Again, I think that this is a battle between The King’s Speech and The Social Network. While Hooper won the DGA Award, Fincher came out tops at the BAFTAs and I think that we may have a Best Picture/Best Director split on our hands. From interviews with voters, it seems like they are keen on spreading the love and will be more inclined to split their votes between The King’s Speech and The Social Network.
Fincher for the win. Hooper as the dark horse.
Should Have Been A Contender - Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone)
Since the beginning of awards season, this has been dubbed as the battle between Bening and Portman. However with a SAG, BAFTA, Critic’s Choice Award, Golden Globe, Film Independent Spirit Award and slew of critics’ awards to her name, Natalie Portman has established herself as the clear frontrunner for tonight’s prize. There are still a few pundits who are predicting a Bening upset tonight, but I’m not buying it. Bening is great but she shares leading lady duties with Julianne Moore, while Portman’s performance is a consummate leading lady performance - without Portman, there’s no Black Swan and I think that this is what will set Portman apart from Bening in the end.
If Portman loses tonight, it will go down as one of the great Oscar upsets, but I don’t envisage that happening.
Should Have Been A Contender - Tilda Swinton (I Am Love)
The highest profile of these nominees is Biutiful whose star Javier Bardem garnered a Best Actor nomination for this performance. However, having received some mixed reviews and failing to win any major awards, I’ll be surprised if Biutiful wins tonight. I think that the race is between Canada’s Incendies and Denmark’s In A Better World. It is a miracle of sorts that Dogtooth was even nominated and given that it is such a polarising film, I think we can dismiss its overall chances of winning. Outside The Law has caused controversy in France due to its portrayals of Europeans in the context of the 1945 Setif Massacre and I’d be shocked to see it win. If I had to call it, I’d give it to In A Better World, which won the Golden Globe. Keep an eye out for Incendies, though.
Thank you for all the insights into how you think the night is going to play out. Are you going to be posting thoughts on sound editing/mixing? I would love to get your thoughts on this particular category.
No problem! I wasn’t going to, but seeing as how you asked - I think both sound categories are going to go Inception's way. Although, I have kind of gathered that The King’s Speech is an outside bet for Sound Mixing. I’m still going to stick with Inception for both categories, though.
I think that everyone is rooting for a win from Exit Through The Gift Shop tonight, if only to see if/how the enigmatic artist Banksy accepts his award. In reality, I am calling this award to go to Inside Job, the devastating exposé on the Wall Street bankers that caused the recent economic collapse. Mildly depressing and infuriating, yes, but even more relevant to our time than The Social Network.
Dark Horse - Restrepo
Should Have Been A Contender - Waiting For “Superman”/The Tillman Story
Melissa Leo, having won the SAG, Golden Globe and Critic’s Choice Award, would seem to be in pole position to take home the statuette tonight. However, there have been whispers of a backlash against Leo, in light of the For Your Consideration ads controversy and this could potentially work in Hailee Steinfeld's favour. Steinfeld has the added advantage of essentially being the lead in True Grit and therefore having more screentime than any of her fellow nominees. Similarly, she could stand to benefit from a split between The Fighter co-stars Amy Adams and Melissa Leo. True Grit, despite receiving ten nominations, looks set to win very few awards and I have a feeling that this could be a category in which it picks up an award. Then there’s Adams who has campaigned hard this season, attending every industry event under the sun and Bonham-Carter whose extraordinary popularity could work in her favour. Weaver, though fabulous in her role, has limited screentime and has had limited resources backing her Oscar bid - in her case, the nomination is the win.
So, in the contest between seasoned veteran and newbie, I’m making the controversial pick of Hailee Steinfeld to win here. It really is between Steinfeld and Leo, though.
Dark Horse - Two-time Oscar nominee Helena Bonham-Carter has made her presence felt on the awards circuit and with the BAFTA and momentum of The King’s Speech in tow, could surprise everyone?
Should Have Been A Contender - Barbara Hershey (Black Swan)/Dianne Wiest (Rabbit Hole)
This award is Christian Bale's to lose. Having won the SAG, Critic's Choice Award and Golden Globe, I think it's a safe bet to assume that Bale will walk away with his first Academy Award tonight for his characteristically transformative performance in The Fighter. If there’s an upset to be caused, it will come courtesy of Colin Firth's right-hand man in The King’s Speech, Geoffrey Rush.
Should Have Been A Contender - Andrew Garfield (The Social Network)/Bill Murray (Get Low)
This is actually a difficult race to call. While Reznor & Ross’s score has been the critic’s choice all season and won the Golden Globe, it’s hard to know whether the Academy will be receptive to the innovative and unconventional score. Desplat, who has been nominated three times previously, is coming off wins at the BAFTAs and the International Film Music Critics’ Award, but Desplat’s score is upstaged by Beethoven and Mozart in the film and that may work against Desplat. Similarly, Powell’s lauded score was just named film score of the year at the IFMCAs. Zimmer seems to be out of contention, not having won any major precursor and something tells me that it’s too soon for the 2009 winner A.R. Rahman to repeat in this category.
