Stumbling across the finish line: Oscar picks part 2
Best Cinematography: Matthew Libatique for Black Swan, Wally Pfister for Inception, Danny Cohen for The King’s Speech, Jeff Cronenweth for The Social Network, Roger Deakins for True Grit
My pick: Roger Deakins for True Grit
Probable winner:Jeff Conenweth for The King’s Speech
Black Swan‘s gritty, realistic visuals provide a striking counterpoint to the madness it contains and Cohen’s use of wide angle lenses and tight close-ups in The King’s Speech make for a unique looking film within a pretty traditional genre. The Social Network‘s look is dark, ambient and cold (in a good way). I’m not sure Inception‘s greatness owes much to the cinematography, but it’s a well-shot film to be sure.
Even though I don’t often condone giving an artist an award for past work (unless we’re talking about a lifetime achievement award, of course), Roger Deakins really is about due. I won’t waste time listing all of his work but he’s shot one gorgeous film after another in his long career including nearly every Coen brothers film since Barton Fink in 1991. True Grit is beautiful, subtle and by far my favorite in this category. Jeff Cronenweth will take it.
Best Directing: Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan, David O. Russell for The Fighter, Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech, David Fincher for The Social Network, Joel & Ethan Coen for True Grit
My pick: David Fincher
Probable winner: David Fincher
Darren Aronovsky’s commitment to the madness is admirable and Tom Hooper’s unique style adds much to The King’s Speech. O. Russell’s The Fighter looks pretty good, but the fight sequences leave much to be desired, and even though it’s incredibly difficult for me to pass up the Coen brothers here I think the cinematography and performances are the real standouts for True Grit.
In the end I have to go with what seems to be the popular opinion and give this to Fincher. Keeping such a fast paced, intelligent film under such tight control is impressive and Fincher’s a master.
Best Picture: Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, The King’s Speech, 127 Hours, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit, Winter’s Bone
There’s no need to go into great detail as my previous posts in The Great Oscar Race already do so. Critics have called this a down year. I suppose they’re somewhat correct. Most of the films in this category are very good, but few are great. Perhaps someone should recommend going from ten to five films? There I go again.
Narrowing this oversized (sorry) category down to a top three was easy for me. True Grit, Winter’s Bone and The Social Network were my clear standouts. But if I had to pick a film that really represents a total package, a perfect storm of cinematic brilliance, if you will, I’d have to take The Social Network. It’s just too well made, too well acted and too damned smart to ignore. It’s also better than a film about Facebook has any right to be.
That being said, The King’s Speech has gained so much momentum at this point that anything else winning (except maybe The Social Network) would be considered a fair sized upset. We shall see.