25 Feb 2011 @ 6:00 AM 

Friday Minute
No. 220 | February 25, 2011

Oscar Perspective


Our theme this week

Films and filmmakers overlooked by Oscar…and a look ahead to this year’s awards

Featured this week
(See Monday post for theme introduction)
Monday         —   Actors Who Never Won an Oscar
Tuesday         —   Actresses Who Never Won an Oscar
Wednesday    —   Directors Who Never Won an Oscar
Thursday        —   Films That Didn’t Win a Single Oscar

UPDATE:  The Winners   —   Oscar 2010 Recap

Picks & Predictions for the 2010 Oscars

oscarcolin firthoscarnatalie portmanoscardavid fincheroscar

Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, David Fincher:  three who haven’t won an Oscar…yet.  You’ll find them smiling Sunday night.

The week so far has featured 140 actors, actresses, directors, and films that inexplicably never won an Academy Award.  Today we look ahead.  Guaranteed, somebody will win at the upcoming ceremony.  I don’t really know who the winners will be, but I can pretend, and that’s what I do below.  Read on for my picks (those who should win) and predictions (those who will win).  Good luck in your pool and enjoy the show.

Best Picture

  • Black Swan
  • The Fighter
  • Inception
  • The Kids Are All Right
  • The King’s Speech
  • 127 Hours
  • The Social Network
  • Toy Story 3
  • True Grit
  • Winter’s Bone

The word around town is that The King’s Speech is the one.  I like to think the Academy may give people a surprise.  Last year (unlike some other years) it awarded the Best Picture Oscar to the picture that was best.  A novel idea.  Why not do it again?  It really is a clear choice, the way I see  it.  The Social Network is not just the best film of the year, it’s one of the great pictures of the millennium.  The King’s Speech is a fine movie, but in a few years it’ll seem like just another nice pic about the British royals, a family that’s been the subject of too many films already.  Fifty years from now The Social Network will still look brilliant.  Its future is a surer thing than Facebook’s, if you ask me.  What’s at stake on Sunday is not what people will think of the movie someday, but what they will think of the Academy.  Here’s hoping it does the right thing.

PICK:  The Social Network
PREDICTION:  The Social Network

Actor in a Leading Role

  • Javier Bardem, Biutiful
  • Jeff Bridges, True Grit
  • Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
  • Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
  • James Franco, 127 Hours

Both give first-rate performances, and I’d give the edge to Jesse Eisenberg, who creates a kind of character we haven’t seen before.  But Eisenberg would be the youngest Best Actor ever, and Colin Firth, at 50, is ripe for the recognition his career deserves.  It’s no contest.  “Speech!”

PICK:  Jesse Eisenberg
PREDICTION:  Colin Firth

Actress in Leading Role

  • Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
  • Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
  • Natalie Portman, Black Swan
  • Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

Michelle Williams gave a raw, brave, and deserving performance, but she’s a long shot here.  Natalie Portman was very good, and her role of artist-in-the-making should resonate with Oscar voters.  She’s the likely winner, but if Annette Bening were to have her name called, I’d be thrilled.

PICK:  Michelle Williams
PREDICTION:  Natalie Portman

Actor in a Supporting Role

  • 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

Christian Bale had a showy role, the kind that usually does well at Oscar time.  But there was nothing easy about his performance.  He’ll win, and he’ll deserve it.

PICK:  Christian Bale
PREDICTION:  Christian Bale

Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Amy Adams, The Fighter
  • Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
  • Melissa Leo, The Fighter
  • Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
  • Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

Tatum O’Neal won an Oscar at 10, and Anna Paquin at 11, so it’s possible that 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld could bring home an Academy Award.  But more likely, one of the nominees from The Fighter will win.  I’m fond of Amy Adams’s performance, but Melissa Leo had a role that seemed aimed to get Oscar attention, and unless her self-financed campaign and complaints about ageism turn off voters, it probably will.

PICK:  Amy Adams
PREDICTION:  Melissa Leo

Directing

  • Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
  • David O. Russell, The Fighter
  • Tom Hopper, The King’s Speech
  • David Fincher, The Social Network
  • Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, True Grit

The man who should win will win, and fittingly, for the best of his many good films.

