Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I Ain't Talking About Oscarmayer

The following column is reprinted from the Feburary issue of Providence Monthly (including the stuff my youthful editors somehow deem necessary to leave out):

Eyes Wide Open
By Scott Duhamel

Despite the steady proliferation of Award’s show, despite the ongoing barrage of awardees, festival winners, on-line accolade bearers, despite the indisputable presence of The Grammy’s, the Tony’s , the Emmy’s, the Golden Globes, the Razzies, even the Eeenie, Meenie, Miney and Moes, none of the competitors hold a candle as a far as prestige, importance, and actual historical significance like the Academy Awards.

The 83rd Annual Oscar show looms in the near distance, and while I should be donning my coolest threads and stepping out to the VMA on Feburary 27th at 6:30 to catch what promises to be an enjoyable and gussied up night of big screen television viewing presented by the Rhode Island International Film Festival group, I’ll be home safely ensconced on the couch, muttering about the pairing of presenters, waiting for the every-so-often potential moment of weirdness or controversy, and feverishly checking off categories on my well-thought-out Oscar ballot. Yes indeed, I’ll be unabashedly basking in my longtime out-of-the-closet inner cinephile nerdiness. Below, a quick overview of the major awards.

Best Picture
127 Hours
Black Swan
The Fighter
The Kids Are Alright
The King’s Speech
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter’s Bone

Should Win: The Social Network. It’s racked up $95 million at the box office , and among the Best Picture Nominees, only True Grit and Toy Story 3 have earned more, but the former was helmed by the Coens, recent award recipients, and the latter is an animated, and Hollywood just isn’t ready to hand out the Grand Wazoo to an animated feature. Also The Social Network is director David Fincher’s best achievement so far, and it danced its dexterous fingers all over the current zeitgeist.

Will Win: The King’s Speech. Hollywood adores all things British, costumed, and historical, and the this one is right up the alley to the vast majority of over-the-hill Academy voters.
Overlooked: The Ghost Writer, The Town, Carlos.

Best Actor
Javier Bardem-Biutiful
Jeff Bridges-True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg-The Social Network
Colin Firth-The Kings SpeechJ
James Franco-127 Hours

Should Win: Javier Bardeem. A power house piece of acting that only James Franco came close to matching, and the acting side of the Hollywood elite (including Julia Roberts and Sean Penn) has been touting Bardeem’s turn all over town.

Will Win: Colin Firth. See aforementioned Oscar predilection for all things British.
Overlooked: Ryan Gosling (Blue Valentine), Mark Wahlberg (The Fighter), Robert Duval (Get Low), Michael Douglas (Solitary Man).

Best Actress
Annette Bening-The Kids Are Alright.
Nicole Kidman-Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence-Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman-Black Swan
Michelle Williams-Blue Valentine

Should Win: Annette Bening. A tremendously modulated and affecting performance, plus she’s been nominated three times (The Grifters, American Beauty, Being Julia) and came up short.

Will Win: Natalie Portman. A bravura, showy turn from a good citizen that has grown up on camera in front of the assembled, her votes will be multiplied by a huge dose of her colleague’s good will.

Overlooked: Julianne Moore (The Kids Are Alright), Isabelle Huppert (White Material), Lesley Manville (Another Year).

Best Supporting ActorChristian Bale-The Fighter
John Hawkes-Winter’s Bone
Jeremy Renner-The Town
Mark Ruffalo-The Kids Are Alright
Geoffrey Rush-The King’s Speech

Should Win: Christian Bale. The eye-popping, in-yer-face, take-this-roll-and-grab-it, most magnetic role playing of the year, hands down, in the strongest category, as Hawkes and Renner did splendid work, and Ruffalo just about (despite Benning’s excellence) walks away with his picture.

Will Win: Geoffrey Rush. Hate to say it (or think it) but add another one to the win column for The King’s Speech.

Overlooked: Andrew Garfield (The Social Network), Matt Damon (True Grit).

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams-The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter-The King’s Speech
Melissa Leo-The Fighter
Hallee Steinfield-True Grit
Jacki-Weaver-Animal Kingdom

Should Win: Melissa Leo.

Will Win: Melissa Leo. She’s a great journeyperson actress, she’s campaigned unabashedly for the honor, and someone has to break up the momentum generated by The King’s Speech.

Overlooked: Greta Gerwing (Greenberg), Barbara Hershey (Black Swan), Mia Wasikowska (The Kids Are Alright), Ellen Page (Inception).

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

Should Win: David Fincher
Will Win: David Fincher. Its Fincher’s turn, although Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) will be looking closely over his shoulder.

Overlooked: Christopher Nolan (Inception)

Original Screenplay
Mike Leigh-Another Year
Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson; story by keith Dorrington, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson-The Fighter
Christopher Nolan-Inception
Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumber-The Kids Are Alright
David Seidler-The Kings Speech

Should Win: Inception. Writer/director Christopher Nolan non-nomination for Best Director is one of the more blatant snubs in recent Oscar history, there may be enough sympathy or fairness votes to throw him the bone that is Best Original Screenplay.

Will Win: The King’s Speech.

Adapted Screenplay
Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufroy-127 Hours
Aaron Sorkin-The Social NetworkMichael Arndt; story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich-Toy Story 3
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen-True Grit
Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini-Winter’s Bone

Should Win: The Social Network.

Will Win: The Social Network. Hollywood loves it when a premier, big-timey screenwriter like Aaron Sorkin (For a few Good Men, Charlie Wilson’s War )hooks up successfully with a brainy, independent sort of filmmaker like David Fincher (nominated for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, equally as well known for The Fight Club and Se7en ) and they make hay, and heavy duty ticket sales, together.

No comments: