Only a few (less than 6) hours remain until THE biggest night in Hollywood kicks off with Anne Hathaway and James Franco. The Oscar's producers have made any number of changes this year, including a semi-narrative to give back-to-back awards cohesion, and of course, shorter speeches (although don't they promise that every year?). But before the night kicks off (I'm currently undecided as to whether I'll try and post live updates of the show), here are my final awards season predictions for 2010:
Predictions for the 83rd Academy Awards:
Best Picture: The King's Speech
It peaked at just the right time, and its guild sweep all but sealed the deal. It's historical, it has a feel-good aspect to it, it's serious, funny, charming, and smart, with a mix of the old and new (though mostly old). It's our Best Picture for 2010.
Best Director: David Fincher - The Social Network
For only the 7th (or is it 6th?) time in history, look for AMPAS to split its Picture and Director votes. Fincher's film was the early favorite, and he's more established than Hooper (not to mention that he's more known as an auteur of sorts). However, there's a chance that The King's Speech could sweep OR someone comes out of left field a la Roman Polanski and wins for something else (Aronofsky, perhaps?).
Best Actor: Colin Firth - The King's Speech
Like Nicole Kidman for The Hours in 02, Firth has the momentum of back-to-back nominations, with many feeling that he should have won last year for A Single Man. Franco has a chance here (sorry, everyone else), but expect Firth to ride the wave all the way to the podium.
Best Actress: Natalie Portman - Black Swan
The Aronofsky losing streak could finally end tonight if Portman takes it (Mickey Rourke and Ellen Burstyn lost to Sean Penn and Julia Roberts, respectively), which is almost certain. Like Firth, she faces a threat from a fellow nominee, Annette Bening, but odds are that AMPAS will favor its new prima leading lady in her (pregnant) moment of triumph. Pregnant, engaged, and Oscar winner? Nina Sayers would be proud.
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale - The Fighter
Like Portman and Firth, here's another award that's locked up pretty well. Geoffrey Rush is more of a threat than Bening or Franco, but odds are Bale will take home the trophy on his first nomination for his long and diverse (and weight-shifting) career.
Best Supporting Actress: Hailee Steinfeld - True Grit
They'll want to give the Coens' latest something (it landed 10 nominations, after all), and if it isn't going to be Roger Deakins' brilliant cinematography, it will be Ms. Steinfeld. Melissa Leo has taken most of the awards thus far, but - at least to me - has never felt as locked in as the rest. Steinfeld also has the Timothy Hutton factor in her favor, in that she's really a lead role placed in supporting, which makes her seem more "important" than the 4 other nominees, who really are in supporting roles.
Best Original Screenplay: David Seidler - The King's Speech
Best Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin - The Social Network
Best Editing: Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall - The Social Network
Best Cinematography: Wally Pfister - Inception
Best Art Direction: The King's Speech
Best Costume Design: Alice in Wonderland
Best Animated Film: Toy Story 3
Best Foreign Language Film: Biutiful [Mexico]
Best Documentary: Inside Job
Best Original Score: Hans Zimmer - Inception
Best Original Song: "I See The Light" - Tangled
Best Visual Effects: Inception
Best Make Up: The Wolf Man
Best Sound Mixing: Inception
Best Sound Editing: Inception