2011 Oscar Predictions (Part Two)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – Hailee Steinfeld (TRUE GRIT)

Of all the acting categories this year, without a doubt this is the toughest one to call.  When you think about it, the winner could be anyone here.  That being said, I can’t see three-time nominee Amy Adams winning for her work in The Fighter.  It’s simply not the supporting performance from that movie that people are talking about. 

Also a long shot is first-time nominee Jacki Weaver.  Now in her early 60s, an Oscar win at this point would seem more like a lifetime achievement prize for her long career in Australia than a reward for one acting job.  I don’t see it happening.

Helena Bonham Carter was previously nominated 13 years ago in the lead Actress category for The Wings Of The Dove.  (She lost to Helen Hunt.)  Although she could squeak through here, it would be a surprise to me.

To me, despite the open field, this one boils down to two highly regarded performances:  Melissa Leo’s much talked about work in The Fighter and 14-year-old Hailee Stanfield’s performance in the True Grit remake.  Interestingly, Leo has been considered the favourite since the nominations were announced but something weird happened during the campaign part of the competition.

Leo took it upon herself to actively campaign for the golden trophy by taking out glossy ads in the trades looking uber-glamourous and even admitting as much when asked about it.  However, and this is completely ridiculous, some members of the Academy are upset about this.  Apparently, it’s a no-no to actually want to persuade voters to pick you in this manner, even though studios buy For Your Consideration ads before the nominations are even announced.  (So it’s ok to campaign for a nod but not a win?)  As a result, Leo is now saying it wasn’t her idea.  Whatever.

At the end of the day, picking the winner of this category comes down to a simple question:  who needs the Oscar the most?  Adams, Carter and Leo, all former nominees, have respected careers going and while a win for either of them would be satisfying, they’ll continue to work regardless of the outcome on Sunday.  Jacki Weaver’s life in entertainment has been going fine since 1966.  A victory would probably only make one big change in her life.  She might actually get offered parts in Hollywood films.  Up to this point, she’s worked almost entirely in her native Australia.

That leaves the young Hailee Steinfeld who, like Leo, has won a number of prizes already for her True Grit performance.  In a business that thrives on youth and is always looking for the next big thing, awarding her The Best Supporting Actress Oscar would make the most sense from a business standpoint.  Just look at Anna Paquin who shocked many by winning this gong nearly 20 years ago.  Her lovely performance in The Piano, one of the best films of 1993, was a breakthrough moment for her.  (She wasn’t even a teenager at the time.)  Thankfully, she’s been able to continue working in high profile ventures like the X-Men movies and TV’s Tru Blood. 

Awarding Steinfeld this trophy could lead her down a similiar career trajectory.  And if enough Academy members are annoyed enough with Melissa Leo’s campaigning to not vote for her, Steinfeld could receive their support instead as a protest.  I’m betting that’s what’s going to happen.  Hailee Steinfeld for Best Supporting Actress.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – Christian Bale (THE FIGHTER)

Three first-time nominees battle it out with a Best Actor winner and a young star with two consecutive certifications in the race for Best Supporting Actor.  Geoffrey Rush, who was terrific as the tormented David Helfgott in Shine, has been up for this particular award once before for Shakespeare In Love.  He was also nominated for Best Actor a decade ago for playing the free-spirited Marquis De Sade in Quills.  Although he might squeeze out a victory, he already has an Oscar for playing Helfgott.  A possible spoiler, I still don’t forecast him securing a second golden naked man.

I also don’t see two-time nominee Jeremy Renner (who was up for Best Actor last year for his work in The Hurt Locker) snagging a win, either.  Judging by the way his career is going, though, he’ll have other opportunities.

That leaves three well respected actors all up for their first Academy Award.  Mark Ruffalo and John Hawkes (who you might remember from the overrated Me And You And Everyone We Know) look like absolute longshots.  Despite his embarrassing blow-up during that now infamous Terminator: Salvation shoot, Christian Bale will make good on his first bid.  He has proven to be one of our best actors despite coming across as a total jackass when he ranted and raved against an unfortunate crew member during the making of that terrible Terminator sequel. 

American Psycho.  Little Women.  Batman Begins.  These are just three films that showcased his tremendous talent in very different ways.  Considering all the buzz he’s received for his performance in The Fighter (not to mention a recent SAG award) he has all the momentum going into Sunday night.

Besides, anybody who can survive Newsies has my respect.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE – TOY STORY 3

If this category had existed in the 1990s, there’s no question that Pixar would have had even more golden trophies to find shelf space for.  The original Toy Story was an extraordinary achievement, a fully realized three-dimensional animated feature that within half a decade changed the face of the movies.  (To be fair, it receive a special Oscar in 1996.) 

Oh sure, we still get the traditional old-school hand drawn 2D pics from time to time but they’re in the minority now.  Everything else looks like Toy Story.

Some have argued that the 1999 sequel is even better (I wouldn’t.).  Nevertheless, more than 10 years later, the third title in the series once again won over almost every critic who saw it (it has a 99% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and audiences swarmed to it this past summer. 

True, How To Train Your Dragon and The Illusionist also earned most critics’ seal of approval (98% and 90% RT fresh ratings, respectively).  But like Best Picture, this category is all about voting with your heart.  Toy Story 3 for Best Animated Feature.

And now, here are my picks for all the remaining categories:

BEST ART DIRECTION – ALICE IN WONDERLAND

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY – THE SOCIAL NETWORK

BEST COSTUME DESIGN – THE TEMPEST

BEST FILM EDITING – THE SOCIAL NETWORK

BEST MAKE-UP – THE WOLFMAN

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS – INCEPTION

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – David Seidler (THE KING’S SPEECH)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY – Aaron Sorkin (THE SOCIAL NETWORK)

BEST SOUND EDITING – INCEPTION

BEST SOUND MIXING – INCEPTION

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – THE KING’S SPEECH

BEST ORIGINAL SONG – If I Rise (127 HOURS)

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM – BIUTIFUL

BEST ANIMATED SHORT – THE GRUFFALO

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT – WISH 143

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE – INSIDE JOB

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT – STRANGERS NO MORE

The 83rd Academy Awards, co-hosted by James Franco and Anne Hathaway, airs live on Sunday, February 27th on ABC (CTV in Canada) beginning at 8 p.m.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Friday, February 25, 2011
3:45 p.m.

CLARIFICATION:  ABC’s Oscar coverage begins with a 90-minute Red Carpet show at 7 p.m.  The actual awards ceremony starts at 8:30 p.m.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, February 27, 2011
1:31 p.m.

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Published in: on February 25, 2011 at 3:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

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