Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Oscars: Who Will Win, Who Should Win And Why

With the Oscars taking place this Sunday, I guess it is time for me to make my final Oscar predictions of this year. I have paid less attention to the whole race this year than in the past - but it's still way more than normal people do. Nevertheless, I look forward to this year's show - and seeing how James Franco and Anne Hathaway do as the hosts. I will be back with a recap on Monday.

As for what follows, it gives the odds for each nominee in each category except for the three short categories - I didn't get a chance to see them this year, so making predictions seemed kind of silly. I did see everything else nominated except for Foreign Nominees In a Better World and Outside the Law, which have not opened in my area as of yet (and in the case of Outside the Law, probably never will). It is a very long post, so if you just want a quick recap of what I think will and should win, scroll to the bottom.

Enjoy Oscar night!

Best Picture
Black Swan Odds – 10-1
For It:
The people who love Black Swan, really love and are likely to place it high on their preferential ballots. It goes for broke like few other films this year, and is on pace to win a major award.
Against It: Those who do not like it, really hate it, so it will be near the bottom on many ballots as well – meaning after the first round or two, support will be tough to get. Does the Academy ever reward a horror film?

The Fighter Odds 8-1
For It:
Old school, traditional inspiring sports movie that the Academy likes more than the critics do. Being a little by the numbers doesn’t hurt here, and of all sports, they like boxing the best. Will have wide spread support of the actors as it is one of only two films with three nominations. Everyone likes it, meaning as the preferential ballot system moves along, it will pick up more support.
Against It: Is the film really anyone’s favorite though? If it comes through and pulls off an upset, it will be because other films split their vote too much and The Fighter came right down the middle – which is not a good position for the film.

Inception Odds 15-1
For It:
It was the brainiest blockbuster of the year – making a ton of cash, despite it being complex, and has certainly entered into the pop culture consciousness like few films this year. It would make the geeks happy, who are still stinging from The Dark Knight’s snub two years ago, not to mention Avatar coming up short last year.
Against It: The lack of a best director nod, or any acting nods, really hurts the film. It will win some tech awards, but I really do not see a scenario where this film can actually pull out a victory.

The Kids Are All Right Odds -18-1
For It:
Smaller films have found some love from the Academy in the past few years. After last year’s dark, intense winner The Hurt Locker, perhaps they want to go lighter this year – and this is the one true comedy to support. With a lesbian couple at its center, Liberal Hollywood can pat themselves on the back for giving this the award.
Against It: It is perhaps a little too small. The acting branch clearly likes it a lot, as well as the writers, but it will be an uphill battle for it to winning any of the other awards it is nominated for – which makes winning Best Picture damn near impossible.

The King's Speech Odds – 2-1
For It:
The Academy is slightly older and more conservative than many film critics – and The King’s Speech definitely appeals to that demographic. It is about WWII and royalty, has great acting, writing and directing, and leads all films with 12 nominations. It is a film that everyone likes meaning that additional support after the first round will be easy to pick up.
Against It: It is my guess that the film will trail after the first round of preferential ballots are cast, meaning it has to come from behind. While everyone likes the film, I don’t quite feel the passionate support that some other films have.

127 Hours Odds 20-1
For It:
It is a life affirming true story, told by a director they love (Danny Boyle of Slumdog Millionaire), that was gritty and tough, and features a great performance by James Franco. It has some passionate fans.
Against It: But also a hell of a lot of people who refused to watch the film at all because they didn’t want to see Franco cut off his own arm. The lack of a Best Director nomination hurts it, as does the fact that it will have a tough time in all the categories it was nominated in. I just don’t see it happening this year.

The Social Network Odds – 4-1
For It:
It is easily the year’s most talked about film, and is also the film that has completely dominated the awards season right up until the final stages, where The King’s Speech took over. It is a movie that speaks, more than any other film, to this moment in history. It is well on its way to wins for Director and Screenplay.
Against It: Perhaps it has been the frontrunner too long, which explains why heading down the stretch, it is The King’s Speech, and not it, winning the key awards.

