Sonic Cinema

Sounds, Visions and Insights by Brian Skutle

Snooch to the Nooch!

Well, with the Oscars finally happening on Sunday, it’s now time for my final look at the nominees, and a look at my final predictions (all nominations listed in order of preference), and whether they’ve changed in the past month.

Before I get to the festivities, though, an update on where my Top 10 Best and Favorites for 2010 stand now.

Brian’s 10 Best Films of 2010
1. “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” (Edgar Wright)
2. “The King’s Speech” (Tom Hooper)
3. “Another Year” (Mike Leigh)
4. “The ‘Millennium’ Trilogy” (Neils Arden Oplev, Daniel Alfredson)
5. “Inception” (Christopher Nolan)
6. “Black Swan” (Darren Aronofsky)
7. “The Tillman Story” (Amir Bar-Lev)
8. “How to Train Your Dragon” (Chris Sanders & Dean Deblois)
9. “Exit Through the Gift Shop” (Banksy)
10. “Leaves of Grass” (Tim Blake Nelson)

Brian’s 10 Favorite Films of 2010
1. “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” (Edgar Wright)
2. “Inception” (Christopher Nolan)
3. “Toy Story 3” (Lee Unkrich)
4. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Part I” (David Yates)
5. “Someone Else in the Evening” (Edgar Muniz)
6. “Black Swan” (Darren Aronofsky)
7. “Shutter Island” (Martin Scorsese)
8. “Hot Tub Time Machine” (Steve Pink)
9. “Easy A” (Will Gluck)
10. “The Illusionist” (Sylvain Chomet)

Viva la Resistance!

Brian Skutle

Best Picture
“The King’s Speech”
“Black Swan”
“The Social Network”
“Toy Story 3”
“True Grit”
“127 Hours”
“Winter’s Bone”
“The Kids Are All Right”
“The Fighter”

Brian’s Top Five: “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”; “The King’s Speech”; “Another Year”; “The ‘Millennium’ Trilogy”; “Inception”; “Black Swan”; “The Tillman Story”; “How to Train Your Dragon”; “Exit Through the Gift Shop”; “Leaves of Grass”

Brian’s Pick: “The King’s Speech”

Oscar’s Pick: “The King’s Speech”. The Weinstein Co. did a superb job getting the word out on this great crowd-pleaser, resulting in $100 million gross and steamrolling past “The Social Network” as the front-runner for the big prize. Look for it to win against a truly excellent collection of nominees.

Best Director
Darren Aronofsky, “Black Swan”
Tom Hooper, “The King’s Speech”
David Fincher, “The Social Network”
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, “True Grit”
David O. Russell, “The Fighter”

Brian’s Top Five: Edgar Wright, “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”; Christopher Nolan, “Inception”; Darren Aronofsky, “Black Swan”; Mike Leigh, “Another Year”; Neils Arden Oplev, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”

Brian’s Pick: Darren Aronofsky, “Black Swan”

Oscar’s Pick: David Fincher. If “The King’s Speech” sweeps through the night, look for Tom Hooper to take home the gold. Otherwise, I still see “Social Network’s” Fincher winning his first Academy Award. Who thought we’d be saying that about the director of “Se7en” and “Fight Club?”

Best Actor
Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech”
Javier Bardem, “Biutiful”
James Franco, “127 Hours”
Jesse Eisenberg, “The Social Network”
Jeff Bridges, “True Grit”

Brian’s Top Five: Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech”; Javier Bardem, “Biutiful”; Joaquin Phoenix, “I’m Still Here”; Edward Norton, “Leaves of Grass”; James Franco, “127 Hours”

Brian’s Pick: Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech”

Oscar’s Pick: Colin Firth. Like the rest of the big categories this year, Best Actor is loaded this year. That said, Firth is a lock this year. And if you disagree, you haven’t seen the performance.

