As today marks the Oscar Day, and with a little hint from a reader, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to just get different predictions and put them together before giving my opinion. I will say that I haven’t seen a couple of the movies that are up for the awards tonight. Below are predictions made by E! Online, Roger Ebert, Houston Chronicles “The Zest” and me. Enjoy and comment away. Who do you think should awards tonight?
Best Actor: E! Online: Javier Bardem, Biutiful—’cause every ballot should feature at least one Hail Mary pick. Roger Ebert: Colin Firth for “The King’s Speech.” Jeff Bridges is unlikely to win a second year in a row, and although James Franco did a heroic job under his (shall we say) constraints in “127 Hours,” Hollywood loves British history and often gives extra points to U.K. nominees. The Zest: Firth. Firth can and should win because he had the toughest job ever this year: He delivered a beautiful, emotional, tightly controlled performance while mimicking the stammer of King George VI. Oscar loves disability. Me: Gotta go with Ebert and the Zest on this one. Colin Firth gave a breath-taking and inspiring performance.
Best Actress: E! Online: Natalie Portman, The Black Swan—’cause even No Strings Attached made money. Rogert Ebert: Natalie Portman, she is very good in “Black Swan.” That’s beside the point. Everyone is good in this category. But she gets to “act” the most, which to the academy, often means “act out in emotional displays.” The Zest: Jennifer Lawrence, a mere teen when she shot the film, she displayed more maturity, authenticity and poise than most actors twice her age. OR Bening, a) has never snagged an Oscar despite three nominations and b) broke the Academy’s collective heart, I’m sure of it with that one stricken close-up in The Kids are All Right. Me: This one is a tough call for me but I’m gonna go with Annette Bening not just because she’s never won an Oscar but because from the little I’ve seen of the movie, I REALLY want to watch the rest.
Supporting Actor: E! Online: Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech—’cause this isn’t the Hail Mary pick you think it is. Rogert Ebert: Geoffrey Rush. Because it could be a “King’s Speech” year. The Zest: Bale. Bales’ jittery embodiment of Dicky Eklund vaults off the screen from the movie’s opening minutes. Flashy, transformative, touching: catnip for Oscar voters. Me: Considering how little respect I have for Bale, I gotta go with my gut on this one and my gut says: Geoffrey Rush.
Supporting Actress: E! Online: Melissa Leo, The Fighter’ cause we couldn’t quite talk ourselves into Hailee Steinfeld. Roger Ebert: The academy has a way in this category of anointing a plucky young newcomer, and the winner will be Hailee Steinfeld, who in fact played the lead in “True Grit,” no matter what the academy thinks. Melissa Leo and Amy Adams will split support for “The Fighter.” The Zest: Jacki Weaver, was the creepiest thing going on in one of the year’s best films. OR Amy Adams, Both Carter and Leo have one previous nomination apiece but Adams has two. I’m guessing third time lucky. Me: I’m stuck between two, Amy Adams and Helena Bonham Carter. Secretly I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Amy.
Directing: E! Online: David Fincher, The Social Network—’cause we have a suspicion that Tom Hooper isn’t famous enough to win for The King’s Speech. Roger Ebert: Well, here I’m more or less forced to choose Tom Hooper of “The King’s Speech” because he won the Directors Guild Award, and you know the mantra: The DGA winner wins the best director Oscar 90 percent of the time. Contrarian speculation would be risky. The Zest: Wildest Dream would be Granik or Christopher Nolan. Except for the fact neither one of them was nominated, they’d be perfect. Me: I have to say I’m REALLY upset that my favorite movie of the year is Inception and Chris Nolan didn’t get nominated for this award. However, of the directors nominated, I gotta say Hooper. Nuff said.
Original Screenplay: E! Online: The King’s Speech, ’cause without the screenplay Colin Firth would be speechless. Roger Ebert: Again, “The King’s Speech,” by David Seidler. When a film becomes the chosen one, its glories trickle down, and I expect this to be a royal year. If I’m wrong, I’m very wrong. The Zest: Wildest dream: Nolan. C’mon, the year’s biggest mind-blower ought to win something. Me: You aren’t going to like my answer but I gotta agree with the Zest here. If you look at it, all the other nominees aren’t really original now are they? They’re all about someone or a family or some kind of spin off of reality. And really? Nolan needs to win something this year for MY best movie of the year.
Adapted Screenplay: E! Online: The Social Network, ’cause Aaron Sorkin rarely loses a war of words. Roger Ebert: Here “The Social Network” will win its one major Oscar, although deserving more. “Adaptation” often means “loosely inspired by,” and Aaron Sorkin’s brilliant dialogue and construction were wholly original. The Zest: The Social Network. The Facebook flick may well strike out elsewhere, but Sorkin’s brainy script should bring it home in the adapted-screenplay category. Me: If you can’t beat’em, join’em. The Social Network.
Animated Feature Film: E! Online: Toy Story 3. ‘Nuff said. Roger Ebert: “Toy Story 3,” don’t you suppose? Me: Let’s make it three for three.
