My Oscar Nominations (As Well As What I Think Will Be Nominated)

The Academy Awards are upon us. Don’t put up a struggle, they like it when you try to fight back. Just remember to go to a doctor immediately after and always press charges. We’ll be handing out whistles next week.

Tomorrow, the nominations will be announced for the 83rd Academy Awards. What does this mean? Not a god damn thing. But, I figure, this is as good a time as any to put forth what I think should be nominated in all of the categories. Because you care what I think, don’t you?

Ha ha, this is one-sided, I can’t really hear what you have to say. I’m going to hear what I wanted to hear, which is the sound of a crying Asian child.

So, here’s my list of who I would nominate for every award (followed by who I think the Academy will nominate). I’ll keep it to films that are mostly Oscar-worthy. I won’t put Scott Pilgrim up for Best Picture even though I thought it was the best film of the year. I’ll keep it within the realm of possibility. I will also not be participating in category fraud here. I vote leads as lead and supporting as supporting. So a certain True Grit performance is going lead, even though the Academy will almost certainly nominate it for Supporting. Which, I’m okay with them doing it, because she has a better chance to win by going supporting, but still — I don’t participate in such activities.

Best Picture

Black Swan

Blue Valentine

The Fighter

Inception

The King’s Speech

Shutter Island

The Social Network

The Town

Toy Story 3

True Grit

What’s funny about this is, I’m probably about 8 of 10 matched with the Academy already. I know The Kids are All Right is going to get in, even though it’s wildly undeserving of doing so — but, whatever. They like what they like. That will take Shutter Island’s spot. The other two that could come off are Blue Valentine and The Town. I’m hearing that The Town is likely to make it on, which would be awesome, but the two I can see getting in here instead are Winter’s Bone and 127 Hours. Anything aside from those two would be a shock to me, and to most people. The Ghost Writer making it on would be a welcome shock to most, but it’s got about a 2% chance at this point.

What I think the Academy will nominate for Best Picture:

  1. 127 Hours
  2. Black Swan
  3. The Fighter
  4. Inception
  5. The Kids are All Right
  6. The King’s Speech
  7. The Social Network
  8. The Town
  9. Toy Story 3
  10. True Grit

A Danny Boyle film won this already. I’ll take that over Winter’s Bone, just because it was so small. That seems like the obvious logical choice here, but I’m gonna go high profile over low profile. Too many times do the deserving indies get knocked off for bigger indies and studio films. Plus, Blue Valentine is the most deserving indie around, and if that’s not gonna make it, Winter’s Bone certainly shouldn’t.

Best Actor

Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network

Robert Duvall, Get Low

Colin Firth, The King’s Speech

Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine

Michael Douglas, Solitary Man

Big props to James Franco (127 Hours) and Ryan Reynolds (Buried). They essentially carried their movies by themselves. For some reason I can’t bring myself to nominate Franco, since I don’t really see what was so great about his performance. I’d be cool the them nominating him, but I won’t do it. Reynolds just missed the cut. I’m a sucker for Michael Douglas. Still, I’d be over the moon if these were the five nominees. Though I know the Academy will almost certainly go another way. Also, props to Matt Damon for Hereafter. That was a really nice performance. Also big ups to Leo for Shutter Island. That also was one I couldn’t put in. He was great in that.

Who I think the Academy will nominate for Best Actor:

  1. Jeff Bridges, True Grit
  2. Robert Duvall, Get Low
  3. Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
  4. Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
  5. James Franco, 127 Hours

Franco is hosing, so, that would be weird. I say he is a possibility to be left off. I have to go with Bridges and Duvall, purely because they’re veterans and the old people love nominating veterans. Never bet against the veterans. Colin Firth is going to win this hands down anyway, so it really doesn’t matter who’s nominated. But I’d really like if Gosling got in, and for Michael Douglas to get some love too.

The other person we have to watch out for is Javier Bardem. I’m really not expecting him to get in, but Julia Roberts has publicly stated that she’s voting him #1, and famous people have a lot of pull. She can get a lot of people to vote her way because of who she is. So, I’m not saying it will happen, but, always listen when famous people have opinions.

Best Actress

Carey Mulligan, Never Let Me Go

Natalie Portman, Black Swan

Noomi Rapace, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit

Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

I feel this is a really weak year for actresses. These five were really the only ones I could see being nominated. That said, the Academy will almost certainly go a different way on at least three of these. They better not leave off Michelle Williams, though. That would really upset me, very much.

Who I think the Academy will nominate for Best Actress:

  1. Annette Bening, The Kids are All Right
  2. Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
  3. Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
  4. Natalie Portman, Black Swan
  5. Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

Honestly, I really can’t pick this category. Hilary Swank could get in, but she didn’t really do anything. Halle Berry could get in, but did anyone even see that movie? Nicole Kidman is Nicole Kidman, but the performance wasn’t very good. So, let’s skew on the side of SAG and go with what they nominated (mostly). I’m going to stick with 4 of the 5 and say Hilary Swank doesn’t get in to maintain my extreme optimism that Michelle Williams does. I pick Kidman over Swank just because Swank was only nominated twice and won twice, and I like these kind of statistical anomalies, so I say she doesn’t get nominated a third time. She certainly isn’t going to win. Plus she probably shouldn’t have won at least one of those two times. Though it would be funny to see her nominated a third time and go up against Annette Bening a third time. It would be like an Ali-Frazier sort of deal, even though neither is at the stature of those two. So maybe it’s like a LaMotta-Robinson. Anyway, I’m gonna fudge this up a bit, and go in figuring I’ll be wrong but really hoping I’m right. Also, watch out for Julianne Moore here too. I doubt they add her on, but maybe she gets in. Just keep a mindful eye, so if she gets nominated, you can be like, “Yeah, okay, that was a possibility.” Also, an even longer shot is Tilda Swinton. Don’t totally count her out, but be shocked if she gets in, though.

