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I'd like to thank the Academy - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
cinema_holic
cinema_holic
I'd like to thank the Academy
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The nominations are in! And if you focus on strength in numbers, The King's Speech leads with 12 nominations. Close behind is True Grit with 12; The Social Network and Inception each have 8; The Fighter got 7; 127 got 6; and Black Swan and Toy Story 3 each have 5.

Let's run through them all with my own notes and commentary, shall we?


Actor in a Leading Role

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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: Colin Firth pretty much has it in the bag this year. He should have won for last year's A Single Man, but whatever. The Academy likes British period pieces like The King's Speech better than movies about suicidal gay men.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: For me, this is thus far a tough call -- because Biutiful has not opened where I live, so I haven't seen it. And I do think Javier Bardem is a great actor. Setting him aside, though, among these nominees Colin Firth actually is the most deserving.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: I guess I'd have to go with Jeff Bridges, even though I love him and did think he did a great job in True Grit. But he didn't really stand out in True Grit to the same degree the others did in their roles.


Actress in a Leading Role

Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: Natalie Portman really should have her acceptance speech all polished up. If she walks up there acting surprised, then she takes acting way too seriously.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: Natalie Portman really was fantastic in Black Swan, and I won't be disappointed to see her win. But my vote still goes to Annette Bening, who is just as deserving, and is far more overdue for an Oscar.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: You know what? Every single one of these women is deserving. This is a rare year where the Best Actress category is particularly strong with great performances. Of course, Jennifer Lawrence doesn't have a chance in hell, but it's still heartening to see her nominated.


Actress in a Supporting Role

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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: Until the Golden Globes I would have said Amy Adams, but it's looking like Melissa Leo has the edge.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: I would actually be very tempted to vote for Hailee Steinfeld, even though she won't have a chance. But she really was the most impressive thing about True Grit.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: I have always loved Helena Bonham Carter, but it kind of seems like her nomination here is merely the result of riding the wave of acclaim for The King's Speech. Certainly her performance in the film is solid, but her character has few dimensions, and the part just isn't Oscar material.


Actor in a Supporting Role

Christian Bale, The Fighter
John Hawkins, Winter's Bone
Jeremy Renner, The Town
Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: Probably Christian Bale, although with Academy Voters I wouldn't discount Geoffrey Rush, even though he's already won an Oscar (for 1996's Shine).
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: Christian Bale gave quite possibly the best performance of his career in The Fighter, so he gets my vote as well.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: Jennifer Lawrence was the standout in Winter's Bone. I can't even remember who John Hawkins was.


Animated Feature Film

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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: The Illusionist has tighter competition than usual with a Pixar film, but I'd still put money on Toy Story 3.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: I declared Toy Story 3 the best film of the year, so naturally that gets my vote!
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: Anything but Toy Story 3. I don't have anything in particular against the others, but Pixar just can't be touched. Period.


Art Direction

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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: I think Alice in Wonderland has a real chance here, which is unfortunate because that means the mediocre film will then be marketed as an "Oscar Winner."
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: This is one category where I think I'd go for True Grit.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: Well, honestly, none of these films have bad art direction. And just because Alice in Wonderland was mediocre doesn't mean their art designers were phoning it in like so many other people involved. Actually, I'd be inclined to say Inception is the least deserving, as its focus is much more on special effects and cinematography.


Cinematography

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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: Since Inception doesn't have as much of a chance in other categories, this may be the bone that the Academy tosses it.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: Inception and Black Swan are equally deserving of this one.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: I honestly don't understand why The Social Network was even nominated in this category.


Costume Design

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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: If there's any Oscar that Alice in Wonderland will get, it's this one. The costume design is simply more noticeable in that film than the others -- and they are good costumes.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: I'd still perhaps lean closer to True Grit with this one, as its set, costume, and overall production design all came across as impressively authentic.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: What the hell is I Am Love doing in here?


Directing

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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: I think this is a horse race between Tom Hooper and David Fincher. Until the announcement of the nominations, I'd have said Fincher had the edge. But those 12 nominations for The King's Speech really make a difference.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: Of these choices, I'd actually go with Darren Aronofsky. His film did the best job of leaving you thinking about multiple aspects of the production, which is one mark of a great director.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: The Fighter was good, but kind of feels like filler in this list.


