presented by J:

so, it’s been over a week since one of us has posted, but we’ve been busy with going to the hospital, fighting with insurance, etc.  i’m sure my sweet wife will catch you up on that soon.

but for now the impending subject is the 83rd Academy Awards being held this Sunday.  though i do not always whole-heartedly agree with the Academy’s choices (see: Out of Africa), I do have their awards to thank for my being a cinephile, and for exposing me to great films I probably would not have normally seen (see: A Man For All Seasons).  i have been on a mission since high school to see every Best Picture winner and am still one short, the elusive 1933 winner, Cavalcade, which i hear is not very good and has never been released on DVD (not even by China, which means it must not be very good at all).

anyway, click below to see my picks for each of the categories being announced this Sunday.  believe it or not, i actually shortened this from how it was originally…

we’ll start off with the acting categories:

Best Actor
will win: Colin Firth for playing King G-G-George VI in The King’s Speech.  he’s won pretty much every other acting award leading up to the Oscars and it’s his to lose.  he’s been in the industry for a long time, has always been an exceptional talent, and with his second nomination in a row (and even better performance than last year’s nom), he will be taking the stage.
could win: James Franco.  see below.
who i would vote for: James Franco for 127 Hours.  he truly carries the film and embodied this real-life human being.  apparently, his performance left the real Aron Ralston emotionally speechless.

Best Actress
will win: Natalie Portman in Black Swan.  she put everything into the role of a ballerina losing her grip on reality – and there’s a lot of love in the industry for her right now.
could win: Annette Bening for The Kids Are All Right.  also a lot of love for her in Hollywood and some feel she is due after 3 previous nominations.  (tell that to Peter O’Toole, who has a whopping 8 nominations to his name and only an honorary statuette to show for it.)
who i would vote for: Natalie Portman.  it’s simply the best performance in this category, hand’s down, and she deserves it for merit, not because of “being due.”

Best Supporting Actor
will win: Christian Bale for playing colorful coke-addict ex-boxer Dicky Eklund in The Fighter, or at least, that’s how most people are calling it.
could win: my bet, however, is that Geoffrey Rush will surprise for his performance as unconventional, Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue in The King’s Speech.  he’s classier than Bale and many would love to see him win, and he is the “old man” in the category, which is often enough for a win (see: Alan Arkin).
who i would vote for: John Hawkes for Winter’s Bone.  he gave the grittiest, most real performance of this crew.  he doesn’t stand a chance, but i hope his nomination leads to more roles.

Best Supporting Actress
will win: Melissa Leo is certainly the favorite, and if you’ve seen The Fighter, you know why.  she nailed the role of Alice Ward, boxer Mickey Ward’s domineering, chain-smoking mother
could win: the delightfully-quirky Helena Bonham Carter could pull out a win if love for The King’s Speech is strong enough, or even Hailee Steinfeld – she’s no Tatum O’Neal, but it wouldn’t be a complete surprise if the Academy chose to reward her for what was really a leading, not supporting, performance in True Grit.
who i would vote for:  Melissa Leo for the best supporting performance of the year.

Best Animated Feature
will winToy Story 3 – it’s also nominated for Best Picture, so there’s little doubt
could winHow To Train Your Dragon – it’s Dreamworks best animated film yet, but sadly, it doesn’t really stand a chance against the above mentioned film.
who i would vote forTangled – if it had been nominated, but since not – Toy Story 3

Best Art Direction
will win: most people are calling it for Alice in Wonderland, since Tim Burton‘s films have never failed to win the award when they get nominated in this category.
could win: personally, my bet is on The King’s Speech, because that was one of the most stand-out parts of the movie.  Inception or True Grit could sneak in, though, the latter is less likely.
who i would vote for: The King’s Speech.  despite the fact that the therapy room was also previously used for a gay British porn flick and an Amy Winehouse music video (possibly one in the same), the overall art direction of the film was its best feature, outside of the performances.

Best Cinematography
will win: Roger Deakins for True Grit.  he’s been nominated 8 times previously without a win, so it’s time to recognize this master of the camera for the best-looking film of the year.
could win: Danny Cohen for The King’s Speech if it sweeps the awards, or Wally Pfister for Inception.
who i would vote for: Roger Deakins, though I would be sorely tempted to vote for Matthew Libatique for his stunning work on Black Swan.

Best Costume Design
will win: conventional wisdom in this category is that the most costumes win (see: The Young Victoria).  if that be true, then Alice in Wonderland is the frontrunner.
could win: The King’s Speech love could extend to this category, and that is my personal bet.  True Grit could also pull off a win here, but the fact that a Western has never won in this category kinda works against it.  one thing’s for certain…it won’t be that movie masquerading as an adaptation of Will Shakespeare’s excellent play, The Tempest.
who i would vote for: True Grit’s costumes truly help bring out the personality of every single character in a thoughtful, artistic way rarely seen in most films.

Best Director
will win: history is on the side of Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech, but I really think David Fincher will win for his work on The Social Network.  it just feels like a year where Best Director and Best Picture will be split, which means Fincher wins.
could win: history could prevail and award Tom Hooper.  most people are betting on that to be the case.
who i would vote for:  Ethan and Joel Coen.  i don’t really think their work on True Grit was better than Aronofsky‘s work on Black Swan, but they get the edge as two of my favorite filmmakers.

