2011 Academy Awards Predictions


Rating: Various

Distributor: Various

Released: Feb 27, 2011


Written by Sara Michelle Fetters



2011 Academy Awards Predictions

Social Network Looks to Dethrone King’s Speech for Oscar’s Top Prize


Back in January it was a forgone conclusion that David Fincher’s Facebook saga The Social Network was the runaway pick to win the 83rd annual Academy Award for Best Picture the Sunday. It had scored top honors from seemingly every single critics group, was on more top ten lists that any other film and had just won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Drama. There was no way it was going to lose, and by all accounts this was going to be the most boring Oscar telecast in recent memory.


The Best Actor and Best Actress Oscars            PHOTO: Steve Mack/©AMPAS


Then came February. First the Producers Guild of America (PGA) singles out The King’s Speech as the year’s best film. Next director Tom Hooper’s saga of a stuttering monarch overcoming his disability gets 12 Academy Award nominations compared to the eight doled out to The Social Network. After that come victories at the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) soirees. Now conventional wisdom has been reversed, the also-ran becoming the frontrunner and while the one-time supposed victor has been placed squarely in the bridesmaid category.


Now bloggers, Oscar pundits and cinema junkies are crying foul before the awards have even been given out, calling a victory by The King’s Speech as tantamount to Crash upsetting Brokeback Mountain, Shakespeare in Love crashing Saving Private Ryan’s party and Dances with Wolves raining on Goodfella’s parade. Never mind that both are quality pictures, easily two of the ten best of 2010. Who cares if neither is as historically accurate as some would like you to believe, calling out one without doing the same to the other silly if you ask me. No, a win by the monarch over the internet billionaire would be the end of the world according to some, and nothing I or anyone else say otherwise will get them to believe any different.


With all that out of the way, here are mine and Dennis’ thoughts and predictions in regards to the major categories. Check back Sunday night to see which one of us (probably me, it’s always me and I like to gloat) ends up doing the best job picking the winners.



Nominees: 127 Hours, Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, The King’s Speech, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit, Winter’s Bone

Will Win (Sara Michelle): The King’s Speech – The signals are just too clear that this saga of a monarch overcoming a stuttering problem to better serve his people as they enter into the early days of WWII is going to win and I just can’t bring myself to go out on a limb and push for a The Social Network or True Grit upset. 
Should Win (Sara Michelle): Winter’s Bone – My personal pick as 2010’s best motion picture, but the chance this one has at pulling off the biggest Oscar upset of all time resides somewhere between a frozen H-E-double hockey sticks and the Mayan calendar accurately predicting the end of the world in 2012.

Will Win (Dennis): The King’s Speech – The odds-on favorite to win. It’s a very good film, not to mention it plays very well to the Academy elders, which usually says a lot.

Should Win (Dennis): Black Swan – My personal favorite among the nominated films, which I would love to have win Best Picture :)



Nominees: Javier Bardem (Biutiful), Jeff Bridges (True Grit), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), Colin Firth (The King’s Speech), James Franco (127 Hours)

Will Win (Sara Michelle): Firth – And it’s a deserving win, too, the gifted British superstar making the most of his second Academy Award nomination claiming the prize he arguably should have won last year.

Should Win (Sara Michelle): Bardem – A performance of remarkable depth, pain, emotion and nuance. I may not have been the biggest fan of Biutiful, but that doesn’t make what Bardem accomplishes within it any less extraordinary.

Will Win (Dennis): Firth – Without him, the movie probably wouldn’t be as good. He deserves it.

Should Win (Dennis): Firth - Though I also really liked the performances of Jesse Eisenberg and James Franco.



Nominees: Annette Bening (The Kids are All Right), Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole), Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone), Natalie Portman (Black Swan), Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine)

Will Win (Sara Michelle): Portman – It’s a race between the psychotic ballerina and the ultra-organized, cheated upon lesbian mother, and of the two I think at this point it is the former who has the decided edge. That being so, Bening has mad love from the Academy, and there are many who think she’s due for recognition, so if she does end up pulling off the upset I doubt many would be all that surprised.

Should Win (Sara Michelle): Portman – Best performance of the year, bar-none, and one I suspect Oscar will recognize her for.

