It’s that time of the year again, when the post-Super Bowl lull sets in and pre-March Madness excitement hasn’t yet hit full swing. There’s one annual event that relies on its place on the calendar more so than its entertainment value, and I’m not talking about hockey. That’s right…it’s time for the 83rd Academy Awards. The Movie Mind is back again to play the role of prognosticator and voice of reason. Remember, we all know how political The Oscars tend to be. The voters discriminate towards “art-house” films and the whole selection process makes the BCS seem logical. There will be none of that agenda here. If there wasn’t one that actually exists already (and is also a farce), I would dub these “The People’s Choice Awards”. Instead, it’s just one guy’s take on the best (and worst) in film this past year. So don’t bother sitting through the bad jokes (James Franco?? Was Billy Crystal busy at spring training again?), and you can skip the Awards for Sound Mixing or Best Animated Short Film. Instead, here are the Best of the Best:
Best Lead Actor:
Who should win it:
- Jeff Bridges in “True Grit”
— It’s not often that a lead actor in a remake has this kind of impact, but Bridges deserves this. Yes, he played a very similar character to his Academy Award-winning Bad Blake in Crazy Heart, but doesn’t that just mean he deserves it again? If you’ve seen the original, you should be willing to admit that Bridges makes Johnnie Wayne himself look like his understudy.
Who will win it:
- Colin Firth in “The King’s Speech”
— It’s not that it will be undeserved, but I just don’t think he dominated his time onscreen the same way Bridges did. I won’t be upset if he wins, but he certainly benefited from those around him more than the other nominees.
The winner if people have seriously lost their minds:
- Jesse Eisenberg in “The Social Network”
— I’m sorry but a guy who’s really a kid, playing a real-life guy the same age who is still living, just doesn’t sound like Oscar-worthy material to me. Not to mention the fact that the last thing Facebook needs is more press.
Best Supporting Actor:
Winner could be any of these:
- Christian Bale in “The Fighter”
— Bale stole the film. With his performance the film is in the realm of Rocky & Raging Bull. Without him you’re looking at Diggstown.
- Jeremy Renner in “The Town”
— A formerly underrated actor who is finally getting his due, Renner might be in line for the win after getting passed over for his performance in The Hurt Locker.
- Geoffrey Rush in “The King’s Speech”
— My surprise candidate, Rush was gripping and overshadowed Colin Firth in most crucial onscreen moments.
Best Lead Actress:
Might as well be:
- Natalie Portman in “Black Swan”
— No I haven’t seen it and no I have no intentions to either. I can hear the pundits now, “But Movie Mind…there’s chicks making out and fighting…don’t you want to see it?” You can flip on MTV’s new trash, Skins, and see that in 30 minutes instead of wasting 2 hours of your life. If Mrs. Movie Mind somehow forces me to watch it and I end up not hating it, I will eat my shorts…that’s a promise.
Best Supporting Actress:
Possible winners who are interchangeable:
- Amy Adams or Melissa Leo in “The Fighter”
— Both put in solid performances and while they played vastly different characters, each was as just as solid as the other.
Winner if the Academy had the guts:
- Hailee Steinfeld in “True Grit”
— This newcomer was pure gold in her role as a witty and mature child out for vengeance of her father’s murder. I don’t think the Academy has the nerve to give her the award, but anyone who can not only hold her own, but also shine while opposite Jeff Bridges deserves recognition.
Obvious nomination omission:
- “Inception” Christopher Nolan
— While I do not think it was anywhere close to being a Best Picture nominee, Nolan did deserve credit for directing this psychological thriller. While he is also to blame for the paltry and subpar script, he was able to turn it into a great picture.
Good but not quite good enough:
- “The Fighter” David O. Russell
— I do think the success of the film was more of a result of the writing and acting, but nonetheless it was shot incredibly well.
- “True Grit” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
— In their annual reunion at the Oscar podium, the Coen’s have yet another tremendous film at their hands, and when compared to the original rendition, it blew the doors off it. However, the key here is that it’s not an original. With a deep lineup of films, that may not be enough for the Coen’s this time.
Welcome to the Winners’ Circle:
- “The King’s Speech” Tom Hooper
— An all-around great film, and as good as the acting was, the best factor of this film was the directing. It was put together beautifully and Hooper turned a stodgy British story into a masterpiece.
Winner if Hollywood is literally trying to stick it The Movie Mind:
- “Black Swan” Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver and Scott Franklin, Producers
— No explanation needed here.
No Chance in Hell to win but deserves more consideration than what’s been given:
- “The Fighter” David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Mark Wahlberg, Producers
— Hasn’t been getting its due from the panel but should have gotten serious consideration.
- “True Grit” Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
— Even though it’s a remake, it was hands down one of the few best films of the year. I would not be disappointed if it won, but there’s not much precedent for it.
Shouldn’t win and most likely won’t:
- “Inception” Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers
— Entertaining and mind bender, sure. But lousy writing, mediocre acting (I’m looking at you Leo), and the goal of simply confusing the hell out of the audience doesn’t deserve a Best Picture Oscar. Much like the other pundits, I have plenty of cockamamie theories of my own about the film, but creating debate shouldn’t be the sole goal of a great film.
- “The Social Network” Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca and Ceán Chaffin, Producers
— Solid all around, but still lacking a bit to receive the crown.
And the winner is:
- “The King’s Speech” Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin, Producers
— Great acting, great directing, great writing…sounds like a winning formula to me. Plus, it’s right up the critics’ alley so it should be an easy victory.
Worst Films of the Year:
- The American
— Utterly embarrassing performance by Clooney. He has completely mailed it in at his point. After enduring a directionless plot and after all the so-called drama built up to what was supposed to be a gripping and emotional ending, I laughed out loud while at the theater. Yes, this movie was really that bad.
- The Expendables
— I sort of feel bad for Stallone at this point. After milking every cash cow franchise he could in the past few years (Rocky, Rambo), he ran out of tricks. This film is the result of that dry well of creativity. Here’s hoping that Stallone scraps any notion of an Expendables 2 in favor of Tango & Cash 2 or even Oscar 2.
- The Bounty Hunter
— How long can Jennifer Anniston milk the “boo-hoo poor me-I’ve gotten my heart broken by every dude in Hollywood” bit? I suppose not too much longer if she makes the grave mistake of playing opposite Gerard Butler again. Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Jim Carrey, and Ben Stiller can carry her…Butler definitely cannot. He’s usually limited to about 10 total lines of dialogue in a movie and after seeing this one, we know why.
- Valentine’s Day
— This film taught us that a virtual cornucopia of middling movie stars not a good movie make. Anytime Ashton Kutcher presents the biggest acting chops in the film means you’re not off to a great start. As if Valentine’s Day (the holiday) could be any more painful for guys, I cringe at the thought of reruns of this film each year on that day.