Oscar season is upon us; it is time for the Academy to look back on its achievements this past year, and pat itself on the back. However, there is always a discrepancy between what the fans (and sometimes the critics) want and what the Academy deems to be the best of the best. Therefore, I’ve compiled a list of the more notable nominations along with certain predictions.
The “Who will win” category is for who I believe will win based on how the Academy has voted in prior awards; “What should win” is what I think the winner is based solely on the context of the film and its competitors. I’ve also left a special category for things that are completely missing from the ballot but deserve to be there.
Who will win: The King’s Speech
You do not get twelve nominations without becoming the favorite of the Academy. While it is an amazing film on its own, it’s safe to bet that it will take Best Picture, Hollywood is not known for taking risks.
Who should win: Inception
The most creative and pulse pounding film of the decade. This is without a doubt the best film made this year. Unfortunately it is too mainstream for the Academy to allow it a win.
Who is missing: The Green Zone
Probably the most high-octane thriller besides Inception, the movie is not only a white-knuckle thriller, it is also incredibly smart. Take True Grit out and add this baby in.
Who will win: David Fincher (The Social Network)
Long overdue for an Oscar, the Academy will not let his latest effort go unrewarded, and frankly they shouldn’t. Only Fincher could make nerds coding seem like a high thrill chase scene
Who should win: Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan)
Making ballet seem more beautiful yet haunting is a challenge for any director and Aronofsky accomplishes it in spectacular fashion. However he still has potential to do better, whereas Fincher may have just made his masterpiece.
Who is missing: Christopher Nolan (“Inception”)
The Coen Brothers have an Oscar and frankly True Grit is not their best film by far. Nolan delivered this year with the best film of his career.
Who will win: Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech”)
Once again, the man missed the mark last year so the Academy seems keen to reward him. I am not saying it is a consolation price but it might be another career Oscar rather than a performance Oscar.
Who should win: James Franco (“127 Hours”)
Franco carried “127 Hours” on his shoulders. The one man spectacle leaves you breathless not only with the gruesome imagery but by the authentic delivery Franco brings to the screen.
Who is missing: Joaquin Phoenix (“I’m Still Here”)
The Academy tends to overlook method actors who take their roles past the studio and into the real world (with Daniel Day Lewis being the exception). When Sasha Baron Cohen transformed himself for “Borat” the Academy didn’t even bat an eyelash and this year as Joaquin Phoenix destroyed his public image for a mockumentarian, there is no recognition.
Who will win: Natalie Portman (“Black Swan”)
Long overdue for her, there is frankly not too much competition. The risk involved in this role far outweighs the other candidates.
Who should win: Michelle Williams (“Blue Valentine”)
This may be her only chance at nabbing the gold and her dramatically powerful performance is more than worthy of praise.
Who is missing: Anne Hathaway (“Love and Other Drugs”)
The Academy seems to always overlook romantic comedies and this year was no exception. Hathaway’s performance was good enough to at least land her on the ballot.
Best Supporting Actor:
Who will win: Geophrey Rush (“The King’s Speech”)
In a movie were acting is the only thing driving it, it would be no surprise that it takes at least two acting statues.
Who should win: Christian Bale (“The Fighter”)
When the supporting actor upstages the main actor you know you have a winner. Christian Bale is more than deserving this year.
Who is missing: Andrew Garfield(“The Social Network”)
How he is not on the ballot is beyond me. Maybe they think he will do better another year, and they’re probably right. However we need to all remember his performance this year before he dons the Spider Suit and falls into the franchise machine.
Best Supporting Actress:
Who will win: Helena Bonham Carter (“The King’s Speech”)
For such an accomplished actress not to have an Oscar looks bad on the Academy, which is why I see her picking up the statue this coming ceremony.
Who should win: Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”)
Young talent always surprises anyone who stumbles upon it, however, Steinfeld far from surprised me; she blew me away with her take on Mattie Ross. The maturity and complexity of the role far surpasses that of the script surrounding it.
