Still haven’t knocked down all 10 of Oscar’s best picture nominees? Never fear. There’s still plenty of time to get them all in before the the Oscars are handed out on Sunday evening. But it will take some stamina. Especially now that there are, in case you need reminding, 10 best picture nominees now, not just five.
AMC Rosedale is hosting a no-holds-barred 24-hour marathon of Oscar’s decalog, starting at 10 a.m. Saturday with a screening of every kid’s favorite contender, Toy Story 3, and plowing through all the way until roughly 9 a.m. Sunday, at which point the end credits to The King’s Speech will start rolling.
If you can manage to pull an all-nighter, the price is right — $50 for the entire marathon, and you get a $20 gift card back to use for concessions. Click here for the full details, including the schedule for all 10 movies.
If you’ve seen all or at least most of the movies, you ought to have a leg up on whatever Oscar pools you may be entering. “Ought to,” not “do,” because anyone who has followed the Oscars in the past knows that one’s personal opinions on what nominees are the best in any given year has little to do with what actually wins.
So, having spent the last month going through these categories one-by-one, here’s my handy cheat sheet for this year’s Oscars. Take my advice with a grain of salt, but I’ll happily accept a kickback if you should find my picks the ticket to a pool win.
Black Swan Nominated for 5 awards overall. The Fighter Nominated for 7 awards overall. Inception Nominated for 8 awards overall. The Kids Are All Right Nominated for 4 awards overall. The King’s Speech Nominated for 12 awards overall. 127 Hours Nominated for 6 awards overall. The Social Network Nominated for 8 awards overall. Toy Story 3 Nominated for 5 awards overall. True Grit Nominated for 10 awards overall. Winter’s Bone Nominated for 4 awards overall.
Will Win: The Social Network was once the incontestable Oscar steamroller of the year … until those nominations rolled in and The King’s Speech was cited in no less than a dozen categories. After a few years of being guided by critical acclaim rather than popular affection, this year, Oscar’s embracing the latter. Expect The King’s Speech to take the top prize. Deserves To Win: The King’s Speech is the dullest winner-elect since A Beautiful Mind. I much prefer the eager to offend Black Swan. But if a crowd-pleaser it must be, let it be True Grit.
Annette Bening As Nic in The Kids Are All Right Nicole Kidman As Becca Corbett in Rabbit Hole Jennifer Lawrence As Ree Dolly in Winter’s Bone Natalie Portman As Nina Sayers in Black Swan Michelle Williams As Ciney Periera in Blue Valentine
Will Win: No matter how many people insist it’s Annette Bening’s year, don’t forget that this is now the third time it’s been “Annette Bening’s year.” Natalie Portman spends the entire running time of her film pitched at 11. She’ll win on effort alone, if not merit. Deserves To Win: Portman’s exhausting , and Bening makes it look effortless. But out of one of the strongest line-ups this category has seen in years if not decades, I found Williams’ weary, waning battle to save her marriage the most affecting.
Javier Bardem As Uxbal in Biutiful Jeff Bridges As Rooster Cogburn in True Grit Jesse Eisenberg As Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network Colin Firth As King George VI in The King’s Speech James Franco As Aron Ralston in 127 Hours
Will Win: If you don’t know who’s winning this one, you don’t deserve to win the Oscar pool. For the record, Colin Firth has had this in the bag for months. Deserves To Win: It’s a pity they couldn’t find room for Ryan Gosling as Michelle Williams’ ne’er do well husband in Blue Valentine. Of the five they did select, the two that have already won Oscars outclass the competition.
Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams As Charlene Fleming in The Fighter Helena Bonham Carter As Queen Elizabeth in The King’s Speech Melissa Leo As Alice Eklund Ward in The Fighter Haliee Steinfeld As Mattie Ross in True Grit Jacki Weaver As Janine “Smurf” Cody in Animal Kingdom
Will Win: Hailee Steinfeld has momentum going into Sunday’s festivities, but Melissa Leo has the truckload of critics’ awards. Despite some bad PR on her part lately, she’ll probably still win, but it’s the closest contest of the big categories this year. Deserves To Win: Leo’s co-star Amy Adams had, up to now, seemed way too vanilla to pull off a role like Charlene. Maybe it was a case of lowered expectations, but she won my MVP award from The Fighter‘s much-heralded cast.
Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale As Dicky Eklund in The Fighter John Hawkes As Teardrop in Winter’s Bone Jeremy Renner As James “Jem” Coughlin in The Town Mark Ruffalo As Paul in The Kids Are All Right Geoffrey Rush As Lionel Logue in The King’s Speech
Will Win: Christian Bale isn’t quite the lock Firth is in Best Actor, but he’s close enough. Only a total King’s Speech sweep could ruin his chances. Deserves To Win: The scene-chewing Bale hogged all the critics’ awards that should’ve gone to John Hawkes.
The Nominees: Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan Ethan & Joel Coen, True Grit David Fincher, The Social Network Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech David O. Russell, The Fighter
Will Win: Usually this goes to the director whose film wins Best Picture. Splits have occurred more frequently in the last decade, and many think this year will be another, with Fincher upsetting. But smart money never bets on a split, so go with Tom Hooper, even though he’s the only director in the whole line-up without about 200 fansites set up on his behalf. Deserves To Win: God, anyone but Hooper, but Darren Aronofsky‘s vision seems the most committed … or maybe he should just be committed.
