There's been the usual finger-pointing about overlooked pictures this year, whether
the charges are political (whiteouts), moral, or economic (Big Studio versus Indie). However, other than the omission
of Meryl Streep from the nominee list, the picks indicate that it's business as usual in Tinseltown. A breakdown
of selections reveal the following preferences: "Biopics" (The King's Speech, The Social
Network, 127 Hours, The Fighter), "Mean Moms" (Black Swan, The Fighter, Animal Kingdom,
Biutiful) "Crime Pays" (The Town, Winter's Bone, Biutiful), "Family Values" (The
Kids Are All Right, Winter's Bone, The Fighter, Blue Valentine, Animal Kingdom, Biutiful, Rabbit Hole), and "Fantasy"
(Inception, Black Swan, Toy Story 3).
So who will win? Academy voters usually favor
movies about underdogs (socially or medically), so that bodes well for The King's Speech and The Kids Are
All Right. Movies about struggles or competitions also fare well, which gives a boost to The King's Speech,
The Fighter, The Social Network, Black Swan, and 127 Hours. And forget about Indie pictures - they've
been given their (Winter's) Bone this year. Big productions - "really big shows" - carry the
day with most voters, because they usually bring in the bucks, with Inception, The King's Speech, The Social Network,
and True Grit leading the way on spending. The King's Speech meets all of these criteria.
Traditionally, judges have been impressed with the difficulty of a role and actors who have been cast against
type, as they should be. These characteristics indicate an actor's strength and range. There's also a
youth movement at play - the selection of this year's hosts is just one of many indications of the market they are courting.
Natalie Portman (Best Actress) and Amy Adams (Best Supporting Actress) are the hands down winners in those categories in my
estimation, with their age an advantage. There's also a carryover effect for unpicked nominees in one year being
acknowledged the following year or later. Since Colin Firth (A Single Man) and Jeremy Renner (The Hurt
Locker) were passed over the year before, look for them to win Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, respectively, this
time around. By the same token, Melissa Leo (Frozen River) should not be counted out. Voters don't
typically select consecutive winners (Tom Hanks being the last that I can recall), so that would rule out Jeff Bridges, though
I would argue that his performance this year was better than in Crazy Heart.
It looks as if the wily Brits will slip in again with their eleventh-hour entry as they have done in the past. They
came out of nowhere to grab 4 Oscars in Chariots of Fire (1981), 7 with Shakespeare
in Love (1998), and 2 for The Queen (2006), and appear ready to do the same with The King's Speech.
They were at the top or right next to it on the key categories covered here. A rising tide probably lifts this boat
to new heights.
While The King's Speech
was my top movie pick for the year, as well as many of the categories below, The Social Network left me cold. I also tend to look for performances which tell me more about the character than they do the actor, which
is why I felt that Ms. Adams and Mr. Renner were slightly better, in my view, than their closest competition. But this
is all highly subjective as we are likely to find out Sunday February 27!
rank-ordered take on the outcome, based on the movies I've seen:
1. The King's
Speech - Against All Odds
- Dense though amazing conception realized on screen
Black Swan - High and low culture collide to produce a nice looking horror picture
True Grit - Cat Ballou Meets The Unforgiven
The Fighter - Who's Your Trainer?
Social Network - Unfriend Me!
7. The Kids Are
All Right - Sideways with a Twist
Bone- Meth Lab in The Hills
9. 127 Hours -
After 5 plus days alone, we're all coyote ugly
a Leading Role
1. Colin Firth (The
King's Speech) - All his many talents and experience come together
Javier Bardem (Biutiful) - Heavy lifting by this Atlas Shrugged contender
Jeff Bridges (True Grit) - Does The Duke One Better
James Franco (127 Hours) - Man Against Nature and Himself
Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) - Revenge of the Nerd
Actress in a Leading Role
Portman (Black Swan) - Dancing with a doppleganger
Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine) - Hitched to the Wrong Dream
Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone) - Girl with the Thousand Yard Stare
Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right) - The Last to Know
Did not see Nicole Kidman in Rabbit Hole
1. Tom Hooper (The
King's Speech) - Great camera angles, pacing, and ensemble effort
Joel and Ethan Coen (True Grit) - Payback movie that was better than the original
David O. Russell (The Fighter) - Labor of love, goes the distance
Darren Aronofsky - Black Swan - When Sturm Meets Drang
David Fincher - The Social Network - Only Connect
Best Supporting Actress
Adams (The Fighter) - Is that (really) you Amy?
Helena Bonham Carter (The King's Speech) - Juliet All Grown Up
Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom) - Tiger Mom Down Under
Melissa Leo (The Fighter) - Smokin!
Steinfeld (True Grit) - Great Expectations
Best Supporting Actor
Renner (The Town) - Inhabits the role to an eerie degree
Geoffrey Rush (The King's Speech) - All the Right Moves
Christian Bale (The Fighter) - A live wire who shows fraying around the edges
Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right) - Finds out it's better to give than receive
John Hawkes (Winter's Bone) - A Friend Indeed
For best original
screenplay, I'd pick The King's Speech over The Social Network or Inception,
the closest competition, in my view. For best adapted screenplay, I'd go with the Coen Brothers
in True Grit.
John F. Glass © February 24, 2011 - All