This Sunday, February 27, 2011 will be the 83rd annual Oscar awards presentation. An art form with a storied past, and I believe a bright future. Although India churns out many more pictures than the U.S. each year, the art of the film and the studio are uniquely American. I’m still getting used to having 10 films in the Best Picture category, and was somewhat upset when they went to that format. But I’ve grown to understand that this change was a good one.
Despite my yearning for the past decades of real film, I mean no CGI, there does seem to be more pictures worthy of the Best Picture nomination. The expansion has allowed smaller, independent films to have their time in the sun, as well as animated efforts, which are becoming quite good. I thoroughly enjoyed Toy Story 3, the past year’s box office leader with over $415 million in ticket sales, as well as How to Train Your Dragon. Overall 2010 was flat for ticket sales compared to 2009, which might sound good given the economic climate. But Hollywood pumped a lot more into production thanks to 3D, which requires a hefty premium on ticket price. The verdict is still out on 3D on two fronts, is it a viable new economic model and does it add to the artistic value. All that aside, we can sit back and enjoy the broadcast. Here are my picks in the most followed categories.
Best Picture: It’s a dead heat between The King’s Speech and True Grit. The Social Network, despite all the buzz, is out because it’s too trendy and beyond the world most of us live in. Black Swan is dark and undefined, and the others are not substantial enough. My heart wants True Grit to win (see why here), but I believe The King’s Speech will triumph. Read my review of it here.
Best Actor: There are three levels of acting maturity in this category in 2010. Experienced in Jeff Bridges and Colin Firth. Up and coming with Jesse Eisenberg and James Franco and established in Javier Bardem. Bridges won last year and the Academy doesn’t repeat lightly. The winner will be Colin Firth for his stunning portrayal of King George VI.
Best Actress: These women are all amazing and star in smaller, more niche films. A dark horse in the race is Jennifer Lawrence from Winter’s Bone, but I have to go with Natalie Portman. The early part of her career found her in strong roles, then she drifted into softer, more animated parts. Now she’s back in a serious role. One in which she had to alter her body type to make it work. The Oscar crew loves that.
Adapted Screenplay: All of the nominated writers are deserving of recognition. Since The Social Network will not take many statues home on Sunday, I believe the Academy will award the Oscar to Aaron Sorkin for crafting this story in a manner that allows it to play as a documentary or a drama. Very difficult to pull off.
Original Screenplay: The winner here will be David Seidler for The King’s Speech. The Academy likes to recognize behind the scenes stories that places the powerful and the ordinary on equal footing. Plus, it’s a fantastic piece of writing and pairs nicely with it’s Best Picture win.
Direction: This one is tough because of the wide variety of pictures this year. Each one required a unique approach and style to bring them to life. But in this instance form follows function and so the Oscar will go to Tom Hooper for his brilliant work as director of The King’s Speech.
I’m looking forward to the broadcast. Visit the official Oscar site here. The Oscar iPhone app is a great idea, but guys, simplify the interface. Too much tapping. Not a bad first attempt though.