Ebert’s Oscar predictions
By Roger Ebert Film Critic February 3, 2011 10:12PM
This combination of file photos provided by the film studios listed below shows the nominees for best actress in the 77th annual Academy Awards. From left are: Hillary Swank in "Million Dollar Baby," provided Warner Bros. Pictures; Imelda Staunton in "Vera Drake," provided by Fine Line Features; Annette Bening in "Being Julia," provided by Sony Pictures Classics; Kate Winslet in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," provided by Universal Studios and Catalina Sandino Moreno in "Maria Full of Grace," provided by Fine Line Features. The nominations for the Feb. 27th Academy Awards ceremony were announced Tuesday morning, Jan. 25, 2005, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo)
Updated: February 10, 2011 9:49PM
Like all film critics, I wait until the last possible moment to make my annual Academy Awards predictions. I ask around, I read, I ponder. I’ll do that again this year. But today I’m making my GUESSES, so you can have a shot at outguessing me in our $100,000 Outguess Ebert Contest.
The 100 grand is being put up by Mubi.com, which calls itself an online art theater and streams from a library including most of the usual titles but emphasizing the kinds of art, foreign, festival and indie films you might not find elsewhere. Co-sponsoring the contest are my new TV show, “Ebert Presents at the Movies,” the Chicago Sun-Times and rogerbert.com.
I have little confidence in my guesses. I may know less than some of you. Winners get a share of the prize money and free three-month subscriptions to Mubi.com. Only one entry per contestant. The competition rules and regulations are in the newspaper and all four websites.
A word of warning. I wouldn’t be surprised if half of these are wrong. Besides, you can’t outguess me if you agree with me. Here we go:
Best Picture: Conventional wisdom says “The King’s Speech,” which led the field with 12 nominations. A funny thing happened when the nominations were announced. “True Grit” surprised everyone by getting 10, and the Coen brothers appeared to edge out Christopher Nolan for best director. “True Grit” is gaining momentum at the box office, and I have a sixth sense it will win the Oscar.
Actor in a Leading Role: Jeff Bridges is unlikely to win two years in a row, so I’m guessing Colin Firth for “The King’s Speech.” Much of the effect of that film is identified with his performance.
Actress in a Leading Role: Natalie Portman in “The Black Swan.” It’s a strong performance, and besides, the Academy likes acting with a capital A.
Actor in a Supporting Role: Geoffrey Rush in “The King’s Speech,” without whom the picture is unthinkable.
Actress in a Supporting Role: Hailee Steinfeld in “True Grit.” She actually has the leading role in the film, but stands a much better chance of a supporting Oscar. The Academy has a record in this category of choosing newcomers, especially plucky young women.
Directing: Given my Best Film choice and their track record, I’m guessing Joel Coen and Ethan Coen.
Writing (Adapted Screenplay): “The Social Network,” by Aaron Sorkin, widely seen as a brilliant piece of screenwriting, which effectively organized an apparently untellable story.
Writing (Original Screenplay): “Inception,” by Christopher Nolan, to amend for his lack of nominations for directing it and “The Dark Knight,” and because it was a really original piece of work.
Animated Feature Film: “Toy Story 3,” hands down. The year’s top money winner, much loved.
Art Direction: Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland,” don’t you suppose? Any director who gets to create Wonderland has won the jackpot.
Cinematography: “True Grit.” Roger Deakins and the Coen brothers took the classic elements of the Western and enthralled audiences who didn’t think they liked movies about people riding horses.
Costume Design: “Alice in Wonderland,” partly because few voters will have seen “The Tempest,” partly because any “Alice” is so much about the costumes.
Documentary (Feature): “Restrepo,” about a year in the lives of our forces in Afghanistan, an awesome achievement filmed in hazardous conditions.
Film Editing: “The Social Network,” because the writing and editing allowed an ungainly story to “tell.”
Foreign Language Film: “Biutiful,” although in this category the voters must see all the nominees, and sometimes films win after they’ve been seen by only that handful.
Makeup. “The Wolfman,” by the legendary Rick Baker and Dave Elsey. “Barney’s Version” did a great job of subtly aging the characters, but subtlety rarely wins in this category.
Music (Original Score): “The Social Network.” It was as driven as Mark Zuckerberg.
Music (Original Song): “Coming Home” from “Country Strong.” For once a character sang what was supposed to be a good song, and it was.
Sound Editing: “Inception.” I guess. Like a lot of viewers, I don’t consciously listen to sound editing.
Sound Mixing: “Inception,” for the same reason. But the overall winner tends to do well in these technical categories.
Visual Effects: “Alice in Wonderland.”
I haven’t seen or even heard of the nominees in these categories. To be guessing here would be like throwing darts. However, the contest rules say we deal with 24 categories, and I’m told it’s too late to amend the rules. So while making it clear I ACTUALLY AM throwing darts, I will pick the last entry alphabetically in each category:
Documentary (Short Subject): “The Warriors of Qiugang.”
Short Film (Animated): “Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)”
Short Film (Live Action): “Wish 143.”