(If you just want the results, scroll down past the wittering to the last section – oh, and my predictions were totally off)
So the awards season has peaked with the Oscars and the results are in – The King’s Speech was the big winner. It took home Best Film, Best Director for Tom Hooper and Best Actor for Colin Firth. Natalie Portman picked up an Oscar for Black Swan, Christian Bale won Best Supporting Actor, Aaron Sorkin deservedly picked up Best Adapted Script and evil witch Melissa Leo stole the Best Supporting Actress from Hailee Steinfeld who was in the wrong category anyway.
Which brings me on to the question of what has been nominated.
There is so much in terms of politics over who is nominated and for what that the event, the campaigning studios do and there is disagreement over the value of the awards even before the results.
Do people take them seriously? Well initial figures for television audience suggest a fall and some serious film critics just love to bash Hollywood (regardless of the quality of films). The event is probably a better barometer of how active various social media are rather than the quality of films. It’s certainly great to Tweet and blog about.
The fact that the Academy Awards relegates foreign language films to one category automatically invalidates any claims for it representing film culture as a whole.
Fine, everybody can all live with that if we accept the Oscar’s as a barometer for English language film – frankly, a lot of French cinema would fall down flat anyway.. But this year’s Academy Awards proves once again that its system of nominations is just plain wrong which makes the event even more questionable.
For starters, No Christopher Nolan… actually, I’ll leave that until further on in…
No Nicolas Cage. His performance in The Bad Lieutenant was one of the most memorable of 2010 and reminded us that he’s one of the most watchable actors on screen whether he stars in garbage or not.
Hailee Steinfeld was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for True Grit – the reasoning being that she is too young for the best actress category and she would stand a better chance of winning an award. It’s a bit of an absurdity considering she was in 99% of the film.
I would have liked to have seen Jennifer Lawrence or Hailee Steinfeld take Best Actress. Both of them gave equally excellent performances but I felt like Lawrence WAS the reason for watching Winter’s Bone whilst Steinfeld gave one of those performances that overcame her age and displayed a great range of emotions. Natalie Portman, whilst giving us the edgier and darker side to her sexuality in Black Swan was a little too one note compared to others in the category – brittle until the finale.
2010 was a pretty good year for film with the visual hyper-activity of Scott Pilgrim and the verbal fireworks of The Social Network. There were arguably more films of substance too. It was also a year when American independent films (Black Swan, Winter’s Bone, The Kids are All Right) proved yet again that the most interesting film-making lay outside of the Hollywood system.
What about the rest of the world? There were some pretty good films. Certainly, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo springs to mind. Yet again, Nordic countries surprise everybody by making rather good films.
If there was a safe option for awards, The King’s Speech was it.
The film is an extremely well-made and brilliantly acted and while it dodged thorny issues like the Nazi sympathisers, it was still a lesson in crafting great drama.
If I seem ambivalent about it it’s probably due to the fact that I feel it was one of the more formulaic and least interesting choices in some of the awards. That said, congratulations go out to the makers.
That said I still enjoyed it and while I don’t go in for nationalism much but I’ll drop my reserve in the next section:
The Brits are Coming (except Christopher Nolan)
I’ll start with a complaint. No Christopher Nolan in the Best Director category.
If one film was directed – as in every scene – then it was Inception.
Why he didn‘t win for Best Original Screenplay is another mystery. Fact of the matter is writing the film must have been a Herculean effort and whilst The King’s Speech is an example of brilliant writing and characterisation, I found it wasn’t as exciting as Inception. But that’s just me.
The King’s Speech is that increasingly rare thing – a genuinely brilliant British film (talent AND money) that has succeeded. The only American money came AFTER the film was made when The Weinstein company bought the North American distribution rights. The biggest investor was the UK Film Council – axed by the Britain’s coalition government.
Tom Hooper won best director. I like Tom a lot. The chap is a great director first and foremost. He is well-spoken and knowledgeable about film but Inception was such an incredible feature and my personal favourite.
It was great to see Inception pick up the Special Effects Awards because that meant even more British people on stage. Apart from that…
The King’s Speech
Tom Hooper – The King’s Speech
Colin Firth – The King’s Speech
Natalie Portman – Black Swan
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christian Bale – The Fighter
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Melissa Leo – The Fighter
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
In a Better World – Denmark
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
David Seidler – The King’s Speech
Toy Story 3
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Aaron Sorkin – The Social Network
BEST ART DIRECTION
Alice in Wonderland
BEST SOUND MIXING
BEST SOUND EDITING
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
We Belong Together (from Toy Story 3) by Randy Newman
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
The Social Network – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
Alice in Wonderland
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
Strangers No More
BEST FILM EDITING
The Social Network
BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
The Lost Thing
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
God of Love
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS