Underdog's 2011 Stab in the Dark Oscar Predictions!

underdog's picture

By Craig Phillips

What follows are my sheer gut-instinct (or in some cases presumably rather obvious) predictions for who will win in each category in this year's Academy Awards -- followed by who I think should win.

Best Picture:

Black Swan (Fox Searchlight) A Protozoa and Phoenix Pictures Production
Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver and Scott Franklin, Producers

The Fighter (Paramount) A Relativity Media Production
David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Mark Wahlberg, Producers

Inception [Blu-ray] (Warner Bros.) A Warner Bros. UK Services Production
Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers)

The Kids Are All Right (Focus Features) An Antidote Films, Mandalay Vision and Gilbert Films Production
Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Celine Rattray, Producers

The King's Speech (The Weinstein Company) A See-Saw Films and Bedlam Production
Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin, Producers

127 Hours (Fox Searchlight) An Hours Production
Christian Colson, Danny Boyle and John Smithson, Producers

The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) A Columbia Pictures Production
Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca and Ceán Chaffin, Producers

Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney) A Pixar Production
Darla K. Anderson, Producer

True Grit (Paramount) A Paramount Pictures Production
Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers

Winter's Bone (Roadside Attractions) A Winter's Bone Production
Anne Rosellini and Alix Madigan-Yorkin, Producers

Who Will Win: The King's Speech

Who Should Win:  The Social Network or Winter's Bone. Why? Because of all these films I thought those two were the most consistent and successful from start to finish at conveying their story. Each are also smartly written and strikingly shot. Many of these films are worthy, and none of them I would call "bad" - which is probably not the same thing I'll say every year with this recently expanded category.

Performance by an actor in a leading role

Javier Bardem in "Biutiful" (Roadside Attractions) 

Jeff Bridges in "True Grit" (Paramount)

Jesse Eisenberg in "The Social Network" (Sony Pictures Releasing)

Colin Firth in "The King's Speech" (The Weinstein Company)

James Franco in "127 Hours" (Fox Searchlight)


Who Will Win:  Colin Firth

Who Should Win: Colin Firth (I don't think this an especially strong group this year but I thought his performance was pretty special). Eisenberg deserving, too.

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

Christian Bale in "The Fighter" (Paramount)

John Hawkes in "Winter's Bone" (Roadside Attractions)

Jeremy Renner in "The Town" (Warner Bros.)

Mark Ruffalo in "The Kids Are All Right" (Focus Features)

Geoffrey Rush in "The King's Speech" (The Weinstein Company)

Who Will Win:  Geoffrey Rush

Who Should Win: Rush or Bale in what is a stronger category than lead actor


Performance by an actress in a leading role

Annette Bening in "The Kids Are All Right" (Focus Features)

Nicole Kidman in "Rabbit Hole" (Lionsgate)

Jennifer Lawrence in "Winter's Bone" (Roadside Attractions)

Natalie Portman in "Black Swan" (Fox Searchlight)

Michelle Williams in "Blue Valentine" (The Weinstein Company) 

Who Will Win:  Portman (I think there's been a groundswell lately for Bening but may have come too late)

Who Should Win: Portman or Lawrence


Performance by an actress in a supporting role 

Amy Adams in "The Fighter" (Paramount)

Helena Bonham Carter in "The King's Speech" (The Weinstein Company)

Melissa Leo in "The Fighter" (Paramount) 

               Hailee Steinfeld in "True Grit" (Paramount)

Jacki Weaver in "Animal Kingdom" (Sony Pictures Classics)

Who Will Win:  Weaver

Who Should Win: Weaver (honestly, just a hunch here, but I think there may be a Leo backlash of sorts and Steinfeld may be viewed as too new, and I thought Weaver was mesmerizing.)



Best animated feature film of the year 

How to Train Your Dragon (Paramount) Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois

The Illusionist (Sony Pictures Classics) Sylvain Chomet

Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney) Lee Unkrich 

Who Will Win:  Toy Story 3

Who Should Win:  Toy Story 3, though all 3 are pretty strong.

