Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Quick picks to click at Sunday's Oscars

It will be hip and stylish versus prim and proper when the 83rd annual Academy Awards are unveiled Sunday night on ABC-TV.

That's because young stars James Franco and Anne Hathaway host the proceedings in an attempt to woo even younger viewers, and "that terrific Facebook movie," better known as "The Social Network," really will have a legitimate face-off with "The King's Speech," an equally fine film about the stuttering woes of Queen Elizabeth's dad, King George VI.

Expect the latter, buoyed by insurmountable awards momentum from the Producers Guild, Directors Guild and even the Screen Actors Guild in recent weeks, to rule the night. Thus, by George, it is decreed and predicted here that the Oscars go to:

Best Picture: “The King's Speech," followed by an equally royal acceptance speech.

Best Director: David Fincher, "The Social Network," spoils the British tea party with his many friends voting him past talented Tom Hooper (“The King's Speech").

Best Actor: Colin Firth, "The King's Speech," the one for-sure victory of the evening, that is, unless host Franco ("127 Hours") pulls a fast one. (Just kidding!)

Best Actress: Natalie Portman, “Black Swan.” However, don't be stunned if Annette Bening ("The Kids Are Right") tiptoes away with a win.

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, "The Fighter," with Geoffrey Rush ("The King's Speech") breathing down his neck.

Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, ”The Fighter," but there's this nagging feeling that young Hailee Steinfeld ("True Grit") could produce the night's biggest surprise.

Best Original Screenplay: David Seidler, “The King's Speech,” in another breeze.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, "The Social Network," the only definite win for my personal choice as 2010's best film.

Best Documentary Feature: “Inside Job” in a second straight only so-so year for the genre.

Best Animated Feature: “Toy Story 3" and another easy victory for Pixar Animation.

Best Original Score: Akron's Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, "The Social Network," to edge Alexandre Desplat, "The King's Speech, in perhaps the closest call on the board.

Best Original Song: ”If I Rise," "127 Hours," in a category that few really care about anymore.

Best Foreign Language Film: “Incendies," a stunning French-Canadian film that deserves anything that comes its way, upsets Denmark's "In a Better World."

Bonus Picks to complete Oscar-pool sheets everywhere: "Inception" in various craft categories: art direction, sound editing, sound mixing, visual effects, and only solid Roger Deakins from "True Grit" likely standing in its way for best cinematography.

(On Friday, be sure to look for my review of "Hall Pass," as well as a Q&A with star Owen Wilson at Sun News and Criticshoice.com.)

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