Saturday, February 26, 2011

All About the Oscars

Well, it's that time of year again. Oscars! Most of you probably know how batshit obsessed I am with this awards ceremony, despite its triviality, so naturally this event marks my overdue return to blogging. Without further ado, I would like to offer my predictions in several major categories, along with my personal preference for the win. Well, ok, I guess here's a quick "ado" (whatever that means) before I get going: I have very strong, irrational feelings about some of the nominees this year. So if I come down too hard on one of your favorites, don't's me, not you. This year has some of the strongest nominees I've seen in a long while and I just want to compliment AMPAS on a job well done. Perhaps my personal ire this year comes from the fact that the nominees are SO GOOD and some of the winners might be SO COMPARATIVELY UNDESERVING. Blerghzilla. Anyway, let me direct my rant in some more specific ways...


Will Win: Christian Bale. I know there are some rumblings that Geoffrey Rush will win as a part of a King's Speech sweep, but having seen all of the nominated performances, save Renner, I cannot imagine a world where Bale walks away empty handed. Not only was his work a tour-de-force (that's a technical acting term for over-the-top), but he lost a bunch of weight, changed his hair, and put on an accent. Oscar loves that shit, so I expect Bale to triumph on Sunday,
pending any on-set meltdowns.

My Pick: John Hawkes. Don't get me wrong, I think Bale is great. I think there's a difference between overacting and having a very loud character. Bale was the latter, and managed to accomplish a great deal in The Fighter. I will feel very good about his likely victory. However, Hawkes' meth head in Winter's Bone is infinitely more real (another technical acting term thrown around a lot) and in my mind, that's the better performance. For the other nominees, I haven't seen Renner and I agree with my friend who says that, "RUSH IS JUST BEING HIMSELF IN KING'S SPEECH, UGH I HATE THAT." However, I would also extend that statement to Mark Ruffalo in The Kids are All Right.


Will Win: Hailee Steinfeld. Admittedly, this prediction is a risk. Steinfeld hasn't won any major awards, and Melissa Leo has been cleaning house ever since the Globes in January, with a small upset at the BAFTAS where Helena Bonham Carter prevailed. Conventional wisdom would say Leo will win, with Carter as the most likely upset. However, I can't shake a gut feeling that Steinfeld is a threat here. Best Supporting Actress is historically the most unpredictable category, plus it's the category most likely to recognize a young performer. Furthermore, Steinfeld is incredible in True Grit and I think the fact that True Grit received 10 nominations shows strong support for the film. Finally, Melissa Leo helped fund some Oscar campaign ads...for herself, which is weird and makes me like her less than I do now. Check this out:

The only thing this picture makes me want to consider is jumping into a live volcano. Still, I think the safe money is to bet on Leo, but my gut is saying Steinfeld.

My Pick: Steinfeld. 'Nuff said. The only objection is that her performance isn't a supporting performance. However, that seems like an issue with those that did the nominating. The fact that she's here means I evaluate her against everyone else, and I think she's the best. Leo and Adams would be fine winners (poor Amy, always a bridesmaid) and I haven't seen Weaver. The only performance that shouldn't win is Carter, but being that it's in the King's Speech, she could be a part of their sweep. If the Oscars had a category for "Best One-Note Background Character," Carter would win in a landslide.


Will Win: Colin Firth. Anyone who thinks anything else is just plain dumb.

My Pick: James Franco. I think this is a very competitive category, and if there's one area where I think The King's Speech deserves an award, it's here. But I give the edge to Franco, who basically was the only person on camera for the duration of 127 Hours and he MADE. THAT. MOVIE. WORK, YO. I can't really decide if Eisenberg is acting brilliantly or just being morose, I haven't seen Bardem, and Bridges is just happy to be here. I liked him in True Grit, but he just doesn't show the range that Firth and Franco do. Finally, I would like to say that if Ryan Gosling had been nominated, he would CLEARLY be my personal choice here. Probably the performance of the year, right there.


Will Win: Natalie Portman. Let me start by saying this is a very tight category, loaded with strong performances. Also, let me clarify that my use of the word "tight" is by no means a reference to the fact that two of the actresses here had their boxes munched in their movies. Anyway, I think that an upset in this category wouldn't be hugely surprising, but Natalie definitely has the edge. She's won all of the precursors and she obviously put a lot of effort into her part. There's rumbling of an Annette spoiler, because she's overdue, but I think that seems unlikely.

My Pick: Oh man, I go back and forth here. Honestly, I would probably vote for Natalie even though I think that both Jennifer and Nicole gave performances I admired more. Natalie is just so crucial to the success of Black Swan and clearly she had the most demanding role of the bunch. It's hard to decide if you should reward the person that aces the easy test or celebrate the person that passes the challenging test. So, in my opinion, Natalie deserves this award the most, even though she probably isn't the most gifted actress in the bunch.


Will Win: This is tough. I say the Social Network, but I'm not supremely confident. I can see both Inception and The King's Speech taking this away. The King's Speech is poised to sweep, which includes this category, and Desplat (the composer) is long overdue for an Oscar. Inception has perhaps the most memorable score of the bunch, which I think suggests potential Oscar glory. However, I can't deny the fact that Trent Reznor's score is the most daring of the category and was so crucial to the effectiveness of The Social Network. I think it has the edge.