Toy Story 3 Odds 12-1
For It:
Inarguably, one of the most loved films of the year – the one film here that everyone truly seems to love. Seriously, does anyone not think this a great film? The lack of a director nomination doesn’t matter as much for an animated film.
Against It: Yet, no animated film has ever won this award. Only two sequels have ever won this award. With the animated film category, the Academy can reward the makers of this film there, and look elsewhere for the win.

True Grit Odds 6-1
For It:
Got surprisingly strong support on nomination day – raking in 10 nominations, the second most of any film. It is a remake of an American classic, which by all responses, was better than the original. Voters who want a more old school winner – but American – could easily vote for this.
Against It: It has a very tough road ahead to win Director, Actor or Screenplay, meaning that it has to take the Chicago road to a win – supporting actress and a bunch of tech awards, and I don’t think the film has it in it to pull this off. It was only three years ago that the awarded the Coens after all.

Winter's Bone Odds 25-1
For It:
The little film that could. The Hurt Locker proved last year that you don’t have to make a lot of money to win this award, and Winter’s Bone has had a similar journey – a small film, directed by a woman, that held on all season to make it into the lineup.
Against It: But Winter’s Bone is even smaller than The Hurt Locker, and its female director did not get nominated. I really don’t see this pulling off another victory for its other three nominations, so the nomination will have to be enough for this film.

Who Will Win: The King’s Speech seems to be set to make a come from behind victory, as it seemingly took the most important precursors heading down the stretch.
Who Should Win: The Social Network will be the film remembered for 2010 – you can bet on that.
Least of the Nominees: I am pleasantly surprised that I at least liked all 10 nominees this year. Having said that, I think that 127 Hours, which is too hectic by half and The Kids Are All Right, which had the opposite problem, are a notch or two below the rest of the nominees.

Best Director
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan Odds – 6-1
For Him:
This film really was a directors tour de force, so I think he may pull some votes from people who vote for other films as Best Picture. With no preferential ballot here, his passionate supporters will have more sway.
Against Him: This is his first nomination, so there will be a feeling that there is no need to award him right now. The film had fewer nominations than expected, which means support may not be as widespread here as it was with the critics.

Joel & Ethan Coen, True Grit Odds -8-1
For Them:
After a long time toiling without notice, this is the third time in four years that the Coens have had a film in the Best Picture race, and the second time they find themselves in the directors race. They are quite clearly loved by the Academy at this point.
Against Them: They won three Oscars a piece for No Country for Old Men just 3 years ago, not to mention the 1 they won for Fargo. The only nominees here with Oscars at home, mean they will most likely look elsewhere.

David Fincher, The Social Network Odds – 2-1
For Him:
Has become one of the most loved directors working in Hollywood today, and has a very impressive resume behind him. This is his second nomination (following his nod for Benjamin Button), so some will feel it’s his time to win. I can easily see a Picture/Director split happening.
Against Him: He isn’t the coziest of men, and rarely does interviews, so many won’t feel like they know him. His reputation for insisting on 100 takes of each scene may hurt him with the actors.

Tom Hooper, The King's Speech Odds – 3-1
For Him:
He has crafted a classical costume drama, that doesn’t feel stuffy, but natural, which is an accomplishment. Will clearly get some support from the actors, who loved the performances in his movie. If The King’s Speech is going to win, it would certainly help if he can win. He also won the DGA award, which normally translates to an Oscar.
Against Him: I think that even if The King’s Speech wins it can do it without Hooper winning. He is not as well known as the other directors, so they may want him to prove himself on his next film before they give him this award. Plus, despite the DGA award win, he couldn’t even beat Fincher on his home turf at the BAFTAs.

David O. Russell, The Fighter Odds 10-1
For Him:
He made a classic underdog sports story feel fresh and real, which is a challenge. The actors branch clearly loves the performances he got from his cast, so that could help. If The Fighter wants to upset, it really does need him to rise up here.
Against Him: But The Fighter will not upset. And no matter how much the actors loved the performances he got from this movie, they remember that infamous clip of him screaming at Lily Tomlin, which could hurt. He got the nomination, and that should be enough.

Who Will Win: I’m sticking with Fincher, who has the more solid resume than Hopper, even if the later did win the DGA prize.
Who Should Win: Not only did Fincher make the best film of the year, he has a better resume than anyone else nominated who has not already win. This win is long overdue.
Least of the Nominees: I quite like the work of all five of these men. I would probably put the work of Hooper and Russell a notch below the other three though.

