HNN's Oscar Win Predictions

by Jeff Beck, Guest Film Critic
HNN's Oscar Win Predictions

With the Oscars  tonight, I've thrown together this piece on who I would give the Oscar to and which nominee I feel has the best chance at winning. You may wish to save this until the Oscars are even closer, but I'll leave that up to you (if you decide to use it at all).

 

 With most of the major awards shows done and the Oscar Nominees announced, I felt it was time to reveal my picks for who I feel should win the award and which nominee I believe will actually win (amazingly enough, these sometimes coincide). So, without the aid of a big song and dance to start things off, let’s just get right to it, starting with the smaller categories and working up. Please note that I have excluded Best Foreign Language Film, Best Documentary Feature and short, as well as Animated Short and Live-Action Short, as I have not seen a single nominee in any of those categories.



BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
ALICE IN WONDERLAND
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART 1
HEREAFTER
INCEPTION
IRON MAN 2


If I picked the winner…


I would have to give this one to Inception for its mind-bending use of special effects to create such unforgettable images as the zero-gravity hallway fight and a city folding upon itself. The only other really impressive special effects were in Tron: Legacy which the Academy somehow failed to nominate.


I believe the Academy will choose…


I think this will be a pretty easy win for Inception. The other nominees had a few well-done effects, but nothing to compare with the clear choice here.


BEST SOUND MIXING
INCEPTION
THE KING'S SPEECH
SALT
THE SOCIAL NETWORK
TRUE GRIT


BEST SOUND EDITING
INCEPTION
TOY STORY 3
TRON: LEGACY
TRUE GRIT
UNSTOPPABLE


If I picked the winner…


I decided to go ahead and group these categories together. I believe that both of these should also go to Inception (like most of the technical awards). They may seem like small awards, but just try to imagine the film having nearly as much of an impact without the intricate use of sound.


I believe the Academy will choose…

Inception. Not really much else to say about it.


BEST ORIGINAL SONG
"Coming Home" - COUNTRY STRONG
"I See The Light" - TANGLED
"If I Rise" - 127 HOURS
"We Belong Together" - TOY STORY 3


If I picked the winner…


After listening to all of the above selections, my favorite of these turned out to be “I See the Light” from Tangled. The other songs didn’t impress me all that much and came off as rather plain.


I believe the Academy will choose…


I’m just going to go out on a limb and say that they will choose “I See the Light” as well. It seems like the kind of upbeat song they would go for.


BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON
INCEPTION
THE KING'S SPEECH
127 HOURS
THE SOCIAL NETWORK


If I picked the winner…


To find the true winner of Best Original Score, you would have to leave these nominees behind and seek out Daft Punk’s brilliant score for Tron: Legacy, which was somehow overlooked for this category (the second big mistake the Academy made this year). Their amazing blending of strings, electronic beats, and catchy rhythms make this one of the best scores of the past several years. Shame on the Academy for not recognizing it.


Now that I’m done venting, out of these nominees, I would go with either Inception or How To Train Your Dragon, which both had some pretty impressive tracks. They may not be particularly great scores overall, but they had some catchy themes to them. The score to King’s Speech was decent, but rather plain, while the scores for 127 Hours and The Social Network were merely yawn-inducing.


I believe the Academy will choose…


This one’s a bit up in the air. I believe it’s down to Hans Zimmer’s score for Inception and Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s score for The Social Network. Both scores have received their share of awards, so it’s all down to the Academy’s taste.

 

BEST MAKEUP
BARNEY’S VERSION

THE WAY BACK
THE WOLFMAN


If I picked the winner…


I would have to go with The Wolfman on this one, just because it was the most impressive of the makeup jobs out of these three films.


I believe the Academy will choose…


I think they will also go with The Wolfman for its extensive use of makeup. While the movie itself was not all that impressive, the makeup for the creatures themselves was well-done.


