"Dreams feel real while we're in them. It's only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange." -Inception

Sunday, February 27, 2011

My Oscar Picks 2011

(Pic: Greg Harbaugh/©AMPAS)

The day before Oscars!!! I'm always in a nervous state of excitement because you never know what's going to happen.  This is kind of like tradition with me.  I follow the Oscars every year and sometimes get quite emotionally invested in it.  The awards itself are a long tradition of Hollywood history and a showcase of the finest the film industry has to offer year after year.  Sometimes, the best may not win but it's the fight that counts.  Anyways, here are my picks for 2011.  Usually I just pick who will win...but I'm making two categories, will win and should win.  I have a feeling my picks are going to be blindsided this year.  I do well with my predictions but I don't want to pick the safe choice.  I'm going to be stubborn and go with what I think should win.  My personal picks are highlighted in yellow.  Here goes...

Best Motion Picture

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

Will Win: All signs (DGA, PGA & SAG awards) point towards to The King's Speech, apparently the feel good film of the year.  I don't see it.
Should Win: The Social Network.  Or Inception.  Or even Toy Story 3.  How awesome would it be if an animated feature won the whole thing? It would go a long way to gaining a lot of respect for the animation industry.  I'm clearly hoping for an upset here.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

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

Will Win: Colin Firth
Should Win:  Colin Firth.  He really should have won last year for A Single Man.  Although I must say James Franco and Jesse Eisenberg's performances in 127 Hours and The Social Network respectively are outstanding but the Academy never ever honor younger actors in a leading role.  Age bias?

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

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

Will Win: Natalie Portman
Should Win: Natalie Portman.  Though many Oscar pundits are predicting Annette Bening could pull an upset here.  Natalie has been strong all through awards season but that age bias thing I talked about earlier could be the only thing that harms here.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

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

Will Win: Christian Bale
Should Win: Christian Bale.  I finally got around to watching The Fighter and as always I'm mesmerized how Bale manages to slip into the skin of his characters.  If they don't hold the fact that he's also Batman, Bale is a lock for this.  Possible upset? Previous lead actor winner Geoffrey Rush who won the BAFTA over Bale.  
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

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

Will Win: Helena Bonham Carter
Should Win: Hailee Steinfeld.  Logic says that Melissa Leo and Amy Adams split the vote for their film.  Jacki Weaver's nomination is the win.  So that leaves Bonham Carter and Steinfeld.  This is always the upset category.  Anyone could take it.

Best Achievement in Directing

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

Will Win: Tom Hooper
Should Win: David Fincher.  Since Christopher Nolan wasn't even nominated, (yes, I'm still bitter over that!), Fincher's film is the best directed film out there.  Possible upset? I'd even be glad to see Darren Aronofsky take it.  Anybody but Hooper but he has the DGA backing him.  

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

Mike Leigh - Another Year
Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, Keith Dorrington - The Fighter
Christopher Nolan - Inception
Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg - The Kids Are All Right
David Seidler - The King's Speech
Will Win: David Seidler
Should Win: Christopher Nolan.  I love Nolan's scripts, they are so very Hitchcock (one of my favorite directors) and they take you away to another world.  It would be a shame if it didn't win here.  

Best Writing, Screenplay based on Material Previously Produced or Published

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

Will Win: Aaron Sorkin
Should Win: Aaron Sorkin.  If The Social Network doesn't at least win this one Oscar, I'm going to have stop making predictions.  This should be a lock.

Best Animated Feature Film

How To Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Toy Story 3

Will Win: Toy Story 3
Should Win: How to Train Your Dragon.  Don't get me wrong, I loved Toy Story 3.  I love Pixar but I felt we had seen this before.  Twice, in fact!  If TS3 wins, it will be for the trilogy but secretly my heart wants the little underdog to get it.  I loved How to Train Your Dragon.  I've seen it four times already this past year.

Best Foreign Language Film 

Biutiful (Mexico)
Dogtooth (Greece)
Civilization (Denmark)
Incendies (Canada)
Outside the Law (Algeria)

Will Win: Biutiful
Should Win: No clue! I have sadly not seen any one of these nominees.  But I have a feeling an upset could be possible here.  Out of these, I'm most interest in seeing Incendies.
Best Achievement in Cinematography

Matthew Libatique - Black Swan
Wally Pfister - Inception
Danny Cohen - The King's Speech
Jeff Conenweth - The Social Network
Roger Deakins - True Grit

Will win: Roger Deakins.  It's a shame that this veteran cinematographer has never won an Oscar previously.
Should win: Wally Pfister.  The man responsible for creating the dreamlike worlds of Inception deserves some recognition too. He did win the ASC award.  This could be a possible upset.  I hope.

Best Achievement in Editing

Jon Harris - 127 Hours
Andrew Weisblum - Black Swan
Pamela Martin - The Fighter
Tariq Anwar - The King's Speech
Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall - The Social Network

Will Win: Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall.
Should Win: Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall.  The King's Speech is another possible upset here too, Tariq Anwar has been around for a long time.  But I must say, I was very impressed with 127 Hours too, that's a lot of footage and many different angles to convey to the viewer and it neatly handled.  

