Ten big movies. One big night.

I set a goal for myself two months ago that I was going to see and review all ten of the Best Picture nominees before the Oscars air. I am proud to say that exactly one week before the big night, I have reached that goal.

Well, dear readers, which picture is destined to take home that coveted gold man, hm? Here’s a look at the ten nominees. Click on the text below the photos for my thoughts on each film, and click on Oscar at the bottom for a full list of my picks for the 83rd Academy Awards.

 

 

 

 

The King’s Speech

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Swan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

127 Hours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inception

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Kids Are All Right


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Social Network

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fighter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toy Story 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

True Grit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter’s Bone


 

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Love Original Scores? Love Medleys? Me too…

I am a score junkie. I love movie scores and I also happen to thoroughly enjoy a good medley. Well, my friends, a good medley and scores got together and made a baby.

I present to you the love child of this year’s best original score nominees and a medley…

Oscar Nominees 2011: And the Oscar goes to…

Cinephiles unite! It is that time of year again! The Academy Awards have returned with some wonderful surprises, some well-earned nominations, some nominations that were not so well-earned, and some downright shocking snubs. Matt Pais of the RedEye covered all of the bases very nicely here.

Let’s get on with it already! Here, ladies and gentlemen, are my picks. Twenty-four categories, twenty-four educated predictions.

Actor in a Leading Role:

Javier Bardem –  Biutiful
Jeff Bridges – True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg – The Social Network
Colin Firth – The King’s Speech
James Franco – 127 Hours

And the Oscar goes to…

Actor in a Supporting Role:

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

And the Oscar Goes to…

Actress in a Leading Role:

Annette Bening – The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman – Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence – Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman – Black Swan
Michelle Williams – Blue Valentine

And the Oscar goes to…

Actress in a Supporting Role:

Amy Adams – The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter – The King’s Speech
Melissa Leo – The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld – True Grit
Jacki Weaver – Animal Kingdom

And the Oscar goes to…

Animated Feature Film:

How to Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Toy Story 3

And the Oscar goes to…

Art Direction:

Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
Inception
The King’s Speech
True Grit

And the Oscar goes to…

Cinematography:

Black Swan
Inception
The King’s Speech
The Social Network
True Grit

And the Oscar goes to…

Costume Design:

Alice in Wonderland
I Am Love
The King’s Speech
The Tempest
True Grit

And the Oscar goes to…

Directing:

Black Swan – Darren Aronofsky
The Fighter – David O. Russell
The King’s Speech – Tom Hooper
The Social Network – David Fincher
True Grit – Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

And the Oscar goes to…

Documentary (Feature):

Exit Through the Gift Shop
Gasland
Inside Job
Restrepo
Waste Land

And the Oscar goes to…

Documentary (Short Subject):

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

And the Oscar goes to…

Film Editing:

Black Swan – Andrew Weisblum
The Fighter – Pamela Martin
The King’s Speech – Tariq Anwar
127 Hours – Jon Harris
The Social Network – Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

And the Oscar goes to…

Foreign Language Film:

Biutiful – Mexico
Dogtooth – Greece
In a Better World – Denmark
Incendies – Canada
Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi) – Algeria

And the Oscar goes to…

Makeup:

Barney’s Version – Adrien Morot
The Way Back – Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng
The Wolfman – Rick Baker and Dave Elsey

And the Oscar goes to…

Music (Original Score):

How to Train Your Dragon – John Powell
Inception – Hans Zimmer
The King’s Speech – Alexandre Desplat
127 Hours – A. R. Rahman
The Social Network – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

And the Oscar goes to…

Music (Original Song):

Coming Home – Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey
I See the Light – Alan Menken and Glenn Slater
If I Rise – A. R. Rahman, Dido and Rollo Armstrong
We Belong Together – Randy Newman

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Picture:

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

And the Oscar goes to…

Short Film (Animated):

Day & Night – Teddy newton
The Gruffalo – Jakob Schuh and Max Lang
Let’s Pollute – Geefwee Boedoe
The Lost Thing – Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann
Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary) – Bastien Dubois

And the Oscar goes to…

Short Film (Live Action):

The Confession – Tanel Toom
The Crush – Michael Creagh
God of Love – Luke Matheny
Na Wewe – Ivan Goldschmidt
Wish 143 – Ian Barnes and Samantha Waite

And the Oscar goes to…

Sound Editing:

Inception – Richard King
Toy Story 3 – Tom Myers and Michael Silvers
Tron: Legacy – Gwendolyn Yates Whittle and Addison Teague
True Grit – Skip Lievsay and Craig Berkey
Unstoppable – Mark P. Stoeckinger

And the Oscar goes to…

Sound Mixing:

Inception – Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo and Ed Novick
The King’s Speech – Paul Hamblin, Martin Jensen and John Midgley
Salt – Jeffrey J. Haboush, Greg P. Russell, Scott Millan and William Sarokin
The Social Network – Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick and Mark Weingarten
True Grit – Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland

