Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

30 January 2011

2011's Nominees: Part 1 of 12

I can't believe I am trying to commit to making 12 posts about the Oscars before they arrive on February 27th at the same time as I study for my comprehensive exams, but I am. This is also partially because of my friend Julie and our (competitive? yes) quest to see all of the year's films. There are 36 films in competition this year (I am exempting myself from the documentaries and the shorts) and I will go through each nominee one by one. Hopefully this is a fun exercise, and if I am down on your favorite film of the year, please feel free to speak up and defend it. I expect that my opinion about this year's favored movie might engender a few raised eyebrows. So, here goes:

12 Nominations:
  · Best Picture
  · Best Director: Tom Hooper
  · Best Original Screenplay: David Seidler
  · Best Actor: Colin Firth (A Single Man)
  · Best Supporting Actor: Geoffrey Rush (Quills, Shine, Shakespeare in Love)
  · Best Supporting Actress: Helena Bonham Carter (The Wings of the Dove)
  · Best Editing: Tariq Anwar (American Beauty)
  · Best Cinematography: Danny Cohen
  · Best Art Direction: Eve Stewart (Topsy-Turvy) and Judy Farr
  · Best Costume Design: Jenny Beaven (The Bostonians, A Room with a View, Maurice, Howards End, The Remains of the Day, Sense and Sensibility, Anna and the King, Gosford Park)
  · Best Original Score: Alexandre Desplat (The Queen, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Fantastic Mr. Fox)
  · Best Sound Mixing

Director: Hooper
Cast: Firth, Carter, Rush, Guy Pearce, Michael Gambon, Derek Jacobi, Jennifer Ehle, Claire Bloom, Eve Best, Timothy Spall
Twelve nominations is a whole Hell of a lot. I don't think anyone expected this good of a showing from this small film, but here it is. The King's Speech is a crowd pleaser and a feel-good film and an overcoming-my-disability narrative. I also find the film to be rather sex-negative, for what it's worth. But everyone seems to love it. I mean, it's okay and all that, but it's rather uneven at times and – just take a look up there at the poster – is it a comedy? a WWII drama? I don't think Tom Hooper has any idea, actually. What I do know is that this film is heartwarming and is going to win Best Picture. Zzzzz.
Will Win: Picture, Actor, Original Screenplay, Costume Design, Score
Might Also Win: Director, Art Direction
My Rating: #19 out of 40

10 Nominations:
  · Best Picture
  · Best Director: Joel Coen (Fargo, No Country for Old Men) & Ethan Coen (No Country)
  · Best Adapted Screenplay: Coens (Fargo, O Brother Where Art Thou?, No Country, A Serious Man)
  · Best Actor: Jeff Bridges (The Last Picture Show, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, Starman, The Contender, Crazy Heart)
  · Best Supporting Actress: Hailee Steinfeld
  · Best Cinematography: Roger Deakins (The Shawshank Redemption, Fargo, Kundun, O Brother, The Man Who Wasn't There, No Country, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Reader)
  · Best Art Direction: Nancy Haigh (Barton Fink, Bugsy, Forrest Gump, Road to Perdition, Dreamgirls) and Jess Gonchor
  · Best Costume Design: Mary Zophres
  · Best Sound Mixing
  · Best Sound Editing

Director: Coens
Cast: Bridges, Steinfeld, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Barry Pepper
I don't think anyone expected this film to do as well as it did, and it looks as though it would have made a Best Picture nomination even if there had only been five. I think this is a big surprise and I am delighted by it. The Coens have always been superb filmmakers and that the Academy has come to love them as much as they have is really very cool. Tone down the excitement, though. It's not going to win that many.
Will Win: Cinematography
Might Win: Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Adapted Screenplay
My Rating: #8 out of 40

8 Nominations:
  · Best Picture
  · Best Director: David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
  · Best Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin
  · Best Actor: Jesse Eisenberg
  · Best Editing: Kirk Baxter & Angus Wall (both for Benjamin Button)
  · Best Cinematography: Jeff Cronenweth
  · Best Original Score: Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
  · Best Sound Mixing

Director: Fincher
Cast: Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Armie Hammer, Max Minghella, Erica Albright, Rashida Jones
This was the frontrunner for months, won every critics' award under the sun — like a juggernaut that couldn't be stopped. But on the morning when the nominees were announced, the wind went out of the sails of Fincher's movie. It's a shame, really. The Social Network is a much better movie than The King's Speech. But it also isn't a real Oscar-type of a movie. And it is about something that the old white people voting for the little gold men do not really understand: the facebook. Still, I am expecting it to do well on February 27th.
Will Win: Director, Screenplay, Editing
Might Win: Cinematography, Sound Mixing
My Rating: #10 out of 40