Today is the last day of balloting. By now, those who hold the key to Oscar history will have turned in their ballots, checking off those they like best. Pause to remember Sally Field’s acceptance speech (at this moment, you like me), and Luis Bu√±uel’s rejection of the whole thing (“Nothing would disgust me more morally than receiving an Oscar. Nothing in the world would make me go accept it. I wouldn‚Äôt have it in my home.”) ¬†It’s either a game or it means something. ¬†It is probably somewhere in between. ¬†I’ll give you my answer next Monday.
There will be voting stragglers, sure, but they’re probably the types who will vote for a Ralph Nader rather than a John Kerry or a George Bush. Or worse still, a Dennis Kucinich. No one is going to demand a vote count, and if things goes as predicted by the majority of the pundits, The King’s Speech with its fully loaded 12 nominations, its DGA win, and its Weinstein; it seems poised to collect, at the very least, Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Screenplay. But probably also Best Director and a few of the tech awards.
Given the vast amount of early awards and rave reviews The Social Network got, and given the simple fact that The King’s Speech did not pick up the Eddie, as it would have done if this was a sweep-like scenario, there is more than enough reason to think that it could go either way. ¬†It is, by no means, a done deal. ¬†What gives TKS the edge is of course its DGA win plus the most nominations. ¬†By my calculations, Reds is the only film in all of Oscar history to have 12 ¬†and the DGA and lose Best Picture, which it did in an 11th hour shocker.
Also, if you’re still following me, that means Hooper should also win for Best Director. It’s that mostly unbeatable combo of 12+ nods with the DGA win.
I wanted to quickly look back at the films with 12 nominations or more that won Best Picture to compare them with other guild wins:
1950-All About Eve – 6/14, DGA, NYFCC, WGA
1997-Titanic – won 11/14, DGA, ACE, ADG, Critics Choice (director), Globe, MPSE, PGA
1939-Gone with the Wind 8/13 (plus 2 special achievement Oscars) (no DGA back then)
1953-From Here to Eternity 8/13 DGA, Globe (director), NYFCC, WGA
1994-Forrest Gump 6/13 ACE, CAS, DGA, Globe, MPSE, NBR, PGA, WGA
1998-Shakespeare in Love 7/13 SAG, Globe, WGA –split
2002-Chicago 6/13 ACE, Globe, PGA, DGA, MPSE, SAG–split
1943-Mrs. Miniver – 6/12 – no other wins
1959-Ben-Hur – won 11/12 (lost screenplay), DGA, Globe (3), MPSE, NYFCC
1954-On The Waterfront – won 8/12, DGA, Globe (4), NYFCC (3), WGA
1964-My Fair Lady – won 8/12, DGA, Globe (3), NYFCC
1990-Dances With Wolves – 7/12 DGA, ACE, ASC, NBR, PGA, Globe (3) WGA
1993-Schindler‚Äôs List – 7/12 DGA, ACE, Globe (3), LAFCA (3), MPSE, NSFC, NYFCC (3), PGA, WGA
1996-The English Patient – won 9/12, DGA, ACE, ASC, Critics Choice, CAS, Globe, LAFCA (director), MPSE, PGA
2000-Gladiator – ACE, ADG, Critics Choice (6), CAS, MPSE, Globe,PGA — split
Now let‚Äôs look at films with 12 or more nominations that didn‚Äôt win Best Picture:
1964-Mary Poppins – 5/13, ACE, WGA (lost to My Fair Lady, with 12)
1966- Who‚Äôs Afraid of Virginia Woolf – 5/13, WGA (lost to A Man for All Seasons, with ¬†8 )
2001-Fellowship of the Ring – 4/13, MPSE, SEFCA (director) (lost to A Beautiful Mind, with 8 )
2006-Benjamin Button – 4/13 MPSE, ADG, VES, NBR (director) (lost to Slumdog Millionaire, with 10)
A Streetcar Named Desire – 4/12, NYFCC (lost to An American in Paris, with 8 )
The Song of Bernadette – 4/12, Globe (lost to Casablanca, with 8 )
Reds, 2/12 DGA, Globe (director), NYFCC (director), NBR, NYFCC, WGA (lost to Chariots of Fire with 7)–split
Johnny Belinda 1/12, Globe (lost to Hamlet, with 7)
Becket 1/12 Globe (3), NBR, WGA (lost to My Fair Lady, also with 12)
The King‚Äôs Speech – PGA, DGA, SAG, ADG
The Social Network – ACE, MPSE, WGA, NYFCC, NBR, Globe, SEFCA, NSFC, LAFCA
If you looked at this year it would still be a tough call between The King‚Äôs Speech and The Social Network. The SAG, ADG and PGA are relatively new compared to the others. The Academy demographics are different. There are more critics awards (most of which The Social Network swept). It really would be an astonishing thing, an unprecedented thing, if The King‚Äôs Speech won, despite its haul of the guilds. Yet … yet … it‚Äôs hard to deny for many different reasons.