BEST EDITING
BLACK SWAN
THE FIGHTER
THE KING'S SPEECH
127 HOURS
THE SOCIAL NETWORK


If I picked the winner…


Here’s where the Academy made another terrible blunder. They neglected to nominate Lee Smith for his outstanding work on Inception. In order for a film about a dream within a dream within a dream to work, the editing has to be done just right so that everything comes together and makes sense in the end. Smith’s editing miraculously accomplishes this. By far, the best work of the year in this field.


From these nominees, I would go with The King’s Speech. None of the other nominees impressed me from an editing standpoint all that much. King’s Speech stands out for such moments as when King George VI is being assisted in his speech by speech therapist Lionel Logue and for the outstanding final sequence of King George VI delivering his first wartime speech.


I believe the Academy will choose…


I would have to assume that they are going to go with The King’s Speech, as it seems to be becoming the favorite of those who actually work in the industry (as opposed to the critics). In the last ten years, the Academy has given Best Editing to the Best Picture winner half the time (including the last two years).


BEST COSTUME DESIGN
ALICE IN WONDERLAND
I AM LOVE
THE KING'S SPEECH
THE TEMPEST
TRUE GRIT


If I picked the winner…


I would have to go with Alice in Wonderland for the impressive costumes designed by Colleen Atwood. The others had interesting costumes, but those from Alice in Wonderland were more memorable than the others.


I believe the Academy will choose…

I think they will also choose Alice in Wonderland. It has the kind of flamboyance that the Academy goes for. Just look at the winners for the past few years: The Young Victoria, The Duchess, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Marie Antoinette, Memoirs of a Geisha. Then again, The King’s Speech could get support by those voting a straight ticket for the film, and we could very well be seeing that take the Oscar, but I would still say that chances are in the favor of Alice in Wonderland.


BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
BLACK SWAN
INCEPTION
THE KING'S SPEECH
THE SOCIAL NETWORK
TRUE GRIT


If I picked the winner…


I would have to go with Wally Pfister’s amazing work on Inception. Let’s face it, part of what made Inception work so well was the combination of several technical elements, including the Cinematography. The film is a beautifully shot piece of work that is hard to forget.


I believe the Academy will choose…


This is another one that’s kind of up in the air. A lot of support has been going for Inception while others have been honoring Matthew Libatique for his work on Black Swan. Then again, as I mentioned before, The King’s Speech could sweep in and take it due to the major support it’s been getting recently. If I had to guess, I would say Inception, because it really is a technical marvel, and I think/hope they’ll recognize that. They certainly can’t do any worse than last year when they gave this award to Avatar…


BEST ART DIRECTION
ALICE IN WONDERLAND
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART 1
INCEPTION
THE KING'S SPEECH
TRUE GRIT


If I picked the winner…


In this category, I would go with either Inception or The King’s Speech. Both films have such an elegant set-up from scene to scene that it’s rather hard to choose between them. They’re both very impressive in this area and are deserving of the award.


I believe the Academy will choose…


While I was split between two, I think the Academy will almost certainly go with The King’s Speech. It’s the kind of elegant period piece that tends to get praise in this area.


BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
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


If I picked the winner…


It would certainly be Christopher Nolan for his brilliant screenplay to Inception. Nolan is a master storyteller (something that is very rare nowadays) and in Inception, he expertly ties together all the different layers of dreams into an unforgettable story that will have people talking for years to come.


I believe the Academy will choose…


If you had asked me this a few weeks ago, I would have said that Nolan had the best shot at winning, but after the recent success of The King’s Speech, I now believe that David Seidler has the best chance of winning. Most of the time, the favorite film of the evening takes Best Screenplay in its respective category. Looking over the past ten years, this has happened seven out of ten times, including the last five consecutive years (in the 90s, it was six out of ten). This explains how Mark Boal ended up winning for The Hurt Locker last year instead of frontrunner Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds.


BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
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 Rosselini - WINTER'S BONE


If I picked the winner…


I would have to go with Aaron Sorkin for The Social Network. His screenplay is a fascinating read and has a lot of quick, two-person, back and forth dialogue that keeps it flowing smoothly. Sorkin also incorporates just the right amount of humor to keep the story from getting overly dramatic.


I believe the Academy will choose…


Though The Social Network no longer appears to be the favorite film, I believe Sorkin still has a lock on the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar, especially since it outshines all the other nominees in this category. Then again, the Academy could choose one of the nominees out of left field like they did last year when they awarded Geoffrey Fletcher the Oscar for Precious (the frontrunners had been Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner for Up in the Air throughout award season).


BEST ANIMATED FILM
TOY STORY 3
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON
THE ILLUSIONIST


If I picked the winner…


I would go with How To Train Your Dragon, the touching story of a boy who bonds with a dragon, a species that he has been taught to hate his whole life. It has several great emotional moments that make it an unforgettable tale.


I believe the Academy will choose…


Toy Story 3 has a lock on this category and will be taking home the Oscar that night. Do you doubt it?


BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Melissa Leo - THE FIGHTER
Hailee Steinfeld - TRUE GRIT
Helena Bonham Carter - THE KING'S SPEECH
Amy Adams - THE FIGHTER
Jacki Weaver - ANIMAL KINGDOM


If I picked the winner…


My choice would be Hailee Steinfeld for her amazing portrayal of Matty Ross in True Grit. A relative unknown, 14-year-old Steinfeld bursts onto the screen with such energy and confidence that makes her performance the most memorable thing about the film, which is quite impressive seeing as how she goes toe-to-toe with Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and Josh Brolin.


I believe the Academy will choose…


Melissa Leo for her performance in The Fighter. She has received acclaim from multiple sources, now including the Screen Actors Guild, which seems to make her the obvious choice for the Academy.


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christian Bale - THE FIGHTER
Geoffrey Rush, THE KING'S SPEECH
Jeremy Renner, THE TOWN
John Hawkes - WINTER'S BONE
Mark Ruffalo, THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT


If I picked the winner…


It would be Geoffrey Rush for his outstanding performance in The King’s Speech. He plays Lionel Logue, a speech therapist with unorthodox ways of helping his patients including a demand that they be seen as equals, a rather unusual circumstance with a prince/king as a patient. Rush has always been a fascinating actor to watch from his Oscar-winning performance in Shine to his fun performances in the Pirates of the Caribbean films. Here, he plays Logue as a man with a deep and genuine desire to help while bringing just the right touch of emotion to the character as he goes about trying to cure the King’s stubborn stutter.


I believe the Academy will choose…


Christian Bale for his performance in The Fighter. I was one of few who found The Fighter to be less than praise-worthy, but I also found Bale’s performance to be the same. Bale plays the drug-addicted brother of Mark Wahlberg’s boxer character, and instead of forming a deep, emotionally-involving character, Bale comes off as more irritating and two-dimensional than anything else. However, just about everyone has disagreed as he has been getting praise from everywhere, including the SAG award. It appears that he has a lock on the Oscar.


BEST ACTRESS
Natalie Portman, BLACK SWAN
Annette Bening, THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT
Michelle Williams - BLUE VALENTINE
Nicole Kidman - THE RABBIT HOLE
Jennifer Lawrence - WINTER'S BONE


If I picked the winner…


I would go with either Annette Bening for The Kids Are All Right or Nicole Kidman in Rabbit Hole. Both performers are outstanding in these roles and create fully-realized, emotionally-involving characters that feel real. Either actress would be a worthy recipient of the Oscar.


I believe the Academy will choose…


Natalie Portman for Black Swan. Here’s another instance where a nominee has been getting praise everywhere else, and yes, that includes the SAG award as well, so it appears to be another lock. Her performance in the film is good, just not one that particularly blew me away.


