Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Predicting the Academy Awards - Part 2!

With the Oscars nearly upon us, it is time to predict the final category and the biggest of them all, Best Picture. The Academy's old age and tradition tends to show itself more so here than in any other place, and that is no different this year with fairly traditional Oscar bait heading up the category. As I mentioned the other day, in this part I am simply running down the 10 movies up for Best Picture and ranking them from what I think is least likely to win on Sunday to which movie I believe will take home the Oscar. Let's get a move on:

10. Winter's Bone - Unfortunately for any fans of this Sundance success story, this movie is purely an also ran. The small contention of diehard fans for this indie surprise got it to this point, and managed to get it two major acting nods and a screenwriting bid to boot. The nominations themselves for such a small film are the award. (My Grade: ?)

9. The Kids Are All Right - This movie has a little more Oscarish bait to it, I definitely wouldn't count it out of Best Original Screenplay since the Academy has a tendency to go with these sort of quirky comedies, same with Best Actress and Annette Bening. With this said, I think that this movie is too contemporary in its thought process for the Academy at large to wrap its head around it. No matter how liberal Hollywood is, the people who call the shots are, for the most part, conservative. (My Grade: C!)

8. 127 Hours - This movie didn't hit with everyone, and that is why it wont win. It is not that it isn't a fantastic movie, it's more that only a small portion of the Academy actually sat through the whole thing because of when Ralston chops off his arm. At the very least, we'll get to see James Franco as host, even if he wont win his deserved Oscar for Best Actor. (My Grade: A+!)

7. Black Swan - The same with The Kids Are All Right, no matter how forward thinking Hollywood is as a whole, the Academy is very traditional and conservative, and the idea that a movie with such racy subject matter would represent Hollywood's top achievement for the year is just too much wishful thinking for its fans (which I'm not one of). And come on, there is very little chance that Natalie Portman wont win for Best Actress, so the fans will have that win. (My Grade: F!)

6. Toy Story 3 - To be honest, the Academy are animation snobs. Back when there were only five nominees and not ten, only one animated film ever got nominated for Best Picture, so the idea that one could ever actually win is just wishful thinking, even if it was one of the finer films of last year. Not to mention, it is probably the only movie that nearly every Academy member saw, as evidenced by its $400 million+ domestic box office take. (My Grade: A+!)

5. Inception - The fact that Christopher Nolan didn't manage to capture a Best Director nod means that this movie's chances aren't as strong as many once thought, regardless it has this nod which is a big deal for any Summer blockbuster, especially one based on an original idea. Whether or not you were blown away by it, or felt a little let down after seeing it, it's always nice to see something new and original not only rewarded at the box office, but by the folks in Hollywood as well. (My Grade: B+!)

4. True Grit - The simple fact that this is a remake already knocks it down a few pegs, because no matter how good this remake was, there is still an allegiance, especially amongst older Academy members, to the John Wayne original. Regardless, the movie's success, both at the box office and on the award's circuit, shows a potential revitalization of the Western, if you happen to be a fan of the genre. (My Grade: A+!)

3. The Fighter - To be honest, I'd love to see this movie win come Sunday night, but I know that is not the case. While the movie is just as uplifting as any other movie up for the Oscar, it's a sports drama, and the Academy has been too good to boxing movies in the past for them to award one in the present. Even if this movie is the best realization of familial dynamics and boxing I think I've ever seen, even more so than Rocky or Raging Bull, with that said, those other two movies shared similar themes and stories with The Fighter, which is exactly why it wont win Best Picture. (My Grade: A+!)

2. The Social Network - This one might just be too much of a downer to win on Sunday night. I know that sounds stupid, but I mean the whole movie is about emotional disconnection amongst your fellow human beings, and the audience feels that disconnect themselves. No matter how smart a movie may be, the audience as a whole wants to feel something when they go to see a movie, which leads me to my prediction for Best Picture... (My Grade: A+!)

1. The King's Speech - Now this is a movie that makes you feel something inside. Whether you're a cynic or just a downright sentimentalist (like myself) you can't deny that this movie affects you in some way shape or form. It's a heartfelt story of friendship, and it is easy for any viewer to relate to, which is why it has had the impact that it is had. Forget all the words of the cynics saying this is Oscar bait at its worst, and that it represents a "safe" choice for the Academy after some more "daring" choices in the past few years. So what? Why does a movie have to be depressing to be considered art? Can it not be uplifting? Maybe The King's Speech is just entertainment, but it is entertainment that is really darn good and that is why it's gonna win on Sunday night, and not because of sentimentality. (My Grade: A!)

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