Yesterday, we gave you an analysis of the best of the best in this year’s Oscar race. Now it’s time to ignore quality and get down to brass tacks. You want winners and we got winners. So many surefire predictions that you’ll be all set to dominate your office pool, or at least have your surprise ruined for Oscar night.
It’s been a long journey since Jackie Weaver emerged as a contender at the National Board of Review and The Social Network announced itself as the film to beat at those same awards, but now we’re finally ready to finish the prediction season and close out the Oscar Power Rankings for 2010.
Read on to see who will win an Oscar at this year’s Academy Awardsâ€¦
Firth’s swept all the key awards. He locked up the SAG, BAFTA, Golden Globe, Critics Choice and just about every other award under the sun. All those accolades plus a Weinstein freight train of a campaign steamrolling behind him. It’s a borderline shock if he doesn’t win.
2 â€“ Jesse EisenbergÂ inÂ The Social Network
The only way, only way that Firth gets upset is if there’s an across-the-board lovefest for The Social Network. In that scenario, Eisenberg could get swept up to the Oscar stage. Seems like a reach, however.
3 â€“ James FrancoÂ inÂ 127 Hours
Buzz has come back around on Franco recently, with many in the industry now hailing his work as the best of the year. This opinion only seemed to become commonplace after the voting period, however, meaning it could be a lot of voter’s remorse. Plus he’s the host, and a lot see that as a win in itself.
4 â€“ Javier Bardem inÂ Biutiful
People seem to love this performance but are extremely divided on the film – the classic love/hate scenario. That’s just not going to get him enough voters. That, and the fact that this film was so small that many voters probably didn’t get a chance to see it.
5 â€“ Jeff BridgesÂ inÂ True Grit
With a win last year, voters will look to spread the love away from Bridges.
Oh, how the plot has thickened. Three weeks ago Portman seemed like a clear frontrunner, now she’s barely in the lead. It’s hard to ignore the overwhelming support she received, but with Annette Bening, gaining momentum, that might not be enough to keep her on top. Suddenly, Portman is a very vulnerable number one.
2 â€“ Annette BeningÂ inÂ The Kids Are All Right
Bening’s picked up considerable steam with the classic “she’s due” Oscar buzz. She has a very good shot at winning now with a performance people were targeting for a de facto Oscar win the moment the movie came out. There’s an excellent chance she could ascend the Oscar stage this Sunday – but I still like Portman’s chances just a bit better.
3 â€“ Michelle WilliamsÂ inÂ Blue Valentine
Honestly, she should be lower, but I just can’t count out an actress with the Weinsteins on her side. They’ve pulled off crazier upsets.
4 â€“ Jennifer LawrenceÂ inÂ Winterâ€™s Bone
This yearâ€™s Melissa Leo, Janet McTeer, Felicity Huffman and so on indie actress nominee. That slot never wins, so Lawrence doesn’t have much of a shot. Still, it’s a good sign for his career.
5 â€“ Nicole KidmanÂ inÂ Rabbit Hole
It’s strange. I’ve heard buzz that many voters think Kidman actually gave the best performance of the year and has thus far been very underrated. Still, could you see any scenario in which she actually won?
Best Supporting Actor
The biggest lock in the acting categories. Since the movie came out he’s had all the buzz, all the praise, and has been a pretty surefire winner. Unless…
2 â€“ Geoffrey RushÂ inÂ The Kingâ€™s Speech
…The Weinsteins turn The King’s Speech into a clean Oscar sweeper. Rush is trailing and has an Oscar already (meaning he’s not “due”), but the Weinsteins have the capabilities to pull off an Oscar upset with this very well-liked performance.
3 â€“ John HawkesÂ inÂ Winterâ€™s Bone
These last three spots are pretty much consolation prizes. Hawkes gets the third slot because he gave the best performance and the one most voters were likely to watch after the nominations since they hadn’t seen it. That will allow him to pick up some votes. But not nearly enough.
4 â€“ Jeremy RennerÂ inÂ The Town
Good news for Renner – this is second straight nomination. Bad news – this will be his second straight loss.
5 â€“ Mark Ruffalo inÂ The Kids Are All Right
This performance is just far too subtle for the Academy to recognize. Plus, the film is so small that voters will probably feel voting for Bening is enough honor for the whole movie.
Best Supporting Actress
I was so close. So close to dropping her as Leo has continued to clean up. But something keeps gnawing at me, telling me that this is the year a child actor breaks back into the winner’s circle. Call it a hunch, but I think it’s gonna happen.
2 â€“ Melissa LeoÂ inÂ The Fighter
Like I said above, I was incredibly close to vaulting the favorite Leo back into the top slot. But then she did this, a campaigning gaffe egregious enough that it may cost her the win. I still mark her as the favorite, but I think a favorite that’s about to get upset. Kind of like Eddie Murphy after Norbit getting run down by Alan Arkin. I think that happens again here.
3 â€“ Helena Bonham-CarterÂ inÂ The Kingâ€™s Speech
Another Weinstein candidate and another real chance for an upset. She’s got two strong nominees in her way, so I don’t see her vaulting, but she can’t be counted out.
4 â€“ Jacki Weaver inÂ Animal Kingdom
The super-small nominee certainly got a good share of late-season screener views, but that’s not going to be enough to carry her through.
5 â€“ Amy AdamsÂ inÂ The Fighter
Once again, Adams splits votes within her movie with a more likely winner. .
Best Original Screenplay
And here’s where The King’s Speech landslide really takes hold. It hasn’t really won a lot of awards for its screenplay thus far, but the overall buzz for the film will render that irrelevant come Oscar night. It’s a strong favorite.
2 â€“Â Inception by Christopher Nolan
This beat The King’s Speech at the WGA Awards, and this is really the only spot the Academy has to recognize this film so it certainly has a good shot. It just doesn’t seem like anything’s getting in the way of Speech at this point. Nolan may have to dream bigger.
3 â€“Â The Fighter byÂ Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson
This is a well-like film, but much more for its performances than the writing. Still, the overall love could be enough for Academy members to give its screenplay a look. It’s certainly the most widely seen of the final three on this list.
4 â€“Â The Kids Are All Right by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg
Normally, the quirky indie comedy has found the winner’s circle here. But this year there are just too many strong contender’s in this movie’s way.
5 â€“Â Another Year byÂ Mike Leigh
Hey, it’s Mike Leigh’s annual nomination! And also his annual loss.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Lock lock lock lock locky lock. If this loses my chin will need to be surgically removed from the floor.
2 â€“Â True Grit by Joel & Ethan Coen
If they’d never won, they’d have a shot as being “due” this year. But with such a recent win and Sorkin in their way, they don’t have a shot.
3 â€“Â Toy Story 3 by Michael Arndt
Will the Academy ever award an animated film in a major category? It definitely won’t this year.
4 â€“Â Winterâ€™s Bone by Debra Granik &Â Anne Roselini
These small adapted screenplays secretly never win. Movies like Away From Her, American Splendor and An Education just never seem to have a shot, despite always getting nominated. Add this film to that list.
5 â€“ 127 Hours by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy
The bloom is off the rose for this film. It’s got no chance.
Here’s a real guessing game. I want to say Fincher because he’s notched so many Awards and seemed to pick up everything major along the way, but then…
2 â€“ Tom HooperÂ forÂ The Kingâ€™s Speech
…came the DGA Awards, where Tom Hooper pulled off the upset and that precursor is normally the best predictor of Oscar glory. It’s not foolproof, though. Ron Howard once won the DGA award and didn’t even getÂ nominated for an Oscar. So there’s some wiggle room here. I choose to wiggle and think this is the one spot thatÂ The Social Network can stay on top.
3 â€“ Darren AronofskyÂ forÂ Black Swan
At one point, Aronofsky seemed like he had a good shot, but once Hooper’s campaign became stronger, Aronofsky’s chances all but evaporated.
