BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Nominees: Christian Bale (The Fighter); Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech); John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone); Jeremy Renner (The Town); Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right) – THE WINNER: Christian Bale – had to start with a gimme. This one’s a lock. Too bad for Geoffrey Rush, whose performance in The King’s Speech is every bit as impressive and vital to the picture as lead actor Colin Firth’s – but this one belongs to Bale. His portrayal of boxer Dicky Ecklund’s fall from grace is pretty spectacular. Bale goes deeper into the skin of his roles than most of his peers and this time he will be rewarded for it.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech); Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit); Amy Adams (The Fighter); Melissa Leo (The Fighter); Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom) – THE WINNER: Hailee Steinfeld – I’m not going to lean on the conventional logic that says Leo and Adams will cancel each other out from The Fighter. I’m banking that when closely examined, voters will realize what a phenomenal job the 14 yr old Steinfeld did carrying this picture. She probably should have been placed in the Lead Actress category, but she wasn’t. So she will be rewarded for the one she was placed. True dat.
BEST ACTRESS: Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right); Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine); Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone); Natalie Portman (Black Swan); Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole) – THE WINNER: Natalie Portman – Pretty close to a slam dunk, and a very safe bet. Bening gives a courageous and heartfelt performance and Lawrence is one to watch in the future, amazing job carrying Winter’s Bone. But Portman lays it all out there in Black Swan – and she’s due. I guess. Kind of. Whatever that means. She’s also expecting. So…very safe bet.
BEST ACTOR: Javier Bardem (Biutiful); Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network); James Franco (127 Hours); Colin Firth (The King’s Speech); Jeff Bridges (True Grit) – THE WINNER: Colin Firth – A lock 4sho. To mark another actor on your ballot would be considered a felony in some states. So don’t. Firth was exceptional and he will win the Oscar. I must add that in my humble opinion, taking into consideration that all of this is subjective (somewhat), Robert Duvall was overlooked for his performance in Get Low – and the easy replacement would have been Bridges. (A) He won last year for Crazy Heart…so he’s not due. Whatever that means. (B) He was actually the weakest link in True Grit. Steinfeld’s performance made the picture fly, and Matt Damon and Barry Pepper kicked serious butt in their supporting roles, also both overlooked.
BEST DIRECTOR: David O. Russell (The Fighter); Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan); Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech); David Fincher (The Social Network); Joel & Ethan Coen (True Grit) – THE WINNER: David Fincher – Regardless of which film wins Best Picture, I believe when all the analysis is complete, it will be irrefutable that Fincher’s ability to make a film about facebook this good, this compelling, this dramatic, and this darn memorable, will be rewarded with an Oscar for Best Direction. Couldn’t happen to a…nicer guy? Heck, I like him.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: 127 Hours, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit, Winter’s Bone – THE WINNER – The Social Network by Aaron Sorkin. Pretty much a slam dunk. Hollywood loves Sorkin. For good reason. Smart movie with an extremely smart script. So many great moments of dialogue! I’d be very curious to see what another Fincher–Sorkin collaboration would look like. Couple of extremely bright and talented fellows.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Another Year, The Fighter, The Kids Are All Right, Inception, The King’s Speech – THE WINNER – Gotta go with The King’s Speech by David Seidler. But that Christopher Nolan is pretty extraordinary in the writing department, and his Inception gets better each time you see/hear it. The Fighter will be overlooked for writing because the performances were so dramatic and real it almost takes on a documentary feel at times. The King’s Speech will win. And it should.
ORIGINAL SCORE: The King’s Speech, Inception, How To Train Your Dragon, 127 Hours, The Social Network – THE WINNER: The Social Network and Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross. Definitely my personal favorite of the year. Reznor’s “Hand Covers Bruise” theme is so simple, yet so deep and penetrating. Ok, so that may be over stating things, but…when it comes to music, if it sticks and you can’t stop humming it, well that is something.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG: 127 Hours – “If I Rise“; Tangled – “I See the Light“; Country Strong – “Coming Home“; Toy Story 3 – “We Belong Together” – THE WINNER: Toy Story 3 – “We Belong Together” by Randy Newman – This one was tough – and when the tough get going, go with Randy Newman, after all he wrote “I Love L.A.,” right? But seriously, Newman’s writing ability and unique vocal sound has been instrumental in the success of the Toy Story franchise, and this was a very sweet film with yet another significantly sweet contribution by Randy Newman…who also wrote “Short People.”
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Matthew Libatique, Black Swan; Danny Cohen, The King’s Speech; Wall Pfister, Inception; Roger Deakins, True Grit; Jeff Cronenweth, The Social Network – THE WINNER: Danny Cohen, The King’s Speech. Mainly because it’s a period piece that looks and feels right and has so much else going for it. I found some of the framing a little odd, lots of negative space (film term) on single shots. My personal favorite this year – Roger Deakins. Where would the Coens be without Deakins? He consistently delivers such rich and layered visuals, he is almost in a league of his own. Saying a lot considering the talent in Hollywood (i.e. Pfister aint bad!).
