The Academy Awards are just around the corner, and I wouldn't be a dedicated film buff and would-be reviewer if I didn't take this opportunity to put my two cents in. I haven't seen anywhere close to all the nominees, but I've seen enough to have an opinion. In a later blog post, I will be discussing a few of what I consider to be the worst Academy Award winners in Academy history. But first, my predictions and preferences:
The consensus seems to be that "The King's Speech" has this award locked up. My guess is that it will win, but my pick would be "Inception." My justification is the same argument I would have given last year, when I thought "Avatar" should have beaten out "The Hurt Locker." Both "Inception" and "Avatar" blew me away, they seemed fresh, exciting, and new. They were visually rich and made to be experienced on a big screen. They seemed to carve out new territory. "The King's Speech" is an excellent movie, and I will have no problem if it wins. I just don't think it's as exciting and overwhelming as "Inception."
Colin Firth will probably win for "The King's Speech" and I will have no argument with that. His performance was understated, subtle and magnificent. He may get beaten out by Jeff Bridges for his somewhat less-than-subtle, but equally impressive performance in "True Grit." But Bridges did win last year, and Firth's role as King George VI was much more difficult than playing Rooster Cogburn. It's not that Bridges' performance doesn't deserve an Academy Award, it's just that Firth's was better. I haven't seen the other performances other than Jesse Eisenberg for "The Social Network," and while he was very good, the other two were much better.
The only performance I've seen in this category is Annette Benning for "The Kids are All Right," and while the movie underwhelmed me, Benning was amazing. I have no problem with her winning the award, and only wish the Academy had had the good sense to nominate Julianne Moore for the same film, since she was equally as good. I think this award will go to Benning.
Best Supporting Actor
This is traditionally a strong category and this year seems to be no exception. I haven't seen "The Fighter", but I hear Christian Bale is excellent in that. Geoffrey Rush was fantastic in "The King's Speech" in a very difficult role and I think he will bring home the statue, although Bale could certainly win. Mark Ruffalo will have to be satisfied with his nomination, especially since so many worthy actors were overlooked (can you say "Social Network?").
Best Supporting Actress
It seems like the two favorites are the only two performances I've seen in this category. Hailee Steinfeld was simply wonderful in "True Grit," but she has clearly been nominated in the wrong category. She was the main character and had more screen time than anyone else and she should be up for Best Actress. Helena Bonham Carter was equally marvelous in "The King's Speech." Every look, every gesture was absolutely perfect in the part of the wife of King George VI. She never once upstaged Firth or Rush, yet she was unforgettable. My vote would go to her.
How in the world is Christopher Nolan not nominated for "Inception?" He did an unbelieveable job with a difficult, challenging film. His film was a joy to watch and it was overwhelming and absorbing. His ommission is a crime. If I had a vote, I would probably boycott this category in protest. My prediction is Tom Hooper for "King's Speech," but of those nominated, I would like to see David Fincher for "The Social Network." And then I would like to see Fincher get up there and give his award to Christopher Nolan, who has been burned now for "Inception," "The Dark Knight," and "Memento". Shameful. He's the new Martin Scorcese.
As you know, there are two different awards for this, and I predict that "The Social Network" and "The King's Speech" will go home winners. Both scripts were witty, intelligent, and very entertaining.
And that's where I stop. I don't care who wins Best Song or Best Documentary or any of the others. I've made my predictions and I'm sticking to them. We'll see what happens Sunday night.