In just under a week (Feb 28 AEDST) at the Kodak Theatre, the winners of the 83rd Academy Awards will be announced. Here then are my final predictions in the major categories. Feel free to tell me who you think will walk away with a gold statuette.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
As much as I'd like to invoke the patriotic card, Jacki Weaver will not triumph here, but how great has it been to have her in the mix? Even though Melissa Leo (The Fighter) has won the lion's share of critics' awards, I don't think she'll win; she's not even the best supporting actress in her film (fellow nominee Amy Adams is!). I expect Hailee Steinfeld to win, to earn True Grit one of its few major prizes. Steinfeld really should be in Lead, but she's in Supporting and she gives the best performance of them all.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Geoffrey Rush's recent BAFTA win suggested to some that the tide which had swung in The King's Speech's favour was bringing everyone with it. Not that Rush would be undeserving but Christian Bale (The Fighter) is equally terrific. It is definitely between these two and I think Bale will win, but I'll be just as happy to be wrong and have Rush come away victorious.
As much industry respect as there is for Annette Bening, and however much people say "it's her time", it will be a shock if Natalie Portman does not win Best Actress for Black Swan. Her darkest, most demanding role to date simply cannot be denied. Maybe if they'd put Bening (The Kids Are All Right) in Support, where she belonged, the four-time nominee wouldn't be going home empty handed again.
If I had a house, I would put it on Colin Firth winning. The king is dead, long live the king! There isn't even a close-running spoiler, although if I had to pick one, I'd nominate Oscars co-host James Franco (127 Hours). The guy's everywhere at the moment and people seem to really like him. Of course, Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) would be a far more deserving usurper.
Everyone was stunned when Tom Hooper (The King's Speech) won the DGA's top honour a few weeks back, but in spite of how much the Academy supposedly loves that film, I'm sticking with David Fincher (The Social Network) to win.
If critics awarded the Oscars then The Social Network would win BP hands-down; the film has scooped every critics' award and guild pre-cursor to be one of the most awarded films in history. And yet, The King's Speech is considered the favourite to win. Some say because "it's the kind of the film the Academy likes", that it's a safe choice and feel good. But it's also a pretty darn terrific film. Then again, The Social Network is perhaps as close to a near-perfect film as we've seen in years. The Academy anointed both No Country For Old Men (2007) and The Hurt Locker (2009) when "experts" suggested those kinds of films couldn't win, so maybe TSN has a real shot? I'd be happy with either winning but I'll go with the momentum and tip The King's Speech.
Original Screenplay: Has to be The King's Speech but I'd love for The Kids Are All Right to get some love.
Adapted Screenplay: There can be only one: Aaron Sorkin for The Social Network. Hands-down the best written film in recent memory.
Animated Feature: Toy Story 3 is the highest grossing animated film of all time. It's also nominated for BP and the third and final film in a much-loved trilogy. Pixar won't be denied.
Best Foreign Language Film: Not having seen any of this year's nominees, and with no critical darling a la A Prophet or The White Ribbon (both of which lost out last year), I'll go with the Golden Globe winner In A Better World, although Inarritu's Biutiful does feature Best Actor nominee Javier Bardem and could sneak in.
Best Documentary: The smart money says GFC-related Inside Job will win but how cool would it be if street artist Banksy won for his mockumentary (or whatever it is!) Exit Through The Gift Shop? Probably not, since the Academy has asked that the identity-hiding artist not attend the ceremony should he be donning a mask. Oh, well.
What are your predictions? Who do you think will win ? Who do you want to win? Let me know, and by all means, feel free to disagree!