Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I thought the Oscar noms, on the whole, were mostly predictable, and incredibly safe (as effing usual). The best pic nom for Winter's Bone was nice as was the nom for John Hawkes. But mostly it's what I expected. And considering that only 4 of the movies nommed for best picture made my personal top 10 list, there was lots left off the list that I wish was on there. But knowing that some of my personal favs (Void, Valhalla, The American, Carlos, Never Let Me Go) were never going to make the final cut, I guess I respect what was nommed, if I'm not entirely excited. However -- Toy Story 3 should ONLY be competing in the ANIMATION category. It's a waste of a nomination in the live-action category. There are HUNDREDS of movies released every year and there are any number of smaller films that could benefit from a best pic nomination in this new age of 10 nominations. So when Toy Story 3 is nommed in two categories, it annoys me. All of the films nominated for best pic (in particular The Fighter, The King's Speech, True Grit) feel like genuine "Oscar" movies. The Social Network, which I think has a 50-50 chance of winning based on the enormous amount of critical acclaim it got from critics and awards groups, might prove be too young and hip for the room, but David Fincher has done one masterpiece after another, so it wouldn't surprise me if this is his year.  If The Social Network doesn't take best picture, The King's Speech will get the big trophy, but I expect Fincher to get best director for his efforts.  I would have loved to have seen both Ryan Gosling (Blue Valentine) and Mark Whalberg (The Fighter) up for best actor, but this year was VERY tough as there were any number of incredible performances.  The idea of Edgar Ramirez not getting a best actor nomination for Carlos is appalling but who out of the five that got nominated would I leave out?  Really tough call.  I just wish that the Academy would grow some balls and REALLY examine the state of film and start acknowledging some of the smaller, more boundary pushing pieces of work that get released each year.  If I were to look at the 10 movies nominated for best picture this year, this is what would come to mind immediately about each:

Inception -- visionary piece of contemporary sci-fi that likely made the cut due to the new 10-movie rule
The Social Network -- a razor-sharp study of friends dicking each other over
The King's Speech -- a circa 1993 Miramax-esque British film dominated by it's performances
Winter's Bone -- the bleak little indie that could
The Fighter -- a traditional, solid family movie set against a boxing backdrop heightened by performances
Black Swan -- a mind-fuck-melodrama that thankfully was embraced by critics and audiences
Toy Story 3 -- no matter how good, animated films should ONLY be considered in the animation category
The Kids are All Right -- a slice-of-life-for-right-now that's too California for some people
True Grit -- a satisfying western made by a revered filmmaking duo who can't seem to fuck up
127 Hours -- cutting edge, visceral, true, real, unflinching, uncompromising -- it'll never win

So....some great films on that list (The Social Network, 127 Hours, Black Swan, and Inception all made my top 10 list)...but all feels so safe, so routine.  The show will be fun (co-hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway will be, if nothing else, different) no matter who wins, and at the end of the day, who really cares except for the people who are being nominated?  None of this Oscar stuff means anything in the long run -- it's just a chance to watch beautiful people in beautiful outfits.  I like to keep my eyes on the various film festivals (Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, Sundance) in an effort to stay up with what's being offered on a world-wide film spectrum.

My early predictions on who I think will win (not what/who I'd necessarily pick to win):

Best Picture:  The King's Speech
Best Director: David Fincher, The Social Network
Best Actor:  Colin Firth, The King's Speech
Best Actress:  Nathalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Supporting Actor:  Christian Bale, The Fighter
Best Supporting Actress:  Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Best Original Screenplay:  Christopher Nolan, Inception
Best Adapted Screenplay:  Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Best Editing: Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter,  The Social Network
Best Cinematography:  Roger Deakins, True Grit
Best Animated Film: Toy Story 3
Best Art Direction:  Alice in Wonderland
Best Costume Design:  The King's Speech
Best Documentary:  Inside Job
Best Foreign Language Film:  In a Better World
Best Make Up:  The Wolfman
Best Original Score:  The Social Network
Best Sound Editing:  Inception
Best Sound Mixing:  The Social Network
Best Visual Effects:  Inception

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