With just a day left to go until the big show, I’d like to bet you’ve had enough Oscar predictions – especially considering quite a handful of the biggest honors are considered locks. Well, I offer you something a little different; not who I think will win, but who I think should win.
Best Picture: The King’s Speech
Every Best Picture nominee achieves some degree of filmmaking prowess, otherwise, they wouldn’t be nominated in the first place. Rather than pick apart the elements and compare the contenders by the writing, directing acting, etc., this category comes down to something far simpler, yet something tougher to achieve – poignancy. Which of these films moved me most? Toy Story 3 left me in tears, 127 Hours with a knot in my stomach and Inception with my head spinning, but it was The King’s Speech that was overwhelmingly rousing. This is such a special film for so many reasons and those reasons will likely be rewarded in the other categories, but in terms of the Best Picture Oscar alone, my fingers are crossed for The King Speech based on its incredible ability to connect my heartstrings to those of the characters in the film and tug on them all the way through.
I’ll Be Pissed If This Wins: Inception
Inception may be endlessly interesting and responsible for countless summertime debates, but an Oscar for Best Picture? Come on. On top of that, even after all the discussions, who can say they really understand the movie through and through? It was fun while it lasted, but Inception’s infinite twists and turns aren’t enough for the film to stand the test of time as well as its contenders.
Actor in a Leading Role: Jesse Eisenberg
As much as I loved The King’s Speech, something about Colin Firth’s performance didn’t wow me as much as others. Perhaps that had a little something to do with Geoffrey Rush’s stellar portrayal, but that’s a matter for another section of this article. Why Jesse Eisenberg? After being pigeonholed as the loveable nerd, Eisenberg showed us all by playing an ingenious jerk. In film after film he stole my heart, but here, he actually terrifies me.
I’ll Be Pissed If He Wins: Jeff Bridges
Well, I won’t actually be pissed. Jeff Bridge is quite good in True Grit; he’s just my least favorite candidate of the bunch because True Grit is my least favorite film of the bunch.
Actor in a Supporting Role: Geoffrey Rush
Damn you Christian Bale for delivering such an award-deserving performance the same time Rush is in the running. There’s no denying Bale warrants the honor, but that doesn’t mean Rush can’t, too. Both are fantastic in their roles, but, in my eyes, it’s Rush as Lionel Logue that’s the more powerful character because The King’s Speech is the more powerful movie. Yes, this is an acting category, but there’s no separating a character from the film; it’s all contextual.
I’ll Be Pissed If He Wins: Jeremy Renner
I’ve got nothing against Jeremy Renner’s performance in The Town, but as compared to his company in this category, he is by far the least deserving of the statue. Renner makes for a fine secondary character to Ben Affleck’s primary, but all of the other actors here are so incredibly strong, they actually manage to blur the main/supporting line.
Actress in a Leading Role: Natalie Portman
Sorry Annette Bening; you’re great in The Kids Are All Right, but Nic doesn’t stand a chance against Nina Sayers. In terms of longevity, odds are, I’ll remember Nina far longer than I’ll remember Nic. It’s not Bening’s fault or Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumber’s, it’s just that they went the realistic route while Natalie Portman and the writers of Black Swan went for something more profound and therefore ended up with something more memorable.
I’ll Be Pissed If She Wins: Michelle Williams, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicole Kidman
Sorry ladies, but you’re in tough company; Portman and Bening are just on another level.
Actress in a Supporting Role: Jacki Weaver
I’m playing the underdog card here. Amy Adams doesn’t stand a chance here and like Firth, Helena Bonham Carter was outshined by Rush. Melissa Leo might be enjoying a successful awards season run, but thanks to a certain self-run Oscar campaign, Hailee Steinfeld supposedly has a chance at knocking Leo off her pedestal. So who is Jacki Weaver? That’s the problem. This is Animal Kingdom’s sole nomination. It’s in there with a bunch of Hollywood heavyweights and regardless of the fact that Weaver gives an absolutely chilling performance, she’ll sadly being overlooked based on sheer unawareness. Well, I’m rooting for you, Jacki!
I’ll Be Pissed If She Wins: Amy Adams
Yes, Adams is good in The Fighter and shows the world there’s much more to her than a happy singing princess, but she’s got two problems; first off, in the actual film, she pales in comparison to Leo and second, she pales in comparison to her company in this category. Basically, she’s the least deserving of the bunch.
Animated Feature Film: Toy Story 3
I feel very strongly about both Toy Story 3 and How to Train Your Dragon, but as a non-crier, Toy Story 3’s ability to not only get me to shed a tear, but to practically bawl is quite impressive. On top of that, the film is suspenseful, hilarious, inventive; the list of positive adjectives could go on and on. The emotion evoked by Toy Story 3 is overpoweringly genuine making it touching, thrilling and enjoyable all at the same time. Here I go again with those adjectives!
I’ll Be Pissed If This Wins: The Illusionist
Since proclaiming my love of both Toy Story 3 and How to Train Your Dragon, clearly The Illusionist is the odd man out, but in this case, it’s not just because it’s not as good as the competition; I didn’t like this film at all. Kudos to the filmmakers for trying to go the simple and sweet route, but trying isn’t the same as succeeding. Boring and sad are not qualities of an Oscar winner.
Directing: Tom Hooper
Remember how I said The King’s Speech is my pick for best film more so for its poignancy than the aptitude of its assets? Well, Tom Hooper is getting the honor for the latter. Everything is on point in this film from the camerawork, to the music, to the acting and Hooper should be rewarded for his incredible ability to produce a coherent and enormously effective vision.
I’ll Be Pissed If He/She Wins: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen.
Call me crazy, but I’ve never actually “loved” a Coen brothers’ movie. I admired their techniques and particularly their ability to create such real, creative and consuming worlds; their style just doesn’t gel with what I find entertaining.
Writing (Original Screenplay): The Kids Are All Right
Why The Kids Are All Right over The King’s Speech now? Because the success of the former is much more closely related to the quality of the writing whereas The King’s Speech has its director and actors to thank perhaps a bit more than writer David Seidler. So many of the most memorable moments of The Kids Are All Right are directly connected to the inventive, cunning and honest dialogue.
I’ll Be Pissed If This Wins: Inception
Again, there’s a problem with such a mind-boggling story winning Best Original Screenplay. Yes, I know that’s part of the appeal of Inception, its ability to toy with your mind, but it comes across as more of a gimmick when comparing it to the competition in this category all of which boast incredibly sincere stories.
Writing (Adapted Screenplay): The Social Network
Whether every single detail in this film is true or not, Aaron Sorkin knew exactly what he was doing in taking this already intriguing tail and turning it into an effective film. The characters are extraordinarily multifaceted, the story itself appropriately tense and, best of all, it’s a piece that establishes a connection between the entertainment and reality. The effect of having experienced Sorkin’s story spills over to the real world giving you a whole new appreciation for Facebook and its history.
I’ll Be Pissed If This Wins: Winter’s Bone
This movie’s boring. There, I said it.
By Perri Nemiroff
2 thoughts on “Oscars 2011: Forget Who Should Win, This Is Who I Want To Win”
Well, I was shocked by Perri Nemiroff's use of the word 'pissed'. Its original use was as slang for urinating and I feel the word should stay in the bathroom. I find it cheap, vulgar and unattractive. There are plenty of synonyms: mad, angry, bothered, put out, annoyed, etc.
Ok… prude… the writer isn't doing a report, he is expressing his opinion and feelings on the subject… “pissed” adds emphasis and emotion in the 21st century context.