Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Handicapping the Best Picture Oscar nominees

Again this year I will be reviewing the Oscars for this blog. It’ll be up first thing Monday morning, long after people even remember that SALT was nominated for anything. To get you in the mood, here’s my thoughts on the Best Picture category.


WHY IT WILL WIN – Turning a bunch of nerds typing on computers into an engrossing and entertaining film is no easy feat. Through clever direction, excellent performances, and snappy dialogue you forget that not a lot is happening.

Oscar likes movies that are grown-up and sophisticated.

Oprah liked it.

It’s set in Harvard and Ali McGraw doesn’t die.

Aaron Sorkin guested on this blog.

WHY IT WON’T WIN – Many Academy voters are 95 and have never heard of Facebook.

The screeners weren’t in a pretty enough box.

Not a lot happens.

No Ali McGraw.

Aaron Sorkin guested on this blog.


WHY IT WILL WIN – Oscar loves movies where the lead has some handicap or affliction. It’s the RAIN MAN effect.

It’s British. Short of HELP! Oscar will nominate any movie that was made at the Pinewood Studios.

It feels “important”, but that could just be the wigs.

Helena Bonham Carter not wearing raccoon make up.

WHY IT WON’T WIN – Judi Dench is not in it.

Voters found it annoying that the main character was stuttering.

British epics must involve at least one war complete with battle scene and amputation.  (Just talking about war doesn't count.)

Most voters knew King George VI personally and he wasn’t that great a guy.


WHY IT WILL WIN – Oscar loves characters having nervous breakdowns almost as much as they like characters who are retarded.

Ballet movies never miss.

Natalie Portman is Oscar’s current darling. She can make NO STRINGS ATTACHED and still be respected.

WHY IT WON’T WIN – Lots of male voters would rather have a prostate exam than watch this angst-fest.

The 95 year-old voters will confuse it with NO STRINGS ATTACHED.


WHY IT WILL WIN – Danny Boyle has constructed a riveting brilliant movie.

It’s the only way they could get James Franco to host.

WHY IT WON’T WIN – The guys cuts his own arm off. No chance.

Even buying off the Foreign Press didn’t get it a Golden Globe.


WHY IT WILL WIN – Boxing movies always score.

Christian Bale gives the performance of the year.

Feel-good ending.

Stallone isn’t in it.

Becoming the dark horse favorite.

WHY IT WON’T WIN – If RAGING BULL didn’t win, then this thing won’t.


WHY IT WILL WIN – Startling special effects.

It’s a movie the general public has actually seen.

Clearly the best choice when watching these nominees stoned. 

WHY IT WON’T WIN – The story is a confusing mess.

Oscar has a real case of the red ass against Chris Nolan.

Made too much money.

Heath Ledger’s not in it.


WHY IT WILL WIN – It won’t. Who are we kidding?

WHY IT WON’T WIN – See "Why It Will Win".

It’s only nominated to fill out the category.


WHY IT WILL WIN – Beautifully told story with heart and imagination.

Oscar has a big man crush on Tom Hanks. Even just his voice is enough to make Big O have a little O.

WHY IT WON’T WIN – It’s a cartoon.

Other than those voters who took their great-great-grandchildren to see it, no Academy members have screened this picture.


WHY IT WILL WIN – The Coen Brothers can do no wrong, even when they do.

It’s better than the original.

Westerns are always a big favorite. From STAGECOACH to UNFORGIVEN. If you have a character in a cowboy hat riding a horse in Malibu Canyon you’ve got a nomination.

Not a lot of Jews in it like A SERIOUS MAN.

WHY IT WON’T WIN – They’ve already won a couple of times.

No one could understand a word Jeff Bridges said.

Some people are still pissed that NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN won.

Not enough Jews. 

The original was better.


WHY IT WILL WIN – It’s a gripping drama with scope and noir.

A tale of survival where the heroine keeps her arm.

Oscar loves poverty.

Ree Dolly is fabulous.

Who doesn’t want to spend two hours in the Ozarks?

WHY IT WON’T WIN – Natalie Portman doesn’t star in it.

