Let’s Talk About Movies: Academy Awards promise surprises

It’s that time of the year again, when Hollywood gets together for a night of celebration and commemoration. Heading into this year’s show, three movies, “The Social Network,” “The King’s Speech” and “Black Swan” have separated themselves from the pack.Following major wins at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts ceremony earlier this month, “The King’s Speech” appears to be the appointed one going into the weekend.

Despite “The King’s Speech” status, I think this year’s show will be full of surprises ranging from the winners to whether Banksy appears for the ceremony.

Best Picture

Conventional wisdom suggests that picking “The King’s Speech” is the smart money, as it took home the BAFTA equivalent. However, I am going to stick to my guns and continue to support “The Social Network” for a couple of reasons.

Normally, when praise lauded onto a film includes the line ‘this movie defines a generation,’ it can be written off as schlock. With “The Social Network,” however, this line couldn’t be truer. As a generation that becomes more technologically adept every day, we experienced these changes as they happened. Where were you when poking started? I know where I was.

As “The Social Network” defines my generation, it offers connections to previous and future generations as well. In the final scene, when Mark Zuckerberg attempts to friend his ex-girlfriend, we have all had that moment. Whether it was via Facebook or trying to call that special other only to hang up at the sound of their voice, we see a bit of ourselves in Zuckerberg even if we would rather not.

Add in the flawless technical elements of the movie, pacing, sound and camera work, and you have just a few of the reasons why this movie was the best of last year. Unfortunately, “The Social Network” is still an outside shot to take home the big one, although we could see the American voters rally to the American film as the British did for “The King’s Speech.”

Leading Actor

Even if “The Social Network” can pull off and Arcade Fire-like upset, I don’t think there is any doubt that Colin Firth will taking home this award. Firth did an excellent job as George VI and again has the BAFTA bump.

Winning in back-to-back years is quite rare, so Jeff Bridges doesn’t seem that likely. In addition, “True Grit” really lacked making a big splash in the Oscars pool despite being another great Coen Brothers movie.

I would really like to see Jesse Eisenberg win this prize, as he managed to really define himself in the role of Zuckerberg, breaking away from being ‘that other Michael Cera.’

Supporting Actor

Even though most times the supporting role awards are decided by party-line voting, I would look for Christian Bale to take this one away from Geoffrey Rush.

Bale’s impeccable job as the drug addicted Dicky Eklund echoed through the industry especially when you contrast this role with the fact most people only know him as Batman.

Leading Actress

The final movie of the big three contenders will get its first win here with Natalie Portman for her work in “Black Swan.”

Playing the troubled Nina Sayers, Portman makes her descent into becoming the Black Swan palpable. The whole way throughout the movie, her demeanor changes sublimely in both overt and covert fashions.

While the other contenders offered great performances, the paled in comparison to Portman who also had the benefit of playing a role favorable for the Oscars.

Supporting Actress

Despite not making a big splash in the pool, “True Grit” did enough to make Hailee Steinfeld the favorite for this category.

Once again, I think the Academy will break away from party-line voting, despite the status of “The King’s Speech” as the chosen one. Steinfeld did an exceptional job often taking over scenes with a commanding performance. Plus, the Academy likes to look outside the box with this award.

Best Animated Feature Film

“Toy Story 3.” Is there really any debate needed? When is the Academy just going to change this category to ‘Best Pixar Film?’


As numerous movie pundits have pointed out, Tom Hooper won the Director’s Guild Award for “The King’s Speech,” so he should be the obvious choice by the Academy.

David Fincher did an outstanding job with “The Social Network,” but this award is nearly as sure of a lock as “Best Animated Feature Film.