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale, The Fighter

Matt Damon, True Grit

Bill Murray, Get Low

Sam Rockwell, Conviction

Jeremy Renner, The Town

Very honorable mention goes to Andrew Garfield and Ben Mendelsohn (in Animal Kingdom). I liked their performances, Mendelsohn especially, but this was a good year for performances. In fact, I might take off Renner for Mendelsohn, since Renner is likely to be nominated, but I’m not sure how much of a lead Mendelsohn’s performance is. I guess no more so than Bale’s. But, I’ll leave it. I doubt I’ll get someone to see Animal Kingdom based on me raving about his performance, so I’ll stick with Renner.

Who I think the Academy will nominate for Best Supporting Actor:

  1. Christian Bale, The Fighter
  2. Matt Damon, True Grit
  3. Jeremy Renner, The Town
  4. Mark Ruffalo, The Kids are All Right
  5. Geoffery Rush, The King’s Speech

The only guarantees on this list are 1, 3, and 5. Damon I’m leaving on because he got in last year for Invictus when no one really expected him to. He was kind of the fifth nominee that sprung up out of nowhere. His performance is leaps and bounds better in this, so I’m gonna say he gets in here. I know Bill Murray has no shot, sadly. Andrew Garfield is the other possibility, but I’m not sure if they’re going to embrace him. John Hawkes got nominated by SAG for Winter’s Bone, but I’m figuring that almost definitely will not hold for Academy nominations. I also don’t think Ruffalo should be nominated at all. But since he’s been on this list for months and months, and SAG nominated him (though the Globes wisely didn’t and nominated Michael Douglas for Wall Street 2 instead — which, I’d love it if they threw him in for that. That would be amazing), I’ll leave him in. But I don’t think he’s as safe as everyone assumes. But, we’ll leave him. Watch for Andrew Garfield (and to a much, much lesser extent, Michael Douglas) to possibly pop up instead of Damon or Ruffalo.

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams, The Fighter

Melissa Leo, The Fighter

Chloë Moretz, Kick-Ass

Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

Olivia Williams, The Ghost Writer

The only reason Helena Bonham Carter isn’t on this list is because she’s 100% certain to be nominated. Also, I lied a little bit. I put on non-Oscar performance on here. But Chloë Moretz was fucking awesome in Kick-Ass. You’ll allow me a little indulgence. Here, I’m expecting to be 3/5 correct. We’ll call this category the 3/5 compromise. Love racism jokes. (Not racist jokes, racism jokes.) Olivia Williams hasn’t build up enough steam to be considered a serious threat to be nominated (even though her performance was masterful. Seriously, watch Ghost Writer if you’ve never seen it. It’s off the chain good.), and obviously Helena Bonham Carter will take the other slot. However, other possibilities here are Hailee Steinfeld for True Grit, which is a likelihood, with it being a lead performance and SAG nominating her for supporting, Lesley Manville for Another Year (which caught traction nowhere, so, I doubt she magically appears), or any of the actresses from Black Swan, specifically Mila Kunis and Barbara Hershey (though I thought Winona did a terrific job there).

So, in the final slot, I say it comes down to Steinfeld and either Kunis or Hershey. Now, I say, of those two, even though the Globes and SAG went with Kunis, I don’t think she did anything in that movie. She just made out with Natalie Portman. Plus, with the veterans, I say Hershey is the more likely to get in. But, I’m going with Steinfeld just because I want her to be nominated for something. Also, don’t think Jacki Weaver is a lock either. It’s very likely that one of the Black Swan actresses steals her spot (steal being the very key word here, because she’s fucking jaw-droppingly good in the role). I’m gonna remain optimistic.

Who I think the Academy will nominate for Best Supporting Actress:

  1. Amy Adams, The Fighter
  2. Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
  3. Melissa Leo, The Fighter
  4. Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
  5. Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

Before I go, I just want to point out two other supporting performances that I think were really effective this year. They won’t get nominated for awards, but they were required to do a fair amount of work to convey what they needed to.

The first is one you wouldn’t notice, but she did a real effective job of giving humanity to a character that really needed to have some in order to work. That’s Delphine Chaneac in Splice. She plays the adult version of Dren, the creature that Adrian Brody and Sarah Polley create in their lab. I mean, the movie turns her into — well, you’ll see for yourself. You totally should, too, it’s a great movie — but, before that, she does a great job of making you feel for this creature that shouldn’t be. And she does it without speaking. I thought she was really good at playing her part in this and deserves some recognition.

The second performance is Ellen Wong in Scott Pilgrim. You can’t tell me that she wasn’t note perfect as Knives Chau. Everything they needed out of that character, she gave them, and then some. I think that performance deserves some recognition for effectively going from Asian teenager in love to victimized girl to depressed girl, to vengeful “assassin.” That’s a pretty big range for a supporting character. Also, tell me you weren’t freaked the fuck out when she suddenly appears in the window in that one shot. That’s the mark of a good performance.

Best Director

Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan

Joel & Ethan Coen, True Grit

David Fincher, The Social Network

Christopher Nolan, Inception

David O. Russell, The FIghter

I really should have put Edgar Wright on here, but, c’est la vie. Danny Boyle did a good job, but I’m not crazy about that whole digital camera deal he does. Roman Polanski did a great job too, but he already won an Oscar, so I’m leaving him off as well. Affleck also should get huge props for The Town. It’s just a shame the field is so tough this year. And Marty, well — Shutter Island was great, but you have an Oscar, and I can’t find a place to fit you on here. Maybe next year for Hugo Cabret. I’d like you to get a second one, just because they fucked up in not giving you one for so long and because you should have at least two by now anyway.

Who I think the Academy will nominate for Best Director:

Here’s a category that’s almost locked. There were more than five best directorial efforts. Also, Hooper is a lock to be nominated, but really did the worst job of all these directors. He’s really only being nominated because his movie is being nominated for Best Picture (and likely to win, as the PGA awards told us on Saturday. But that’s a story for another time). But, here are the five that are almost certain:

  1. Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
  2. David Fincher, The Social Network
  3. Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
  4. Christopher Nolan, Inception
  5. David O. Russell, The Fighter

See what I mean? You can’t tell me Hooper did a better job than the Coen brothers did. And there’s really no one on this list that can be bumped for the Coens except Hooper. But, there’s no way they don’t nominate Hooper (unless this is a Shakespeare in Love kind of deal — which, all the previous awards have sort of been setting this up as that kind of year. So, it would actually be very fitting). I’m not gonna make that proclamation, but if it does happen, you heard it here first. Plus, these five were the DGA five, and 9 years out of 10 the DGA matches at least 4/5. Usually 5/5. And when someone gets in on Oscar that isn’t on DGA, it’s a veteran. So, the only real spoilers here are Scorsese or Polanski (and maybe Boyle). But there are reasons not to nominate any of them, and I think this five is strong enough to hold out.

Best Original Screenplay

Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz, John J. McLaughlin, Black Swan

Christopher Nolan, Inception

Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, The Fighter

Derek Cianfrance, Blue Valentine

Chris Sparling, Buried

I will say Blue Valentine was a great film, but I can’t tell how much was scripted and how much was them improvising scenes. I know for a fact that certain scenes came from Cianfrance telling Michelle Williams, “Okay, you have a secret, and no matter what you do, you cannot tell Ryan,” and told Ryan Gosling, “You do whatever you need to do to get Michelle to get you to tell you her secret.” And that’s where we get that scene on the bridge where he almost climbs over to jump. So, I feel a lot of the scenes came from improvisation and were simply just outlined beforehand. However, if Borat can get nominated for screenplay with the same kind of doing, I can put Blue Valentine on this list.

I also should leave off Inception because of the amount of exposition that’s in it, but since it’s such an original piece of storytelling, I’m leaving it on. That kind of gripe is stupid when it’s the most original thing to come out of Hollywood in a while. Black Swan is just icing on the cake.

Also, The King’s Speech was insanely well-written. I just left it off to give Buried some recognition.

What I think the Academy will nominate for Best Original Screenplay:

  1. Black Swan
  2. Inception
  3. Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg, The Kids are all Right
  4. David Seidler, The King’s Speech
  5. Mike Leigh, Another Year

Now, the fifth spot on here is a tough one. Buried would normally have a nice shot, but the screenwriter got in trouble over a stupid email he sent, so that’ll probably hurt him. But it’s still a possibility. The WGA nominated Please Give, which, would be a shock if it got in. The obvious choice here is Mike Leigh with Another Year. He normally gets in for most things even though he doesn’t write scripts. He does the crazy improvisation thing. And I think actors like the way he works, so them being the biggest category, are most likely to vote him in, so I guess I’ll stick with him.

Also, because I’m a dialogue man, I’ll take an aside to tell you the scripts I thought contained the best dialogue (that aren’t already on these lists). Those include Easy A (fantastic dialogue. A bit contrived at moments, but overall, very good dialogue — Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson’s scenes kill), Going the Distance (aside from the obvious studio interference thrown in), Tangled was actually very well-written, and very funny (the songs just sucked), and the final one — Due Date. I know, I know. But I’m talking purely about the script and not the film. I remember laughing a lot during that script. Maybe I’ll go back to it and see what I really think, but for now, that original script was amazing, not the piece of shit the script turned into.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network (I’m not even going to put this in alphabetical order. This was the best screenplay of 2010 by far. By. Far.)

Roman Polanski, The Ghost Writer

Michael Bacall and Edgar Wright, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Joel and Ethan Coen, True Grit

Michael Arndt, Toy Story 3

I don’t care what you say, Scott Pilgrim was insanely well-written.

Props here to Secretariat, which was a terrific film and benefitted from a pretty good script. Not worth nominating, but pretty good. If that movie were to be recognized anywhere, it would be here. Also props to Alex Garland for Never Let Me Go. That was a great script.

What I think the Academy will nominate for Best Adapted Screenplay:

  1. Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy, 127 Hours
  2. The Social Network
  3. Peter Craig, Ben Affleck & Aaron Stockard, The Town
  4. Toy Story 3
  5. True Grit

This is a tough category, because there are a lot of opportunities for upsets. I know everyone loved How to Train Your Dragon, but do they love it enough to give it a screenplay nod? Who knows? They could, since Sorkin has this motherfucker locked down tighter than a Christian girl’s asshole.

The one I see being left off (and the one I didn’t leave off because I agree with their decision) is The Town in favor of Winter’s Bone. I know everyone seemed to love Winter’s Bone but that could just be the online community geeking out as usual. I’m sticking with the WGA, since they nominated The Town and not Winter’s Bone. However, Frozen River got nominated for screenplay, so I think Winter’s Bone is very likely, but I’m gonna stick with The Town because I’d like it better. But, if you’re gonna lay odds — well, they’re about even at this point. But, expect surprises.

One surprise that may happen is I Love You Phillip Morris, which got in with the WGA. But, Toy Story was ineligible, so that had a lot (all) to do with it. So, essentially, that fifth spot is really where the surprise could come in, but, like I said, watch for it. Simon Beaufoy and the Coens are very well-respected, but if they figure the category is already won, they might have fun with their nominations. I doubt it, which is why I only gave you one surprise, just — don’t be shocked if something crazy happens. Screenplay categories tend to be where it does.

Best Editing

Andrew Weishblum, Black Swan

Pamela Martin, The Fighter

Lee Smith, Inception

Kirk Baxter & Angus Wall, The Social Network

Jonathan Amos & Paul Machliss, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Big props to Jon Harris for 127 Hours, Dylan Tichenor for The Town, Roderick Jaynes (aka Joel & Ethan Coen) for True Grit, and of course Miss Thelma Schoonmaker for Shutter Island. All incredibly well-edited. There just weren’t enough spots. And I also wanted to show some more Scott PIlgrim love, and this was the best category to do it in.

