Imitation of Life

A journal about film, music, literature and any other form of imitation of life. Seeing through a glass darkly…

BEST OF THE YEAR: Early Oscar Predictions 2011

As I promised when I posted the entry about my favourite songs of 2010, here are my film choices for the first part of 2010 in the categories of best film, directing, acting (both leading and supporting) and writing (original and adapted).

As my absolute favourite film of 2010, Mike Leigh’s Another Year is ubiquitous in virtually all categories. With a good US release date towards the end of the year and the critical support it has managed to gather so far, my dream of seeing the film recognised should become true, come award time. It’s been difficult to place its actors in the right categories, but I’ve finally gone for Lesley Manville (my favourite performance of the year) in the leading and Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen in the supporting, since that’s how they’ll most likely be campaigned for.

Christopher Nolan’s Inception is, by and large, the biggest film released so far this year. I enjoyed it the first time around and, having watched it again recently, I’m glad to state that everything actually makes sense in that seemingly nonsensical brain-teaser of dreams within a dream. The idea is not new and I don’t think the film is memorable in any way, but to take such a huge blockbuster project and turn it into a smart film is praiseworthy. Plus, the movie is simply too big to ignore it at this point of the year.

I’ve included in this list films like The Secret in Their Eyes or A Prophet which were originally released in 2009. Both were nominated for the Best Foreign Film Oscar last year as the official submissions of Argentina and France respectively (The Secret in Their Eyes finally got the trophy). However, they have been commercially released in the US in 2010 and could therefore be elegible for any category this year, except of course the Best Foreign Film. It wouldn’t be the first time to happen. In 1973 Truffaut’s Day For Night (La Nuit Américaine) won the Best Foreign Film Oscar and one year later Truffaut and Valentina Cortese received nods in the directing and supporting acting categories. I believe that, with a good campaign (although I doubt they’ll do anything at all) The Secret In Their Eyes could sneak in one of the 10 Best Picture slots or, more easily, in the adapted screenplay category.

I don’t include in my list hot contenders like Colin Firth, James Franco, Natalie Portman, or Annette Bening for the simple reason that I haven’t seen the pictures yet, and I have to admit that it’s been hard to fill in the 5 spots for the leading actor and actress categories. I’ve had to turn to good performances in weaker films (Patricia Clarkson in Cairo Time) or highly unlikely choices like Tahar Rahim in A Prophet and Korean actress Yun Junghee for her unforgettable turn in Poetry. With too strong performances at this point of the year, Leonardo Dicaprio has virtually a lock on a nomination. I guess he’ll be recognised for Inception, but I’ve chosen his (curiously similar) performance in Shutter Island because I think it’s the better one.

I have to confess that I’m not a cartoon fan, and accordingly I haven’t seen Toy Story 3 yet, which many are calling the best film of the year. There is, however, an animated film among my best film and script picks: a little French gem called The Illusionist, directed by Sylvain Chomet, the creator of Les Triplettes de Belleville. This is, I have to admit, a guilty pleasure choice, since the film is based on a script the great Jacques Tati wrote between Mon Oncle and Playtime back in 1956. It’s wishful thinking, I know, but wouldn’t it be fantastic to see Jacques Tati, in my opinion the greatest comic of all time, posthumously nominated for an Oscar almost 30 years after his death for a script he wrote in 1956?

 Anyhow, here are my 2010 (so far) choices:

BEST PICTURE

ANOTHER YEAR (Winner)

THE GHOST WRITER (Runner-up)

INCEPTION

THE ILLUSIONIST

THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES

BEST DIRECTOR

JACQUES AUDIARD for A Prophet

MIKE LEIGH for Another Year (Winner)

CHRISTOPHER NOLAN for Inception

ROMAN POLANSKI for The Ghost Writer (Runner-up)

MARTIN SCORSESE for Shutter Island

BEST ACTOR

RICARDO DARÍN in The Secret in Their Eyes (Runner-up)

LEONARDO DICAPRIO in Shutter Island

MICHAEL DOUGLAS in Wall Street 2

HRISTO HRISTOV in Eastern Plays

TAHAR RAHIM in A Prophet (Winner)

BEST ACTRESS

JULIETTE BINOCHE in Certified Copy (Runner-up)

