My Oscars 2011: 83rd Annual Academy Awards Predictions

Posted on February 26, 2011


Oscars 2011

UPDATED: Oscar Winners Listed Below

And the Oscar goes to…

So Oscar time is upon us, celebrating the “best” in film from 2010. As that little California burg of Hollywood prepares for all the pomp and circumstance, predictions for award winners abound. I thought, of course, that I’d throw my own into the ring.

Over the years, I find myself becoming less and less enchanted with awards shows in general but also with the Oscars in specific. The show itself seems to become more and more irrelevant year in and year out, gasping for last breaths and desperately hoping you “really, really like” it. Perhaps I’ve grown beyond it, but the whole affair seems to be missing the magic that I really felt from it growing up.

Perhaps it’s that I recognize how little effect the awards themselves really have on the industry now. Used to be that winning an Academy Award was a Wonka Golden Ticket to getting productions made and cashing in at the box office on follow-up ventures. Hardly seems to be the case anymore. Though it is kind of funny to see some in Hollywood still scramble to keep that outmoded system alive.

Is recognition good? Yes, absolutely. Recognize and celebrate achievements from the past year. Any group feels bolstered by such things and, as film is still the most popular art form of the 20th and 21st centuries, we the audience feel validated by it as well. I just hope we come back around to true recognition rather than awarding for ratings. That would maintain and build good ol’ Oscar’s relevance and perhaps bring that fine magic back.

When I covered my list for top 10 films of 2010, I talked about being disappointed with film for the year. I’d say that still holds true, for the most part, but that the exceptional films of the year were truly exceptional and actually give us one of the more competitive and interesting Academy Awards in years. So without further adieu, here are my Oscar predictions:

Full List of Nominees for the 83rd Annual Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Awards

Actor In a Leading Role (Best Actor)

Javier Bardem, Biutiful
Jeff Bridges, True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
James Franco, 127 Hours

My Prediction: Colin Firth
Who Should Win: James Franco or Jesse Eisenberg

Such a strong category this year. Much as I enjoyed Firth’s masterful performance – and wouldn’t really be torn if he wins – I thought Franco’s work was stunning, given that it was pretty much a solo piece, and that Eisenberg was the only one who could truly embody Fincher and Sorkin’s “Mark Zuckerberg”.

Actor In a Supporting Role (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 Prediction: Christian Bale
Who Should Win: Christian Bale

I’m at a little disadvantage this year as I’ve only seen Bale’s and Rush’s performances. I’m familiar with all of the actors, though, and think they are all very deserving as performers. While Rush’s character nearly steals The King’s Speech – and really defines supporting role – Bale’s makes the whole film The Fighter work.

Actress In a Leading Role (Best Actress)

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 Prediction: Natalie Portman
Who Should Win: Hailee Steinfeld

Again, another category that I’m at a bit of a disadvantage with. I only saw Portman’s and Williams’ performances. It seems foolish to think Portman won’t win, but I look forward to discovering if the performance holds up against the other three. The reality, though, is True Grit‘s Steinfeld should’ve been nominated in this category and would’ve won.

Actress In a Supporting Role (Best Supporting Actress)

Amy Adams, The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

My Prediction: Hailee Steinfeld
Who Should Win: Hailee Steinfeld

This was all about politicking and I think Steinfeld easily wins this award, though it should’ve been Best Actress.

Art Direction

Robert Stromberg (Production Design); Karen O’Hara (Set Decoration), Alice in Wonderland
Stuart Craig (Production Design); Stephenie McMillan (Set Decoration), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Guy Hendrix Dyas (Production Design); Larry Dias and Doug Mowat (Set Decoration), Inception
Eve Stewart (Production Design); Judy Farr (Set Decoration), The King’s Speech
Jess Gonchor (Production Design); Nancy Haigh (Set Decoration), True Grit

My Prediction: Alice in Wonderland
Who Should Win: True Grit or The King’s Speech

I make no qualms about not caring for Tim Burton’s version of Alice. It was boring, bloated and full of so much of the same imagery Burton’s come to be known for. That’s exactly why I see it winning the award, though I prefer the transportive realism of the two period pieces.

Costume Design

Colleen Atwood, Alice in Wonderland
Antonella Cannarozzi, I Am Love
Jenny Beavan, The King’s Speech
Sandy Powell, The Tempest
Mary Zophres, True Grit

My Prediction: Collen Atwood
Who Should Win: Mary Zophres or Jenny Beavan

Just as with the Art Direction category, I think we’ll see Alice take this. Usually I’m not big on period pieces taking costume awards because, frankly, I feel it’s kind of a cheat. However, I recognize how much personality the costumes played in both Grit and Speech.

