By our guest blogger, Matt Jussim
"The King's Speech," "True Grit," "Inception," "The Social Network," "Black Swan," "The Fighter," "The Kids Are All Right," "Toy Story 3," "127 Hours," "Winter's Bone"
Breakdown: It's really hard to argue against any of these nominees, but it's clearly a two-horse race between "The King's Speech" and "The Social Network," although it wouldn't be a major surprise at all to see box-office favorite "True Grit" pick up the award.
Who Should Win: "The Social Network." There's just something about this movie that I can't shake. David Fincher's directing, Aaron Sorkin's writing, Trent Reznor's score, and the acting of Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake all combine together to create what in my opinion is the best all around movie of the year. While some people have called the film "The Facebook Movie," it's really about much more than Facebook. It's about culture and the generation we live in now.
Who Will Win: "The King's Speech." At the beginning of awards season, it looked as if "The Social Network" could not be stopped. It seemingly was winning every critics award imaginable and was starting to have the feel of an Oscar lock. But the race got interesting late in the game as "The King's Speech" started to rack up awards and after winning the award for director Tom Hooper from the DGA, the historical drama looks to be the front-runner.
Snubs: "The Town." While I think "Winter's Bone" is completely deserving of its nomination, Ben Affleck's Boston crime drama easily could have slid in to (what was most likely) the tenth slot.
David Fincher ("The Social Network"), Tom Hooper ("The King's Speech"), Darren Aronofsky, ("Black Swan"), David O. Russell ("The Fighter"), Joel and Ethan Coen ("True Grit")
Breakdown: It's hard to argue with any of the five nominations in this category, but it's a two-horse race again, this time with Fincher and Hooper. Both films, "The Social Network" and "The King's Speech," have enjoyed high praise everywhere, and if one of these two didn't win the award, I would be surprised. While the Coens have past pedigree in the category, I think it's between Hooper and Fincher.
Who Should Win: David Fincher has directed some truly great films in the past, including "Seven," "Fight Club" and "Zodiac," and I think he made the best picture of the year in "The Social Network." It should be his award.
Who Will Win: Fincher has it. His film and his work on it have earned widespread praise and although Hooper won the DGA Award (making him sort of a frontrunner), I still think Fincher will pull away with it.
Snubs: Christopher Nolan! "Inception," In one of the most glaring snubs in recent memory, Nolan was shut out of this category again (after another snub for "The Dark Knight). Conspiracy theories abound, but I think the reason for the snub is because some voters just didn't understand "Inception" (which means they are dumb), but whatever the reason, he deserves to be miffed. Hopefully with "The Dark Knight Rises," Nolan will get his due.
Colin Firth ("The King's Speech"), Jeff Bridges ("True Grit"), Jesse Eisenberg ("The Social Network"), James Franco ("127 Hours"), Javier Bardem ("Biutiful")
Breakdown: While all five actors gave amazing performances, this feels like its Firth's award to lose. He won the Golden Globe and his performance has been unanimously praised for its realistic portrayal of a character suffering from a stammer. Both Franco and Eisenberg were fantastic, and if not for Firth, either of them would be deserving.
Who Should Win: Whenever an actor is nominated two years in a row for Best Actor, I think that is truly an amazing accomplishment. Both Firth and Bridges pulled it off this year (Bridges won for "Crazy Heart" last year, while Firth was in "A Single Man") and while I think Bridges was great as Rooster Cogburn, it's Firth's year.
Who Will Win: Firth is the frontrunner and he will take it home.
Snubs: You name it. From Robert Duvall of "Get Low" to Ryan Gosling of "Blue Valentine" to Mark Wahlberg of "The Fighter." All three have legitimate beef with the Academy, but I can't argue with any of the five nominated. That said, Gosling was exceptional.
Annette Bening ("The Kids Are All Right"), Natalie Portman ("Black Swan"), Jennifer Lawrence ("Winter's Bone"), Nicole Kidman ("Rabbit Hole"), Michelle Williams ("Blue Valentine")
Breakdown: Another category that seems as if it's down to two nominees: Annette Bening and Natalie Portman are the frontrunners. Portman was previously nominated as a supporting actress for 2004's "Closer" and Bening has been nominated four times without winning.
Who Should Win: I thought both Bening and Portman were fantastic, but I think it's Portman who should win this year, because "Black Swan" totally fell on her shoulders and she was great in it. It was a physically and mentally demanding role, she took it head on--and she nailed it.
Who Will Win: While I think Portman could easily take this, I actually think the Academy will finally call on Bening for the first time.
Snubs: Hailee Steinfeld of "True Grit." I should call this the "Sort Of Snub." While I think it's great that she was nominated for Supporting Actress (which she has an actual chance to win), her character was more of a leading role, and I think she deserved a nomination for Best Actress, although I understand the voters reasoning.
Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale ("The Fighter"), Geoffrey Rush ("The King's Speech"), Jeremy Renner ("The Town"), Mark Ruffalo ("The Kids Are All Right"), John Hawkes ("Winter's Bone")
Breakdown: While obviously every Oscar category is "deep" in the sense that the nominees are all deserving, this category is probably the strongest of any from top to bottom this year. While Bale was a knockout in "The Fighter" and is the front-runner, in any other year each four of these actors could take home the award. Ruffalo gave an amazing performance in "The Kids Are Alright,"and while I don't think he'll win this year, he was fantastic.
Who Should Win: I do think Bale was amazing, and he should win the award, but for the sake of it, and because I am a huge fan, I'll say John Hawkes should win. He has been spinning great performances for years (including in "Deadwood" among many others) and after seeing "Winter's Bone," I was floored by his performance.
Who Will Win: Bale is the frontrunner and after a slew of great career roles, he deserves this award.
Snubs: Justin Timberlake and Andrew Garfield ("The Social Network"). Each snub shows just how much voters liked "Winter's Bone," which I admit I was a fan of, as well. Although I loved Hawkes in the film, I think both these actors could have received a nomination. Timberlake was great and Garfield was even better--he played the emotional and sympathetic center of the year's best film.
Best Supporting Actress
Melissa Leo ("The Fighter"), Amy Adams ("The Fighter"), Helena Bonham Carter ("The King's Speech"), Hailee Steinfeld ("True Grit") Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom")
Breakdown: When a film has two nominations in one category, it says a lot. While Carter gave an amazing performance, as did Weaver, it seems to be Leo's award to lose (apart from her strange Oscar campaign photos).
Who Should Win: Steinfeld was amazing in "True Grit" and based on pure performance, she should win.
Who Will Win: Leo most likely will take home the award for her loud and realistic portrayal of boxer Micky Ward's mother.
Snubs: Mila Kunis ("Black Swan") and Julianne Moore ("The Kids Are All Right"). Both were absolutely deserving but were shut out in a strong year for the category. Kunis was great in "Black Swan" and has a definite gripe here.
Other thoughts and observations:
-Snub: Lee Smith - Editing - Inception. Come on, that last act when the movie is jumping through three different levels of dreaming isn't Oscar worthy? Please.
-I hope Christopher Nolan wins for Best Original Screenplay for "Inception." The film was fantastic and do you get a script more original than that? Don't think so.
-Snub: Daft Punk - Score - Tron: Legacy. I'm probably biased because I am a Daft Punk fan, but their electronic and transy soundtrack to the new "Tron" film definitely deserved a nomination. But if Trent Reznor loses the award, it's an injustice.
-I don't care if they thought the film wasn't that great overall, but "Tron: Legacy" getting shut out of an Effects Oscar just doesn't make sense.
The Academy Awards air tonight on ABC.