As is the tradition here at Awards Daily, we offer two sets of predictions. One is the cold, heartless way – choosing what seems most likely to walk off with the award. It is part “general consensus” and part knowing about Oscar history — for instance, it is far more likely that Tom Hooper win Best Director than it is for David Fincher to win.
Usually, though, 12 nominations + a DGA win, no matter what the current perception of greatness in the Best Director category means Picture AND Director will win. Have you any idea how many great directors coming into the race with great films have lost Best Director? It is, in fact, more often the case.
The Hall of Shame includes nothing less than some of the greatest directors ever.
5 nominations, zero wins – he lost to popular directors like Billy Wilder, Elia Kazan and Leo McCary. He was not even nominated for Notorious, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Strangers on a Train.
4 directing nominations, zero wins. Not nominated for Paths of Glory, Lolita
3 nominations for director, zero wins. Frankly, it‚Äôs a miracle he was nominated at all.
3 nominations, zero wins
5 nominations, zero wins
It‚Äôs a miracle that the Coens have won; it‚Äôs a miracle Scorsese has won; it‚Äôs a miracle Kathryn Bigelow has won.
I myself cannot predict The King’s Speech, even though as an Oscar “expert” I know it is most likely to win. Good thing there are about five hundred other pundits who are predicting it, and the majority of those entering our contest are predicting it. The oddsmakers are predicting it. There is no reason to assume it won‚Äôt win. Except for that tiny needling truth that it isn‚Äôt the best film of the ten. Still, it is the most MOVING film of the ten. Human beings are driven by emotion – and in this case, that emotion is sympathy, pity and ultimately, watching a weak man triumph over his disability. It is a formula that has always worked. And it‚Äôs not necessarily a bad thing that people respond this way. Our emotions make life better for us. They make us more compassionate and kind.
And also, in the end, this is their preference. You can‚Äôt really argue with the preference of a good many people. You can‚Äôt make them think a different movie is better if they don‚Äôt.
So here are the two sets. Make of them what you will.
Best Picture of 2010
AD’s Most Likely: The King’s Speech – because it works the way it was intended. And because it won the DGA, PGA, SAG. ¬†And has 12 nominations.
My own prediction/Should win: The Social Network – because it won the Eddie, the MPSE, the NBR, the LAFCA, the NYFCC, the Globe, the Critics Choice, Chicago, Online Film Critics, New York Film Critics online, the National Society of Film Critics, the Southeastern Film Critics, Boston, etc. ¬†But mainly because it is the best film of 2010, certainly the best of these two, and a worthy recipient of the title “Best Picture of the Year,” even if it isn’t the favorite of the moment.
Best Director of the Best Picture of 2010
AD‚Äôs Most Likely: Tom Hooper, The King‚Äôs Speech – just because he won the DGA and the film has 12 nominations. ¬†A win here will bring him a whole new set of public relations problems he never expected nor asked for. ¬†But pity the man who beats David Fincher, Darren Aronofsky, Joel and Ethan Coen and David O
My own Prediction/Should win: David Fincher, The Social Network
There is no evidence that a split can even be predicted. People always predict it and it never happens. I‚Äôve only seen it predicted accurately once – and that was when David Carr and Roger Ebert called it for Crash and Ang Lee. But this isn‚Äôt a Crash-like year. There has never been a year like this either on record or in the years I‚Äôve been watching Oscar so anything COULD happen. But it‚Äôs less likely to split when there is unanimous agreement among the guilds. It has never happened, in fact, that a film won the PGA/DGA and SAG and didn‚Äôt win Pic/Director. Granted, those movies had other major wins behind them but when Apollo 13 lost the Oscar for Picture, it also lost for Director. They don‚Äôt vote for people they feel like they should vote for – they vote for what they like – so if they really like The Social Network for Director, it will probably also win Picture. That is my thinking.
AD and My prediction: Colin Firth, The King‚Äôs Speech
If there is one thing that isn‚Äôt in dispute it‚Äôs how brilliant Firth is in this role. The man cannot turn in a bad performance and has been so utterly generous as a character for so many years. It‚Äôs funny that he seems to be Harvey Weinstein‚Äôs ace in the hole – he was in The English Patient, Shakespeare in Love and now the King‚Äôs Speech. He‚Äôs wonderful in this part. To me, the movie IS his performance and Geoffrey Rush‚Äôs. The rest of it is masterpiece theater. Best Pictures have won on less than two great performances, though.