Film Editing

Andrew Weisblum, Black Swan
Pamela Martin, The Fighter
Tariq Anwar, The King’s Speech
Jon Harris, 127 Hours
Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter, The Social Network

My Prediction: Andrew Weisblum
Who Should Win: Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

Weisblum wins for keeping the fevered pace of Aronofksy’s obsession drama but my kudos go to Wall and Baxter for assembling such a tight cut of Sorkin’s script and Fincher’s obsessive compulsive amount of footage.

Music (Best Original Score)

John Powell, How to Train Your Dragon
Hans Zimmer, Inception
Alexandre Desplat, The King’s Speech
A.R. Rahman, 127 Hours
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, The Social Network

My Prediction: Alexandre Desplat
Who Should Win: John Powell or Reznor and Ross

Desplat created a nice score for The King’s Speech and it’s just the kind of work the Academy likes. However, Powell’s and Reznor and Ross’ works elevate their movies even higher. Powell adds a great sense of adventure and consequence to Dragon, while Reznor and Ross go a dissonant route with Network‘s score that lends the film immediacy and gravitas.

Music Song (Best Original Song)

“Coming Home”, Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey (Music and Lyric), Country Strong
“I See the Light”, Alan Menken (Music); Glenn Slater (Lyric), Tangled
“If I Rise”, A.R. Rahman (Music); Dido and Rollo Armstrong (Lyric), 127 Hours
“We Belong Together”, Randy Newman (Music and Lyric), Toy Story 3

My Prediction: “I See the Light”
Who Should Win: “If I Rise”

Not much comment on Best Song this year. All were decent songs but nothing that really jumped out at me.

Sound Editing

Richard King, Inception
Tom Myers and Michael Silvers, Toy Story 3
Gwendolyn Yates Whittle and Addison Teague, Tron: Legacy
Skip Lievsay and Craig Berkey, True Grit
Mark P. Stoeckinger, Unstoppable

My Prediction: Richard King
Who Should Win: Richard King or Whittle and Teague

While a strong argument could be made for all of these films – particularly for Toy Story 3 – I think the sound played such in immersive role in the stories of both Inception and Tron: Legacy that I have to lean towards them.

Sound Mixing

Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo and Ed Novick, Inception
Paul Hamblin, Martin Jensen and John Midgley, The King’s Speech
Jeffrey J. Haboush, Greg P. Russell, Scott Millan and William Sarokin, Salt
Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick and Mark Weingarten, The Social Network
Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland, True Grit

My Prediction: Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick and Mark Weingarten
Who Should Win: Klyce, Parker, Semanick and Weingarten

The sound design and mix in The Social Network are deceptively ornate and deliberate in chilling ways. I could see Hirschberg, Rizzo and Novick winning for Inception, but I think the Academy rewards the intricacy of the Network team’s work.

Visual Effects

Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas and Sean Phillips, Alice in Wonderland
Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz and Nicolas Aithadi, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojansky and Joe Farrell, Hereafter
Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb, Inception
Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright and Daniel Sudick, Iron Man 2

My Prediction: Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb
Who Should Win: Franklin, Corbould, Lockley and Bebb

I would be surprised to see the Academy give the award to the Alice team, but I think that Inception featured visual effects that were most telling and fitting of the world of its story.

Adapted Writing (Best Adapted Screenplay)

Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy, 127 Hours
Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Michael Arndt (Screenplay); John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich (Story), Toy Story 3
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, True Grit
Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini, Winter’s Bone

My Prediction: Aaron Sorkin
Who Should Win: Aaron Sorkin

Sorkin’s screenplay adapted a subject and story many would’ve guessed was uninteresting and unfilmmable. Boyle and Beaufoy’s script also brought to life a story that in many ways shouldn’t have worked as a film.

Original Writing (Best Original Screenplay)

Mike Leigh, Another Year
Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson (Screenplay); Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson (Story), The Fighter
Christopher Nolan, Inception
Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg, The Kids Are All Right
David Seidler, The King’s Speech

My Prediction: David Seidler
Who Should Win: Christopher Nolan

I have a strong feeling Seidler’s historical script is going to be in favor with the Academy this year, but Nolan’s literate script is the most inventive of the year.


