The Oscars: A Look at 2010’s Nominees in the Best Picture & Director Categories
By John C.
This week we have been featuring special coverage of the 83rd Annual Academy Awards, to be presented on February 27th, 2011. From Tuesday until today, we have been sharing our more in-depth thoughts on the nominees in ten of the main categories. Please check back over the weekend for our full coverage of the Oscars.
The big day is nearly here, and today I’m taking a closer look at two of the biggest categories on Oscar night – Best Director & Best Picture. Best Picture honours the best movies of last year, where’s Best Director recognizes the people behind the camera who made these films possible in the first place. You could say that it’s a close two-person race in both categories this year, and I’m going to tell you why (for the first time since 2005) the two awards won’t necessarily go hand in hand.
I would have liked to have also provided a more in-depth look at the Best Animated Film category this year, but with only three nominations and Toy Story 3 the clear frontrunner, there doesn’t seem to be much commentary to add.
The nominees for Best Director are:
Black Swan – Darren Aronofsky
The Fighter – David O. Russell
The King’s Speech – Tom Hooper
The Social Network – David Fincher
True Grit – Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
Although there was some controversy that Christopher Nolan didn’t receive a nomination for Inception, these are all great directors and very deserving nominees. Darren Aronofsky’s vision for Black Swan really shows through in the film’s camerawork and editing, and David O. Russell did a great job of pulling together the ensemble drama that is The Fighter. I’m a huge fan of the Coen brothers, and their vision for True Grit translated into a film that was popular with critics and audiences alike.
But at the end of the night, this race is really down to only two people – Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech and David Fincher for The Social Network. Despite The King’s Speech being a probable favourite for Best Picture, Hooper is still a young director and the movie will be more recognized for the actors than it will be for the talent behind the camera. Where’s Fincher has been making multi-layered and complex films for a while now, and I think he will finally be honoured for The Social Network.
Who will win: At this point I’m going to go with David Fincher for The Social Network.
Black Swan – (5 nominations)
The Fighter – (7 nominations)
Inception – (8 nominations)
The Kids Are All Right – (4 nominations)
The King’s Speech – (12 nominations)
127 Hours – (6 nominations)
The Social Network – (8 nominations)
Toy Story 3 – (5 nominations)
True Grit – (10 nominations)
Winter’s Bone – (4 nominations)
Read my full thoughts on all ten nominees here.
Right off the bat I’m going to say that I thought The Kids Are All Right was good, but it didn’t quite connect with me the same way that it obviously did other viewers. Winter’s Bone was an interesting but somewhat overrated film, and I’m still not sure how the Sundance favourite even managed to pull off a nomination here.
Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, 127 Hours, Toy Story 3 and True Grit are all great films and some of the very best of last year, but they will be honoured in other categories and unfortunately don’t stand a chance in the Best Picture race. Despite how exhilarating a surprise would be at the end of the night, I can’t really see any of these pulling an upset.
The race is down to The King’s Speech and The Social Network. It’s a tough call for me as I think they’re both great pieces of work, and even this late in the game it’s hard to tell whether or not the Academy will go with the more traditional King’s Speech or the very modern Social Network.
David Fincher’s The Social Network is a brilliant telling of the Facebook story that accurately represents our generation’s obsession with social networking, and features an outstanding screenplay by Aaron Sorkin. It’s modern and of the moment, and could have only taken place in the past decade, yet it tells a seemingly timeless story about the meaning of friendship and betrayal.
But The King’s Speech is a moving and inspirational film that captures me more on an emotional and personal level. It is a period piece, but the themes transcend the 1930’s setting and it tells a universal story about friendship and overcoming social challenges that could have taken place anytime or anywhere. Traditionally this is the kind of film that wins Best Picture, and I can’t see this year being any exception. The film’s total of 12 nominations is more than any other title this year.
Who will win: Either frontrunner would deserve it, but at this point I’m going to say that The King’s Speech will ultimately win.