The 83rd Annual Academy Awards are a mere four days away and Oscar pundits the internet over are compiling lists where every single individual race is over-analyzed. I thought I would add to the noise with my perspective on the five races that are the most “in the bag” this coming Sundays. If any of the expected winners in the below categories does not hear their name read on Oscar night, it would truly be an upset.
5) Best Visual Effects
Expected Winner: Inception
At the 82nd Academy Awards James Cameron’s Avatar breezed to an easy win in this category as well as a few other technical categories. This year Christopher Nolan’s visually inventive Inception is likely to have similar success. It is the only film in the category that is also nominated for Best Picture and it nearly swept the Visual Effects Society Awards, a major precursor for this category. Like last year’s Avatar, this and a few of the other technical award categories are likely to be the only places where the film is recognized. The Academy seems to view these as consolation prizes for generally respected movies.
4) Best Actress
Expected Winner: Natalie Portman – Black Swan
Last year the Supporting Actor and Actress categories were locked up very early in the Awards season and the two frontrunners stayed strong until the end. This year that seems to be the case in the lead acting categories with Natalie Portman having already won the BAFTA, Critics Choice, Golden Globe, SAG and about a dozen critics awards. Some pundits, notably Anne Thompson and Pete Hammond, are going on a major limb and predicting that Annette Bening has enough support within the Academy to pull off a major upset over Portman. Such an upset would be remarkable considering that no other actress than Portman has won any award of consequence this season and she has a great story to go along with her Oscar campaign – she fell in love with the movie’s choreographer and is now pregnant with his baby. Expect to see Portman on stage this Sunday with potentially a hint of a baby bump.
3) Best Actor
Expected Winner: Colin Firth – The King’s Speech
While a select few of the Gurus O’ Gold have deviated from the pack in the Best Actress race, not a single one would dare such a move in the Best Actor race. All 15 Gurus predict Colin Firth to take home the Oscar on Sunday and with good reason. Mr. Firth is nominated for his second Oscar in as many years and like Portman has already won the BAFTA, Critics Choice, Golden Globe, SAG and every other major award. Not only does he have the precursor support, but he is the star of the Academy’s darling this year as he represents one of The King’s Speech‘s 12 nominations. Firth is eloquent and charming in all of his public appearances and I am looking forward to the wit he will inevitably bring to his acceptance speech.
2) Best Animated Feature
Expected Winner: Toy Story 3
It’s only a matter of time before the change the title of this category from “Best Animated Feature Film” to “Pixar Commemorative Award” as the brilliant studio has won the prize five times in the category’s nine year history. The illustrious studio is poised to take home their 4th straight Oscar in this category as Lee Unkrich’s Toy Story 3 is set to receive the Oscar. The third and final installment of the Toy Story franchise is the highest grossing animated film of all-time and the only animated feature this year that has also been nominated for Best Picture. The other two animated films in the category have a lot of supporters, but it’s yet another year for Pixar.
1) Best Adapted Screenplay
Expected Winner: Aaron Sorkin – The Social Network
I don’t think that any voters of any of this year’s precursor awards realized that other screenplays adapted from other source material were written. Aaron Sorkin has taken home literally every single critics award, the Writers Guild of America award, the USC Scripter prize, the Golden Globe, the BAFTA, and everything else of consequence. I sincerely wish that the Academy would release vote totals for the awards because I would bet that Sorkin wins this category in a landslide.
What do you think are the easiest to predict categories at the Oscars?