The 83rd Academy Awards Ceremony starts in no less than 75 minutes. I sit here with a mixed cocktail (a fancy whiskey sans sugar) feverishly typing away trying to publish this before the Red Carpet event is finished and the Awards begin. So here it is, my take on the year’s movies as seen through the eyes of the Oscar nominations:
Best Leading Actor
- Javier Bardem – BIUTIFUL
- Jeff Bridges – TRUE GRIT
- Jesse Eisenberg – THE SOCIAL NETWORK
- Colin Firth – THE KING’S SPEECH
- James Franco – 127 HOURS
The only performance I didn’t see in this group was Javier Bardem in BIUTIFUL. It’s in our Netflix queue and does look like a remarkable movie (plus Javier Bardem always bring such a strong passion to the work he does), but I am going out on not-so-much of a limb to say Colin Firth will win for his performance as the stammering, bumbling, and unconfident but unwavering King George VI. Firth manages to bring such power and command to a seemingly weak character. That in itself shows the true ability of an actor—to bring out a performance from a character unwilling to perform.
James Franco was also great in 127 HOURS (an unforgettable movie in itself) and brought great dimension to a potentially one-dimensional movie.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
- Christian Bale – THE FIGHTER
- John Hawkes – WINTER’S BONE
- Jeremy Renner – THE TOWN
- Mark Ruffalo – THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT
- Geoffrey Rush – THE KING’S SPEECH
I haven’t had a chance to see THE FIGHTER or THE TOWN yet, so it’s a little hard for me to pick in this category. I really respect Jeremy Renner (he was truly amazing in THE HURT LOCKER), but since I haven’t seen THE TOWN, I could be way off by not picking him. WINTER’S BONE was a fantastically uncompromising and startlingly realistic movie, and all performances in that movie were tremendous. But I’m going to have to go with Geoffrey Rush in THE KING’S SPEECH. I think I may be a little biased here because Colin Firth’s performance was so good, and Geoffrey Rush’s character’s job was to build up and help Firth’s character overcome his deficiencies. But if John Hawkes wins here, I won’t be disappointed.
bEST Leading actress
- Annette Bening – THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT
- Nicole Kidman – RABBIT HOLE
- Jennifer Lawrence – WINTER’S BONE
- Natalie Portman – BLACK SWAN
- Michelle Williams – BLUE VALENTINE
This one is really tough because there were a LOT of great performances in the past year. I’ll just come out and say that Natalie Portman will win for BLACK SWAN. That movie was one of the best movies I’ve ever watched, and Natalie Portman’s intensity of performance had a lot to do with it. BLACK SWAN is a piece of art itself, and I believe the whole experience of the movie is a depiction of what it’s like to truly experience great art. Impossible to do it justice with just a sentence.
Again, all performances from WINTER’S BONE were tremendous, so Jennifer Lawrence really deserves recognition, but unfortunately she’s competing with BLACK SWAN this year. Also Michelle Williams was very strong in the aptly named BLUE VALENTINE.
BEST Supporting Actress
- Amy Adams – THE FIGHTER
- Helena Bonham Carter – THE KING’S SPEECH
- Melissa Leo – THE FIGHTER
- Hailee Steinfeld – TRUE GRIT
- Jackie Weaver – ANIMAL KINGDOM
I haven’t seen THE FIGHTER, so again, I’m at a disadvantage here. I’ve heard Melissa Leo is a lock in this category, but I can’t pick a performance I haven’t seen, so…
I love everything Helena Bonham Carter does, but I have to admit I was impressed with Hailee Steinfeld (despite her age and all the “controversy” with her nomination). Her performance in TRUE GRIT is so noteworthy because she really held her own with much more experienced and strong actors in Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon. I’ll give her the nod but will likely be wrong.
- BLACK SWAN
- THE FIGHTER
- THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT
- THE KING’S SPEECH
- 127 HOURS
- THE SOCIAL NETWORK
- TOY STORY 3
- TRUE GRIT
- WINTER’S BONE
BLACK SWAN hands down, but only because it was such a fantastic experience of a movie. WINTER’S BONE deserves a mention and was a brilliant movie, along side THE KING’S SPEECH.
Okay, I have 6 minutes until kick off. Just a couple things I’d like to mention.
Any other category BLACK SWAN is connected with, will win. If there is a single movie to see from 2010, it is BLACK SWAN. Also see WINTER’S BONE if given a chance.
EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP was not that good of a documentary. It is only getting attention because of BANKSY. He deserves the recognition, but his movie does not. RESTREPO and I’m sure some of the other documentaries are much better.
RABBIT HOLE wasn’t that impressive to me because we saw a local theater company perform the stage version last year, and they did a terrific job. Nicole Kidman did a good job, but Aaron Eckhart gave a stronger performance and didn’t seem to get the same recognition.
INCEPTION and THE SOCIAL NETWORK were not that great (in my opinion). That’s why I can’t really give them much credit in any categories. I know INCEPTION was a favorite film this year for a lot of “casual” movie-goers, but I guess I’m not a “casual” movie-goer. And THE SOCIAL NETWORK was a watch-it and forget-it movie for me.
And as always, HOME FOR PURIM deserves all the oscar buzz it can get.