sulmoney’s 2011 academy awards predictions: best picture
i have expressed before that i am not a fan of the expansion of the field to 10 films. i understand that this was done strategically to increase interest in the awards ceremony post the outrage of the shutout of the dark knight in 2008, and the feeling that the awards were rewarding films that were seen as snobby, and more importantly, films that no one watched. while this argument is valid, the fact remains that there are 10 films that are nominated, but the race still comes down to 2 films.
as i have talked about before, there was palpable excitement in the air when the social network was released. finally, there was a film that was universally acclaimed, that was geared towards the 20-something population, with a subject matter that was something that people spent hours interacting with a day, with a well respected director, a young and fresh cast of up and coming actors, with a classic story of greed and tragedy, and was so topical that it was impossible to ignore; it was what the future of great films was to be. then the king’s speech came, and represented everything that was old hollywood: a period piece, english accents, and actors with closets full of awards. it was safe, predictable, award bait. and everyone has bit.
the beautiful poster series featured here, 10 posters in 10 days, the oscars, was from the talented laz marquez.
with the expansion of the best picture field to 10 last year, the nominees for best director have all come from the same group of 10. when the field of best picture was 5, the best director nomination felt like a bigger deal almost, and placed a bit more emphasis on the director, rather than just awarding the director involved with a great film. however, the two are definitely interrelated, and it is hard to find a good film without a good director, and a good director rarely does not make a good film. it’s a chicken-egg situation. whatever, moving on.
early in the awards season, the social network was the clear favorite for the major awards; however, as the season progressed, the king’s speech has slowly become an unstoppable force and is poised to sweep the awards on sunday night. the lone bastion against tom hooper’s the king’s speech is david fincher’s work on the social network. engaging from the first frame through the end, fincher has done a master’s job with the social network, a film that people initially were reluctant to see (“why would i want to watch a movie about facebook?”), but became a sensation.
the easiest statement to write this awards season. while the merits of the film can be debated, the direction of the film can not: with a catalog of heady films, inception is christopher nolan’s crowning achievement. there are only a handful of directors that would have been able to bring this multilayered story to the screen, and nolan is the one who did it impeccably.
one funny thing to see amongst this field is that we have 4 j’s and 1 c among the actors, and the one that is unlike the other is the one that will walk away the winner this sunday night. strong performances abound in this category, as they historically do, but there was one that did stand above and beyond the rest.
the king’s speech will be the big winner of the night, and amongst its wins will be the first academy award for the wonderful colin firth. in playing the king who does not want his position, scared to death of speaking in public, firth humanizes a man that is hardly seen as one. for that alone, the award should go to him, and will more than validate his special career.
in a film littered with phenomenal performances, perhaps the best belonged to mark wahlberg, the focus of the film, who wonderfully underplayed his role. the beauty of this approach to the role was that it plays perfectly into the character, as everything occurs to him, as he is being pulled in multiple directions by everyone in his life.
this year, the race is down to two women in the roles of their lifetimes. both roles exhibit women going through breakdowns of some sort, one being mental, and the other being emotional. one role is much more flashy and headline grabbing, while the other is much more restrained and organic. the winner? this will come down to sunday, but should be one of the closer contests of the night.
who will and should win - natalie portman in black swan
while my problems with black swan resulted more from a constant “what in the shite is going on right now?” mindset during the film, and the fact that i could not get the wrestler out of mind while watching it, natalie portman’s performance, much like mickey rourke’s in the aforementioned darren aronofsky masterpiece, is undeniable, and the one that will cast a shadow over the rest of her career. in this film, portman removes all doubts of her abilities as an actress, and lets us into the mind of a woman breaking down.
who was snubbed - carey mulligan in never let me go
a film that was a total dud once it landed in theaters, never let me go was a slow, tragic, and beautiful piece on life and love. despite being surrounded by gifted thespians andrew garfield and keira knightley, the heart and soul of the movie was carey mulligan. with this performance, and her work in last year’s an education, there is no doubt that mulligan is set to rule hollywood for years to come.
2011 academy awards predictions - best supporting actor
last year, there was no competition as to who would win the best supporting actor. this year, there should be no competition as well, as one of the most bankable and biggest stars in hollywood today will receive recognition for his years of work in various films. let us get on with the coronation then.
who will and should win - christian bale in the fighter
batman will soon enough be an academy award winner. in a film full of the best performances of the year, none was quite like that of christian bale’s in the fighter. becoming the personification of delusion, drug-addiction, and doubt, bale’s performance as dicky ecklund pops off the screen from the opening reel, and stays with you through until the credits where we see actual footage of the man he plays in the brilliant film.
while jesse eisenberg had the flashy role as mark zuckerberg, andrew garfield’s portrayal of eduardo saverin, zuckerberg’s best friend who gets shut out of the facebook empire, is tragic and star-making. the film may be about zuckerberg’s rise, but his rise comes at the expense of this character. it was quite a year for garfield, also excelling in never let me go, and the first part of the red riding trilogy; 2011 will see him don the red and blue of spider-man.
2011 academy awards predictions - best supporting actress
unlike last year’s selection of nominated actress, there is no clear cut winner amongst the group, though there does appear to be one individual who seems to be the front runner coming into the last week, though that is subject to change. whoever it will be, we will have to wait until sunday night to get our answer.
while she is facing some stiff competition within the nominees, even amongst her co-star amy adams, melissa leo will prevail. her performance as the matriarch of her boxing progeny was quite astonishing, and she showed such a side to her character that scared us all and made us (well, most of us at least) thankful that our own mother’s were more compassionate and supporting than this incarnation.
this is tricky, mostly because hailee steinfeld should have been in the leading actress category. her performance, in her major film debut, was absolutely breathtaking, and we were sucked into her character’s narrow focused quest for revenge. women in westerns have traditionally been portrayed as minor characters, most often as a prostitute or saloon singer; however, with this one role, steinfeld throws the game on it’s side.
who was snubbed - mila kunis in black swan
while black swan was absent on my top movies of the year list, the performances in this nightmare of a film are undeniable. mila kunis’s turn as the antithesis of natalie portman’s character was the role that made us see her as a more than capable actress, and no longer that hot girl from that 70’s show or forgetting sarah marshall.