Chloe M. O'Connor | Layout, Illustration, and Freelance Design

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Oscars: Celebrating the best of 2010

I have the jitters and I can’t blame it on the caffeine. I just started my large vanilla almond black tea at Arsaga’s in Springdale and it’ll take at least 30 minutes for that to kick in. It must be that once-a-year feeling I get, usually in February but last year in March. Time for the Academy Awards!

This year, seeing as how I am no longer occupied with school, I’ve had more time than ever to really dive into the awards season and the build-up to the biggest night in Hollywood. The categories have no big changes (no 20 Best Pictures or 12 Original Songs, thank goodness!) but the announcements of the winners will most likely keep us on our toes. So we should dive right into the predictions, right?

Best Picture

Colin Firth in "The King's Speech"

Courtesy The Weinstein Company

Remember when there were only five nominees in this category? Last year’s switch to 10 pictures was lackluster, with several films in the running that really weren’t the best of the year. The difference this time: All the movies deserve the nods they received, and I argue that “The Town” should have been included. The only film I didn’t see was “127 Hours,” but I’m sure it belongs (and I can make a sound judgment March 1 when it’s released on DVD).

The film that resonated most with me was “The Fighter.” I can’t stop thinking about it and I saw it a month ago. “The Social Network” was the best film of the year when I saw it in December. But “The King’s Speech” will come away with the win because it is a solid story with spot-on acting. The color palette is beautiful and I cried for the last 10 minutes. That’s not always a sure sign of a winner but look at it this way: I cried watching “Slumdog Millionaire” and “The Hurt Locker” and they won Best Picture.

Will win: The King’s Speech

Should win: The King’s Speech

Achievement in Directing

David Fincher illustration

Courtesy Charis Tsevis

This six-man race is tight, and I say six-man because of the ever-present Oscar nominees Joel and Ethan Coen. Obviously all the directors made lovely films. I enjoyed each one. But the one director who turned a story about a website into a tale of deceit, lost friendships and the rise to the top of the Internet world was David Fincher for “The Social Network.” This could have been a boring film but it wasn’t, thank in part to Aaron Sorkin’s (Oscar-winning?) adapted screenplay. Mostly, though, it was the decisions Fincher made behind the camera that make this film deserving of recognition.

Will win: David Fincher

Should win: Christopher Nolan … snub of the century.

Best Performance by an Actor/Actress, Leading and Supporting Roles

Melissa Leo

Courtesy David Shankbone

I don’t see any surprises on the horizon, so expect the Leading Role awards to go to Colin Firth and Natalie Portman, respectively. I’d also be shocked if Christian Bale loses Supporting Actor. While some people are down on his over-the-top portrayal of non-fictional Dicky Eklund in “The Fighter,” let it be known that Bale was actually mistaken as the real Dicky while filming on location in Massachusetts. He knows exactly what he’s doing (like Lady Gaga).

However, since Melissa Leo tested out some “pimp” tactics to try to win Academy votes, her lead has shrunk. Will the voters ignore her misstep and look to her heavy but perfect performance in “The Fighter?” Or will the Oscar go to 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld, a charming, fresh-faced newcomer with acting chops? I hope Leo gets it for the sole reason that Steinfeld has many years ahead of her to perfect her craft, while Leo was there in 2008’s “Frozen River” but lost to Kate Winslet (and it was indeed Winslet’s time).

Will win: Melissa Leo

Should win: Melissa Leo

The rest of the soon-to-be best:

Animated Feature Film: Toy Story 3”

Art Direction: Alice in Wonderland”

Cinematography: True Grit”

Costume Design: Alice in Wonderland”

Alice In Wonderland

Courtesy Rafael Poveda

Documentary (Feature): Restrepo”

Documentary (Short Subject): Killing in the Name”

Film Editing: The King’s Speech”

Foreign Language Film: In a Better World” Denmark

Makeup: The Wolfman”

Music (Original Score): The Social Network”

Music (Original Song): We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3″

Toy Story 3

Courtesy Jerrod Maruyama

Short Film (Animated): Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)”

Short Film (Live Action): The Confession”

Sound Editing: Inception”

Sound Mixing: The King’s Speech”

Visual Effects: Inception”

Writing (Adapted Screenplay): The Social Network”

Writing (Original Screenplay): Inception”

Inception, Lego style

Courtesy Alex Eyler

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