What I think the Academy will nominate for Best Editing:

  1. Black Swan
  2. The Fighter
  3. Inception
  4. Tariq Anwar, The King’s Speech
  5. The Social Network

Here’s a category that has a lot to do with Best Picture. A film cannot win Best Picture without a Best Editing nomination. That’s as simple as it is. So, generally, expect at least 3 of 5, usually 4 of 5, Best Editing nominees to be the favorites for Best Picture.

So, I’m gonna stick with the Editor’s Guild here, just because I agree that the five they chose are the five that are the best edited/are the top five for Best Picture. If something other than these five gets in (that isn’t Tron or something — which, Tron won’t get in), it immediately becomes a bigger favorite to win it all. A Best Editing nomination shows huge support for film. Put it this way — I knew Hurt Locker was winning Best Picture an hour into the show last year when it won Best Editing. People thought Avatar still had a shot, but once Editing was won, the race was over. That’s how important this category is. Remember that. You can look really smart when you whip this piece of information out.

True Grit is the biggest spoiler here. Obviously.

Also keep in mind, the Editor’s guild nominated, Scott Pilgrim, Easy A, Kids are All Right and Alice in Wonderland for Comedy Editing and Toy Story for Animated editing. Now, I don’t think any of these will really overpower those Picture nominees, just because they’re all strong contenders and have really good editing in them, so, it should be them. But keep these other ones in mind, just in case they sneak in. Still, go with the top five. Clearly the best decisions.

Best Cinematography

(If Roger Deakins is not nominated in and wins this category, there is no justice in this country and this category is a joke.)

Matthew Labatique, Black Swan

Wally Pfister, Inception

Jeff Cronenweth, The Social Network

Robert Richardson, Shutter Island

Roger Deakins, True Grit

Mentions to Let Me In, Secretariat, and Deathly Hallows (Half-Blood Prince actually got nominated here last time, so don’t rule that out.)

Basically, four of my five should be the locked nominees. Shutter Island is the only one that could be left off. The Cinematographer’s Society nominated all four of those plue the King’s Speech guy, so, figuring as that’s gonna get a shit ton of nominations, I’ll put that on the list instead. Also, even though Tron was lit on a computer, Avatar won this category last year. So, it’s possible.

Who I think the Academy will nominate for Best Cinematography:

  1. Black Swan
  2. Inception
  3. The King’s Speech
  4. The Social Network
  5. True Grit

Seriously though, how the fuck did Deakins not win this for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

Best Animated Feature

Let’s just get this out of the way now. Toy Story 3 will be in this category and will win it. There’s no need to even waste a brain cell thinking about it.

For me Tangled was the second best animated film of the year. However, it’s not a guarantee to make the final three. My third favorite, How to Train Your Dragon, however, is. So, those are two.

They only have three nominees this year because there weren’t enough animated films released to bump the number up to five. So this means, the final spot is a shootout between — Tangled, Despicable Me, The Illusionist, and maybe Megamind.

Now, we all know Megamind isn’t getting in. I, personally, thought Despicable Me was too uneven to warrant a nomination. But apparently everyone in the country disagrees with me. (They’re so easily amused. It’s so unattractive.) Illusionist is a film that could get on, could get left off — I say it gets left off just because. Films like this benefit from bigger categories. Who really cares about a French film? Plus, do the people watching it even know who Jacques Tati is? That’s why I don’t think it gets nominated.

What I think the Academy will nominate for Best Animated Feature

  1. Toy Story 3
  2. How to Train Your Dragon
  3. Despicable Me

I really hope I’m wrong and Tangled takes that third spot. It won’t affect who wins at all, but it would make me just a little happier on nominations day.

And now, for the bullshit categories…

I’m actually very much interested in most of these categories as I am in the big ones. The more I learn about each of the departments, the more I’m intrigued about how films become nominated in the categories and what actually qualifies as good versions of each one. I’ll also try to explain what they are — not now, now I’ll just go over it briefly — I’m going to go over all the categories one or two at a time starting the day after tomorrow, and I’ll explain in depth what each one is, the category’s history, trends, what have you.

Onto the techs…

Best Art Direction

Every time they start getting into the tech categories they always begin with art direction. It just feels like the most tech category (I’m not counting cinematography or editing in this, as those are just as important as the top six for me). This and Visual Effects are the two that everyone seems to think of first.

When you hear art direction, you think — sets. That’s essentially what it is. Art direction is the sets. But production design is not just the sets. Production design is sets, costumes, etc. So the production designer oversees all of it. Art direction is specifically what the sets looked like. Which, should make it easy to guess which films would be nominated. You think of that big room the King has his Speech (therapy) in, the hotel hallway zero gravity fight, an entire Western town — these are generally no-brainer art direction films. Here are my favorites:

Alice in Wonderland

Inception

The King’s Speech

Shutter Island

True Grit

What are Tim Burton’s films if not films based around art direction? I hesitate including Black Swan on here, just because, while production design was important to the film (and will likely get nominated), it didn’t stand out to me the way Alice‘s did. Though it’s questionable as to how much of Alice‘s set design was real. But it was colorful, and a lot of the guilds have nominated it, so let’s stick with it.

Here is where it gets tough. Who really knows what’s going to get nominated for most of these categories? Can you really guess which 5 exact films will be nominated for sound mixing? No. Of course not. So, I’m going to rely heavily on the guilds, and then switch around when I think something will change or to simply just mix things up. I’ll let you know when I do that, in case you really want to lay bets on which five will be nominated and hang all your hopes and what I write. (And if that’s the case, what kind of fucking gambling problem do you have?)

