Here we go with my annual Oscar predictions. Last year, I got 17 right out of 24 possible categories, which isn’t terrible. The 83rd Academy Awards will be broadcast this Sunday, Feb 27. If I change my mind on any of these before the big day, I’ll post any last-minute changes in the comments below. And I’ll post my final score too, even if it’s embarrassing.
127 Hours (Christian Colson, Danny Boyle, John Smithson, producers); Black Swan (Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver, Scott Franklin); The Fighter (David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman, Mark Wahlberg); Inception (Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas); The Kids Are All Right (Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, Celine Rattray); The King’s Speech (Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Gareth Unwin); The Social Network (Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca, Ceán Chaffin); Toy Story 3 (Darla K. Anderson); True Grit (Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Scott Rudin); Winter’s Bone (Anne Rosellini, Alix Madigan)
Prediction: The King’s Speech. If you’d asked me a month ago, I would have said The Social Network was a lock to win this. But in light of recent guild awards, namely both the Producers Guild of America and the Directors Guild of America awards both going to The King’s Speech, it looks like Speech is going to take this year’s top prize.
Javier Bardem for Biutiful; Jeff Bridges for True Grit; Jesse Eisenberg for The Social Network; Colin Firth for The King’s Speech; James Franco for 127 Hours
Prediction: Colin Firth. It’s definitely Firth’s year to win. Many felt he should have won last year for A Single Man, plus he delivers another terrific performance here. On top of all that, it can’t hurt that the movie itself is gaining Oscar momentum.
Annette Bening for The Kids Are All Right; Nicole Kidman for Rabbit Hole; Jennifer Lawrence for Winter’s Bone; Natalie Portman for Black Swan; Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine
Prediction: Natalie Portman. Like Firth, Portman has won virtually every acting award this season, so she seems assured to win the Oscar.
Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale for The Fighter; John Hawkes for Winter’s Bone; Jeremy Renner for The Town; Mark Ruffalo for The Kids Are All Right; Geoffrey Rush for The King’s Speech
Prediction: Christian Bale. This one’s another lock, as Bale has won just about every supporting actor award this season, except for the BAFTA which went to Geoffrey Rush. I’ve seen some talk recently of Rush pulling an upset here, but I’m not betting on it.
Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams for The Fighter; Helena Bonham Carter for The King’s Speech; Melissa Leo for The Fighter; Hailee Steinfeld for True Grit; Jacki Weaver for Animal Kingdom
Prediction: Melissa Leo. This one’s a little harder because Jacki Weaver has won a couple of supporting actress awards this season (LA Film Critics and National Board of Review), but Melissa Leo has won most of them, including the all-important SAG award (though Weaver wasn’t nominated for the SAG). More importantly, watch out for Hailee Steinfeld because she was amazing in True Grit and sometimes in the past the Best Supporting Actress Oscar has been awarded to someone young with an impressive film debut (think Tatum O’Neal for Paper Moon or Anna Paquin for The Piano).
Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan; Ethan Coen, Joel Coen for True Grit; David Fincher for The Social Network; Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech; David O. Russell for The Fighter
Prediction: Tom Hooper. Again, if you’d asked me a month ago, I would’ve said David Fincher had this category locked up. But the Directors Guild of America award went to Hooper and generally the DGA award winner goes on to win the Oscar. (Personally I’ll be very happy if I get this one wrong and Fincher ends up taking home the Oscar for The Social Network.)
Best Original Screenplay
Another Year (Mike Leigh); The Fighter (Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, Keith Dorrington); Inception (Christopher Nolan); The Kids Are All Right (Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg); The King’s Speech (David Seidler)
Prediction: David Seidler. Since one of the strengths of The King’s Speech is its terrific screenplay, I’ll be shocked if Seidler doesn’t win this.
Best Adapted Screenplay
127 Hours (Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy); The Social Network (Aaron Sorkin); Toy Story 3 (Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich); True Grit (Joel Coen, Ethan Coen); Winter’s Bone (Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini)
Prediction: Aaron Sorkin. When I saw The Social Network back in October, I couldn’t imagine Sorkin not winning this award. He’s won most of the screenplay awards this season, including the WGA, and he’ll most likely be taking home a well-deserved Oscar as well.
Best Animated Feature
How to Train Your Dragon (Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders); The Illusionist (Sylvain Chomet); Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich)
Prediction: Toy Story 3. Do I really need to explain this one?
Best Foreign Language Film
Biutiful (Alejandro González Iñárritu, Mexico); Dogtooth (Giorgos Lanthimos, Greece); In a Better World (Susanne Bier, Denmark); Incendies (Denis Villeneuve, Canada); Outside the Law (Rachid Bouchareb, Algeria)
Prediction: In a Better World. Despite the fact that Javier Bardem is nominated for Biutiful, I think the race is going to end up being between In a Better World and Incendies. Instead of flipping a coin, I’m going with In a Better World because it won the Golden Globe in this category. Admittedly, Incendies wasn’t nominated for the Golden Globe, but I’m still going with In a Better World.
Black Swan (Matthew Libatique); Inception (Wally Pfister); The King’s Speech (Danny Cohen); The Social Network (Jeff Cronenweth); True Grit (Roger Deakins)
Prediction: True Grit. Really tough category. The American Society of Cinematographers award went to Wally Pfister, but the BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) award went to Roger Deakins. Originally I went with Inception but changed my mind at the last minute. I’m thinking that the highly-respected Deakins is the slight favorite. This is his 9th nomination and he’s never won, plus it can’t hurt that the cinematography in the film is beautiful.