Will Win (Dennis): Portman – I love her performance, and chances here. I ultimately think the statue will be hers, not to mention she won the Globe. Bening has somewhat of a shot to upset, but I really hope (and doubt) it’s not going to happen.

Should Win (Dennis): Portman – Incredible, transformative, amazing. Three words to sum up Best Actress.



Nominees: Christian Bale (The Fighter), John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone), Jeremy Renner (The Town), Mark Ruffalo (The Kids are All Right), Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech)

Will Win (Sara Michelle): Bale – At this point it is pretty much universally known that Bale is going to walk away with this award, and who am I to go against conventional wisdom?

Should Win (Sara Michelle): Bale – Granted, conventional wisdom is correct as Bale deserves this award and I doubt few will be all that perturbed when he wins it. 

Will Win (Dennis): Bale – A transformative performance that should get rewarded. Plus, he lost all that weight again.

Should Win (Dennis): Bale



Nominees: Amy Adams (The Fighter), Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech), Melissa Leo (The Fighter), Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit), Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom)

Will Win (Sara Michelle): Leo – It’s a tough call as she could easily split the vote with her costar leading to a Steinfeld victory. Additionally, she self-financed some notices pushing her candidacy in some trade publications, making this prediction a wee bit trickier than it would have been at the end of January.

Should Win (Sara Michelle): Adams – I actually preferred Adams to Leo in The Fighter, and while both are outstanding I felt the performance of the former contained just a bit more depth and nuance than her costar’s did.

Will Win (Dennis): Leo – Chances are in her favor, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Bonham Carter steals it.

Should Win (Dennis): Steinfeld – She did an amazing job carrying the movie, her role not really supporting but actually more of a leading capacity.



Nominees: Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), Joel & Ethan Coen (True Grit), David Fincher (The Social Network), Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech), David O. Russell (The Fighter)

Will Win (Sara Michelle): Fincher – The uproar that occurred right after Hooper won the DGA award was a signal that, while The King’s Speech is relatively beloved, not many actually feel he should be proclaimed the year’s best director. As Fincher has had all the heat for the majority of the award’s season I think it’s a given then that he’ll be the one grabbing the Oscar come Sunday, leading to the first director/picture split since Crash took the top honor and Ang Lee got the secondary prize in 2006.

Should Win (Sara Michelle): Aronofsky – As neither Christopher Nolan, Debra Granik or Danny Boyle were nominated, my pick as the best director of this group is the one who turned the world of ballet on its head and crafted a $100-million smash out of a movie where a psychologically damaged young woman for all intents and purposes transforms herself into a swan.

Will Win (Dennis): Fincher – A greater exercise in filmmaking than that of Tom Hooper that’s likely (and hopefully) going to get rewarded.

Should Win (Dennis): Aronofsky – He kind of did the impossible, you know, getting guys to watch a movie about ballet. Granted, Natalie Portman was the main star, which helped, but in all honesty the director is at the top of his game here and the final product was a revelation, also my favorite movie of 2010.



Nominees: Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3), Simon Beaufoy & Danny Boyle (127 Hours), Joel & Ethan Coen (True Grit), Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network), Debra Granki & Anne Rosellini (Winter’s Bone)

Will Win (Sara Michelle): Sorkin – It’s a great screenplay, full of rapid-fire dialogue that would make Howard Hawks proud, and as Sorkin has swept all of the award circuit precursors I expect him to take this honor as well.

Should Win (Sara Michelle): Arndt – I’ve only read four of the five scripts, but out of them all the one for Toy Story 3 is the one that I found the most exhilarating. An animated film will sadly never win this award, but that doesn’t mean I can’t hold out hope all the same.

Will Win (Dennis): Sorkin – The man’s already won so many awards for his fast-paced screenplay I doubt the Academy is going to refuse him the statue, which will be well deserved.

Should Win (Dennis): Sorkin – His peers in this category have written very good scripts, there is no doubt, and if there is an upset worthy of one, it would probably be Arndt.


Nominees: Michael Lee (Another Year), Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg (The Kids are All Right), Christopher Nolan (Inception), David Seidler (The King’s Speech), Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson & Keith Dorrington (The Fighter)

Will Win (Sara Michelle): Seidler – It’s the Best Picture frontrunner, how can I not pick it to win the screenplay award as well?

Should Win (Sara Michelle): Nolan – The script for Inception is an absolute page-turner and I can see why Nolan had been obsessing over it for so many years. The key word in “Best Original Screenplay” is original, and by a supremely wide margin this is the one that fits that definition better than any of the other nominees.

Will Win (Dennis): Nolan – Seidler is the heavy favorite here, and it is more than likely he’ll get rewarded, but I’m going against conventional wisdom here because I have a strange feeling there will be an upset. If I’m wrong then I probably shouldn’t go against it again.

Should Win (Dennis): Nolan – Original screenplay, indeed.



Nominees: How to Train Your Dragon, The Illusionist, Toy Story 3

Will Win (Sara Michelle): Toy Story 3

Should Win (Sara Michelle): Toy Story 3 – It was number four on my top ten list for 2010, how can I not proclaim it the best animated film of last year at this point now?

Will Win (Dennis): Toy Story 3

Should Win (Dennis): Toy Story 3


Click on a film’s title below to watch the trailer



Nominees: Biutiful (Mexico), Dogtooth (Greece), In a Better World (Denmark), Incendies (Canada), Hors la Loi ("Outside the Law") (Algeria)

Will Win (Sara Michelle): In a Better World

Should Win (Sara Michelle): I’ve only seen two of these, Biutiful, which I didn’t exactly love, and Dogtooth, which is kind of fantastic (if totally unsettling).

Will Win (Dennis): In a Better World – Director Susanne Bier’s drama won the Golden Globe so I’ll go with it here as well. If it's an "upset" kind of night, Incendies may take it.

Should Win (Dennis): I haven’t seen any of these films but they all look good based on the trailers.



Nominees: Exit Through the Gift Shop, Gasland, Inside Job, Restrepo, Waste Land

Will Win (Sara Michelle): Inside Job – This category is kind of driving me nuts, but in the end I’m going to go with the most timely of all the nominees.

Should Win (Sara Michelle): Exit Through the Gift Shop – A fantastic film and one that would make my heart do leaps of joy if it were to win, if only in the fleeting hope the illusive Banksy might actually accept the award himself (highly doubtful, but a girl can dream).

Will Win (Dennis): Inside Job – Charles Ferguson’s exposé of the global financial meltdown is timely, very well made and at times gripping, and ultimately the front runner to win the category. It was a great year for documentaries, evidenced by the fact that The Tillman Story and Waiting for “Superman” didn’t even make the cut.

Should Win (Dennis): Exit Through the Gift Shop – An upset here would be incredible, to say the least, as this was such an outrageously funny piece. Inside Job and Gift Shop are tied at number 9 for the best movie of 2010 in my book, and to pick one over the other for Best Documentary is a hard call to make, but I would be more excited to see Gift Shop win.



Nominees: Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One, Inception, The King's Speech,True Grit

Will Win (Sara Michelle): Inception

Should Win (Sara Michelle): Inception

Will Win (Dennis): The King's Speech

Should Win (Dennis): Inception



Nominees: Black Swan, Inception, The King's Speech, The Social Network, True Grit

Will Win (Sara Michelle): True Grit – Everyone says it’s finally Roger Deakins’ year. I’m going to agree with said everyone but doing so has made me highly uneasy.

Should Win (Sara Michelle): Black Swan – What can I say? I just prefer Matthew Libatique’s masterful camerawork in Aronofsky’s stunner to everyone else’s.

Will Win (Dennis): True Grit – I’m also going with Deakins for the same reason, although there’s certainly room for an upset in this category.

Should Win (Dennis): Inception – Ideally Wally Pfister would take home the statue for his amazing contribution to Nolan’s mind-bender.



Nominees: Alice in Wonderland, I Am Love, The King's Speech, The Tempest, True Grit

Will Win (Sara Michelle): Alice in Wonderland

Should Win (Sara Michelle): I Am Love

Will Win (Dennis): The King’s Speech

Should Win (Dennis): The King’s Speech


Nominees: 127 Hours, Black Swan, The Fighter, The King's Speech, The Social Network

Will Win (Sara Michelle): The Social Network

Should Win (Sara Michelle): The Social Network

Will Win (Dennis): The Social Network – The film flows so effortlessly, cutting back and forth between different events in time, it’s the strongest and most well-edited of the nominees.

