The Social Network
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound Mixing
Most likely to win: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score
The Social Network is a riveting film about friendship, betrayal and power that dramatizes the story of Mark Zuckerberg and the creation of Facebook. As Zuckerberg seeks recognition, he discovers what it means to be a 20-year-old with influence. Jesse Eisenberg lends this character a cold exterior while still managing to illustrate a longing for relationship. Opposite him, Andrew Garfield skillfully plays Zuckerberg’s best friend and business partner, Eduardo Saverin. These performances, combined with Aaron Sorkin’s fast-paced dialogue, Trent Reznor’s and Atticus Ross’s arresting score and David Fincher’s meticulous direction, makes this film an obvious choice for Best Picture and a film no movie goer should miss. The Social Network is available on DVD.
The King’s Speech
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound Mixing
Most likely to win: Best Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Best Art Direction
As the leader in Oscar nominations this year, The King’s Speech has a lot to live up to, and it does so in a charmingly British way. Its story about a stammering prince is unexpectedly entertaining, largely due to an outstanding performance by Colin Firth, a favorite for Best Actor, and Geoffrey Rush. Rush provides most of the film’s laughs, with his cheeky one-liners, while Firth demonstrates great emotional depth. His character struggles not only with a speech impediment, but also with difficult family relationships. Masterfully designed sets strengthen the movie’s regal tone. If any film could beat The Social Network for Best Picture, it is this one. The King’s Speech is in theaters.
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress (both Amy Adams and Melissa Leo), Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing
Most likely to win: Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor
The Fighter tells the classic underdog tale with a focus on the lingering effects of family and origins. Stellar performances by its ensemble cast showcase honest displays of family dynamics. The transformation of the character Micky Ward illustrates the necessity of balancing the people you love with the person you must become. Christian Bale’s portrayal of Micky’s crack-addict, older brother is especially compelling. Bale drastically transforms his physical appearance for the role and delivers most of the movie’s heart and humor, making him a favorite for Best Supporting Actor. Melissa Leo also shines as a mother figure forcing delusions upon her children. This is film critics love that still manages to maintain mainstream appeal. The Fighter is in theaters.
Nominate for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing
Most likely to win: Best Cinematography
True Grit retells the 1968 novel and 1969 movie of the same name. It is the western tale of a young Mattie Ross, who hires U.S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn to find her father’s murderer. Last year’s Best Actor winner, Jeff Bridges, portrays Cogburn opposite Hailee Steinfeld, playing Ross, who holds her own in a cast of experienced actors. The film progresses a bit slower and more contemplatively than its predecessor, but it displays subtle humor and beautiful cinematography. It may not take home many Oscars, but a film with this much recognition merits viewing. True Grit is in theaters.
The Kids Are All Right
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay
Most likely to win: Best Actress, Best Original Screenplay
The Kids Are All Right humorously portrays a family struggling with trust. Both Annette Benning and Julianne Moore sparkle as gay women dealing with the difficulties of parenthood and marriage. Benning especially wows viewers with the emotional highs and lows she masters throughout the story. This film utilizes witty dialogue, relatable characters and great music. The Kids Are All Right is on DVD.
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Editing
Most likely to win: Best Actress, Best Editing
Black Swan is one of the year’s most thrilling movies. It dives headfirst into the competitive world of ballet and keeps the audience on its toes all the way to its closing scene. Natalie Portman carries the film with a compelling display of the descent into insanity. The film’s dark imagery and daunting score perfectly complement Portman’s intense performance, while its uniquely compelling editing tricks the viewers into disbelieving what they just saw. The pace of the film rarely lets up and makes the viewer feel as though they might descend into delusion themselves. Black Swan is in theaters.
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