To start things off, here are my predictions for the major awards:
- Best Picture: The King's Speech. This isn't a sure thing, but while The Social Network racked up some early awards, it's been losing momentum and The King's Speech has been picking up the slack. I've actually seen all of the nominated films this year (Indeed, there's an overlap of 5 films with my very own top 10), but as near as I can tell, none of the other 8 have a real chance, unless some weird technicality of the bizarre voting system leads to a true dark horse emerging victorious. That being said, it's worth considering that the grand majority of the Academy voters are actors, and The King's Speech is an actor's dream. This isn't to say that The Social Network is not attractive to actors though, as it has a fine ensemble cast and a wonderful script - it could certainly win. This sort of uncertainty is a good thing for an awards show though - I'm actually looking forward to seeing who wins. And both films actually seem pretty worthy (though as my top 10 might attest, I probably would have a couple of other films up for consideration as well).
- Best Director: David Fincher for The Social Network. That's right, I'm going against the historical evidence here - normally the Best Picture and Best Director awards are tightly coupled - if you win one, you generally win the other. I think Fincher is much more of a lock for this category though. Perhaps that actually does bode well for The Social Network as Best Picture, but I do think we'll see a split, and I actually don't think that's a horrible thing. One other note about the Best Director award: Lots of people are calling this a snub of Christopher Nolan, but honestly, I've been thinking of him more notable as a writer and editor than as a director. He's a good director, of course, and I'd probably have nominated him over, say, David O. Russel (or maybe even Tom Hooper), but in the end, I'm not that disappointed at this snub. Who knows though, maybe we'll see Inception take best picture without the corresponding nomination in Best Director. Unprecedented (or maybe not - I didn't look it up).
- Best Actress: Natalie Portman in Black Swan. Another very tough pick. The main competition comes from Annette Bening, for her role as a hard-drinking lesbian doctor and mother of two. Bening has been nominated twice before, but never won, which is in her favor. But then, her movie is a quasi-comedy, something that rarely goes over well with the Academy, and Portman's role is much more central and demanding. Flip a coin. I landed on Portman, but it could easily be Bening. I suppose there's also a chance for Michelle Williams or Jennifer Lawrence, but that's a longshot.
- Best Actor: Colin Firth in The King's Speech. They might as well have renamed this category "Colin Firth and 4 other guys". Firth is a lock.
- Best Supporting Actress: Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit. I'm betting that Melissa Leo and Amy Adams will cancel each other out (that tends to happen when two performances from the same movie are nominated - a movie that will most likely win the Best Supporting Actor award, see below), and that Academy members will want to reward True Grit somehow... and this seems the most likely place for that. Indeed, how did Hailee Steinfeld get nominated here at all - she's onscreen for practically the entire movie and would have been better suited towards the Best Actress award. Except that the competition is more fierce there and she has a much better chance of winning the supporting role. So here we are. This award is still up in the air though. I don't see it going to Helena Bonham Carter (too small, overshadowed by male peers in her movie) or Jackie Weaver (movie too obscure and deliberately paced for voters), but Melissa Leo could easily take this award.
- Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale in The Fighter. Not a total lock - Geoffrey Rush certainly has some buzz thanks to The King's Speech's momentum, but I'm guessing that won't be enough to overcome Bale's standard actor-friendly move: he drops a lot of weight, puts on a perfect accent and imitation of a real-life character. I think he's got it covered. Mark Ruffalo is certainly charismatic, but I think that was only enough to land the nomination, not the win. Similar forces at work for Renner. The real dark horse here would be John Hawkes (he would be my pick, if I were voting). I'm not sure if Winter's Bone has enough momentum to pull it off, but if it wins a major award, it will likely be this one. Incidentally, one non-nominated performance that could use some more attention: Matt Damon in True Grit.
- Best Original Screenplay: The King's Speech by David Seidler. It's got the momentum. Even if it doesn't take Best Picture, I will likely win this one. It's even got a nice backstory. Seidler wanted to make this movie a long time ago, but he was asked politely by the freaking Queen of England to hold off. Seidler had a childhood stutter himself, and now he's one of the oldest nominees for this award ever. I think he's got it. I suppose there's an off chance that The Kids Are All Right or Inception will score here, but I think it's a long shot.
- Best Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network by Aaron Sorkin. Maybe I'm too attached to this script, but I can't imagine any of the other nominees winning. True Grit certainly has its positives, but much of it is simply lifted from the novel. Toy Story 3 is awesome (incidentally, how is that "adapted"?), but its' going to win Best Animated, so it's safe to write it off here.
