By Will Speros ’11, Editor-in-Chief
Winner: The Social Network
Why: While Toy Story 3 was statistically the year’s best reviewed and highest-grossing movie, it’s rather unlikely that it will snag a Best Picture win. Out of the ten nominees this year, The Social Network is the most deserving of the top prize. It was not only one of the year’s most talked about movies, but it truly blew audiences away. Everything from Aaron Sorkin’s brilliantly crafted screenplay to the film’s laudable performances was utterly flawless. While The King’s Speech could possibly upset, The Social Network is much more relevant and resonates with audiences in a way that no other film this year did.
Winner: David Fincher, The Social Network
Why: David Fincher has a tendency to make rather eerie films with tremendous social commentaries (Fight Club, Se7en, Zodiac), and his latest hit is no different. Fincher took Mark Zuckerberg’s story in a course few directors would have dared to take. By making Zuckerberg the film’s villain, Fincher turned the story of Facebook turned into a sinister machination that consumed the world. Every shot of the film, from the flooring opening argument to the race at the Royal Regatta, was absolutely engrossing. Fincher took a simple story and made it explode off the screen.
Winner: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
Why: Firth’s victory is the safest bet of pretty much every other award this year. Firth developed a convincing speech impediment in order to play Queen Elizabeth II’s conflicted father, King George VI. However, the film is about so much more than a King with a stammer. Firth zealously reminds the audience that King George VI was, first and foremost, simply human, and his portrayal is touching, uplifting, and seriously impressive.
Winner: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Why: It’s downright sinful that Annette Bening doesn’t already have an Oscar in her trophy case, and it doesn’t look like this year will end her losing streak either. Black Swan left audiences stunned, and much of the film’s power is owed to Natalie Portman’s incredible performance. Portman added sophistication to the film by immersing herself in her character in a way few actors in recent memory have. Portman showed dedication to her craft and impeccable skill, and she was truly perfect.
Best Supporting Actor:
Winner: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Why: Christian Bale is the first person onscreen in The Fighter, although you may not even know it’s him. Bale traded in his buff Bruce Wayne physique for a gaunt, emaciated frame in order to convincingly play Mark Wahlberg’s crack-addicted brother, Dicky Ecklund. While Bale may be best known for playing Batman, his role in The Fighter fully solidifies his status as a seriously committed and talented actor. His performance all at once boils your blood and tears at your heart.
Best Supporting Actress:
Winner: Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Why: Melissa Leo donned an admirable Massachusetts accent and the world’s ugliest haircut to play mom to Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale’s competitive brothers. Leo’s portrayal of a conflicted mother/enabler is the film’s most subtle, but it is definitely not the film’s weakest. Leo keeps it real without being boring, and she is intense without being over-the-top. Her performance is quiet, but truly remarkable.