Oscar opinions are like Weinsteins — everybody’s seen one, but you’d better like mine or you’ll never work in this town again.
That’s the spirit in which I offer my picks for the 83rd annual Academy Awards.
Have I seen all the best-picture nominees, or all the films that feature nominated performances? No. Will that stop me from sharing my thoughts on the subject? Absolutely not.
The Internet lets anyone broadcast ill-informed opinions to the world, so here are mine. Call them the first annual Academy Awards Based On the Handful of Nominated Movies I’ve Seen This Year:
BEST PICTURE: The King’s Speech. Despite the veddy posh backdrop (the royal family, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and the like), it’s an accessible, well-paced film with great performances. If I gave an Oscar for second place among movies I’ve seen, I’d go with The Social Network. Black Swan and Winter’s Bone would be next, then the movies I haven’t seen (The Fighter, 127 Hours, True Grit, Toy Story 3), and then Inception. (Yes, it’s unfair to rank Inception behind the movies I haven’t seen. I don’t care.) While Inception‘s premise was fascinating, the film was surprisingly boring despite the non-stop action and dazzling special effects, and a lot of the dialogue was fence-post dumb.
BEST ACTRESS: Just give the trophy to Natalie Portman for Black Swan. Her portrayal of a high-strung ballerina slipping into insanity is pure trophy-bait. Besides, it’s like Kate Winslet said that time on HBO’s Extras: “Seriously, you are guaranteed an Oscar if you play a mental.” A solid runner-up is the young Jennifer Lawrence for Winter’s Bone, a movie about poor, violent hillbillies that makes you respect the quiet dignity of poor, violent hillbillies. (I can say that because I come from a long line of poor, violent hillbillies.)
BEST ACTOR: Colin Firth for The King’s Speech. He deserves all the accolades he’s gotten for this moving, nuanced performance. Plus, he’s English, and they kick our butts at acting as easily as they do at cricket. Jesse Eisenberg from The Social Network is the default runner-up for me here, of course, because I haven’t seen any of the other performances (Jeff Bridges in True Grit, Javier Bardem in Biutiful and James Franco in 127 Hours).
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Geoffrey Rush for The King’s Speech. It might be the best thing he’s done since winning an Oscar for playing a mental in 1996’s Shine. A surprising — and satisfying — runner-up in the movies-I’ve-seen sweepstakes goes to John Hawkes of Winter’s Bone. His last notable role was as Kenny Powers’ brother Dustin in HBO’s hilarious Eastbound & Down. (Jeremy Renner is nominated for The Town, which we also saw, but I don’t think he’ll win.)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: The only one of this group I’ve seen is Helena Bonham Carter of The King’s Speech, so she wins.
BEST DIRECTOR: David Fincher for The Social Network. The younger academy voters probably “like” it well enough to give it at least one major award. Black Swan is the runner-up.
OTHER CATEGORIES: Who cares, really? I did enjoy Hans Zimmer’s score for Inception, so I guess they can give it a trophy for that.