This year's Oscar nominees were announced this morning, with The King's Speech taking 12 nominations, and True Grit grabbing 10. The Social Network and Inception followed with eight noms a piece, in a year that offered up plenty of Oscar-worthy films.
Inception didn't garner any acting nods from Leonardo DiCaprio or Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who were both on short-lists since the film's summer release. Justin Timberlake and Andrew Garfield struck out with The Social Network, with lead Jesse Eisenberg the lone acting notice. Both films did get Best Picture nods though. Inception busted out of the summer and remained relevant into the fall, a key to Oscar contention.
We were kind of miffed that Armie Hammer from The Social Network didn't grab a mention for his dual role as the stern, spurned Winklevoss Twins in the film. You do know that that was one dude, right?
But it's not about who was nominated, it's who'll win that matters. We handicapped the odds on who should win, who will win, and who could be the surprise of the evening on February 27.
SHOULD WIN: Black Swan If voters are looking to send a message, Black Swan could very well take the top award. The small cast made the material sing, and everyone loves a good old fashioned dance movie.
The Kids Are All Right
WILL WIN: The King's Speech A win for this one would be a way to wrap up their presumed sweep of the evening.
COULD WIN: The Social Network If The Social Network wins, this movie's rep as the first great film of the decade will be sealed. It will also show us that the Oscars are finally in the 21st century if they can get past what could be perceived as a techie-and-faddish movie by the old guard.
Toy Story 3
BEST ACTOR Jeff Bridges, True Grit Javier Bardem, Biutiful COULD WIN: Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network People say this could be our first look at things to come for this generation's Dustin Hoffman.
SHOULD & WILL WIN: Colin Firth, The King's Speech It's almost a given that Firth is the man this year. Plus royal sagas are great Oscar fodder. James Franco, 127 Hours
COULD WIN: Annette Bening, The Kids are All Right We haven't seen Bening nominated since 2005's Being Julia, which the Academy could try to right in their minds with a win here. Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone SHOULD & WILL WIN: Natalie Portman, Black Swan This was one of the few movies this year that actually made me cringe and get the shakes, and it was all due to Natalie Portman's shattered portrayal of a ballerina in the depths of mental hell. Plus, that masturbation scene was well, you know...
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
WILL WIN: Christian Bale, The Fighter Voters overlooked The Machinist, where Bale also emaciated himself, but the story was too esoteric for them. The Fighter is pure Oscar bait. Look for Bale back in the running for Best Actor in a few years with his Nikola Tesla biopic.
Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are Alright
John Hawkes, Winter's Bone
COULD WIN: Jeremy Renner, The Town Every year needs a dark horse winner. A win here, following last year's lead nod for The Hurt Locker would signal his full membership into the Hollywood coven.
SHOULD WIN: Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech Geoffrey Rush is amazing in everything, even my pants. But seriously, it's too bad The Life & Death Of Peter Sellers was just an HBO movie. He owned that role.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
WILL WIN: Helena Bonham Carter, The King's Speech It will be a night for Black Swan and The King's Speech. This will erase any memory of Alice In Wonderland too. Melissa Leo, The Fighter SHOULD WIN: Amy Adams, The Fighter You can't argue with a screaming, sweaty redhead with a Bawstun accent, peckah-head. COULD WIN: Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit Sometimes it doesn't take much to thrill an Oscar crowd.
Jackie Weaver, Animal Kingdom
SHOULD & WILL WIN: Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan This is finally his year, after coming close with The Wrestler. A decade ago, Requiem For A Dream wasn't for the squeamish. In 2011, it would have cleaned up.
David O. Russell, The Fighter
Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
COULD WIN: David Fincher, The Social Network He did a pretty damn cool job on a film that could have been bloodless and very MTV, but he made it a Fight Club for the nerd set instead.
Joel & Ethan Coen, True Grit
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
SHOULD WIN: Exit Through The Gift Shop Yes, but who would except the award?
COULD WIN: Gasland Devious corporations going after rural lands in the Midwest in order to get natural gas. Could make a stellar fictional film down the line too.
WILL WIN: Inside Job It's like An Inconvenient Truth, but for like, money and stuff.