If I had to call it, I’d predict Reznor and Ross. After all, the Academy did embrace A.R. Rahman's unconventional Bollywood score for Slumdog Millionaire two years ago - why wouldn’t they be open to an electronic/synth score? However, it could very easily swing Desplat’s way.
Should Have Been A Contender - Daft Punk (Tron:Legacy)
The general consensus is that this award belongs to The Social Network and having won the BAFTA and ACE Award, it’s difficult to see it going any other way. Baxter and Wall were previously Oscar-nominated for their work on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and lost, but I predict that will all be remedied tonight when they win their first Oscar.
Dark Horse - If we’re in a for a sweep by The King’s Speech, Tariq Anwar may be crowned the winner.
Should Have Been A Contender - Lee Smith (Inception)
127 Hours written by Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy, based on the book "Between A Rock and A Hard Place" by Aron Ralston
The Social Network written by Aaron Sorkin, based on the book “Accidental Millionaires" by Ben Mezrich
Toy Story 3 written by Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich, characters based on Toy Story and Toy Story 2
True Grit written by Joel and Ethan Coen, based on the book “True Grit" by Charles Portis
Winter’s Bone written by Debra Granik and Anne Rossellini, based on the book "Winter’s Bone" by Daniel Woodrell
Two words - Aaron Sorkin. This award is his, and rightfully so. Having won virtually every other precursor, including the Golden Globe for Best Screenplay and the WGA Award, it’s highly unlikely to lose.
Dark Horse - With ten nominations, the Academy might wish to award True Grit in a major category. Like this one.
Should Have Been A Contender - Rabbit Hole written by David Lindsey-Abaire
I think this race is going to come between veteran cinematographer and nine-time Oscar nominee Roger Deakins and Wally Pfister. Danny Cohen is conceivably a contender if The King’s Speech is in for a sweep tonight, but I’m calling this for Deakins. While Pfister won the ASC Guild Award for his work, I think that could be attributed to the fact that Deakins was honoured with a lifetime achievement award at the same ceremony, so guild members felt less of a duty to reward Deakins. The general consensus is that it’s Deakins’ turn to be recognised. Widely regarded as one of the greatest living cinematographers, Deakins has never won an Oscar, despite this being his ninth nomination. A loss tonight would catapult him into the ranks of great Oscar losers. If there’s anyone to cause an upset, it’s surely Wally Pfister.
Dark Horse: Matthew Libatique (Black Swan) - Libatique won awards from several critics’ groups for Best Cinematography and if there’s support for the film within the Academy, this could be the category where Black Swan wins its second award.
Should Have Been A Contender - Robert Richardson (Shutter Island)/Harris Savides (Somewhere)
The Kids Are All Right written by Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg
Inception written by Christopher Nolan
The King’s Speech written by David Seidler
The Fighter written by Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson (screenplay); Keith Dorrington, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson (story)
This race looks as though it will swing in the favour of The King’s Speech and its writer David Seidler, much to the chagrin of Inception fans, I believe. Seidler has won two of the major precursors of the season - the BAFTA and Broadcast Film Critic Award and having been a major presence on the Q&A circuit, it can be said that Seidler engaged in his own form of campaigning. If it’s as big a night for The King’s Speech as pundits are anticipating, I think a Screenplay nod is a dead cert.
Dark Horse : Christopher Nolan (Inception) - If voters feel like spreading the awards out amongst several films, Nolan - who won the WGA Award - could triumph.
Should Have Been A Contender : Blue Valentine written by Derek Cianfrance, Cami Delavigne and Joey Curtis
Black Swan wins top honours at Film Independent Spirit Awards
Black Swan was the big winner at today’s Film Independent Spirit Awards ceremony, picking up four major awards. The film, which recently crossed the $200 million mark at the worldwide box office, won Best Director, Best Actress and Best Cinematography and was named Best Film. Other winners included Oscar nominees James Franco and John Hawkes who won Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, respectively, while Hawkes’ co-star Dale Dickey won Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Winter’s Bone. Meanwhile, Stuart Blumberg and Lisa Cholodenko won the award for Best Screenplay for their work on The Kids Are All Right. Oscar frontrunner The King’s Speech won the award for Best Foreign Film - the only award it was eligible for at today’s ceremony. Get Low was recognised as Best First Feature, while Lena Dunham won the award for Best First Screenplay for her well-received indie, Tiny Furniture.
FILM INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS - WINNERS (IN PROGRESS)
BEST FILM - Black Swan
BEST DIRECTOR - Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan)
BEST ACTRESS - Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
BEST ACTOR - James Franco (127 Hours)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR - John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS - Dale Dickey (Winter’s Bone)
BEST SCREENPLAY - Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg (The Kids Are All Right)
BEST FOREIGN FILM - The King’s Speech
BEST DOCUMENTARY - Exit Through The Gift Shop
BEST FIRST FEATURE - Get Low
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY - Matthew Libatique (Black Swan)
BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY - Lena Dunham (Tiny Furniture)
John Cassavetes Award (Given to the best feature made for under $500,000. Award given to the writer, director, and producer): Daddy Longlegs, Writer/Directors: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie, Producers: Casey Neistat, Tom Scott