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When I was a kid, my mom used to tell me that the reason people listened to what Siskel and Ebert had to say about movies, that the reason their opinions were relevant, was because, whatever their taste in movies, they saw a lot of movies. And I took to heart the lesson there: throw out the question of taste and look at the facts – these dudes have a large database of movie information to base their judgements on. And this is the way to approach any attempt at predicting who will win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Or any of the top 6 categories (Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Supportings).
I don’t like watching the Academy Awards mostly because I don’t like hearing the Academy Awards. I don’t like hearing the acceptance speeches. I remember I was at the Wolverines house and we were playing Settlers of Catan while Daniel Day Lewis accepted an award for… I think it was There Will Be Blood? Anyway, we had the TV on mute but the sound was turned on for a few minutes and I had to ask that we mute it again. I can’t handle listening to it. But I do like watching the ceremony or seeing pictures, but mostly all I care about is what won Best Picture.
Because I have seen every movie that ever won Best Picture. 1928 to 2009. Wings to The Hurt Locker. I did not enjoy every movie. But I have seen all of them. And I have this magazine that was published in 1999 that dedicates sections to every year’s Academy Awards winners. I used it as a checklist for seeing movies. And I read about these things – movies that win big, self-starters who work hard to get themselves nominated, milestones, I’ve seen footage of historic ceremonies and acceptance speeches. I have seen some ceremonies over the years. I’ve got some knowledge of the history of this shit.
In college I began to try predicting the winners. The first few years I was way off. It took me a long time to work out the system. And this is how I approach predicting the Oscars – it’s a process of elimination and association. When I was a teenager I was a HUGE Jim Carrey fan. When he did The Truman Show, my mom shook her head and said to me “He’s trying for the Oscar, they’ll never give it to him though, not after what he’s done” and she was right. It took years to get him nominated for a Golden Globe. But the Academy won’t nominate his ass. I’m not just talking about his gross out comedies (that I love so much), I’m talking about that time he did that stuff with the toys. I saw that shit when it aired. I remember it. Hell will freeze over before Jim Carrey is nominated for an Academy Award.
I’ve gotten better at the process. And if you’ve read this far, I’ll reward you with my predictions for the upcoming ceremony:
Most Likely: BLACK SWAN
Possibility: True Grit
Dark Horse: The Social Network
Left Field: Inception
This is what’s up: Aronofsky didn’t get the win or even the nod for The Wrestler (and, face it, Mickey Rourke should have won for that one – but they had to give it to Sean Penn because he was the safe choice both because he had won before and they didn’t want people to shout ‘gay hater’ because they didn’t give Milk Best Picture) but he would be a good choice for this year. As a partial apology for last year, I could see it happening.
The reason I think Inception, if the winner, would be out of left field is FIRST because Nolan was not nominated for Best Director. Historically it is EXTREMELY uncommon for the Best Director to not coincide with the Best Picture. By this logic, we can eliminate 5 of the Best Picture nominees as even likely to win at all. So Inception, 127 Hours, Winter’s Bone, Toy Story 3, and The Kids Are All Right can be eliminated. Unless they pull one out of left field. Because honestly I would say it would be more likely that they would give Nolan the award rather than the film (as a “sorry we couldn’t even nominate you for that Batman movie cuz dude, it was sweet but it was a BATMAN movie and this is the Academy Awards, bitch, so best we’ll do it is give it to the dead guy cuz he was a really good actor and we wanna give him an award but now he’s dead and DUDE, his last movie was a BATMAN movie… so the Academy will give an award to the Batman movie, but we’re not stoked about it”).
True Grit is a possible winner cuz the Academy LOVES the Coen Bros in the way the Criterion Collection people love Wes Anderson: there’s gunna be a Criterion Collection edition of every Wes Anderson film whether it sucks ass or not. The Coen Bros have a REALLY GOOD chance of being nominated whether their movie is kick awesome or not (more often they are awesome, but, like I said, this is not about taste, it’s about what’s what). But now we have The Social Network winning it up at the Golden Globes, and David Fincher too. David Fincher directed Alien 3, you guys. He has officially ARRIVED now, thanks. No more Alien 3 for this guy! (BTW, again it’s not about taste, I fucking LOVE Alien 3, it’s my second favorite Alien film, second to Alien Resurrection but you know it’s NOT ABOUT TASTE HERE)
Therefore, it’s totally possible that Facebook: THE MOVIE might win Best Picture this year. I’d be surprised, though. Cuz I expect Aronofsky and Black Swan to win. The Golden Globes tend, histortically, to be the more hip and trendy of the big movie award shows, so I’m not surprised they went with The Social Network for their Best Picture, but I don’t expect the Academy to follow suit at all.
Most Likely: Darren Aronofsky
That’s all I’m going to say on it, because the Best Director will match the movie. Unless they pull a left fielder. Which I don’t think will happen. I think it will not happen, in fact. The director will match the movie.
