Early Predictions for the Big Night

Posted: February 14, 2011 in Personal

Oscar night is fast approaching and it is looking like there are some nominees that are coming to the surface as the likely candidates to win their categories. The Golden Globes have come and gone, but some films have received recognition not received that night. I have my own thoughts at the moment, but I cannot wait to see how it all plays out.

Best Actor

  • Frontrunner: Colin Firth – His performance in The King’s Speech is far and above the best individual performance of the past year. He brings life to a king’s speech challenges and makes his portrayal seem natural and powerful at the same time.
  • In the Running: Jeff Bridges – After his strong performance in Crazy Heart, he delivered another one in True Grit. The one challenge is the strong similarities between he two characters which do little to show his range.
  • Dark Horse: James Franco – 127 Hours is basically a one-man movie with some appearances by other people in Aron’s life. His portrayal of pain and anguish drew the viewer into the story, making his escape that much more difficult to watch.

Best Actress

  • Frontrunner: Natalie Portman – Always a strong actress, Portman represents the challenges of mental health and the stress on dancing as a profession. Her transformation in the film from controlled by stiff to paranoid and wild while reflecting the story of Swan Lake was phenomenal.
  • In the Running: Annette Bening – Similar to Portman, Bening plays a woman who thrives off of controlling her surroundings. Unlike Portman, her character does not have any mental health issues, but she instead confronts the challenges of a same-sex relationship versus opposite sex infidelity.
  • Dark Horse: Jennifer Lawrence – The movie Winter’s Bone makes me want to avoid the mountains for the rest of my life, but she serves as a sign of strength and determination in a gloomy environment.

Best Supporting Actor

  • Frontrunner: Christian Bale – While the Batman movies have not afforded him the same range in acting, he stole the show in The Fighter. He almost plays the role of the troubled brother than the man in real life (if you can imagine what that would mean).
  • In the Running: Geoffrey Rush – A perfect compliment to Firth, Rush provides support, creativity and humor for a king struggling with his personal and royal issues.
  • Dark Horse: Jeremy Renner – While this recognition could go to Renner or John Hawkes for similar reasons, Renner provides a craziness and loose cannon personality which perfectly messes up every plan of Affleck’s in The Town.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Frontrunner: Melissa Leo – She plays the leader of the pack in her family in The Fighter. Similar to Bale’s strong performance as the messed up brother, she seems to have a knack for manipulating everything in her world and Leo serves to provide her character both strength and brashness.
  • In the Running: Hailee Steinfeld – This being the category with the most open race, Steinfeld plays stronger and older than her actual age. The main reason she probably will not win is due to her age versus her performance.
  • Dark Horse: Jacki Weaver – Similar to Leo, Weaver plays the role of a mother running her family, though her influence is much more covert and innocent than Leo’s brutish personality. Animal Kingdom also did not get as much play or recognition in the theaters.

Best Animated Feature

  • Frontrunner: Toy Story 3 – It is not really fair for the other movies because this is also up for Best Picture. The movie is nearly perfect with the combination of comedy, adventure and emotion, where you feel honest connections to the toys and people on screen.
  • In the Running: n/a
  • Dark Horse: n/a

Best Writing (Adapted)

  • Frontrunner: The Social Network – This movie is iconic for a generation. The screenplay may not be perfectly representative of the true events between the players in the development of Facebook, but it is an entertaining and intriguing way to explore the creation of a cultural phenomenon. It does not hurt to have Aaron Sorkin attached as the writer.
  • In the Running: 127 Hours – With the movie being a one-man film, it is difficult to maintain a gripping enough story to maintain viewer interest. A combination of the strong acting by Franco and the writing talent of Danny Boyle bring to life a dramatic true life story of survival.
  • Dark Horse: True Grit – While I think Toy Story 3 is truly an engaging and lovable film, the Coen brothers have written a number of strong stories including this one. They mix together the harshness of the west, simplicity of the lifestyle and witty humor to readapt a classic western.

Best Writing (Original)

  • Frontrunner: The King’s Speech – It helps to have strong actors, but David Seidler truly constructed a masterpiece in peeking into the life of a king and the challenges of a man struggling with the responsibilities bestowed on him. Clever humor and gripping dialogue turn this into one of the strongest films in the past decade.
  • In the Running: The Fighter – It may have taken a team to put together this film, but it actually connects two different stories into one experience. The return to boxing of Micky Ward may be the main storyline, but the family (in particular his brother) serve to represent everything that held Ward back from achieving his success sooner while also being the only support he knew.
  • Dark Horse: Inception – Christopher Nolan is a master of complicated crime movies. Inception expands the known world with the mesmerizing dream one, which brings to life so many interesting questions to consider at the movie’s conclusion.

Best Cinematography

  • Frontrunner: Inception – When you have a movie that takes you through several levels of dreams, there is definitely going to be some interesting visual elements. The interplay between each dream level makes for a very engaging experience.
  • In the Running: True Grit – This is a very close second as the movie highlights the harshness of the west along through the landscapes and challenging emotions of its main characters.
  • Dark Horse: Black Swan – In order to create the tension and instability of its lead character, each scene involves elements that focus on her emotional challenges and transformation from control to insanity.

Best Director & Picture (same predictions)

  • Frontrunner: The King’s Speech – Considering the combination of the acting and the story, this film is just the total package. It is dramatic, occasionally humorous and overall entertaining.
  • In the Running: The Social Network – The original success with the Golden Globes has not continued with the other shows leading up to the big night. Still, this movie defines a generation and give life to the start of a cultural phenomenon.
  • Dark Horse: Black Swan – Being more of an artistic film, this movie is clever and gripping. You get lost in the deterioration of Portman’s character and the parallel of Nina’s development with the story of Swan Lake.

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