What I think the Academy will nominate for Best Art Direction:

  1. Alice in Wonderland
  2. Black Swan (It hit all the guilds.)
  3. Inception
  4. The King’s Speech
  5. True Grit

Well, what do you know, same as mine. I only just looked after the fact and saw they were almost all the same. And I had 4/5 before I looked. I got Alice from the big list of possibilities. I personally side on Shutter Island‘s side because the production designer was Dante Ferretti, and he is a genius at what he does. He won twice, for Sweeney Todd and The Aviator, and he probably should have won for Gangs as well, but, it wasn’t in the cards. (I think the hard campaigning Harvey did for it made everyone vote against it across the board.) So, I always think he’s going to get in. Plus, art direction on Shutter Island was superb. Watch for him to take a spot.

Other possibilities here (because nothing is a lock, except maybe King’s Speech) are Deathly Hallows, Get Low, Tron, 127 Hours … I think those are it. Some other ones could get in, but these three I can see are the real possibilities. Not so much 127 Hours, and Potter I think is hurt by all the CGI and shots of them in the woods. So, pretty much there are the five and then Shutter Island. Those are really the 6 strong contenders. Anything else would surprise the hell out of me (to varying degrees).

Best Costume Design

Oh boy — everybody’s favorite category. This is what’s known during the Oscar ceremony as the “piss break.” No one cares about this category at all. And it’s pointless. Because they always pick period pieces (to the point where, when the lady who did the costumes on The Young Victoria won last year, she got up in front of the room and was like, “Look, don’t ever nominate me for this thing again. Start giving it to some fucking contemporary movies!” That’s basically what she said. She took them to task for giving a period piece an Oscar, again, and was really snarky about it. To me at home it sounded like biting the hand that fed her, but it was actually a strong plea for things other than period pieces. Which is both a good thing and a stupid thing for her to say. But, this is the first year where we get to see if anyone listened to her. Before I do that, though, I’m gonna list the movies I liked the costumes of the best.

Oh, you guys know what the criteria for this category is, right?

Alice in Wonderland

Black Swan

Shutter Island

True Grit

Tron: Legacy

Is it sad I put Shutter Island on there just because of that yellow dress Michelle Williams wears in it? In reality, I’d probably take Secretariat there, but I remember that yellow dress above all, so I’m sticking with that. It was like Keira’s green dress in Atonement. You all remember that, right? Same concept.

That said, my tastes and the Academy’s tastes almost certainly will not match up.

One possibility here to get in is The Fighter. Apparently they really liked how they went early 90s with the costumes. You can tell because in a few scenes Christian Bale is wearing MC Hammer pants. You don’t really notice because he’s wearing the dirty white t-shirt that’s two sizes too big and is smoking crack, but he does have the Hammer pants on. It’s very subtle the way they code it as early 90s. But they do a good job with it. And Get Low is all about the period costumes. So is Made in Dagenham. That looks like a film that’s right up this category’s alley. Robin Hood too, but I think everyone just wants to forget about that. Don’t be surprised if it hits, but, I doubt it.

What I think the Academy will nominate for Best Costume Design:

  1. Alice in Wonderland
  2. Burlesque
  3. The King’s Speech
  4. Made in Dagenham
  5. True Grit

This is one of the few categories I know I’m likely to be two or even three off from. King’s Speech is really the only lock here. I assume True Grit would be an obvious second (That Texas Ranger costume Damon wears is so perfect for his character). Now, Made in Dagenham is a safe bet. It’s one of those films you know nothing about, but when you see the costumes, you’re like, “Yeah, that makes sense.” It’s about British female workers and unions and shit in the 50s or 60s. Period clothes. Costume designer’s wet dream. Lewinsky-style stains come from this kind of movie. But, it can easily miss. (Zing.) I’m taking a shot with it. (Double zing.) Alice makes sense, because, it’s Burton. But it can very easily be taken off for Black Swan, which seems to be more costume-based than The Fighter. However, I hear both of these films have gotten extreme love, so if the love is that strong, one or both of those can sneak in here. (Lot of these in here, aren’t there?) The same can be said for any of the Best Picture films. So, don’t quote me on this one, this is simply a guess. I’ll have a much easier time picking a winner here.

Best Original Score

This is my category. I love listening to film scores. I’m a huge advocate of picking my favorite film scores of the year. I can very easily pick five scores that I loved from 2010. Very easily. I don’t listen to them hardcore. But several scores from the past few years get a lot of play with me. Maybe I’ll turn it into an entry in the future.

Just know this is my favorite category for you to be reading right now. I highly, highly recommend that you listen to some of these.

So, here are my five favorite — and I mean favorite — these things are off the fucking chain! I’m not even gonna alphabetize them. Because one score is clearly the best score of the year.

Daft Punk, Tron Legacy — It’s like epic 80s movie, Bourne Identity score, mixed with Sega Genesis video game music all rolled into one. If I gave you a pile of awesome, and then put an orgasm on top, then fucked that pile of awesome and had another orgasm with it, that would be what listening to this score is like. I guarantee you will enjoy this score. I listened to it like ten times before even seeing the movie.

Carter Burwell, True Grit — This score is beautiful. I only just listened to it for the first time recently, but man, it’s tops. This guy scores all the Coen brothers’ movies. I bet you can still hear that Fargo tune in your head. This one is just as good. I wish they made more westerns just so the awesome film scores for them could come back. You will not regret listening to this one.

Also, keep in mind, when I say these are the best film scores, I mean, you actually can listen to these. They’re that good. They’re great for background music while writing and stuff. Or in the case of Tron, great gym music for you healthy people. Try it. Put that shit on while you’re on the treadmill, I guarantee you’ll want to fight some motherfuckers. Pump up to the max. Back to the list…

Clint Mansell, Black Swan — This one is ineligible for the Oscar because it incorporates a lot of Swan Lake into it. but that’s what makes it so good. It takes the opera and does to it exactly what the movie does. It’s a great score. Listen to this if you get the chance. It’s haunting.

Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, The Social Network This is a very low key score that grows on you each time you listen to it. Also, what it does in iTunes is nothing compared to what it does in the movie. This score has a huge impact in how that film plays, and it’s noticeable when you watch it. Great score. Also, love the “In the Hall of the Mountain King” version they do.

