If you want to win the Oscar pool, why not use my ballot? If you triumph, you can lord it over your friends. If you lose, you can blame me. It's a win-win!
BEST PICTURE -- The King's Speech YES
(I'd vote for Toy Story 3. Like The Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King, it's a capper to a great trilogy and one of the most successful and acclaimed franchises in Hollywood history. Plus an animated film is long overdue.)
BEST DIRECTOR -- Tom Hooper YES
(An upset, but he won the DGA and this is such Academy bait compared to The Social Network.)
BEST ACTOR -- Colin Firth YES
(I'd vote for Jesse Eisenberg, but am delighted Firth will win.)
BEST ACTRESS -- Natalie Portman YES
(She's lucky The King's Speech has no woman in the lead role. I'd vote for Jennifer Lawrence of Winter's Bone.)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR -- Christian Bale YES
(My heart says The King's Speech will upset in one or both of the supporting categories as well. With my luck, the winners will be Geoffrey Rush and Melissa Leo. I'd vote for Rush.)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS -- Helena Bonham Carter NOPE: Melissa Leo, as expected.
(Melissa Leo is the smart bet. This category comes early so you can start cursing me right away if my upset doesn't come through. I'd vote for Hailee Steinfeld except she's really the lead so I'd vote for Carter.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY -- The King's Speech. YES
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY -- The Social Network YES
(I'd vote for Winter's Bone, but this is a safe bet.)
BEST ART DIRECTION -- The King's Speech NOPE: Alice in Wonderland won.
(British estates and castles win every time. I'd vote for Inception.)
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY -- True Grit. NOPE: Wally Pfister won for Inception! Tom Hanks just said Pfister! It's gonna be another bad year for me.
(Long overdue win for Roger Deakins. It would be fun, however, to hear them say Wally Pfister.)
BEST COSTUMES -- The King's Speech NOPE. Alice In Wonderland.
(See my comment above on Art Direction. Period pieces always have an edge.)
BEST FOREIGN FILM -- Outside The Law NOPE: In A Better World.
(Always a wild card and difficult to predict. In A Better World won the Golden Globe. But Outside The Law is such dull, conventional filmmaking I think it has the edge among the people who actually vote in this category.)
BEST SOUND -- Inception YES
BEST SOUND EDITING -- Inception YES
(Special effects-heavy movies tend to dominate these tech awards.)
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE -- Inside Job YES
(I'd vote for this one ,too.)
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT -- Strangers No More YES
(The most uplifting tale of a very weak bunch.)
BEST ANIMATED FILM -- Toy Story 3 YES! Big deal, everyone picked this.
(My favorite animated film of the year was The Illusionist but I'd vote for Toy Story 3 because the Oscar is not always about the absolute best in a category but one of the best and the one that "deserves" it.)
BEST ANIMATED SHORT -- Day & Night NOPE! The Lost Thing.
(Another win for Pixar in one of the weakest batches of animated shorts I have ever seen. Some think the all-star British cast of The Gruffalo gives it the edge. Having slept through its deadly dull pacing, I don't think so.)
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT -- Wish 143 NOPE God of Love won. I'm glad. It was the most technically accomplished and very good. It's like the SATs -- go with your first instinct, which in my case was indeed God Of Love. But I over-thought it.)
(On the other hand, this was one of the best batches of live action shorts I have ever seen for the Oscars. Three of them were quite good (Wish 143, The Crush, and God Of Love). One was pretty good (The Confession) and only one was very weak (Na Wewe.) If you think Oscar will always annoy you, vote for Na Wewe. My head says the NYU student film Gods Of Love will win (and deservedly so) bu my heart keeps leaning towards the cancer patient of Wish 143. No clear winner because so many were strong.
BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS Inception YES
BEST EDITING -- The Social Network YES
(This would be my vote, too.)
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE -- The Social Network YES
(This would be my vote. The King's Speech could sweep, but the score here is so distinctive and smart, I think it will triumph.)
BEST ORIGINAL SONG -- "We Belong Together" YES
(I'd pick "I See The Light" from Tangled. Not quite sure why the consensus is Randy Newman's ditty. But you don't want to predict too many upsets.)
BEST MAKEUP -- The Wolfman YES
Good luck. You can yell at me or thank me later. Probably yell at me.
HOW'D I DO?
17 out of 24.
Terrible! Every year I hope for some surprises and they rarely, rarely come. All the prior awards suck out all the fun, even if like me you ignore them as much as possible. Too bad I blew the tech awards. That's where an Oscar ballot is won. Usually I do better there and worse on the big films. Oh well. C'est la vie.
Thanks for reading. Michael Giltz is the cohost of Showbiz Sandbox, a weekly pop culture podcast that reveals the industry take on entertainment news of the day and features top journalists and opinion makers as guests. It's available free on iTunes. Visit Michael Giltz at his website and his daily blog. Download his podcast of celebrity interviews and his radio show, also called Popsurfing and also available for free on iTunes. Link to him on Netflix and gain access to thousands of ratings and reviews.