Best Actor
Javier Bardem, Biutiful Odds: 20-1
For Him:
The Academy clearly loves him, as they nominated him for this award despite the fact that he got in almost nowhere else. He is quickly becoming THE actor of his generation, if he hasn’t already.
Against Him: His film is small, in Spanish, and has barely registered with the public. And its depressing as hell. He was probably lucky to be nominated.

Jeff Bridges, True Grit Odds: 10-1
For Him:
He is quite clearly loved by the Academy – registering his sixth nomination with this film. He took on an Oscar winning role made iconic by John Wayne, and completely transformed it to something different, and more complex.
Against Him: He won just last year, so his chances of repeating are slim to nil this time out. They are not going to pass over Colin Firth twice in two years to give an Oscar to Bridges.

Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network Odds: 4-1
For Him:
His version of Mark Zuckerberg is inarguably the most iconic male character of the year. His effortless performance is made all the more impressive when you consider the ease in which he handled all that rapid fire dialogue.
Against Him: He is young, and doesn’t have the resume of his competitors. They will most likely make him wait until his next nomination before they seriously consider giving him an Oscar.

Colin Firth, The King's Speech Odds: Even
For Him:
Was nominated last year for A Single Man, and made the rounds despite knowing he was going to lose. He’s back a year later, in one of the best picture frontrunners, in a performance everyone seems to admire and love. It is a performance full of heart and humor, and he is certainly the most likable of all the characters up here.
Against Him: Very little. If he gets beat it will simply be because the Academy liked another performance more.

James Franco, 127 Hours Odds: 6-1
For Him:
It is a tremendously difficult task to carry a movie all by yourself, but that is what Franco does in this movie – making a film about a man literally caught between a rock and a hard place fascinating from start to finish.
Against Him: He isn’t Colin Firth, and this is his first nomination, meaning that they will most likely make him wait. As he is also the host this year, it won’t look good if he wins.

Who Will Win: Colin Firth has the lead here, and I don’t think anyone can catch him.
Who Should Win: Jesse Eisenberg impressed me the most out of this group.
Least of the Nominees: These are five very strong performances - but if I had to pick one, I would go with Franco, who was also in the weakest movie of the five.

Best Actress
Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right Odds: 4-1
For Her:
She is well loved by the Academy, getting her fourth nomination this year, and yet she has never won – probably being the running up at least twice before. Her film is also well liked, and many think it’s her time.
Against Her: Once again, it appears like a younger star will come in and steal her thunder. While its very good work, is it really her best?

Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole Odds: 20-1
For Her:
A great actress, who was made to wait a little while after her win back in 2002 before they nominated her again. She took a chance as a producer to bring this dark film to the screen, and some will admire that.
Against Her: Is the only nominee this year with an Oscar already at home, which is never a good sign that its your time to win again. As the lone nominee for her film, it appears they liked her more than they liked the movie.

Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone Odds: 8-1
For Her:
This year’s breakout star, she did something that Oscar loves beautiful women to do – de-glam to fit into her surroundings. She carries her film, which is obviously very well liked.
Against Her: It is her first nomination, and she’s awful young to try and pull off a win. This serves as her introduction to the Academy – and hopefully she’ll get her win later on.

Natalie Portman, Black Swan Odds: 2-1
For Her:
Portman carries her film with a tour de force performance that even those who don’t necessarily love the film admire. She has a very impressive resume for someone her age – and as a previous nominee, it could be her time.
Against Her: Out of all the nominees, I think Black Swan has the most vocal detractors. The Academy is slightly more conservative than critics, and perhaps they’ll want to reward the veteran Bening.

Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine Odds: 10-1
For Her:
She delivers a quietly devastating performance in Blue Valentine – never going over the top, but always spot on. It is a brilliant performance.
Against Her: The film only managed this nomination, so perhaps they don’t love it as much as I do. Oscar loves big acting moments, and while she is brilliant, it is an understated brilliance – which the Academy doesn’t vote for to win.