- Editing: The Social Network. This is another award that often tracks with Best Picture, but in this case, I think Social Network will take it due to the non-linear narrative structure. The King's Speech could certainly win though, just based on momentum.
- Cinematography: True Grit. Not much to say here. Roger Deakins is hard to beat.
- Visual Effects: Inception. A kinda consolation prize for a movie that probably won't win anything but technical awards...
- Musical Score: The Social Network. Partly because I want it to win, but still, I think it's got a good chance. That or The King's Speech will steamroll over everyone tonight.
- Best Song: "We Belong Together" from Toy Story 3. I hate this category.
- Makeup: The Wolfman. Really? That's the frontrunner? Why do I even bother picking this award?
- Best Animated Film: Toy Story 3. Duh.
- Best Documentary: Restrepo. Always a tough category, this year seems to be caught between two nominees: Restrepo, about soldiers in Afghanistan, and Inside Job, about the recent financial meltdown. Both are sufficiently political enough for the self-important Hollywood crowd, so it's hard to say where it will go. I'm betting war, but it could easily be financial. My personal pick would be Exit Through the Gift Shop, but I think too many Academy voters will hold it's questionable veracity against it (still, would be awesome to see how Banksy manages to accept the award).
- Best Foreign Language Film: In a Better World. This category is usually a toss-up, due to the fact that most of us have not seen or heard of most nominees. From reading around, I get the impression that In a Better World has a lot of Academy-friendly elements. The only one I've seen is Dogtooth, which is decidedly not Academy-friendly (and also excellent, in a disturbing and hard-to-recommend way).
Update 7:59 pm: Yeah, it's still Red Carpet torture time, so not much to say yet. Instead of watching this, I'm going to check out Alex's Oscar Roundup and maybe watch some of the Flyers Wives Fight For Lives. See you at 8:30, when the ceremony actually starts.
Update 8:27 pm: I'm looking forward to Source Code, though I'm getting a feeling from the commercial that just played that I'll have similar issues as I had with Duncan Jones' previous effort, Moon. Anyway, only 3 minutes to go. In anticipation of some sort of lame musical number, I'm going to crack open my first beer of the night. I'm starting off relatively tame tonight, with a fancy can of Dale's Pale Ale.
Update 8:30 pm: Hurm. The first montage of the night? Over/under is 8. I'm taking the over.
Update 8:33 pm: Great opening skit here. Much better than the lame musical number I'm still expecting later in the show. Love the accents when they're making fun of The Fighter. "The naked girl from Love and Other Drugs" Heh.
Update 8:37 pm: Is there any young actor that has turned their careers around as dramatically as James Franco? I can't think of any. Of course, like Devin Faraci, I Honestly Believe James Franco Could End Up Doing Porn. Not a bad start to the show though, decent monologue too. Fingers crossed for no musical numbers.
Update 8:39 pm: Oh, burn, "Marky Mark". He seems to be a good sport about it, but as someone named "Mark", I have to admit that it's really freakin annoying when people call me "Marky Mark". I imagine it's doubly so for, uh, the real Marky Mark.
Update 8:41 pm: Does that count as a montage? I mean, it's just from Gone With The Wind, but still. We'll make that a half-montage (bringing the count up to 1.5). And now, a Titanic quasi-montage. Make that 2 total montages.
Update 8:49 pm: Well, that didn't take long. I'm now a few minutes behind due to the magic of the DVR. I simply can't resist! Sorry about that. So I just saw that Alice in Wonderland won Art Direction. Nice job, I guess. Decent speech so far, but you know she's not going to be able to say anything because he's hogging the mic.
Update 8:53 pm: She didn't say anything? By choice? Who knows. Maybe she was drunk! Cinematography goes to... Inception! I'm 0 for 1, but I don't mind. And what the hell man, take your glasses off, don't put them on your forehead. Moron. Haha, he chastises the audience for clapping as they're "taking up his time"
Update 8:59 pm: Only three minutes behind now. Kirk Douglas takes the stage. I can never think of this guy without picturing his "prestige" moment in Path's of Glory. He's not sounding so great right now though. But he's right, Anne Hathaway is indeed gorgeous. Helena Bonham Carter just gave a look that she knows she's not going to win. Jackie Weaver looks very happy. Mellissa Leo looks nothing like her character. Supporting Actress award goes to... Jesus, I wish I had someone to hold my cane. He's really dragging this out. But I kinda like it. Melissa Leo wins! And I'm 0 for 2. Yay!
