Notes from the Back Row 

Back row Oscar predictions

Let's get on with it and over with it. Whether you enjoy watching the Academy Awards or think it's little more than a circle-jerk fashion show invented to sell more movie tickets, there's no doubt that once the Oscars are over the quality of films released generally goes way up. As always, I am making my predictions based on the nominated movies I have seen, which is never all of them, but many of the Academy voters operate the exact same way so here we go.

I've already called for The King's Speech lead Colin Firth to win Best Actor and Black Swan 's Natalie Portman for best Actress. There is a rumbling that Annette Bening might be the upset for her hard-drinking lesbian role in The Kids Are All Right but I doubt it.

For Best Supporting Actor, Christian Bale goes way over the top playing a cracked-out ex-boxer in The Fighter and I think his commitment deserves the golden statue. Geoffrey Rush is the favourite though, for The King's Speech , because many of the Oscar voters are as old as petrified dirt and things like crack junkies make them uncomfortable.

Toy Story 3 will mostly likely net Pixar their eighth Best Animated Feature award since 2001. That's quite a run. Toy Story 3 is also up for Best Picture (it won't win though).

Best Documentary is a tough one because very few of the nominated flicks get wide release. I hope Exit Through the Gift Shop wins. It was one of the best films of the year but since no one even knows who renegade graffiti artist/director/shit disturber Banksy really is, things could get interesting.

Best Music (Original Score) is never easy to call but Hans Zimmer's Inception score struck a nerve with filmmakers everywhere and deserves the win.

Best Original Song might just go to Country Strong because the academy loves Gwyneth Paltrow's pedigree and no one expected her to be able to sing so well. (Plus she killed it with Cee-lo and the Muppets at the Grammy Awards. Winning an Oscar is as much about how hard you campaign as how good you actually are.)

Best Adapted Screenplay - This is a close race but The Social Network should win because the dialogue has that old-school, zippy, back-and-forth thing going reminiscent of Hollywood's golden era.

Best Original Screenplay is also very tight. The King's Speech might take it but I think The Fighter was right up there too, the academy probably won't back a boxing movie though because sports movies have a built-in cliché structure and even if you don't follow the formula the fact that everyone knows it's there makes things a bit easier.

Alice in Wonderland should win for Best Costumes, Inception deserves Best Visual Effects. It was a crappy year for make-up but Barney's Version is the favourite, although I hate Paul Giamatti so I hope The Wolfman wins.

Best Cinematography is also tricky to say because when cinematography is really good you often don't even notice. The swooshing steadicam dance scenes in The Black Swan really worked well but I think The Social Network deserves the win.

Best Director and Best Picture should be one and the same but the Academy generally treats the former as runner-up for the latter. I think David Fincher might take Best Director and The King's Speech walks with Best Picture - the old farts in the Academy love period pieces. Dark horses are True Grit and Danny Boyle's 127 Hours, the latter because it's tough to wring 90 interesting minutes out of one guy stuck in one place.

And that's it. Enjoy the show. Smoke 'em if you got 'em.




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