PATRICIA CLARKSON in Cairo Time

YUN JUNGHEE in Poetry

LESLEY MANVILLE in Another Year (Winner)

TILDA SWINTON in I Am Love

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

NIELS ARESTRUP in A Prophet

JIM BROADBENT in Another Year (Runner-up)

PIERCE BROSNAN in The Ghost Writer

GUILLERMO FRANCELLA in The Secret in Their Eyes (Winner)

MARK RUFFALO in Shutter Island

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

MARION COTILLARD in Inception

GEMMA JONES in You’ll Meet a Drak Tall Stranger (Runner-up)

KRISTIN SCOTT-THOMAS in Nowhere Boy

RUTH SHEEN in Another Year

OLIVIA WILLIAMS in The Ghost Writer (Winner)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

WOODY ALLEN for You’ll Meet a Dark Tall Stranger

ABBAS KIAROSTAMI for Certified Copy

MIKE LEIGH for Another Year (Winner)

CHRISTOPHER NOLAN for Inception (Runner-up)

JACQUES TATI for The Iluusionist

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

NIKOLAJ ARCEL/RASMUS HEISTERBERG for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

JUÁN JOSÉ CAMPANELLA/EDUARDO SACHERI for The Secret in Their Eyes (Runner-up)

ROB EPSTEIN/JEFFREY FRIEDMANN for Howl

LAETA KALOGRIDIS for Shutter Island

ROMAN POLANSKI/ROBERT HARRIS for The Ghost Writer (Winner)

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8 Responses

  1. uncle Walt says:

    Once agaib, a great post. Knowing you, i think you’ll be right on on all the awards! Sorry to see there’s no honorary award for Angela this year either… As far as I am concerned, ‘Toy Story 3’ is, indeed, the film of the year. It’s so much more than just a movie for kids. It’s intelligent, touching, funny,scsry, sad, engaging, it’s got a great story with great characters, great voice talent and a perfect technical execution. A must-see. It would be a dream come true for it to get a big award outside of the animation cathegory, a good way to redress the mistake of not recognising ‘Beauty and the Beadt’ for what it is: one of the best movies ever made, animation or not. Oh well, dreaming is free! Can’t wait to see ‘Another Year’, to appreciate Lesley Manville’s performance, after your having said such lovely things about her ;) take care, congrats again for this post!

  2. I’ll have to see Toy Story 3 then. It’s in cinemas in Sofia right now, but dubbed in BG, which is a little bit off-putting. Maybe during my weekend in Bxl.
    Don’t miss Another Year!
    And… I think it was very fair that Beauty and the Beast lost to The Silence of the Lambs. The Best Picture nomination was already a huge thing.
    With ten slots now, Toy Story 3 is there for sure. It might even win… if it’s as good as they say.

  3. WULU says:

    I agree – you really do need to see Toy Story 3

  4. confused says:

    the fighter? the kings speech? 127 hours?

  5. @confused
    As I say at the beginning of the entry, these predictions are based on the films I have seen. The films that you mention, and others like The Social Network, are likely to get lots of Oscar attention at the end of the year, but unfortunately they haven’t been released in Europe yet.
    One of the problems of the Oscar/Awards race blogs is that people look around and make their choices based on generally accepted predictions, which is sort of boring.
    I’ve included Yun Junghee in the Besr Acress category but I know she WON’T even be considered, altough she gives a wonderful performance. Annette Bening or Natalie Portman are absent, altough I’m sure they’ll be nominated. As I said, I’ll put them in once I’ve seen the films and I’m convinced they’re so good as everybody says.
    I’ll make an update of the list as film sget release over here.
    Thanks for the comment, BTW.

  6. Isabel says:

    Nice post, I was wondering if you knew why there was still a staggered approach to releasing films worldwide and why they just can’t release them everywhere at once? Is it to do with press?

  7. […] Imitation of Life – there’s a clip here of his top choice for best picture, Another Year that is intriguing. I’ll have to add that to my list… […]

  8. jd says:

    KEEP AN EYE ON FIGHTER-ALL EXCELLENT PERFORMANCES,ESP WAHLBERG AND BALE
    ALSO GREAT MAKE UP

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