You've Got Unfinished Business, Sweetie
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 ...it'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 Atwoodalthough, 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.