BEST COSTUME DESIGN: Sandy Powell, The Tempest; Jenny Beavan, The King’s Speech; Colleen Atwood, Alice In Wonderland; Mary Zophres, True Grit; Antonella Cannarozzi, I Am Love – THE WINNER: Jenny Beavan, The King’s Speech. Slam dunk. Sharpened her teeth on all of those Merchant Ivory films – won an Oscar for A Room with a View (1985). This is a lock. Moving on.
BEST ART DIRECTION: Inception, Alice In Wonderland, True Grit, The King’s Speech, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I – THE WINNER: The King’s Speech. It will be at this point in the evening when we all begin to realize which film is going to win Best Picture.
BEST FILM EDITING: Black Swan, The Social Network, 127 Hours, The King’s Speech, The Fighter – THE WINNER: The Social Network, Angus Wall & Kirk Baxter. This film is so well made, so expertly crafted, to ignore the contribution from this editing team would be criminal. This will be one that gets away from The King’s Speech. But I fear the momentum will be short-lived.
BEST SOUND EDITING: Inception, Toy Story 3, Tron: Legacy, True Grit, Unstoppable – THE WINNER: Inception. Probably the only win of the night for this cool flick. And you know what, probably the one it deserves most. Should win.
BEST SOUND MIXING: The Social Network, Salt, The King’s Speech, Inception, True Grit – THE WINNER: The King’s Speech. Would you believe I actually saw Salt? Guess I’m just a sucker for Pitt’s wife. Pathetic really. Difference between the sound job on Inception and The King’s Speech is big. The sound mix on The King’s Speech, considering the concept of the story and the radio broadcast element, makes this the right category for a win here.
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: Hereafter, Inception, Alice In Wonderland, Iron Man 2, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I – THE WINNER: Alice In Wonderland. Must admit I only included this category (didn’t even see AIW) because I wanted an opportunity to share with you how much I absolutely hated Iron Man 2. What a disaster. So much going for it but they forgot one thing: a script! At least a good one. Also helps with these comic book action flicks if you have one really good villain, not two really lame ones. And they should have paid Terrence Howard to return. Don Cheadle was a bad fit here – and I’m being gentle cuz I like Don Cheadle. Awful movie. And with all that good will built up from the first one. I’m still pissed.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: Dogtooth, Greece; In A Better World, Denmark; Biutiful, Mexico; Incendies, Canada; Outside the Law, Algeria – THE WINNER: Biutiful. Ok, so it’s the only one of the nominees I saw. Bet a lot of voters will admit the same in private. It’s also an exceptional film by a world-class filmmaker Alejandro Inarritu. And Javier Bardem has officially reached Daniel Day status – our two greatest living actors. Bravo.
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: Inside Job, Gasland, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Restrepo, Wastelalnd – THE WINNER: Exit Through the Gift Shop – but only because I love the title! Have not seen one of these, but Waiting For Superman is high on my list, with the kind of word-of-mouth buzz that does not come along often. The fact that it is not on this list probably reinforces why I have not seen the others. And Waiting For Superman was even directed by Davis Guggenheim who won the Oscar for An Inconvenient Truth! Very stunning omission.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM: Toy Story 3, How To Train Your Dragon, The Illusionist – THE WINNER: Toy Story 3. Such a great film, not quite as memorable as the first but better than the second. Very touching. Hard to believe Tangled was left out, but it was. For my money it would have been a neck-and-neck race between Toy Story 3 and Tangled. In this field however, Toy Story 3 is a lock.
BEST PICTURE: 127 Hours, The Kids Are All Right, The King’s Speech, The Fighter, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit, Winter’s Bone, Inception, Black Swan – THE WINNER: (drum roll please, this is gonna be a great moment…) The King’s Speech! As much as I want The Social Network to win I’m just getting that pre-Oscar feeling that it’s gonna be a King’s Speech kind of night. My argument is that The King’s Speech could and probably would win almost any year. But the year 2010 should be remembered for an amazing film about an amazing social phenomenon that cannot be ignored. A film about facebook that floored all of us with its surprisingly dramatic and compelling narrative, not to mention exquisite casting and performances. Look no further than the nightly news to see the chaos in the middle east and ask yourself if facebook is playing a role in the world. Will I be sad to see The King’s Speech win? Hells no. Absolutely loved it. Brought a tear to my eye and I gave it a sterling review. But I’m really hoping I’m wrong and we all get to hear Trent Reznor’s “Hand Covers Bruise” one last time Sunday night as Fincher, Sorkin, Eisenberg, Timberlake, Garland and the gang surround the podium to close out the event.
Good luck to all of the nominees and THANK YOU for a wonderful year at the movies.