Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Latest Issue Academy Awards Preview

If you're a Hollywood performer, you've been preparing all last year for this moment. Yesterday morning the nominations were announced for the 2011 Academy Awards, arguably the biggest celebration of film in the world. Of course, there are always controversies, snubs, and surprises that crop up every year, so why should the films of 2010 be any different? Reminisce with me as I go through this year's picks and let you know what I really think.

Best Writing (Original Screenplay): Another Year (pictured), The Fighter, Inception, The Kids are All Right, The King's Speech

What will win: The King's Speech was the Critic's choice winner, and had amazing dialogue. While the story was a bit cliched, it should be enough to take top honors here.

What SHOULD win: Inception's epic mind fuck should have left more of an impact, but a highly criticized final act hurts their chances. Of the titles listed, I have to think The Kids are All Right is the best choice on originality alone.

What was snubbed: How Black Swan was overlooked shocks and confounds me, as it would have been my favorite had it made the cut.

Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay): 127 Hours (pictured), The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit, Winter's Bone

What will win: The Social Network, no surprise here.

What SHOULD win: Honestly, The Social Network is probably the strongest in the field. Grit and Bone would have been closest, but had their faults.

"What the Frak" moment: I'm honestly not sure how Toy Story 3 manages to be an ADAPTED screenplay. Can anyone explain this to me? I've got no issue with the film's nomination ITSELF, but the rules for "adapted" are difficult to pin down.

Best Foreign Film: Biutiful - Mexico (pictured), Dogtooth - Greece, In a Better World - Denmark, Incendies - Canada, Outside the Law, Algeria

What will win: While In a Better World was the Golden Globe winner in this category, Javier Bardem's star power will probably put Biutiful over the top.

What SHOULD win, and honestly should have AT LEAST been nominated: Sweden's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo won the Critic's Choice award for this category and as one of my favorite films from 2010 this particular snub is pretty insulting, though in line with Hollywood rushing out their own version later this year. I guess they didn't want any blatant reminders.

Best Animated Feature Film: How to Train Your Dragon (pictured), The Illusionist, Toy Story 3

What will win: Toy Story 3

What SHOULD... oh, who am I kidding here? While Dragon was a good time and The Illusionist has an Oscar pedigree, anyone betting against the billion dollar-grossing film can safely be written off.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Amy Adams - The Fighter (pictured), Helena Bonham Carter - The King's Speech, Melissa Leo - The Fighter, Hailee Steinfeld - True Grit, Jacki Weaver - Animal Kingdom

Who will win: Leo is the favorite, having won the Golden Globe and Critic's Choice awards in the same category. Leo should have no problem taking the prize, as this year honestly does not harbor the strongest batch of hopefuls.

Who SHOULD win: ...with the exception of Adams, who in my opinion was the soul of The Fighter and simply amazing. It's the final round, but Adams might have enough for a last second KO.

Who was snubbed: It wasn't REALLY a snub, as Mila Kunis's performance as a rival ballerina in Black Swan was perhaps a bit overstated. I wouldn't have minded if she made the cut, but I'm not sorry she's not there either.

Wild Card: With Adams and Leo splitting votes, it's certainly possible they might cancel one another out, allowing Steinfeld or Bonham Carter to walk away with a surprise, their first Academy Award

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Christian Bale - The Fighter, John Hawkes - Winter's Bone (pictured), Jeremy Renner - The Town, Mark Ruffalo - The Kids are All Right, Geoffrey Rush - The King's Speech

Who will win, and SHOULD: Bale has never before been recognized by the Academy for his work, but with his outstanding portrayal of former boxer and drug addict "Dicky" Ward and despite strong competition opposite him, here is your 2011 Best Supporting Actor.

Who shouldn't be here: Ruffalo was fine in Kids, but just like his parent film, Ruffalo is overrated in what was a good performance in a good movie, nothing more. The Social Network's Andrew Garfield had a much better performance in a somewhat better movie, but his youth relegated him to the next tier to allow the veteran Ruffalo to advance.

Who should soak up the moment: John Hawkes has been a character actor for years, never getting much recognition for his work. But with his character in Bone, the meth-addicted Teardrop, Hawkes earned his place among men who would have been favorites in other years. Despite great work by Rush and Renner in their respective roles, Hawkes had my second-favorite supporting performance of the year, behind only Bale.

