I noticed making my Oscar picks this year that I’ve actually seen quite a few of the movies. This, I take as a very bad sign. The only way I’ve found to pick the Oscars with any level of accuracy is to know as little about the movies themselves as possible. I have found this is also true for me when it comes to picks the NCAA basketball tournament. Looks like another dreadful picking year.
In my family, the Oscars are a holiday, and we’ve been picking them at least since Annie Hall, maybe since Rocky. I cannot remember for sure if we picked the Oscars the Rocky year, but I seem to remember getting it right because, of course, “Rocky” was cool and about boxing while the superior “Network” was about something beyond my 9-year-old mind. Like I say, the less I know …
If you are actually wagering on the Oscars, or actually know a lot about movies, you’d probably be better off to stop reading now rather than allow the following nonsense to pollute your mind.
Supporting actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
— Actually have not seen this year, but have only heard great things.
Supporting actress: Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
— I thought Hailee Steinfeld was amazing in “True Grit,” and I’ve heard great things about Melissa Leo in The Fighter — I suppose she is the favorite. But one thing I like to do when I pick my Oscars is ride what seems to be the hot movie. I have a feeling The King’s Speech is going to really rack up this year.
Animated Feature: Toy Story 3
— Seems like a lock to me. Some critics seemed to think it was the best picture of the year period. I liked it, but not that much.
Art Direction: Alice in Wonderland
— No idea, haven’t seen it, not even sure what this category really involves, but it just seems like the art was probably directed well in Alice.
Cinematography: True Grit
— Could be blunder No. 1 based on having seen the movies. I don’t REALLY know what Cinematography is, but True Grit seemed to me to have a lot of it.
Costume Design: The King’s Speech
— Thought hard about Alice in Wonderland, but I already gave it Art Direction. I actually was not overly impressed with the Costumes in The King’s Speech, but everything seemed authentic and British and that seems to impress Oscar voters.
Documentary Feature: Inside Job
— Exit Through the Gift Shop was probably my favorite movie experience of the year, but it seems a bit too controversial to win the Oscar. Inside Job, which I also saw, was pretty powerful and feels to me more in Oscar’s wheelhouse.
Documentary Short: Strangers No More
— No reason. I can just see someone like Vince Vaughn, after a few lame jokes about the category, saying “And the winner is ‘Strangers No More.'”
Film Editing: The Social Network
— A couple of months ago, I thought for sure The Social Network would sweep pretty much everything. But the movie business moves fast, and The Social Network kind of feels like yesterday’s news. But I’ll give it this one.
Foreign Language: Blutiful
— A movie from Mexico about Popeye and Olive Oyl and … wait … that’s not right?
Makeup: The Wolfman
— I’ve never heard of any of the three movies nominated. I’m sure their makeup is great, but I have a problem with the whole category. Sure I want brilliant makeup people rewarded as much as anyone, but seeing “Oscar winner” on the DVD case of The Wolfman is a bit much.
Original Score: The King’s Speech
— Might go to How To Train Your Dragon, I hear. But I’m thinking King’s Speech original score is swept up by the wave.
Original Song: We Belong Together from Toy Story 3.
— It’s not a great song, I don’t think, but Randy Newman has only won one Oscar. And he didn’t win for the very good “You’ve Got A Friend In Me” from the first Toy Story. Makeup call, I think.
Animated short film: Day & Night
— I hear this one is about both day AND night. Both squeezed into a short film? Amazing.
Live action short film: Na Wewe
— No idea, as always, but I will not pass up the chance to vote for anything called “Na wewe.”
Sound editing: Inception
— I don’t have an ear or eye for it, obviously, but I suspect Inception will win the bulk of technical awards. The movie was stunning for the senses.
Sound mixing: The Social Network
— I keep thinking there’s a chance I’m betting on the wrong horse with The King’s Speech and actually The Social Network has more momentum behind it than I’m thinking. This is me hedging my bets a little bit. Inception will probably win here, right?
Visual effects: Inception
— Slam dunk, I suspect.
Adapted screenplay: The Social Network
— I loved True Grit’s screenplay — and it was truly and honestly adapted from the book. But after seeing Social Network come out, I gave it a rare 29 VOOB — that’s Value Over Originating Book. It was just so much better than the book, and I’m a big fan of author Ben Mezrich.
Original screenplay: The King’s Speech
— The only knock I’ve heard on the movie is that at times it feels more like a play than a living, breathing film. I didn’t see it that way, but even if the movie felt static, the writing and acting was wonderful.
Best Actor: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
— Lock of the night.
Best actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
— A lot of people seemed to like Annette Bening in “The Kids Are All Right” and she could win. She’s been nominated four times now and she didn’t win the first three. But I think it’s Portman’s year.
Best director: David Fincher, The Social Network
— I see the rare director/movie split happening this year because of that weird momentum thing I was talking about earlier. I think Fincher — who seemed to impress everyone with that Curious Case of Benjamin Button thing, even though I found that movie to be interminable — wowed everyone with the movie. I think it’s an amazing thing to make the founding of Facebook into a fascinating movie. Give him the Oscar.
Best movie: The King’s Speech
— If The Social Network wins here, and it certainly could, my whole strategy has gone down in flames.