Sunday, February 27, 2011

83rd Annual Academy Awards: Ryan calls it

Tonight's the night for Hollywood's brightest stars to come out and shine...Or so I'm told. All I know is I love movies and comparing my favorites from the previous year, which is why the Academy Awards have always held a special place in my heart.

Say what you will about awards shows in general, there's a great feeling that comes along with seeing one of your favorite stars or films get recognized for their achivements. Plus, the occasionally have something worthwhile to say when making their acceptance speeches. *fingers crossed for an F-16 reference*

Following are my predictions for this year's winners. While I did see the majority of films nominated this year, I unfortunately have to take a pass on such categories as Foreign Film, Documentary and Short Film. Otherwise, let's get to picking some winners.

Best Picture: The Social Network
I feel The King's Speech is the only outside threat to what should be a lock for 2010's best picture, The Social Network. It has an amazing screenplay, great acting, a brilliant script, fantastic direction and, well, it's basically a stellar film from top to bottom.

Best Director: Darren Aronofsky for The Black Swan
I know the best director is usually, and likely will be, the one who worked on the best film, but while David Fincher certainly did a great job with The Social Network, my nod for best directing this year goes to Araonofsky's captivating portrayal of Swan Lake in The Black Swan. It stirred about a dozen emotions within me, and only a great director can pull something like that off.

Best Actor: Colin Firth for The King's Speech
Write it down and lock it in. There was some great competition this year, but Colin Firth's performance was the best by a long shot. The only category I'm more sure of than this one is...

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale for The Fighter
Again, you can take this one to the bank. There's no reason to debate it; Bale is getting is Oscar.

Best Actress: Natalie Portman for The Black Swan
Making a stunning transition from caged, frightened bird to terrifying, powerful queen, Natalie Portman's work in The Black Swan was second to none.

Best Supporting Actress: Hailee Steinfeld for True Grit
This is another long shot. Steinfeld is likely too young, too new to the scene to take away an Oscar. But I was blown away by her tough-as-nails performance in True Grit, filling as much of the screen as her companions Matt Damon and Jeff Bridges.

Best Animated Film: Toy Story 3
I was a huge fan of How to Train Your Dragon, but no betting man is stupid enough to make a call against a Pixar film. The only year Pixar doesn't win for animated film are the years they don't have a film out. Period.

Best Original Screenplay: The King's Speech
It's an amazing story written specifically for the screen. This is becoming a rarer find these days and, in 2010, The King's Speech was the best of the best.

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network
Any story that can tell its tale from multiple angles without confusing the viewer should be considered a success. When said story is as good and well told as The Social Network, it makes for a very easy Oscar lock.

Best Art Direction: The King's Speech
This is a tough category for me. I wasn't a huge fan of what was being done in Alice in Wonderland and the latest Harry Potter movie simply didn't do enough in my book. Both Inception and True Grit were lovely, but the team on The King's Speech absolutely nailed a period piece, something usually indicative of an easy win at the Oscars.

Best Original Score: The Social Network
This category is usually a toughie, but seeing as how Trent Reznor and Atticu Ross' work on The Social Network was, not only fantastic, but one of the things that stood out most about the film, I feel confident the guys will be recognized for their work.

Best Film Editing: The Social Network
This one was a toss up between the jarring, heavy-handed cuts of 127 Hours and the more subtle shifts present in The Social Network. In the end, it's the flawless telling of TSN's multi-layered tale that earns it my Oscar prediction.

Best Cinematography: Black Swan
I've never cared about ballet so much. Matthew Libatique's astonishing work with Black Swan's many dance scenes puts the viewer right in the mix, highlighting beautiful details one second and pulling back to astonish with wide, sweeping shots the next. Amazing.

Best Sound Editing: TRON: Legacy
For this category, I tend to side with the film that gave me something new or creative to listen to. While a win for Toy Story 3 wouldn't surprise me, I'm going with TRON: Legacy this year. The mixers basically had to create the sounds for an entirely new world and, if memory serves, they did a great job of it.

Best Sound Mixing: Inception
From pinging bullets and heavy rainfall to quiet conversations and the now infamous "BRAWM" sound, Inception worked magic on the ears.

Best Visual Effects: Inception
When it comes to visual effects, I tend to side with the film that uses them most sparingly, yet most effectively. This year, that film was Inception.

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