Best Documentary (Feature)
will win: the favorite seems to be Inside Job, which appears to be the most informative of the films (that’s the point of documentaries, right?) and also has the most precursor awards to its name.
could win: Exit Through the Gift Shop is an incredibly popular film and could win, much to the Academy’s chagrin of making prank-artist/activist Banksy an Oscar-winner.
who i would vote for: though i enjoyed Inside Job, i would vote for Restrepo, which shows what it is like to go into battle with troops stationed in Afghanistan.  not many documentarians have the guts to go get shot at by the Taliban just to make a movie.

Best Documentary (Short)
i’ve seen none of these this year, sadly, but the nominees are Killing in the NamePoster GirlStrangers No MoreSun Come Up, and The Warriors of Quigang.

will win: Strangers No More, which is about a multi-cultural school in Tel Aviv, seems to be the favorite.
could win: Killing in the Name, which tells the story of a man whose fiancee was killed by a suicide bomber during the wedding, has enough emotional appeal to sway voters.
who i would vote for: no clue.

Best Film Editing

will win: The Social Network.  it’s editing is pretty unnoticeable – which is a good thing – especially given all the talking in this movie.  talky movies require more subtle and delicate editing because mistakes can be noticed more easily without explosions or gunfire distracting the viewer.

could win: The King’s Speech or Black Swan could potentially see some love here.  even 127 Hours stands a shot because it had great editing and it might get “sympathy” votes in this category since it’s not likely to win many of its 6 nominations.
who i would vote for: 127 Hours.

Best Foreign Language Film
sadly, i have seen none of these yet, but the nominees are Biutiful from Mexico, Dogtooth from Greece, In a Better World from Denmark, Incendies from Canada, and Outside the Law from outside the country.

will win: most are calling it for In a Better World from Denmark.  it won the Golden Globe in this category and has a lot of praise behind it.
could win: the Golden Globes don’t match up a whole lot with the Academy in this category, however, so Incendies from Canada could win, though Biutiful could be Mexico’s first winner.
who i would vote for: since i haven’t seen any of these, couldn’t say…but probably Biutiful simply on Iñárritu‘s reputation alone.

Best Makeup
will win: Barney’s Version – there’s enough love of the film for it to win by merit alone.
could win: The Wolfman, because it was showy.
who i would vote for: The Way Back, because it’s directed by one of my favorites.

Best Original Score
will win: Alexandre Desplat for The King’s Speech.  the score is fairly unremarkable, but the Academy has never awarded Desplat, and this will probably be his year.
could win: The Social Network could win here, though it could be any of the other nominees – 127 Hours, How To Train Your Dragon, and Inception all have advocates.
who i would vote for: Hans Zimmer for Inception – because he hasn’t won since The Lion King, despite lots of excellent work, especially on Inception.

Best Original Song
will win: “We Belong Together” from Toy Story 3, by Randy Newman.
could win: “If I Rise” from 127 Hours or “I See the Light” from Tangled.
who i would vote for: “I See the Light” – the music fit perfectly with the most breathtakingly gorgeous scene of the year.

Best Animated Short Film

will win: The Gruffalo – and why not?  it has a great name.
could win: Day & Night
who i would vote for: i’ve only seen Day & Night, so sure.
Best Live Action Short Film
will win: Na Wewe seems to be the favorite.
could win: God of Love has a strong fan base and many say it will win.
who i would vote for: i’ve only seen Wish 143, and thought it was pretty solid.

Best Sound Editing
will win: Inception is a safe bet here.
could win: True Grit has its fans and could win.
who i would vote for: Inception

Best Sound Mixing
will win: Inception would not be a bad guess here either.
could win: Salt was a semi-surprise nominee here and could actually walk away with Oscar.
who i would vote for: True Grit.  it’s score wasn’t eligible for nomination, but the way all of the sound, music or not, is woven into the film make for an enjoyable auditory experience.

Best Visual Effects
will win: Inception, duh.
could win: Alice in Wonderland had the most effects, but that’s not typically how this category is decided.
who i would vote for: Inception

Best Adapted Screenplay
will win: Aaron Sorkin will win for The Social Network.  it’s script was the movie’s best asset.
could win: Michael Arndt won an Oscar for his original screenplay of Little Miss Sunshine, and did an exceptional job on the Toy Story finale.
who i would vote for: Joel and Ethan Coen for True Grit.  they remain the most consistently great writers in the industry.

Best Original Screenplay
will win: David Seidler for The King’s Speech.  it was this story that inspired him to overcome his own speech impediment and he had to wait decades to see the film get made.
could win: Christopher Nolan for Inception – after getting passed up for the 3rd time in the Best Director category, he could get thrown a bone here.  plus, it’s the best script he’s written by himself.
who i would vote for: Inception, for the most original and creative story of the year.

and finally, we get to…

Best Picture
the nominees are: Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, The King’s Speech, 127 Hours, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit, and Winter’s Bone.

will win:  The King’s Speech – with 12 nominations, the Producer’s Guild Award, the Director’s Guild Award, and the BAFTA award, it would take an anti-miracle for it to not win.
could win: The Social Network could defy the odds of its 8 nominations and go home the victor after winning practically every critics’ award in sight and the Golden Globe.
who i would vote for: True Grit.  i thought it was the best thing i saw in 2010, and though it has no shot of winning since it was not nominated for Best Film Editing, i would be giddy to see it win.

and there you have it!  enjoy the show.

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