Who Will Win: I think Portman will hold off Bening, who once again will be the bridesmaid.
Who Should Win: I love Portman and Williams pretty much equally, so this is too close to call for me. If you push me, I’ll say Portman.
Least of the Nominees: Again, five strong nominees, but for my money, Bening is the weakest of the five – hell, I liked Julianne Moore more in The Kids Are All Right.

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, The Fighter Odds: 2-1
For Him:
Oscar loves it when actors lose weight and play drug addicts – especially drug addicts who are hyper, yet lovable. Bale’s performance here is truly one of the best of the year, and its in a movie they want to reward.
Against Him: Bale isn’t exactly Mr. Lovable, so if people don’t like him personally, perhaps they’ll vote for someone else. Some would say he overacts in The Fighter.

John Hawkes, Winter's Bone Odds: 15-1
For Him:
One of those great character actors who everyone recognizes, but no one truly remembers from where. His work in Winter’s Bone is quiet, yet brutally effective.
Against Him: When a character actor like Hawkes breaks through and gets a nomination, it’s usually reward enough – he needs to prove he can do it again, which believe me, he can.

Jeremy Renner, The Town Odds: 10-1
For Him:
He was last year’s breakout star for The Hurt Locker, getting him a nomination, but not a victory. This could make up for that. Plus, he’s the only true villain in contention this year – and the last three Oscars in this category went to bad guys.
Against Him: Compared to Bardem in No Country for Old Men, Ledger in The Dark Knight and Waltz in Inglorious Basterds, Renner is a pussy cat. This just doesn’t seem to be his year, but watch out next time he gets nominated.

Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right Odds: 15-1
For Him:
One of those actors who has come close for about a decade finally breaks through and gets a nomination this year. His work in The Kids Are All Right is quietly understated, yet heartfelt and brilliant.
Against Him: The film is missing that one great scene that would truly push him into contention. He broke through this year, but will have to wait for another year to win.

Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech Odds: 4-1
For Him:
Oscar loves a ham, and no one does that quite so brilliantly as Geoffrey Rush. It’s been a while since he was in play – but its been a while since he had a good role. If The King’s Speech sweeps, he could win.
Against Him: He has an Oscar at home, and I think that is what ultimately dooms him to lose this time around.

Who Will Win: Bale has all the heat right now, so unless Rush can come from behind, I doubt this happens.
Who Should Win: My two favorites in this category were not nominated, which means I guess I pick Bale – although I wouldn’t mind Rush or Hawkes stealing this award either.
Least of the Nominees: I like Jeremy Renner well enough in The Town, but don’t truly feel his character had the complexity to really make this an Oscar worthy role.

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, The Fighter Odds: 5-1
For Her:
She has quickly become an Oscar favorite, raking up three nominations in since 2005. Oscar loves it when actors show range, and Adams previously known for being sweet and innocent got dirty in The Fighter – a film they love.
Against Her: She has strong internal competition, and for whatever reason, most people have been giving the award to Leo (I think Adams was better). She will undoubtedly win at some point – she’s just waiting for her moment.

Helena Bonham Carter, The King's Speech Odds: 6-1
For Her:
An actress with a long, varied, strong resume. It’s been a while since she was nominated (1997) but this is her third one, and its getting to a point where the Academy will feel she’s due. Being the only female in a Best Picture frontrunner helps.
Against Her: Even according to Carter herself, the movie belongs to the boys, and her role is one of mainly comic support, not real deep character work. The nomination will probably have to suffice.

Melissa Leo, The Fighter Odds: 3-1
For Her:
If you’ve been paying attention, you’d know that Leo has built up a quietly impressive resume ever since her work on Homicide: Life on the Street. Many loved her in Frozen River a few years back, but it was an awful small film to get a Best Actress win. Something she doesn’t have to contend with this time.
Against Her: She faces strong internal competition from Adams – and some will undoubtedly think that her role was one note and that perhaps she overdoes it a bit. Her personal ad campaign for herself seems a bit unseemly to many voters.

Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit Odds: 4-1
For Her:
If there’s one category where a teenager can win an Oscar, it’s this one. Steinfeld is hugely impressive in what is the real lead of the film, holding her own against heavyweights.
Against Her: The fact is, she is going against three previous nominees who have never won. They may not want to give an Oscar to someone where it is unclear as whether they’ll ever be heard from again.

Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom Odds: 10-1
For Her:
This tiny Australian film pushed Weaver very hard all season, and it worked out as she pulled off the nomination. Her performance as the mother from hell is hugely impressive and chilling.
Against Her: The film is so small, and no one really knows who Weaver is. This is the type of nomination where it has to be enough to be nominated.

Who Will Win: This is the tightest of the four acting races, as it really is a four way showdown. I think Leo has the edge, but wouldn’t be surprised if someone else steals it from her.
Who Should Win: Despite the fact that I think it’s a lead role, not a supporting one, Hailee Steinfeld delivered the best performance nominated, so she gets my vote.
Least of the Nominees: I love Helena Bonham Carter, and think she is riot in The King’s Speech. But an Oscar for it? I don’t think so.

Adapted screenplay
127 Hours - Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy Odds: 10-1
For Them:
Boyle and Beaufoy found a way to make a film about one man stuck in a canyon be exciting and intense – and that isn’t easy.
Against Them: It also has much more to do with the acting, and even the directing by Boyle, then it does the writing.

The Social Network - Aaron Sorkin Odds: Even
For Him:
Wrote the most quoted film of the year – his rapid fire dialogue is masterful, and the arch of the film is tremendous as well – going from humor to pathos in a blink of an eye. A masterful writing job.
Against Him: Nothing really. He is well respected in the industry, so unless people don’t like his outspoken disdain for the WGA, I don’t see who he can lose.

Toy Story 3 - Michael Arndt Odds: 5-1
For Him:
The Little Miss Sunshine scribe breathed new life into characters that I thought were pretty much tapped out. No film made people cry more than this one.
Against Him: They have never given the Oscar to an Animated film before, and they will not start now.

True Grit - Joel Coen & Ethan Coen Odds: 6-1
For Them:
The Coens took a novel that had previously been turned into a B Western, and made something truly special out of it, by varying its tone and emphasis – and that started here.
Against Them: They have won so many Oscars before there is no need to give them one more. Plus, considering how much dialogue is lifted from the book, and the previous movie for that matter, the triumph of the Coens is in directing, is it not?

Winter's Bone - Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini Odds: 8-1
For Them:
A small film, took a small, dark minimalist novel and turned out one of the most loved films of the year – at least by those who have seen it.
Against Them: The film is easily the smallest of the bunch here, and as such, its one of those that has to be happy they were nominated.

Who Will Win: Nothing even comes close to Aaron Sorkin and The Social Network this year.
Who Should Win: Ditto.
Least of the Nominees: I liked 127 Hours well enough, but I don’t really see it as a triumph of writing – there were several much better examples this year than this film.

Original Screenplay
Another Year - Mike Leigh Odds: 25-1
For Him:
A seemingly perennial nominee in this category, Leigh has never actually won despite his plethora of nominations. Sooner or later, they may give him one.
Against Him: But not this year. His is the only film not nominated for Best Picture, so I find it very hard to believe that this film can pull this off.

The Fighter - Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson. Odds: 10-1
For Them:
Took a well worn genre – the underdog boxing flick – and breathed new film into it, making it one of the most loved films of the year.
Against Them: But it’s loved because of the acting, not the writing. This nomination was a surprise for me, and surprise nominees rarely win.

Inception - Christopher Nolan 5-1
For Him:
This must have been a Herculean screenwriting task, keeping everything clear in the screenplay to give everyone a sense that he knew what the hell he was doing.
Against Him: The dialogue is rather perfunctory and almost beside the point here. They like giving this award to a quotable film.

The Kids Are All Right - Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg Odds: 6-1
For Them:
The film is obviously very well liked, and I think that everything special about it started in the writing stage – the film so sharply defines its characters, and is so funny, that those who support the film, will vote for it.
Against Them: In another year perhaps this could pull it off – but the competition is too strong this year for The Kids to really make a real push.

The King's Speech - David Seidler Odds: Even
For Him:
Took a chapter out of history that was barely known, and constructed one of the most loved films of the year out it. The film is funny and heartfelt – a deadly combination for the Academy.
Against Him: They are starting the smear campaign against the film for historical inaccuracy, and if that gets bad enough, it could hurt it.