Randy Newman didn’t do the soundtrack.

It’s another film to just fill out the category. But thank God for it. Otherwise SALT might have been nominated.

What do you guys think? Who’s going to win?


Unknown said...

Social Network will win because Aaron Sorkin is well-loved by Hollywood.

True Grit won't win because the original didn't. But Bridges will because The Duke also did. However, it has a chance to win and Bridges has a chance to not win for the same reasons.


The King's Speech does have a small war in it, something called WWII. Never heard of it myself, but apparently it was quite the thing for the people who got involved.

WV: theedgou - nope, I've got nothing

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

King's Speech will win best film for one, and only ONE reason alone:

Harvey Weinstein.

If he could get any awards at all for Shakespeare in Love, King's Speech will be a no-brainer.

Social Network gets my vote for best screenplay. Aaron Sorkin's just that brilliant and able to capture everyone's attention through the power of his witty-yet-meaningful dialogue.

I hope The Fighter gets a best directing statue. The feel-good ending really contrasted with the rest of the film in a brilliant way. Christian Bale deserves supporting actor also.

Natalie'll probably win for Black Swan. It also deserves a directing win as much as The Fighter.

The Rain Man refefence reminds me of Tropic Thunder, and Robert Downey Jr.'s hilarious speech about the dangers of playing a full retard the way Ben Stiller's character did.

Firth has a chance because he didn't go the full retard route (no need to point out that stutter isn't related to being retard at all).

Cap'n Bob said...

There was a movie called The Unforgiven and one called Unforgiven. The former was made in 1960 with Burt lancaster and Audrey Hepburn. The latter was the Clint Eastwood film that won an Oscar. Since they were both westerns, it often causes confusion.
As for the Oscars, I'd like to see the girl from True Grit win Best Supporting Actress. Otherwise, I don't care.

Steve Zeoli said...

Sadly, I've only seen two of these films, both on DVD: Inception and The Kids are Alright. Of the two Kids is the better film, but it was hardly worthy of a nomination, let alone a win.

My wife and mother saw the King's Speech and loved it, but -- and here's the kicker -- my dad who last went to a movie theater was to see Casablanca, I think, went with my mom and loved it. That's why I'm projecting King's Speech as the winner.

Max Clarke said...

This is a rare year. Nearly all nominees in all the categories are deserving. Throw a dart in Best Actor or Best Supporting Actress or Adapted Screenplay -they're all good.

Who Wins Best Picture? King's Speech. The Academy likes to pick a best picture that makes them look classy. King's Speech could be this year's Chariots Of Fire.

Would like to see Toy Story 3 win because a great story told well is going to last a long time.

EDUARDO Jencarrellli beat me to it. When I hear Colin Firth stutter, I think of Robert Downey Jr as the five-time Oscar winner Kirk Lazarus, and his advice to Ben Stiller on winning Oscars.

blinky said...

The presenter, Dr Zoidberg will unexpectedly say: And the winner is none of those. The Oscar goes to Harrold Zoid for The Magnificent Three.
But tragically they both will be killer and eaten by Calculon's cook: Bender.

*tarazza said...

Voters found it annoying that the main character was stuttering.

Don't tell anyone how hard I laughed at this.

Roger Owen Green said...

The King's Speech wins, and so does Colin Firth, because he lost last year - to Jeff Bridges, no less.

Anonymous said...

Somebody watched The KIDS ARE ALRIGHT? Did they lose a fucking bet?

I'm pretty sure the movie was made as an example of how to tick all the boxes on the 'what not to put in a movie if you expect to be taken seriously' form.

Anonymous said...

THE KING'S SPEECH will win. Should it? Probably not. But it will.

Brandy said...

The Social Network will take home the Oscar for Screenplay, Editing, and possibly Directing and Musical Score. But it won't win Best Picture. That honor will go to The King's Speech.

Iain said...

What should win? Winter's Bone or True Grit. What will win? The King's Speech or The Social Network. I give the edge to The Social Network because, whilst both films are about things Hollywood could ruthlessly exploit (social networking and WW2)recent viewer analysis has revealed that your average movie goer thinks that WW2 is some kind of motor lubricant, and has said as much on their Facebook page.