Who is missing: Mila Kunis (“Black Swan”)
This may be another one time nominee. Nonetheless her take on the carefree ballerina was just as good as Portman’s, and deserves to be on the ballot.
Who will win: “Toy Story 3”
Without a doubt the best animated film since Wall-E. This gem is pure perfection and more than deserving of all the nominations it got.
Who should win: “Toy Story 3”
There is no competition. Toy story should and will win.
Who is missing: “Despicable Me”
It’s so FLUFFY!
Best Original Screeplay:
Who will win: David Seidler (“The King’s Speech”)
British man with British problems in a period piece. The script in this movie is pure Oscar fodder and it will be shown in the ceremony.
Who should win: Christopher Nolan (“Inception”)
If this film did not blow your mind, you were not paying attention. This is by far the best story and downright concept I have ever seen in a film all year.
Who is missing: Vincenzo Natali (“Splice”)
This Frankensteinian tale of genetic engineering brought enough cool twists and social commentary to place it on the list. There was tough competition this year, which is why this cult film did not have a chance to shine.
Best Adapted Screenplay:
Who will win: Aaron Sorkin (“The Social Network”)
Probably the more deserving one of the Oscars it is nominated for. Sorkin’s script is poised to land as the best one of the year.
Who should win: Michael Arndt (“Toy Story 3”)
If you did not cry during this film then something is not working inside your inner child. It is truly an achievement to make me care this much about toys and their dilemmas.
Who is missing: Steve Kolves (“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1”)
Taking a book of this magnitude and making the decision to split it into two movies not for the sake of profit but in order to provide a well developed and clear conclusion to the largest film franchise of the generation is more than deserving to land on any best screenplay lists.
Who will win: Alexandre Desplat (“The King’s Speech”)
The Academy is bound to pick this over any other. Not that it is a bad score, but there is no risk in picking it.
Who should win: Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross (“The Social Network”)
Risk would involve picking this avant-garde, alternative-electronic soundtrack that fit perfectly into the cold, calculated feel of the film.
Who is missing: Daft Punk (“Tron Legacy”)
What would be risky beyond words is placing techno gods into the ballot. The soundtrack for this movie is so good it can stand alone as a CD purchase and still blow anyone away.
Who will win: “Restrepo”
Powerful documentary on war and its effect on those involved in it. It paints the most realistic picture of what we are doing in Afghanistan and why we don’t belong there. It breaks enough social boundaries as the Academy expects.
Who should win: “Exit Through the Gift Shop”
The tale of renegade graffiti artist Bansky seems too left field for the Academy, but we could be pleasantly surprised.
Who is missing: “Waiting for Superman”
Education reform is a pressing issue and this documentary delivered on its promise while maintaining its position as an amazing film.
Who will win: Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter(“The Social Network”)
Making coding seem exiting is not easy, yet the editing here did just that. Once again a deserving Oscar should it fall this way.
Who should win: Jon Harris (“127 Hours”)
Having a movie about a man stuck in a rock for five days seem like a lifelong trip is not something that should be taken lightly. The editing pressing is tight, calculated and the best I’ve seen all year.
Who is missing: Dylan Tichenor (“The Town”)
Sure, bank heists are overdone, which is why the ability to make them seem this exciting all over again should have earned this film a place on the ballot.
Who will win: Danny Cohen (“The King’s Speech”)
Despite being a period piece, the film does do some really interesting stuff with the camera placement and balance of shots. Nonetheless it falls into the “predictable” category mostly due to the other awards this is nominated for.
Who should win: Matthew Libatique (“Black Swan”)
Probably the most visually intrusive movie of the past couple of years. The feeling of tension and beauty delivered with each shot is something that needs to be experienced.
Who is missing: Anthony Dod Mantle and Enrique Chediak (“127 Hours”)
The shots created in this film are some of the best seen this year. Everything from the camera angles as we see our main character struggle to survive, to the way they present his needs, makes this film more than deserving of a place on the ballot.