The 83rd Annual Academy Awards: predictions and picks

This Sunday brings the 83rd Annual Academy Awards, and with it, all the hype Hollywood has to muster. Here are The State Press’ predictions and picks for the night’s big winners. Catch the Oscars — hosted by Anne Hathaway and James Franco — at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 27, on ABC.

Best Picture

While all of the 10 Best Picture nominees are terrific, only two of them stand a chance at winning Oscar’s top prize. For a long time it appeared that David Fincher’s “The Social Network” was bound to be declared Best Picture of the year, dominating virtually every critic award, including the Golden Globe.

Matters took an unexpected turn on Oscar nomination morning however, when “The King’s Speech” led the pack with a total of 12 nominations. Since then the film has won the Directors Guild of America, Producers Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild awards.

With the most nominations and three major predecessor award wins, it’d be a safe bet to say that “The King’s Speech” will be crowned Best Picture on Oscar Sunday, but “The Social Network” could still pull an upset — which I’m rooting for. “The Social Network” is by far the more relevant, more profound, more timeless and more entertaining of the two pictures.

In recent years the Academy has been steering away from conventional Oscar winners and selecting bolder choices — “The Hurt Locker,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Crash” and “The Departed,” to name a few. This year I hope the Academy continues this streak by awarding “The Social Network” Best Picture over “The King’s Speech.”

That said, is “The Social Network” my personal selection to win Best Picture? No. As much as I love that film, my favorite movie of the year was Pixar’s “Toy Story 3.” No film released in 2010 touched or enthralled me as much as this wonderful animated feature. Alas, the odds of that happening are about as likely as Rob Schneider receiving a lifetime achievement Oscar.

What Will Win: “The King’s Speech”

My Preference: “Toy Story 3”

Best Actor

If there’s one sure bet this year, it’s that Colin Firth will win Best Actor for “The King’s Speech.” Firth completely deserves to be engraved as an Oscar-winner for his exceptional portrayal of George VI, the stammerer who would be king.

Who Will Win: Colin Firth for “The King’s Speech”

My Preference: Colin Firth for “The King’s Speech”

Best Actress

It will be a criminal injustice if Natalie Portman doesn’t win for her fearless and haunting performance in “Black Swan.” Some Oscar analysts have been predicting Annette Benning to pull an upset for her splendid work in “The Kids Are All Right.” Benning is one of our finest actresses and is overdue for an Oscar. As far as I’m concerned though, Portman delivered nothing short of the best female performance of the 21st century. If she doesn’t win, I will throw a wine cooler at my television set.

Who Will Win: Natalie Portman for “Black Swan”

My Preference: Natalie Portman for “Black Swan”

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale should finally diminish his underrated status by winning for his risky and energized performance in “The Fighter.” Geoffrey Rush winning his second Oscar for “The King’s Speech” isn’t out of the question though. If Rush were to win then you can pretty much count on a “The King’s Speech” sweep.

Who Will Win: Christian Bale for “The Fighter”

My Preference: Christian Bale for “The Fighter”

Best Supporting Actress

Mellissa Leo is currently the frontrunner here, winning numerous awards for her role in “The Fighter” and giving memorable acceptance speeches. But I’m going to go out on a limb and predict Hailee Steinfeld for her breakthrough performance in “True Grit.” While this may just be wishful thinking on my behalf, Steinfeld actually has a lot going for her. Among the five nominated supporting actresses, Steinfeld is the only one that truly had the leading role. Younger actresses have tended to pull upsets in this category in the past, such as Anna Paquin for “The Piano” and Tatum O’Neal in “Paper Moon.”

Who Will Win: Hailee Steinfeld for “True Grit”

My Preference: Hailee Steinfeld for “True Grit”

Best Director

Seeing how “The King’s Speech” is pretty much destined to win Best Picture, Tom Hooper has a strong chance at winning Best Director. Nevertheless, I’m predicting a split between the two categories this year with Best Director going to David Fincher for “The Social Network.” Fincher, who was previously nominated for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” is overdue for this award. In “The Social Network” he delivered what is probably his most straightforward film to date and in many ways his best.

Who Will Win: David Fincher for “The Social Network”

My Preference: David Fincher for “The Social Network”

Best Adapted Screenplay

Even if “The Social Network” doesn’t win Best Picture or Best Director, the Academy will definitely grant Best Adapted Screenplay to Aaron Sorkin for writing the freshest script of the year.

What Will Win: “The Social Network”

My Preference: “The Social Network”

Best Original Screenplay

David Seidler’s witty screenplay for “The King’s Speech” seems poised to win here. For my money though, the most original and well-crafted screenplay in this category was Christopher Nolan’s “Inception.” Nolan pulling an upset would be overly justified and make up for his second Best Director snub.

What Will Win: “The King’s Speech”

My Preference: “Inception”

Best Animated Feature

What Will Win: “Toy Story 3,” without a doubt.

My Preference: “Toy Story 3”

Best Original Song

What Will Win: “If I Rise” from “127 Hours”

My Preference: “I See the Light” from “Tangled”

Best Original Score

What Will Win: “The Social Network”

My Preference: “Inception”

Best Cinematography

What Will Win: “True Grit”

My Preference: “Inception”

Best Art Direction

What Will Win: “Alice in Wonderland,” with a strong possibility of “The King’s Speech” or “Inception” winning

My Preference: Alice in Wonderland

Best Costume Design

What Will Win: “The King’s Speech”

My Preference: “Alice in Wonderland”

Best Film Editing What Will Win: “The Social Network”

My Preference: “The Social Network”

Best Visual Effects

What Will Win: “Inception”

My Preference: “Inception”

Best Makeup

What Will Win: “The Wolfman”

My Preference: “The Wolfman,” I guess. Anyone want to tell me why “Alice in Wonderland” wasn’t nominated here though?

Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing

What Will Win: “Inception” for both categories

My Preference: “Inception” for both categories

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