Update 9:01 pm: Kirk's minder from the mental clinic just ushered him off the stage. Heh. She's really speechless. Kinda nice to see that sort of thing, I guess. Holy shit, she just cursed. Awesome. Stupid delay caught it though. They seem to be giving everyone time to talk, moreso than usual. Nice politics at the end of the speech. Ok, come on, next award. Or montage. Or something.
Update 9:06 pm: I love Mila Kunis. Justin Timberlake is Banksy? Heh. Oh come on, who cares about Shrek anymore. Oh, look, I know the first animated short. Because they put it in front of Pixar movies. Timberlake is making fun of old man Douglas, and it's pretty hilarious. And the short that no one cares about wins.
Update 9:10 pm: So is that guy, like, 4 feet tall? Or is the guy standing next to him, like, 7 feet tall? He's tiny! Tall guy manages to get some words in as well, despite the music attempting to play him off. And best animated movie goes to: Toy Story 3. Duh. I'm 1 for 3!
Update 9:11 pm: He's talking like Toy Story 3 was a hard-sell or something. Weird.
Update 9:17 pm: Damn these quasi-montages. We're up to 2.5, I guess. Whoa with the white tuxes guys. Isn't Javier Bardem's accent quaint? Toy Story 3 being an adapted screenplay because it's based on the previous films seems strange to me. Adapted screenplay goes to Aaron Sorkin for the Social Network, because duh. Let's see if he says something good in his speech. It's so obvious that he wrote this speech ahead of time. Heheh. Oh man, they're really trying to get him off the stage. I blame old man Douglas!
Update 9:20 pm: The Figher is "Original"? Hehehe. Oscar for Original Screenplay goes to King's Speech. I'm now 3 for 5. Don't call it a comeback! Great speech so far though. "Late bloomer" indeed, oldest person to win this award. Probably also a prepared speech, but it's.. more natural. And he's already being ushered off stage. And he mentions the F word, heeheh. Nice. I can't believe King's Speech was rated R.
Update 9:22 pm: And I'm finally caught up to real time again. Since it's still a commercial, I'll just say that this Dale's Pale Ale is pretty awesome for what it is. I could drink the entire 6 pack tonight, I think...
Update 9:26 pm: Oh mother fucker! Musical number. "Hugh Jackass" ok, that's kinda funny I guess. Anne Hathaway is very talented, I just can't stand musical numbers. And what the hell, Jackman is apparently right there in the audience. Nice, James Franco is in a dress and "just got a text message from Charlie Sheen." I know you thought I was kidding about the Franco doing porn thing earlier, but now? Not so much, right? Seems very possible.
Update 9:28 pm: Is it me, or is the pre-award banter better this year than in previous years. Best Foreign picture goes to In a Better World, and I'm now 4 for 6. Score. She seems overwhelmed, but not as much as Melissa Leo! And she's very gracious and classy, but boring.
Update 9:31 pm: There's Christian Bale, rockin the crazy-man beard. It suits him, I think.
Update 9:33 pm: Christian Bale wins! I think he might actually be drunk. I know I joke about that sometimes, but seriously, he seems drunk. Or maybe that's just him. He's not embarrassing himself though, and even seems to have a sense of humor about his reputation. Decent speech. I wonder how Marky Mark feels about not being nominated. He's one of the few people not nominated for that movie (not that he deserves to be, but still).
Update 9:37 pm: This was a few minutes ago, but I can't get over seeing Geoffrey Rush with a shaved head. It's so... I don't know what to make of that. It doesn't look right. On an unrelated note, I love how JJ Abrams feels no need to tell people what his movies are actually about. I am looking forward to Super 8 mostly because I have no idea what it's about (I gather it's some sort of Area 51 SF/Action thing, but I'm not sure).
Update 9:38 pm: Holy shit, the President of the Academy! Run! Save yourselves!
Update 9:44 pm: They were only on for, like 10 seconds, but they're like a black hole of boringness. It's like someone scratching the record player. And another montage, this one less quasi- than the others, so I'm putting us up to 3.5 on the Montage count. Man, weird, it's a musical montage too. Still counting it as one full montage. Winner for best musical score goes to: Trentie-poo and Atticus Ross for The Social Network. I'm 6 for 8, a much better showing than I started with. And Trent and Atticus both give a nice, measured speech. Good job fellas, I really like your soundtrack.
