The nominees for the 2011 Academy Awards have been announced, and my first reaction is, “Can someone please explain the widespread love for Winter’s Bone to me?” I saw Winter’s Bone. I didn’t dislike it, but I didn’t find it to be all that, either. It was interesting to see a primarily overlooked section of America being portrayed, and the acting was pretty good, but in the end it just didn’t move me and it didn’t stick with me.
The nominees are a nice mixed bag of the expected (Black Swan and The King’s Speech both got a healthy dose of nods), surprises (Javier Bardem for Biutiful, the aforementioned Winter’s Bone nominations), and outrages (Christopher Nolan didn’t get a Directing nom?! No Mila Kunis for Supporting Actress?!). And on a personal note, if Time Warner Cable would get its act together and offer The Social Network On Demand, I’d totally watch it before the awards on February 27.
With limited knowledge and no expertise whatsoever, here are my winner predictions:
The Kids Are All Right
The King's Speech
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
So we’re still doing the 10 nominees thing, eh? Well, I’m going to go ahead and whittle the race down to Black Swan, The King’s Speech, and The Social Network. I know The Social Network is considered the frontrunner, especially after its big Golden Globe win, but I’m guess The King’s Speech gets the Oscar. Oscar LOVES historical dramas. And this one is British! We Americans sure do love us some Brits!
Javier Bardem, Biutiful
Jeff Bridges, True Grit
Jessie Eisenberg, The Social Network
Colin Firth, The King's Speech
James Franco, 127 Hours
OK, I know that out of this list The King’s Speech is the only one I saw, and I’m always a bit clouded by my undying love for Colin Firth, but can’t we all agree that this is his race to lose?
Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine
Well screw you, Julianne Moore! No, not really. I mean, I still like you, but somebody apparently decided you were the weak cog in The Kids Are All Right machine. This category is probably a race between Bening and Portman, and while Oscar tends to love seasoned actors who have been routinely overlooked (like Bening), the statue is more than likely going home with Portman.
Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, The Fighter
John Hawkes, Winter's Bone
Jeremy Renner, The Town
Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
Geoffery Rush, The King's Speech
I haven’t even seen The Fighter, but Bale will probably win, and I pray that he still looks like coked-up Jesus when he goes onstage to accept.
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
I really liked Helena Bonham Carter in The King’s Speech because it was nice to see that she still has the acting chops to take on sedate, understated roles (we all know by now that she can tackle any number of kooky misfits in the various Tim Burton carnivals she appears in). But Melissa Leo is apparently great in The Fighter, and a lot of people seem to still be rooting for her from Frozen River a couple of years ago. But Hailee Steinfeld was apparently phenomenal in True Grit, and the Academy does like to honor remarkable child actors. But the five people who saw Animal Kingdom can’t shut up about Jacki Weaver. I’d put my money on Leo winning.
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
David O. Russell, The Fighter
Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
David Fincher, The Social Network
Joel Coen/Ethan Coen, True Grit
This is probably between Aronofsky and Fincher. Fincher will probably win for being able to create a compelling story about a bunch of computer nerds. Though in my opinion, getting the masses to go see a movie about ballet is no small feat, either.
Best Screenplay — Adapted
Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy, 127 Hours
Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Michael Arndt, Toy Story 3
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, True Grit
Debra Granik and Anne Roselini, Winter's Bone
Wouldn’t it be neat if Toy Story 3 won? It won’t, but it would be neat. Aaron Sorkin basically has this locked for both being a long-time beloved screenwriter and for, like Fincher, creating a compelling story about a bunch of computer nerds.
Best Screenplay — Original
Mike Leigh, Another Year
Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson, The Fighter
Christopher Nolan, Inception
Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg, The Kids Are All Right
David Seidler, The King's Speech
I have a feeling this is the one category The Kids Are All Right could actually win. Or The King’s Speech will win, which is probably more likely.
Best Animated Feature
How to Train your Dragon
Toy Story 3
If you haven’t learned by now that you never bet against Pixar, you never will.