Most Likely: Colin Firth
Possibility: Jesse Eisenberg
Dark Horse: James Franco
Left Field: Javier Bardem
Eliminated: Jeff Bridges
I’ll start at the bottom: After 4 nominations dating back to 1972, Jeff Bridges finally motherfucking won. Last year. They ain’t giving it to him 2 years in a row, they made their point and he gets an extra nomination nod and he’ll be stoked about that cuz he’s cool, but they ain’t giving it to him again this year. Javier has won Best Actor recently, in ’07 for No Country For Old Men, and he got nominated for Before Night Falls, and no one has seen the movie he’s nominated for, so he’s clearly a filler nod like “We need another one… Oh, Javier Bardem did a movie this year! Nominate him, he’s awesome and people love him and it’s totally safe to nominate him”, so he’s not winning this year.
James Franco and Jesse Eisenberg indicate the Academy saying “Look at us! We’re hip! We’re probably on the Facebook and the Twitter and the Myspaces! We know what the kids are into!” I think Jesse winning at the Golden Globes puts him as the clear choice if they decide to cater to a bit of the younger crowd which is why James Franco is the Dark Horse, he proved himself a few years ago with Milk, and he was a good solid nominee choice, but I think it’s very unlikely he’ll win. And Jesse only if they want to shoot young.
Which means that Colin Firth is the obvious choice for winner. He was nominated last year, didn’t win, he’s British, and he’s in a Britsh-y movie that is nominated for Best Picture that it totally not going to win. So this would be a nice nod to the Brits, a good, safe winner. Colin Firth will win.
Most Likely: Annette Benning
Possibility: Natalie Portman
Dark Horse: Michelle Williams
Left Field: Jennifer Lawrence
Eliminated: Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman won for The Hours. Nobody saw Rabbit Hole. She was a safe nominee, she’s not being seriously considered for winning. No one knows who Jennifer Lawrence is and no one saw Winter’s Bone, it’s unlikely to win anything big anyway, and it’s Best Supporting Actress that’s the place for the unknown names to shine, not here.
Michelle Williams was billed in the trailer for Blue Valentine as Academy Award Nominee. But this is only her second nomination. It’s Natalie Portman’s second as well, but this is Annette Benning’s fourth
nomination. And I don’t think they nominated her this year to NOT give her the award. Kate Winslet had to wait for her sixth nomination to finally win, and for a movie that no one remembers. The Academy is probably going through their lists like “Who have we nominated a lot and never given the award to and who we could possibly get away with giving it to them this year…. oh! Annette Benning! We nominated her THREE TIMES and never gave her the award! Too bad no one saw The Kids Are All Right… oh well, fuck it, let’s not pull another Winslet! Let’s get this one on nomination 4!”
But if for some reason they don’t do that, then Natalie Portman is next most likely to win since her movie is winning Best Picture.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
Most Likely: Geoffrey Rush
Possibility: Jeremy Renner
Dark Horse: Christian Bale
Left Field: Mark Ruffalo
Eliminated: John Hawkes
Geoffrey Rush hasn’t won since 1996 and he’s been nominated twice (three times counting this year) and he is certainly the big name in this crowd, big ESTABLISHED name. Christian Bale is the name the kids know. But I think Jeremy Renner has a higher liklihood of winning due to his nomination from last year (for The Hurt Locker which won Best Picture). I think Geoffrey Rush would be the obvious choice, Renner if they are feeling like cutting a dude a fair break because Jeremy Renner is one of the greatest living actors of our day. He was so convincing and gave such a great performance in the movie Dahmer that I watched The Hurt Locker, the whole time thinking to myself “Wow, Jeffrey Dahmer is really good at diffusing bombs…”
Ruffalo and Hawkes have never been nominated before, they’re unknowns, they’re unlikely to win.
BEST SUPPORT ACTRESS:
Most Likely: Amy Adams
Possibility: Helena Bonham Carter
Dark Horse: Hailee Steinfeld
Left Field: Melissa Leo
Eliminated: Jacki Weaver
Best Supporting Actress is a tricky one. Because they will either go with the one person that anyone has even heard of, or they pull a “You’ve never heard of HER! HAHAHA”. This is the category they use to give a nod to movies that were otherwise overlooked.
Jacki Weaver is right out because her movie wasn’t up for any other nominations in the Big 6 Awards. Melissa Leo winning would be right out of left field because though The Fighter got a Supporting Actor and Best Picture nod, it’s not going to win for either of those. Melissa Leo was nominated before for Best Actress so it wouldn’t be weird for her to win, if they wanted to give The Fighter a mercy fuck of a win.
Hailee Steinfeld might win, but it’s unlikely. After Tatum O’Neil, the Academy tends to hesitate on giving awards to young actresses. Though Anna Pacquin won, right, so who knows. But she’s young, they’ll take a chance on nominating her for being lucky enough to land a spot in a Coen Bros movie but I think if she really wants the award, she’ll need to continue to make smart career choices. And be a good actress too, I guess.
Helena Bonham Carter is the obvious choice for winner in this category since she is the big name of the bunch, but she has one less nomination in her history than Amy Adams, and I think that means Amy Adams wins if they are making the effort to not Winslet anyone.
Ok, kids, let’s see how I do.