By Emily Hoover | email@example.com
Photos from IMDB
For the first time since the Coen Brothers swept the competition for “No Country for Old Men” — my personal pick for the best film so far this century — I’m excited about the Oscars.
It’s almost like the World Series; equally obnoxious, yet far more decadent. As I’ve eaten my share of over-priced, buttery popcorn and quenched my thirst with unhealthy helpings of Cherry Coke, I’ve seen a great majority of the films nominated this season. I’m going to go ahead and submit to elitism and call myself an authority on the subject.
Best Picture: I’ve seen every single movie in this category and I liked most of them, apart from “The King’s Speech” and “True Grit.” Apparently, everybody else in the world is all about “The King’s Speech,” so I predict it’ll win for political reasons. However, my pick is the independent drama “Winter’s Bone.” Set in rural Missouri and complete with sinister, dirt-poor intensity, this film is gritty and real. I feel like I know these people; I feel like everyone who has been to a small town knows them. It’s plotline is simple: seventeen year old girl with a mentally bankrupt mother and two young siblings is forced to fight for her impoverished life when her criminal father, out on bond, puts their house up for collateral and never makes court. She knows he is dead, but she can’t prove it. Enough said.
Best Actor: I do acknowledge that Colin Firth is a brilliant actor, but I’m on the James Franco bandwagon for “127 Hours.” Franco first caught my attention in “Milk.” It was at that point that I forgot he was Willem Dafoe’s son in those awful “Spiderman” movies. As a single character, trapped in a cave with his arm lodged in a boulder, he is wonderful to watch. He kept me interested the whole way through, in one setting, with one conflict, and one solution—to cut off his arm with one of those Gerber tool knock-offs or die of fear, starvation and dehydration.
Best Actress: While I would love to pick Jennifer Lawrence, the lead in “Winter’s Bone,” or even Annette Benning as the domineering lesbian in “The Kids are All Right,” I’m going to have to agree with most and predict that Natalie Portman will win for “Black Swan.” Her descend from a child-like, soft-spoken ballerina to a physical manifestation of sexual primitivism and psychosis is completely out of control—in a good way. Raunchy and beautiful, seductive and angelic, she’s come a long way from “The Professional.” It’s hard to imagine, when watching her dance as the Swan Queen, she’s the same girl with that weird lipstick in “Star Wars.”
Best Supporting Actor: This is a nasty category indeed. I’ve seen all the films and I did like all the performances. In reality, the face-off is between Christian Bale for “The Fighter” and Geoffrey Rush for “The King’s Speech.” Rush succeeded in lighting up an otherwise drab movie. However, John Hawkes in “Winter’s Bone” is one of the most unsettling characters I’ve seen in a long time, Jeremy Renner is brilliant as an unhinged bank robber in “The Town” and even Mark Ruffalo is so good in “The Kids are All Right” that you hate him and you don’t want him to win. There are so many good contenders for this category; I don’t see myself getting upset when they choose a winner. Just pick one, I say. As for the face-off, I’m going for Bale. “The Fighter” was his movie.
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo as Mark Wahlberg’s violent, over-powering mother in “The Fighter.” Watch it and you’ll see what I mean.
Best Animated Feature: “Toy Story 3” was an emotional roller coaster for me. I laughed, I cried. I was even frightened at times, I admit it. It was beautiful. The other movies “The Illusionist” and “How to Train Your Dragon”—though I haven’t seen them—don’t have a chance against Pixar.
Best Director: Darren Aronofsky for “Black Swan” because of the performance he brought out of Natalie Portman and because of the tension he created at the film’s beginning. I felt an indescribable unsettling feeling throughout the whole film and it didn’t end until the closing credits.
Best Adapted Screenplay: “Winter’s Bone” for plot alone. However, I’d be content with “The Social Network” or “127 Hours” because they were based on true stories.
Best Original Screenplay: “The Kids are All Right.” The film puts a whole new spin on the phrase, “dysfunctional family.”
Music: Trent Reznor’s score for “The Social Network,” which was a wonderful film. I don’t even have a Facebook and I loved it. I will say that Daft Punk was definitely snubbed for the “Tron: Legacy” score, which was absolutely brilliant. I’m a geek for “Tron: Legacy.” I hope it made its money back.