Alexandre, Desplat, The Ghost Writer — I fell in love with this score over the film’s opening credits. It feels like a 70s mystery score to me. It’s a nice piece of music. The use of wind instruments in it are incredible. It’s awesomely flute heavy. Very different from a lot of the stuff I normally hear out of films like this.

What I think the Academy will nominate for Best Original Score:

  1. Danny Elfman, Alice in Wonderland
  2. Black Swan
  3. Hans Zimmer, Inception
  4. Alexandre Desplat, The King’s Speech
  5. The Social Network

I couldn’t fully get behind the Alice score, just because it sounds exactly like Danny Elfman’s other scores. It’s good — I just heard it before. But the Academy likes Elfman, so I’m sure he’ll get in, based on his record so far with the precursors. The only three guarantees right now are Zimmer, Desplat and Reznor & Ross.

I liked elements of the Zimmer score, but too many of the tracks are standard Hans Zimmer thriller music. You think of the score and hear that one booming note (just like the Dark Knight score), but when you actually listen to it, it’s very generic post-2000 action movie. The recent Zimmer score I really liked was Sherlock Holmes. I want me some more of that.

One possibility, which I doubt will happen but it’s still a possibility, is that Desplat gets nominated twice. The Ghost Writer score is really well done (and better than the King’s Speech score. But that one’s the Best Picture nominee, so it trumps). But, I don’t know if that would happen. It hasn’t since the category became one over a decade ago, and the only person that ever really did it was John Williams. So, I’ll say no. The only two real possibilities here are John Powell for How to Train Your Dragon (also a very good score) and maybe A.R. Rahman for 127 Hours. I personally don’t think Rahman should get nominated, but he has gotten a bunch of precursor nominations. So, I’ll leave him in the running. The only reason I’m hesitant is because no one really knows how strong the film will catch on. It’s pretty much an all or nothing film. If this thing doesn’t get that final Best Picture slot, there’s no way it gets this nomination. I really don’t know, though, and the score didn’t blow me away, so I’m going another way and am willing to be wrong. Stick with the locked three and work from there.

Best Original Song

Remember that year when Bruce Springsteen was not nominated for and did not win an Oscar for “The Wrestler”? Yeah, that’s the last time this category had any merit whatsoever. This is the one category that features such stupid voting regulations that no one even bothers with it anymore. It’s like the BCS of the Academy Awards. I’ll explain how it works another time, but basically, it’s rigged so classical composers get nominated before rock and pop stars. They didn’t nominate Bruce (despite the fact that he’s already won an Oscar in the same fucking category) because he’s a rock star. The whole thing is fucking stupid.

Anyway — I don’t have a favorite song from this year because they all sucked. I just vote Randy Newman every year, whether he has a song in a movie or not. I just want them to vote Randy Newman for anything he does. Singing in the shower — boom, done, nominate him. So, here’s —

What I think the dumbass Academy will nominate for Best Original Song:

  1. “I See the Light,” Tangled
  2. “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me Yet,” Burlesque
  3. We Belong Together,” Toy Story 3 (I told you, I always vote Randy)
  4. “Shine,” Waiting for Superman
  5. To be announced.

So here’s where we stand with this piece of shit — it’s highly likely that Tangled or Burlesque gets more than one song nominated. However, Tangled‘s songs sucked ass and nobody wants to see Christina Aguilera get nominated for an Oscar. The other two possibilities are “Coming Home,” from Country Strong (The word country should not have an “o” in it, in this case), a song that I would assume is a guaranteed nomination, or “There’s a Place for Us,” from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Both of those songs sound exactly like the bullshit songs that get nominated for this award. However, I find it hard to believe that the Cher song won’t get it or that the Disney song won’t get in. So that’s two. Now, documentaries are starting to do really well in this category — Inconvenient Truth won this category, beating out three Dreamgirls songs and Randy Newman. Plus I hear Paramount’s pushing pretty hard for the song, so I figure that’s almost a definite. It makes sense. So, that leaves two. Randy is Randy. I always assume he’s in. It’s very possible he isn’t, though. But, they nominated him for the first two Toy Story films, so let’s just give him the hat trick and call it an empty-netter, shall we?

So that leaves song number five. Why is it blank, you ask? Because — I’m gonna take the route that the Academy sometimes takes, and assume the fifth song will be a random song from a foreign film that no one sees coming. Last year something from a movie called Paris 36 got in, and back in 2004, the song from The Motorcycle Diaries not only got in, it won. So, two out of ten years, why not? I mean, who cares, right? It’s just nominations.

For those of you that are smart, you’ll put in either the Cunt song or the Narnia song. Let the crazy stick to his mad schemes. There is less than a 10% chance something weird gets in, but things are getting too boring here, so I’m gonna make one of those no balls no glory picks. I just don’t know any — scratch that, just checked the shortlisted songs, I’m going with “Made in Dagenham.” It seems weird enough to get in. (There are way too many fucking songs on that list.) This category is bullshit anyway, so me being wrong doesn’t mean anything. It’s like being a judge in a shitstained underwear contest. Does it matter to you which one wins?

Best Makeup

Yeah, I don’t really care about this category. I’ll throw out a few I know had makeup in them — The Fighter, Alice in Wonderland, Black Swan, Sex and the City 2 (They should win. Hands down, they should win for making them look vaguely human still.) — fuck it. I don’t care.

There are three nominees here, and here are the shortlisted films:

Alice in Wonderland, Barney’s Version, The Fighter, Jonah Hex, True Grit, The Way Back, The Wolfman.

So, three of these films will get in. Nothing would make me happier than being able to say, “the Academy Award nominated film Jonah Hex” from now on (like Academy Award nominee Norbit), but I don’t think they’ll let it get in. I’ll keep hope alive though. Alice makes the most sense, and so does Wolfman. Grit and Fighter also make some sense based on physical punishment and such. Fighter moreso. People are saying Barney’s Version could do well because the characters age or something. I don’t know because I haven’t seen it. So, maybe it gets in — I’ll leave it off. Who really cares about makeup, anyway?