Best Actress
Natalie Portman, “Black Swan”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Winter’s Bone”
Michelle Williams, “Blue Valentine”
Annette Bening, “The Kids Are All Right”
Nicole Kidman, “Rabbit Hole” (Haven’t Seen)

Brian’s Top Five: Natalie Portman, “Black Swan”; Noomi Rapace, “The ‘Millennium’ Trilogy”; Jennifer Lawrence, “Winter’s Bone”; Julianne Moore, “The Kids Are All Right” & “Chloe”; Laura Benson, “Someone Else in the Evening”

Brian’s Pick: Natalie Portman, “Black Swan”

Oscar’s Pick: Natalie Portman. It’s true that Bening (who hasn’t won in three prior nominations) could still sneak in out of the “It’s Time” mentality that led to wins for Paul Newman (“The Color of Money”) and Denzel Washington (“Training Day”). Still, Natalie has a great deal of momentum with “Swan” and her recent rom-com “No Strings Attached” hitting at the box-office. And did I mention she’ll be in this summer’s “Thor?” Portman, in a career-best turn, wins gold.

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, “The Fighter”
Geoffrey Rush, “The King’s Speech”
Mark Ruffalo, “The Kids Are All Right”
John Hawkes, “Winter’s Bone”
Jeremy Renner, “The Town”

Brian’s Top Five: Christian Bale, “The Fighter”; Geoffrey Rush, “The King’s Speech”; Kieran Culkin, “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”; Andrew Garfield, “The Social Network”; Steve Carell, “Dinner for Schmucks”

Brian’s Pick: Christian Bale, “The Fighter”

Oscar’s Pick: Christian Bale. Rush can sneak in on a “King’s Speech” sweep, but I’d expect Batman Bale to win his first Oscar for his potent and dazzling performance.

Best Supporting Actress
Hailee Steinfeld, “True Grit”
Helena Bonham Carter, “The King’s Speech”
Amy Adams, “The Fighter”
Jacki Weaver, “Animal Kingdom”
Melissa Leo, “The Fighter”

Brian’s Top Five: Lesley Manville, “Another Year”; Chloe Grace Moretz, “Let Me In” & “Kick-Ass”; Hailee Steinfeld, “True Grit”; Mila Kunis, “Black Swan”; Celice de France, “Hereafter”

Brian’s Pick: Hailee Steinfeld, “True Grit”

Oscar’s Pick: Hailee Steinfeld. This tends to be a wild card category. Right now Melissa Leo has been the front-runner, and Jacki Weaver has snuck into the winner’s circle a couple of times this year. But I’d expect the young Steinfeld (who held her own with Jeff Bridges, no less) to win a big one for the Western smash “True Grit.”

Best Original Screenplay
“Inception” (Christopher Nolan)
“Another Year” (Mike Leigh)
“The King’s Speech” (David Seidler)
“The Kids Are All Right” (Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg)
“The Fighter” (Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson)

Brian’s Top Five: “Inception” (Christopher Nolan); “Another Year” (Mike Leigh); “Black Swan” (Mark Heyman, Andrew Heinz, John McLaughlin); “The King’s Speech” (Donald Seidler); “I’m Still Here” (Casey Affleck & Joaquin Phoenix)

Brian’s Pick: “Inception” (Christopher Nolan)

Oscar’s Pick: “The King’s Speech”. I’d love to see the Academy honor Nolan for his tight and taut script for “Inception” after he was snubbed for Best Director, but my gut is telling me to go with “The King’s Speech” in another major win for the Oscar front-runner.

Best Adapted Screenplay
“The Social Network” (Aaron Sorkin)
“Toy Story 3” (Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich)
“True Grit” (Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)
“127 Hours” (Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy)
“Winter’s Bone” (Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini)

Brian’s Top Five: “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” (Edgar Wright & Michael Bacall); “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” (Nikolaj Arcel & Rasmus Heisterberg); “The Social Network” (Aaron Sorkin); “Toy Story 3” (Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich); “How to Train Your Dragon” (William Davies, Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois)

Brian’s Pick: “The Social Network” (Aaron Sorkin)

Oscar’s Pick: “The Social Network”. At this point, the only sure thing for this critically-acclaimed drama about the creation and controversy of Facebook.

