Okay, it's time to announce my highly-anticipated picks for the Oscars, which are being handed out this Sunday night on ABC. But first, let's clear up a few matters. First, I don't care if you don't care about the Oscars. For some reason there are certain topics in this world of ours that just cause people to feel the need to chime in with their disapproval, and celebrity awards shows are right at the top of that list. We get it, you don't like seeing rich people congratulate each other. Good for you. No one cares if you watch, so please don't bother informing us.
Second, I don't really care what will win, so I'm not going to tell you what I think will win. To me the most frustrating thing about the Oscars by far is the all-powerful consensus that starts to build even before the Golden Globes and suffocates all the drama out of the actually revelations of the winners. I understand that this is inevitable as long as there are all these different guilds giving out awards, and as long as there are entertainment journalists with column inches to fill, but what I don't get is why this leads to a dearth of discussion about what should win. Obviously more people have an idea what will win that have a well-informed opinion of what should, but it just leads to the same "Colin Firth will win" column being written a million times.
Well, I've seen nine of the ten Best Picture nominees (three cheers for Netflix) and quite a few pictures nominated in other categories, so I'm going to pick the people I would give the Oscars to if I ran the world. Let's get to it.
Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter, The King's Speech
Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Jackie Weaver, Animal Kingdom
My Pick: These are five fairly strong performances (more people should check out Animal Kingdom, a family crime drama from Australia) but the strongest supporting performance I saw all year wasn't nominated. If I gave out the Oscars, I'd give it to Barbara Hershey as Nina's mother in Black Swan. Out of these nominees I like Amy Adams playing against type the best. Favorite Melissa Leo's performance to me seemed to be making fun of her character a little too much.
Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, The Fighter
John Hawkes, Winter's Bone
Jeremy Renner, The Town
Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech
My Pick: Disappointed that there was no representation from The Social Network in this category, as I liked Andrew Garfield, Armie Hammer, and Justin Timberlake very much. Renner was the best part of the woefully mis-scripted The Town (really bad ending) but I'm giving this to John Hawkes, who played a dangerous man with so much commitment that I was fascinated and horrified every time he came on screen.
Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine
My Pick: Ok, so I only saw three of these, missing Kidman and Williams in smaller movies that haven't come out on DVD yet. There's been a lot of "debate" lately about whether Portman was really acting, but I think that's sheer stupidity. That role could have easily descended into mockable silliness in less capable hands. I'm giving the Oscar to Portman, and hoping she lets loose another cackle when she wins.
Javier Bardem, Biutiful
Jeff Bridges, True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Colin Firth, The King's Speech
James Franco, 127 Hours
My Pick: Again, I've only seen three out of five, having missed Bardem and Franco (one movie is foreigh, and the other just didn't interest me.) I like Bridges in True Grit a lot better than I did in Crazy Heart, but The Dude isn't the best in the category. Everyone knows Firth is going to win, and he did a great job to be sure, but I felt like Eisenberg's performance really created a character with every expression and every movement, so I'm giving this to him.
Darren Arronofsky, Black Swan
Joel and Ethan Coen, True Grit
David Fincher, The Social Network
Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
David O. Russell, The Fighter
My Pick: It's a damn shame that Russell is in this category instead of Christopher Nolan. I wouldn't give it to Nolan, but he should have been a serious contender. This is the toughest choice for me, between Arronofsky and Fincher, but I'm going to give it to Arronofsky for fearlessly making his movie as balls-to-the-wall psychotic as possible without losing narrative momentum.
The Kids Are All Right
The King's Speech
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
My Pick: I'm guessing you've figured out that I like Black Swan by now, so let's just give it this award too. Again, Social Network is right there. Let's rank these, for the hell of it.
1. Black Swan
2. Social Network
4. True Grit
5. Winter's Bone
6. The King's Speech
7. Toy Story 3
8. The Fighter
9. The Kids Are All Right
Unseen: 127 Hours