2011 Oscar Picks

For the first time in, well, ever, I’ve actually seen almost all of the movies nominated for Oscars in the ten categories I watch. This year, I’ve seen fourteen out of the sixteen nominated movies (yes, the 55 awards in those categories were only spread between 16 movies.) These are my picks for who I think should win, not necessarily who I think will win.

Best Picture
Nominees: Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, The King’s Speech, 127 Hours, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit, Winter’s Bone

My Pick: The King’s Speech

Tough choice this year, with ten great films to choose from. My favorites out of the bunch were Black Swan, Inception, The King’s Speech, & Toy Story 3, but I’m going to have to go with The King’s Speech. The film succeeded on so many levels, and was an incredibly pleasant surprise to watch. I expected it to be a very dry period drama, and it turned out to be a fun, lighthearted movie about a serious matter, with characters you could really feel for.

Actor in a Leading Role
Nominees: Javier Bardem (Biutiful), Jeff Bridges (True Grit), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), Colin Firth (The King’s Speech), James Franco (127 Hours) — Note: I haven’t seen Biutiful

My Pick: Colin Firth (The King’s Speech)

Gotta give it up for Colin Firth. The man was amazing in The King’s Speech. It was painful to watch him struggle, and it just made you cheer for him all the more. Also, props to James Franco, who’s come a long way in the last several years and was awesome in 127 Hours. Also, why wasn’t Aaron Eckhart nominated for Rabbit Hole?

Actress in a Leading Role
Nominees: Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right), Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole), Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone), Natalie Portman (Black Swan), Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine)

My Pick: Natalie Portman (Black Swan)

Of all the acting categories this year, Best Actress is the toughest to pick. In a different year, any one of these performances could easily be the winner. But among these five, I’ve got to go with Natalie Portman. Her transformation in Black Swan was so visceral it was frightening to watch. That said, Rabbit Hole was utterly heartbreaking, and I’d be quite happy to see Nicole Kidman win for that.

Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominees: Christian Bale (The Fighter), John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone), Jeremy Renner (The Town), Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right), Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech)

My Pick: Christian Bale (The Fighter)

This one really comes down to Christian Bale & Geoffrey Rush. Nothing against the other three, but those two just knocked it out of the park this year. I’m going with Bale, though, because he was haunting in The Fighter, and he’s overdue for some Oscar love. But where were Andrew Garfield and John Malkovich? Garfield was the standout actor in Social Network, and nobody in recent memory has been as fun to watch as Malkovich in Red.

Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominees: Amy Adams (The Fighter), Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech), Melissa Leo (The Fighter), Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit), Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom)

My Pick: Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)

As much as my huge crush on Amy Adams wants me to pick her (and she’s my second choice), I have to go with Hailee Steinfeld for True Grit. She played that part perfectly, and was my favorite part of the movie. My only beef with this is… why was she nominated for supporting actress? She was the main character of the whole movie! The movie followed her journey moreso than Cogburn’s, and yet she’s relegated to supporting status? In the immortal words of The Hurricane, “Whassupwitdat?”

Directing
Nominees: Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), David O. Russell (The Fighter), Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech), David Fincher (The Social Network), Joel & Ethan Coen (True Grit)

My Pick: Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan)

Well, actually my pick would be Christopher Nolan for Inception, but it appears that there’s been a bit of an oversight in Oscarville. Again. So instead, I’m picking Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan, a movie that wouldn’t have been anywhere near the same in anyone else’s hands.

Writing (Original Screenplay)
Nominees: Mike Leigh (Another Year), Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, & Eric Johnson (The Fighter), Christopher Nolan (Inception), Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg (The Kids Are All Right), David Seidler (The King’s Speech) — Note: I haven’t seen Another Year

My Pick: Christopher Nolan (Inception)

Yeah, I know, the award’s going to The King’s Speech. And I won’t be upset about it, because it was a fantastic screenplay. But Inception was brilliant.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Nominees: Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy (127 Hours), Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network), Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3), Joel & Ethan Coen (True Grit), Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini (Winter’s Bone)

My Pick: Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3)

Again, I know that the award’s actually going to Aaron Sorkin for The Social Network, and I won’t be upset about it (because out of all the awards it’s nominated for, I feel that’s the one it most deserves.) But Toy Story 3 was beyond well-written. It was hilarious and full of heart, and in a nice twist for an animated film, is more likely to make you cry if you’re a parent who has sent a child off to college or if you’ve recently put toys behind you to venture to infinity and beyond (aka. college & the real world.)

Cinematography
Nominees: Matthew Libatique (Black Swan), Wally Pfister (Inception), Danny Cohen (The King’s Speech), Jeff Cronenweth (The Social Network), Roger Deakins (True Grit)

My Pick: Wally Pfister (Inception)

This was a really tough one to pick between Black Swan and Inception, but I have to go with Inception due to the sheer insanity of some of the shots in that movie, especially considering how much of it was filmed on practical sets.

Film Editing
Nominees: Andrew Weisblum (Black Swan), Pamela Martin (The Fighter), Tariq Anwar (The King’s Speech), Jon Harris (127 Hours), Angus Wall & Kirk Baxter (The Social Network)

My Pick: Jon Harris (127 Hours)

Another tough one, as all the films were incredibly well edited. But if the editing had failed in any respect for 127 Hours, the movie itself would have failed. And that movie sure as hell didn’t fail.

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