Best Original Score
“The Social Network” (Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross)
“Inception” (Hans Zimmer)
“127 Hours” (A.R. Rahman)
“How to Train Your Dragon” (John Powell)
“The King’s Speech” (Alexandre Desplat)

Brian’s Top Five: “The Social Network” (Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross); “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” (Nigel Godrich); “Black Swan” (Clint Mansell); “Inception” (Hans Zimmer); “Let Me In” (Michael Giacchino)

Brian’s Pick: “The Social Network” (Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross)

Oscar’s Pick: “The Social Network”. The conservative Academy rarely goes for truly “original” or innovative scores in this category (which would explain why Carter Burwell and Clint Mansell, both established composers for Best Director nominees whose work this year was disqualified through the use of existing works, have yet to be nominated), but unless Oscar goes for a “King’s Speech” sweep (bringing the gifted Desplat his first Oscar in four nominations) I think the experimental atmospheres Reznor and Ross created for “Network” will be impossible for Oscar to ignore.

Best Original Song
“Coming Home” from “Country Strong” (Bob DiPiero, Tom Douglas, Hillary Lindsey, Troy Verges)
“I See the Light” from “Tangled” (Alan Menken, Glenn Slater)
“We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3” (Randy Newman)
“If I Rise” from “127 Hours” (A.R. Rahman, Rollo Armstrong, Dido)

Brian’s Top Five: “Ramona” from “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” (Beck); “Shine” from “Waiting for ‘Superman’” (John Legend); “Mother Knows Best” from “Tangled” (Alan Menken & Glenn Slater); “Threshold” from “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” (Beck); “Coming Home” from “Country Strong” (Bob DiPiero, Tom Douglas, Hillary Lindsey, Troy Verges)

Brian’s Pick: “Coming Home” from “Country Strong” (Bob DiPiero, Tom Douglas, Hillary Lindsey, Troy Verges)

Oscar’s Pick: “Coming Home”. Could the Academy really go country two years in a row? Scenarios for each nominee winning exist, but I can’t see the heartfelt “Coming Home” not winning for the underrated “Country Strong.” It’s not as good as last year’s “The Weary Kind” (and “Country Strong” was not “Crazy Heart”), but it’s a moving anthem for the film.

Best Animated Feature
“How to Train Your Dragon”
“The Illusionist”
“Toy Story 3”

Brian’s Top Three: “How to Train Your Dragon”; “The Illusionist”; “Toy Story 3”

Brian’s Pick: “How to Train Your Dragon”

Oscar’s Pick: “Toy Story 3”. How much does Oscar love Pixar? This will be their fourth Oscar in a row in this category, even though Dreamworks’s “Dragon” was the superior film this year.

Best Foreign Language Film
“Biutiful” (Mexico)
“Dogtooth” (Greece)
“In a Better World” (Denmark) (Haven’t Seen)
“Incendies” (Canada) (Haven’t Seen)
“Outside the Law” (Algeria) (Haven’t Seen)

Brian’s Top Five: “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”; “Biutiful”; “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”; “The Girl Who Played With Fire”; “Vision: From the Life of Hildegard von Bingen”

Brian’s Pick: “Biutiful”

Oscar’s Pick: “Biutiful”. This has become a truly uncertain category to predict year in and year out; it’s even trickier when you can’t catch all of the films before Oscar night. Still, one would hope Oscar voters would be able to get Mexican New Wave director Alejandro González Iñárritu on the stage, even if they’ve missed opportunities in the past to reward either him or his fellow Mexican auteurs Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cauron.

Best Documentary Feature
“Exit Through the Gift Shop”
“Inside Job”
“Waste Land” (Haven’t Seen)

Brian’s Top Five: “The Tillman Story”; “Exit Through the Gift Shop”; “Waiting for ‘Superman'”; “Restrepo”; “The Art of the Steal”

Brian’s Pick: “Exit Through the Gift Shop”

Oscar’s Pick: “Restrepo”. There’s too much controversy about Banksy for “Gift Shop” to win. And though “Inside Job” could win because of continued economic outrage, I think the first-hand account of fighting in Afghanistan that’s depicted in “Restrepo” will win out.

Best Visual Effects
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I”
“Iron Man 2”
“Alice in Wonderland”

Brian’s Top Five: “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”; “Inception”; “TRON: Legacy”; “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I”; “Iron Man 2”

Brian’s Pick: “Inception”

Oscar’s Pick: “Inception”. I still don’t get why “Scott Pilgrim” and “TRON: Legacy” didn’t make the cut, but Best Picture nominee “Inception” has this one locked up for all those amazing sights.

