To the list for Best Picture (* denotes a movie I've seen):
Black Swan *
The Kids Are All Right *
The King's Speech
127 Hours *
The Social Network *
Toy Story 3
True Grit *
Ha HA! Compare that list to last year's and I'm ahead of the game in a big way! Six of those I HAVE seen; two of those I know for sure are still in theaters; one of them (Toy Story 3) will be trouble; and the other I haven't even heard of ever (Winter's Bone? Is that a thing?)
I'm already on record as stating The Social Network WILL win, so that's my obvious pick. If I had to go by favorites ... I dunno, I'd probably still stick with The Social Network. Yes, Inception was a visual marvel, but from what I recall it dragged ass at times. Black Swan had me hooked from beginning to end ... but when you get right down to it, it's a movie about ballerinas. Mila Kunis is hot, but unfortunately she's not in it too much (although that lesbian hate sex scene will be burned into my memory for all eternity). True Grit was solid, but it's yet another western and if you've seen one you've pretty much seen them all. 127 Hours was entertaining, and they certainly did a lot with a little; but in the end it's a tour de force acting job by James Franco and not much else.
You know what I liked a lot and really hope becomes a kind of dark horse candidate? The Kids Are All Right. In my book, both nominated actors (Annette Bening and Mark Ruffalo) would win their respective catagories. It was funny and sad and it just felt real. For a movie about two lesbians, their children, and the sperm donor father they meet 15 years later, there was opportunity after opportunity for trite cliche and squirming hokeyness. But, they refrained, and left you with naught but the raw emotions. Just an excellent film that has no chance in hell of winning Best Picture.
If I had to rank them, Vegas-style in who I THINK will win, it goes something like this:
The Social Network
The King's Speech
... and the rest. Again, the token Pixar film is up for nomination, but I doubt it has a chance in hell either. And if I haven't heard of Winter's Bone, I bet a lot of the voters out there haven't either. They totally should've nominated The Way Back. I didn't even think it was eligible, since I just saw it last week (it's opening week); but it must have had a limited release before the new year. The Way Back was excellent! About these Soviets in a Siberian prison camp; they make their escape through the snow, southbound, 4,000 miles to India. All it got was a lousy Best Makeup nomination. What a crock of shit!
Anyway, ON TO THE ACTORS!
Javier Bardem in
Jeff Bridges in "True Grit"
Jesse Eisenberg in "The Social Network"
Colin Firth in "The King's Speech"
James Franco in "127 Hours"
Colin Firth in a landslide. They've been talking about him and only him in this movie since its release, he will win. I put my There Will Be Blood Stamp Of Approval on it! As for the actors I DID see in this catagory, it's really a toss-up between Bridges and Franco. I'd probably lean Franco's direction; he's showing he's come a long way from his Freaks And Geeks roots.
Annette Bening in "The Kids Are All Right"
Nicole Kidman in "Rabbit Hole"
Jennifer Lawrence in "Winter's Bone"
Natalie Portman in "Black Swan"
Michelle Williams in "Blue Valentine"
This one's tough. The Globes winners are going head to head (Bening & Portman). I heard great things about Michelle Williams; and nothing about the other two. If you put a gun to my head, I'd say either Bening or Williams, with Portman being the favorite who doesn't win. Just call me crazy if you want, but I think we're going to see a Black Swan backlash combined with some real support for The Kids Are All Right as more people get reacquainted with it via Netflix. My gut is telling me to side with Williams, but when I visualize it, all I can see is Bening.
Christian Bale in "The Fighter"
John Hawkes in "Winter's Bone"
Jeremy Renner in "The Town"
Mark Ruffalo in "The Kids Are All Right"
Geoffrey Rush in "The King's Speech"
Well, now I want to see The King's Speech even more, now that I know Geoffrey Rush is in it. The way I saw this going in, this is Christian Bale's catagory to lose. Since he's a total dick, however, I could see him losing some of the vote. I haven't seen The Town, but I can't imagine a supporting actor in a heist movie would win anything. And, as much as I liked Ruffalo's character, I really don't think The Kids Are All Right is going to do any cleaning up at the Oscars. Put me down for Geoffrey Rush and don't say I didn't warn you.
Amy Adams in "The Fighter"
Helena Bonham Carter in "The King's Speech"
Melissa Leo in "The Fighter"
Hailee Steinfeld in "True Grit"
Jacki Weaver in "Animal Kingdom"
Uh huh, uh huh! Token child actor (Hailee Steinfeld) nominated but won't win! Always the bridesmaid! This one is going to come down to one of The Fighter ladies and since Melissa Leo is on everyone's short list, I'm going with her. What the hell is an Animal Kingdom? And why wasn't Mila Kunis nominated for her hotness alone? SHE'S SO DAMN HOT!
Toy Story 3 wins best animated feature. Alice In Wonderland wins Best Costumes. Inception gets thrown a bone with best Art Direction and/or Cinematography. The Social Network also takes Best Director because - thanks to Inception's exclusion - it has no competition. The Social Network continues its overall domination with Best Adapted Screenplay. And The King's Speech takes Best Original Screenplay.
Finally, let's take a look at the "Popular" movies and what they were nominated in!
Iron Man 2 - Best Visual Effects
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 - Best Visual Effects
Alice in Wonderland - Best Visual Effects
Salt - Sound Mixing
Unstoppable (a.k.a. "That Denzel Washington Train Movie") - Sound Editing
Tron: Legacy - Sound Editing
Alice In Wonderland - Costume Design
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 - Art Direction
Alice In Wonderland - Art Direction
That's it. Tell me again, what was the point of expanding Best Picture to 10 films? Wasn't it to put SOMETHING the public at large liked into a major catagory? Aside from Token Pixar Film (which is the movie MOST average Americans have seen), what was actually popular at the box office? Inception I guess? I'm actually kind of surprised it's in the Top 5 grosses of 2010, but I wouldn't say it's generating the kind of public affection of something like Alice In Wonderland (#2 in 2010), Iron Man 2 (#3), that Twilight movie (#4) or even the Harry Potter movie (#6). Unless you're prepared to give it to Toy Story 3 (#1 in 2010 by a large margin), you're likely not giving it to anything in the Top 25. Here's the list of Best Picture Nominees as ranked by money earned:
#1 - Toy Story 3 ($415 mil)
#5 - Inception ($293 mil)
#17 - True Grit ($138 mil)
#29 - The Social Network ($95.4 mil)
#38 - Black Swan ($83.3 mil)
#45 - The Fighter ($72.7 mil)
#60 - The King's Speech ($57.3 mil)
#114 - The Kids Are All Right ($20.8 mil)
#129 - 127 Hours ($11.3 mil)
#145 - Winter's Bone ($6.2 mil)
So ... that's something. Three of the ten have topped $100 million. Not good for the ratings, Academy, not good at all. Did Winter's Bone REALLY need to be nominated? Look at those numbers!
Also, I saw Exit Through The Gift Shop and I hope it wins Best Documentary, if for no other reason than to see if Banksy shows up and/or sends a video thanking absolutely no one