What I think the Academy will nominate for Best Makeup

  1. Alice in Wonderland
  2. The Fighter (though a lot of people are picking True Grit here instead)
  3. The Wolfman

Fingers crossed for Jonah Hex.

Best Visual Effects

Actually, this is the category for Sex and the City 2

Here is the shortlist for the category:

Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Hereafter, Inception, Iron Man 2, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Tron: Legacy.

Unlike most years, this is being bumped up to five nominees. Which, is great, because there are seven films on this list. We really only need to scratch off two. The one I think is an obvious scratch is Potter, and that’s purely because the CGI looked horrendously bad in it. Though, on the other hand, I really would like to say someone got nominated for an Academy Award for that naked Harry and Hermione. If it could make some dude in South Carolina start masturbating in the theater, it might be worth a nomination for that alone. But, I hated the special effects in it — there were too many of them, and they looked awful — as well as the effects in Iron Man. So, those are the two I’m leaving off. You can do what you like.

The obvious cast off is probably Scott Pilgrim, but I can’t imagine them really leaving it off. Did they even see the movie? That shit was incredible! (But, really though, that and Potter are the two likely to be left off.) I’m sticking with my guns. I mean, I’m guaranteed to get three of them right.

What I think the Academy will nominate for Best Visual Effects

  1. Alice in Wonderland
  2. Hereafter
  3. Inception
  4. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
  5. Tron: Legacy

Now, the reason I leave Hereafter on here, even though it’s a completely obvious cast-off, is because Clint Eastwood films always seem to manage at least one nomination. So, I’m going to take the history and say this gets in and is the weak link of the bunch. We all know Inception is winning this anyway. If you really want to try to get all five, go with taking off Hereafter and either Pilgrim or Potter. They’ll probably keep Iron Man on.

Best Sound Editing

Very quickly, sound editing is all the shit made up in studio. So, that thunderbolt that’s made from some dude farting into a couch cushion? That’s sound editing. Sound mixing is dialogue and music and shit.

I think Black Swan was more sound mixing than editing, and that’s really the only film where I noticed sound playing a huge role, so that should get on at least one of these.

We can start this off with two nominees — Inception will definitely be nominated here and will likely win. Very much a sound movie. Explosions and shit. Also, PIxar gets nominated here a lot so let’s assume Toy Story too. Or 3, too. They seem to favor explosions or very atmospheric over anything, so, I say, either True Grit, How to Train Your Dragon, 127 Hours, Fighter, Tron, Black Swan, and maybe one of the big action movies are your finalists.

What I think the Academy will nominate for Best Sound Editing:

  1. Inception
  2. Toy Story 3
  3. Black Swan
  4. How to Train Your Dragon (why not?)
  5. True Grit

I really don’t know. These categories are impossible to predict. Best case scenario? Tron gets in. Potter can happen too. But I’d say 1, 3 and 5 are likely. Definitely 1 and 2.

Best Sound Mixing

Now this is all recorded sound and stuff. You know what, fuck it. I don’t fucking know this shit.

What I think the Academy will nominate for Best Sound Mixing:

  1. Inception
  2. Black Swan
  3. Shutter Island
  4. The Social Network
  5. True Grit

See how quickly we can get somewhere by eeny meeny miney moe? Always expect the Best Picture films to be on here. But, there are ten, so, thanks, Academy. Also, one random ass action film will get on these lists too. The one I see popping up for no reason that makes perfect sense if it gets on here? Salt. I have no idea why. I also think The Fighter might pop up once on one of these two lists.

Now we’re left with the shit of the shit…

Best Foreign Language Film

Be honest, do you care about this? No. No one does. They put this at at the midway point in the show and you just kind of wait because you know the director will not be able to speak English and will take a long ass time to say what they have to say.

Here’s the shortlist of nine films:

  • Algeria – Hors la Loi (Outside the Law)
  • Canada – Incendies
  • Denmark – In a Better World
  • GreeceDogtooth
  • Japan – Confessions
  • MexicoBiutiful
  • South Africa – Life, Above All
  • Spain – Tambien la Lluvia (Even the Rain)
  • Sweden – Simple Simon

Here’s what I know about this category — you think you know something — you don’t. Whatever looks like the favorite, isn’t. Fortunately we have better than 50% odds of getting most of these right. I’m going to refer to these films by their country, because that’s most offensive.

Denmark won the Globe, so that has to go on. Mexico seems to be the clear frontrunner for a nomination because Javier Bardem is in it and he won Cannes. That makes it good for a nomination but not for a win. I heard great things about Greece. I heard it was a supremely fucked up and disturbing film, and I think that should get some recognition. But who knows if it even will. South Africa film sounds boring which means it should be a lock to get on. Canada doesn’t sound like it’ll get on. Algeria just makes sense. Spain is about Christopher Columbus, so I don’t see that getting in, especially if Mexico is getting in. I think it’s one or the other. You take your pick which. Holy shit, Japan sounds awesome based on the IMDB synopsis. “Cold-blooded avenger.” It won’t get on, though. Too mainstream for Academy tastes. They want you to be bored as fuck here. Sweden sounds like a very simple title, one that’ll be easy for people to remember. That seems like a good one for the brain deads who vote.

Keep in mind, the only way people can vote for this category is if they see all the shortlisted films. So, anyone who’s seen them all will have a pretty good idea which is best. The rest of us will just guess blindly.

What I think the Academy will nominate for Best Foreign Language Film

  1. Algeria
  2. Denmark
  3. Greece
  4. Mexico/Spain (probably Mexico, but I’d expect Spain from them purely because I’m leaning opposite)
  5. Sweden

Blind guesswork. But, 5 out of 9, I probably got 2 or 3 of them.

Best Documentary Feature

This category means little to me this year because there’s only like one or two docs on here that interest me. I dislike documentaries. So, this is painful to me.

