Tuesday, 18 January 2011
Oscar prediction time 2011...
First things first: regular visitors might have noticed that I was unusually quiet last week. This was down to a mixture of the birth of my new baby brother James, a period of horrible flu-ness and general work at the cinema. I have now completed reviews that I started last week before illness temporarily shelved them and they can now be found below this post or on the "reviews" page. Yesterday I also posted a review of the 'Certified Copy' Blu-ray over on Obsessed with Film. So now that I'm back up and running, I thought I'd comment on the award season as it comes into full swing.
As I'm sure most film fans are aware, from all the Ricky Gervais furore and Colin Firth's mighty, flag-flying Best Actor triumph, the Golden Globes (that's the budget Oscars to you and me) were held yesterday in LA. The full results (at least for the film half of it) can be found on the Splendor Cinema blog so I won't bother to re-post them here. Today also saw the nominations for the BAFTAs announced, which you can read here. What I want to instead is look forward to the real deal: the Academy Awards, which are taking place at the end of next month (February 27th). The nominees are announced a week today (Tuesday 25th), so now seems like as good a time as any for rampant speculation.
For the main prize I'd have to say that obvious favoured candidates, 'Black Swan', 'The Social Network', 'The Fighter' and 'The King's Speech', will be joined by fancied outsiders 'Toy Story 3', 'Inception', 'The Kids Are All Right', as well as the now annual nomination for the Coen Brothers with 'True Grit' a likely contender. The final two films in the field of ten are harder to call. I'd guess that Clint Eastwood's 'Hereafter' could miss out after getting "mixed reviews" and failing to perform at the box office. Instead maybe Danny Boyle's '127 Hours' could sneak in, perhaps alongside Gareth Edwards' roundly-praised 'Monsters' (as this year's 'District 9')?
I'm not hedging my bets. Those previous ten are my picks. But if those aren't the chosen ones, then who knows? Maybe the Tilda Swinton vanity project 'I Am Love' could emerge as the token foreign language contender for the award? Or maybe even Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'Biutiful'? I'd also not discount 'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps' as a possibility. Or the brilliant 'Blue Valentine', with the Weinsteins always keen to push their films for awards glory.
As for the winner, it'd be foolish not to expect the triumphant winner of the Golden Globe 'The Social Network' to win. However, the Globe hasn't often predicted the correct Oscar winner in recent years and last year saw 'Avatar' the strong Oscar favourite all the way through award season until a last minute surge for 'The Hurt Locker'. If it doesn't win for some reason, then I'd like to see 'Black Swan' do it instead.
David Fincher won the globe and I believe he'll win the Oscar for 'The Social Network'. The director nominations will be drawn from the five most serious contenders for the main prize. In this case that would make the four "losers" Darren Aronofsky ('Black Swan'), David O. Russell ('The Fighter'), Tom Hooper ('The King's Speech') and Lisa Cholodenko ('The Kids Are All Right').
This category will be won by Colin Firth, last year's most popular loser after his performance in 'A Single Man' is generally liked and has been roundly heralded for his performance as a stuttering George VI in 'The King's Speech'. The makeweights in this field will likely be Jesse Eisenberg for 'The Social Network', James Franco for '127 Hours', Mark Wahlberg for 'The Fighter' and Ryan Gosling for 'Blue Valentine'. Personally, I'd like to see the Golden Globe "Best Performance in a Musical or Comedy" winner Paul Giamatti win the Oscar for 'Barney's Version', but that won't happen. He won't even be nominated. Out of the likely nominees, my pick would be James Franco. I disliked '127 Hours' but he was class in it. He is co-hosting the event with Anne Hathway, so it would be fun to see him win.
How long before this award is renamed "Best Female Actor"? I haven't heard the term actress self-applied in years, so it seems like only a matter of time. This is one of the hardest fields to call in the whole competition. It seems certain that Jennifer Lawrence ('Winter's Bone'), Natalie Portman ('Black Swan') and Michelle Williams ('Blue Valentine') will be nominated, with Portman the probable winner (and my personal favourite). However I'm not so confident about the other two names. Halle Berry ('Frankie and Alice') and Nicole Kidman ('Rabbit Hole') are among the favourites having been nominated at the Globes, but I think Julianne Moore and Annette Bening will both be nominated for 'The Kids Are All Right' - recalling Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick who were both nominated last year for 'Up in the Air'.
Best Supporting Actor
Another hard field to call. In fact, the "supporting" categories are always hard to predict because they can throw up literally any name and are especially prone to votes based on nostalgia or sympathy (Heath Ledger last year, or Pete Postlethwaite at this year's BAFTAs). On that basis Michael Douglas seems a likely nomination for 'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps' due to his recent battle with throat cancer. Besides, he won an Oscar for the same role in 1987, playing Gordon Gekko in the original 'Wall Street', so it's not that far fetched an honour. Christian Bale will likely win the category for his role in 'The Fighter'. A certainty for at least a nomination is Geoffrey Rush for 'The King's Speech'. The remaining two names could be Andrew Garfield for 'The Social Network' and Mark Ruffalo for 'The Kids Are All Right'. If I had my way Ruffalo would win that one, though I haven't yet seen Bale in 'The Fighter'.
Best Supporting Actress
Golden Globe winner (and a Best Actress nominee last year for 'Frozen River') Melissa Leo will be nominated for her role in 'The Fighter'. As will Amy Adams, who has twice been nominated for this award in the past, for roles in 'Junebug' and 'Doubt'. Mila Kunis seems like a safe bet for 'Black Swan', as does Helena Bonham Carter, who will likely complete a trilogy of acting nominations for 'The King's Speech'. The final nomination is hard to predict. Jacki Weaver was nominated for the Golden Globe for 'Animal Kingdom', whilst the BAFTAs have 'Lesley Manville' up for 'Another Year' and Barbara Hershey for 'Black Swan' (and Miranda Richardson for 'Made in Dagenham', but I'm not going to entertain that as a serious Oscar choice). I'm going to take a stab in the dark here and suggest that Mia Wasikowska could be an outside contender for 'The Kids Are All Right' - a film I've nominated in most of the categories, but which could be left out altogether. Certainly the film's initial Oscar buzz has died down since its release. I think Amy Adams will win the statue itself. Third time lucky.
'Toy Story 3' will win the animated film award without too much trouble. 'Inception' will pick up some of the boring effects and technical gongs, whilst 'The King's Speech' will win some sort of costume award for being a stiff, British period drama (then again 'Black Swan' could very well beat them to that one with its ballet costumes). The Best Adapted Screenplay award will go to Aaron Sorkin for 'The Social Network', whilst Best Original Screenplay may go to 'The Kids Are All Right' writers Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg. The Best Score award is a two way battle between Hans Zimmer for 'Inception' and Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross for 'The Social Network'. I have a feeling Zimmer will win this one even though Reznor scooped the Globe. The foreign language winner is impossible to predict on any year. Last time around 'A Prophet' and 'The White Ribbon' picked up every prize en route to the Oscars only for Argentine film 'The Secret in Their Eyes' to come from nowhere and win it. I honestly couldn't even guess. 'Biutiful' maybe? Who cares.
So, those are my picks for the 2011 Academy Award nominations. I'll no doubt write a follow-up to this when the real nominations come in on the 25th.