Thursday, February 24, 2011

Oscar predix: The BIG ones

When the Oscars air Sunday, Sunday just might be a literal term for me.

This will be the first year I'm not watching the Oscars in Ohio. I'm taking a trip down to the Mouse House in Florida, where I understand the sun has been rather abundant of late. So not long after I wipe myself out walking through World Showcase at Epcot, I will be relaxing and watching the telecast

However, since I'm quite busy getting ready for the trip, I MIGHT not have time to predict as many categories as I usually do, or go into great detail on how I made all my picks.

That being the case, I plan to at least give you the major categories now, and if time allows, I will at least list the techs on Friday. I will also be Tweeting @sircritic and posting on Facebook that evening if you'd like to follow me in those domains.

For now, here are the Big Six in this domain:


Javier Bardem, Biutiful: He has a lot of passionate supporters and was something of a surprise nominee. He’s almost always great. But his film has not been widely seen, and it’s not that well liked.

Jeff Bridges, True Grit: He’s one of the industry’s most well-respected actors, and he accomplished the unenviable task of following in John Wayne’s footsteps. Only thing is, he just won last year, for Crazy Heart, and I’m not sure he’s SO beloved to win two years in a row, like Spencer Tracy and Tom Hanks did.

Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network: He very effectively shattered the beef against him that he plays the same likable geek every time, playing Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg as a standoffish genius/traitor, bu he still found an emotional center to the role. I think some voters will be put off by the coldness of the character, though.

Colin Firth, The King’s Speech: He had to play someone who was afraid of his own shadow, but who still seemed like he could be king, and he did it with absolute assurance. Firth is extremely well-liked, and he has a lot of goodwill from his nomination for A Single Man last year. And he’s in the presumed Best Picture winner. The Oscar is his to lose.

James Franco, 127 Hours: He had to carry an entire film almost on the strength of his performance. He is very often the only character onscreen. He IS the film. He’s co-hosting the Oscars this Sunday, so obviously he’s very well liked. However, many find a movie about a man who has to hack his own arm off a very tough sit.

Sir Critic’s prediction: Colin Firth

If it were up to me: Much as I love Firth's performance, I think Eisenberg did the canniest, trickiest work of the lot.


Annette Bening, The Kids are All Right: Let’s face it, Bening is greatly overdue. If anyone can beat front-runner Portman, it’s her. Bening will win someday. Just not this year.

Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole: Kidman turned in her best work in years for this very affecting film, but Rabbit Hole never gained much traction, and Kidman won fairly recently for The Hours.

Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone: Her film has a fervent following, and it’s largely because of her. She was very natural and powerful in a difficult part, and she’s only 20. But all that being the case, she’ll be back.This isn’t her time.

Natalie Portman, Black Swan: She’s won every precursor award under the sun, and even people who didn’t like Black Swan tip their hats to Portman. The one thing that might trip her up is fatigue; she has two movie in theaters now, with at least two more on the way.

Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine: Much as she did in Brokeback Mountain she took the part of a tragic figure and made her mutli-dimensional. But like Kidman, she’s the lone nominee from her film, which hurts her chances. Some other year.

Sir Critic's prediction: Natalie Portman

If it were up to me: Portman gave the performance of the year. Period. If anyone else wins, even the great Michelle Williams, Natalie will have been robbed.


Christian Bale, The Fighter: Bale once again amazed with his chameleon-like abiltites. You completely by him as a gaunt crackhead and forget he was Batman. The question is, are people ready to forgive his sometimes boorish behavior? I think so.

John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone: Hawkes impressed many with his haunting turn as Jennifer Lawrene’s uncle. But the film is remembered primarily as Lawrence’s vehicle.

Jeremy Renner, The Town: Renner is on a roll, having been nominated last year for his similar live-wire performance in The Hurt Locker. However, The Town did not score very high in the nominations.