And the Oscar goes to…

Visual Effects:

Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
Hereafter
Inception
Iron Man 2

And the Oscar goes to…

Writing (Adapted Screenplay):

127 Hours – Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy
The Social Network – Aaron Sorkin
Toy Story 3 – Michael Arndt
True Grit – Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
Winter’s Bone – Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini

And the Oscar goes to…

Writing (Original Screenplay):

Another Year – Mike Leigh
The Fighter – Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson
Inception – Christopher Nolan
The Kids Are All Right – Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg
The King’s Speech – David Seidler

And the Oscar goes to…

_________________________________________________________________________

Click on the photos below to read a bit about why I think they deserve to take home the coveted Academy Award of Merit.

Did you know?

Two of the biggest movies of the year may have a common denominator. Black Swan star Natalie Portman was reportedly in contact with The Social Network screenwriter Aaron Sorkin about Harvard. Being one of the school’s most famous alums, Portman attended Harvard between 1999 and 2003. Though she says she did not know Zuckerberg, she does say that she dated a member of the Porcellian Club — one of the most prestigious final clubs around.

Rumor has it that Portman invited Sorkin over for dinner to let him in on the super exclusive and super secret final clubs and the general feel of Harvard life around the time Facebook was born. 

Portman also gets a tongue-in-cheek reference in The Social Network. One character says that Mark Zuckerberg became the hottest thing on a campus that included Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, future Olympians, and a movie star.

An Oscar prediction…

Best picture – I have a sneaking suspicion that Oscar nominees will include but will not be limited to:

Black Swan
Inception
The Social Network
The King’s Speech
True Grit
The Fighter
127 Hours (Still on the fence about this one. Have to see it)
Toy Story 3
The Kids Are All Right

I think that Black Swan will win it. I’ve reached this decision based on the fact that Black Swan has all the components of a best picture winner and then some. Aronofsky went out on a limb and created something truly unique and provocative.

While the other films will give it a run for its money, Black Swan will reign victorious.

Please feel free to share your own predictions for the Oscars here.

The Social Network

Love, jealousy, money, and greed. These are four of the most powerful driving forces in the world and they are also the primary driving forces behind The Social Network. I absolutely loved this movie. Director David Fincher did not waste anytime getting us right into the plot.

A young Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) opens the movie by dazzling us with his somewhat careless yet brilliant tech skills. He moves quickly and does not falter. He is incredibly intelligent but has a tendency to put his foot in his mouth all too often. He’s also neurotic and two-faced. One of his only friends in the world, Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) blazes through the internet with Zuckerberg as they explore the world of dot-coms.

Due to a prank of epic proportions pulled by Zuckerberg, he starts to get press and is suddenly under fire having to defend his actions.

The movie moves right along with occasional laughs and we are able to witness the creation of the website that has become the most popular dot-com of our generation. We also get to see the controversy over who thought of it first. Is it really a stolen idea? Is Mark Zuckerberg and evil genius?

Everyone in this film gives a superb performance. And I mean everyone. There is not one role that I can think of that was just O.K. Jesse Eisenberg was – as everyone has already said – incredible. I’m a little tardy to the party on this one, but I completely agree with the general consensus that this is surely going to get a few Oscar nods. I wasn’t so sure about it before today, but I left the theater in a daze. Not many movies do that to me anymore.

While I am sure that the most buzz was that which surrounded Michael Cera wannabe Jesse Eisenberg in a role that completely shattered that image, I was seriously wowed by Andrew Garfield who played Eduardo Saverin. If this movie is at all accurate as far as Zuckerberg’s personality – and who knows if it is – being Mark’s best friend was trying and most of the time emotionally exhausting. Watching the roller coaster of emotion that Eduardo experienced was difficult. Zuckerberg played the “come here, go away” game for much of the film leaving Eduardo at the end of his rope.

Brenda Song broke away from her squeaky clean Disney Channel persona to play Eduardo’s crazy girlfriend. The Winklevoss boys played by Armie Hammer provided much-needed comedic relief in some of the tense parts of the film and also provided serious eye candy. Am I right, ladies?

Justin Timberlake as Napster founder Sean Parker started off weak, but as the film progressed I saw that N’Sync glow fade away and he became someone completely different.

The movie was excellent and a must see. While I don’t think this will win best picture, I do see a possible best actor award for Jesse Eisenberg and I have a strong feeling that Andrew Garfield could take home best supporting actor.

One of the most memorable scenes for me was the very last scene of the film. Of course I won’t say what the last scene is, but it reaffirmed everything I thought I knew the whole time.

See it if you haven’t and watch it again if you have. It’s fantastic and entertaining and embodies all of the necessary components of a great dramedy.

Also, Vega Choir did a marvelous cover of Creep by Radiohead for the trailer of the film. Check out the video here.

Enjoy!