PICK:  David Fincher
PREDICTION:  David Fincher

Writing (Original Screenplay)

  • Mike Leigh, Another Year
  • Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson, The Fighter
  • Christopher Nolan, Inception
  • Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg, The Kids Are All Right
  • David Seidler, The King’s Speech

The story of David Seidler waiting decades for the Queen Mum to die before his film would be made it as touching as the story of the film itself.  If anybody deserves an award for The King’s Speech, he’s the one.

PICK:  David Seidler
PREDICTION:  David Seidler

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

  • Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy, 127 Hours
  • Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
  • John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton & Lee Unkrich, Toy Story 3
  • Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, True Grit
  • Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini, Winter’s Bone

Voters may give Aaron Sorkin the Oscar for his brilliant dialogue, but his real achievement is an inventive story structure and compelling, complex characters.  The Social Network is a special film, and it all starts with Sorkin’s script.

PICK:  Aaron Sorkin
PREDICTION:  Aaron Sorkin

Animated Feature Film

  • How to Train Your Dragon
  • The Illusionist
  • Toy Story 3

I’m a fan of The Illusionist but it will take more than magic for it to win.  Short of a miracle, the Oscar goes to Toy Story 3.

PICK:  The Illusionist
PREDICTION:  Toy Story 3

Documentary (Feature)

  • Exit Through the Gift Shop
  • Gasland
  • Inside Job
  • Restrepo
  • Waste Land

The crooks who run Wall Street got away with trillions and escaped justice.  The closest we’ll see to consolation in this world is an Oscar for Inside Job.

PICK:  Inside Job
PREDICTION:  Inside Job

Documentary (Short Subject)

  • Killing in the Name
  • Poster Girl
  • Strangers No More
  • Sun Come Up
  • The Warriors of Qiugang

Haven’t seen them so I’m just reading tea leaves.

PICK:  None
PREDICTION:  Killing in the Name

Foreign Language Film

  • Biutiful, Mexico
  • Dogtooth, Greece
  • In a Better World, Denmark
  • Incendies, Canada
  • Outside the Law, Algeria

Tea leaves again.

PICK:  None
PREDICTION:  In a Better World

Short Film (Animated)

  • Day & Night
  • The Gruffalo
  • Let’s Pollute
  • The Lost Thing
  • Madagascar, carnet de voyage

A competitive category, so I hear.  More tea leaves and a hunch.

PICK:  None
PREDICTION:  Madagascar, carnet de voyage

Short Film (Live Action)

  • The Confession
  • The Crush
  • God of Love
  • Na Wewe
  • Wish 143

If you’re the type who wagers on a horse because you like its name, you’re well equipped to bet on the Academy Award winner for the Short Film category.

PICK:  None
PREDICTION:  Wish 143

Art Direction

  • Alice In Wonderland
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
  • Inception
  • The King’s Speech
  • True Grit

Tim Burton films have won in this category three times before (Batman, Sleepy Hollow, Sweeny Todd).  Now it will be four.

PICK: Alice in Wonderland
PREDICTION:  Alice in Wonderland

Cinematography

  • Black Swan
  • Inception
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Social Network
  • True Grit

Nine-time nominee Roger Deakins is about to win his first Oscar.  Overdue and well deserved.

PICK:  True Grit
PREDICTION:  True Grit

Costume Design

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • I Am Love
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Tempest
  • True Grit

Nine-time nominee (and three-time winner) Sandy Powell (The Tempest) is in the running but the Oscar this time goes to nine-time nominee (and soon-to-be-two-time winner) Jenny Beavans.  Royal period outfits rule.

PICK:  The King’s Speech
PREDICTION:  The King’s Speech

Film Editing

  • Black Swan
  • The Fighter
  • The King’s Speech
  • 127 Hours
  • The Social Network

We are living in a golden age of editing.  The Editors Guild’s Eddie Award for film drama went to The Social Network.  I won’t argue with that.

PICK:  Black Swan
PREDICTION:  The Social Network

Makeup

  • Barney’s Version
  • The Way Back
  • The Wolfman

Rick Baker has twelve nominations and six wins.  Partner Dave Elsey has his second nomination.  Expect them to pick up Oscars seven and one, respectively.

PICK:  The Wolfman
PREDICTION:  The Wolfman

Music (Original Score)

  • How to Train Your Dragon
  • Inception
  • The King’s Speech
  • 127 Hours
  • The Social Network

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross deserve to win.  Will they?  Well, why not?

