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Oscars 2011: Time to get Serious

29.January 2011

Yes, it is time. The nominations came out this past week (very few surprises this year, really) and we now have 29 more days to watch all the movies, read all the speculation, make our predictions, and make enough popcorn and cocktails to get through the whole four hour extravaganza on February 27th.  (We’ll obviously be liveblogging the whole event again.)

So, here’s the deal: many good films this year.  Not a spectacular year for women or anyone who’s not white, but still some good movies and some fantastic acting.  For your reference, here’s the full ballot (Printable!  Make copies for all your friends at the viewing party!)

Movies to keep your eye on, if you ask me:

  • The King’s Speech:  Colin Firth‘s acting job is spectacular and the script is inventive and moving and, at moments, really really funny.  Really, one of the best movies I’ve ever seen.
  • The Fighter:  Big, huge surprise here – I didn’t even want to see this movie and went with very, very low expectations and came back out amazed.  Christian Bale does a predictably sensational acting job (he’s great, right?) and the script is fantastic.  The big surprise, though, is Amy Adams.  She’s awesome.  The boxing isn’t the best fighting in this movie – that’s all I’ll say.
  • The Kids Are All Right: Hooray for the lesbians!  A movie written by a woman, which is always nice, and it’s moving but also funny, both making fun of crunchy California hippies and making me want to be a crunchy California hippie.  Annette Bening is up for Best Actress and we at Darby O’Shea are crossing our fingers for her (we’ve been great big fans since The American President, don’t you know?

And now, movies that, in our humble opinion, are getting more attention than they really deserve:

  • The Social Network:  Really?  Best Picture?  Best Actor?  Really?  (Zuckerberg is probably deleting my Facebook account right now.)  I enjoyed it, but I just don’t think it was that good.  At all.
  • Black Swan:  I really wanted to think this was the best movie ever and I really wanted to think that Natalie Portman was amazing in it (and I do really like her, actually), but this movie just didn’t live up to the hype.  And let me say, for the record, that I don’t blame NP for her part in the movie – her “character” was so flat – the script took a potentially really interesting role and drove it directly into stereotype territory.  Blah.  I did think that it was a good movie and that visually it was among the best I’ve seen this year.  For what it’s worth.
  • Toy Story 3:  I haven’t seen it, but I didn’t like either of the first two.  Shoot me.

I don’t know about you all, but I always try to see all the Best Picture nominees and at least attempt to cover a few of my other favorite categories.  Since the Academy increased the number of Best Picture nominations to ten, this has become much more daunting.  Here’s my list of movies to see and what they’re nominated for (of the categories I care about the most):

Click for full size*click for full size!

Right now I’ve seen six of these sixteen films – luckily they’re all among the Best Picture Nominees, so I’m well on the way to having seen them all.  Still missing: True Grit, 127 Hours, Inception, and Toy Story 3.  And I don’t really intend to see 127 Hours (I can already imagine James Franco’s “I’m-cutting-my-arm-off-now” grimace.) or Toy Story 3, so I’m almost there.

Now, one other thing to think about: the scoring system.  It’s the second year for the New System (and bless it for making everything turn out right last year!) and it’ll be interesting to see if we’re all still happy with it this year.  If you need a reminder about the new system, click here or here.

So, what’s the word? It doesn’t seem like there is really a front runner for the Best Picture Oscar this year – last year Avatar seemed to have it all tied up, but The Hurt Locker made a last minute strong push and came home with the prize.  This year, maybe The Social Network is the safest bet, but The King’s Speech is making a strong showing in these last weeks before voting.  So, what are your predictions?  Ebert has these.  I don’t know if I want to say yet what I think WILL win, but what I WANT so far is this:

  • Best Picture: The King’s Speech
  • Best Actor: Colin Firth
  • Best Actress: Annette Bening
  • Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale
  • Best Supporting Actress: Amy Adams OR Helena Bonham Carter
  • Best Director: Tom Hooper, I guess, but I don’t have a strong opinion on this category this year.
  • Best Cinematography: Ugh.  Not much interesting here this year.  (Granted, I haven’t seen Inception yet.)  Basically, I’d be okay with anything BUT The Social Network winning.  Can I vote for Inglourious Basterds again?
  • Best Original Screenplay: This is one of the toughest categories for me to call this year.  I’d probably lean toward The King’s Speech or The Kids Are All Right, but The Fighter would also be okay.
  • Best Adapted Screenplay: This category is also tough to call, mostly because I don’t care that much about any of them.  Winter’s Bone was good, but depressing.  Again, I don’t want The Social Network to win.

Now, most importantly: What will everyone be wearing?  I’m excited to see Natalie Portman and Kate Hudson rocking pregnancy-chic.  Nicole Kidman will probably be gorgeous and hopefully won’t have gone blond again.  Michelle Williams and Annette Bening will both either bring the crazy or be gorgeous – hard to say.  And if those two fail to bring the crazy, we can count on both Helena Bonham Carter and Tilda SWINTON to be nutso and fabulous.

Stay tuned over the next few weeks for more predictions, movie watching reports, and wild speculation.  Oh, and tomorrow are the SAG awards!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 30.January 2011 01:01

    Seeing “The Kings Speech” tomorrow. I’ll send along my unbiased review. I have high hopes.

  2. 1.February 2011 09:43

    Hmmm… hafta say I agree with the masses here (the masses being the peeps who already gave her a Golden Globe and SWG award). I think Natalie Portman was amazing in Black Swan. Not to mention her enormous moxie for taking on such a strenuous role. And I don’t usually go in for the super-stressful type of movie. Though Annette is overdue for an Oscar, it’s not going to happen this year. Glad to have your review of “The King’s Speech,” I think I’ll see it this weekend.

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