It’s getting close to the end of the year and for movie fanatics like myself that means the Academy Awards talk is heating up. There is still a little over a month before the nominations are out, but I want to get the discussion started right now. When this category moved last year to accepting 10 nominations, many people thought it would be difficult for the Academy to find 10 truly great movies each year. I considered last year to be a down year for movies, but this year certainly isn’t. I could probably give 15 movies that might earn nominations. So without further to do, here are my picks for the Academy Award Nominations for Best Picture of 2010.
(note: when there is a star* next to the movie, it means I haven’t actually seen the movie and I am just going on predictions and what I have heard and read from other sources)
1. True Grit*
This movie comes out on December 23, and I can’t wait. The Coen Brothers have had a movie nominated for best picture in 2 of the last 3 years (A Serious Man last year, and No Country For Old Men won it in 2007) and this one is sure to get the nod. It’s a re-make of the 1969 western, and there’s nobody better to do in then the Coens. Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, and 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld make for an unforgettable cast. To quote the SlashFilm review, “Perfect everything. If you like the Coens, see it. If you like westerns, see it. If you don’t like the Coens or westerns, see it anyway because it’s that good.” The Coens are my absolute favorite filmmakers (Fargo, No Country for Old Men, O Brother Where Art Thou?, Burn After Reading, Blood Simple), and I am itching to see this one.
2. 127 Hours
Danny Boyle makes his return after bringing home best picture, director, cinematography, editing, music, sound, and screenplay with Slumdog Millionaire in 2008. Not an easy act to follow, but 127 Hours does it. It’s based on the true story of a hiker in Utah who gets his arm stuck between a rock and a hard place and has to cut it off with a dull knife. Boyle has the unique ability to make you feel like you are inside the movie. My arm started hurting while watching it. Great swooping shots of the Utah countryside and an unforgettable performance by James Franco make this an absolute can’t miss. Expect it to be up for a few more awards other than best picture as well.
3. The Social Network
Though I thought this film was slightly overrated, but there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be up for a nomination. David Fincher tells it like it is, and although Marky Mark Zuckerberg came out looking like a complete jerkface, Jesse Eisenberg portrays that jerkface flawlessly. My only complaint is this: It is too difficult to tell a story without an ending. The story was amazing, but the ending has no resolve. The story is still being written. That being said, this is a near perfect movie for having that limitation. It’s my pick to win Best Picture. Not because I think it is the best picture, but out of the top 3 in my book (Social Network, 127 Hours, True Grit), Fincher is the only director who hasn’t won an Oscar. And the other directors have won it in the last 3 years.
4. Black Swan*
This looks like the most intense movie of the year. Two incredible (and incredibly thin) actresses, Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis (who dropped down to 90 pounds for the role), along side Vincent Cassel in an extremely unique story about ballerinas who are competing agains each other, and against themselves. I can’t talk too much about it because I haven’t seen it, but it’s directed by Darren Aronofsky who also did Requiem for a Dream, Pi, and The Wrestler. Judging by those films, I don’t think this ballerina tale is going to be another Bring It On. Check out the intense trailer here. This movie is poised to make an upset. I wouldn’t be surprised if it won.
5. Shutter Island
I totally forgot this movie was even released in 2010. It came out in February, which seems like years ago. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, directed by Martin Scorsese, it’s a mental thriller about a detective who gets stuck in an insane asylum. It has great twists, good action, and also can be very scary at parts. Not your typical Scorsese gangster film, but he does a fine job in this action mind-screw.
6. Toy Story 3
This one has no chance of winning, but with the added 5 movies to the category last year, it seems the animated category is up for nominations. Up received one last year, and there’s no other animated movie that is in comparison with TS3 in 2010. Here’s some cool facts: Toy Story 3 is the first animated film ever to gross $1 billion worldwide. Sold over $100 million in DVD/Blu-Ray in the first 3 weeks alone. Most successful Pixar film ever and doubled the box-office income of the original Toy Story. This is a shoo-in for best animated feature, but little to no chance of winning best picture. Great film regardless, nomination probable.
This film by Christopher Nolan has the curse of being the highest grossing non-kid film of the year and really the only film in the top 10 money list that is in any Oscar talk at all. Leonardo DiCaprio stars in this internal mind thrill ride that will take you everywhere from the Arctic to inside your MIND. Exceptional acting overall, although I can’t get past seeing Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the kid in Angels in the Outfield. Probably the best film ending of the year for me, and I expect it to win best special effects and sound, but I really can’t see it winning best picture. It’s the big budget, big action, big story, big advertising, big talk, big director, big everything type of film that the Academy doesn’t usually favor. Just look at Avatar last year. Watch this hilarious Inception South Park parody.
Little nugget of information: the last film to win best picture after being in the top 10 money list that year was The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, which won a mind blowing eleven academy awards in 2003. Can’t expect Inception to win this category.
8. The King’s Speech*
I haven’t done too much research on this movie, but I think it’s going to be in there. This is going to be the An Education or A Serious Man of last year, which means it’s to be the least known movie of the nominations. The story about one of the King Henrys (not sure which one) and how he overcame stuttering to become one of the best speech givers of his time. It’s directed by Tom Hooper, whose a British director. And you probably haven’t heard of any of his other movies (Damned United which is very good, Longford, etc.), but he did do the John Adams TV series that my Dad loves. With an 8.4 on IMDb, 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, and 7 Golden Globe nominations, I think it’s a safe bet to put in the 10 nominations.
9. Winter’s Bone
I have to represent my state here. This is the chilling story about a young girl out to save her family. Set and shot in rural Missouri, Winter’s Bone gives one of the best performances by a lead actress I’ve seen in awhile. It has a chance to win, but it’s going to be very tough with how strong this year was. Expect nominations for Jennifer Lawrence for actress in a leading role, and maybe even John Hawkes for actor in a supporting role. The freakin’ film won the grand jury prize at Sundance, so you know it’s going to be getting some love. Check out my in-depth review here.
These last one is tough. I can’t decide between The Town, The Kids are All Right, and The Fighter.
10. The Fighter*
I literally had a review written out for The Town in this spot, but then did some research on The Fighter, and I had to change it. I’m taking my personal feelings about Christian Bale out of it, and saying this has to get the nomination. 8.2 on IMDb, 88% on Rotten Tomatoes, and nominated for 6 golden globes. I would love to see The Town be nominated, but it is the type of movie that won’t. And The Kids are All Right might have too weird of a plot to get recognition, though I’ve heard great things.
So there’s my Oscar Predictions wrap up. I think I did pretty good with it.
Check out this great video for clips from over 250 of this year’s films.
Agree or not, that is what I think I think.