Academy Award predictions 2011
|FEATURES - MOVIES|
Of course it's great to even be considered, etc...
Even an Academy Award nomination raises you to another level on the Hollywood hierarchy, and winning that little golden man almost guarantees your career. With only a week to go before several thespians, producers, directors and writers are given a night to remember - and even more prima donnas go home empty-handed and heartbroken - here is a look at the most likely winners and why...
Nominees: 127 Hours (2010), Black Swan (2010), The Fighter (2010), Inception (2010), The King’s Speech (2010), The Kids Are Alright (2010), The Social Network, Toy Story 3 (2010), True Grit (2010), Winter’s Bone (2010).
Winner: The King’s Speech
Praised for its historical accuracy and dramatic licence, typically two opposing qualities, The King’s Speech is a heart-warming tale and insight into the pressures of royalty and the difficulties of an affliction normally mocked. The story brings the difficulties of a personality so far removed from the common man to the very forefront, bringing the King of England down from a pedestal to simply “Bertie” and humanising him infinitely more than any Royal Highness ever could be. With today’s notions of fame and fortune, The King’s Speech resonates through the ages as a stark warning of celebrity duty.
Nominees: Darren Aronofsky – Black Swan; Ethan and Joel Coen – True Grit; David Fincher – The Social Network, Tom Hooper – The King’s Speech, David O’Russell – The Fighter
Winner: Darren Aronofsky – Black Swan
Darren Aronofsky’s career began with exciting promise, winning Sundance before he was 30 and earning star Ellen Burstyn an Oscar nomination for her turn in his first studio feature Requiem for a Dream. However after turning down several big budget directing gigs, most notably Batman Begins, Aronofsky took a stutter-step when his third feature The Fountain received poor reviews at best. It wasn’t until The Wrestler that he returned to critical acclaim, earning nominations for both leads, Mickey Rourke winning.
With Aronofsky’s seat at the A-List director table all but secured comes Black Swan, the tale of a young ballet dancer’s struggle to contain her inner demons whilst trying to channel them into her performance in 'Swan Lake'. Aronofsky’s direction is as graceful as it is dark, the ballet scenes are choreographed to perfection and the decline of the innocent Nina Sayers is subtly intriguing before climactically derailing itself. A true rollercoaster journey set in the most proper and elegant of settings.
Nominees: Javier Barden – Biutiful (2010), Jeff Bridges – True Grit, Jessie Eisenberg – The Social Network, Colin Firth – The King’s Speech, James Franco – 127 Hours
Winner: Colin Firth – The King’s Speech as Prince Albert/King George VI
Colin Firth has already swept the BAFTAs, Golden Globes and the Screen Actors’ Guild Awards for his role as stuttering Prince Albert who ascended to the throne prior to the Second World War and it is almost as hard to see anyone pipping him to the post for Best Actor as it would be for Prince Albert to say “pipping to the post”. It is no secret in acting circles the difficulty of acting with a speech impediment and Colin Firth pitches the subtlety and horrendously bad timing of the stutter with perfection. The chemistry between Firth and co-star Geoffrey Rush is genuinely heart warming as the two grow to depend on each other for mutual benefit.
Nominees: Annette Benning – The Kids Are Alright, Nicole Kidman – Rabbit Hole (2010), Jennifer Lawrence – Winter’s Bone, Natalie Portman – Black Swan, Michelle Williams – Blue Valentine (2010)
Winner: Natalie Portman – Black Swan as Nina Sayers
Natalie Portman has been carving a very respectable career in Hollywood since 1994’s Leon. Despite having the looks of a typical Hollywood leading lady, she has avoided easy big budget rom-com roles and to date, has not yet resorted to getting her groove back, watching a dog die or starring in anything with Ryan Reynolds. Instead she has maintained serious roles in respectable films such as V for Vendetta and Closer, realising the importance of role selection. While surrendering certainly some of her innocence in Black Swan, Portman is gloriously complex as she chases her dream, losing each battle she chooses to fight as her mental fragility steadily increases. The dedication to the role saw her undertake months of ballet lessons and only sparingly doubled to preserve authenticity.
Best Supporting Actor
Nominees: Christian Bale – The Fighter, John Hawkes – Winter’s Bone, Jeremy Renner – The Town (2010), Mark Ruffalo – The Kids Are Alright, Geoffrey Rush – The King’s Speech
Winner: Christian Bale – The Fighter as Dicky Eklund
Christian Bale has become known as one of the best actors never to win an Oscar. Despite becoming accustomed to lead roles, he takes a back seat to Mark Wahlberg’s subdued Mickey Ward in The Fighter, but it is Bale that shines as the half brother and trainer of Ward, Dicky Eklund. Bale portrays the drug-ravaged, deluded Eklund with infectious enthusiasm, heightening the tension of every scene he features. While the film may be the success story of Mickey Ward, it is just as much about the redemption of the tragic Dicky Eklund as he admits his shortcomings and does right by his brother.
Best Supporting Actress
Nominees: Amy Adams – The Fighter, Helena Bonham Carter – The King’s Speech, Melissa Leo – The Fighter, Hailee Steinfeld – True Grit, Jackie Weaver – Animal Kingdom (2010)
Winner: Hailee Steinfeld – True Grit as Mattie Ross
If Hailee Steinfeld walks away with the award on Sunday night, then she won’t be the youngest recipient of the best supporting actress award. That accolade goes to Tatum O’Neal from 1973’s Paper Moon. Steinfeld more than deserves her place on that list, putting in a performance that belies her tender age. Mattie Ross is burdened with the task of avenging her father’s death, venturing into dangerous territory after negotiating her price with a US Marshal and the Coen brothers’ risky decision to cast an actress the same age as the character has more than paid dividends. She grasps the technicalities of the Old West, language and all, with both hands and never looks out of place in an outlaw’s bloodthirsty land.
Best Writing - Original Screenplay
Nominees: Mike Leigh – Another Year (2010), Scott Silver, Paul Tamsay and Eric Johnson – The Fighter, Christopher Nolan – Inception, Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg – The Kids Are Alright, David Seidler – The King’s Speech
Winner: Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg – The Kids Are Alright
The Kids Are Alright concerns the lives of lesbian couple Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore) and their adopted children Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson). Set over elder child Joni’s last summer before departing for college, the children get in contact with their sperm donor father Paul (Mark Ruffalo), a single man enjoying the simpler pleasures in life. He begins to form a relationship with the children but comes between the children and their parents, and finally between their moms.
The Kids Are Alright appears to tackle a multitude of issues: lesbianism, gay wedding, adoption, same sex parents, drug use and alcoholism. Scratch around and you may find a few more - the film certainly touches upon every subject lightly. It isn’t that it cannot decide which issue to tackle; the fact of the matter is it doesn’t tackle any of them and it isn’t trying to. It just acknowledges that they are all an inevitable part of life, and no one gets off scot-free.
IF YOU ENJOYED THIS ARTICLE, PLEASE HELP SUPPORT OUR SITE, AT NO COST WITH ONE CLICK ON THE FACEBOOK 'LIKE' BUTTON BELOW:
If you're interested in writing for Shadowlocked (disc and screening reviews, etc, or just getting some extra coverage for your extraordinary writing talent, get in touch with us.