Dr. H Finally Gives Us His Take On The Oscars.

21 Feb

The Oscars:

Why there is less than meets the eye.

To call the Oscars a storm in a teacup is a travesty of sorts.  Sadly, to many lifelong Oscar aficionados it has lost its charisma.  Not only is it not the only game in town but it also appears contrived and hypocritical after a summer season of senseless mayhem in the sequels of grotesque superhuman creatures and the remorseless pursuit of the lowest common denominator.

The serious movie season starts after Halloween and ends around New Year’s, interrupted by family fare for Thanksgiving and cheesy romantic comedies for the holidays.  So you get about six weeks of serious cinema, most of which will be limited releases.  What, you may ask, is the point of this brouhaha—guilt in all likelihood. Once in a while the academy does honor the right movie and the right players but, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, only after it has exhausted all other options.

Welcome to Hollywood’s dark ages.

Why then, you may ask, are we bothering with the Oscars.  We are not.  We are celebrating the fact that good movies were made not because of Hollywood but in spite of its stranglehold on the movie business.

Now let’s get down to business shall we?

The Best Picture.

Who should win:         Social Network.

The dark horse:           True Grit

Who will win:             King’s Speech.

King’s Speech has some serious Oscar pedigrees and has won several awards for its soothing simple narrative style. The Academy can’t resist a British royalty story — especially when it has no relevance to modern day dynamics.

Social Network is an amazing story, especially in the wake of the democratic movement in the Mideast and the role in it played by Facebook and Twitter.  Sadly, there are not enough young Academy members to vote for it.

True Grit is good but not great.  Not a typical Cohen Brothers movie as it lacks their edgy crispy humor and the Academy doesn’t like westerns too much anyways.

127 Hours will lose for the same reason as Social Network:  the young votes will be divided between 127 Hours and Social Network.  It is a story of bravery and defying all odds of survival very well acted and directed but won’t make the cut.

The Black Swan.  This movie should be watched to impress an artsy girlfriend.  It is a hyper intellectual hybrid of French neo-noir with Hitchconian tradition but lacks Hitchcock’s dark humor and his feel for terror.

The Fighter is a good movie but lacks the knockout punch.  Very well acted but the supporting cast stole so many scenes that the fighter himself became secondary to the story.  A typical feel-good movie made for a recession.

Winter’s Bone is a great movie; a richly crafted, riveting story about a 17-year-old girl looking for her fugitive father in the wilderness of the Ozark Mountains in southern Missouri. It is full of meaning and metaphors that the average Academy member will overlook. If it wins, disregard all the negative remarks I have made about the Oscars.

Inception is a sci-fi thriller dealing with dreams, reality, quasi-reality, and whatever mumbo jumbo comes in between. It’s a visual spectacle but not Oscar-worthy.

And finally, The Kids Are All Right is the token indie film representative, more in the tradition of Little Miss Sunshine, about two lesbian foster parents and their problems. A good movie but again, not Oscar-worthy.  If The Kids Are All Right wins I’ll quit my day job and become a mascot for an NBA team.

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Should win: James Franco, 127 Hours

Dark horse: Jeff Bridges, True Grit

Will win: Colin Firth, King’s Speech

James Franco is unlucky. His was a really plucky performance. Not earth-shattering, but with quiet dignity, he carried the movie all by himself with his character trapped in a canyon. Any other year he would be a shoe-in. Colin Firth will win, though, for his portrayal of King Edward VI, the stuttering monarch. Two years in a row. Wow! You can bet your 401(k) on this one.

