Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Thursday, June 13, 2024
The 83rd Academy Awards - as predicted by The Daily Cardinal

The Fighter

The 83rd Academy Awards - as predicted by The Daily Cardinal

With the 2011 Academy Awards coming up this Sunday, Daily Cardinal senior film critics Riley Beggin and Mike Kujak, along with arts editor Todd Stevens, provide their predictions for who will go home with the little gold men, who got unjustly snubbed and how the horse race stacks up.

Best Picture

With 10 films now nominated for best picture for the second year, one rule that should work most of the time is discount any movie that doesn't have a best director nomination. That rules out ""Toy Story 3,"" ""Winter's Bone,"" ""127 Hours,"" ""The Kids Are All Right"" and ""Inception,"" since the Academy appears to irrationally loath Christopher Nolan. ""Black Swan"" can probably be ruled out as well, since Academy voters don't tend to choose films that freak them out for their top award, and while ""The Fighter"" has a lot of love for its actors, it hasn't gained any major support from any of the precursors. An intriguing sleeper is ""True Grit,"" which unexpectedly earned a ton of nominations, but all the momentum is with ""The King's Speech"" and ""The Social Network."" And though ""The Social Network"" will almost certainly stand the test of time better, ""The King's Speech"" won the big awards from the actors, producers and directors guilds, and those are the awards that historically match up best with the Oscars. Look for the Brits to dominate the stage yet again on Sunday night. 

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Daily Cardinal delivered to your inbox

–– Todd Stevens

Best Director

Every name on this list deserves an award, so you have to get very picky. However, each film besides ""Black Swan"" and ""True Grit,"" could survive without exceptional direction. The Coens just experienced a bunch of success with ""No Country for Old Men,"" so that leaves Darren Aronofsky for ""Black Swan."" Its weakness in its script is held up by Aronofsky's decisions and he's in the middle of a great career. Based on history, I think he'll win. ""The Social Network"" director David Fincher may be the favorite in Vegas, but what's the fun of Oscar picks if you don't take some risks? Of course, Tom Hooper (""The King's Speech) is a commanding sleeper pick (and DGA winner) who wouldn't be much of a surprise if he took it home. As far as snubs go, I'd argue that the biggest was Edgar Wright for ""Scott Pilgrim vs. the World."" The Oscars usually ignore comedies, but when you look back years from now and ask what style of direction was most influential to comedy, Wright's name will be the first mentioned. 

–– Mike Kujak

Best Actress

Poor Annette Bening. She's one of the most talented actresses without an Oscar, but every year she gets nominated, Hilary Swank sweeps in and steals the award away from her. Bening doesn't have to compete with Swank this year, but she does have the misfortune of running against the most talented best actress crop in years, including odds-on favorite Natalie Portman in ""Black Swan"", who definitely deserves the Oscar for her incredibly raw performance. Bening looks to go empty-handed once again, but she'll have good company. Michelle Williams turns in a heartbreaking performance in the relationship drama ""Blue Valentine,"" while newcomer Jennifer Lawrence showed maturity beyond her years in ""Winter's Bone."" And Nicole Kidman––well, she's Nicole Kidman. Her work in ""Rabbit Hole"" is as good as anything she's ever done. So don't despair Annette, you'll win eventually. Just not this year. 

––Todd Stevens

Best Actor

This year's lineup of best actor nominees has heavy competition—almost any of them could carry away the Oscar. Rising above the rest is Colin Firth in ""The King's Speech,"" who gives a masterful performance as King George VI. His acting conveys the challenges and depth of human relationships under intense pressure. An unlikely runner up is Javier Bardem in""Biutiful."" Although not super publicized, Bardem's performance is incredibly powerful, characterizing the film itself. Jesse Eisenberg in ""The Social Network"" and James Franco in""127 Hours"" did stunning work in their own roles, but the challenges faced in portraying their characters don't quite stand up to Firth's. As for Jeff Bridges, although he succeeded in his ""True Grit"" performance as the grisly Rooster Cogburn, he is undoubtedly overshadowed by Hailee Steinfeld, the 14-year-old powerhouse who delivered the real grit in the Coen brothers' film and who deserves the real recognition.

–– Riley Beggin

Best Supporting Actress

This is the category that most frequently delivers upsets. But as much as I would like to see one, it will be a stunner if anybody walks away with the gold statuette besides ""The Fighter""'s Melissa Leo for playing the film's family matriarch. I didn't care for her over-the-top cartoon villain performance, but she is a well respected veteran with a showy role and has the award all but in the bag. More deserving is her co-star Amy Adams, playing against type as Micky's rough-and-tumble girlfriend. But even better was Hailee Steinfeld of ""True Grit,"" who should have gotten a best actress nomination instead. Meanwhile, Helena Bonham Carter did well playing a rare sane character for her, the Queen Mum in ""The King's Speech,"" while Jacki Weaver was appropriately terrifying as a much better family matriach in the Australian crime drama ""Animal Kingdom,"" but this should be the Leo Show on Oscar night. 

–– Todd Stevens

Best Supporting Actor

No contest—Christian Bale in ""The Fighter"" deserves to win the best supporting actor category. His versatile and skillful performance as Micky's crack-addicted older brother and mentor was incredibly entertaining and served as the focal point for the rest of the film's cast to succeed in their own roles. Geoffrey Rush in ""The King's Speech"" is a close second, acting as the supportive friend and voice coach to King George VI. John Hawkes in ""Winter's Bone""and Mark Ruffalo in ""The Kids are All Right""are well deserved nominations, but not likely to succeed in the face of Bale and Rush. I'm surprised to see Jeremy Renner, in ""The Town,"" as a nominee—the role he played, as Ben Affeck's hotheaded best friend and partner in crime was trite and no groundbreaking accomplishment. His spot could have easily been filled with Andrew Garfield, who deserves to be recognized for his work in ""The Social Network."" 

–– Riley Beggin

Best Adapted Screenplay

Personally, it's an easy pick for me. I had extremely high expectations for Aaron Sorkin's ""The Social Network"" script coming into the film and it exceeded all of them. The film has a memorable quote around every corner. It is essentially a series of people sitting in rooms and talking. The script uses its words to fuel the movement of the entire story. That said, I don't think it's a great fit for adapted screenplay because Sorkin was writing it at the same time as the book was being written and he actually ""adapted"" very little. Of course, it's the best screenplay of the year, adapted or original, so it's what I'll be cheering f or. ""Toy Story 3"" has a very tight script and ""Winter's Bone"" is technically the best ""adaptation"" of the bunch, so both films are technically sleepers but I don't see the Academy denying Sorkin his glory moment here. 

–– Mike Kujak

Best Original Screenplay

Though it's not the most original of the bunch, ""The King's Speech"" written by David Seidler is almost certainly going to take this one because of its flawless execution and deserved inspiration. It shouldn't be a spoiler that the film ends in a speech. The film could have ruined it in so many ways yet somehow found a way to make it breathtaking without being sappy. It should win and it's the most likely to win. Every other heavy contender has something significant that disqualifies it. ""The Fighter"" is great but it plays it a bit safe. ""Inception"" is fun and popular but the first two acts are exposition and quite boring after repeated viewings. As for ""The Kids Are All Right,"" it was lucky to get the nomination as it has tonal issues the Academy probably won't ignore.

–– Mike Kujak

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Daily Cardinal has been covering the University and Madison community since 1892. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Daily Cardinal