Oscar 2011

Speculation may now officially begin for the 83rd Academy Awards at the end of February. For the second time now, there are ten movies to choose from for the big prize, but I think the decision to add five is looking better this year than the previous one. All ten are movies that I either enjoyed or am looking forward to seeing. No Avatar or The Blind Side has been chosen this year, but several of the Best Picture nominees seem to have pulled off the feat of being popular and great at the same time. There is also, like last year, a good mix of genres and styles from which to choose.

Before I prognosticate, I should admit that, as with previous years, there are plenty of films up for consideration that I haven’t seen. I’m not seeing as many new movies as I’d like yet, for both time and money reasons. At some point, and possibly when I have someone to see them with, I will watch a lot more and not need to “catch up” nearly so much. That being said, at the time of this writing I have seen five of the ten Best Picture noms (Inception, The King’s Speech, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit), as well as five other films that are up for at least one other award (Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter 7, Iron Man 2, Salt, Unstoppable). By the time of the presentations last year, I had seen six of the ten, and it’s quite possible I will see at least one more this year before February 27.

So, basically, most of my picks will be based on what I’ve heard, but that’s pretty much how it would be anyway. When listing my personal choices, though, bear in mind that in some cases, little to no choice was actually involved.

First, the acting categories:

For leading roles, the races aren’t looking very competitive at the moment, which is a shame. Colin Firth will almost certainly win, and I think Natalie Portman will as well. Here comes my first glaring omission. I have not seen any of the films in the Best Actress category, so I can say nothing about whether Ms. Portman deserves it. From all I’ve heard though, she certainly worked hard enough to earn it. As for Best Actor, I have no problem with Firth, but given the choice, I think I’d go with Jesse Eisenberg instead. Jeff Bridges, of course, won last year, so that pretty much rules him out, although he certainly deserves it as well.

Hailee Steinfeld of True Grit will take Best Supporting Actress. She’s clearly the lead role in the film, but it looks like she was nominated here because Best Actress is so crowded. I think that odd decision pretty much guarantees a win for her here. For Best Supporting Actor, I’m really not sure. I’ve only seen one of the films up for consideration. Christian Bale looks the most likely at the moment.

Now for a few miscellaneous awards that I feel reasonably comfortable saying something about:

Best Animated Feature will be Toy Story 3, and both Best Original Score and Best Film Editing might go to Social Network (at least that’s what I’d choose).

Best Cinematography looks very interesting. I’m honestly not sure, but at the moment I’m leaning towards Roger Deakins and True Grit.

It’s probably safe to say Aaron Sorkin will win Best Adapted Screenplay, but I’m again not sure about Original Screenplay. The King’s Speech was nominated twelve times, and I’ve only mentioned it once before, so I’ll give this award to it as well.

I think David Fincher will win for Best Director. I could very well be wrong there, but that’s who I’d like to see win.

Based on all that, my choice for Best Picture should probably be apparent. It’s a film that excels in quite a few different areas, and everyone involved did tremendous work in making a seemingly dull subject extremely interesting to watch. It’s a film for our generation, and I think it surpasses the Best Picture winners of the last two years. The King’s Speech may very well steal this one, but I think the winner has to be The Social Network.

These are my initial thoughts. In a few weeks I might post a complete list of picks, but considering I don’t feel competent to do so now, it’s unlikely I will by then. I hope these nominations encourage everyone to seek out these movies. Half of them are definitely worth seeing, and the other half look very interesting to me as well.

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