Achievement in directing

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

Who WILL Win: David Fincher – The Social Network

While Best Director and Best Picture often go hand-in-hand, we could conceivably see a split in this year’s Oscar race. Even if The King’s Speech takes the top award of the night, David Fincher could very likely still walk away with Best Director for his impeccable crafting of The Social Network – a movie that would’ve been downright boring in another director’s hands. Then there’s the dark horse in the Best Director race: Darren Aronofsky. While votes are sure to be split over Black Swan’s qualifications for Best Picture, there is no debate that Aronofsky’s direction of the film was nothing short of masterful. Star Natalie Portman may not be the only one to go home with a golden statue.

Who SHOULD Win: Darren Aronofsky – Black Swan

If the award was for creative approach, I would give it to David O. Russell for turning sports drama into something wonderfully fun and original in The Fighter. If the award was for visual splendor and comprehensive storytelling, I would give it to the Coens in a heartbeat. As it stands though, I’m going to have to pick Fincher and Aronofsky as the two most worthy directors of the year. Black Swan (as I said in my review) is a technical masterpiece in terms of direction – a work that uses CGI effects sparingly and effectively, while still employing a whole bag’s worth of old-school film techniques and tricks in ways that enhance the movie exponentially. What Fincher achieved was very, very good – what Aronofsky achieved was great, in my opinion… which is why he is the man who deserves the Oscar.

Best motion picture of the year

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

Who WILL Win: The King’s Speech (or The Social Network)

At this point the Vegas odds heavily favor The King’s Speech walking away with the big award this year. As our own Ben Kendrick said in his review, this film was built to be Oscar bait – from the inspirational story and period setting, to the performances of the actors involved (Colin Firth especially), this film seemed to be gunning for Oscar from day 1 – and will likely get its little golden man.

However, while The King’s Speech won the top award at the BAFTAs this year, it was David Fincher’s Facebook movie The Social Network which won the night at The Golden Globes. If there is any film that can upset a grownup period piece like King’s Speech, it would almost certainly be the youthfully-spirited and hyper-stylistic Social Network. All that remains to be seen is which side of the generational gap gets their movie validated by the Academy.

Who SHOULD Win: The King’s Speech

This is a tough one to call. Many of the films nominated for Best Picture this year either nourished the soul (King’s Speech, Toy Story 3, 127 Hours) or dazzled the eye (Black Swan, Inception). And of course, there were those films which simply told a unique and engaging story featuring some memorable characters brought to life by great actors (The Fighter, Winter’s Bone, The Kids Are All Right).

For my part, Best Picture is all about staying power; ten, twenty, years from now, we should be able to look back at a Best Picture winner and be just as happy with that choice as we were on Oscar night. I mean, how many people look back at the 1977 Oscars and still smile because Rocky won out over Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver? It’s the question of longevity that makes it hard for me to believe that The Social Network deserves the win as I’ve always felt the film has very limited long term appeal. Pixar and Chris Nolan are sure to make bigger and better films more worthy of Best Picture, and again, The Kids Are All Right feels more timely than timeless. True Grit and Winter’s Bone are simply great genre films, while 127 Hours and The Fighter were refreshing entries in worn-out sub-genres (survival drama and sports drama).

In the end, I think The King’s Speech has all the right ingredients to preserve it as the top choice for decades to come – you know, one of those “inspirational stories for the ages” that the Academy just loves to highlight. It’s a great film, so I won’t be mad if (when?) it walks away with the big Oscar of the night.

That’s it for our 2011 Oscar predictions – I’m sure there will be plenty to debate in the comment section, so let your thoughts be known!

If you plan to watch The Oscars this Sunday, then you should also join us here on Screen Rant for a live chat about the show. Oscar parties are always better when you have fellow movie buffs to share the experience with!

For more information on the films nominated, click any one of the tag links below.

The 83rd Academy Awards Ceremony airs this Sunday @ 8e/5p on ABC,

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