Filming location for spaghetti westerns in Almería, Spain

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© 1987-2016
Scott Larson

Building façade in Cannes, France

My 2011 Academy Award Predictions (for movies released in 2010)

I think Vice-President Joe Biden said it best. Melissa Leo winning an Oscar was a big, uh, deal. Actually, anyone winning an Oscar is a big deal. Certainly for that person. Congratulations to all the winners. But Steven Spielberg, in preparing to announce the winner of Best Picture, put things into perspective by listing some of the great movies that had won the Best Picture Oscar and then listing some of the great movies (including Citizen Kane and Raging Bull) that were nominated but didn’t win. He could have gone yet another step and listed some really great movies that weren’t even nominated. But the motion picture academy might not appreciate that much reality checking.

This year I’m not all that ashamed (for once) of my own predictions. But the reality is that this was a fairly predictable year. And, if I did not have a custom of arbitrarily freezing my predictions just days after the nominations are announced, I probably could have gotten near 100 percent accuracy, since the buzz clearly had things moving away from The Social Network and toward The King’s Speech.

Indeed, it’s somewhat amazing how much audiences have come to take The King’s Speech to their hearts. I have heard British radio journalists reporting that cinema audiences have regularly been bursting into applause at the end of the movie—perhaps stirred by the applause going on in the movie itself. Even more strange, there have been reports of this happening in Dublin cinemas. The idea of the Irish applauding a movie about a British king is, well, somewhat new. And just last week in a Galway cinema I saw a huge movie poster hanging from the ceiling that featured nothing but a close-up of Colin Firth and the words “God Save the King.” I’m guessing that it hasn’t been many years since that such a poster wouldn’t have lasted very long in such a location.

Personally, I was pleased that I managed to stay up until 4:45 a.m. for the whole thing—despite a series of short nights during the preceding week. The “excitement” of the telecast certainly didn’t help. It’s too bad that Helena Bonham didn’t have a chance. At least her speech would have been something memorable. In the end, I wound up going for the traditional scotch. I eschewed the martinis since I hadn’t the energy to go looking for olives. [Related commentary]


Most Likely to Win

Most Deserving to Win

Reality Check

Best Picture

The Social Network

The King’s Speech

Best Actor

Colin Firth (The King’s Speech)

James Franco (127 Hours)

Best Actress

Natalie Portman (Black Swan)

Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone)

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale (The Fighter)

Christian Bale (The Fighter)

Best Supporting Actress

Melissa Leo (The Fighter)

Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)

Best Director

David Fincher (The Social Network)

Joel & Ethan Coen (True Grit)

Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech)

Best Original Screenplay

David Seidler (The King’s Speech)

David Seidler (The King’s Speech)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network)

Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy (127 Hours)

Best Animated Feature

Toy Story 3

The Illusionist

Best Foreign Language Film

Biutiful (Mexico)

Hors-la-loi (Algeria)

Civilization (Denmark)

Total Scores

7 times the odds makers were happy

3 times I was happy

2 times various Europeans were happy