Jen's Oscar Predictions: The King's Meh, FTW
Yes, yes. The King's Speech will win, and no matter how hard we try to tell ourselves any other film has a chance in hell, its abiding safeness will triumph Sunday night. But I'd like to think the Academy will spread the love around -- a win for The Social Network here, a Natalie Portman winner's guffaw there, and some gold for Hailee Steinfeld. Hope she brings her blingitude for the big night.
Best Picture: The King's Speech
My favorite movie of the season is True Grit, but I'm a realist; I read S.T. VanAirsdale's weekly soap-operatic awards digests, so I know it's probably sitting well outside the Top 3. So my money's on the Academy to perform true to expectations and give Best Picture to The King's Speech. Besides, if we can't rely on Oscar voters to go with the safest, most AARP-friendly film in contention, what can we count on in this crazy world?
Best Director: David Fincher
The Social Network may not have been the vanilla wafer crowd pleaser that is The King's Speech, but it did impart the viewer with a sense of the players behind it all -- Aaron Sorkin, who's going to win for Best Screenplay, and David Fincher, whose strength of vision as a director lingers much more profoundly than that of TKS's Tom Hooper.
Best Actress: Natalie Portman
I get Annette Bening's recent late-game surge, and we all want the three-time runner-up to get her due. But in no way does her performance as a lesbian yuppie in the overrated The Kids Are All Right compare to the effort and facility Natalie Portman poured into Black Swan, even months before the cameras rolled. Or maybe I'm just hoping preggers Portman wins, ascends the stage, and defiantly unleashes that laugh unto the world once again. Release the Kraken, Natalie! Annette Bening looks like a pumpkin, bitch!
Best Actor: Colin Firth
Because it's really difficult to fake a stutter when you're shooting on a former porn set, but Colin managed to do it anyway. Notch another one for The King's Speech.
Best Supporting Actress: Hailee Steinfeld
In the spirit of spreading the wealth around, which seems to be the feeling this year, can we all agree to give this one to little Hailee Steinfeld? Melissa Leo's been overshadowed by her glamor shots, HBC should only be rewarded when acting as kooky on screen as she is in real life, and Amy Adams, well... I've kind of forgotten she's in this race. The only downside to handing Best Supporting Actress to Hailee? It means Jacki Weaver can't also win. And since we're Team Jacki 'round these parts, that makes me feel a little traitorous. Forgive me, Jacki!
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale
I'd love to think that the Academy might recognize John Hawkes' startlingly strong work in Winter's Bone, but who can think about the quiet menace of an Ozarks meth head when Christian Bale is bouncing all over Boston like a manic pixie dream addict? (Okay, okay. It's really just residual Newsies fan adoration. I'll follow Jack "Cowboy" Kelly anywhere.)
Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 3
I'd love to see an upset scenario in which either the delightfully cinematic How to Train Your Dragon or the moving, evocative (and kind of depressing in a way we never, ever see in animation) The Illusionist steals it away from the Pixar powerhouse. It probably won't happen, given the love mainstream Hollywood has for the Toy Story franchise, which has routinely tear-jerked its way into our hearts.
Best Documentary: Exit Through the Gift Shop
First things first: Restrepo, Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington's embedded-in-Afghanistan documentary might be the most important documentary of the year, a film that brings first-person perspective to the shock, chaos, and loss experienced by soldiers on the front lines. But deep down inside, aren't we all hoping for a Banksy win? Not just to see if and how he'll show up Oscar night, but because we still aren't quite sure exactly what Exit Through the Gift Shop is. It's the Inception of documentaries, and we may never know just what's real and what's not.
Best Cinematography: Roger Deakins
He's been called the Susan Lucci of cinematography, having been nominated eight times previously without an Oscar win. But in truth, Roger Deakins is way, way better than Lucci; he's a painter of light and landscapes whose photography on True Grit yielded some of the most moving, dialogue-free imagery of the year.
Best Foreign Language Film: Dogtooth
Okay. So Dogtooth is probably the last film that'll win, but it's fun to think that the stuffy Academy could give the big O to a Greek entry featuring stark violence, disturbing themes, incest, and no easy answers. And even if it doesn't win, it's fun to imagine those Academy voters squirming in their seats in the screening room as this unsettling film played.
Best Screenplay (Adapted): Aaron Sorkin
The Social Network screamed Sorkin in every pulsating, incisive scene. You might say the same for the Coen bros' True Grit script, but the zeitgeist-capturing TSN pierced into a collective consciousness at a moment when its themes felt most relevant, something none of its competition managed to do (or even attempted).
Best Screenplay (Original): Inception
How do you not give the Oscar to the man who, with his reality-altering tale of dreams and ideas, incepted us all into questioning the world around us?
Tell me I'm wrong and watch for my awards weekend tweets on Twitter.