Oscars 2011: The way it should have gone.

This is my attempt to slap the academy round the face and remind it that just because they all enjoyed The Kings Speech, many of the other nominees actually deserved to win. Largely because they were better. Call it redressing the balance 🙂 (I’ve covered most categories but not all)

Motion picture of the year: The Social Network

The Social Network is easily and without a doubt a much more urgent, relevant and inspiring film than the King’s Speech which is by no means a bad film; it was just an entertaining bit of fluff (albeit good fluff)…

Performance by an actor in a leading role: James Franco (127 Hours)

James Franco should have got this because he gives an amazingly restrained, yet utterly compelling performance and is on screen for virtually the entire film, on his own. Ralston had a lot more to overcome than George VI and was unable to simply spend his way out of trouble afterall…

Performance by an actress in a leading role: Natalie Portman (Black Swan)*

Natalie Portman, yes absolutely. She broke new ground in being utterly deranged, and has probably never been as frightening. As much as anything this should be a nod to her career to date.

Achievement in directing: David Fincher (The Social Network)

Fincher should get the recognition he deserves for The Social Network. End of.

Art direction: Inception – Guy Hendrix Dyas (production design), Larry Dias and Doug Mowat (set decoration)

Art Direction should have gone to Inception, which deserves to clean up on the technical awards. The film looks so exciting; so outlandish and futuristic and yet authentic and recognisable all at once.

Achievement in cinematography: Roger Deakins (True Grit)

Cinematography is at least one award that should have gone to True Grit which is a solid, beautifully crafted piece of work and easily one of the Coens’ best films to date. Deakins helped the beguiling and stunning Texan and New Mexico landscapes to really come alive and become a character in themselves.

Performance by an actress in a supporting role: Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)

Hailee Steinfeld easily gave the best performance of any of the nominees in this category, she was selected from 15,000 applicants and the Coen’s were quoted as saying “…if the kid doesn’t work, there’s no movie.” Well, the kid worked and was key to making the movie what it was.

Best animated feature film of the year: Toy Story 3*

Toy Story 3 was just as enjoyable as I knew it would be; a natural continuation of the story so far, it more than justified itself and was a lovely way to round off a beautiful series of films. How many trilogies these days can honestly claim that?

Adapted screenplay: The Social Network – Aaron Sorkin*

Hell yeah 🙂 Sorkin deserves this and then some. So utterly compelling and it’s a movie about Facebook! (and the rest).

Original screenplay: The King’s Speech – David Seidler*

The team behind this film definitely deserve to walk away with awards (just not all of them and especially when other nominees were better in their respective categories). The screenplay for this film simply allowed everyone involved to be as good as they were and convey the gravitas and tensions necessary for a straightforwardly entertaining film.

Performance by an actor in a supporting role: Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech)

Geoffrey Rush was one of the best things about this film and much more someone the audience could identify with. More memorable than Firth (who was doing his best not to go “full retard”).

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (original score): Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (The Social Network)*

Reznor and Ross’s score was very cool. All pulsing beats and electronica, just up my street, it really helped keep pace with a story that zipped along and helped make sure the audience were locked in.

Achievement in sound mixing: Inception (Lora Hirschberg, Gary A Rizzo and Ed Novick)*

Another technical award to add to this impressive achievement of a film. Sound mixing was another way for Nolan to help deliver an incredibly complicated plot in the most economical and clear way he knew how.

Achievement in sound editing: Tron: Legacy (Gwendolyn Yates Whittle and Addison Teague)*

This award probably should have gone to Inception too but Tron was just so enjoyable and the sound was one of the things it did best; marrying the Daft Punk score to the delicious computer beeps and squelches that brought “The Grid” to life. So much fun.

Achievement in costume design: Colleen Atwood (Alice in Wonderland)*

Alice in Wonderland doesn’t deserve to go away completely empty handed just because the screenplay sucked. The costume designs were fun and Colleen Atwood is one of the best in the business…

Achievement in visual effects: Inception (Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb)*

Yep. The Escher-esque “…examples of paradoxical architecture…” ; the Matrix style lack of gravity; the imagined cityscapes…

Achievement in film editing: Lee Smith (Inception)**

Again the editing is one of the central reasons why the film makes sense in the way it does; why the film stands up and was the box office smash it was. Why this film wasn’t even nominated in this category astounds me.

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (original song): If I Rise (from 127 Hours, AR Rahman, Dido and Rollo Armstrong)

To be honest Randy Newman is a bit schmaltzy and although it might work in the context of a Pixar film when compared to something like “If I Rise” it can’t compete. This is a beautiful song that smoothes over much of the trauma of what’s gone before. Rahman is such an accomplished composer and the sentiment in Dido’s lyrics makes it all O.K. again after such an intense and harrowing experience.

* = where the academy did actually get it right.
** = wasn’t even fucking nominated!