Sunday, February 27, 2011

And The Oscar Goes To...: The Essential Films Academy Awards Predictions



It's Hollywood's biggest night of the year.  The 83rd Academy Awards ceremony is a night full of stars, dresses, celebrities, gossip and of course, that little golden man that means so much to so many of the industry's professionals.

Here, at The Essential Films, we had our own awards ceremony with The Essential Film Awards.  And by ceremony I mean, of course, that I named all the winners and there was nobody actually in attendance to accept the "honor."

But since most people care more about The Oscars, this blog will devote an article to give you the official Essential Films predictions.

Best Motion Picture of the Year

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

And The Oscar SHOULD Go To:  Inception
But the Oscar WILL Go To:  The Social Network

Inception was by far the best film of the year.  However, this was an incredibly strong year.  Hollywood tends to not award the Best Picture Oscar to a "blockbuster" like Inception.  However, it's not unheard of.  After all, films like Titanic and The Lord of the Rings have won in the past.  But my gut says The Social Network, with a high probability of The King's Speech getting the win for a more traditional choice.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role


The Nominees Are:

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

And The Oscar Goes To:  Colin Firth, The King's Speech

This one is a no-brainer. Firth was amazing and was absolutely convincing as the speech impediment-ed King George.  Jesse Eisenberg was really good this year and finally broke out of his shell of continually playing the same character.  Jeff Bridges already has an Oscar for last year's Crazy Heart, which was good but not great, so I don't see the Oscar going to him.  If it weren't for Colin Firth my vote would however go to James Franco.  You're stuck in that canyon with him for two hours and you are still mesmerized by the end.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role


The Nominees Are:

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

And the Oscar Goes To:  Natalie Portman, Black Swan

This is Natalie Portman's year.  The other actresses don't really stand much of a chance of winning this win. Though if I may opine, the wrong actress was nominated for The Kids Are All Right.  Julianne Moore was the stronger of the two leads.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

The Nominees Are:

Christian Bale for The Fighter
John Hawkes for Winter's Bone
Jeremy Renner for The Town
Mark Ruffalo for The Kids Are All Right
Geoffrey Rush for The King's Speech

And the Oscar Goes To:  Christian Bale, The Fighter

Every performance on this list was great.  John Hawkes really proved himself as a versatile character actor in Winter's Bone.  Jeremy Renner is the only representative for The Town, which was criminally snubbed for a Best Picture, Director and Screenplay nomination.  Ruffalo was charming in Kids and Geoffrey Rush was awesome in Speech.  However, the Batman himself, Christian Bale, runs away with it.  He blows away the competition in an incredibly strong category this year.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

The Nominees Are:

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

And The Oscar Goes To:  Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit

Steinfeld, by all rights should have been placed in the Leading Actress category.  She was after all, the main character of the film.  Bu the Academy has a history of placing unknown actors and actresses in the Supporting category, especially if they have a better shot at winning.  If not for this miscategorization, my pick would have gone for Amy Adams, who was brilliant in The Fighter.

Best Achievement in Directing

The Nominees Are:

Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen for True Grit
David Fincher for The Social Network
Tom Hooper for The King's Speech
David O. Russell for The Fighter

And The Oscar SHOULD Go To:  Darren Aronofsky
But the Oscar WILL Go To:  David Fincher

Christopher Nolan was infamously snubbed for a directing nomination.  As it is, though, Fincher will win this category.  I love Fincher's work on Seven, Fight Club and Benjamin Button, and he's an incredible director who deserves an Oscar.  However, Aronofsky should get the award this year.  He took more risks and directed a more complex picture than Social Network.  Network is ultimately a better film, but Aronofosky did a lot more on screen than Fincher.

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen


The Nominees Are:

Another Year: Mike Leigh
The Fighter: Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, Keith Dorrington
Inception: Christopher Nolan
The Kids Are All Right: Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg
The King's Speech: David Seidler

And The Oscar Goes To:  Christopher Nolan, Inception

A strong writing year for original screenplays.  I think Nolan will rightfully get win if for no other reason than to reward him politically for not getting a nomination for Director.


Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

The Nominees Are:

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

And The Oscar Goes To:  Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network

I don't see how this DOESN'T win.  It's clearly the best written of all the nominees.  I could see, however, True Grit possibly winning and even Toy Story 3 as a dark horse.  But my gut tells me Social Network.

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year


The Nominees Are:

How to Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Toy Story 3

And The Oscar Goes To:  Toy Story 3

There's a reason this Award is sometimes called the Pixar Award.  They're masters of animation.  Don't get me wrong, because How To Train Your Dragon was EXCELLENT.  But the Academy loves Pixar, and I don't see them not rewarding the beloved franchise.

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

The Nominees Are:

Biutiful (Mexico)
Dogtooth (Greece)
In a Better World (Denmark)
Incendies (Canada)
Outside the Law (Algeria)

And The Oscar SHOULD Go To:  Dogtooth
But the Oscar WILL Go To:  Biutiful

Admittedly, to date, I've only seen Dogtooth, but it was an incredibly original and hauntingly disturbing film.  However, Biutiful is getting all the buzz...

Best Achievement in Cinematography


The Nominees Are:

Black Swan
Inception
The King's Speech
The Social Network
True Grit

And The Oscar Goes To:  Black Swan

Black Swan is just gorgeous to look at.  It is a beautifully photographed film.  Inception is a close second.

Best Achievement in Editing

The Nominees Are:

127 Hours
Black Swan
The Fighter
The King's Speech
The Social Network

And The Oscar Goes To:  Black Swan

Another category for which Inception should have been nominated.  127 Hours and The Social Network are both very strong contenders in this category, but Black Swan was ultimately more complex and as such, presumably much more difficult to edit into a coherent film.

Best Achievement in Art Direction

The Nominees Are:

Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Inception
The King's Speech
True Grit

And The Oscar Goes To:  Alice in Wonderland

TRON: Legacy should have had a nomination. Its visuals were incredible.  However, given the nominees, Potter and Inception  have really strong shots at winning, but I think it has to go to Alice.  The production values on that film were incredible (the story on the other hand...)

Best Achievement in Costume Design

The Nominees Are:

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

And The Oscar Goes To:  Alice in Wonderland

Much for the same reasons listed above in the Art Direction category, Alice has to win here.

Best Achievement in Make-Up Effects

The Nominees Are:

Barney's Version
The Way Back
The Wolfman

And The Oscar Goes To:  The Wolfman

Honestly, I've not seen any of these films, but based purely on on trailers, my pick goes to Wolfman.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score


The Nominees Are:

127 Hours: A.R. Rahman
How to Train Your Dragon: John Powell
Inception: Hans Zimmer
The King's Speech: Alexandre Desplat
The Social Network: Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross

And The Oscar SHOULD Go To:  Inception, Hans Zimmer
But the Oscar WILL Go To:  The Social Network, Trent Reznor

I really loved Trent Reznor's score for Network, and it's always a good thing when a non-traditional choice wins.  But my favorite score is Inception.  Not since Danny Elfman's Batman has a score been so iconic.  You hear and you immediately know what film its from.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song

The Nominees Are:

127 Hours: A.R. Rahman, , Dido("If I Rise")
Country Strong: Tom Douglas, Hillary Lindsey, Troy Verges("Coming Home")
Tangled: Alan Menken, Glenn Slater("I See the Light")
Toy Story 3: Randy Newman("We Belong Together")

And The Oscar Goes To:  Toy Story 3, Randy Newman

If for no other reason, the song fits perfectly to the film.

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

The Nominees Are:

Inception
The King's Speech
Salt
The Social Network
True Grit

And The Oscar Goes To:  Inception

The sound mix in Inception is incredible.  No other film even comes close.

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

The Nominees Are:

Inception
Toy Story 3
TRON: Legacy
True Grit
Unstoppable

And The Oscar SHOULD Go To:  TRON: Legacy
But The Oscar WILL Go To:  Inception

I have no issue with Inception picking up another award, but the sound effects editing were just a tad more impressive in TRON.

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

The Nominees Are:

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

And The Oscar Goes To:  Inception

But, it's a close race.  Inception just beats out Alice by a nose, with Harry Potter pulling into a close third.  I really don't see either Iron Man nor Hereafter having much of a shot at all.

Best Documentary, Features

The Nominees Are:

Exit Through the Gift Shop
GasLand
Inside Job
Restrepo
Waste Land

And The Oscar Goes To:  Exit Through The Gift Shop

Again, I have not had the good fortune to see any of the nominated films.  Making an educated guess as to what has all the buzz behind it though, Gift Shop seems a likely choice.

Tune in tomorrow to see how many we got right (and wrong!)