Best Directing: Darren Aronofsky - Black Swan, David O. Russell - The Fighter, Tom Hooper - The King's Speech, David Fincher - The Social Network (pictured), Joel & Ethan Coen - True Grit

Who will win: Despite what I think was a directing approach as arrogant as the people he was making the film about, Fincher's direction of the "Facebook film" will probably take this award.

Who SHOULD win: Aronofsky wasn't even NOMINATED for his last movie, The Wrestler. A nomination here is a step in the right direction, but a win would be well deserved for what was indeed the pinnacle of 2010's art house films.

Who was snubbed: The Town got snubbed in a lot of categories, but perhaps most notable was director Ben Affleck's absence in the Best Director roster. He certainly deserved a nom over Fincher, maybe even Russell. Also 127 Hours's Danny Boyle is too big a name at this juncture to simply ignore, as was apparently the case here.

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Annette Bening - The Kids are All Right (pictured), Nicole Kidman - Rabbit Hole, Jennifer Lawrence - Winter's Bone, Natalie Portman - Black Swan, Michelle Williams - Blue Valentine

Who will win: Though there's a lot of talent on this roster, Portman's mentally-affected ballerina is the most likely, and the most deserving, to win this year's prize.

Tight Race: Kidman would be a lock in a lesser year, and Williams and Lawrence are much deserving for their indie film roles, but not one of them was Portman's equal in 2010.

Who was snubbed: Though some will argue that Julianne Moore should have been nominated over her Kids co-star, I think both should have been sidelined to make room for Noomi Rapace, whose Lisbeth Salander in Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was by far the most memorable female role... scratch that, MOST MEMORABLE ROLE all year. As a side note, no complaints would have been made if Love and Other Drugs's Anne Hathaway had made the cut.

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Javier Bardem - Biutiful, Jeff Bridges - True Grit (pictured), Jesse Eisenberg - The Social Network, Colin Firth - The King's Speech, James Franco - 127 Hours

Who will win: It's being pitched as a repeat of last year, with Grit's Bridges and Speech's Firth the runaway favorites, but I believe it's less complicated than even that. While his role in The King's Speech might not have been as commanding as that of his role in 2009's A Single Man, Firth should walk away from the stage with a Best Actor award in his hands. And he'll have deserved it.

Who was snubbed: While I haven't seen 127 Hours and so can't really discredit Franco's nomination, I would have much rather seen Ryan Gosling get a nod as Blue Valentine's blue collar romantic. The Fighter's Mark Wahlberg was also overlooked, though as a character he was far overshadowed by the talent surrounding him. And while Robert Duvall got a lot of Oscar press for his role in Get Low, it wasn't enough to beat Eisenberg to the final five. Finally, Aaron Eckart's mourning father in Rabbit Hole might have been a long shot to make it, but should be recognized all the same.

Who I could have done without: Franco. Okay, I know I haven't seen the film yet, but I'm just not a Franco fan. Maybe it's better than I imagine, but we'll see. Either way, with the talent that was overlooked I would have been happy to see him and the talented-but-young Eisenberg not make the cut.

Best Picture: Black Swan (pictured), The Fighter, Inception, The Kids are All Right, The King's Speech, 127 Hours, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit, Winter's Bone

What will win: The Social Network is the favorite to take it all, but the talent at the top is enough that there might be upset potential. That's good since Fincher's film, while quite good and socially relevant, wasn't even the tenth best movie I saw in 2010.

Wha5 SHOULD win: The Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, and The King's Speech were the only films in my Top 10 List for 2010 that were nominated for Best Picture. Of those, Aronofsky's Black Swan was by far the best of the bunch and it would be amazing if it somehow managed to snatch a victory here.

Who was snubbed: Sadly a number of films didn't make the cut that perhaps should have, including Blue Valentine, Rabbit Hole and The Town, all of which were notable contenders. Blue Valentine especially was a depressing miss, as it was my second favorite film last year.

That's it! The 2011 Academy Awards dissected, predicted, perforated and criticized. Do you disagree with my pics or did I miss anything? Comments are always welcome and I'm looking forward to that night when the Oscars are handed out and we see just how right our predictions will be. Until then, we can only watch more.


brian said...

Would you have been happy if Fincher had cast Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito to play the Winklevoss twins?

I think you're overstating Fincher's arrogance just a tad.

jimmygerms said...

Give or take a few things, I'm pretty much on board. An oversight I'd like to point out in other categories. Scratch that: an INSULT. Whether or not people liked it, how could the academy overlook the editing, special effects, sound design, and art direction of Scott Pilgrim?

