Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Beyond the Awkward: Oscar Nomination Predictions

Welcome to a new feature I like to call "Beyond the Awkward," the basic idea of which is almost exactly what it sounds like: you'll hear the opinions and thoughts of those other than me! (The picture to the right is one I snapped while at the Golden Globes red carpet this past weekend of a very awkward-looking Sandra Bullock. But hey, she's so great! Look beyond the awkward!)

In honor of being exactly one week away from Oscar nominations, I surveyed different students at Loyola Marymount University who watch the awards season closely to learn what others are feeling about this year's Best Picture race. Turns out that college kids love them some Black Swan!

Our panelists today are all students at LMU and all are self-professed movie fanatics. Andrew Sheridan is a screenwriting major from the Jersey Shore. Dani Gregorie is a theater arts major from Miami, Florida. Jonathan Crossley, who you can read more of over at his blog Hunting Yeti, is a screenwriting major from San Francisco. And Brandon Cudequest is a recording arts major from Montvale, New Jersey. All three were asked: what do you think will be nominated for Best Picture this year, and what films that you don't think will be nominated would you want to see nominated?

For the sake of completion, I'm going to post my own picks as well, but you can see the full breakdown on the Current Oscar Predictions tab.

My Picks
1. The Social Network
2. The King's Speech
3. The Fighter
4. Black Swan
5. Inception
6. Toy Story 3
7. True Grit
8. The Kids Are All Right
9. The Town
10. 127 Hours

What one film would I want in? There's no question that Blue Valentine, my #2 movie of the year, would have to be included. I would probably remove The Fighter in its favor. I also think it's entirely possible Winter's Bone breaks into this crop, either for The Town or 127 Hours. All three are really lacking on the buzz front.

Andrew Sheridan
1. The Social Network
2. The King's Speech
3. Black Swan
4. The Fighter
5. True Grit
6. Toy Story 3
7. The Kids Are All Right
8. 127 Hours
9. Inception
10. The Town

Andrew also leaves off Winter's Bone but has Inception ranked significantly lower. His personal list would include both Blue Valentine and Shutter Island.

Dani Gregorie
1. Black Swan
2. The Social Network
3. The King's Speech
4. True Grit
5. The Fighter
6. Blue Valentine
7. Winter's Bone
8. The Kids Are All Right
9. 127 Hours
10. Either Inception or Rabbit Hole

She may not have seen all the movies, but this is the list of films Dani has the most faith in. However, she notably leaves Toy Story 3 off, due to the existence of an animated feature category already. (She notes, however, that she hasn't seen the movie.) She also says that she's not envisioning any major snubs she'd want to correct, saying, "I don't feel like it's been a great year for movies." Like Andrew, she has Inception much lower than others.

Brandon Cudequest
1. Blue Valentine
2. Black Swan
3. The King's Speech
4. Inception
5. Toy Story 3
6. 127 Hours
7. True Grit
8. The Social Network
9. The Fighter
10. The Kids Are All Right

Like Dani before him, Brandon seems to indicate that a nomination for Toy Story 3 in the general field despite the existence of the animated field is a mistake, saying that it would be better "to allow room for one other movie to get recognition." He also holds out hope that The American could be nominated thanks to its stellar lead performance from George Clooney and deceptive marketing.

Jonathan Crossley
1. Black Swan
2. The Social Network
3. Inception
4. The King's Speech
5. Toy Story 3
6. True Grit
7. 127 Hours
8. The Town
9. The Fighter
10. Winter's Bone

The Kids Are All Right is the victim on Jonny's list, departing to make room for all three of my last-tier candidates. In a perfect world, Jonny would also nominate films like Blue Valentine and Scott Pilgrim, as well as strong documentaries like Exit Through the Gift Shop and Catfish.

From these lists, a couple of things become clear. First, the younger audiences are the most behind movies like Black Swan and Blue Valentine, but the Academy isn't always the youngest group. Swan is already a likely nominee, but Valentine is probably going to wind up on the cutting-room floor of the voting, perhaps in every category (Michelle Williams seems like the likeliest nominee for Best Actress, but she has the category fraudulent Hailee Steinfeld from True Grit to contend with.) Not only that, but there is a general assumption that Inception is a lock, but it shows up pretty low on at least a couple of these lists.

Finally, it looks like this may be less of a battle between Winter's Bone and 127 Hours as a battle between Winter's Bone and The Kids Are All Right, two films helmed by female directors. Best of luck to the both of them.

Which one of us do you think will prove correct come next Tuesday? Do you like hearing what others have to say about the Oscar race? Take your thoughts to the comments!

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