Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Attic Fan’s Oscar Preview

You may be wondering. Why, Brendan, are you doing an Oscar Preview? You have admitted that you have only seen six movies in the past year.

Well jerk reader, I happen to represent the portion of the public that does not have the time or income to see movies about stuttering kings. I represent the portion of the public that has no idea what Winter’s Bone is about or why it is nominated for a Best Picture. I represent the portion of the public that is normal. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times. I am America.

Not that normal, anyway. I have seen four of the ten Best Picture nominees, and I have a pretty good idea of who is going to win each award. This isn’t rocket science (that was my best analogy). Using critics lists and looking back at previous awards (Golden Globes, SAG’s, Grammy’s), it is easy to tell who is going to win each award. What you are here for, I am sure, is who I think is going to win. You know, me being a non-registered Academy member and all, who has no impact on the actual award show itself.

I watched The Social Network last night. That should be enough credentials for you. I could have seen Hall Pass, but instead, I took one for the collective Attic Fan team.

Let’s start with the big awards:

Supporting Actress:

I love how the Academy uses this award to start the show, as if people give a crap. They think that this award will get people to stick around. It’s Best Supporting Actress. If I haven’t been dulled to sleep by James Franco and Anne Hathaway’s inevitable opening music number, why would I want to see this. I would rather see best Animated Film first (really, I would).

Nominees: Amy Adams (The Fighter), Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech), Melissa Leo (The Fighter), Hailee Steinfield (True Grit), Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom)

Who Should Win: Amy Adams. Melissa Leo gets all the credit from The Fighter, and she wasn’t bad in it. But I think Adams is more powerful in her role. Leo annoyed me more than anything, which I think was the point of her character. But Adams was just better in it. Also, Leo was in it for about 10 minutes. She wasn’t Marlon Brando in The Godfather.

Who Will Win: Leo. A lot of people think Steinfield will win, but I can’t see the Academy giving the award over to a teenager. No one likes teenagers. Leo seems to have most of the momentum (Winning the Golden Globe, various critics awards), and will ride that into the Kodak Theater like some sort of sick wave.

Supporting Actor:

Nominees: Christian Bale (The Fighter)…

Who Should Win, Will Win: Bale. This is a no brainer. I am not even going to bother naming the rest of the nominees (how the hell was Mark Ruffalo nominated?). Bale owns The Fighter, and makes the movie a Best Picture nominee, plain and simple. He has all the support from the critics as well, and actually deserves this award. He’s a bit of an a-hole human being, but he deserves this award.

Best Actress:

Nominees: Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right), Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole, whatever the hell that is), Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone), Natalie Portman (Black Swan), Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine)

Who Should Win: I have no idea. I saw none of these movies. What kind of human being would I be if I saw Rabbit Hole? How could I go out in public?

Who Will Win: Portman. Once again, she has the all-important critics momentum. Nice to see Padme rebound from those awful Star Wars movies. The “sleeper” appears to be Bening, and the two have been going about 60-40 in awards up to this point. We might see the ever-present “Lifetime Achivement Award that Isn’t Actually the Lifetime Achivement Award” given to Bening (past examples: Pacino for Scent of a Woman, Bridges for Crazy Heart)

Best Actor:

Nominees: Javier Bardem (Biutiful, not a real word), Jeff Bridges (True Grit), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), Colin Firth (The King’s Speech), James Franco (127 Hours)

Who Should Win: Eisenberg, although I feel like if I saw 127 Hours I would say Franco. Eisenberg owns The Social Network, however. His portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg kind of reminded me of Abed’s character from the TV show Community. Sometimes I felt that he made Zuckerberg too confident. He didn’t seem that way on SNL, at least. I liked the way he made Zuckerberg his own, and didn’t try to do a clear imitation of the man himself. Eisenberg’s frantic fast-talking (which is due to Aaron Sorkin’s script) is one of the highlights of the movie, and he is not being correctly recognized for this (other than Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers. What’s up, Pete!). Instead, all the recognition is going to:

Who Will Win: Firth. Allegedly, Firth is “phenomenal” in this movie, as he plays the muttering, stuttering King George VI (was that too mean? I was trying to channel the Spider speech from Goodfellas. Inappropriate, I guess). This is one of those categories where the Academy feels indebted to someone, because the may or may not have been robbed in previous years (Firth could have won last year, but Jeff Bridges was given his Lifetime Achievement Award in Best Actor form).

My biggest beef with this selection is that it is clearly Oscar bait. You all know Oscar bait. It is Rain Man. It is movies about the Holocaust. It is playing crack addicts (no offense, Christian Bale). It is playing women in abusive marriages/relationships. It is playing a King who stutters too much. Eisenberg’s performance showed skill. He made Zuckerberg his own. It was a better all around acting performance.

Best Director:

Nominees: Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), David O. Russell (The Fighter), Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech), David Fincher (The Social Network), Coen Bros (True Grit)

Who Should, Will Win: Fincher. Although Hooper seems to be gaining some steam, Fincher should be able to hold Hooper off. The Social Network is just well done all around, and being as I have not exactly seen The King’s Speech, I am not so sure about it. If Hooper wins however, it is a clear sign that The King’s Speech will win best picture. Duh.

Best Picture:

Nominees: Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right I Guess, The King’s Speech, 127 Hours, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit, Winter’s Bone

Let’s eliminate the obvious. The Fighter is a sports movie. The Kids Are All Right probably should not have been nominated. I don’t know what Winter’s Bone is. Toy Story 3 is animated (it still won’t even be considered, even though it had the best reviews of any movie of 2010! It is also the only movie I cried during). 127 Hours lost some steam towards the end of its run, along with Black Swan.

That leaves True Grit, Inception, The Social Network, and (ugh) The King’s Speech.

True Grit won’t win. It has no momentum, and Westerns are not always Academy favorites.

Inception won’t win. Christopher Nolan was egregiously snubbed for Best Director, and a movie usually needs that to win Best Picture.

Who Should Win: The Social Network. It truly is a movie that defines a generation, to echo every critic in November. Until about Mid-December, The Social Network was a lock. Then for whatever reason, people thought it would be cute if The King’s Speech would win. It ends on a high note, and the protagonist is not an arrogant d-bag who is also a billionare. The King’s Speech is more likeable.

If The King’s Speech wins, 15 years from now people will look at the 2011 Academy Awards the way they do the year Dances With Wolves won over Goodfellas, the year Shakespeare in Love won over Saving Private Year, the year Forrest Gump won over Shawshank and Pulp Fiction, the year Kramer v. Kramer beat Apocalypse Now. It will be a horrible snub, but people will not realize it right away. In 15 years, when everyone forgets about The King’s Speech, they will still remember The Social Network. It is a transcendent movie. It is about one of the ten most important inventions human civilization has ever produced (the computer), the most important thing that produced (the internet), and the most popular website that culminated from the two previous things. If that makes sense.

Who Will Win: In three years, we have had Slumdog Millionaire, The Hurt Locker and The King’s Speech win. Who will remember these movies? These years, cinematically, will be lost in time. The Social Network is a movie with a subject that resonates in any time. It is a movie about power, and how it is gained.

It is also a better movie. I KNOW I HAVEN’T SEEN THE KING’S SPEECH (excuse my Magaryian caps-locked rant). But I know The Social Network is better.

Fine, maybe I need to see The King’s Speech to make a final judgement. But I do not want to. That is a clear enough sign to me that The Social Network is better. I wanted to see The Social Network. Screw The King’s Speech.

Enjoy Oscar night!

Brendan O’Hare writes The Attic Fan column on Email him with your important opinions at Twitter: @theatticfan

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