YEKIMI said...

OH hell, whine on Twitter! The movies I saw were Toy Story 3 and Inception only because they played at a theater I manage. The Social Network played for about 3 weeks at a theater that is a ways from me but I could not find time to see it. The rest were considered too artsy-fartsy for our area by the film booker [and the film companies who apparently think people that are NOT located in California & New York City or any major East Coast Metropolitan area are mouth breathing, knuckle dragging Neanderthals and could not possibly understand their films] and if you wanted to see them you could drive 45 miles or so to a "so-called" art house theater in Cleveland to watch them.

YEKIMI said...

Guess I should have given my prediction: The King's Speech. I was leaning towards Social Network but everything I've read is saying The King's Speech. So I'll leap on the bandwagon. If it wind, Syslvester the Cat should accept the award. "Thufferin' Thucotash!"

david golbitz said...

I'm just glad that for once, I've actually seen almost all the nominated films (Toy Story is the odd movie out; sue me).

I'd like to see The Social Network win. I think it was the best movie all around, from director to script to cast, not to mention Trent Reznor's killer soundtrack. And I think it's the most socially and thematically relevant film on the list.

That being said, like Ken said, Oscar loves British movies. And The King's Speech has been winning awards by the boatload this year (Golden Globes don't count, because, well, they're the Golden Globes), including the Producer's and Director's Guild awards.

But, to be fair, I really did enjoy every single nominated movie (except The Kids Are All Right, which was kinda meh). Hell, if not for The Social Network and The King's Speech, I'd probably pick 127 Hours to win Best Picture, but, unfortunately, Danny Boyle already won his Oscars for a lesser film.

KellyGaines said...

Gwyneth Paltrow won't be winning but will be singing instead. Why? Why must she sing? I prefer her husband Chris Martin if I had my druther. And, I'm with DAVID BISHOP. What he said.

WV: symedle Gwyneth gettin' all up in the grill of the Oscar Symphony Orchestra and messin' with the melody.

analee said...

Excellent performance and clever direction is perfect for the Salt movie.I think Salt will win.

KellyGaines said...

PS: Since it IS the Oscars, may I have more than one druther? How 'bout my druthers? DAVID BISHOP,I like your shoes.

WV: clonsh David Bishop? Help me out here.

cadavra said...

People admire SOCIAL NETWORK. But they love THE KING'S SPEECH.

Game, set, match.

Compoundwriting said...

This is a tough year, I really admired all the films I've seen though thought the buzz around The Social Network was slightly overblown, Sorkin is terrific writer and I love Fincher's work (should have won SOMETHING for Zodiac) but there was a quality about The King's Speech and True Grit, and I found Black Swan truly thrilling and moving. King's Speech because I'm a Brit, Black Swan or True Grit otherwise. Also liked Winter's Bone a lot but I think it's simplicity will work against it. Toy Story 3 was some of the best storytelling I've ever seen but seems not to be talked about.

escalante blogger said...

Toy Story 3, made me cry for the toys. :-)
This movie, even animated is too nice for kids, there's a big impact for them.

bmfc1 said...

King's Speech will win because it seems more important and classier than The Social Network... but The Social Network is the far superior movie in every respect and deserves to win.

Mac said...

The King's Speech will get best picture, not because it's the best picture, but because it's t-t-t-triumph-over-adversity, and it looks a bit 'classy.' And it would be the perfect postscript - "and the whole heart-warming bally-hoo was turned into an Oscar-winning movie." Not that it wasn't good, it was well-scripted and had a terrific performance from Colin Firth. - but Social Network was better- fabulous script which, as you say, managed to make a riveting story out of a few gimps building a website. It was beautifully directed and the performances were excellent.
The Kids Are Alright - as you say, obviously they had to stick something else in there and it couldn't be "The Simpson's -The XXX Parody" Although that would be in with about the same chance of winning.
Toy Story 3, like 1 and 2, was magnificent, but it's never going to win.

