Friday, January 21, 2011

Oscar Predictions, part 2: Director and Screenplays

Back again. Today we'll tackle the other non-acting major awards: Best Director, Original Screenplay, and Adapted Screenplay

Best Director
This category is somewhat problematic this year. To begin with: David Fincher will almost undoubtedly win for The Social Network. He's got this in the bag. So, obviously, he's golden for a nomination. Past him, however, I'm unwilling to commit to anyone as a sure thing. I feel six directors have all got a pretty solid shot at the other four slots:
-Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan: his movie is both well-loved and well-respected, and it's a surefire best picture nominee. Plus, he's considered well overdue for a nomination after making four fantastic movies. Still, they've resisted nominating him before for respected films like Requiem For a Dream and The Wrestler. Black Swan might be a little too hip and violent for Academy voters.
-Danny Boyle for 127 Hours: 127 Hours is nothing if not a director's film, and Boyle comes through in spades. Plus, he's a recent winner, and the Academy might still be radiating with that post-win afterglow. Still, his film hasn't done nearly as well on the precursor circuit as I thought it would, and that'll hurt his chances.
-Joel and Ethan Coen for True Grit: To be honest, I'm of the opinion that True Grit is definitely a lesser Coen film. Still, it has amazing box-office, considering the genre, and a ton of people seem to love it. True Grit is also the sort-of 'manly' choice for Academy voters looking to overcompensate. That being said, there are just too many other big players this year to consider the Coens a lock.
-Tom Hooper for The King's Speech: Why am I not considering Hooper a lock? After all, his film has a pretty strong chance of winning best picture, and a movie without a director nom hasn't won best picture since 1989 (God, I hate Driving Miss Daisy). The King's Speech, however, has always been considered an acting/writing showcase, and not without good reason. Simply put, there are showier directors in the competition, and Hooper's still a newbie (King's Speech is only his second film). Still, his movie is right at the top of the best picture list...
-Christopher Nolan for Inception-If Chris Nolan doesn't get in this year, I'm reasonably sure the Internet will think very seriously about getting off its collective ass and doing something. Nolan is considered massively due, thanks to his snub for The Dark Knight, and succeeded in creating one of the more impressive and original films this year, all within the confines of the major studio system. Still, Inception is 100% an action film, which is to say that it's the kind of film that rarely scores here.
-David O. Russell for The Fighter-Let's face it. Oscars are essentially a popularity contest. And word on the street is that pretty much everyone hates David O. Russell. Most everyone loves The Fighter, however, as well as the artistic touch Russell brought to it (I wasn't overly impressed by the direction, but hey, I liked Tron, so I've forsaken my credibility this year). It's hard to decide whether Russell's terrible rep will overcome the respect for his movie, or vice versa.
Apart from these six, I can't really see anyone else getting in. Maybe, if the Academy feels like proving that Kathryn Bigelow's win last year wasn't a fluke, Debra Granik or Lisa Cholodenko could get in for Winter's Bone or The Kids Are All Right, respectively. And I suppose we should never rule out Another Year and Mike Leigh, who has snagged more than one director nomination from the jaws of defeat.
My Predictions, in order of likelihood:
David Fincher-The Social Network
Tom Hooper-The King's Speech
Darren Aronofsky-Black Swan
Christopher Nolan-Inception
David O. Russell-The Fighter
Alternate: Joel and Ethan Coen-True Grit, Danny Boyle-127 Hours

Best Original Screenplay
Here's another tough category to read. The King's Speech and The Kids Are All Right are locked and loaded. Beyond that, nothing is safe. Mike Leigh is always, always successful in the writing category, so watch out for Another Year. That being said, this film has received almost no precursor attention. Black Swan seems like a common-sense pick, but it's not much of a writer's film; it's about the style, not the dialogue. Blue Valentine, if seen enough, could sneak in here. I'm not sure I'd bet on it, though. The Fighter is a best picture front-runner, but I'm skeptical about its screenplay chances. And Inception could score for its fantastic concept, but its rather clunky dialogue could slow it down. Outside of these movies? I'd love to see Animal Kingdom, the Australian crime thriller, make it in, and I suppose Please Give, recently nominated by the Writers Guild, has a sliver of a hope.
My Predictions, in order of likelihood:
The King's Speech
The Kids Are All Right
Black Swan
The Fighter
Alternate: Another Year, Blue Valentine

Best Adapted Screenplay
This is an easier category to take a stab at. I'd say four movies are pretty much locked: The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit, and Winter's Bone. But what for the last spot? 127 Hours hasn't been loved like I hoped it would; besides, it's not much for snappy dialogue. Still, as a potential best picture nominee, it could crack the top 5. Though The Ghost Writer was released at the beginning of the year, the awards circuit has remembered it, and this category seems like a great place to throw Roman Polanski and underage bone (sorry for the sex joke...I couldn't resist). I suppose The Town also stands a chance here, but, for that to happen, the Academy would need to love Ben Affleck and his little crime movie a lot more than I'm willing to bet they do.
Not that any of this matters, because The Social Network is going to win, regardless of who's nominated.
My Predictions, in order of likelihood:
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter's Bone
The Ghost Writer
Alternate: 127 Hours, The Town

That's it for today. I'll be back tomorrow to discuss the acting categories!

No comments:

Post a Comment