It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written anything about movies. I intended my December movie extravaganza to include some thoughts on movies that I had not yet seen that were looking like Oscar favorites, but the end of the year came rather quickly and before I knew it the Golden Globe nominations were already being announced. The show itself is TODAY!
In late December, the only movie we made it to is Black Swan. It’s not exactly a crowd pleaser, but I loved it. I’m not usually into dark or twisted fare, but I found it rather captivating and beautiful. (For my full review, click here.) True Grit and The King’s Speech we’d been meaning to see for ages and finally made it to both yesterday—just in time for the Globes tonight, the better to critique the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s sometimes off-the-wall picks.
Other than the three mentioned above, the end-of-year pickings felt more slim than usual. I probably haven’t been around long enough to say with certainty whether 2010 qualifies as a down year for movies, but it certainly felt like it, especially toward the end. The good stuff was really good, but there just wasn’t a whole lot of it. And the slate of Globe nominees certainly suggests as much, what with The Tourist being listed among the best of the Comedy/Musicals of the year. The Globes are known to put celebrity over quality sometimes, and while that movie in particular seems a stretch, I also can’t think of many that I would include in the category in its place.
Actually, here’s one: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Here’s another: Kick-Ass. I guess my point is that usually every November and December feel full of movies that aspire to be award show fodder, even if they aren’t likely to win any. This year, that didn’t seem to be the case, so lazy nominating committees—or the Globes, at least—didn’t bother looking very far back into the year for their lists or trying to make creative choices (nothing new).
But enough about that, here are my thoughts on each category with my predictions, noting, as always, when there’s a difference between who I think will win and who I think should.
Best Motion Picture, Drama
The King’s Speech
*The Social Network
The King’s Speech is a very good movie, but stops just short of being great (more on this one, when I have a chance to write a full review, hopefully this week). I’ve heard good things about The Fighter but have little interest in boxing movies in general, so I haven’t seen it and doubt I will. Inception was a great high-concept action movie, and lots of fun, but not what I’d call the best of the year. It created a fun moment of pop culture mania this summer—Does the top stop spinning!?!—but didn’t garner enough critical support to win any of the big prizes.
Of the remaining two—both fantastic—Black Swan is my favorite, but The Social Network seems like the favorite. It’s been riding a wave of Oscar buzz for a long time. The Black Swan is great filmmaking, but a bit too polarizing, I think. It’s also driven by the performance of Natalie Portman to the extent that, at the end of the day, rewarding her will feel like rewarding the movie. (This is also true of The King’s Speech and Mr. Darcy, ahem, Colin Firth, but more on that later.)
Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical
Alice in Wonderland
*The Kids Are All Right
My winner? Toy Story 3, hands down. I’m baffled as to why Pixar continues to be snubbed by the Hollywood Foreign Press in this category, considering that their movies stack up among the best in any genre, if you ask me. Oh, well. I can’t say which of the above I like best since I haven’t seen any of them. The Kids Are All Right seems like the easy choice here.
Best Director – Motion Picture
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
*David Fincher, The Social Network
Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
Christopher Nolan, Inception
David O. Russell, The Fighter
This is a tough choice, though I’m guessing Fincher will take it in a Social Network sweep. Aronofsky’s signature and vision are visible all over Black Swan, but I think he’s still a bit too esoteric. Fincher has built a wonderfully eclectic resumé, and I think (and hope) the best from him is yet to come, but the Social Network feels rather like a pinnacle at this point. Nolan could always surprise, but I think he will have more chances too.
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
*Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
James Franco, 127 Hours
Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine
Mark Wahlberg, The Fighter
Jesse Eisenberg is outstanding in The Social Network, but if you’ve seen The Squid and the Whale, his Mark Zuckerberg might feel ever so slightly familiar. His work is outstanding, but he’s a young actor with room to grow. Colin Firth is the very best thing about The King’s Speech and does great work complicating an unfortunately uncomplicated and predictable screenplay. The fear he feels when forced to take a crown and burden he didn’t believe would ever be his to bear is visible in the uncooperative jaw that is his worst enemy. I haven’t seen any of the other guys; among them, only Franco might have a shot at upsetting Firth at this point, but that seems unlikely. It’s Mr. Darcy’s to lose.
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama
Halle Berry, Frankie and Alice
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
*Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine
Without having seen anyone else, I’m still confident Natalie wins this.
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Comedy
*Johnny Depp, Alice in Wonderland
Johnny Depp, The Tourist
Paul Giamatti, Barney’s Version
Jake Gyllenhaal, Love and Other Drugs
Kevin Spacey, Casino Jack
I haven’t seen any of these movies. (Just what the hell was I doing all year?) I’ll take a shot in the dark and guess that Johnny wins for Alice in Wonderland. The HFP love him.
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy
Anne Hathaway, Love and Other Drugs
Julianne Moore, The Kids Are All Right
*Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
Emma Stone, Easy A
Angelina Jolie, The Tourist
Haven’t seen any of these either. (Sheesh, I really have no business offering my opinions, do I?) Part of me wants to guess that HFP, who love to crown new ingénues, will go for Emma Stone, but I’ll take Annette Bening for the win.
Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
*Christian Bale, The Fighter
Michael Douglas, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Andrew Garfield, The Social Network
Jeremy Renner, The Town
Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech
The buzz seems to be with Christian Bale in The Fighter, so my guess is he’ll win. Michael Douglas seems a long shot (and perhaps only nominated so he’d come to the party). Of the remaining three, I’m torn because I loved all three. Garfield is, more or less, the foil to Eisenberg’s Zuckerberg in The Social Network. Their relationship is the fulcrum of the story, and their final confrontation is the moment in which the movie really comes together for me. Renner is as awesome in The Town as he was in The Hurt Locker. And Rush for Firth, like Garfield for Eisenberg, gives a supporting performance that makes the leading one all the better.
Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
*Amy Adams, The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
Mila Kunis, Black Swan
Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom
This is one category where there doesn’t seem to be a consensus yet, so it’s going to be a bit of a surprise. Mila Kunis showed surprising depth in the Black Swan. I kind of wish Helena Bonham Carter had been nominated for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I, since I just love her Bellatrix. She’s good in The King’s Speech too, but the character is your basic supportive wife and not much else. Haven’t seen the rest but wouldn’t be surprised if one of the women of the Fighter comes away with the win.
Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
The Kids Are All Right
The King’s Speech
*The Social Network
Sorkin! The Social Network is all talk and written by one of the best dialogue writers working. Will be shocked if anyone else pulls it out from under him.
Best Animated Feature Film
How to Train Your Dragon
*Toy Story 3
Do you even have to ask?
Best Foreign Language Film
*I Am Love
In a Better World
No clue, so I’m guessing. Will be putting these all on my Netflix cue though.
Best Original Song – Motion Picture
Bound to You, Burlesque
Coming Home, Country Strong
*I See the Light, Tangled
There’s a Place for Us, Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me, Burlesque
These are the choices? Yikes.
Best Original Score – Motion Picture
*Alexandre Desplat, The King’s Speech
Danny Elfman, Alice in Wonderland
A.R. Rahmin, 127 Hours
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, The Social Network
Maybe it’s because I saw it last night, but the music the in King’s Speech was gorgeous. I’m a big fan of Desplat’s and would love to see him win this one.
I’ll be back tomorrow to see how I did on my predictions and look ahead to the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards.