Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The 83rd Academy Award Nominations - Picks and Reactions

The nominees for this year’s Academy Awards were announced this morning. Hearts were spirited or broken, producers pleased or pissed… and now four weeks into 2011, we may finally begin to close the door on 2010.

Here’s a rundown of the nominees, as well as some off the cuff reactions and quick picks (which I reserve the right to change until the week… the day… the hour… the minute before the Oscars go live...)


127 Hours

Black Swan

The Fighter


The Kids Are All Right

The King’s Speech

The Social Network

Toy Story 3

True Grit

Winter’s Bone

Should WinThe Social Network. It’s a complete package of talent, display and buzz.

Could WinThe King’s Speech. Because right now, everybody loves The King’s Speech.

Shouldn’t Be HereThe Kids Are All Right. I’m not surprised it’s here. I just don’t think it should be.

Should Have Been Here InsteadThe Town and The Ghost Writer both had legitimate shots.


Javier Bardem, Biutiful

Jeff Bridges, True Grit

Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network

Colin Firth, The King’s Speech

James Franco, 127 Hours

Should Win – Colin Firth. It’s the performance of the year.

Could Win – Javier Bardem. He’s the dark horse.

Shouldn’t Be Here – Arguably Jeff Bridges. And I love Jeff Bridges. Was he good? Yes. But was he the best? Not even in his own movie.

Should Have Been Here Instead – But then again, who would take his place? Leonardo Dicaprio had a huge year. Ryan Gosling took on a difficult role. But were they better than Bridges?


Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right

Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole

Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone

Natalie Portman, Black Swan

Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

Should Win – Natalie Portman. Possessed and possessive, this was the performance of her career.

Could Win – Nicole Kidman. An academy favorite doing the melodrama bit.

Shouldn’t Be Here – Annette Bening. She’s a less developed, less interesting and even more uptight version of her traditional “uptight bitch role”. She was good, but she’s here as the trendy anti-pick.

Should Have Been Here Instead – Hailee Steinfeld. She’s the lead in True Grit, not the support.


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

Should Win – Christian Bale. He was comedic, heartbreaking and utterly flawless.

Could Win – Geoffrey Rush. A splendid performance. He never felt overshadowed by Firth’s magnificence.

Shouldn’t Be Here – They all should be here.

Should Have Been Here Instead – If anybody feels left out here, it’s The Social Network’s Andrew Garfield.


Amy Adams, The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech

Melissa Leo, The Fighter

Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit

Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

Should Win – Steinfeld. The move to put her in the supporting race was political. She’s got a better shot here, and she deserves it.

Could Win – Melissa Leo. I liked Amy Adams more, but Leo’s a trendy underdog.

Shouldn’t Be Here – Again, all good picks.

Should Have Been Here InsteadInception’s Marion Cotillard? Maybe?


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

Should WinThe King’s Speech. The performances were great, but they’d be nothing without the whit and texture of the words on these pages. This script is an impressive read.

Could WinInception. Creativity, ingenuity, and some needed recognition for Nolan.

Shouldn’t Be HereThe Kids Are All Right. The WORST part of this movie was the underdeveloped screenplay.

Should Have Been Here Instead – Most of the best pictures this year were, in some shape or form, an adaptation. So this is a tough category. But is Michael Arndt’s screenplay for Toy Story 3 really an adaptation?


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

Should WinThe Social Network. Sorkin’s script is masterful in so many ways, and lays a sturdy foundation for this complete package picture.

Could WinToy Story 3. It’s sweet, fun, sentimental and endearing.

Shouldn’t Be Here Toy Story 3. A sequel does not equal adaptation. Unless I’m missing something here.

Should Have Been Here InsteadThe Ghost Writer or Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.


Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan

Joel & Ethan Coen, True Grit

David Fincher, The Social Network

Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech

David O. Russell, The Fighter

Should Win – David Fincher. Sorkin’s script, Eisenberg’s performance, Reznor’s score… all great components. But the hauntingly poetic tone and style, the guiding craftsmanship… The Social Network thrives on the unmistakable technique of Fincher. It’s time we recognize his talent.

Could Win – David O. Russell. Because we loved his film.

Shouldn’t Be Here – Hooper. His direction is simple and quaint, but occasionally erroneous. It’s nicely done, but he doesn’t deserve to be here over…

Should Have Been Here Instead – Christopher Nolan. Are you shitting me? Why does the Academy hate Christopher Nolan? Memento, Insomnia, The Dark Knight, Inception… time and time again the man displays masterful technique and vision. And yet not once has he been rewarded by the Academy with even a nomination for his direction. They recognized Cameron last year for technical achievement and money making. What exactly was different this year with Inception, except that it was a better movie than Avatar?

Did they think Tom Hooper’s direction was more majestic? Did they think the Coens did anything groundbreaking?

I am dumbfounded. I have no idea how to even begin to explain this.

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