The Academy Awards are less than a week away and all the other major awards shows have made their opinions known; it is time for final predictions to be made. Here is my mildly self-indulgent Oscar predictions list.
Let’s start with the big one. A month ago I would have said (and I believe I did say) that The Social Network had this one in the bag. I was wrong. The Facebook film has lost most of its Best Picture buzz in the last few weeks and The King’s Speech has taken over top spot, crushing the competition at the BAFTAs last week. With any luck this momentum shift hasn’t come too late and The King’s Speech will take home the prize. It all depends on how many stubborn Academy voters are still clinging to The Social Network’s bandwagon. If it were up to me Inception would reign victorious, with Black Swan and Toy Story 3 as the other top contenders. Unfortunately for me (and Christopher Nolan) the Academy didn’t ask for my opinion.
Official Prediction: The King’s Speech
Best Documentary Feature:
I’ll be honest – I haven’t seen all the documentary nominees and it’s not a category that develops a lot of discussion. This year there just isn’t a Bowling for Columbine or March of the Penguins to create huge buzz. However, based on what I’ve seen so far this awards season, only one of the nominees has been a regular presence: Exit Through the Gift Shop.
Official Prediction: Exit Through the Gift Shop
Best Foreign Language Film:
Like the documentary category, there hasn’t been a huge Foreign Language standout either. Biutiful probably has the best shot, as it has consistently been nominated this season. Also, it is the only nominee with a nomination in another category (Javier Bardem’s Best Actor nom), which will likely give it more credit in the eyes of Academy voters. Still, I won’t be surprised of the Canadian drama, Incendies, wins instead.
Official Prediction: Biutiful
Best Supporting Actor:
Up until the BAFTAs Christian Bale had won almost every single Supporting Actor trophy he could find for his role in The Fighter. And for good reason. Bale is well-known for his astonishing physical transformations (see The Machinist), and The Fighter is no exception. Any trace of Bruce Wayne is gone and Bale’s acting totally immerses you in the character of Dickie Ecklund. However, Geoffrey Rush, who pulled off a phenomenal performance in The King’s Speech has been a consistent nominee this season, and was finally rewarded at the BAFTAs. His win may be partly attributed to the BAFTA’s favoritism toward British films and the strong momentum The King’s Speech has been gaining. Whatever the reason, Rush’s win makes him a viable contender for the statuette. The other three nominees, while all putting forth incredible performances, don’t have the buzz or the critical reception surrounding them to garner a victory.
Official Prediction: Christian Bale (The Fighter)
Best Supporting Actress:
This category has been a delightfully unpredictable crapshoot this year. No single nominee has stood out above the pack. The momentum of The King’s Speech might propel Helena Bonham Carter toward a win, especially after her BAFTA victory, although I hope that won’t be the case. Jacki Weaver (The Animal Kingdom) had some decent buzz early in the awards season, but it has mostly faded away. Hailee Steinfeld, the True Grit darling, has a decent shot since the Academy loves the Coen brothers and has a history of favoring young actresses in this category. Where we are mostly likely to see a win, however, is from The Fighter duo – Melissa Leo and Amy Adams. Both of them have been ubiquitous this year (minus a couple notable snubs – I’m looking at you BAFTAs) and the fact that there are two nominations from the same movie adds clout to their chances. Melissa Leo has been the stronger nominee, winning a Golden Globe and a number of other awards, so I’m placing my bets on her.
Official Prediction: Melissa Leo (The Fighter)
Best Animated Feature:
Toy Story 3, hands down. I’ll be stunned and horrified if anything else wins. I liked How To Train Your Dragon and The Illusionist has a cool retro thing going on, but they just don’t compare to Pixar’s latest gem. Don’t believe me? The fact that it’s the only nominee in this category that also has a Best picture nomination should convince you.
Official Prediction: Toy Story 3
Best Adapted Screenplay:
While The Social Network has been losing some serious Best Picture momentum, Aaron Sorkin has not lost any for his script. He has won at the WGAs, the BAFTAs, the Golden Globes, the Scripters, and too many more to mention. Even in awards where there is only one screenplay prize (like the Globes, where they don’t split original and adapted screenplays), Sorkin has won.
Official Prediction: Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network)
Best Original Screenplay:
The only reason any of these nominees has a chance is because The Social Network is in the other category. That being said, the battle is likely between David Seidler (The King’s Speech) and Christopher Nolan (Inception). Nolan is in contention purely due to his WGA win – the WGA’s strict eligibility restrictions prevented Seidler from being nominated, which left the field wide open for Nolan to step in. The fact is, however, that Seidler has the upper hand at the Oscars thanks to his huge number of other wins.
Official Prediction: David Seidler (The King’s Speech)
This one shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Colin Firth has been cleaning up this category right from the beginning. His performance as King George VI in The King’s Speech is about as close to flawless as you’re going to find. In another year we might have seen a younger actor like James Franco (127 Hours) or Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) take home the top prize. Javier Bardem (Biutiful) and Jeff Bridges (True Grit) have both received honors recently, so the Academy shouldn’t feel obligated to snub Firth in order to honor them.
Official Prediction: Colin Firth (The King’s Speech)
Earlier on this season this was actually a tight race. Both Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right) and Natalie Portman (Black Swan) came strong out of the gate. Since then, however, Bening has all but disappeared off the radar and Portman has continued to soar. I like to think that this is because people have good taste. The other three nominees shouldn’t pose much of a threat. The only way I can see Natalie Portman losing is if a whole bunch of Academy voters decide Annette Bening is too long overdue for a win.
Official Prediction: Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
This one might be a bit of a heads or tails call. Personally, I’d scrap all five nominees and hand the award to Christopher Nolan (Inception). Unfortunately, the Academy won’t allow me to do that. Trust me, I asked. The Best Director race looks like it has come down to Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) and David Fincher (The Social Network), which is more or less a reflection of the Best Picture race. The Academy has a long history of giving Best Director and Best Picture to the same movie. In fact, in the last 30 years, the Best Picture has won Best Director 24 times. Similarly, the Directors Guild of America award has been nearly perfect in predicting the Best Director Oscar, only missing the mark six times since its inception over six decades ago. In light of the fact that The King’s Speech is the Best Picture frontrunner and Tom Hooper won the DGA award, it would seem that he is the one to beat. But Fincher has continued to snag directing awards even when The Social Network loses the Best Picture category (ie. at the BAFTAs). Fincher also has the “long overdue” card in his hand, having directed films like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Fight Club, and Se7en, whereas before The King’s Speech Hooper was almost exclusively a TV director. It’ll be close, but I expect Fincher will end up getting love from ol’ Oscar.
Official Prediction: David Fincher (The Social Network)
All of those other minor/technical awards:
I’m not going to sit here and pretend I’m an expert on sound editing or sound mixing (or even really understand the difference between the two) or any of the other minor/technical awards. I expect that Inception will walk away with a number of them (the rotating hallway scene alone should give it the Visual Effects award) and Alice in Wonderland is looking good for the Costume Design statuette. The Social Network’s musical score (by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross) looks to be the front runner in that category, and my makeup artist mother says that Barney’s Version should nab the makeup award.
The 83rd Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, February 27 and will be hosted by James Franco and Anne Hathaway. You can see all the nominees here and feel free to make your own predictions in the comments section below!