4 â€“ David O. Russell forÂ The Fighter
Buzz has all but died for Russell here, and the top two are so strong that he has too much to overcome at this point.
5 â€“ Joel & Ethan Coen forÂ True Grit
Ah, no shot for the Coens. They’ll have to really do something special or wait a very long time after their windfall a few years ago.
And here it is. I hinted last time that the campaign for this film is heating up, and now it’s white hot. The Weinsteins are striking again, and turning this classic Oscar-bait crowdpleaser into a winner. Though it’s certainly not a lock.
2 â€“Â The Social Network
No, this race is very much alive. In fact, it’s even more of a coinflip than last year’s Avatar/The Hurt Locker face off. You just can’t write off a movie that’s won as many awards as The Social Network has this year. In fact, you can scarcely take it out of the top spot. But this falls into second. Barely.
3 â€“ True Grit
It seems weird for a $165 million behemoth with glowing reviews and excellent pedigree to have no chance, but the top two are so strong that it’s where we’ve wound up with True Grit. Weird.
4 â€“Â The Fighter
It’s a crowdpleaser. It’d widely respected. Its buzz peaked too soon. It might rake in some acting awards, but it doesn’t even have a puncher’s chance against the big two.
5 â€“Â Black Swan
This film is a great success story, but it’s really not got a shot at the big prize. The top two are bulletproof – even for a $100 million ballet thriller that had every showing in Hollywood sold out for about two weeks.
6 â€“Â Inception
Something tells me there could have been some crazy blockbuster darkhorse campaign for this film had Nolan been nominated. A populist “people’s champion” sort of vibe. But as it stands, it’s just another Best Picture nominee without its director nominated. And those never win. Ever.
7 â€“Â 127 Hours
The buzz has come back slightly on this film. At least enough to take it out of the bottom and into the top of those films with literally no chance whatsoever. Good thing we have ten nominees and all.
8 â€“Â Winterâ€™s Bone
With ten nominees they’ll always be a few slots for these indie critical darlings. And not a single one will ever have a chance at winning. Ever.
9 â€“Â Toy Story 3
Repeat after me: No animated film will ever win this award.
10 â€“Â The Kids Are All Right
And…it’s the tenth nominee. What more can we say other than that it’s another of the many nominees with no chance.
And Now…The Lightning Round!
Best Film Editing
This award often syncs up with Best Picture – so I like The King’s Speech
Somebody who’s actually “due” – Roger Deakins for True Grit
Best Art Direction
The Academy loves to go historical here. So Oscar-fave The King’s Speech seems like the logical choice.
Best Original Score
As much as it pains me, I think Trent Reznore and Attic Ross’ perfect Social Network score gets beat out by the classical work of Alexandre Desplat for The King’s Speech.
Best Original Song
An animated vote split could mean another award for A.R. Rahman’s “If I Rise” from 127 Hours, but this could go any of three ways. (Sorry, Gwyneth)
Best Costume Design
Again, the Academy loves period pieces – so The King’s Speech is the likely winner here.
Hey, remember when The Wolfman came out this year? Yeah, me neither. But Rick Baker did the makeup and looks poised to win his seventh Oscar.
True Grit was just too good not to win. Right?
Best Visual Effects
Hey! It’s a slot where the Academy can recognize Inception! How could they pass it up?
Best Foreign Language Film
This has been upset central in recent years, so I’ll go with the longshot Outside The Law from Algeria.
Best Documentary Feature
Hollywood won’t miss a chance to pat itself on the back for giving this award to Inside Job.
Best Animated Feature
Wouldn’t you love to see what Toy Story 3′s chances were with the big boys if there wasn’t this category available to give it an Oscar?
Documentary Short, Animated Short, and Live Action Short
Killing in the Name, Day & Night and God of Love, respectively – all guesses.
There ya go! Don’t forget to check on Sunday to see how correct I am.