Who Will Win: The King’s Speech should easily take this prize.
Who Should Win: With my favorite, Blue Valentine, not making the cut, I’d go with Inception, which clearly is the most ambitious.
Least of the Nominees: The Fighter. Sorry, I really liked the film, but the screenplay could have easily be turned into schlock – it was only with the director and cast the movie had that it became something special.

Best Animated Film
How to Train Your Dragon Odds: 5-1
The Illusionist Odds: 25-1
Toy Story 3 Odds: Even

Analysis: This race probably isn’t very close. Analysts always like to take shots at Pixar and claim that the more adult film (The Illusionist) can take it down, or that How to Train Your Dragon is more fun, but the reality is they always pull it off in the end.
Who Will Win: Toy Story 3 wins this one in a cakewalk.
Who Should Win: Toy Story 3 is clearly the best.
Least of the Nominees: They actually picked my top 3, so no complaints from me – but How to Train Your Dragon is perhaps a little bit not as good as The Illusionist.

Best Documentary
Exit through the Gift Shop Odds: 3-1
Gasland Odds: 25-1
Inside Job Odds: 2-1
Restrepo Odds: 10-1
Waste Land Odds: 5-1

Analysis: The Academy has been known to make some fairly out there choices in this category, so I am never 100% of anything here. I think you can count out the Do It Yourself Gasland, which is too sloppy, both in technique and facts, to win and Restrepo, about the war in Afghanistan, while great, probably has a been there, rewarded that feel to it. The other three have legitimate chances though – Waste Land because it is a genuine, feel good doc, Exit Through the Gift Shop because it is quite clearly the most original doc in years and Inside Job because it was by a past nominee, who hasn’t won and it undeniably the most important film in play.
Who Will Win: I think this one is a real close race, but I think in the end, they’ll give it to Inside Job.
Who Should Win: Inside Job was the best doc of the year – as it made the financial crisis easy to understand. Yet I almost want to see Exit Through the Gift Shop win, because it is great, and I would love to see what Banksy has up his sleeve.
Least of the Nominees: Gasland is a little too amateur for me to say its worthy of an Oscar – and Waste Land is a little too sickly sweet. Both are fine films, but didn’t deserve Oscar noms.

Best Foreign Language Film
Biutiful - Mexico Odds: 4-1
Dogtooth - Greece Odds: 20-1
In a Better World- Denmark Odds – 3-1
Incendies - Canada Odds: 2-1
Outside the Law - Algeria Odds: 10-1

Analysis: This is always a tough one to call for many reasons – one, we never get to see all the nominees before the ceremony (I missed In a Better World and Outside the Law), and two, the Academy clearly makes boneheaded decisions quite often. I think it’s a tight three way race between Biutiful, Incendies and In a Better World – because Outside the Law seems too divisive and Dogtooth too damn weird.
Who Will Win: Really a tough call, but in the end, I’ll go with Incendies, which is the type of film no one sees winning until it does.
Who Should Win: A tough call again, but I do think Incendies was the best of the ones I saw. I do admire the hell out of Dogtooth as well though.
Least of the Nominees: I’ve only had a chance to see three - and quite liked all three - the wonderful Incendies and the weird Dogtooth, but I would say that perhaps Biutiful is the most flawed of the three I’ve seen.

Black Swan - Matthew Libatique Odds – 4-1
Inception - Wally Pfister Odds 5-1
The King's Speech - Danny Cohen Odds 10-1
The Social Network - Jeff Cronenweth Odds 15-1
True Grit - Roger Deakins Odds – 2-1

Analysis: Roger Deakins is one of the best DP’s in history, and this is his ninth nomination, and he has yet to win. Matthew Libatique has been an “up and comer” for a decade now, and he has finally broken through with his first nomination. The cinematography branch loves Pfister’s work with Christopher Nolan – Batman Begins, The Prestige, The Dark Knight and now Inception all led to nominations. I really think it comes down between those three – because as good as the work in The King’s Speech and especially The Social Network is, it really is not the type of thing that usually gets the award here.
Who Will Win: Deakins, a true legend, finally gets his award here for True Grit – it is exactly the type of film they normally go for.
Who Should Win: For me, a very tough call between Deakins and Libatique, but Deakins gets my not.
Least of the Nominees: The work by Danny Cohen on The King’s Speech is good and all – but Oscar worthy? Why? The fog in that one scene?

