The 83rd Academy Awards – aka. Oscar Night 2011 – aka. Movie Geek Valhalla

Mr. Oscar

The Oscars… the Super Bowl of movie geekdom… bane of the film snob, crack to the masses… does any other award show generate as much ballyhoo and scorn at once as the Academy Awards?  For as much as we love to mock the very concept of subjective and highly political ass kissing that the Oscars represent we also hold all of those who make film happen up on such a high pedestal that we happily dissect every outfit, every couple and chew into the winners and losers (and of course just to be nominated makes you a winner right?) as though something actually matters in the big scheme of things when it comes to Hollywood and the movie machine that it is.

I for one am an unapologetic lover of the Oscars.  The glamour, the glitter, the little naked gold guy on the film reel… all of it conspire to give us one night where we can allow ourselves to enjoy movies for what they ultimately are… Entertainment!  No, movies will not cure cancer, they don’t love us back and plenty of assholes are getting rich off of other assholes (namely us)… but they keep us entertained.  They occasionally make us think, laugh, cry, wince and have to deal with other odd emotions… like pride, anger and shame.  They offer us a tiny 2 hour glimpse of another type of person or place or time.  And for about four hours once a year, we are allowed to watch and celebrate along with those people we have made into gods… actors, actresses, directors and producers… editors, screenwriters, visual effects dorks and former Hollywood giants now standing on the sidelines as the new crop rises… and this year, the very nature of the Academy hangs in a balance.

If ever there were a defining year for the Oscars, this may be it.  With ten nominees for Best Picture, the two front runners, The Social Network and The King’s Speech, feel to me like two different generations of film squaring off with one another. The Social Network doing a wonderful job of showing a very modern concept in a completely modern fashion while The King’s Speech appearing to represent an older Hollywood… the Hollywood of Cecil B. DeMille… the Hollywood of greater pomp and circumstance… of Kings and Queens, not petulant borderline Asberger’s pricks like Mark Zuckerberg. Triumph over adversity vs. existential morality play. The last time such heady divisions played out was in the 70’s as the new up and comers Scorsese, DePalma, Cimino, Lucas, Coppola and Spielberg came into prominence overturning a more staid movie industry. Of course, everything cycles and the backlash to that brought us such Best Picture winners as Gandhi and Chariot’s of Fire… two films which quite frankly do not hold up as well as say, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

But enough about the past… I’m here to predict the future… specifically, who will win in tonight’s Academy Awards? Here are my predictions…

Best Picture: I may as well get right to the meat and potatoes of the show… who do I think will take the big prize? My first gut reaction after seeing The Social Network and it having taken the Golden Globe was that it was a shoo-in. But alas, The King’s Speech began making serious headway in the race and for all intents and purposes is very much in the lead after winning the Director’s and Producer’s Guild awards. I still have not seen this film… I’m quite sure it’s wonderful… but I don’t think it’s going to win. So my prediction is that The Social Network will indeed take home the Best Picture Oscar.

Best Director: Regardless of who win’s Best Picture, I was and am going to give it to David Fincher. Mr. Fincher took what could have been a dull courtroom drama and turned it into a tiger pacing in it’s cage. An absolutely masterful turn. I want to also say that Darren Aronofsky should get a special award for actually pushing his and our boundaries further than most. I am a fan of the uncomfortable places he often takes us.

Best Actor: Colin Firth has this in the bag. As creepy as Jesse Eisenberg was, as dynamic as The Franco is in 127 Hours and as gruff and nasty as Jeff Bridges was… it seems this is Firth’s award to lose. Plus, I like the guy and wish him well in terms of getting out of crappy romantic comedies.

Best Actress: She may not be the best actress in terms of other actresses, but I do believe Natalie Portman gave the performance of her lifetime and will win for Black Swan. Annette Bening may win only for having lost so often in the past… but I think it’s Miss Portman’s naked gold man.

Best Supporting Actor: Apparently Christian Bale is still the front runner… Geoffrey Rush has made inroads… and I keep hearing amazing things about John Hawkes. Honestly, I’d like to see Hawkes take it… but it’s Bale who will win. Great category.

Best Supporting Actress: For as great as all nominees this year in every category, this may be the best. My understanding is that each of these women deserve the recognition they are receiving… Melissa Leo took home the Goldne Globe, but I believe her streak will end tonight. There is a lot of talk about Jacki Weaver’s performance in the Australian’s drama Animal Kingdom… I have no clue. But I do know that the only lead role nominated in this category is young Hailee Steinfeld… and I predict and hope for her win tonight. On one hand, I want her to win… on the other, I don’t want her to be ruined too soon… she was stupendous in True Grit and am holding out hope that she lands the role of Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games. Good luck Miss Steinfeld.

Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 3. End of story.

Best Screenplay (Original): I think Inception stands a slim chance, but will probably get it’s glory in the technical awards. I imagine The King’s Speech will take this.

Best Screenplay (Adapted): The Social Network is a lock.

Best Music (Original Score): The Social Network will continue it’s streak of awesome.

Best Music (Original Song): I’m going to go with If I Rise from 127 Hours. It’s possible Randy Newman will get the nod, or perhaps Gweneth… but I’m thinking Danny Boyle and His Franconess will get a little consolation prize, and this may be it.

Best Cinematography: I see this as a toss up between Inception and True Grit. New vs. old. As I mentioned earlier, I do think Inception will take every technical award… but this could be a good non-tech award to get. But True Grit was beautifully shot. In the spirit of new kicking the old’s ass, I’m going to go with Inception.

Best Documentary: Normally a rather bland category, this year is juiced up a bit thanks to Banksy and Exit Through the Gift Shop. I don’t think it will win… I believe Restrepo will take the prize. If there were a Holocaust documentary it would win… instead it’s a war film.

There are a ton of other categories up for awards tonight… but I couldn’t even hazard a guess at such things as art direction, costuming and make-up. Inception will win Visual Effects and probably the Sound categories. Editing should probably go to Black Swan… but these are not my official predictions.

So how will I fare in my predictions? Thirteen predictions… one great night of Academy Awards. Let the games begin…

For Your Consideration,
Cornelius J. Blahg

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