Sunday, February 27, 2011

My super-duper oscar predictions

At last. More than 40 awards shows, critics lists, and prediction reports compiled. This is where I try to take emotion out of the equation, look at the tallys of what has been winning the critical and guild awards, what has the buzz from oscar-oligists, and then stubbornly stick to a Social Network win anyway. Last year I went 17/24, which was dismal, but in 2009, I went 21/24, which tied me with Tom O'Neil (the winning-est oscar pundit that year).

I've changed my mind on the shorts like 3 times already, so I'm stopping the second guessing and just laying it all out...

Best Picture
"The Social Network"

I'm sorry. This is the one where I am throwing out the guild sweeps and going with my gut. I think Harvey Weinstein is brilliant at what he does, and The King's Speech is just so oscar-baity, but I stand by the fact that no film that has won the GG, NBR and NYFCC has ever lost best picture. I think there was a bit of a backlash against the Social Network's early sweep, but I feel that backlash that has run its course. At least it is an interesting competition.

(My favorite title for someone's Oscar picks? If The King's Speech was best picture, it would win best picture.)

Actor in a Leading Role
Colin Firth in "The King's Speech"

Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale in "The Fighter"

Actress in a Leading Role
Natalie Portman in "Black Swan"

Sorry, Annette. You'll have to wait for that actual lifetime achievement Oscar.

Actress in a Supporting Role
Melissa Leo in "The Fighter"

I could easily see a Hailee Steinfeld upset here, particularly because of Melissa Leo's recent bizarre antics and the huge number of nominations for True Grit (not to mention its box office prowess). But I think Leo still has a lot of goodwill stored up from Frozen River, and that True Grit will get honored in Cinematography.

Animated Feature Film
"Toy Story 3" Lee Unkrich

Art Direction

Very tricky. It has to be either Inception or The King's Speech, because they each won the guild award (Fantasy and Period respectively), and the guild is 10/14 with the eventual Oscar winner. I think Inception has the visual flair to edge out here.

(Alice in Wonderland has a lot of supporters because it is visually extravagant and Tim Burton films do well here, but I think all the computer work will count against it.)

"True Grit," Roger Deakins

Wally Pfister could upset, given that he won the ASC. I can't decide if the acting branch will go with Inception or the older bent of the Academy will go with True Grit. Or rather, I think both those things will happen, but I can't tell who has more pull. Inceptions sequences were so memorable, but most of what I think about from True Grit were landscape frames. I'm going with "Oscar voters are old" on this one.

Costume Design
"The King's Speech," Jenny Beavan

Alice in Wonderland could upset, just because Colleen Atwood has SUCH name recognition for costumes. But as one blog pointed out, the last 5 winners here were: Memoirs of a Geisha, Marie Antoinette, Elizabeth: the Golden Age, the Duchess, and the Young Victoria. Period/Royalty FTW!

"The Social Network," David Fincher

Documentary (Feature)
"Inside Job," Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs

Documentary (Short Subject)
"Strangers No More"

Film Editing
"The Social Network"

Foreign Language Film
"In a Better World," Denmark

Incendies as the possible upset.

"The Wolfman," Rick Baker and Dave Elsey

Music (Original Score)
"The Social Network," Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that The Social Network, The King's Speech, and Inception ALL used previous recordings prominently (Edward Grieg's In the Hall of the Mounatin King, Beethoven's 7th, and Edith Piaf's Je Ne Regrette Rien respectively), but Black Swan, True Grit, the Fighter, and the Kids are All Right were all disqualified for using pre-existing music or songs. This category needs fixin.

Music (Original Song)
"We Belong Together" from "Toy Story 3," Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

Short Film (Animated)
"Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)" Bastien Dubois

The predictable choice here is The Gruffalo. It's like the King's Speech of animation. BUT! Last year's Logorama upset was pretty shocking. I'd love to see Madagascar upset the obvious British choice. I think with its innovative mash of animation styles and international subject, it has a good chance.

Short Film (Live Action)
"The Confession," Tanel Toom

Wish 143 for an upset.

Sound Editing
"Inception," Richard King

Sound Mixing
"Inception," Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo and Ed Novick

Shockingly, True Grit won this at the guilds. But I think Inception will get both sound categories from a broader pool of voters. (But, seriously, that club scene in the Social Network...)

Visual Effects
"Inception," Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb

Adapted Screenplay
"The Social Network," Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin

Original Screenplay
"The King's Speech," Screenplay by David Seidler

This makes me sad. The script was the weakest element of this film. Inception was clever, and Christopher Nolan was snubbed for directing.

So - sometimes the tech categories can point the way to what will win out, but I think Inception sweeps a lot of those this year, which doesn't help predict the Social Network/King's Speech showdown.

It's also important to note that Best Picture and Best Director have only differed 12 times since 1948. And people are pretty sure that David Fincher will get it, DGA be damned (17 oscar pundits predict Fincher over 10 for Hooper).

I realize that 5/6 films that have won PGA, DGA, and SAG went on to win best picture. BUT! I think the Fighter and the Social Network split the SAG vote. And the DGA was very much an upset.

AND since the Social Network is favored in Editing, Director and Adapted Screenplay, that gives it an edge. The last film to win those 3 categories and NOT best picture was Traffic in 2000 (although that was before preferential voting).

But I think preferential voting will also help Social Netowrk. I really think the Social Network will rank as #2 on more ballots than The King's Speech. Can you really see a Fighter/King's Speech or Inception/King's Speech ballot happening? I mean, The Social Network won 99 critics/guild awards to the King's Speech's 37 over the season. I think it is the more widely liked film.

As Sasha Stone wrote; “There is no reason to assume [The King's Speech] won’t win. Except for that tiny needling truth that it isn’t the best film of the 10.” That has to be needling the voters. They've gone for quality over expectation more and more in recent years.

The Social Network's totally gonna win.


John Wiswell said...

I think Social Network benefited from being seen by more people, an ad campaign that was preposterous in size, and a premise with more buzz. I didn't find it as good as the sum of its collaborators. Have yet to see King's Speech - but I hope it pays off. Honestly, the best movie I saw in 2010 was a cartoon.

Jessica said...

Hey! I never saw your comment till now.
I agree that I didn't fall in love with the Social Network. Despite how impressive its pedigree was, I don't think it was the best film of the year (although it did grow on me).
But I (obviously) really thought it was more deserving than the King's Speech for Best Picture. Of the two (and not looking at the broader field), I do think it is the film that people will still be looking at 25 years from now.