On January 25 at 8:30 A.M., the Academy Awards will announce the nominees for every and all categories for the 83rd Oscars. However, I will gaze into my crystal ball, and attempt to foresee not only the nominees, but also the winners. It's early, yes, as the nominees aren't even official, but it's still fun to try to guess!
Sure, I could be way off, but hey, who knows?
Who will win big? What way will the Academy lean?
Keep reading. . .
The King’s Speech
Dark Horse: The Social Network
The Rest: 127 Hours, Black Swan, Blue Valentine, The Fighter, Inception, Toy Story 3, True Grit, and Winter’s Bone
Reasons: I realize that The King’s Speech is a pretty safe pick for the Academy; however, I can easily see The Social Network overtaking Tom Hooper’s film for the top prize at the Oscars. Even though The Social Network is already hauling in many trophies and awards, I still see The King’s Speech as the favorite for the Academy. I wouldn’t even be surprised if David O. Russell’s movie, The Fighter, gains enough momentum via the Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globes and various Critic’s Choice Awards to push itself into the (currently) two-horse race. 127 Hours and Black Swan are bit behind the formerly listed three, and while they could have a late award season push, I don’t see them becoming major players, at least in this category.
David Fincher (The Social Network)
Dark Horse: David O. Russell (The Fighter)
The Rest: Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), Christopher Nolan (Inception), and Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech)
Reasons: Now, I know it’s a very unusual for a director to win the Best Director award and not win the Best Picture prize, as I have listed, but for now, I don’t see Hooper winning this award. Nolan would be a long-shot in actuality, and Danny Boyle would probably be a better pick (for his film 127 Hours), but I think Nolan should be recognized for the summer blockbuster that stirred audiences and critics alike. If The Social Network becomes the favorite to win Best Picture, Fincher would be a shoo-in for the Best Director award. As priorly noted, The Social Network is definitely motoring right along. Aronofsky’s Black Swan was excellent; however, once again, he creates such a bizarre tale that I can’t see him getting more than a nomination. Black Swan is just too much of an acquired flavor for the Academy’s usual reserved tastes. David O. Russell creates a brilliant, emotional boxing film that features an incredibly talented cast. His directing is gorgeous in The Fighter, but I don’t see much competition to Fincher, who already nabbed a Golden Globe (amongst other trophies) for Best Director.
Best Actor in a Leading Role:
Colin Firth (The King's Speech)
Dark Horse: James Franco (127 Hours)
The Rest: Javier Bardem (Biutiful), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), and George Clooney (The American)
Reasons: Once again, this pick is rather conservative, and I can easily see Eisenberg taking this award from Firth. Both are highly deserving of this award, as is James Franco for his poignant performance as Aron “I-cut-off-my-arm-oops-that-was-a-spoiler-sorry” Ralston. Firth’s performance as the stuttering, self-doubting King George VI is amazing to say the least, but this pick is highly dependent on if the “momentum” swings from The King’s Speech to The Social Network. Firth started what should be a big award season for him with a Golden Globe in this category.
Best Actress in a Leading Role:
Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
Dark Horse: Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right)
The Rest: Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone), Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine), and Lesley Manville (Another Year)
Reasons: The safest, “mainstream” pick would easily be Portman for her spine-tingling performance as Nina Sayers in Black Swan. However, if the Academy wanted to branch out of to the less conventional, Bening for her portrayal of Nic, the other half of a rocky same-sex couple in the highly acclaimed family dramedy The Kids are All Right, would be a solid pick. Lawrence is equally deserving for her performance as a teenage girl going through very un-teenage girl problems in her life (such as supporting her siblings and tracking down her meth-head papa, all with the fate of her family resting in her hands). However, Winter’s Bone may be a bit too “indie” for the Academy’s tastes, and it very well may be too dark of a story for Lawrence to win the Best Actress award. It should be an interesting to see which way the Academy sways, as both women won a Golden Globe in the Best Actress categories (Drama and Comedy, respectively).
