I LOVE AWARD SEASON.
I love it so much, I had to write it in all caps. Golden Globes, SAG Awards, WGA Awards, Grammys, Independent Spirit Awards and the undisputed king of all award shows: The Oscars. Even though there are films out there I love that never had a chance (Predator, Valhalla Rising, Office Space), I love the Oscars.
My proudest achievement is winning 2nd place in an online Oscar competition and winning a velvet painting, which goes spectacularly in my living room above the furniture I found on the street.
I have been watching the Oscars for as long as I can remember. In the earliest days, I’d watch the Red Carpet stuff with my mom and would pretty much have to go to bed by the second award, but I could watch the next day on the VCR. I’ve been so into the Oscars that when I was 10 and Shakespeare in Love beat out Saving Private Ryan I knew without seeing any of the films that it was an absolute crime. I can name every Best Picture winner. I suffered through The Reader only because it was nominated for Best Picture.
And now, I offer you my picks, so you can win a velvet painting of your own. Keep in mind nothing is certain (sometimes there are surprises like Crash over Brokeback Mountain or complete shockers like Chariots of Fire), but, as humbly as possible, I say PICK THESE!
The King’s Speech for Costume Design, Art Direction, Actor (Colin Firth – fantastic performance), Original Screenplay; The Social Network for Film Editing, Adapted Screenplay, Original Score, Best Director; True Grit for Cinematography; The Fighter for Supporting Actress and Supporting Actor; Inception for Visual Effects, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing; Natalie Portman (Black Swan) for Best Actress (even though she already wore white face paint and bored me in The Phantom Menace); Toy Story 3 for Animated Feature (when in doubt, go with Pixar!).
The rest is usually guesswork. When dealing with the Short Films, just go with something inspirational – Oscar voters love inspirational crap for the Shorts categories.
Foreign Language Film is always tough to pick, as the usual favorite does not win (remember when Pan’s Labyrinth lost!?), so just go with what Roger Ebert picked – Incendies.
Best Documentary is one of my favorite categories, but I am extremely ticked that The Tillman Story was not nominated. You should check out all of these films nominated – Gasland is about why drinking water in New York City could kill you in the next few years, Inside Job is about the financial meltdown and is very informative; Restrepo gives you the best look at our troops in the Middle East since Gunner Palace; and the winner will be Exit Through The Gift Shop, which I highly recommend.
Best Picture is The King’s Speech vs. The Social Network. Hollywood can’t crank out a more standard “Oscar-ready” film than The King’s Speech. It’s an English period piece with proper accents and royalty and ornate outfits. The Social Network is a smart take on a modern issue.
So what will win? If there were any justice in the world, it would be 127 Hours, which among these nominees is truly the best; True Grit and The Fighter were both better as well. But the winner will be The Social Network.
I predict this with extreme trepidation – I am going against logic; after all, The Weinsteins (who released the film) engineered victory for Shakespeare in Love all those years ago, and the film is perfect Oscar bait. However, I think Oscar voters are going to look to surprise, and for that reason I pick The Social Network.
Even though the Academy will pick bad movies to recognize from time to time, I’m just glad there is one night where I can completely forget that crapfests like Transformers or Twilight or Knight and Day or Eat Pray Love exist, and film can be celebrated for what it really is: art.
And for one column, I can seem like something I never, ever want to seem: pretentious.