Best Original Screenplay
The Nominees: Another Year The Fighter Inception The Kids Are All Right The King’s Speech
Will Win: This is one of the few categories tipped to The King’s Speech that could conceivably go to another candidate in an upset. Both Inception and The Kids Are All Right seem ripe to steal. But still, bet on the house favorite. Deserves To Win: The Kids Are All Right‘s characters don’t talk like real people, but neither did Network‘s, and that’s basically the best screenplay ever written, so …
Best Adapted Screenplay
The Nominees: 127 Hours The Social Network Toy Story 3 True Grit Winter’s Bone
Will Win: The Social Network‘s rabid fans can take comfort in the fact that it’s a lock for at least one award on Sunday. Aaron Sorkin is a shoo-in. Deserves To Win: Any of these nominees would make a worthy winner. Except 127 Hours. What the heck is that script doing in contention here?!
Best Foreign Language Film
The Nominees: Biutiful Dogtooth In a Better World Incendies Outside the Law
Will Win: It’s never easy to tell what the committee who decides this award’s winner is thinking. In what world are Dogtooth and In a Better World ever up for the same award? Most think the latter is taking the prize, but I trust my colleague at Slant who called this one for Incendies. Deserves To Win: Dogtooth is maybe the strangest movie ever nominated for an Oscar. I mean, ever.
Best Documentary Feature
The Nominees: Exit Through the Gift Shop Gasland Inside Job Restrepo Waste Land
Will Win: Exit Through the Gift Shop is the doc with the highest profile, but most recognize it to be an elaborate sham, which means some voters aren’t likely to allow it a win in a category explicitly meant for “documentaries.” Gasland seems the most overtly issue-oriented movie in the lineup, but Inside Job should give Oscar the chance to, once again, align its political compass. Deserves To Win: Exit Through the Gift Shop is more cool than great, but that’s sort of the point, right?
Best Animated Feature
The Nominees: How To Train Your Dragon The Illusionist Toy Story 3
Will Win: Toy Story 3 is a lock. Deserves To Win: As solid as Toy Story 3 is, I think How To Train Your Dragon was just that much better. Absolutely charming.
Best Art Direction
The Nominees: Alice in Wonderland Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 Inception The King’s Speech True Grit
Will Win: Again, The King’s Speech is highly likely, but maybe this is another year in which the “most” candidate wins. In which case, Alice in Wonderland. Deserves To Win: Much as I love the idea of an Oscar-winning set having been previously used for movie shoots of, um, a more unsavory nature, I can’t vote for King’s Speech even here. I favor True Grit.
The Nominees: Black Swan Inception The King’s Speech The Social Network True Grit
Will Win: Roger Deakins has been nominated nine times now. It’s about time for him to finally win. Thus, True Grit earns probably it’s only award of the evening here. Deserves To Win: Both Black Swan and The Social Network make digital manipulation look good.
Best Costume Design
The Nominees: Alice in Wonderland I Am Love The King’s Speech The Tempest True Grit
Will Win: Last year’s winner tsk-tsk’d the Academy for always awarding costumes fit for dead monarchs. From your lips to the Academy’s ears, lady. The King’s Speech edges Alice in Wonderland. Deserves To Win: I Am Love‘s duds were endlessly sumptuous.
Best Film Editing
The Nominees: Black Swan The Fighter The King’s Speech 127 Hours The Social Network
Will Win: Though the category is often cited as a barometer for Best Picture, most agree that The Social Network‘s twisty flashback structure is the favorite here. Deserves To Win: Who am I to disagree? The Social Network.
Best Original Score
The Nominees: How To Train Your Dragon Inception The King’s Speech 127 Hours The Social Network
Will Win: Alexandre Desplat is almost as overdue as cinematographer Roger Deakins. Lucky for Desplat, he’s hitched up to the The King’s Speech gravy train. Deserves To Win: How cool would it be for Trent Reznor to get an Oscar to go with his Golden Globe for The Social Network ?
Best Original Song
The Nominees: “Coming Home,” Country Strong “I See the Light,” Tangled “If I Rise,” 127 Hours “We Belong Together,” Toy Story 3
Will Win: None of these songs seem like winners, but either of the two ‘toon nominees seem safer bets than the live-acton ones. I give “I See the Light” the edge. No matter who wins, expect them to crack a joke about how relieved they are there wasn’t a song in The King’s Speech. Deserves To Win: None of the above, to be honest.
Best Sound Mixing
The Nominees: Inception The King’s Speech Salt The Social Network True Grit
Will Win: Inception seems pretty safe here. Deserves To Win: True Grit had some lovely sonic textures … or at least wasn’t a total headache like Salt and Inception.
Best Sound Editing
The Nominees: Inception Toy Story 3 Tron: Legacy True Grit Unstoppable
Will Win: Inception seems more than just pretty safe here. It seems a lock. Deserves To Win: The former raver wanna-be in me would love to see Tron: Legacy take this one.
Best Visual Effects
The Nominees: Alice in Wonderland Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 Hereafter Inception Iron Man 2
Will Win: Inception. Notice a pattern? It’s the same one that The Matrix followed. Deserves To Win: No F/X sequence caught me more off guard this year than Hereafter‘s opening scene tsunami. If quality > quantity, it’s the clear winner.
Best Short Films
I covered these categories a week or two ago. Click here to see my predictions and preferences in the documentary, live-action and animated short film categories.