PICK:  The Social Network
PREDICTION:  The Social Network

Music (Original Song)

  • “Coming Home,” Country Strong
  • “I See the Light,” Tangled
  • “If I Rise,” 127 Hours
  • “We Belong Together,” Toy Story 3

The A.R. Rahman / Dido theme song for 127 Hours is wonderful, and has an ethereal, magical touch, but animation tends to dominate this category.  FifteenTwenty(!)-time nominee Randy Newman may win his second Oscar.

PICK:  “If I Rise”
PREDICTION:  “We Belong Together”

Sound Editing

  • Inception
  • Toy Story 3
  • Tron: Legacy
  • True Grit
  • Unstoppable

Inception will dominate the technical categories and win here.

PICK:  Inception
PREDICTION:  Inception

Sound Mixing

  • Inception
  • The King’s Speech
  • Salt
  • The Social Network
  • True Grit

Inception will dominate the technical categories and win here.  Do I repeat myself?

PICK:  Inception
PREDICTION:  Inception

Visual Effects

  • Alice In Wonderland
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
  • Hereafter
  • Inception
  • Iron Man 2

Yes, I repeat myself.

PICK:  Inception
PREDICTION:  Inception


 127 Hours (2010)
Music Video
“If I Rise”
A.R. Rahman, music
Dido, Rollo, lyrics
Dido, A.R. Rahmah, performers


Quote of note
“Creation myths need a devil.”
—Marylin Delpy (Rashida Jones), The Social Network (2010)


Final Friday Five, the monthly mini-quiz

1.  Match each Oscar-nominated role for 2010 with the actor or actress who played the character.

ROLES

  • Prince Albert / King George VI
  • Aron Ralston
  • Cindy
  • Janine “Smurf” Cody
  • Rooster Cogburn
  • Becca Corbett
  • James “Jem” Coughlin
  • Ree Dolly
  • Dicky Ecklund
  • Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon / Queen Elizabeth
  • Charlene Fleming
  • Lionel Logue
  • Nic
  • Paul
  • Mattie Ross
  • Nina Sayers
  • Teardrop
  • Uxbal
  • Alice Ward
  • Mark Zuckerberg

 ACTORS & ACTRESSES

  • Javier Bardem, Biutiful
  • Jeff Bridges, True Grit
  • Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
  • Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
  • James Franco, 127 Hours
  • Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
  • Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
  • Natalie Portman, Black Swan
  • Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine
  • 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
  • Amy Adams, The Fighter
  • Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
  • Melissa Leo, The Fighter
  • Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
  • Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

2.  Which of this year’s acting nominees have won Oscars in the past?

3.  “I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man!”  That’s a line from Best Picture nominee True Grit spoken to Rooster Cogburn.  Is Pepper the name of the character or the name of the actor who says the line?

4.  Name that Oscar.  The only Oscar to win an Oscar was a two-time winner for original song:  “The Last Time I Saw Paris,” from Lady Be Good (1941), and “It Might as Well Be Spring,” from State Fair (1945).  What is Oscar’s full name?

5.  Several past movies have featured characters winning Academy Awards.  Name the actor or actress who plays the Oscar-winning performer.

In & Out (1997) — Cameron Drake is awarded the Best Actor prize for his portrayal of a gay soldier.  In his televised speech, he thanks his former high school teacher Howard Brackett (Kevin Kline), adding “…and he’s gay.”  It’s a surprise to Brackett’s family, friends, students, and fiancée.  Who plays Cameron Drake?

S1m0ne (2002) — Director Viktor Taransky (Al Pacino) loses the big star on his new film and is unable to find a replacement.  He uses a computer program to create a simulated actress named Simone.  The film is a success and Simone wins Best Actress.  Who plays Simone?

Tropic Thunder (2008) — A Vietnam vet’s memoir is adapted into a movie starring Tugg Speedman, Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr.), and Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black).  A film taken from footage of the production called Tropical Blunder goes on to great success, winning Speedman the Best Actor prize.  Who plays Tugg Speedman?

Answers here.

…58…59…60.

Posted By: John Farmer
Last Edit: 03 Mar 2011 @ 07:54 AM

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