AD and My prediction: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Not buying this Annette Bening last minute surge – the main reason being Black Swan‚Äôs multiple nominations, including Director, but also Portman‚Äôs work stands apart this year. It is just the fact of the matter. Moreover, her Black Swan is now in the lexicon. Her work in the film will be remembered for a very long time.
Best Supporting Actor:
AD‚Äôs most likely: Christian Bale, The Fighter
My own prediction: Geoffrey Rush, The King‚Äôs Speech
Bale still has the heat and momentum. If there is a rule about rewarding a strong contender for BP, Bale or Leo could collect the gold for The Fighter. My thinking is if they love The King‚Äôs Speech enough to give Tom Hooper Best Director, Rush‚Äôs win should be a cake walk.
Best Supporting Actress:
AD‚Äôs most likely: Melissa Leo, The Fighter
My prediction: Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Leo or Bale could represent The Fighter – neither could, both could. Predicting both gives you the opportunity to cash in if one or the other wins. Predicting neither is a bigger risk.
There is no arguing with True Grit‚Äôs 10 nominations. It is a film people like a LOT. They probably like it second to The King‚Äôs Speech but since the Coens won recently, and we‚Äôre not exactly in John Ford‚Äôd era anymore, that seems to hold back its momentum. Not having an editing nom hurts them less because everyone knows they edit their own films. I won‚Äôt be surprised if True Grit turns up in unexpected places, but one place it seems likely to show up in is this category. Steinfeld has a lead performance here, so it tips the advantage in her favor. She plays a very likable, heroic little girl. The only other ‚Äúlikeable‚Äù character she‚Äôs up against is Helena Bonham Carter, and she could win also.
Best Original Screenplay
AD and My prediction: David Seidler, The King‚Äôs Speech
Seidler deserves this win. It is probably the only win for The King‚Äôs Speech other than Colin Firth that will be well deserved. I will be one cheering for him when he wins simply because he‚Äôs such an old-timer, he paid his dues and then some. This is his personal story and he tells it well. Is it as groundbreaking and riveting as Inception? No. Does it matter if Christopher Nolan wins an Oscar? Hell no. Does it matter if Seidler wins one? YES.
Best Adapted Screenplay
AD and My prediction: Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
It would be just like those sons of bitches to deny the Social Network this one gimme. They might do it, too, just out of spite. In a sick sort of way I almost hope they do do it, because for Sorkin to lose here is at last proof that the Academy really have no business handing out awards at all. But I think they will reward this one because they probably really think this is all the film deserves. The spoiler here is the Coens for True Grit. I won‚Äôt be shocked if they win – it won‚Äôt be a bad choice. It‚Äôs a great adaptation.
AD and My prediction: The Social Network
The Eddie winner almost always wins the Oscar. That is the only reason I‚Äôm predicting it here. If The King‚Äôs Speech were as strong as people think, it should have won the Eddie. Now, people are going to say that The Social Network stands out for its editing, but it is no Bourne. Slumdog Millionaire and The English Patient had no problem winning the Eddie.
AD and My prediction: Roger Deakins, True Grit
Best Art Direction
AD‚Äôs Most Likely: The King‚Äôs Speech
My own prediction: Alice in Wonderland
Best Costume Design:
AD and My prediction: The King‚Äôs Speech
Sound and Sound Effects Editing
AD and My prediction: Inception
AD and My prediction: Inception
AD‚Äôs Most Likely: The King‚Äôs Speech
My prediction: The Social Network
AD and My prediction: Toy Story 3
Live Action Short:
AD‚Äôs Most Likely: Na Wewe
My prediction: Wish 143
AD’s Most Likely: Inside Job
My prediction: Waste Land
I preferred Waste Land because I learned about something I didn’t know anything about. I really think Inside Job will win, or in a fluke, Exit Through the Gift Shop, which is great too. All five of these docs are fantastic.
AD‚Äôs Most Likely: Strangers No More
My prediction: Poster Girl
AD‚Äôs Most Likely: Day & Night
My prediction: The Gruffalo
AD‚Äôs and My Prediction: Incendies
AD‚Äôs Most Likely: Toy Story 3
My prediction: 127 Hours
AD‚Äôs Most Likely: The Wolfman
My prediction: The Way Back
AD’s Most Likely: Inside Job
My prediction: Waste Land
I preferred Waste Land because I learned about something I didn’t know anything about. ¬†I really think Inside Job will win, or in a fluke, Exit Through the Gift Shop, which is great too. ¬†All five of these docs are fantastic.