut.
Best Picture:
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

WILL WIN- The King's Speech
SHOULD WIN- The Social Network or Toy Story 3

It looks like the Motion Academy will de-friend The Social Network with their choice of Best Picture. They will go for the inspirational story about the king who overcame a stammer to rule England just before World War II. Oscar voters love their period films. If The Social Network were made in the year 2050, then maybe it would get a shot here at winning. It's been a while since the most nominated movie has won Best Picture (The 76th Annual Academy Awards- The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King). That streak will end on Sunday as The King's Speech is crowned Best Picture.

Best Actor:
Javier Bardem (Biutiful)
Jeff Bridges (True Grit)
Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network)
Colin Firth (The King's Speech)
James Franco (127 Hours)

UPSET CHOICE- You're kidding, right?

Last year, both Bridges and Firth were nominated. Bridges won the Best Actor prize for playing an alcoholic country singer. This year, it's Firth's turn as he plays King George VI, who overcame a stammer to assume the role of England's monarch following his brother's abdication.

Best Actress:
Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right)
Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole)
Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone)
Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine)

WILL/SHOULD WIN- Natalie Portman
UPSET CHOICE- Annette Bening

Annette Bening is a good actress. She's well overdue for an Academy Award. Four trips to the Academy's Altar (1990- The Grifters, 1991- Bugsy, 1999- American Beauty, 2004- Being Juia), and she's gone home empty-handed all four times. Which is why it pains me to say that she'll go home empty-handed for a fifth time, because Natalie Portman has this one. Oscar voters love their Best Actresses between the ages of 25 and 40. Joanne Woodward, Sally Field, Julia Roberts, Julie Christie, Julie Andrews, Barbra Streisand, Jodie Foster, and the list goes on, they all fit this bill.

Best Supporting Actor:
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)

WILL/SHOULD WIN- Christian Bale
UPSET CHOICE- Geoffrey Rush

Bale is the clear-cut choice, but if momentum builds towards The King's Speech, be on the lookout for Geoffrey Rush to pull off an upset.

Best Supporting Actress:
Amy Adams (The Fighter)
Helena Bonham Carter (The King's Speech)
Melissa Leo (The Fighter)
Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)
Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom)

WILL WIN- Hailee Steinfeld
SHOULD WIN- Melissa Leo

Anna Paquin. Tatum O'Neal. Patty Duke. All three were in their tweens or teens when they became Academy Award winners. Abigail Breslin, Jodie Foster, Linda Blair also were tweens/teens that were nominated in this category. Young actresses fare well in this category. The original film won John Wayne his only competitive Oscar 41 years ago, and the remake will win one for this talented 14 year-old, who splashed into her big screen debut with the remake of this 1969 western.

Best Director:
Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan)
Joel & Ethan Coen (True Grit)
David Fincher (The Social Network)
Tom Hooper (The King's Speech)
David O. Russell (The Fighter)

WILL WIN- Tom Hooper
SHOULD WIN- David Fincher
UPSET CHOICE- The Coen Brothers

Only six times in the history of the Academy Awards, have the Director's Guild picked different from the Academy. Tom Hooper won the Director's Guild, and in a recent interview, said he hopes to win the Oscar. Some critics blasted his direction of the Emmy-winning miniseries John Adams, which he ended up losing the Emmy in 2008. I think that Hooper will win the Oscar, as the Academy will not buck the trend set by the Director's Guild.

Best Animated Feature:
The Illusionist
Toy Story 3

UPSET CHOICE- the other two nominees

It's such a sad, sad story. Poor Andy goes off to college, and our favorite animated toys, go their, as the old Journey album suggests, "Separate Ways". A win for the third Toy Story installment is also a win for the first two Toy Story movies, whose releases pre-dated this ten year-old category.

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