For a good portion of 2010, "The Social Network" seemed like the definite frontrunner. Along with sweeping every early award, it was a critic and audience darling. That's a rare find. Then suddenly, a little indie presented as a classic Best Picture came along and a truly interesting Oscar race was born. While there could be a slim chance of a "Social Network" upset, the royalty-ladden "The King's Speech," which took home the Producers Guild Award, will be this year's Best Picture winner.
Best Director: David Fincher (The Social Network)
Common sense might put Tom Hooper as winner here. He did win the Directors Guild Award, and his debut work on "The King's Speech" was so impressive that it might as well have been the work of an old pro. Yet, this year will be the rare year where the Picture and Director prize go to two separate films. This will be the year that David Fincher finally picks up his Best Director statue for his dark yet incredibly absorbing take on the tale of the creation of Facebook. Maybe now I can finally forgive the Academy for not nominating him for "Se7en" or "Fight Club."
Best Actor: Colin Firth (The King's Speech)
At this point, there's really no room for an upset. Colin Firth's moving and inspiring portrayal of the troubled King of England will finally earn this Brit his long deserved Best Actor Oscar.
Best Actress: Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
There is a small chance that Annette Bening could pull a surprise win here after a series of snubs. Though it looks more likely that once again she'll lose out to a younger actress (Hilary Swank beat her twice). Natalie Portman's devastating performance as a young woman going through a psychological breakdown will earn her her first Oscar.
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale (The Fighter)
Seriously, does this prediction even need justification? Bale's spot-on method acting as a crack addict and his climb to redemption are the kind of qualities the Academy always loves. Not to mention, he's got quite a few precursor awards. And the man actually deserves this honor. Shockingly, this is Bale's first Oscar nomination ever. It definitely won't be his last nomination, or win, ever though.
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo (The Fighter)
There is a big chance that Hailee Steinfeld's stellar work in "True Grit" could make her one of the youngest Oscar winners ever. Though this year, with SAG on her side, and a snub in the past ("Frozen River"), Leo looks like the likely winner for her unforgettable performance as Mickey Warde's controlling, yet loving, mother. Honestly though, the Academy should've just given her a joint nomination with every single of the crazy sisters.
Best Original Screenplay: David Seidler (The King's Speech)
This is a tough one. "Inception" took the WGA award, though the Academy's lack of love for Christopher Nolan could be an obstacle here. "The Kids Are All Right" could score this for being funny, warm, and socially groundbreaking. Even the smart character work of "The Fighter" has a nice chance here. Though in the end, it looks most likely that the Academy will also crown its Best Picture winner with the best writing. For making the past seem so alive and entertaining, Seidler deserves a little recognition.
Best Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network)
No contest. Aaron Sorkin took the story of Facebook and made it both accessible and entertaining. It has already produced some of the most memorable movie quotes of the young, new decade ("If you guys were the inventors of Facebook, you would have invented Facebook."). One could argue that the real reason that Sorkin is destined to win is that his screenplay has swept the precursors. That may be true. Though actually, anyone who can make an ending somehow comparable to Rosebud in "Citizen Kane" deserves any Oscar imaginable.
The Other Categories:
Best Documentary: Exit Through the Gift Shop
Best Animated Film: Toy Story 3
Best Foreign Language Film: Biutiful
Editing: The Social Network
Cinematography: Black Swan
Score: The Social Network
Song: "If I Rise"
Art Direction: The King's Speech
Costume Design: The King's Speech
Sound Editing: Inception
Sound Mixing: Inception
Visual Effects: Inception
Score: The Social Network
Makeup: The Wolfman