Film

The Academy Award Nominations 2011

Having won a total of £90 in Oscar bets last year, Nat Horne reveals which nominees it’s worth putting your money on.

It’s that time of year when all the guys and gals of the film industry get together to pat each other on the back with awards and subsequent parties. Both the Oscars and the BAFTAs have released their list of nominees to represent the best achievements of filmmaking in 2010. Having won a total of £90 in Oscar bets last year, I reveal which nominees it’s worth putting your money on.

Best Picture: Both the academy and BAFTA have selected Darren Aronofsky’s brilliant thriller Black Swan as well as David Fincher’s Facebook film The Social Network. The token period drama spot goes to The King’s Speech with mind-blowing blockbuster Inception and the latest Coen Brothers’ movie True Grit also in contention for the top award. The Oscars go for 10 nominees as opposed to 5, and they have graciously nominated Toy Story 3, The Fighter, the inspirational 127 Hours and two indie-darlings The Kids Are All Right and Winter’s Bone. Having not seen The Fighter or True Grit, the other eight films are all fantastic. The Social Network is the clear favourite at the moment, but the Producers’ Guild selected The King’s Speech as the film of the year, so there is a slight chance of an upset.

Who to put your money on: The Social Network

Best Leading Actor: Colin Firth is almost certain to win the Oscar for The King’s Speech, having come so close with last year’s A Single Man. He is likely to win the BAFTA too, but seeing as he already owns one, could one of his fellow nominees provide us with an upset? He is surprisingly the only Brit to be nominated this year, up against some brilliant international competition in the form of James Franco (127 Hours), Jesse Eisenberg (Social Network), Jeff Bridges (True Grit) and the extraordinary Javier Bardem (Biutiful).

Who to put your money on: Colin Firth

Best Leading Actress: After training in ballet for several months as well as losing 20 pounds for her role in Black Swan (not to mention giving a beautifully vulnerable performance), it seems only right for Natalie Portman to win the Best Actress award. She will have to beat veteran Annette Bening (The Kids…) though, whose work really was something special. BAFTA have chosen to give Bening’s co-star Julianne Moore a nod, as well as 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) and Noomi Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). The Oscars, on the other hand have put Portman and Bening up against Jennifer Lawrence’s awesome debut in Winter’s Bone, Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine) and yet another stellar turn from Nichole Kidman (Rabbit Hole). No matter who wins, the Best Actress speech is always a fun one to watch (see Halle Berry’s ridiculous display in 2002).

Who to put your money on: Natalie Portman

Best Supporting Actor: Christian fucking Bale! The man has deserved every award available since American Psycho and he is finally going to get them for his (supposedly) mesmerising portrayal of boxer-turned-crack-addict Dicky Eklund in The Fighter. Geoffrey Rush’s speech therapist (guess which film) and Mark Ruffalo’s sperm donor (The Kids Are…) are also in competition for the award. BAFTA have chosen rising star Andrew Garfield (Social Network) in the first of what is bound to be a career full of nominations, and they have also paid tribute to the late, great Pete Postlethwaite for his chilling role in The Town. The Academy have swapped Garfield for John Hawkes’ cold and calculated hillbilly in Winter’s Bone, whereas their Town nomination has gone to Jeremy Renner, nominated for The Hurt Locker last year.

Who to put your money on: Christian Bale

Best Supporting Actress: This award is actually very open. Amy Adams (Fighter) and Helena Bonham Carter (King’s Speech) are the only ones nominated for both the British and American award. BAFTA have gone for Lesley Manville (Another Year), Miranda Richardson (Made in Dagenham) and, in a very good call, Barbara Hershey’s near-psychotic mother in Black Swan. The Oscars, on the other hand, have nominated Melissa Leo (Fighter), Hailee Steinfeld (for some crazy reason the Academy have a rule against child actors being in the lead category), and have chosen to honour Australian actress Jackie Weaver, whose performance in Animal Kingdom (released over here on the 25th Feb) has received much acclaim. Leo was the favourite to win this award, but the fact that BAFTA didn’t even nominate her does harm her chances.

Who to put your money on: Melissa Leo (Oscar), Lesley Manville (BAFTA)

Best Director: Joining Tom Hooper (King’s Speech) are genius Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), who has finally been recognised after giving us such brilliant films as The Wrestler and Requiem for a Dream, and David Fincher (Social Network), who is also due for this award after directing Fight Club, Se7en and Benjamin Button. Brits have supported Danny Boyle (127 Hours) and Christopher Nolan (Inception), whose absence from the Oscar list has caused a lot of backlash from film fans. Instead, they have filled the last two spots with David O. Russell for The Fighter and the Coen Brothers for True Grit. All of these people deserve to win really, as they all did an amazing job crafting their films without one of them standing out over the other. However, awards organisations do have a habit of “owing a debt”.

Who to put your money on: David Fincher

The BAFTAs will be on BBC1 on Sunday 13th February (around 7:30) and the Oscars on Sky1, Sunday 27th February (midnight).

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