I have been waiting for this weekend for awhile now.
I’ve been watching a lot of films. Like I said when I first started this thing, I try and watch every Oscar nominated film out there.
That’s a lot of films.
As of this morning I have watched 42 out of the 56 (80%) nominated films. Through those 42 films I have watched 105 of the 120 (87%) total nominees. Before Sunday I’ll probably be able to squeeze 2-3 more films in.
So now it’s time to offer all of my thoughts on this year’s races. I also polled the We Love DC staff to give you a complete picture of who we think will win this year’s Academy Awards.
Patrick – Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit): Her presence in True Grit is just dominating. However there are two dark horse scenarios that could spoil it:
1. Overwhelming enthusiasm for The King’s Speech elevates Helena Bonham Carter to the top.
2. Melissa Leo overcomes her campaigning snafus and is recognized for a solid resume of character work.
Tom – Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit): I was astounded by Steinfeld’s performance. To rest a whole movie on a virtual unknown, and to have that unknown just own the performance like she did in True Grit? It was astounding.
Rebecca J – Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit): Academy loves giving the lil golden fella to young-uns.
Jenn – Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech): She nails the Queen Mum. In a good way.
Patrick – Christian Bale (The Fighter): He had an energy that stole every scene he was in. Geoffrey Rush comes close, but is just your typical sidekick. I won’t be surprised if King’s Speech fever strikes this category as well.
Tom- Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech): I’ve never much cared for Bale, and of the others, I think Rush did the best job. Not a strong category this year.
Rebecca J – Christian Bale (The Fighter): Sexy man. Sexy man.
William – Christian Bale (The Fighter): I was especially fond of Geoffrey Rush’s character in The King’s Speech, but if you’ve seen The Fighter, you’ll likely agree Christian Bale deserves the nod here.
Max – Christian Bale (The Fighter): If he doesn’t win, I’m quitting the Oscars.
Patrick – Natalie Portman (Black Swan): Annette Bening didn’t campaign enough (or at all), which she needed to do since Portman had a more featured role. It was Portman’s race to lose.
Rebecca J – Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone): While I liked NP, I’m going against the odds on this one.
Jenn – Natalie Portman (Black Swan): It’s amazing how she got her legs to snap in half on cue. No seriously, this performance captures the agony of artistic creation, and like Firth in King’s Speech she is mainly acting with her body – the taut neck, the frantic eyes. Frankly I never much cared for Portman but she won me over with this one.
William – Natalie Portman (Black Swan): Black Swan has received an inordinate amount of praise, mostly deserving, so I hesitate to say Portman should take this honor, but she did do a fantastic job, and the other nominees in the category were unexpectedly underwhelming.
Max – Natalie Portman (Black Swan): I won’t be surprised if Natalie is passed over for her role as a hot stick figure, but not to worry – there are many more nominations in her future.
Patrick – Colin Firth (The King’s Speech): It’s your time. It’s your time Mr. Darcy.
Tom – Jeff Bridges (True Grit): My friend Chris was deeply skeptical that anyone who wasn’t John Wayne could ever be Rooster Cogburn. I agreed. Bridges had an incredible year, and True Grit was the cherry on top of the sundae.
Rebecca J – Colin Firth (The King’s Speech): Bardem could be a sneak attack.
Jenn – Colin Firth (The King’s Speech): Firth projects the absolute terror of public speaking right down to the painful swallowing in his gullet. The physical tension is so palpable, it gave me palpitations. It’s so great to see Firth get acting chops recognition outside of all that Darcy nonsense, he is a really fine actor and proves it here.
Patrick – The King’s Speech: Is this the film I want to see win? No. Am I saying The King’s Speech was terrible? No. I would love to see The Social Network win here as a true film of the year. However I recognize The King’s Speech is a piece of art and a classic “Oscar” film. It has cleaned up at the Guild awards and I expect it to win on Sunday.
Tom – True Grit: I missed about half the nominated movies this season, which is unusual.
Brittany – The Social Network
Rebecca J – Winter’s Bone: While I haven’t seen everything on this list, the ones I have seen are only middling.
Jenn – Black Swan: The ridiculous daring of this film is just unmatched. Yes it veers into camp, yes it is over the top, but it comes the closest to capturing the madness that takes over when you are performing a role greater than your own tiny sphere of experience, not to mention the sheer physical agony of ballet. The final sequence, from backstage to onstage, is magnificent, and the tension build of some scenes is masterful.
William – Black Swan: In my mind, the two major contenders here are The Social Network and Black Swan, the former for its “film-of-our-time” status, and the latter for its dark, sultry-sweet flavor; I’m considerably torn between the two. However, I’m going with Black Swan for its lack of reliance on temporal importance, and quite frankly, how deep it gets under your very own skin.
Max – The Fighter
Ben – Toy Story 3
Rachel – Black Swan
Martin – Inception
And All The Rest…
Here’s where all my watching comes into play, here are my picks for the rest of the categories:
Animated Feature – Toy Story 3: Pixar rules. That’s the way it goes. How To Train Your Dragon was cute but a step behind. I have no idea why The Illusionist was even nominated.
Art Direction – The King’s Speech: Alice in Wonderland could be a surprise here.
Cinematography – Inception: I can also see True Grit here for the scenic views of The West, but I’ll give the gold to slow motion free falls.
Costume Design – The King’s Speech: My rule is always to side with the period piece, luckily it’s also the film everybody is voting for across the board.
Directing – Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech): Everybody is calling for a Fincher/King’s Speech split- I think it’s overhyped. Hooper won the DGA and thus proved to me how much the industry is loving The King’s Speech.
Documentary Feature – Inside Job: I really enjoyed Exit Through The Gift Shop, but I don’t think the Academy has the sense of humor to truly appreciate Banksy. I’ll go with the hot topic film.
Documentary Short – Strangers No More: The only film that wasn’t about terrorism, war, or pollution. I’m hoping the Academy picks the feel good film in a slate of downers.
Film Editing – The Social Network: The film’s recent win at the ACE Eddie awards over The King’s Speech did it for me here.
Foreign Language Film – In A Better World: Could Julia Robert’s campaigning give Biutiful a win here instead? Definitely possible. The Foreign Language category is always a hard one to predict.
Make-up – The Wolfman: This was possibly the worst film I had to watch, but the make-up work easily blows away the other two.
Original Score – The King’s Speech: There are a lot of good nominees in this category, but too often this one goes to the overall favorite.
Original Song – We Belong Together (Toy Story 3): Can you stop Randy Newman? Everybody loves him!
Animated Short Film – Day & Night: I was battling between this one and The Gruffalo. I’m siding with the shorter film and the Pixar name.
Live Action Short Film – The Confession: The most dramatic of the bunch.
Sound Editing – Inception: Every year I challenge the reader to tell me the difference between the two sound categories…
Sound Mixing – Inception: … that’s why it’s safer to pick one for both and hope to get one of them right.
Visual Effects – Inception: Iron Man 2? Harry Potter? No Thanks.
Adapted Screenplay – The Social Network: Gotta love the Aaron Sorkin.
Original Screenplay – The King’s Speech: Don’t expect a surprise here but The Kids Are Alright could be a dark horse.
Well those are the picks, who do you think is going to take home the gold this year?
(Disclosure: some of my co-workers have done work for a few of the nominees, I’m still going to beat them in the office Oscar Pool however.)