My Pick: How to Train Your Dragon. Ok, maybe I'm a sucker. I think if push came to shove, I would vote for The Social Network because its score is the most original. I definitely think Reznor captured something special here and it deserves to be rewarded. However, Dragon's score evokes so many dramatic emotions for me. Sure, it's the most purely traditional score in the category, but there isn't one that I just plain like more. It's a shame Black Swan and True Grit were deemed ineligible. Both were great. If all had been nominated, I could see myself voting for Grit.


Will Win: The Social Network. Probably one of the two biggest locks of the night.

My Pick: The Social Network. Come on. What else even comes close?


Will Win: The King's Speech. Apparently the dude who wrote it is this super charming geezer. Plus this is the movie to beat, with 12 nominations.

My Pick: Inception. I could see a case for several of the movies here, mainly Inception, The Kids are All Right, and Another Year. Since I haven't seen Another Year (I know it's worthy because of the internet, the most reliable source for everything), my pick comes down to Inception versus Kids. Although the dialogue in Kids is superior, the screenplay for Inception had contain all of the details of that film's universe. Mind-boggling. And yes, I chose that term because it works on two levels. So deep.


Will Win: Toy Story 3. This is the other huge lock of the night.

My Pick: How to Train Your Dragon. I SAID IT. IT'S OUT THERE. IT CAN'T BE UNSAID.

OK enough with this, let's get to the two big ones. If you care about my thoughts on cinematography/editing/live action short/other categories that are sort of fillers, hit up the comments. Yes, I know that original score is probably one of those technical categories and it's odd that I singled it out in this post...well, I like music. And this is my blog. I do what I want.


Will Win: David Fincher. UGH this is a tough one. Like "Sophie had it easy" tough. So, conventional wisdom would suggest Tom Hooper for The King's Speech. He won the DGA, his film has the most nominations, and a bunch of old cogies are gonna pop some viagra so they can later pop a boner for this film. I don't know if what I just wrote makes sense, but basically the King's Speech is popular with old people. Anyway, Hooper has the wind behind he sails. BUT Fincher is the more recognized name, is way overdue, and let's be real--The Social Network is supremely well-directed. So I officially predict a Fincher upset, but Hooper is the safe choice.

My Pick: David Fincher. I mean, say what you will about the Social Network. That movie was well-made. Damn. The technical polish. If I were going for daring, maybe Aronofsky would get my vote for Black Swan.

Before I get to the final category, I would like to point out that I'm watching Brokeback Mountain as I write. You know, that incredibly well-made, moving, Best Picture nominee that lost out to Crash. I've seen a few lists online of the most undeserving Oscar wins throughout history, and Crash usually tops those lists. Well, I won't say more, but I thought this framework was fitting going into the final category. Also, you may note that I talked about a rant at the beginning of this post and, largely, this has been a tame outing thus far. Well, I think my freak flag is about to fly. Get ready.


Will Win: King's Speech. It almost hurts to say more.


Perhaps I should elaborate. I think Slant Magazine said what I want to say much more eloquently,

"The ascendance of the stuttering king and Oscar's perceived instantaneous regression into the mottled pastures of White Elephant Cinema (how quickly we forget The Reader) has rendered some of our most reliable barometers speechless. Suddenly, the movie no one wanted to pay attention to became the movie all your friends and relatives who see two movies a year have seen and just know is the best picture of the year."

WELL. FUCKING. SAID. Let's forget the whole Social Network vs. King's Speech. Network isn't my favorite film of the year, but I prefer it to King's Speech. I think, looking at those two, I would entertain arguments for one film over the other. NEVER.THE.LESS. I have yet to talk to anyone who's seen all ten nominated pictures and thinks King's Speech is the best. Literally nobody. One of my friends was like, "WTF why not King's Speech?" Yet, when asked to rank his favorite movies of the year, not even he ranked King's Speech number one. I know as I write this, likely someone will stumble across this post and declare that the King's Speech is his or her (or doesn't necessarily ascribe to a gender binary, whatever, everyone is welcome) favorite film. That brings me to my next point.

I can admit that there's a lot to admire about the King's Speech. It's well acted, the script is nice, the sets are fancy (even though Rush's office used to be a gay porn set), the score is ever so dainty, etc. In fact, the whole Social vs King acting as a parallel to Brokeback vs Crash is incredibly blown out of proportion. BUT CONSWARNIT, I DON'T WANT KING'S SPEECH TO WIN. Here's why: I think it's boring. Yeah. It's out there. I watched it, thought it was boring, and then I watched it AGAIN because I felt crazy for disliking it. Guess what, I fell asleep the second time I went. Just to be clear, here's an artistic rendering of me during my first viewing of The King's Speech:

And here I am during the second viewing:

funny pictures-SLEEP MODE:  ON.

I just can't support a picture so incredibly boring winning so many Oscars. Sure, give it to Firth, he earned it. Even some of the artistic, categories. Why not. But the overall, best movie? No.

But it's going to. So, I might as well just accept that my personal opinion is in the minority and brace for a royal coronation tonight. HEY, THAT WAS A PUN.

So there it is, my take on the Oscars. We'll see what happens tonight!