Blue ValentineAs is always the case here at The Awards Circuit, we bring to you our picks for how the Oscars will go, along with our choices for how they should go in a perfect world.  For my part, I also include a quick word on a contender that I thought should have been nominated but wasn’t.  This year, it really comes down to if ‘The King’s Speech’ is going to sweep or not.  If it does, then that’s all she wrote, but if it’s not going to, that makes room for ‘The Social Network’ to perhaps sneak back in and get some wins in some major categories, even Best Picture.  How do I see the race turning out?  Well, await the answer no more.

Best Picture-
Will Win: The King’s Speech
This is one of the closest Oscar races in recent memory (even though last year was a decently close one too), with plenty of math to support either ‘The King’s Speech’ or ‘The Social Network’ taking the top prize.  You’ve seen that all enough at this point, so I’ll just say this (not counting my obsession over just how important it is that ‘The Social Network’ won the ACE Eddy award for Film Editing…does
that mean something or not?  TELL ME!!!)…what it comes down to for me is how the average Academy voter will vote.  While I have no doubt that they liked ‘The Social Network’ (no pun intended), I can’t shake the feeling that they adored ‘The King’s Speech’ and will have it atop their ballots.  I could easily be wrong, and I wouldn’t be as shocked as some if the inverse occurred, but at the moment I see this film taking Best Picture on Oscar night.
Should Win: The Social Network
The second best film of the year and the most important film of the new century, this movie holds a mirror up to us as a society while also being a classical tale of betrayal and power.  If I had a vote, it would go to ‘The Social Network’.
Should have been nominated: Blue Valentine
My favorite film of the year, ‘Blue Valentine’ was the most powerful film of the year, with both the best acting and most emotional resonance of anything I saw in 2010.  Not only would I have voted to nominate it, but I would have voted for it to win as well.

Best Director-
Will Win: David Fincher for The Social Network
Regardless of what happens with Best Picture, I really think that the Academy will diverge from the DGA and reward Fincher for his crowning achievement to date.  Best Director isn’t really a young man’s club, and Fincher has paid his dues much more than his rival Tom Hooper has, so even if Hooper sees his film ‘The King’s Speech’ win Best Picture, I still see that film losing to ‘The Social
Network’ in this category here.

Should Win: Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan
The most inventive directing of the year belong to Aronofsky, and I’d reward him for it.  Granted, he’s done better work before, and Fincher was almost as good, but this still was the film that I found was the most successful due to its director’s skill.

Should have been nominated: Ben Affleck for The Town

Ben Affleck
By taking a stock premise and turning it into something very special, Affleck showed a keen eye for what makes a complete motion picture.  It was one of the best directorial outings of the year, and he deserved a nomination for it, in my eyes at least.

Best Actor-
Will Win: Colin Firth for The King’s Speech
This is one of the biggest locks of the night.  Firth gave a great performance and he’s undoubtedly going to be rewarded as such.  Mark this one down as a done deal.  Colin Firth is going to be an Oscar winner by the end of the month.

Should Win: Jesse Eisenberg for The Social Network
Firth was amazing, but so was Eisenberg, and he had the harder role to play, as there’s not much to sympathize with in Mark Zuckerberg.  That triumph is enough to edge him to the front of the pack for me.  I could easily go with Colin Firth, but for the sake of variety, I’m sticking with the equally deserving Jesse Eisenberg.

Should have been nominated: Ryan Gosling for Blue Valentine
Easily the best performance I saw all year in general, Gosling was heartbreaking and incredibly real in the romantic drama ‘Blue Valentine’.  His work stayed with me the most of anything I saw in 2010, so not only would I have nominated him, but I’d have voted for him to win as well.

Best Actress-
Will Win AND Should Win: Natalie Portman for Black Swan
Portman was excellent as the ballerina on the edge in ‘Black Swan’, and although she has a little competition for the award from Annette Bening and her work in ‘The Kids Are All Right’, as well as competition for my heart from Michelle Williams in ‘Blue Valentine’, ultimately I have to stick with her in both regards.  Bening has a small chance do to a “she’s due” vote, but the overwhelming favorite is Portman in this category.
Should have been nominated: Zoe Kazan for The Exploding Girl
About 6 people saw this tiny Mumblecore movie about a girl with Epilepsy, but Kazan blew me away.  For a long time this year, she gave my absolute favorite performance of the year.  It may not be tip top anymore, but it’s still heads and tails above most work in 2010, and I’d have undoubtedly voted for her to get nominated if I had a say.
Best Supporting Actor-
Will Win: Christian Bale for The Fighter
Bale has been on the cusp of a nod for a little while now, and not only did he break through with this powerful role in ‘The Fighter’, but he immediately became a front runner and hasn’t released his stranglehold on that title.  Barring a sweep by ‘The King’s Speech’ which would give the trophy to Geoffrey Rush, this is almost a set in stone win for Christian Bale.
Should Win: Jeremy Renner for The Town
Even though Bale was great, no supporting role has more power upon second and third viewings than Renner’s work.  He’s volatile, funny, and just disappears into his role.  He was a huge reason why ‘The Town’ was a success, and without him, the movie just isn’t the same.  That gets him my vote, though Bale is a close second.
Should have been nominated: Dustin Hoffman for Barney’s Version
Hoffman stole the show in this winning flick, crafting the most lovable character he’s played in a very long time.  It’s seemed as though he hasn’t been trying a lot of late, but here he definitely was, and it showed.  It’s a criminally under-seen performance in a superbly acted film that slipped by the wayside.
Best Supporting Actress-
Will Win: Melissa Leo for The Fighter
Despite some competition from young Hailee Steinfeld and the potential for Helena Bonham Carter slipping in with a potential sweep by ‘The King’s Speech’, it’s looking like Leo is going to win for her memorable turn in ‘The Fighter’.  If the mild controversy over her campaign is really a bigger deal than I think it is, look perhaps for Steinfeld to upset for ‘True Grit’.