Mark Ruffalo, The Kids are All Right: He’s immensely winning as a man who tries to connect with the biological children he’s never known. He’s been doing good work for years, so he’s due - but this role may not be hefty enough.

Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech: Riotously funny but still maintainng gravitas when needed. Rush's performane is as key to the success of The King's Speech as Firth's, He’s the person most likely to upset Bale, but one must remember he’s already a winner, for the film Shine.

Sir Critic's prediction: Bale

If it Were Up to Me: It's not just Bale's weight loss that did the trick - he moved me too.


Amy Adams, The Fighter: Adams blew her goody-goody image out of the water with her tough-talking performance as Mark Wahlberg’s squeeze. This is her third nomination, so some may say she’s due. But costar Melssa Leo will cut into her vote.

Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech: Carter isn’t just due, she’s overdue, and she’s very touching as the suffering but steadfast Queen. However, her performance is a bit light compared to others in this category.

Melissa Leo, The Fighter: She completely disappeared into her role as Mark Wahlberg’s oppressive mother, and she’s won most of the precursor awards. However, she put off some voters with her misguided Oscar campaign glamour shot ads. She and Adams may cancel each other out.

Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit: The 14-year-old may be small in stature, but she loomed large in True Grit, where she was really the lead. She more than held her own with the likes of Matt Damon and Jeff Bridges and did it with supreme confidence. However, the category fraud may put off voters, as will her young age.

Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom: Many people say once you see her film, you have a hard time not voting for her. But can enough people say that?

Sir Critic’s predicton: This is the toughest call in the major races.  You could coook up any scenario for any of the nominees winning. However, I lean toward the Hailee Steinfeld scenario most strongly.

If it Were Up to Me: If I vote with my heart, I vote for Amy. But in all honesty,  Steinfeld impressed me even more.


Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan: The auteur has built a strong following over the years, and people who love Black Swan really love it. But too many people find his in-your-face approach off-putting
Joel and Ethan Coen, True Grit: The Coens are among the most well respected auteurs out there, and True Grit is their biggest hit to date. But they won very recently, for .No Country for Old Men
David Fincher, The Social Network: Yet another well-regarded autueur, Fincher is long overdue for a win, and his film earned the best reviews of his career.
Tom Hooper, The King's Speech : He won the Director’s Gulld award, which makes him  a favorite, and people love his film. But the winners usually exhibit strong visual personalities, and one could argue Hooper doesn’t have that. And this time, Hooper won't have the support of guild TV directors, who I believe tipped the scales in his favor at DGA.  
David O. Russell, The Fighter : Like Fincher, he’s a respected auteur and is hitting a carrer peak. However, he has a penchant for alienating some of his actors (George Clooney refused to work for him ever again after Three Kings.)   
Sir Critic’s prediction: Conventional wisdome dictates that Hooper will take it, but I think we’ll see a repeat of Chicago’s year, when the relative neophute (Rob Marhshall) won DGA, but the autuer (Roman Polanski) won the Oscar. I predict Fincher. 
If it were up to me: The non-nominated Christopher Nolan, dammit! But since he's not here (grumble), I have to go for Fincher, who took a dialogue-driven film and still made it distinctly his. 


Black Swan
The Fighter
The Kids are All Right
The King’s Speech
127 Hours 
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit 
Winter’s Bone

Sir Critic's prediction: Rather than going over each film, I’ll break this down very simply. Only three movies have a shot at winning. True Grit is the long shot, leaving The Social Network and The King’s Speech as the main contenders. It’s an old Oscar story: The warm and fuzzy traditional film vs. the edgy, rule-breaking movie that Says Something Important. Whenever that battle happens (e.g. Forrest Gump vs. Pulp Fiction, heartwarming almost always wins. The King’s Speech is the film to beat. 

If it were up to me: Inception topped my list last year. I just wish it had a chance in hell of topping Oscar's list. Oh well. I can dream, can't I? 

1 comment:

vickie said...

So why did Inception get snubbed? One of the few we saw...