Best animated feature film of the year
- “How to Train Your Dragon”
- “The Illusionist”
- “Toy Story 3″
Who WILL Win: Toy Story 3
Is there ever a time these days when Pixar DOESN’T win in this category? I’ll take a shot of tequila, wine and Tabasco sauce if the Academy doesn’t continue to dodge the bullet of giving an animated film Best Picture by giving Toy Story 3 this award. The film was a massive success critically and financially and the ending moved even the hardest people in the audience to tears. That’s pretty powerful movie magic being conjured by Pixar.
Who SHOULD Win: The Illusionist
While Toy Story 3 was moving for so many people, personally I’m beginning to worry that these Pixar films are getting to be a little bit formulaic. They make us laugh, they make us cry, they look gorgeous – the end. Judging on the basis of splendor, originality and wonder, I really think that The Illusionist deserves to walk away with the Best Animated Film statue – but that’s just me.
- “127 Hours” Screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy
- “The Social Network” Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin
- “Toy Story 3″ Screenplay by Michael Arndt, Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich
- “True Grit” Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
- “Winter’s Bone” Adapted for the screen by Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini
Who WILL Win: Aaron Sorkin – The Social Network
There’s a lot of good work nominated for this award, but I don’t think anyone is going to beat the electric sparks of Aaron Sorkin’s script for The Social Network. Sorkin took what many considered the height of boring stories – privileged Harvard kids fighting legal battles over a billion-dollar idea – and turned it into one of the most riveting movie experiences of the year. Oh, by the way, he did it pretty much exclusively through dialogue; you’ll find little-to-no actual action in The Social Network. Who knew that audiences could still be so responsive to two-plus hours of people talking?
Who SHOULD Win: Aaron Sorkin – The Social Network
127 Hours also turned a situation that would seem ill-suited for a movie (a dude trapped in one place for a long time) and transformed it into something much grander (a meditation on life and the human spirit). Toy Story 3 was an excellent homage to The Great Escape that also nailed the truth about our cycle of life and maturation while jerking tears from our eyes. Still, Sorkin definitely deserves this win – The Social Network was the portrait of our time in many ways, and had a structure that was truly unique and impressive. Plus, I don’t think any movie this year had better dialogue.
- “Another Year” Written by Mike Leigh
- “The Fighter” Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson, Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson
- “Inception” Written by Christopher Nolan
- “The Kids Are All Right” Written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg
- “The King’s Speech” Screenplay by David Seidler
Who WILL Win: David Seidler – The King’s Speech
The fan in me wants to say that Inception and Chris Nolan deserve some kind of recognition at this year’s Oscars, but I don’t know if I see it happening. Another Year was a real gem of a story, but I don’t think that film has mustered enough support for a win. The Fighter was wildly fresh in its approach to sports drama, but was based on real-life events, which dampers the whole “originality” aspect. No, I think this category is down to the unorthodox family drama of The Kids Are All Right and the unorthodox buddy picture that is The King’s Speech. It’s really a 50/50 between those two films, but I have a feeling King’s Speech will be on a roll – as in rolling over the competition.
Who SHOULD Win: Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg – The Kids Are All Right
Look, Nolan deserves some kind of recognition from the Academy, but many would agree that Inception‘s script isn’t his strongest work (flat characters, plot holes). Maybe The Dark Knight Rises will be Nolan’s Award-winner? (Fingers crossed!) The Kids Are All Right, meanwhile, managed to take a pretty unusual approach to exploring family ties and it didn’t pull any punches or shy away from the complex and sensitive material it was dealing with. Furthermore, never once did it devolve into a stereotypical or exploitative affair or become your standard formulaic piece of melodrama (see: The King’s Speech). That’s a pretty precarious balancing act to pull off, let alone pull off well. Give Cholodenko and Blumberg the Oscar, I say.