Infauxtainer said...

Geez Ken, The Social Network won't win because there are too many Jews. They are the story and they created the movie: Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Severin, David Fincher, Aaron Sorkin, Jesse Eisenberg, Roony Mara, Armie Hammer (Judaic lineage). I'm probably missing some Moses survivors here (like half the crew), so please feel free to add to the roster.

WizarDru said...

Of those I've seen, I'd say The King's Speech. It was just damned good. I haven't seen the Social Network and don't WANT to see it. I'm not a fan of Sorkin OR Fincher...and an interpetation of recent history that isn't agreed upon by the people involved sort of undermines it, for me. And I was under the impression it was less about building a website and more about a bunch of entitled dickheads treating women and each other badly.

127 hours may be fantastic, but who wants to see that? Winter's Bone is similar in that regard. Black Swan was one I didn't see, so I can't speak to it. True Grit I'd have liked to see, though I think the Cohens often get a pass from Hollywood, even when they're not that good.

The Fighter might be good or not....I don't think it hit critical mass to gain any attention. And it sounds like we've seen it several times before.

Toy Story 3 is a great film, but the academy would never make it best film, nor Inception (though they are the two I've seen several times, for various reasons).

Another thing about WInter's The Kids are All Right, I only heard about it FROM the Oscars. Doesn't speak much about their chances, IMHO.

William C Bonner said...

There are so many films nominated this year it reminds me why political elections have primaries.

Do the ballots have write in sections?

Is there a way of comparing the number of votes a movie gets this year vs whatever the best picture was from another year?

James W. Pharo said...

King's Speech. Not the 'full retard." Oscar lock.

Matt Patton said...

Not that I care, but THE KING'S SPEECH will probably win. Partly because of the affliction thing, partly because it has a few people to root for (although the actual characters of the royal personages had to be scrubbed with Borax and carbolic to make them sympathetic), and because Hollywood falls at the feet of anything that feels British-y and Upper Class, pathetic social climbers that they are.

What SHOULD win best picture? GHOST TOWN. Mind you, it was released in the fall of 2008, but few Hollywood movies of the last few years have given me as much enjoyment on repeat viewing. David Koepp wrote a great script and despite the presence of ghosts among the characters, used an absolute minimum of special effects. Ricky Gervais gave a wonderful performance, as did everyone else in the cast including Tea Leoni and Greg Kinnear (who wears his one costume, a tuxedo, with the same elan that Cary Grant brought to his gray flannel suit in NORTH BY NORTHWEST)

For that matter, let's go back and right the Oscar mistakes of 1940 -- Best Picture: THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER; Best Actor: James Stewart, but for SHOP, not for losing Katharine Hepburn in THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (frankly, he was the winner). Best Actress, Margaret Sullavan (take your pick, either SHOP AROUND THE CORNER or THE MORTAL STORM -- she was wonderful in both of them). Best Supporting Actor would be split between Frank Morgan and Joseph Schildkraut for the same film -- they were both wonderful.

As for Colin Firth, this will be the we-missed-you-last-year award. He should have won for A NORMAL MAN. Frankly, he seems to have been one of the few people connected with the film who read Christopher Isherwood's novel and realized that it a comedy . . .

Jonah D said...

After watching (and enjoying) the Social Network, I couldn't help but wonder if my enjoyment of the film was tainted by my affection for facebook, itself. I mean, if this movie was about the founders of Friendsters (anybody remember that site) or Petsmart, would it be regarded as highly? Any thoughts?

Ref said...

Uhhhh, twenty years from now, people will ask "They made a movie about Facebook!? Seriously!? It ain't The Godfather, that's for sure.

Loved Winter's Bone, a superbly written, acted, and produced film featuring almost nobody you've ever heard of.

Hated The Kids Are All Right, a bunch of great actors trying desperately to make quality out of a terrible story and script. Either Julianne Moore or Annette Bening ought to get an award for sheer effort.

Inception had impressive effects (loved the ski war sequence) but nothing that requires three viewings to understand the story line should be on the Oscar list.