2011 Oscar Preview
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Review by: Larry Thomas
Tonight is the one time of year when cinephiles all around the globe are glued to the tube. The 83rd annual Academy Awards are being handed out, and no matter how much things change, the more they stay the same. Every year, the producers of the show promise it will be better. Every year, the audience hopes it will be better. And maybe one of these days, it will be better. Will tonight be that night? We won’t know until it’s over. In the never-ending search for the perfect host, tonight you will get double-teamed by James Franco and Anne Hathaway. They’ve had their good moments on film. Let’s see how they do on live TV in what usually proves to be a very over-produced show.
No doubt you have your list of nominees at hand, ready to mark your choices. Here’s how it may shape up tonight.
Best Documentary Feature – The nominees are Exit Through the Gift Shop; Gasland; Inside Job; Restrepo; and Waste Land. You could make a case for the merits of each of these worthy nominees, but I’ll ring the bell for Inside Job, about the malfeasance that brought about the financial crisis.
Best Foreign Language Feature – The nominees are Biutiful; Dogtooth; In a Better World; Incendies; and Outside the Law. Considering the antiquated rules governing how these films are selected, it’s always one of the hardest categories to nail down. However, since Mexico’s entry Biutiful also boasts an Oscar nominated performance by Javier Bardem, I’m guessing it has the edge.
Best Animated Feature – The nominees are How to Train Your Dragon; The Illusionist; and Toy Story 3. No doubt about it, Pixar will win for Toy Story 3 for two reasons: (1) virtually everyone thought it to be the best in its class, and (2) it doesn’t stand a chance of winning for Best Picture, for which it is also nominated.
Best Original Score – The nominees are How to Train Your Dragon; Inception; The King's Speech; 127 Hours; and The Social Network. Most folks are pegging the award to go to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for The Social Network, but I have to go with Alexandre Desplat for The King's Speech.
Best Director – The nominees are Black Swan; The Fighter; The King's Speech; The Social Network; and True Grit. This could be one of those years when the winners for Best Director and Best Picture are different. In this case, I think David Fincher will grab a statue for The Social Network.
Best Supporting Actress – The nominees are Amy Adams; Helena Bonham Carter; Melissa Leo; Hailee Steinfeld; and Jacki Weaver. Melissa Leo in The Fighter seems to have the odds on her side for this category.
Best Supporting Actor – The nominees are Christian Bale; John Hawkes; Jeremy Renner; Mark Ruffalo; and Geoffrey Rush. While Rush is spectacular in The King's Speech, this year seems like its Christian Bale’s turn to win.
Best Actress – The nominees are Annette Bening; Nicole Kidman; Jennifer Lawrence; Natalie Portman; and Michelle Williams. This prize should go, hands down, to Natalie Portman for Black Swan.
Best Actor – The nominees are Javier Bardem; Jeff Bridges; Jesse Eisenberg; Colin Firth; and James Franco. This is another no-brainer category with the award going to the front-runner, Colin Firth, for The King's Speech.
Best Picture – The ten films nominated for Best Picture are Black Swan; The Fighter; Inception; The Kids are Alright; The King's Speech; 127 Hours; The Social Network; Toy Story 3; True Grit; and Winter's Bone. Although The Social Network was the leading contender when nominations were first announced, The King's Speech seems to be grabbing all the other prizes. I have to pick The King's Speech to win for three reasons: (1) the Academy voters are usually an older crowd, and less susceptible to films that skew younger; (2) the Academy voters are definitely Brit-centric. Let’s not forget 1981, when the upstart Chariots of Fire knocked off On Golden Pond and Raiders of the Lost Ark; and (3) because it’s my favorite film of 2010…and that should count for something.
There you have it. Keep your list and check it against the winners as we all watch the 83rd Annual Academy Awards tonight at 8 pm on ABC-TV.