Should Win (Dennis): The Social Network


Nominees: Barney’s Version, The Way Back, The Wolf Man

Will Win (Sara Michelle): The Wolf Man

Should Win (Sara Michelle): The Way Back

Will Win (Dennis): The Wolf Man


Nominees: 127 Hours (A.R. Rahman), How to Train Your Dragon (John Powell), Inception (Hans Zimmer), The King’s Speech (Alexandre Desplat), The Social Network (Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross)

Will Win (Sara Michelle): Inception – I just think the Academy isn’t ready to award a score as crazily eclectic as Reznor and Ross’. Maybe at some point in the future, but for right now I just don’t see it happening.

Should Win (Sara Michelle): The Social Network

Will Win (Dennis): The King’s Speech – With the exception of A.R. Rahman’s score, these nominees all deserve to be here, having listened to all of them several times. This year, it is decidedly harder to pick the single best score, compared to the last several years. It is surprising and exciting to see John Powell nominated, and it would be amazing if he upset. Ultimately I’m going with Desplat based on the momentum of the film. Ditto on what Sara wrote about Reznor and Ross.

Should Win (Dennis): Inception – The most exhilarating score in terms of how it works in the film itself, I’ve listened to the score over a dozen times. Zimmer deserves to win this one, but I don’t see it happening. I’d love to be proven wrong on this one, though.


Nominees: “Coming Home” from Country Strong, “I See the Light” from Tangled, “If I Rise” from 127 Hours, “We Belong Together” from Toy Story 3

Will Win (Sara Michelle): “I See the Light” (Tangled) – Tough category this year, if only because all of the songs – while good – are so immediately forgettable.

Should Win (Sara Michelle): “If I Rise” from 127 Hours – It’s the one that’s grown on me the most, and the one I’ve listened to multiple times without tiring of.

Will Win (Dennis): “I See the Light” (Tangled) – It seems the most likely choice, as famed composer Alan Menken is involved.

Should Win (Dennis): “If I Rise” from 127 Hours – This one works the best in the film out of the other nominated songs, in my opinion.


Nominees: Inception, Toy Story 3, TRON: Legacy, True Grit, Unstoppable

Will Win (Sara Michelle): Inception

Should Win (Sara Michelle): Inception

Will Win (Dennis): Inception

Should Win (Dennis): Inception



Nominees: Inception, The King's Speech, Salt, The Social Network, True Grit

Will Win (Sara Michelle): Inception

Should Win (Sara Michelle): Inception

Will Win (Dennis): Inception

Should Win (Dennis): Inception



Nominees: Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One, Hereafter, Inception, Iron Man 2

Will Win (Sara Michelle): Inception

Should Win (Sara Michelle): Inception

Will Win (Dennis): Inception – A cityscape that folds upon itself is just one of the many amazing sequences in the movie, and out of the five nominees this is the one whose special effects truly looked special, not to mention incredible.

Should Win (Dennis): Inception


Watch scenes and trailers for the nominated shorts here: http://www.shortshd.com/theoscarshorts/



Nominees: Killing in the Name, Poster Girl, Strangers No More, Sun Come Up, The Warriors of Qiugang

Will Win (Sara Michelle): The Warriors of Qiugang – I liked the title, that’s the only reason for this choice as I haven’t actually seen any of the nominees.

Should Win (Sara Michelle): Like I sad, I haven’t seen any of them so I don’t have a personal choice.

Will Win (Dennis): Strangers No More



Nominees: Day & Night, The Gruffalo, Let’s Pollute, The Lost Thing, Madagascar, a Journey Diary

Will Win (Sara Michelle): Day & Night – Going with Pixar, but doing so has me feeling extremely uneasy.

Should Win (Sara Michelle): The Lost Thing – My favorite of a very strong quintet. It’s the one I watched more than once when I was viewing the Animated Short Film screener.

Will Win (Dennis): Madagascar, a Journey Diary



Nominees: The Confession, The Crush, God of Love, Na Wewe, Wish 143

Will Win (Sara Michelle): Wish 143

Should Win (Sara Michelle): Wish 143 – Concerns teenager dying of cancer whose request to a Make a Wish-like foundation is to have sex. Funny, charming and surprisingly emotional, this one captured my heart.

Will Win (Dennis): Wish 143


- Portions of this feature reprinted courtest of the SGN in Seattle



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