127 Hours (Jon Harris); Black Swan (Andrew Weisblum); The Fighter (Pamela Martin); The King’s Speech (Tariq Anwar); The Social Network (Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall)
Prediction: The Social Network. Let me first get my head around the fact that Inception wasn’t nominated in this category. Seriously, what’s up with that? Bright side: it makes my choice much easier. Both the BAFTA and the American Cinema Editors awards went to The Social Network, so that’s where I’m placing my bet.
Best Art Direction
Alice in Wonderland (Robert Stromberg, Karen O’Hara); Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (Stuart Craig, Stephenie McMillan); Inception (Guy Hendrix Dyas, Larry Dias, Douglas A. Mowat); The King’s Speech (Eve Stewart, Judy Farr); True Grit (Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh)
Prediction: The King’s Speech. Two other major contenders in this category are Alice in Wonderland and Inception. I’m going with The King’s Speech here because I think it will sweep a few more awards along with its Best Picture win. Also, period films tend to do well in this category.
Best Costume Design
Alice in Wonderland (Colleen Atwood); I Am Love (Antonella Cannarozzi); The King’s Speech (Jenny Beavan); The Tempest (Sandy Powell); True Grit (Mary Zophres)
Prediction: Alice in Wonderland. I know it’s tough with The King’s Speech in this category, but I’m going to give the slight edge to Colleen Atwood’s flamboyant costumes for Alice.
Barney’s Version (Adrien Morot); The Way Back (Edouard F. Henriques, Greg Funk, Yolanda Toussieng); The Wolfman (Rick Baker, Dave Elsey)
Prediction: The Wolfman. This one of the strangest assortment of makeup nominees in many years. When in doubt in this category, I generally go with Rick Baker, who has won an impressive six Oscars.
Best Original Score
127 Hours (A.R. Rahman); How to Train Your Dragon (John Powell); Inception (Hans Zimmer); The King’s Speech (Alexandre Desplat); The Social Network (Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross)
Prediction: The Social Network. The way this score works in the movie is so striking, I don’t see how it can lose. The only one that might give it a run for its money is Zimmer’s excellent Inception score, but ultimately I think the voters will go for the ambient yet effective score for The Social Network.
Best Original Song
“If I Rise,” from 127 Hours (A.R. Rahman, Rollo Armstrong, Dido); “Coming Home,” from Country Strong (Tom Douglas, Hillary Lindsey, Troy Verges); “I See the Light,” from Tangled (Alan Menken, Glenn Slater); “We Belong Together,” from Toy Story 3 (Randy Newman)
Prediction: “We Belong Together.” With no songs from Burlesque in the running, it looks like Randy Newman will pick up his second Oscar. (His first win, after 16 nominations, was for the song “If I Didn’t Have You,” from Monsters, Inc. in 2002.)
Best Sound Mixing
Inception (Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo, Ed Novick); The King’s Speech (Paul Hamblin, Martin Jensen, John Midgley); Salt (Jeffrey J. Haboush, William Sarokin, Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell); The Social Network (Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick, Mark Weingarten); True Grit (Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff, Peter F. Kurland)
Prediction: Inception. This is a very tough category, with several deserving nominees. Often in these cases, the Best Picture winner will sweep a few other awards such as this one. But although the mix in The King’s Speech is good (the moment where Colin Firth first tries to deliver an amplified speech to a big crowd is particularly striking), I will gamble that this year’s big summer action film will walk home with the award — not that it doesn’t deserve it. (However if you ask me this prize should without question be awarded to The Social Network.)
Best Sound Editing
Inception (Richard King); Toy Story 3 (Tom Myers, Michael Silvers); TRON: Legacy (Gwendolyn Yates Whittle, Addison Teague); True Grit (Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey); Unstoppable (Mark P. Stoeckinger)
Best Visual Effects
Alice in Wonderland (Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas, Sean Phillips); Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz, Nicolas Aithadi); Hereafter (Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojansky, Joe Farrell); Inception (Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley, Pete Bebb, Paul J. Franklin); Iron Man 2 (Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright, Daniel Sudick)
Prediction: Inception. Apparently the visual effects in The Social Network were so seamless, everyone forgot that Armie Hammer isn’t really twins. This leaves Inception with very little chance of losing.
Best Documentary Feature
Exit Through the Gift Shop (Banksy, Jaimie D’Cruz); GasLand (Josh Fox, Trish Adlesic); Inside Job (Charles Ferguson, Audrey Marrs); Restrepo (Tim Hetherington, Sebastian Junger); Waste Land (Lucy Walker, Angus Aynsley)
Prediction: Inside Job. I realize Exit Through the Gift Shop seems like the obvious choice here, but this is one of the few categories in which voters must attend special screenings to prove they’ve seen all of the nominated films. As a result, a small percentage of Academy members actually vote in this category and the people who do vote are typically documentary fans who aren’t necessarily going to favor the most popular film.
Best Documentary Short
Killing in the Name (Jed Rothstein); Poster Girl (Sara Nesson, Mitchell Block); Strangers No More (Karen Goodman, Kirk Simon); Sun Come Up (Jennifer Redfearn, Tim Metzger); The Warriors of Qiugang (Ruby Yang, Thomas Lennon)
Prediction: Strangers No More.
Best Animated Short
Day & Night (Teddy Newton); The Gruffalo (Jakob Schuh, Max Lang); Let’s Pollute (Geefwee Boedoe); The Lost Thing (Shaun Tan, Andrew Ruhemann); Madagascar, a Journey Diary (Bastien Dubois)
Prediction: The Gruffalo.
Best Live-Action Short
The Confession (Tanel Toom); The Crush (Michael Creagh); God of Love (Luke Matheny); Na Wewe (Ivan Goldschmidt); Wish 143 (Ian Barnes, Samantha Waite)
Prediction: Na Wewe.
As always, good luck in your Oscar pool!