Best Sound
“The King’s Speech”
“The Social Network”
“True Grit”

Brian’s Top Five: “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”; “Black Swan”; “Inception”; “Shutter Island”; “TRON: Legacy”

Brian’s Pick: “Inception”

Oscar’s Pick: “Inception”. Yes, juggling between all those rapid-fire dialogue scenes was impressive in “The Social Network,” but look for Nolan’s thriller to take a lot of these below-the-board categories Sunday night.

Best Sound Editing
“TRON: Legacy”
“Toy Story 3”
“True Grit”
“Unstoppable” (Haven’t Seen)

Brian’s Top Five: “Inception”; “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”; “TRON: Legacy”; “How to Train Your Dragon”; “Toy Story 3”

Brian’s Pick: “Inception”

Oscar’s Pick: “Inception”. “TRON: Legacy” could sneak in for its stellar sound design, but I’d expect this to be another win for “Inception.”

Best Film Editing
“Black Swan”
“127 Hours”
“The Social Network”
“The King’s Speech”
“The Fighter”

Brian’s Top Five: “Inception”; “Black Swan”; “Shutter Island”; “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”; “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”

Brian’s Pick: “Black Swan”

Oscar’s Pick: “The Social Network”. I still can’t believe “Inception” didn’t get nominated here. That said, while I can see “127 Hours” sneaking in for a win here, look for “The Social Network” to win for all those brilliantly cut dialogue scenes.

Best Cinematography
“Black Swan”
“True Grit”
“The King’s Speech”
“The Social Network”

Brian’s Top Five: “Black Swan”; “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”; “Inception”; “True Grit”; “The King’s Speech”

Brian’s Pick: “Black Swan”

Oscar’s Pick: “True Grit”. This, like so many categories this year, is a genuinely great group. But while “Black Swan” and “Inception” were better, expect master cinematographer Roger Deakins to finally win an Oscar after eight previous nominations.

Best Art Direction
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1”
“True Grit”
“The King’s Speech”
“Alice in Wonderland”

Brian’s Top Five: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I”; “True Grit”; “The King’s Speech”; “Black Swan”; “Vision: From the Life of Hildegard von Bingen”

Brian’s Pick: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I”

Oscar’s Pick: “The King’s Speech”. It’s tempting to go with “Potter” or the critically-lambasted “Wonderland” here, but Oscar loves period, and Best Picture front-runner “Speech” is pitch-perfect period.

Best Makeup
“The Wolfman”
“The Way Back”
“Barney’s Version” (Haven’t Seen)

Brian’s Top Three: “Let Me In”; “Black Swan”; “Vision: From the Life of Hildegard von Bingen”

Brian’s Pick: “The Wolfman”

Oscar’s Pick: “The Wolfman”. Rick Baker is a makeup master, and his work for the lambasted remake of the Universal classic was up to snuff for him. He wins almost by default.

Best Costume Design
“The King’s Speech”
“True Grit”
“Alice in Wonderland”
“I Am Love”
“The Tempest” (Haven’t Seen)

Brian’s Top Five: “Black Swan”; “The King’s Speech”; “Vision: From the Life of Hildegard von Bingen”; “True Grit”; “Agora”

Brian’s Pick: “The King’s Speech”

Oscar’s Pick: “The King’s Speech”. Another win for “Speech.” Do we detect a pattern here?

Here are the three awards those most devoted to movies care about. I haven’t seen many of these, so all these are just guesses.

Best Short Film- Live Action
“The Confession”
“The Crush”
“God of Love”
“Na Wewe”
“Wish 143”

Oscar’s Pick: “The Confession”

Best Short Film- Animated
“Day & Night” (Have Seen)
“The Gruffalo”
“Let’s Pollute”
“The Lost Thing”
“Madagascar, a Journey Diary”

Oscar’s Pick: “Day & Night”

Best Documentary Short Subject
“Killing in the Name”
“Poster Girl”
“Strangers No More”
“Sun Come Up”
“The Warriors of Qiugang”

Oscar’s Pick: “Poster Girl”

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