On Monday our time, it’ll be time to get excited about what a bunch of mostly aging, mostly acting, and mostly conservative people think are the best films and performances of the last year.
Yep, it’s time for the Oscars, and yeah they don’t matter, they’re always wrong blah blah. Bull I says. They are important, if for no other reason than, as William Goldman says, when the winner of one dies, his or her obituary in the newspaper will begin: “Oscar winning director/screenwriter/actor Joe Blow died this morning…”
Are the awards good judges of quality? Well does the phrase “Oscar winner Sandra Bullock” answer that question? Of course they get it wrong – hell I’ve written a stack of posts on just how wrong, but the wrongness is part of the charm. The ceremony itself will be dire. I mean really, really dire. it’s hosted by Anne Hathaway and James Franco? They couldn't find one stand up comic to do the gig? Not one? (Obviously they couldn’t get Ricky Gervais)
Ah well, enough bitching.
At work for the past three years I have run an Oscar tipping comp, which means I can’t enter it (and thus am denied the chance to win prizes up to and including $25). So here are my picks. The last time I did this – back in 2009 – I got a whopping 12 out of 24, so don’t be plonking down too much hard earned on any of these tips:
Best Motion Picture of the Year
The Social Network? Can I get a shout for “over-rated”? Apparently it was the Citizen Kane for our age, except Kane was about looking back over a man’s life; this film cuts out when the protagonist is all of what 24? I’m all for making films about current events, but this film is akin to making a film about the Beatles in 1963, and making the main story arc the removal of Pete Best from the group.
The King’s Speech was a great 2 hours. It appeals the the voter’s age and sentimentality. I’m locking it in (But I would have voted for Toy Story 3, if only as an award for the best trilogy in film history.)
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
If Firth doesn’t win this, there will be a people’s revolt comprised mostly of women who get all squiffy at the mere mention of Firth’s name. These women of course will own a very worn out DVD of Pride and Prejudice.
I thought Firth was excellent, and certainly deserves it. Jeff Bridges got the award last year, so won’t get it here for his excellent work in True Grit. Given this year he was also in Tron:Legacy I figure he’s lucky he wasn’t banned from the ceremony altogether.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
If you haven’t got Portman in your picks, you lose.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Would love Geoffrey Rush to get up, but Bale is the short priced favourite. If I was going to pick an upset, I’d pick Rush, but I figure given Bale as Batman has been in a franchise that has made a hell of a lot of money, the Academy will reward him for being actorly.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Melissa Leo is the favourite, but I think the Oscar voters will treat Steinfeld like another Anna Paquin. She was brilliant in True Grit – more than matching it with Jeff Bridges. And her scene where she barters about her father’s estate is the type of scene that grabs the votes.
Unfortunately Jacki Weaver will have to make do with her AFI Award for her great role in Animal Kingdom. Earlier on in the award season I had hope Animal Kingdom might have snared one or two other nominations – especially screenplay. But this is still a great achievement for a little Aussie flick.
Best Achievement in Directing
Personally I’d give it to Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan. But it’s down to Fincher or Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech. I have a feeling the King film gets the big one, and Fincher gets the consolation prize.
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Goes nicely with the Best Picture Award. If it doesn’t win this, I can’t see it getting up for the big gong.
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
Sorkin is a “name”, so he’ll get it. I don’t have any real qualms with it, other than in his Golden Globes speech he gave the biggest suck up to Mark Zuckerberg. Could you imagine Herrmann Mankiewicz giving a speech praising William Randolph Hearst?
My daughter at the moment is loving How to Train a Dragon, but Toy Story 3 is one for the ages.
Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Haven’t seen any of the nominated films but this one is set in WWII. The Academy usually likes those, so it’s my pick.
Best Achievement in Cinematography
He’s now been nominated eight times and he hasn’t won once. That kind of wait just begs some Oscar love.
Best Achievement in Editing
Go the Aussie Kirk Baxter! Also the editing in this film made the film what it is. Fincher didn’t really do much: it was all Sorkin’s script and the editing that made it look brilliant and cutting edge.
Best Achievement in Art Direction
Easily the most arty of the five nominees, so give it to Alice.
Best Achievement in Costume Design
Alice was all costumes and art.
Best Achievement in Makeup
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
The thing I liked best about The Social Network was the score, but I don’t think it was that great a year for music. Zimmer’s Inception score was pretty over the top Zimmer. The King’s Speech score is pleasant and fits the mood perfectly, so I’d be happy if that won as well.
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
Rahman and Newman have won recently, so I’ll go with the old Broadway pro, Alan Menken in Disney’s last fairy tale animated story.
Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
Inception and True Grit were the only two films to be nominated in both sound categories, so I’m splitting the awards between them. Is that logical? err well no. But I’m betting most of the actors who vote for these awards know about as much about how films actually get made as I do.
Best Achievement in Sound Editing
Cos, well who knows..
Best Achievement in Visual Effects
The dreams were cool, even if the story was a tad anaemic when you thought about it.
Best Documentary, Features
Yeah the Academy is conservative, but they gave a best Doco award to Mick Moore, so I figure they’ll like a bit of controversy that doesn't really shake up the industry too much – so I give it to Banksy.
Best Documentary, Short Subjects
Like I have any idea. I did an eeniee-meanie, and came up with this one. The subject seems to be nice an uplifting, so let’s go for it.
Best Short Film, Animated
Pixar gets it.
Best Short Film, Live Action
A film about a “lovestruck, lounge-singing darts champion”? I don’t care if it is any good; I want this to win!
And let’s go out with my favourite Oscar acceptance speech of all time (because of course I would have one!). I can’t embed it (the Academy doesn’t like embedding of its videos). It is by Billy Widler, accepting the Irving G Thalberg Award. It is an excellent speech (it starts at the 2.30 min mark – you can go back and listen to Jack Lemmon introduce him if you want).
Have a good weekend.