Art Direction

Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney), Robert Stromberg (Production Design), Karen O'Hara (Set Decoration)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (Warner Bros.), Stuart Craig (Production Design), Stephenie McMillan (Set Decoration)

Inception (Warner Bros.), Guy Hendrix Dyas (Production Design), Larry Dias and Doug Mowat (Set Decoration)

The King's Speech (Paramount), Eve Stewart (Production Design), Judy Farr (Set Decoration)

True Grit (Paramount), Jess Gonchor (Production Design), Nancy Haigh (Set Decoration)

Who Will Win:  King's Speech (if it's a sweep-y kind of night)

Who Should Win: Inception

Achievement in Cinematography

Black Swan (Fox Searchlight) Matthew Libatique

Inception (Warner Bros.) Wally Pfister

The King's Speech (The Weinstein Company) Danny Cohen

The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) Jeff Cronenweth

True Grit (Paramount) Roger Deakins

 Who Will Win:  The King's Speech or Black Swan

Who Should Win: The Social Network or True Grit (just because I want Deakins to get an Oscar, dammit!)


Achievement in costume design

Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney) Colleen Atwood

I Am Love (Magnolia Pictures) Antonella Cannarozzi

The King's Speech (The Weinstein Company) Jenny Beavan

The Tempest (Miramax) Sandy Powell

True Grit (Paramount) Mary Zophres

 Who Will Win:  Alice in Wonderland (just a total hunch here)

Who Should Win: True Grit


Achievement in directing 

Black Swan (Fox Searchlight), Darren Aronofsky

The Fighter (Paramount), David O. Russell

The King's Speech (The Weinstein Company), Tom Hooper

The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing), David Fincher

True Grit (Paramount), Joel Coen and Ethan Coen


Who Will Win:  Tom Hooper

Who Should Win: David Fincher

Even though I liked the film I was not a fan of Hooper's direction, thought it sloppy at times. Fincher or Aronofsky deserve it here.

Best Documentary Feature

Exit through the Gift Shop (Producers Distribution Agency) Banksy and Jaimie D'Cruz A Paranoid Pictures Production

Gasland Josh Fox and Trish Adlesic A Gasland Production

Inside Job (Sony Pictures Classics) Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs A Representational Pictures Production

Restrepo (National Geographic Entertainment) Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger An Outpost Films Production

Waste Land Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley (Arthouse Films) An Almega Projects Production

 Who Will Win:  I haven't seen Lands Gas or Waste but have heard good things, but I think this race is between Inside Job and Exit and my gut says Inside Job

Who Should Win: ...so my head says Exit.

Best documentary short subject

Killing in the Name

Poster Girl 

Strangers No More 

Sun Come Up  

The Warriors of Qiugang 


 Who Will Win:   Strangers No More

Who Should Win:  Sun Come Up (have heard good things about all these films, however)

Achievement in film editing

Black Swan (Fox Searchlight) Andrew Weisblum

The Fighter Paramount Pamela Martin

The King's Speech (The Weinstein Company) Tariq Anwar

127 Hours (Fox Searchlight) Jon Harris

The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

 Who Will Win:   127 Hours

Who Should Win:  The Social Network


Best foreign language film of the year

Biutiful - Mexico

Dogtooth - Greece

In a Better World - Denmark

Incendies - Canada

Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi) - Algeria

 Who Will Win:   Incendies

Who Should Win:  Dogtooth


Achievement in makeup

Barney's Version (Sony Pictures Classics) Adrien Morot

The Way Back (Newmarket Films in association with Wrekin Hill Entertainment and Image Entertainment) Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng

The Wolfman (Universal) Rick Baker and Dave Elsey

 Who Will Win:   The Wolfman

Who Should Win:  The Wolfman  (not a very exciting category this year)


Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

How to Train Your Dragon (Paramount) John Powell

Inception (Warner Bros.) Hans Zimmer

The King's Speech (The Weinstein Company) Alexandre Desplat

127 Hours (Fox Searchlight) A.R. Rahman

The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

  Who Will Win:   Inception

Who Should Win:  Inception or Social Network (which means it will probably be  The King's Speech)


Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

"Coming Home," from Country Strong (Sony Pictures Releasing (Screen Gems)) Music and Lyric by Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey

"I See the Light," from Tangled (Walt Disney) Music by Alan Menken Lyric by Glenn Slater

"If I Rise," from 127 Hours (Fox Searchlight) Music by A.R. Rahman Lyric by Dido and Rollo Armstrong

"We Belong Together," from Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney) Music and Lyric by Randy Newman


 Who Will Win:   We Belong Together (despite the similarity to other Newman songs for Pixar, it's still a nice piece)

Who Should Win:  If I Rise (I like this mellow composition more than the Slumdog pieces but not sure it has enough "oomph" to win)

Best animated short film

Day & Night (Walt Disney) A Pixar Animation Studios Production Teddy Newton

The Gruffalo A Magic Light Pictures Production Jakob Schuh and Max Lang

Let's Pollute A Geefwee Boedoe Production Geefwee Boedoe

The Lost Thing (Nick Batzias for Madman Entertainment) A Passion Pictures Australia Production Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann

Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary) A Sacrebleu Production Bastien Dubois

Who Will Win: Day & Night
Who Should Win: The Lost Thing

Best live action short film

The Confession (National Film and Television School) A National Film and Television School Production Tanel Toom

The Crush (Network Ireland Television) A Purdy Pictures Production Michael Creagh

God of Love A Luke Matheny Production Luke Matheny

Na Wewe (Premium Films) A CUT! Production Ivan Goldschmidt

Wish 143 A Swing and Shift Films/Union Pictures Production Ian Barnes and Samantha Waite

 Who Will Win: Wish 143 (a wild guess, I have no idea how the Academy will see these films this year)
Who Should Win:  God of Love (though I mostly liked Wish 143 compared to the other options)

Achievement in sound editing

Inception (Warner Bros.) Richard King

Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney) Tom Myers and Michael Silvers

Tron: Legacy (Walt Disney) Gwendolyn Yates Whittle and Addison Teague

True Grit (Paramount) Skip Lievsay and Craig Berkey

Unstoppable (20th Century Fox) Mark P. Stoeckinger

 Who Will Win:  Inception

Who Should Win: Inception

Achievement in sound mixing

Inception (Warner Bros.) Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo and Ed Novick

The King's Speech (The Weinstein Company) Paul Hamblin, Martin Jensen and John Midgley

Salt (Sony Pictures Releasing) Jeffrey J. Haboush, Greg P. Russell, Scott Millan and William Sarokin

The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick and Mark Weingarten

True Grit (Paramount) Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland

 Who Will Win: Inception

Who Should Win: Inception

Achievement in visual effects

Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney) Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas and Sean Phillips

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (Warner Bros.) Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz and Nicolas Aithadi

Hereafter (Warner Bros.) Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojanski and Joe Farrell

Inception (Warner Bros.) Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb

Iron Man 2 (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment, Distributed by Paramount) Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright and Daniel Sudick

 Who Will Win: Inception

Who Should Win: Scott Pilgrim! Okay, it's not nominated, but I had to give it a plug somewhere.

Adapted screenplay

127 Hours (Fox Searchlight), Screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy

The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing), Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin

Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney), Screenplay by Michael Arndt. Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich

True Grit (Paramount), Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

Winter's Bone (Roadside Attractions), Adapted for the screen by Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini

 Who Will Win:  The Social Network

Who Should Win: Winter's Bone or Social Network -- hard to argue with either.

Original screenplay

Another Year (Sony Pictures Classics), Written by Mike Leigh

The Fighter (Paramount), Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson. Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson

Inception (Warner Bros.), Written by Christopher Nolan

The Kids Are All Right (Focus Features), Written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg

The King's Speech (The Weinstein Company), Screenplay by David Seidler

Who Will Win: The King's Speech

Who Should Win: Another Year (I'm probably in the minority in that)


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