Should Win: Amy Adams for The Fighter
Adams gave a slightly fuller performance than Leo in my humble opinion, but that’s like being asked to pick between a really good role and an almost equally good one.  I just happened to mildly prefer Adams in ‘The Fighter’, so she’d end up getting my vote in the end.
Should have been nominated: Chloe Moretz for Let Me In
With outstanding performances in both ‘Kick-Ass’ and ‘Let Me In’, Moretz announced her presence in a big way in 2010.  Both are nomination worthy performances, but her dramatic turn was a bit showier, and in turn would get my vote for a nomination.

Best Adapted Screenplay-
Will Win/Should Win: Aaron Sorkin for The Social Network
The best screenplay of the year, the most honored screenplay of the year, the next Oscar winning adapted screenplay…that’s it in a nutshell.
Should have been nominated: Ben Affleck, Peter Craig, and Aaron Stockard for The Town
Much like Affleck’s direction, his script helped to take a very basic idea and make something incredibly special out of it.  If this were the 1970’s, it definitely would have been nominated, and might have even been a threat to win.

Best Original Screenplay-
Will Win: David Seidler for The King’s Speech
With his film in a prime position to win Best Picture, Seidler is all but assured of taking home this Oscar for writing the film.  It’s not the strongest category, so there aren’t any real strong contenders for the award, but look out for perhaps an upset win for Christopher Nolan and ‘Inception’.  Don’t bet on it though…
Should Win: Stuart Blumberg and Lisa Cholodenko for The Kids Are All Right
Aside from the way they handled Mark Ruffalo’s character in the third act, I thought this was a pitch perfect script.  Smart and funny in all the right ways, it was very insightful and a joy to watch unfold.  In a weak category, this one gets my vote.
Should have been nominated: Derek Cianfrance, Joey Curtis, and Cami Delavigne for Blue Valentine
The insightful script is part of what made ‘Blue Valentine’ the best film of 2010 in my eyes, and that in turn would make it an easy choice on my part to nominate…and yes, I would have it win as well.  It’s just that good.OScar
And for the rest of the categories…

Best Animated Feature-
Will Win/Should Win: Toy Story 3
Should have been nominated: Despicable Me

Best Art Direction-
Will Win: The King’s Speech
Should Win: Inception
Should have been nominated: Black Swan

Best Cinematography-
Will Win: True Grit
Should Win: Black Swan
Should have been nominated: Never Let Me Go

Best Costume Design-
Will Win: The King’s Speech
Should Win: True Grit
Should have been nominated: Black Swan

Best Film Editing-
Will Win/Should Win: The Social Network
Should have been nominated: Blue Valentine

Best Makeup-
Will Win/Should Win: Barney’s Version
Should have been nominated: Black Swan

Best Original Score-
Will Win/Should Win: The Social Network
Should have been nominated: Never Let Me Go

Best Original Song-
Will Win: Toy Story 3
Should Win: 127 Hours
Should have been nominated: Valentine’s Day

Best Sound Editing-
Will Win/Should Win: Inception
Should have been nominated: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Best Sound Mixing-
Will Win: Inception
Should Win: The Social Network
Should have been nominated: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Best Visual Effects-
Will Win/Should Win: Inception
Should have been nominated: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Best Foreign Language Film-
Will Win: In a Better World
Should Win: Dogtooth
Should have been nominated: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Best Documentary Feature-
Will Win: Inside Job
Should Win: Exit Through the Gift Shop
Should have been nominated: The Tillman Story

Best Documentary Short-
Will Win: Poster Girl
Should Win/Should have been nominated: ???

Best Animated Short-
Will Win: The Lost Thin
Should Win: Day and Night
Should have been nominated: ???

Best Live Action Short-
Will Win: God of Love
Should Win/Should have been nominated: ???

There you have it…now it’s your turn!