Oscar Predictions 2011

My favorite prediction post of the year! I tend to be much better on this subject than any other. Last year I got 19 out of 24 right, so I’m unlikely to do better this year.

No matter! I intend to rest on my laurels. On to the predictions! I’m planning on keeping the column short this year, unless an explanation is absolutely necessary.

Two answers for each category – the likely winner, and the nominee I’d like to see take it.

Best Picture
Will Win: The King’s Speech
Should Win: The King’s Speech
Explanation: I know, I know, I just picked Inception as my favorite movie of the year. But I really feel like The King’s Speech is the more deserving movie. It’s less daring than Inception, but also has less flaws.

Best Actor

Will Win: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
Should Win: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
Explanation: This race was over before it began. I’d be surprised if any of the other nominees wrote speeches.

Best Actress
Will Win: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Should Win: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Explanation: The only reason Portman wouldn’t win is that voters seem inclined to vote for Annette Bening because Portman’s much younger, and Bening “probably doesn’t have many chances left.” I think this is lunacy, but people apparently “vote with their hearts, and a lot of people are just less inclined to vote for the pretty skinny girl.” (I don’t know why that’s in quotes, I just made that up) You’ll hear this same argument come up whenever Julie Zorrilla or Pia Toscano get voted off American Idol get voted off this year.

Best Supporting Actor
Will Win: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Should Win: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Explanation: Who is this grinning, fun-loving shaggy figure making jokey acceptance speeches, singing the PowderPuff Girls theme song and talking about how much he loves Beverly Hills Ninja? This is the same guy who went on a rant at some random lighting guy for ruining his ability to over-emote on the Terminator: Salvation set? The same guy who (allegedly) hit his mother? I’m not convinced.

Best Supporting Actress

Will Win: Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Should Win: Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Explanation: Melissa Leo has won every trophy in this category up to this point, but she has two things that’ll trip her up this time:

a.     Steinfeld, who was really a lead actress in her movie, usually wasn’t nominated in this category.
b.     Leo decided to release her own series of “Consider: Melissa Leo” ads that were so self-aggrandizing, it made it much easier to admit that she wasn’t that great in The Fighter. A lot of the acting she did in that movie was just making her hair frizzy.

Best Director
Will Win: David Fincher, The Social Network
Should Win: Christopher Nolan. I mean, David Fincher.
Explanation: I know it’s rare that a film wins Best Picture but not Director, but it’s not been quite so rare lately. It’s happened a couple times in the past ten years, including in 2006, when Ang Lee won Director even though Brokeback Mountain lost out to Crash.

Best Animated Feature

Will Win: Toy Story 3
Should Win: How To Train Your Dragon
Explanation: Pixar’s nominated every time, and they’ve only lost this thing twice, not to mention they’ve got a Best Picture nomination, so it seems a safe bet to pick them. I liked Dragon better than Toy Story, but I may need to re-watch both before I make a final choice on that front.

Best Foreign Film

Will Win: Denmark, In A Better World
Should Win: ???
Explanation: In order to vote on these films, you’re required to see all 5, which very few Academy members do. So even though Biutiful has an Oscar nomination, it's not a lock to win. The word on the street from those who have actually watched these films is that In A Better World is excellent, and Dogtooth is just crazy and strange. Do with that information what you will.

Best Documentary
Will Win: Inside Job
Should Win: Exit Through The Gift Shop
Explanation: I have no idea. Usually I pick a war documentary – I was leaning towards Restrepo – but Inside Job is about the financial meltdown, so I assume that the Academy will lean that way. I’d prefer that the choice be Exit Through The Gift Shop, because if Banksy really did get to accept the Oscar while wearing a gorilla mask so we wouldn’t know what he looks like, that would be the best thing that ever happened, ever.

Best Original Song

Will Win: “Coming Home,” Country Strong
Should Win: “I See The Light,” Tangled
Explanation: I can’t decide here. I feel that “I See The Light” is the best song – it feels like a classic Disney song in all the right ways. But “Coming Home” is far and away the most radio-ready, and the Academy might want to honor Gwyneth Paltrow for working so hard to become a viable musician. Then again, Randy Newman is nominated, and the man has 20 nominations, one win. Hmmm.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Will Win: Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Should Win: Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Explanation: You probably already know, I’m a huge Sorkinite (that’s not really a thing, I just wanted a word for it), so this was an easy pick for me. But still: verbose, smart, well-assembled. A slam dunk in this category.

Best Original Screenplay
Will Win: David Seidler, The King’s Speech
Should Win: Christopher Nolan, Inception
Explanation: You already know my feelings on the lack of Inception love here, so I’ll just point out that a lot of the run-up to the awards shows have noted that Seidler also overcame a speech impediment. He’ll get the sympathy vote, but on the upside, it probably will make his victory speech exciting. Not because he’ll be stuttering, but because he’ll be talking about how this win means so much to stutterers everywhere, as if they cared that a guy who used to stutter won an award for something. Harsh? Maybe. I have no sympathy for such things when the movie I'm rooting for is getting shut out.

Best Art Direction
Will Win: Alice In Wonderland
Should Win: Alice In Wonderland
Explanation: Showy beats subtle. Every time.

Best Cinematography

Will Win: Roger Deakins, True Grit
Should Win: Roger Deakins, True Grit
Explanation: Roger Deakins has shot the following films: Revolutionary Road, The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, No Country For Old Men, Jarhead, A Beautiful Mind, O Brother, Where Art Thou, The Hurricane, Fargo, The Shawshank Redemption, The Hudsucker Proxy, and In The Valley of Elah. He has never won this award. That’s changing.  

Best Costumes

Will Win: The King’s Speech
Should Win: The King’s Speech
Explanation: There’s no flashy choice here, so it’s wise to go with the frontrunner. I tried to talk myself into Alice In Wonderland here, and failed.

Best Editing

Will Win: The Social Network
Should Win: Inception
Explanation: I will not stop flogging this dead horse. This award should have been Inception’s, and it's not even nominated. If The King’s Speech wins this, I will lose my mind.

Best Makeup
Will Win: The Wolfman
Should Win: The Wolfman
Explanation: Always pick the makeup job that seemed hardest to do. Making some guy a wolf seems way harder than making some guy look dirty, or old.

Best Score
Will Win: The Social Network
Should Win: Inception

Best Sound Editing/Design
Will Win: Inception
Should Win: Inception
Explanation: Hooray, consolation prizes!

Best Visual Effects:

Will Win: Inception
Should Win: Inception
Explanation: More consolation prizes!

Best Animated Short
Will Win: Day & Night
Should Win:  Day & Night
Explanation: When in doubt, pick the only choice that you personally saw. Loved this thing.


Best Live Action Short
Will Win: “Na Wewe”
Should Win: Who cares?
Explanation: Haven’t watched any of these, and none of them seems to have a subject matter that jumps out – they didn’t get AIDs from Bernie Madoff or anything – so I’ll pick the one that seems to have some sort of buzz to it. It’s set in Africa, which is always a win.

Best Documentary Short
Will Win: “Strangers No More”
Should Win: No idea.
Explanation: Underpriviliged kids in Tel Aviv where kids from dozens of different countries come to learn. Their stories are filled with hardship, and uplift. It’s like an Oscar voters’ wet dream. But then, so is “Killing In The Name,” which is about a Jordanian who confronts Muslim extremists after a bomber kills 27 people at his wedding. The voters must be so torn. So many bad things happening to people! How can we show that we care more about it than other people?

It feels like a straightforward year, right? I predict 17 out of 24 correct for me this year. It’s kind of a chalk tournament, I think.