Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Oscar odds: Predicting the 10 nominees for Best Picture

If the goal in returning to 10 nominees was to add more intrigue when it comes to the Oscar race for Best Picture, it was mission accomplished at least for me, because as anyone who's been here before knows, I'm just a sucker for lists, and coming up with 10 is just a fun game.

And though I'm no longer a gambling man (and was never a terribly good one), here is my prediction of the 10 titles you will hear one week from today, in order from least likely to win to most likely, minus the odds only because I unfortunately have to go see Macon's best mechanic today (who will remain namelesss only because he insists upon it). Here goes.

10. "127 Hours": If I had a vote, these first two would be locks, but even with Danny Boyle's Oscar pedigree, this just never really caught on enough to be anything but an also-ran. In a perfect world, however, James Franco would at least get a Best Actor nomination and the chance to take on clear front-runner Colin Firth.

9. "Winter's Bone": With big wins at the Gothams and from the Independent Spirit crowd, Debra Granik's Ozarks film noir just might be able to sneak in to this club, and it would be a worthy entry. Still my single favorite movie of the year, featuring a true breakthrough performance from Jennifer Lawrence.

8. "True Grit": If you watched the Golden Globes (and I only did intermittently), you know that for once they played it straight and, in the main categories, probably picked the winners. Their only slip up, however, came early when this popular remake from the Coen brothers failed to even get a Best Picture nomination. The Oscars will fix that.

7. "The Fighter": How in the world is Christian Bale, who as Dickie Eklund takes over the entire movie, a supporting actor? I have no idea, but he was a worthy winner at the Golden Globes in that category, and should be again on Oscar night, which will be enough to drag David O. Russell's sports underdog flick that earns all its cheers along into the Best Picture pool.

6. "Toy Story 3": An animated movie for Best Picture? Of course - my only question is how in the world will it only be the third one, after only "Up" and "Beauty and the Beast"? Pixar's best movie (though my personal favorite is still "Ratatouille") will almost certainly break through this wall, and though I didn't put it on this list, there's an outside chance "Despicable Me" will come with it.

5. "Inception": You can certainly argue that the move back to 10 Best Picture nominees was in response to what many people felt was the "snub" of Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight," and I can't see any way he's left out again, especially with something as ambitious and simply wildly entertaining as this.

4. "The Kids Are All Right": Though for me this is the most over-rated movie on this list, there really is no denying that its heart is certainly in the right place, and the subject matter coupled with the certainty of Annette Bening getting a Best Actress nomination make this a Best Picture lock.

3. "Black Swan": Nothing would make me happier than to see what really is a gussied-up B horror movie get a Best Picture nomination, and it's almost a certainty that Darren Aronofsky will pull that off. And Natalie Portman vs. Bening for Best Actress should be the best battle of the night (my heart, but not my money, is with the broken-down ballerina.)

2. "The King's Speech": I expect these last two to be the real contenders for the top prize, and why not? Though director Tom Hooper's "Damned United" is a better flick in my book, there's no denying the fun in watching Colin Firth (a lock for Best Actor) and Geoffrey Rush square off in this historical crowd-pleaser, which has ridden its Oscar buzz to now even be playing in my little corner of the world.

1. "The Social Network": I watched this again over the weekend, and though it still doesn't make my personal top 10 for the year, I can certainly see the appeal of Aaron Sorkin's whip smart script and David Fincher's tight direction in telling the story of the creation of Facebook, and those two factors combined with its subject matter will almost certainly be enough to make this the winner of the Oscar for Best Picture.

Or, of course, I could be completely wrong (it's happened at least once before, and probably today already). That's my take, and feel free to add your own. And if you'll excuse me, I'm off to see my mechanic now, and hoping he takes kindly to my rather loudly grinding brakes. Peace out.


jeremy said...

I think you're spot-on!

Reel Fanatic said...

It wasn't too hard to compile this one, Jeremy, but I'm not sure that means it was a good year or bad ... I'd say good in my book from about July on

M. dean said...

I'd agree with you on everything but 'The Kids are All Right" which I just found contrived and, as a few other people noted, felt too much like a sitcom. I felt like it was just another house on the same street as "American Beauty." Enough of that though.

I wanted to get your thoughts on today's DVD releases. There are at least four that I'm really excited for: Animal Kingdom, Buried, Stone, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman's directorial debut, Jack Goes Boating. Animal kingdom I just heard about, but with a RT rating of 96%, I'll be heading to Redbox soon.

Reel Fanatic said...

Animal Kingdom is the only one of those I've seen, M.dean, but it is easily among my favorite movies of 2010 ... It's an extremely grim gangster tale, but also just a great story very well told, and Jacki Weaver is amazing

And though I can't go quite as far as you with "The Kids Are All Right," I certainly agree that it's very overrated, and if it indeed gets a Best Picture nomination, will be the weak link (unless something ridiculous jumps into the picture)

J. Marquis said...

I saw "The Fighter" last night and loved it. As far as I'm concerned all four of the stars could potentially be Oscar nominees.

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm with you there for sure on Christian Bale and Melissa Leo, Mr. Marquis, and Wahlberg and Amy Adams were very good too, so why not?