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Oscar Preview- Who will take home trophies?- By Emily Bishop

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For us movie lovers, Oscar season is a second Christmas. With film’s biggest awards ceremony coming, the Oscar ballot is being analyzed and debated as much as any other year. Here’s a look at what to expect at the Academy Awards after the red carpet is rolled out, including some of my own predictions.

Best Actor:
(Nominees- Colin Firth, The King’s Speech; Jeff Bridges, True Grit; James Franco, 127 Hours; Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network; Javier Bardem, Biutiful)

And the Oscar goes to…Most likely, Colin Firth, star of the critically acclaimed The King’s Speech.
Firth plays King George VI, also known as Bertie, who is suddenly thrust into the position of king during a torrential time in England. The only problem is that Bertie has a stutter that is hardly ideal for reassuring a nation.
While a role such as this is prime Oscar-bait, Firth will and should win because of his ability to perfectly fit this difficult role. He plays Bertie with earnest and a bit of frustration; on top of that, he manages to speak with a stutter that seems genuine, not mocking or even the slightest bit fake.
If Firth was not in this race, it would be much closer. James Franco gave a powerful performance in 127 Hours (more commonly known as: the movie where the guy cuts his arm off with a dull knife), and Jesse Eisenberg fantastically portrays the cocky, socially-awkward Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network.
In True Grit, Jeff Bridges’ Rooster Cogburn gives John Wayne’s Rooster Cogburn a run for his money, but it’s unlikely that Bridges will repeat his victory from last year, which was a best actor win for the film Crazy Heart (a back-to-back best actor win has only been done twice in Oscar history; Spencer Tracy in the 1938 and 1939 Academy Awards for Captains Courageous and Boys Town respectively, and Tom Hanks in the 1994 and 1995 Academy Awards for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump respectively).
Javier Bardem is the first actor to ever be nominated for an entirely Spanish-spoken role, but this year, the Oscar will most likely belong to Colin Firth.
Trailer for The King's Speech

Best Actress:
(Nominees- Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right; Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole; Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone; Natalie Portman, Black Swan; Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine)

And the Oscar goes to…if the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and Golden Globe awards are any indication, it will be Natalie Portman of Black Swan.
Portman won Best Actress in both of the aforementioned competitions. In Black Swan, the dark psychological thriller directed by Darren Aronofsky, Portman plays a ballerina whose goal is perfection and only perfection; her desire to be perfect is a catalyst for her transformation from an innocent girl into a psychotic dancer with amped-up sexuality and fury.
Portman’s role is certainly not a simple one, but she more than pulls it off. The Oscar will most likely belong to her. Portman’s only main competition is Annette Bening, who plays half of a lesbian couple in The Kids Are All Right. Bening gives a strong performance, and the subject matter of her film is definitely Oscar-friendly (see: 2006 Oscar nominee Brokeback Mountain), but seeing as Portman beat Bening in the SAG and Golden Globe awards, the outcome will most likely be the same in the Academy Awards.
While Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lawrence, and Michelle Williams all give excellent performances in their films, Natalie Portman is the front-runner in this category, and it looks like the only upset could be a victory for Bening.
Portman in Black Swan

Best Picture:
(Nominees- Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, The King’s Speech, 127 Hours, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit, Winter’s Bone)
And the Oscar goes to…it’s a close call, but it’s looking like The King’s Speech will be victorious.
Best Picture is undoubtedly the most prestigious award; it’s the last award of Oscar night, the award everyone talks about the following morning, the award followed by the lengthiest acceptance speeches, the award title every movie wants on the front of its DVD case.
There are ten nominees for this award, which started last year (previously, only five movies could be candidates for the Oscar, although in the early 30’s and 40’s anywhere from 8-12 films could be nominated).
This year, the race is mainly between The Social Network and The King’s Speech, both critically acclaimed films. The Social Network, with 9 total Oscar nominations, was one of last year’s biggest surprises; before its release, it was solely known as “the Facebook movie”, because many thought a movie that chronicled the invention of Facebook would be like a PBS documentary on the big screen. However, with its excellent script and superb acting, The Social Network is one of this year’s biggest Oscar contenders (it’s also up for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director for David Fincher, and Best Actor for Jesse Eisenberg).
The Social Network, however, has recently lost a lot of momentum coming into Oscar season; most of the major awards have been going out to The King’s Speech, which has a total of 12 Oscar nominations this year. The King’s Speech has lately been sweeping major awards; the Director’s Guild awards, Producer’s Guild awards, and SAG awards. A film that garners this many trophies close to Oscar season is usually a film that gets the Oscar trophy.
While the two frontrunners for Best Picture are both excellent films, many other critically beloved movies are nominated. The only major surprise in this category was the inclusion of Toy Story 3, an animated film that will most likely win, you guessed it, Best Animated Film; however, it is not much of a contender for Best Picture.
Trailer for The Social Network
Trailer for The Fighter
Trailer for The Kids Are All Right

Oscar Snubs!
The most glaring omission is Christopher Nolan, Inception. Although, arguably, many don't believe Inception is his greatest achievement, Nolan deserves a nom for Best Director; at least for compensation for all the other countless times he has been snubbed.
Also notable is the absence of The Town, a movie directed by and starring Ben Affleck. Jeremy Renner is up for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Town, but the fact that the movie was left out of the ten Best Picture nominees surprised many.

Other Likely Winners (and you can quote me on this):
Christian Bale (The Fighter) for Best Supporting Actor
Melissa Leo (also from The Fighter) for Best Supporting Actress
David Fincher (The Social Network) for Best Director
The Social Network for Best Adapted Screenplay
and The Kids Are All Right for Best Original Screenplay.

The Oscars air Sunday, February 27th.

Agreements or disagreements, anyone?

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