The truth is, I don't think any real movie lover enjoys awards shows. Movies and actors aren't rewarded for their talent, but for their PR team's skills of aggression. Example: InStyle's December issue has a section on ballerina-influenced trends (I don't know if it's really a thing, besides our endless reliance on ballet slippers), and mentions "Natalie Portman's tour-de-force performance" in Black Swan. I found this to be incredible. What does a fashion catalogue/magazine have to do with movie commentary? And why would they use that phrase in particular? Suspiciously, I googled Natalie Portman tour de force, then Natalie Portman bravura. About 82,900 results for the former; 170,000 for the latter. (Yes, I know I'm adding this blog to those results. It's for a good cause.) Seriously, this is bullshit. The Portman PR Team is a terrifying force to be reckoned with, clearly inducing a monstrously effective groupthink that has resulted in a number of nominations and wins for the eternal ingenue. But what does that have to do with the performance itself? Or the film, which, as V pointed out, is a hot mess?
Still, it is always fun to have my Oscar opinions and predictions out there, especially since I'm no good at March Madness and we already know who's going to the Superbowl. Right?
Probable Winner: The King's Speech
Pipe Dream: Inception
Ultimate Snub: The Town
The King's Speech is classic Oscar material - 20th century period piece, British, a Rocky-esque plot arc that comes pre-packaged and scored in the trailer, and completely inoffensive. And since Inception's superb director wasn't nominated, it's safe to say that it's not a serious contender. Still, it was one of my favourite movies of the year, and I really wish it'd get its due.
Also? I know that The Town wasn't the best movie of the year. I know that. But a list that includes Black Swan and doesn't include The Town is a list for chumps.
Probable Winner: Colin Firth
Pipe Dream: Colin Firth
Ultimate Snub: ?
Colin Firth continues his slow, inexorable march into legitimacy, after a decade of fluffy romcom quarantine. And damnit, good for him. I'm glad someone besides college English majors and middle-aged housewives have something to appreciate in Mr. Firth.
I can't think of any outstanding male performances from 2010, can you? Am I missing someone?
Probable Winner: Natalie Portman
Pipe Dream: Annette Bening
Ultimate Snub: Tilda Swinton
Like I said, Portman's PR team has wrapped this one up. I don't even like Annette Bening, but next to Natalie Portman I kind of do. And out of all the nominees, I think I like her the most. She was better at not playing a lesbian caricature than Julianne Moore, at the very least.
Meanwhile, Tilda Swinton did everything right - was British, starred in a sensuous travelogue/love letter to Southern European food, did an excellent acting job as always - and came out with nothing to show for it.
|This picture should get an Oscar for best cinematography. Look at it!|
Probable Winner: Christian Bale
Pipe Dream: Jeremy Renner
Ultimate Snub: Matt Damon
I don't even need to elaborate on this, do I? The Academy loves Christian Bale, mostly because of his batshit dedication to losing or gaining weight for a role, and also because look at his face. Plus, he's playing a white crackhead!
And Matt Damon was a total fucking delight in True Grit. His character ends up being a surprise, starting out as laughable and pompous but ending up noble, touching, and still a little pompous (after all, he is a Texas Ranger).
Best Supporting Actress
Probable Winner: Melissa Leo
Pipe Dream: Hailee Steinfeld
Ultimate Snub: Marion Cotillard
I haven't seen Melissa Leo's performance, except for the trailer, which told me just about everything I need to know. Still, the whole Supporting Actress category is remarkably strong this year, and it looks like almost any winner would be a justifiable one. I do wish that Marion Cotillard had received any recognition whatsoever for her performance in Inception, which is simply spell-binding, but she was barely in the trailer and I suspect half the Academy votes based on those, rather than the actual movies.
Probable Winner: David Fincher
Pipe Dream: Coen Bros
Ultimate Snub: Christopher Nolan
This category is almost a toss-up. David Fincher is kind of the favourite, but The King's Speech is beginning to steamroll every category available, going so far as to win a damn SAG award. So we'll see. I'm pretty sure the Coen Bros won't win, though, which is a shame - True Grit was the first western I can honestly say I enjoy, and not just appreciate. And Chris Nolan...I guess the Academy will never forgive you for Batman, despite the fact that you're intensely ambitious and therefore willing to take intensely interesting risks with your movie. Alas. It's all political.