BEST ACTOR
Colin Firth - THE KING'S SPEECH
Jesse Eisenberg - THE SOCIAL NETWORK
James Franco - 127 HOURS
Jeff Bridges - TRUE GRIT
Javier Bardem - BIUTIFUL


If I picked the winner…


Hands down, it would be Colin Firth for his excellent portrayal of King George VI, a member of the royal family with a stuttering problem. It’s hard work being able to portray a stutter that sounds believable, but somehow, Firth is able to pull it off wonderfully. On top of that, he pulls off the emotional fragility of the character that makes us connect with him and his problem. Truly a remarkable performance.


I believe the Academy will choose…


No question here. It’ll be Colin Firth. He’s won the Best Actor award all over the place, so he’s an extremely safe bet on Oscar night to take home the statue.


BEST DIRECTOR
Darren Aronofsky - BLACK SWAN
David Fincher - THE SOCIAL NETWORK
David O. Russell - THE FIGHTER
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen - TRUE GRIT
Tom Hooper - THE KING'S SPEECH


If I picked the winner…


Here’s where the Academy made their worst mistake of all: the snubbing of Christopher Nolan from the Best Director category. The Director’s Guild of American nominated him, so it’s pretty hard to deny that he was one of the five best directors of 2010, and yet, the Academy failed to recognize him….again (his direction for The Dark Knight should have been another easy lock for a nomination, and the DGA confirmed it). For Inception, he had the daunting task of bringing together all of the elements of all of the storylines and telling it all in a way that made sense. The way he so intricately brought this film together to give us a story that is not only exciting, but also mentally stimulating, was simply brilliant.


From these nominees, I suppose I would go with Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech. It’s a rather simple story, so you’re not going to find any grand, sweeping direction, but it is well-crafted for the smaller-scale story that he is telling. He brings all of the elements together quite well to tell this fascinating story of friendship and speech therapy.


I believe the Academy will choose…


This is another category where, if you asked me when the nominees were first announced, my answer would be completely different. I would have told you that David Fincher will be receiving the award without question. However, the DGA awards were held recently, and they happened to give their top honor to Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech. You may already know this, but the DGA’s feature film award is an excellent indicator as to who will be taking home the Oscar for Best Director that year. In the DGA’s 62-year history of giving this award, there have only been six instances where the DGA and the Academy have not agreed (two of which where the DGA recipient was not even nominated). This now gives Hooper a nine out of ten chance at winning the Oscar this year (i.e. he’s a safe bet).


BEST PICTURE
127 HOURS
BLACK SWAN
THE FIGHTER
INCEPTION
THE KING'S SPEECH
THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT
THE SOCIAL NETWORK
TOY STORY 3
TRUE GRIT
WINTER'S BONE


If I picked the winner…


We come to it at last. If you’ve come this far, then my choice would be pretty obvious. Inception was simply the most brilliant film of the year. It’s a mind-bending, labyrinthine puzzle made up of layers of dream space that asks you to make the conclusions yourself. It has already instigated some fascinating discussion as to what really happened or if anything really happened at all. This is an incredible story, masterfully told, and is easily the Best Film of 2010.


I believe the Academy will choose…


Yet another category where my answer has changed recently. Up until January 22, I would have said that The Social Network is the safest bet, but The Producers Guild of America gave their top honor to The King’s Speech, and in their history, they’ve agreed with the Academy’s Best Picture winner two out of three times (including the last three years in a row), so now The King’s Speech seems to be the best bet and the future recipient of the Best Picture Oscar.
 


Well, there you have it, my choices and what I think the Academy will choose. It wasn’t a particularly great year in film (not all of the Best Picture nominees deserve a place on that list, merely reinforcing the silliness of having ten nominees), but if you looked hard enough there were a few smaller great films, in addition to the big great films like Inception, to be found such as The King’s Speech, The Kids Are All Right, and 127 Hours. The Oscar ceremony will air on ABC at
5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 27 and will be hosted by James Franco and Anne Hathaway

 

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