Friday, February 25, 2011

You've Got Unfinished Business, Sweetie

If I were a paid blogger, Smurf would have had to take a hit on me weeks ago. So much unfinished business. I know the Best of 2010 blog entries stalled out three weeks ago with Lourdes and Greenberg, and I don't see when I'll be able to write eight more, so with a profound sense of anticlimax, I'm posting my whole, unannotated Top Ten of 2010. What you'll see if you click the link is the Top Ten among U.S. commercial releases, but another link in the same frame will reveal a Top Ten among world premieres, with very little overlap given how many of my favorite releases last year were holdovers from festivals in 2008 and 2009.

Thanks to everyone who responded to the Annette Bening and Jennifer Lawrence pieces. I'm nearly done with a Natalie Portman retrospective, so I'm not nervous about encouraging you to keep your eyes open for that. I also got caught up on the back catalogs of Michelle Williams and of current Supporting nominees Helena Bonham Carter and Melissa Leo, who have been Actress nominees in the past. When I'll generate those write-ups I can't quite say. There's also, of course, Nicole Kidman, whose back catalog I basically already knew, though I did investigate her first Globe-nominated turn in Billy Bathgate. When I'll look into Practical Magic, The Peacemaker, and The Invasion's even harder to say.

On the subject of Oscar commentary and predictions, I've been popping up at everyone's party except my own: this article I wrote with Nathaniel R. for Fandor's Keyframe Blog about the current Best Picture race, and Nathaniel's own Oscar-obsessed podcasts with Joe Reid of Low Resolution and Katey Rich of Cinema Blend. If you haven't read, please read! If you haven't listened, please listen!

As for proper predictions, I feel disinclined, but not for the reasons of profound annoyance I experienced last year. This time, I feel as though a lot of the winners seem pretty strongly fore-ordained: King's Speech, Firth, Portman, Deakins, Seidler, Sorkin, Wall & Baxter, Toy Story 3, and the Inception teams in Sound Mixing, Visual Effects, and despite a weaker case made by the actual film, Sound Editing. Other races feel nearly as sealed up for Fincher, Bale, and Atwood—although, just for shits and giggles, and because Winter's Bone (unlike, say, Animal Kingdom) is not a screener that I think AMPAS voters can feel okay about ignoring, and everyone seems to love John Hawkes, I'm going out on a limb to predict him over Bale, whose persona and performance are a bit more divisive, or Rush, who's already won. Please know that I'm as aware as you are that I'm probably wrong. But I like being wrong.

In the only categories left, I truly have no idea who will win, and for me personally, the least joyous aspect of current Oscar seasons is having so many Guild prizes, precursors, and voter interviews available, by which one could try to see the future. I miss the sense of joy I used to feel in predicting, but I miss the sense of surprise on Oscar night even more, and I'm not the sort of person who reads the end of novels before I finish the middle. So it's with a gleeful lack of credibility or information that I posit the following:

Supporting Actress: Leo, unless Weaver, unless Bonham Carter
Supporting Actor: Hawkes, unless Bale, unless Rush
Art Direction: King's Speech, unless Alice
Original Score: King's Speech, unless Social Network, unless Inception
Foreign Film: In a Better World, unless Biutiful, unless Outside the Law
Documentary Feature: Waste Land, unless Inside Job, unless Restrepo, unless Exit
Makeup: Way Back, unless Wolf Man, unless Barney's Version
Original Song: "I See the Light," unless "We Belong Together," unless "If I Rise"

I'll have one more bit of catch-up work to rush through this weekend, naming my favorites in the Oscar categories, but you'll need to give me a day on that. Otherwise, happy Oscaring, I hope you've had as much fun as I have cruising various cocktail recipes called "the Black Swan" online, and if you live in Chicago, go see Poetry at the Music Box this weekend! Based on Oasis and Secret Sunshine, and Cannes, and friend reports, it seems like it can't miss.

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Blogger Colin Low said...

I'm predicting for the first time ever this year, since I'll be attending my first-ever live Oscar party. I agree with most of your choices, except I'd pick:

- Hooper over Fincher, because unfortunately I'm seeing parallels with 2004, when the emotional movie swept fully past the technically brilliant "frontrunner". (Eastwood only became directorial royalty in that same year, too.)
- Steinfeld over Leo, because I feel like True Grit love will extend beyond just cinematography.
- Bale over Hawkes, though I agree that Hawkes is a more likely spoiler than Rush.
- Inside Job over Waste Land, for subject matter.
- Barney's Version over The Way Back, because when have they denied aging effects, even when they were digitized?

It's funny; I haven't seen most of these contending movies, which only makes it so much clearer for me that they'll win. We'll see if this hypothesis pulls through, but I'd be happier anyway if my predictions were wrong (especially for Fincher, Leo and Hawkes).

12:49 PM, February 25, 2011  
Blogger Robert Hamer said...

I had a feeling Dogtooth would clock in as the runner-up. Very disturbing, sometimes unbearably sick and twisted satire, but I can't deny its brilliance. Plus it swamps Inception in the WTF ending department.

1:24 PM, February 25, 2011  
Blogger James T said...

Thanks for the top 10! Blue Valentine is my no1 this year too, though I haven't seen that many films. But it would be hard for something to top that in my book/list.

Can't wait for you favorites in the various categories and especially the top actresses. I assume that would be accompanied by your ranking of the nominees but even if not, yet, I'm still very curious obviously.

Robert - Personally, I thought the last scene in Inglurious Basterds was more "unbearably sick" than anything in Dogtooth. But movies have made us think that that kind of violence shouldn't feel too upsetting...

6:34 PM, February 25, 2011  

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