Update 9:46 pm: Remember what I said about the pre-award banter being good? Yeah, forget that. Interminable. Sound goes to Inception. Racking up the technical awards, Inception is. Writing like Yoda speaks, I am.
Update 9:48 pm: Wait, didn't we just do sound editing? Well, the Oscar goes to Inception. Again. Good job guys. Next award please.
Update 9:56 pm: Marissa Tomei gets the thankless task of talking about the scientific awards that no one cares about. I would probably find them mildly interesting though. Ohh, burn. "Congratulations Nerds!"
Update 9:57 pm: What the hell is Cate Blanchett wearing? Why do I even bother to pick makeup? But I was right, The Wolfman wins! "Gross" as Blanchett says. Rick Baker is a master though. I'm 7 for 9. Doing pretty good now! Classy move letting the other winner talk. "It was always my ambition to lose an Oscar to Rick Baker. Hehehe"
Update 9:59 pm: Alice in Wonderland wins best costumes. I didn't realize that anything in that movie was actually real. Ohhh, she's got a cheat sheet! And she's... reading right off it. Um, huh. Lame. Can, uh, someone usher her off stage. Ah, here comes the music. Actually thankful for that this time.
Update 10:03 pm: Montage 4.5. OBAMA! YEAHHHHH! OBAMA! LET'S BURN THIS MOTHERFUCKER DOWN! OBAMA! He's a good president because he likes movies and I can relate to him! Kevin Spacy: moron. Oh shit, an actual musical performance. Shit, shit, shit. I thought we got rid of this last year. Shit.
Update 10:05 pm: Oh fuck, they're doing all the songs now. I'm getting another beer. Maybe something stronger than a Dale's Pale is appropriate now. If anyone from work is reading this, I apologize in advance for tomorrow. It's not my fault though. Stupid Oscar musical performances. At least they're all together now.
Update 10:09 pm: Or maybe not. They only did 2 of them. Does that mean we have to suffer through 3 more? Can't we just give the award to Randy Newman like we always do and be done with it? Incidentally, I didn't mention it earlier, but this year had several really awesome music scores. The Social Network was certainly a deserving winner, but Inception had a great one, as did Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and even Tron: Legacy. But I guess we can't have Trent Reznor doing a live show at the Oscars, though I wouldn't mind seeing that. Of course, he's all older and boring now. AHHHHHHH. Stella Artois commercial. Sorry.
Update 10:13 pm: "Shorts are the hardest categories to pick on your home oscar ballot" because no one gives a fuck, Jake. No one gives a fuck. Sorry, that came off sounding kinda angry. And the winner is... Who cares? Next award please.
Update 10:14 pm: She's posing like the Incredible Hulk. Look at those muscles!
Update 10:16 pm: "Shoulda got a haircut." Hehehe. Alright, you redeemed me having to sit through the shorts awards. Guy is funny, even giving the straightforward thanks that he does. Nice.
Update 10:18 pm: What the hell? Auto-tune!? Wasn't that overplayed, like, years ago? Does this count as a montage? Yeah, definitely. 5.5 montages so far tonight. A million dollars isn't cool. You know what's cool? An OSCAR, bitch!
Update 10:19 pm: OPRAH! YEAHHHHHHHH! OPRAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
Update 10:22 pm: Why do all documentaries have to be so activisty. Oscar goes to Inside Job, and I'm 8 for 10. Go me. Still would have liked to have seen Banksy attempt some sort of acceptance speech. Ah this guy seems like a big douche. "Forgive me, I'm going to make a boring, trite political statement." Eh, not that bad, he seemed to pull his punches a bit. If you're going to do it, go whole hog. Scream or something.
Update 10:26 pm: Shocking, Billy Crystal is still alive. Of course, his career isn't! Ba-dum-tsshhh.
Update 10:29 pm: MONTAGE! 6.5. This is a montage that isn't even about movies though, it's Bob Hope highlights from hosting the Oscars. Haven't we already done this before? We have to have had a Bob Hope montage before.
Update 10:33 pm: FIGHT! FIGHT! Did Hereafter actually happen? That's a movie that just disappeared off the face of the planet, isn't it? Inception wins best Visual Effects. Score, I'm 9 for 11. Jesus, there's like five million different people that worked on the visual effects for this movie.
Update 10:35 pm: Film editing goes to Social Network and now I'm 10 for 12. Sweet. Nice hug, and nice reference - "We wanna thank everyone that Aaron thanked..." Haha - Oh, and thanks to the academy! Please don't ruin me because I didn't thank you!
Update 10:40 pm: So this Weyerbacher Merry Monks beer says it's a Tripel, but it doesn't really taste like a tripel. A little too peppery and boozy. Not bad, though. "How to Train Your Dragon, that's disgusting" Hehehe. "Winters Bone." Haha.
Update 10:42 pm: Oh shit, more musical performances. Kill me now.
Update 10:44pm: This beer is 9.3% ABV, and it's still not enough to put up with this music. GAHHH.
Update 10:48 pm: And the Oscar goes to Randy Newman for Toy Story 3. Like I said we should do, like, an hour ago. Did we really need to suffer through all those other nominees? Yeah, right, you're surprised. I'm 11 for 13. Thank God this award is over. Oh shut up Randy, 4 songs is too much. It's bad enough that we have to listen to your stupid song!
Update 10:52 pm: Holy shit, is that Celine Dion? I thought we were done with the music. Gaahh. Run! Run for your lives! She will devour us all!
Update 10:53 pm: Yay dead people! Hello Sally! And don't call me Shirly.
Update 10:57 pm: That was montage #7.5, and here comes #8.5, for Lena Horn.
Update 11:05 pm: Last year, we awarded the Best Director award to a Woman for the first time. This year, we didn't even bother nominating one. Holy shit, Tom Hooper wins, pretty much guaranteeing a Best Picture win for The King's Speech. David Fincher mus be pissed, but he seems to be clapping and happy about it. Class act. And Hooper is at least very kind to his competition. "Triangle of man-love." Ok. I'm 11 for 14, dammit.
Update 11:08 pm: The moral of the story is "Listen to your Mother." Right on. Lifetime achievement awards have apparently been relegated to a separate event, like the nerd awards (i.e. the technical awards). Why? They're much cooler than, for example, the short film awards.
Update 11:11 pm: What are the odds that Anne Hathaway and James Franco are going to knock boots after the ceremony tonight?
Update 11:13 pm: Oh man, I know this is a major award, but they're really drawing it out, aren't they?
Update 11:16 pm: Natalie Portman wins! Crowd is really into it... I'm 12 for 15. And she's crying. Just like her role! Thank Mila Kunis for the lesbian kiss scene, thank Mila Kunis for the lesbian kiss scene, thank Mila Kunis for the lesbian kiss scene, thank Mila Kunis for the lesbian kiss scene, thank Mila Kunis for the lesbian kiss scene, thank Mila Kunis for the lesbian kiss scene. Dammit. She didn't thank Mila Kunis for the lesbian kiss scene. Classy move thanking people with thankless roles though.
Update 11:19 pm: "Flub, drink at home" Don't mind if I do!
Update 11:26 pm: I like the way the're doing the big awards better this year than they did the past few years. Surprising amount of applause for Jesse Eisenberg here... But come on, who are we kidding, this is going to Colin Firth, and probably deservedly so. I do think I might have voted for James Franco for this one, but I really can't fault anyone for voting for Colin Firth. And, of course, he wins. 13 for 16, I am. Talking like Yoda again, I am. "I have a feeling my career has just peaked" Hehehe. And a nice, solid, classy, British, dryly funny acceptance speech.
Update 11:32 pm: Man, they're playing the King's Speech over the other nominees. Foreshadowing? Thanks a lot. Does this count as a montage? Probably not. But still.
Update 11:37 pm: I seem to have truly screwed up my award count. Not only did I wrongly think I picked one correctly, but I seem to have missed an award somewhere. But best picture goes to: big surprise: The King's Speech. 13 for 17, I am.
Update 11:37 pm: 13 for 17 works out to around 76 percent, which is pretty decent, though maybe a hair below recent years. Oh well. Overall, a pretty good show. Haha, dude is getting played off by music, good on him for asserting himself. Well, that pretty much wraps up the show, only about 10 minutes over schedule. Not bad, Oscar folk. Wow, Anne Hathaway's new dress really emphasizing... uh, nevermind. Shit, it ends on a musical number. Fuck. This is my last update. Have a good night folks. It's been real.
Update 11:43 pm: Haha, they were just playing music from Top Gun. Yeah, so I lied, wanna fight about it? But seriously, this one is my last update. Probably.