Matthew Libatique, Black Swan
Wally Pfister, Inception
Danny Cohen, The King’s Speech
Jeff Cronenweth, The Social Network
Roger Deakins, True Grit

My Prediction: Wally Pfister
Who Should Win: Wally Pfister

Since Pfister won the ASC’s award for Best Cinematography, I don’t think it will be a surprise to see him win the Oscar for it as well. This is a very strong category this year as well, so all could do well.


Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
David O. Russell, The Fighter
Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
David Fincher, The Social Network
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, True Grit

My Prediction: Tom Hooper
Who Should Win: David Fincher

Here’s another case where a previous award will probably dictate how the Academy voted. Hooper won the DGA award for Best Direction and will likely pick up the Oscar for it as well. I believe it was AP film critic Christy Lemire who said that while Hooper did a good job with The King’s Speech, David Fincher is the only one who could’ve directed The Social Network. I agree with her and I think it would be a shame if he didn’t win for it.

Feature-Length Documentary (Best Documentary Feature)

Banksy and Jaimie D’Cruz, Exit Through the Gift Shop
Josh Fox and Trish Adlesic, Gasland
Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs, Inside Job
Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger, Restrepo
Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley, Wasteland

My Prediction: Exit Through the Gift Shop
Who Should Win: Exit Through the Gift Shop

I think there are probably Academy members who are confounded by the legitimacy of Banksy’s documentary but will likely give Gift Shop the vote. At which point Banksy will come on stage and reveal that the whole thing was fake.

Feature-Length Animated (Best Animated Feature)

How to Train Your Dragon, Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois
The Illusionist, Sylvain Chomet
Toy Story 3, Lee Unkrich

My Prediction: Toy Story 3
Who Should Win: How to Train Your Dragon

All three animated features are wonderful films and I like the fact that a traditional hand illustrated film is vying for the award. While it is almost a foregone conclusion that Toy Story 3 picks up this one, as I mentioned in my top 10 films of 2010, I give the advantage to Dragon. Both are spectacular, but I preferred Dragon a little more.

Feature-Length Motion Picture (Best Picture)

Black Swan, Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver and Scott Franklin
The Fighter, David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Mark Wahlberg
Inception, Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan
The Kids Are All Right, Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Celine Rattray
The King’s Speech, Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin
127 Hours, Christian Colson, Danny Boyle and John Smithson
The Social Network, Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca and Ceán Chaffin
Toy Story 3, Darla K. Anderson
True Grit, Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen
Winter’s Bone,Anne Rosellini and Alix Madigan-Yorkin

My Prediction: The King’s Speech
Who Should Win: The Social Network

I’m not going to rant about my distaste for the 10-nominee format for Best Picture here, but I will say that the 10 for this year are all extremely strong films. Even still, it appears to have come down to a two-horse race between The King’s Speech and The Social Network. And while I think the Academy will go with the excellent though safer choice of Speech, I believe Network should win this year. It took a premise nearly everyone scoffed at and made the most compelling film of the year and one of more immediate relevance to our time. The performances throughout the movie are stellar and the artistry and craftsmanship with which the whole piece is made is unrivaled. Network is looked at as the underdog going in but should really be the film to beat.

There you have it. Note, I didn’t cover some categories. These weren’t oversights as much as I hadn’t seen the nominees and couldn’t offer a true opinion on them.

WINNERS: 83rd Oscars

Best Actor: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 3, Lee Unkrich
Best Art Direction: Robert Stromberg, Karen O’Hara, Alice in Wonderland
Best Cinematography: Wally Pfister, Inception
Best Costume Design: Collen Atwood, Alice in Wonderland
Best Director: Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
Best Documentary Feature: Inside Job, Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
Best Documentary Short Subject: Strangers No More, Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon
Best Film Editing: Angus Wall, Kirk Baxter, The Social Network
Best Foreign Language Film: In a Better World, Denmark
Best Makeup: Rick Baker, Dave Elsey, The Wolfman
Best Original Score: Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, The Social Network
Best Original Song: “We Belong Together”, Randy Newman, Toy Story 3
Best Picture: The King’s Speech, Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin
Best Animated Short Film: The Lost Thing, Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann
Best Live-Action Short Film: God of Love, Luke Matheny
Best Sound Editing: Richard King, Inception
Best Sound Mixing: Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo, Ed Novick, Inception
Best Visual Effects: Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley, Peter Bebb, Inception
Best Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Best Original Screenplay: David Seidler, The King’s Speech

Posted in: Movies