Dave Karger runs down the categories one by one, and is seeing True Grit as potentially the film to beat. Dave Karger is usually the one who does the early picks on EW and, as we all know, they are right at least three, but often four or five out of five. Here, he runs down the categories (smart of him since he is always being asked on Twitter about this contender or that).
About True Grit, Kris Tapley said he thinks it could Million Dollar Baby its way to a Best Picture win (with caveats). Based on the trailer, the subject matter and the fact that it’s the Coen brothers, it’s definitely possible. One thing I can say about The Social Network that no one else seems to be picking up on, though, is that it’s a major crowdpleaser that reminds me more of The Departed than anything else. Another thing to consider: almost every Best Pic winner in the past four or five years has been a film people thought was really great but couldn’t win Best Picture because it wasn’t “an Academy movie.”¬† The King’s Speech is also going to be a crowdpleaser.
Tapley also says there is no Hurt Locker this year. The thing is, by October, no one was really thinking about The Hurt Locker as being the big winner. This was also true about The Departed and No Country for Old Men. These movies weren’t sure bets until much later, after all of the other films released had failed to rise to the impossible expectations.
Will True Grit be Million Dollar Baby? Let’s take a stroll through Karger’s choices.
Best Picture I feel confident that we‚Äôve now seen at least half of the 10 eventual Oscar nominees, now that Inception, The Kids Are All Right, Toy Story 3, and The Social Network have reached theaters and The King‚Äôs Speech, Hereafter, and 127 Hours have each played a festival or two. Of that list, The King‚Äôs Speech strikes me as the strongest overall contender. I also have a hunch that the Coen brothers‚Äô version of True Grit could end up as a major player.
Karger on Best Director:
Best Director David Fincher‚Äôs been nominated once before, for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. He lost to Slumdog Millionaire‚Äòs Danny Boyle, who could enter the race again this year for 127 Hours. But Fincher doesn‚Äôt need to worry about Boyle for the win. Besides The King‚Äôs Speech filmmaker Tom Hooper, Inception‚Äòs Christopher Nolan and Joel and Ethen Coen for True Grit seem like top contenders. Again, it‚Äôs very early, but I could even see the Academy giving Best Picture to something more traditional like The King‚Äôs Speech and recognizing someone like Fincher in the directing category.
Karger predicts a split between Best Pic and Best Director. I really doubt that will happen. Both films are crowdpleasers. I think it has to be one or the other and they will win big (if True Grit doesn’t turn out to be THE MOVIE).
Karger on Best Actor:
Best Actor It‚Äôs easy to look at Jesse Eisenberg‚Äôs turn and say that he‚Äôs doing the same deadpan brainiac thing he‚Äôs done before, but I really hope the actors‚Äô branch recognizes what a phenomenal performance he gives. The more the film takes off overall, the better his chances are‚Äîbut beating the likes of Colin Firth (The King‚Äôs Speech), Robert Duvall (Get Low), Javier Bardem (Biutiful), and James Franco (127 Hours) will be difficult.
I think he pretty much nails the Best Actor category, though I’m surprised he didn’t include Ryan Gosling, being that he was such a big fan of Blue Valentine. Firth has this one locked up. No one else really has a chance to win. Robert Duvall, maybe, since he’s such a beloved vet and many seem to love that performance. If it were me, all of my chips would go behind Firth.
Best Supporting Actor I‚Äôve already written about the decision to mount three supporting actor campaigns for The Social Network. I‚Äôd say Andrew Garfield is the film‚Äôs strongest shot at a nod here, though he‚Äôd face a slew of comparative veterans: Geoffrey Rush is a lock for The King‚Äôs Speech, while I‚Äôd say The Fighter‚Äòs Christian Bale and The Kids Are All Right‚Äòs Mark Ruffalo are also deserving of inclusion. Then there‚Äôs Matt Damon, who¬†could be a Academy-friendly scene stealer in True Grit.
And if they aren’t liking Damon in Hereafter they might honor him here. I’m not sure this is really our spate of Supporting Actors. It is a very weak field this year, which could open it up to some odd possibilities, namely, Bill Murray for Get Low.¬† There is also Josh Brolin for True Grit, possibly. What I can say with a fair amount of confidence, if these are the choices, Geoffrey Rush wins in a cake walk. It’s hard to decide who’s better between Rush and Firth – which is why I think both will win. I know it’s too early to choose winners, but they are so good it will be hard to best them.
Best Adapted Screenplay I‚Äôd call Aaron Sorkin the clear frontrunner in this race; interestingly, though he‚Äôs won an Emmy for writing The West Wing and has also earned three Golden Globe nods in the screenplay category, he‚Äôs never been nominated for an Oscar. Perhaps the two other top adapted contenders are past winners in the original screenplay category: Toy Story 3‚Äòs Michael Arndt (who won for Little Miss Sunshine), and the Coens (who have actually been victorious in both screenplay races). Thankfully for Sorkin, The King‚Äôs Speech and The Kids Are All Right will both compete in the original screenplay race.
Sorkin still wins if up against King’s Speech or the Kids Are All Right. It’s hard to argue with Social Network, Toy Story 3 and¬† True Grit – I would also add 127 Hours, in a big way, and maybe Fair Game if they want to honor Valerie Plame. If it were me, Winter’s Bone would be in there – a great and exacting adaptation that took the spirit of the beautiful novel and made the language shimmer in the film.
Sorkin’s biggest competition WILL be the Coens if True Grit turns out to be as good as it promises to be. It will have to be Fargo/No Country good, though.¬†¬† Although, lest we forget, we all thought Up in the Air was a slam dunk deal last year and it went to Geoffrey Fletcher for Precious.
Best Original Score It‚Äôs been exciting to see the Academy‚Äôs music branch embrace contemporary artists (A.R. Rahman, Eminem) over the past decade. Can we now dream that Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross‚Äô uniquely hypnotic Social Network score could actually get nominated? Please yes. If media attention determined the winner, it would certainly be a race between those two and Inception‚Äòs Hans Zimmer. Though Toy Story 3‚Äòs Randy Newman and The King‚Äôs Speech‚Äòs Alexandre Desplat (both past nominees) would be formidable opponents as well.
We can dream and we can hope, but something tells me the Academy won’t go for Reznor and Ross – I hope they do. Again, Karger nails it here.
He closes it off with a prediction that The Social Network will win one Oscar at least (I think he figured screenplay).
Let’s do a couple of other categories, shall we?
Editing — editing is always the one to watch since it is closely aligned with directing. It’s hard to imagine it won’t be Inception, The Social Network and possibly True Grit. The other two that make it in here could give our template for what will be the five Best Director frontrunners, give or take a film or two.
Cinematography – 127 Hours, The King’s Speech, Inception, The Social Network — and of course, True Grit, which should lead the field (or duke it out with Inception).