THE Real Estate Analyst!!! said...

(1) Colin Firth was wonderful but Jeff Bridges was spectacular. If either wins I won't be disappointed.
(2) Yes, he's one of my all time favorites but I think you skim over one winner. In a great movie with talent like Firth and Hellena Carter, I thought (D. Day-Lewislike) Jeffrey Rush stole the show!
(3) If "Black Swan" doesn't win best film, there is no justice in this world.
(4) I though the dialogue in "True Grit" was art of the highest caliber. Should be "Best Writing (adapted)
(5) The Fighter this weekend.

Gianni said...

Geoffrey Rush WAS amazing, as I pointed out in my King's Speech review. Renner was also amazing in The Town, Hawkes was amazing in Winter's Bone, and while he wasn't as good as the others, Ruffalo was good in Kids are All Right. In fact, the Best Supporting Actor category is often a packed crowd of talent. But I'm sorry, Bale was on a completely different level than the rest last year. For me it was no contest.

I agree about Scott Pilgrim. It wasn't my favorite movie this year but I did love it, and the special effects were pretty amazing. If sub-par films like Salt and Hereafter can pick up nominations for those more technical categories, then Scott Pilgrim should have been right there with them.

Then again, we'd be kidding ourselves if we didn't think Inception was going to walk away with all those awards anyway.

THE Real Estate Analyst!!! said...

What kind of blog is this?? You mention "Mega Python vs. Gatoroid" but fail to tell us it stars 80's singers (adjective used loosely) Debby Gibson and Tiffany.

Next you'll be telling us about a Boy George and Culture Club reunion?
(Oops, that was just announced.)

Never mind.

Gianni said...

I didn't mention anything else about that film because... and let's be completely honest here... it's a Syfy Original Movie... called MEGA PYTHON VS. GATOROID. I honestly didn't think knowing who starred in the film was really worth knowing. Kind of like who won Flavor of Love (any season), I don't need to know. If the world wants to make that information scarily accessible to me, as it has in this case, then okay. I'm down with that.

Uh oh, did I just age myself?

THE Real Estate Analyst!!! said...

Yes, but I wouldn't have even known this movie existed had you not mentioned it .... so knowledge of ... the blame is all yours.

As far as who wants to know .. some of us have an insatiable appetite for knowledge .. or is it too much time on our hands.

And yes, "Down with it" does show your age ... at least I didn't say "Get down with your bad self" which might peg me in my 50's. (Oops)

Bode said...

The rules for Adapted Screenplay are pretty cut and dry. Movies that are based on pre-existing material are eligible. "Toy Story 3" is a sequel, so it features pre-existing characters, so it falls under the "pre-existing material" umbrella. It's maybe a little stupid as rules go, but there it is.

Gianni said...

Thank you, Bode! I was wondering if that was what the deal was with that, and appreciate you letting me know.

JT said...

I was about to clarify the Toy Story 3/Adapted Screenplay thing, but I see someone's already done that, so I'll clarify something else.

While I have not yet seen The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (it's on my list) the simple fact of the matter is that it was released in February '09 and is not eligible this year. Eligibility period runs from about October to September, so that's why Dogtooth (released November '09) is still eligible this year. Also, the selection process for Best Foreign Language Oscar is pretty messed up. Each country only gets to submit one film each year, and they don't always choose the right one. (Case in point: Sweden submitting Everlasting Moments instead of Let the Right One In in 2008.)
As I said, I haven't seen it, but from what I've heard, it definitely deserves Oscar love. It's just that that love should have come last year.

Gianni said...

Thanks for the input, JT. I was basing my opinion of Rapace getting snubbed not only on her performance but on the relatively high amount of Oscar buzz she had been receiving months before nominations were announced. I had assumed she was eligible for the nomination, but if you're correct and she wasn't, then I don't get why there was any buzz at all.

Opinioness of the World said...

@JT - Actually, 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' was eligible to be nominated for the 2010 Oscars. Eligibility for Best Foreign Film differs from eligibility in other categories. Best Actor, Actress, Film, etc. eligibility runs from Jan 1st to Dec 31st, not of when the film is released per se, but when it's released in Los Angeles. So even though 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' was released in '09 in Sweden, it wasn't released until '10 in the US, therefore making Noomi Rapace's flawless performance eligible.