Cinematography: E! Online: The King’s Speech. Roger Ebert: Roger Deakins has been nominated nine times. This is the year he will win, for the magnificent look and feel of “True Grit.” Me: I fell asleep during True Grit so, I’m going with King’s Speech or Inception. But really rooting for Inception.
Film Editing: E! Online: The King’s Speech. Roger Ebert: “The Social Network” was all but brought to life through the skills of Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter, who took a complex group of interlocking plots, events and times, assembled them at breakneck speed and made the sucker play.
Art Direction: E! Online: Inception, ’cause we figure Alice in Wonderland will get dinged for being too virtual world-y. Roger Ebert: Sometimes the art direction of a film just reaches out and rubs you by the chinny-chin-chin. Tim Burton is famous for the look of his films, and the work by Robert Stromberg and Karen O’Hara was magical in his “Alice in Wonderland.” Me: This one is another tough decision maker. It’s gonna be a fight between Alice and Inception.
Costume design: E! Online: Alice in Wonderland, ’cause if Johnny Depp’s get-up isn’t the definition of costume design, we don’t know what is. Roger Ebert: Any good “Alice” starts with the costumes. Colleen Atwood dressed “Wonderland.” Me: Agreeing with the crowd here: Alice
Makeup: E! Online: Barney’s Version, ’cause, according to our Luke Y. Thompson, The Way Back is out of place here, and according to us, the universe will not allow The Wolfman to win as many Oscars as Toy Story 3. Roger Ebert: Academy voters do not, I suspect, spend a lot of time thinking about this category, and often simply vote for the most makeup. That would indicate Rick Baker and Dave Elsey for “The Wolfman.” But I have an instinct not many of them saw it, and here I predict Adrien Morot, for the way he aged Paul Giamatti in “Barney’s Version.” Me: Nope… I just… Okay, “The Wolfman.” I gotta agree with Ebert. It really is just about how much makeup is used.
Original Score: E! Online: The King’s Speech, ’cause right around this point on the ballot we figure tuckered-out Oscar voters take the path of least resistance, and go for the frontrunner. Roger Ebert: The most effective score in foreground terms was by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for “The Social Network.” But I believe a “King’s Speech” year will also sweep up this Oscar, for Alexandre Desplat. Me: Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Hans Zimmer but I’m gonna have to go with Trent Reznor on this one.
Original Song: E! Online: “Coming Home,” Country Strong—’cause, one, we can’t believe how not good the Randy NewmanToy Story entry is, and, two, we believe Gwyneth Paltrow is on a roll. Roger Ebert: I would vote for “Coming Home,” from “Country Strong.” But in recent years this category has tended to be dominated by animation, and Randy Newman will take home the Oscar for “We Belong Together,” the heartfelt dirge of forgotten playthings in Disney/Pixar’s “Toy Story 3.” Me: I really think Toy Story is gonna take this one with “We Belong Together.”
Visual Effects: E! Online: Inception, ’cause we figure Alice in Wonderland will get dinged for being a 3-D conversion. Roger Ebert: Continuing to apply my theory that in the “lesser” categories the winners tend to be the most visible in the most-seen films, I think this is where the sensational film “Inception” wins. Me: I’m sorry but Inception steals this category. They ROLLED up an city on top of ITSELF. That was just SWEET!
Sound Editing: E! Online: Inception, ’cause this techie piece in The Atlantic reminded us how crucial sound cues are to Christopher Nolan’s dream worlds. Roger Ebert: “Inception,” for its skill in negotiating dreamscapes and levels of reality. Not nominated was “The Social Network,” which juggled all those rapid-fire conversations.
Sound Mixing: E! Online: The King’s Speech, the same Atlantic article reminded us how crucial sound is to a movie about a speech. Roger Ebert: Also known as “Sound Design,” this is the category that creates the space that our ears sense around characters. I expect the winner to be “The Social Network,” which created intricate conversations in challenging locations like a Silicon Valley club.
Animated Short: E! Online: “The Gruffalo,” ’cause the critters are cute, and ’cause Pixar, which produced nominee “Day & Night,” will be taken care of in Animated Feature. Roger Ebert: Teddy Newton’s “Day and Night” played before “Toy Story,” was original and inventive in the battle suggested by its title, and will win. Me: “Day and Night.” If you haven’t seen it, go watch it. It’s so Pixar it’s disgusting.
Live Action Short: E! Online: “Na Wewe,” ’cause it feels like it’s about something. (And it is: Genocide in Africa.) Roger Ebert: I haven’t seen these, but I’ve looked at their trailers at http://bit.ly/hJ4OPo, and on that basis I expect “Na Wewe” to win.
Picture: E! Online: The King’s Speech, ’cause not even Charlie Sheen could deny this reality. Roger Ebert: I’ve changed my mind and now agree with the conventional wisdom that “The King’s Speech” will be the year’s best picture winner. Still, “True Grit” or “The Social Network” could pull off an upset. Me: In my ideal world, Inception would win but We all now it’s gonna be either King’s Speech or Social Network.