Here are the shortlisted 15 (I’ll provide short info on each just so we can decide together which ones sound like the best Oscar bait):

  • Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Elliot Spitzer — well that’s just obvious
  • Enemies of the People — A guy makes nice with the Khmer Rouge to find out why they massacred all those people
  • Exit Through the Gift Shop — About a graffiti artist who no one knows what he looks like. What’s great about this is, at one point the documentarian and the guy switch places, and the guy is behind the camera, so people still don’t get to see what he looks like. It’s a great conceit.
  • Gasland — Haliburton has found a way to steal natural gas and is buying up land in hopes to make America a gas superpower.
  • Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould — It just says it’s a doc on “the mysterious and influential” pianist. Lame.
  • Inside Job — Tries to figure out what brought the financial meltdown.
  • The Lottery — Another great idea. It’s about a lottery where if children win, they can attend one of the best schools in New York. So, it’s essentially one of those, people spend their lives praying they win this lottery, because if not, they might not even get to go to school. It’s about the failure of education. Boy, do I know a lot about that.
  • Precious Life — Struggles of an Israeli pediatrician and a Palestinian mother whose baby has an incurable disease. They need to get over bias and shit to help the kid. Sounds like a Hollywood movie. Someone will turn this into a film soon. Mark my words. Natalie, where are you?
  • Quest for Honor — A former teacher works with Kurdish agencies to eradicate tribal honor killings in Kurdistan.
  • Restrepo — “One year with a platoon in the deadliest valley of Afghanistan.”
  • The Way of Life — Something about a father in New Zealand who “struggles valiantly to create a life of idyllic simplicity for his family.”
  • The Tillman Story — About the military manipulating the ex-football player’s death to cover up for the fact that it was friendly fire and trying to turn him into a national hero.
  • Waiting for Superman — Another education one. It’s about how the education system inhibits academic growth rather than encourage it.
  • Waste Land — About artists who work in the world’s largest garbage dump in South America. Apparently it’s uplifting.
  • William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe — about “the most hated and most loved lawyer in America.”

Surprised Catfish isn’t on here. That’s one of the two I’m interested in. But it’s very dubious that movie is a legit doc. Still, watch it. Knowing what I know about it, it’s fucking disturbing.

Based on titles alone, I can cut off at least five from this list. In fact, I can almost guarantee that Inside Job and Waiting for Superman are on the final five. Normally something good doesn’t get on, but those seem like mortal locks to me. The other three, I’m just gonna pick based on which synopses sound the best.

What I think the Academy will nominate for Best Documentary Feature

  1. Enemies of the People
  2. Exit Through the Gift Shop
  3. Inside Job
  4. Waiting for Superman
  5. Waste Land

That was tough, actually. I hear The Tillman Story is good, as is The Lottery. So, those are just 5 random picks. Here are my second set of five, just because:

  • The Tillman Story
  • The Lottery
  • Restrepo
  • Client 9
  • Precious Life

I’d have to say at least 4 of 5 if not all of them will come from those two lists. I think my first list has the best shot overall. Exit to the Gift Shop might have a lot of support, but that doesn’t mean they’ll all go to see all the documentaries. So who knows if that gets on. That actually seems like the shakiest one to me on that list. Plus, the two education ones, I can’t see both making it. The Spitzer one seems old hat to me at this point. And the Afghanistan one is obviously a favorite to make it on the list of five. I really have no idea, though. I might switch that on first list. I can see that probably making it on. They like war.

That’s pretty much the last category. Best Live Action Short, Best Animated Short, and Best Documentary Short are all worthless to try and guess. Actually, there are shortlists, so, let’s saddle up one last time.

I’m just gonna put the shortlists there and just highlight which ones sound the most interesting. Those will be my picks.

Best Documentary Short

  • Born Sweet — About a Cambodian child who has arsenic poisoning and wants to be a karaoke star.
  • Killing in the Name — After a suicide bomber fucks up a guy’s wedding day, he becomes an anti-terrorism activist.
  • Living for 32 — A survivor of the Virginia Tech shootings recounts the experience.
  • One Thousand Pictures: RFK’s Last Journey — Interviews people that were in the crowd at Kennedy’s burial.
  • Poster Girl — Former cheerleader goes to war and becomes a poster child for the army, then returns home and deals with after-effects of combat.
  • Strangers No More — “In a Tel Aviv school, children from 48 different countries and backgrounds consisting of exposure to poverty, corruption and genocide study and learn together.”
  • Sun Come Up — Climate change refugees look for help in finding a new home.
  • The Warrior’s of Quigang — “Chinese villagers take action against a chemical company dumping poisonous toxins in the village’s land and water supply.”

Maybe the Tel Aviv one too. They’re all so blatantly pandering to people’s emotions. It makes me not want to like any of them. I’d go with either climate change or Israeli kids instead of cheerleader as alternate.

Best Live Action Short

  • Ana’s Playground
  • The Confession
  • The Crush
  • God of Love
  • Na Wewe
  • Seeds of the Fall
  • Shoe
  • The Six Dollar Fifty Man
  • Sma Barn, Stora Ord (Little Children, Big Words)
  • Wish 143

Yeah, so I don’t really know what any of these are. You kind of have to watch them. I’m going to pick randomly. The colored ones are (obviously) my random ass picks. Seriously, all random. I know nothing about the films. No synopsis, nothing. I’m picking purely based on titles. Let’s see how well I do.

Best Animated Short

Some of these are online. Or at least clips are. I’m linking you to them in their names if they’re available.

Based on what I see here, my favorites are:

What I think the Academy will nominate for Best Animated Short

  1. Sensology
  2. Let’s Pollute
  3. Urs
  4. Day & Night
  5. The Silence Beneath the Bark

Madagascar is an alternate there. Those looked like the most interesting ones to me. Also, just so you know, here’s what won last year: Logorama. Awesome, right?

So, that’s everything. Let’s see how I do tomorrow morning. I’ll be up at 8 am watching the nominations. Will you?

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