Documentary (Feature)

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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: I'm going to go out on a limb here and say Restrepo, even though I don't actually have any idea.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: Honestly I haven't seen enough of them to gauge.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: Of these five films I've only seen Inside Job -- and it was decent but not Oscar-worthy. So there's your answer.


Film Editing

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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: Any film with as much showy cleverness in its editing as The Social Network is probably going to get the most attention.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: I'm actually leaning more toward 127 Hours here. Anyone who can tell the story of being pinned under a boulder for that long without it ever being boring deserves recognition.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: Of these nominees, The Fighter is the least deserving. But not really by a wide margin.


Makeup

Barney's Version, Adrien Morot
The Way Back, Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng
The Wolfman, Rick Baker and Dave Elsey

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: I haven't seen The Wolfman, but it's just the type of movie that's going to draw attention to the makeup in this context, way more than its fellow nominees anyway.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: I'd go for The Way Back.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: I'm tempted to say Barney's Version, and I'm a little baffled as to why a movie like that even got nominated -- but perhaps I'd know if I saw the movie, which I haven't. (Again, because it hasn't yet been released locally.)


Music (Original Score)

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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: I think The Social Network has this in the bag. Granted, the Academy tends to lean more traditional, but this is one case where I think innovation will be rewarded. And The Social Network score is a memorably integral part of the film's experience in a way the scores to the other films are not.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: The Social Network, for the reasons I just stated.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: I think the score to How to Train Your Dragon was the least memorable.


Music (Original Song)

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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: Ugh! Randy Newman always gets this award.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: Anyone but Randy Newman.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: This is the one and only Oscar I do not want Toy Story 3 to win. I can't be the only person who's been sick to death of Randy Newman for, like, fifteen years.


Visual Effects

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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: The visual effects are perhaps second only to the script as the most memorable aspects of Inception; I really think it'll get this award.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: My vote goes to Inception. Its effects are truly eye-popping in a way those of the other films just aren't.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: Hereafter? Okay, honestly, I can see the film getting this nomination. The tsunami sequence is a sight to behold. Trouble is, the rest of the movie isn't. Yep, I'm holding that against it.


Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

127 Hours, Screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy
The Social Network, Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin
Toy Story 3, Screenplay by Michael Arndt; Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich
True Grit, Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Winter's Bone, Adapted for the screen by Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: If there's any award The Social Network is guaranteed to win, it's this one. All anyone can talk about is how this movie manages to be riveting even though it's almost nothing but people sitting around talking to each other.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: Frankly, I think Toy Story 3 should get this one. It just works on so many levels, most of them surprising.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: 127 Hours works far more because of its editing than because of its script.


Writing (Original Screenplay)

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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: This one's hard to say. This could be where the ten years Christopher Nolan spent writing Inception really pays off, but this could also be where The Kids Are All Right finds some much-deserved glory.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: My vote goes for The Kids Are All Right, which is the first major Oscar contending movie that is about gay people but not tragic. (Both A Single Man and Brokeback Mountain were comparatively quite depressing.) It celebrates family in a way that makes you forget it's celebrating diversity.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: I loved Inception, but its script is in my opinion its weakest element. It's ironic that it should be illogical to nominate it for a script that infuses too much logic into dream worlds where logic should not apply.


Best motion picture of the year

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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: If momentum is any indication, The Social Network will go home with the big prize this year. Any single other movie winning will qualify as an upset.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: I'm in the minority here, but I'm still adamant that Toy Story 3 was the best film of the year. It's arguably the freshest sequel ever made, while seamlessly bridging the past and the present. The Social Network may be the "zeitgeist" movie of the year, but people will still be watching -- and adoring -- Toy Story 3 years after The Social Network is long forgotten.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: I don't particularly want The Social Network to win. But I have even less desire for The Fighter to win, as in spite of its great performances, it's still a movie that's merely good, rather than great.



(Nominations for foreign language film, documentary short, animated short, live action short, sound editing, and sound mixing were also announced, but I don't know enough about them to make any worthwhile observations.)


The 83rd Academy Awards telecast will air on ABC Sunday, February 27 at 5 p.m. Pacific Time.
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