Best Achievement in Art Direction

Robert Stromberg, Karen O'Hara - Alice in Wonderland
Stuart Craig, Stephenie McMillian - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Guy Hendrix Dyas, Larry Dias, Douglas A. Mowat - Inception
Eve Stewart, Judy Farr - The King's Speech
Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh - True Grit

Will Win: Robert Stromberg, Karen O'Hara
Should Win: Guy Hendrix Dyas, Larry Dias, Douglas A. Mowat.  It's not easy creating a world within a dreamworld within a dreamworld but the team behind Inception pulled it off.  That being said, I think Alice in Wonderland will probably win this one.
Best Achievement in Costume Design

Colleen Atwood - Alice in Wonderland
Antonella Cannarozzi - I am Love
Jenny Beavan - The King's Speech
Sandy Powell - The Tempest
Mary Zophres - True Grit

Will Win: Colleen Atwood
Should Win: Colleen Atwood.  Tim Burton's films wouldn't be what they are without the costumes, this one should be easy.  
Best Achievement in Makeup

Adrien Morot - Barney's Version
Edouard F. Henriques, Greg Funk, Yolanda Toussieng - The Way Back
Rick Baker, Dave Elsey - The Wolfman

WIll Win: Rick Backer, Dave Elsey
Should Win: Rick Baker, Dave Elsey.  Rick Baker is the make-up guru of Hollywood; it's best not to bet against him.
Best Achievement in Music Written for Music Pictures, Original Score

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

Will Win: Alexandre Desplat
Should Win: John Powell or Hans Zimmer.  I debated a lot about this category.  I feel honestly that Powell's score for HTTYD and Zimmer's score for Inception are the emotional core of their respective films.  Without them, they are bare.  I'd want either one of them to win.  In fact, Powell recently won the Film Score of the Year at the International Film Music Critics Association.  Could that bode well for Oscar?

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song

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

Will Win: We Belong Together
Should Win: I See the Light.  Yes, this song is sappy and yes, I like it.  
Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo, Ed Novick - Inception
Paul Hamblin, Martin Jensen, John Midgley - The King's Speech
Jeffrey J. Haboush, William Sarokin, Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell - Salt
Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick, Mark Weingarten - The Social Network
Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff, Peter F. Kurland - True Grit

Will Win:Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick, Mark Weingarten
Should Win: Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick, Mark Weingarten.  It's not easy mixing audio from 99 takes of one scene.  They deserve it.  
Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

Richard King - Inception
Tom Myers, Michael Silvers - Toy Story 3
Gwendolyn Yates Whitte, Addison Teague - TRON: Legacy 
Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey - True Grit
Mark P. Stoeckinger - Unstoppable

Will Win: Richard King
Should Win: Richard King.  Dreamworld within a dreamworld within a dreamworld.  You do the math.
Best Achievement in Visual Effects

Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas, Sean Phillips - Alice in Wonderland
Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz, Nicolas Aithadi  - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojansky, Joe Farrell - Hereafter
Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley, Pete Bebb, Paul J. Franklin - Inception
Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright, Daniel Sudick - Iron Man 2

Will Win: Inception
Should Win: Inception.  If Inception doesn't win, I will throw a tantrum.  Yes, I said it out loud.  
Best Documentary Feature

Banksy, Jaimie D'Cruz - Exit Through the Gift Shop
Josh Fox, Trish Adlesic - GasLand
Charles Ferguson, Audrey Mars - Inside Job
Tim Hetherington, Sebastian Junger - Restrepo
Lucy Walker, Angus Aynsley - Waste Land

Will Win: Inside Job.  Very eye-opening documentary that made me sad and mad at the same time.
Should Win: Exit Through the Gift Shop.  If only to figure out, who is Banksy?  In fact, anyone of these nominees richly deserve it for their honest look at the world.

Best Documentary, Short Subject

Nominees TBD - Killing in the Name
Nominees TBD - Poster Girl
Karen Goodman, Kirk Simon - Strangers No More
Jennifer Redfearn, Tim Metzger - Sun Come Up
Ruby Yang, Thomas Lennon - The Warriors of Qiuqang

I'm not sure, it's just a guess at this point.  My guess highlighted above.
Best Short Film, Animated

Teddy Newton - Day & Night
Jakob Schuh, Max Lang - The Gruffalo
Geefwee Boedoe - Let's Pollute
Shaun Tan, Andrew Ruheman - The Lost Thing
Bastien Dubois - Madagascar, a Journey Diary

Will Win: Day & Night.  I loved the traditional 2D meets 3D of this animated short and the message behind it. 
Should Win: Day & Night.
Best Short Film, Live Action

Tanel Toom - The Confession
Michael Creagh - The Crush
Luke Matheny - God of Love
Ivan Goldschmidt - Na Wewe
Ian Barnes, Samantha Waite - Wish 143

Another guess, I'm going to go with Wish 143.

So those were my Oscar picks for 2011, I'll be back tomorrow with the winners and my wrap-up commentary.  I hope this year doesn't disappoint.  Let's have a good time and may the best film win.  I'm going to be up bright and early to watch and live-tweet because it's so much fun.  Enjoy the Oscars everyone!

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