Art Direction
Alice in Wonderland Odds: 15-1
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 Odds: 20-1
Inception Odds: 4-1
The King's Speech Odds: 3-1
True Grit Odds: 5-1

Analysis: Considering the best “new” art direction achievement of the 7th Harry Potter film was a damned tent, I don’t think the movie has a chance – nor do I think that they actually like Alice in Wonderland enough to want to give it an Oscar. It’s down to the other three. Inception is great work, but normally, they do like period films. True Grit is period, but there is a lot of outdoors work. The King’s Speech seems right up their alley here.
Who Will Win: I think unless the Academy is more daring than I think, The King’s Speech wins this.
Who Should Win: Inception is truly remarkable on this level.
Least of the Nominees: Again, I love the work on the Harry Potter series, and could seriously see them getting a “thank you” win for the last film next year. But still – the only new thing they did this time out was a damned tent! And not even an elaborate tent!

Costume Design
Alice in Wonderland Odds: 15-1
I Am Love Odds: 20-1
The King's Speech Odds: 3-1
The Tempest Odds: 25-1
True Grit Odds: 4-1

Analysis: I’m don’t think enough Academy members have seen the wonderful work on display in I Am Love or The Tempest to get it this award, and Alice in Wonderland just isn’t well liked enough. It comes down to the royal threads of The King’s Speech vs. the pile of dirty laundry look of True Grit.
Who Will Win: Alwayss bet on royalty in this category – The King’s Speech takes it.
Who Should Win: It’s too bad more people haven’t seen I Am Love, because of the nominees, it is the best.
Least of the Nominees: You can make a case that all of these films had great work – but I think that I have seen better work in Tim Burton films other than Alice in Wonderland.

Film Editing
Black Swan Odds:8-1
The Fighter Odds:15-1
The King's Speech Odds: 4-1
127 Hours Odds:7-1
The Social Network Odds:3-1

Analysis: Usually, this category matches up pretty well with the Best Picture winner – unless some non-contending action movie really impresses. So watch for this one to be a close sign as to what will win Best picture.
Who Will Win: A really close race, but I’m sticking with my gut and saying The Social Network.
Who Should Win: The Social Network’s editing truly is quite impressive – although so is Black Swans.
Least of the Nominees: I am getting kind of tired of non-stop, rapid fire editing, so 127 Hours gets my vote here.

Barney’s Version Odds: 5-1
The Way Back Odds: 10-1
The Wolfman Odds: 4-1

Analysis: An odd category this year, since all three nominees are the sole one their film received. They have three distinct choices – horror/fantasy of The Wolf Man, aging of Barney’s Version or dirty/emanicipated of The Way Back.
Who Will Win: Usually, the winners here can be of truly horrible movies – so The Wolf Man I think wins it.
Who Should Win: The aging work on Barney’s Version is some of the best of its kind I’ve seen.
Least of the Nominees: I really don’t see what was so special about the work done in the The Way Back.

Original Score
How to Train Your Dragon - John Powell Odds: 10-1
Inception - Hans Zimmer Odds: 6-1
The King's Speech - Alexandre Desplat Odds: 3-1
127 Hours - A.R. Rahman Odds: 20-1
The Social Network - Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross Odds: 5-1

Analysis: Usually, you have to be nominated a few times before you’ll win, unless you do something really special. Since A.R. Rahman just won two Oscars for Slumdog, I don’t think he’s in play here. After years of solid work, John Powell finally broke through – but will have to wait until another year to win. Hans Zimmer is really well liked, and its been a number of years since he won, so perhaps his great work in Inception can get him another. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are the exceptional type of newcomers who can win – but will they? Desplat has quickly become a favorite – getting nominated four times in the last five years, so perhaps its his time.
Who Will Win: Typically this award doesn’t go to an outside the box thinker – which means I think Desplat wins over Reznor and Ross.
Who Should Win: Did anyone do anything close to the brilliantly original work on The Social Network.
Least of the Nominees: Not every movie needs the same pulsating score of Slumdog Millionire, so 127 Hours get my vote here.