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Should win: Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone

Dark horse: Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right

Will win: Natalie Portman, The Black Swan

The conventional wisdom holds that Natalie Portman has delivered a strong performance in The Black Swan but one must remember that she had the advantage of a story that was built around her and was provided with all the right lines and the right ambiance to go with it. On the other hand, the 19-year-old Jennifer Lawrence had a much more complex role in Winter’s Bone – one that she excelled in. It is utterly compelling. Watch it. And lastly, Annette Bening is a long shot. Still could get a consolation award for being overlooked twice.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Should win: Christian Bale, The Fighter

Dark horse: Jeffrey Rush, King’s Speech

Will win: Christian Bale, The Fighter

Hands down Christian Bale. He completely overshadowed the movie and actually shifted the movie’s center of gravity from Mark Wahlberg to himself. Jeffrey Rush could sneak in if there is a stampede for King’s Speech.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Should win: Melissa Leo, The Fighter

Dark horse: Hailee Steinfield, True Grit

Will win: Melissa Leo, The Fighter

Melissa Leo is outstanding in her depiction of a domineering blue collar mother. Hailee Steinfield was overshadowed by two seasoned actors: Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon. The Academy usually goes for the more seasoned performer.

Best Director

Should win: Social Network

Dark horse: The Fighter

Will win: King’s Speech

True Grit will lose since it does not have the Coen Brothers’ stamp of authority on it. It’s a toss-up between Social Network and King’s Speech, The Fighter staying a distant third. But, still, remember Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan lost to little-remembered Shakespeare in Love for the Best Movie, but he himself won. The Academy, sometimes, is like God: it acts in mysterious ways.

Best Original Screenplay

Should win: King’s Speech

Dark horse: Inception

Will win: King’s Speech

In this category, King’s Speech is peerless.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Should win: Winter’s Bone

Dark horse: 127 Hours

Will win: Social Network

Winter’s Bone has a poetic resonance and the words seem to travel with some poignant intensity. Social Network, will, however, win, as a consolation for being overlooked in higher categories. 127 Hours will again be unlucky.

Best Animated Feature

Should win: Toy Story 3

Dark horse: none

Will win: Toy Story 3

Period. End of story.

Best Foreign Language Film

Should win: Incendies (French-Canadian)

Dark horse: Biutiful (Mexico, Spain)

Will win: Incendies

Exotic mid-Eastern locales, strange accents, and lonely characters looking for redemption. Need we add more in favor of Incendies?


Should win: Inception

Dark horse: True Grit

Will win: Inception

Nothing even comes close. Inception is a mind-blowing visual experience.


Should win: Social Network

Dark horse: The Black Swan

Will win: King’s Speech

Mostly by tradition, the best picture always wins this category. The last one that didn’t was in 1980. Inception got robbed in this category.

Art Direction

Should win: Inception

Dark horse: King’s Speech

Will win: Alice in Wonderland


Should win: Alice in Wonderland

Dark horse: True Grit

Will win: King’s Speech

Original Score

Should win: 127 Hours

Dark horse: Inception

Will win: 127 Hours

Original Song

Should win: 127 Hours

Dark horse: Country Strong

Will win: 127 Hours

Sound Editing

Should win: Inception

Dark horse: Unstoppable

Will win: Inception

Visual Effects

Should win: Inception

Dark horse: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Will win: Inception

Best Documentary

Should win: Inside Job

Dark horse: Exit through the Gift Shop

Will win: Inside Job

The inside story of sub-prime mortgage and financial disaster. Who can let it pass?

Best Documentary: Short Subjects

Should win: Killing in the Name

Dark horse: Poster Girl

Will win: Killing in the Name

It’s a no-brainer. This documentary about Muslims and terrorism will win.


Posted by on February 21, 2011 in Movie Reviews


13 responses to “Dr. H Finally Gives Us His Take On The Oscars.

  1. DR H

    February 22, 2011 at 1:26 pm



    • Jude

      February 28, 2011 at 7:27 am

      Give the dude a cigar. Dr. H, you swept the Oscars last night! What, did you use a crystal ball? By my count, you were wrong only five times, and two of those times were because the Academy went with your should win instead of your will win (Editing and Costume). So that leaves only three minor misses: Original Score, Original Song, and Best Foreign Language Film. Did any of the “official” pundits do better? H, my hat is off to you, man. Good show, good show.


  2. Person

    February 22, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    More on the (new) voting process for the Awards:

    I thought this piece added some context to understanding how the process in fact works. Note this:
    “But the Academy Awards, knowing a thing or two about movies, offers a rebuke to our political tradition: a voting system at the Oscars that values consensus and seeks to avoid the discomfort of a majority.”

    The voting has been revamped and is called “Ranked Choice Voting.”
    Read the piece to learn how the decisions are made. It also might help you win some free DVDs.


  3. Dr H

    February 22, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    But Person where are your picks? Come on my friend I watched 17 movies for this post and you wont even participate?! Whats up with that?


    • Person

      February 23, 2011 at 2:03 am

      You watched 17 movies? Did you pay for all of them individually, or did you get a hold of screeners? I have not, as yet, seen many of the films that were nominated, and some just don’t appeal to me. Not sure that I’m terribly qualified to make any predictions, but I’ll think about doing so; I guess I have nothing to lose.
      What did you think of the piece I included earlier?


  4. Will

    February 23, 2011 at 12:55 am

    OK, Here’s my picks for what I think will win (regardless of what I want to win):

    Best Picture
    The King’s Speech

    Best Director
    Tom Hooper – The King’s Speech

    Best Actor
    Colin Firth

    Best Actress
    Natalie Portman

    Best Supporting Actor
    Christian Bale

    Best Supporting Actress
    Hailee Steinfeld

    Best Writing – Original Screenplay
    The King’s Speech

    Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay
    The Social Network

    Best Animated Feature
    Toy Story 3

    Best Foreign Language Film
    Incendies (Canada)

    Best Documentary – Feature

    Best Documentary – Short Subject
    The Warriors of Qiugang

    Best Live Action Short Film
    The Crush

    Best Animated Short Film
    The Lost Thing

    Best Original Score
    The Social Network

    Best Original Song
    “We Belong Together” from Toy Story 3

    Best Sound Editing

    Best Sound Mixing

    Best Art Direction

    Best Cinematography
    Black Swan

    Best Makeup
    Barney’s Version

    Best Costume Design
    True Grit

    Best Film Editing
    The King’s Speech

    Best Visual Effects


    • jpfmovies

      February 23, 2011 at 1:21 pm

      Way to work Silver–very thorough.


  5. Dr H

    February 23, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Person your piece was very informational. I will look it up soon.
    You don’t have to pick the winners in every category though. I watched most of the movies on big screen and the rest —lets not go there.


  6. Person

    February 25, 2011 at 1:16 am

    OK; I’ll just pick within the categories I’m most familiar with. Sounds like you made a financial commitment to watch all of these, or at least to watch most of them. Many people here get screeners, so are exempt from having to pay what would be a big sum to see all the nominated films.


  7. Dr H

    February 28, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Thanks Jude. Wait for my next post and you’ll understand the science behind my predictions. The method behind the madness.


    • Person

      February 28, 2011 at 5:50 pm

      Nice job on your predictions. I, for one, am happy the event is over and the city can return to normal, open the streets, etc.
      Is it now possible to do reviews on some of the winners? I missed the screening of “Inside Job,” but imagine it will be re-released now. Is a review impending perhaps?


  8. DR H

    March 3, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Person, I would suggest that in your spare time google search a gentleman by the name of Harvey Weinstein and tell me what you think of him. He will be the focus of my next post.By the way thanks for the compliment and I will review the Inside job soon.Its my peak season with patients and the work is killing me.


    • Person

      March 3, 2011 at 1:06 pm

      Dr. H:
      I loved several of the Miramax films produced by the Weinsteins. Are you focusing on one of the films or on him specifically? Do you watch “Entourage” and note the character who is based on him? You can also tie him to the previous posts on Polanski. Are you a fan of a particular film?
      BTW: How does a doctor have a peak season?



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