Best Actor in a Supporting Role:
Christian Bale (The Fighter)
Dark Horse: Geoffrey Rush (The King's Speech)
The Rest: Andrew Garfield (The Social Network), John Hawkes (Winter's Bone), and Jeremy Renner (The Town)
Reasons: You have no idea how badly I want Bale to win an Academy Award... The fiery passion and crazy obsession he conveys in his craft is simply incredible. This fire does not wane in his performance as drug-head Dicky in The Fighter. As much as I loved Rush’s performance in The King’s Speech, I think that Bale’s performance is a bit more deserving. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if Rush goes home with the Golden Naked Statue Man. Of this, I would not be disappointed at all. As of now, this category is another two horse race, as I don’t see Garfield, Hawkes, or Renner (a weird, far out pick...) becoming serious players. Bale also started what should be a nice award season run by taking home the globed, golden statue.
Best Actress in a Supporting Role:
Helena Bonham Carter (The King's Speech)
Dark Horse: Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)
The Rest: Amy Adams (The Fighter), Melissa Leo (The Fighter), Mila Kunis (Black Swan)
Reasons: I’ve been waffling back and forth with this category. Who to pick and who to win? As of now, the list is exactly the same as the Golden Globes nominations, which makes me feel like I’m not being authentic enough... however, it’s a difficult category, as it is rather under appreciated, and hard to gauge who was a “star” behind the other “leading star.” I’m undecided if Kunis should be on the list, and I don’t get how Steinfeld isn’t in the “Best Actress in a Leading Role” category (seeing as how she’s the main female character in True Grit...). It would be awesome if she won though, and this would be the easiest category to take, as it is fairly up for grabs. Melissa Leo could become a frontrunner, but I’m not sure. Leo won the Golden Globe award.
Best Animated Film:
Toy Story 3
Dark Horse: How to Train Your Dragon
The Rest: Tangled, The Illusionist, and Despicable Me
Reasons: As much as I loved How to Train Your Dragon, can you really top the incredibly emotional joyride that was Toy Story 3? The answer is no. Pixar creates yet another unbelievable film, and I would be not only disappointed if Toy Story 3 didn’t win this category, I would probably doubt my existence for the rest of time... The rest of the animated crowd is just a rather annoying squeals and squawks of attention seeking half-baked pop culture references, and I don’t see any of them overtaking Dragon or Toy Story 3. If Shrek 4: 3 Too Many gets nominated, I would- well... you don’t want to know what I would do... The Illusionist is the only other worthy film in this category, and I wouldn’t doubt that the Academy only nominates three films again (a la every year but 2009). These three would most likely be Toy Story 3, The Illusionist, and How to Train Your Dragon.
Best Original Screenplay
Dark Horse: The King’s Speech
The Rest: The Fighter, Black Swan, and The Kids are All Right
Reasons: Wow, so many phenomenal films that feature Hollywood originality. Inception is probably a long, long shot to win, but it would be a nice award for Nolan’s completely insane project. Black Swan would really be an interesting choice in this category, as it really is a creepy adaption of Swan Lake, but all the award shows have it under the “Original” title. I would love for Black Swan to get some recognition for the wonderful film it is; however, I would not be surprised if The King’s Speech wins this award.
Best Adapted Screenplay
The Social Network (based on the book The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich)
Dark Horse: 127 Hours (based on the book Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston)
The Rest: True Grit (based on the novel by Charles Portis), Winter’s Bone (based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell), and Toy Story 3 (based on... well, I’m not really sure... some awards have it under “Original” and others have it as “Adapted.” so very confuddling.)
Reasons: This category isn’t really as close as it would seem... The Social Network is just that incredible. It doesn’t really matter what Toy Story 3 falls under (either “Original” or “Adapted” if it’s included in either...) because The Social Network is such a phenomenal adaption of the book The Accidental Billionaires. I would be highly surprised if it did not go home with the win.
In Short. . .
Best Picture: The King’s Speech
Best Director: David Fincher (The Social Network)
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Colin Firth (The King’s Speech)
Best Actress in a Leading Role: Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Christian Bale (The Fighter)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech)
Best Animated Film: Toy Story 3
Best Original Screenplay: Inception
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network
Yes, I realize a lot of these are similar to the Golden Globes, and yes, I realize I pretty much said that those awards were pretty useless in this article...
However, as I said, it's early, and well, the Golden Globes are really the only major award to give an indicator what films are gaining momentum.
And don't worry, we'll keep you updated for when the nominees are named!