Original Song
Country Strong - Coming Home Odds: 6-1
127 Hours - If I Rise Odds 10-1
Tangled - I See the Light Odds: 5-1
Toy Story 3 - We Belong Together Odds: 3-1

Analysis: This is a very weak year for this category – only one of these songs, Coming Home, is at all memorable, and that movie wasn’t very good. They do love animated fare Disney fare though, so I think Tangled and Toy Story 3 are your frontrunners.
Who Will Win: I think Randy Newman wins another award for his work with Pixar – a tribute to their long collaboration, which was what finally won him an Oscar years ago. Go with Toy Story 3.
Who Should Win: Coming Home was a great song in a fairly lousy movie.
Least of the Nominees: I cannot remember the song from 127 Hours at all – can you?

Sound Editing
Inception Odds: 2-1
Toy Story 3 Odds: 10-1
Tron: Legacy Odds: 15-1
True Grit Odds: 5-1
Unstoppable Odds: 8-1

Analysis: Normally, they like to give these awards to loud action movies – and they have a few different choices here – and three Best Picture nominees means they can reward a film that won’t win the big prize.
Who Will Win: Inception, since it doesn’t look like its going to win any major prize.
Who Should Win: Happily, Inception is the best work here.
Least of the Nominees: I honestly don’t know – the work in all of these films is pretty strong.

Sound Mixing
Inception Odds: 2-1
The King's Speech Odds: 6-1
Salt Odds: 10-1
The Social Network Odds: 5-1
True Grit Odds: 4-1

Analysis: Again, they like to give this one to loud action movies – so despite the presence of the two Best Picture frontrunners, I think this is the rare case that neither wins.
Who Will Win: Inception.
Who Should Win: Inception.
Least of the Nominees: Salt? Really?

Visual Effects
Alice in Wonderland Odds: 9-1
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 Odds: 4-1
Hereafter Odds: 10-1
Inception Odds: Even
Iron Man 2 Odds 15-1

Analysis: The most impressive effects of the year happen to be in Best Picture nominee – great when it works out like that.
Who Will Win: Inception
Who Should Win: Inception
Least of the Nominees: I suppose that tsunami that started the film was pretty good in Hereafter – but enough for an Oscar?

Will Win - Recap
Best Picture: The King’s Speech
Best Director: David Fincher, The Social Network
Best Actor: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Supporting Actor: Christain Bale, The Fighter
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Best Original Screenplay: The King’s Speech
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network
Best Animated Film: Toy Story 3
Best Documentary: Inside Job
Best Foreign Language Film: Incendies
Best Cinematography: True Grit
Best Art Direction: The King’s Speech
Best Costume Design: The King’s Speech
Best Editing: The Social Network
Best Make-Up: The Wolf Man
Best Original Score: The King’s Speech
Best Original Song: Toy Story 3 – We Belong Together
Best Sound Editing: Inception
Best Sound Mixing: Inception
Best Visual Effects: Inception

Should Win - Recap
Best Picture: The Social Network
Best Director: David Fincher, The Social Network
Best Actor: Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Supporting Actor: Christain Bale, The Fighter
Best Supporting Actress: Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Best Original Screenplay: Inception
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network
Best Animated Film: Toy Story 3
Best Documentary: Inside Job
Best Foreign Language Film: Incendies
Best Cinematography: True Grit
Best Art Direction: Inception
Best Costume Design: I Am Love
Best Editing: The Social Network
Best Make-Up: Barney’s Version
Best Original Score: The Social Network
Best Original Song: Country Strong – Coming Home
Best Sound Editing: Inception
Best Sound Mixing: Inception
Best Visual Effects: Inception

1 comment:

  1. I'll take those odds on Alice In Wonderland in the Costume category.

    How about the shorts, I'm curious what you think about those categories?

    For Animated, I say:
    The Gruffalo 3-1
    Madagascar, a Journey Diary 4-1
    The Lost Thing 5-1
    Day & Night 10-1
    Let's Pollute 15-1

    Curious if you agree or have seen them.