The 2011 Oscars are upon us. The 83rd incarnation of the Academy Awards ceremony, the biggest night of the year for the celebrated actors, film-makers, and those within the movie industry that hope to attain a measure of acknowledgement for work well done in the previous year.
With the awards comes the attention of the media with countless articles on who will win, can win, doesn’t stand a chance to win, doesn’t deserve to win (or be nominated), and countless other angles (like worst movie nominated for Best Picture and lists of actors that should have won). The prediction lists this year seem to be centered on “The King’s Speech” for Best Picture Oscar. In fact, the predictions (and the betting odds) have come to favor primarily the same names throughout the categories.
It is difficult to find anyone, critic or blogger, that does not think that “The King’s Speech” will win for best movie of the year at the 2011 Oscar ceremony. There are those who think that “The Social Network” deserves it more, like Matt Holmes at Obsessed With Film, but will not win it. The same goes for the other big categories: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Actress.
Even the oddsmakers are predicting wins for “The King’s Speech” as Best Picture. Bodog.com lists all the favorites, with those that many pick as “locks” for wins, like Natalie Portman, Colin Firth, Christian Bale and Melissa Leo.
However, there are a couple of awards that might prove an upset.
One of them could be the Best Director award. Bodog puts David Fincher, director of “The Social Network,” as the most likely winner. This might be the members of the Academy’s way of throwing “The Social Network” a consolation prize. However, David Karger at “Inside Movies” points out that “The King’s Speech” has won the trifecta of guild awards thus far: Directors Guild, Producers Guild, and Screen Actors Guild. He also adds that other movies that have done so in the past have gone on to win Best Picture five out of the six times it has occurred.
The second could be the Best Actress award. Portman has swept all the major awards for this category. She also won Best Female Lead (the same as Best Actress) at the 2011 Independent Spirit Awards. As Paul Sheehan points out at “Gold Derby,” it might just mean a loss for Portman at the Oscars. Why? Because of the 48 Independent Spirit Awards’ acting winners over the years who were also nominated for Oscars for the same role, only 10 have won both. Portman, James Franco (Best Male Lead), John Hawkes (Best Supporting Male) won 2011 Spirit Awards and are nominated for Oscars, but only Portman is expected to win, so a win by the other two (and going against the odds) would really be shockers. Add to that Hollywood favorite Annette Bening (who hasn’t won an Oscar) as a strong contender in Portman’s category for “The Kids Are All Right.”
So are there any real reasons to watch what has in recent years become a long and laborious consumption of over three hours of our time to see the winners turn out to be the 2011 Oscar winners that were predicted? Sure there are. The Oscars are always full of fashion and pageantry, gaffes, crazy and/or funny acceptance speeches, amusing moments, endearing moments, and upsets that keep us interested to the end — which, despite a parade of oddsmakers and critics, both amateur and professional, telling us who the winners will be, could very well include Best Picture.
“Winter’s Bone” or “Toy Story 3” just might win for Best Picture. Jesse Eisenberg (“The Social Network”) could win for Best Actor. Michelle Williams (“Blue Valentine”) could take home the Best Actress trophy. Mark Ruffalo (“The Kids Are All Right”) could win a Best Supporting Actor Oscar.