Oscar prognosticating is a dicey business. If you're wrong you look like a schmuck and if you're right, well, who cares? It's not like you're predicting the outcome of a political election or a revolution. And any true film buff too often confuses his or her own personal taste for that of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (which is a notoriously motley crew or 5,800 or so loons if ever there was one). Do not ever confuse them with cinema aesthetes as they are anything but. It doesn't mean they vote with their pocketbooks (see The Hurt Locker beating the mega-hit Avatar last year) but you can't expect them to vote for the high-brow intellectual movies as much as you might wish they would.
There are many professional awards-watchers and they chatter back-and-forth all through "awards season" about who's up and who's down and who has momentum and who's stuck in the mud. As a service to you, dear Movieweb reader, I'm going to synthesize this information and add my own two-cents and considerable Oscar-forecasting prowess. (The 83rd Academy Awards are often called the "Gay Super Bowl" and thusly I, as a gay man, have SUPERNATURAL INSIGHT.)
Betting in an Oscar pool is as important as betting on the Super Bowl. It's more fun to watch if you have money riding on the outcome - otherwise its just four hours of watching people in better physical shape than yourself duke it out in a pointless contest. So this week I'll take a look at the current state of the Big 8 Races. Next week I'll give you (very valuable) advice on whom to mark on your ballot based on any last minute maneuvering (ballots from Academy members aren't due back until February 22nd) in the big races as well as all those other technical awards which are truly where these pools are won or lost.
All the big money these days is going for The King's Speech. It has swept the guild awards, even winning big at the DGAs for director Tom Hooper. It's historical. It's British. It features triumph over fascism. All things the Academy loves. Expect this to win.
It's possible that in a bizarro-world or in the Star Trek episode "Mirror, Mirror" something else like True Grit or Black Swan could win, but this is Los Angeles, which is bizarre but not THAT bizarre. My fingers are crossed for a The Social Network win, but I'm not betting good money on it.
However, I'm going out on a limb right now and predicting we get another split this year. I think David Fincher is going to pick up the little gold man for his direction of The Social Network It's generally accepted that his work making long, talky scenes breathe with energy and urgency is masterful. Hooper's achievements are less exciting (though perhaps no less admirable) as directing British Empire acting gods like Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter to greatness is less grueling than coaxing epic performances out of virtual unknowns like Andrew Garfield and Jesse Eisenberg. So, for now, I predict a Fincher win because I think the academy will want to reward this film with a top award (besides screenplay). The fact that he won best director at the BAFTAs, beating out native son Tom Hooper, only adds fuel to his fire. I'll get back to you next week if anything changes.
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best Adapted Screenplay
I really don't see how it's possible that Hollywood Golden Boy Aaron Sorkin does not win this for The Social Network. It's absolutely his to lose. I think its only possible competition is True Grit because everyone loves the Cohn brothers, but this should be Sorkin's year. Like Paddy Chayefsky with his seminal "Network," this year's Network is also the most memorable screenplay of the year.
Best Original Screenplay
David Seidler should be able to ride the wave of enthusiasm for The King's Speech and take home this trophy. Eligibility rules kept it out of the WGA awards giving Inception the ability to triumph in this category, but the KS is the 800 pound gorilla at the Oscars.
That's the view from New York at least. Next week we'll recap these races and use the Ouija board to figure out who the hell to vote for in Best Animated Short.
Don't forget to voice your own opinions on the big night right here at MovieWeb as we'll be hosting a LIVE CHAT with movie fans just like yourself as the Oscars are handed out.