Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oscar Predictions

The 83rd Academy Awards will take place tonight at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, hosted by Best Actor nominee James Franco and former Best Actress nominee Anne Hathaway. As always, here are my predictions.

Winners in Bold Italics

Best Actor in a Leading Role:

* Javier Bardem – Biutiful as Uxbal
* Jeff Bridges – True Grit as Rooster Cogburn
* Jesse Eisenberg – The Social Network as Mark Zuckerberg
* Colin Firth – The King's Speech as King George VI
* James Franco – 127 Hours as Aron Ralston

Colin Firth has won every major award leading up to tonight and been receiving Oscar Buzz since well before the film's release.

Best Actress in a Leading Role:

* Annette Bening – The Kids Are All Right as Nic
* Nicole Kidman – Rabbit Hole as Becca Corbett
* Jennifer Lawrence – Winter's Bone as Ree Dolly
* Natalie Portman – Black Swan as Nina Sayers
* Michelle Williams – Blue Valentine as Cindy

Natalie Portman endured months of preparation to encapsulate the psychotic/sexual role as the White and the Black Swan.

Best Supporting Actor:

* Christian Bale – The Fighter as Dicky Eklund
* John Hawkes – Winter's Bone as Teardrop
* Jeremy Renner – The Town as James "Jem" Coughlin
* Mark Ruffalo – The Kids Are All Right as Paul
* Geoffrey Rush – The King's Speech as Lionel Logue

I've heard rumors about a clean sweep for The King's Speech tonight, pointing to a win by Geoffrey Rush. But I will lose a lot of respect for the Academy if Christian Bale doesn't win this. After seeing The Fighter, I left the theater convinced he was the best actor on the planet.

Best Supporting Actress:

* Amy Adams – The Fighter as Charlene Fleming
* Helena Bonham Carter – The King's Speech as Queen Elizabeth
* Melissa Leo – The Fighter as Alice Ward
* Hailee Steinfeld – True Grit as Mattie Ross
* Jacki Weaver – Animal Kingdom as Janine "Smurf" Cody

Not the strongest category this year.

Best Original Screenplay:

* Another Year – Mike Leigh
* The Fighter – Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, and Eric Johnson
* Inception – Christopher Nolan
* The Kids Are All Right – Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg
* The King's Speech – David Seidler

I am predicting based upon who I think will win, not necessarily who should win. Christopher Nolan should win. He won't.

Best Adapted Screenplay:

* 127 Hours – Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy
* The Social Network – Aaron Sorkin
* Toy Story 3 – Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, and Lee Unkrich
* True Grit – Ethan Coen and Joel Coen
* Winter's Bone – Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini

Lock-- Best screenplay of the decade.

Best Original Score:

* 127 Hours – A.R. Rahman
* How to Train Your Dragon – John Powell
* Inception – Hans Zimmer
* The King's Speech – Alexandre Desplat
* The Social Network – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

I just included this category to give a shout out to Trent Reznor.

Best Animated Feature:

* How to Train Your Dragon – Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois
* The Illusionist – Sylvain Chomet
* Toy Story 3 – Lee Unkrich


Best Director:

* Darren Aronofsky – Black Swan
* Ethan Coen and Joel Coen – True Grit
* David Fincher – The Social Network
* Tom Hooper – The King's Speech
* David O. Russell – The Fighter

Fincher could follow Ang Lee from 2005 with a Best Director win, only to lose out on Best Picture. The big question mark from this category is the absence of Christopher Nolan, who I think is the best filmmaker in Hollywood. Just another slap in the face to a guy the Academy sees as a comic book director.

Best Picture:

* 127 Hours – Danny Boyle and Christian Colson
* Black Swan – Scott Franklin, Mike Medavoy, and Brian Oliver
* The Fighter – David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman, and Mark Wahlberg
* Inception – Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas
* The Kids Are All Right – Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, and Celine Rattray
* The King's Speech – Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, and Gareth Unwin
* The Social Network – Dana Brunetti, Ce├ín Chaffin, Michael De Luca, and
Scott Rudin
* Toy Story 3 – Darla K. Anderson
* True Grit – Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, and Scott Rudin
* Winter's Bone – Alix Madigan and Anne Rosellini

The King's Speech will win. The Social Network was the best picture. Rarely do you see a well-written, well-directed, well-acted, well-scored movie that transcends the topic material. Not only was it about the creation of the world's most popular social networking site but also the relationships it created and destroyed. The film is at times depressing, funny, inspirational but above all highly entertaining. And I can guarantee many who saw it drove home that night thinking about how to become the next Mark Zuckerberg and create the next big thing.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cardinals' Ace May Be Out For Season

Last season's National League Cy Young Award runner-up Adam Wainwright injured a ligament in his right elbow and appears headed for Tommy John surgery, which would keep him out at least a year.

Wainwright has been sent back to St. Louis for tests.

What are the Cardinals' chances without him?


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Grammy Predictions: F**k You

Tonight is Grammy night. This will be my second time predicting the general field categories: Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artist.

I was 2 for 4 last year so hoping to do better this time around.

Album of the Year

-The Suburbs performed by Arcade Fire
-Recovery performed by Eminem
-Need You Now performed by Lady Antebellum
-The Fame Monster performed by Lady Gaga
-Teenage Dream performed by Katy Perry

Eminem is the clear frontrunner. The Arcade Fire don't have enough commercial appeal, though they are deserving. Lady Antebellum only had one huge crossover hit with the title track. Gaga's EP does not consist of her best work. I see Katy Perry as the dark horse. She's probably the least talented in the category but is the only one to have three No. 1 singles in the Billboard Hot 100.

Eminem got snubbed for the Marshall Mathers LP a decade ago. He has the critical/commercial success and the staying power to take home the night's top prize.

Song of the Year

-Ray LaMontagne for "Beg Steal or Borrow" performed by Ray LaMontagne and The Pariah Dogs
-Cee Lo Green, Phillip Lawrence, and Bruno Mars for "Fuck You" performed by Cee Lo Green
-Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin for "The House That Built Me" performed by Miranda Lambert
-Alexander Grant, Holly Hafferman, and Marshall Mathers for "Love the Way You Lie" performed by Eminem featuring Rihanna
-Dave Haywood, Josh Kear, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott for "Need You Now" performed by Lady Antebellum

Lady A's single which I think should be renamed "Booty Call" will win. The song is much deeper than that, though. Plus, they couldn't have been nicer when I met worked their acoustic show at The Cannery Ballroom last June. I would love to hear the presenter to announce "Fuck You" as the song of the year. Sadly, this won't happen.

Record of the Year

-Nothin' on You by B.o.B featuring Bruno Mars
-Love The Way You Lie by Eminem featuring Rihanna
-F**k You by Cee Lo Green
-Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys
-Need You Now by Lady Antebellum

As with the previous category, I think the two likely candidates are "Need You Now" and "Love the Way You Lie." I think the hip-hop voters will split between the three nominees in that genre.

Best New Artist

-Justin Bieber
-Florence and the Machine
-Mumford & Sons
-Esperanza Spalding

I still don't understand why MGMT didn't win this award last year. Drake has this in the bag., which is weird since his career blew up almost two years ago. Bieber got nominated for the same reasons the Jonas Bros did in 2009: younger viewers. The other acts are probably more talented, but they don't have a chance. Listen to "Over" by Drake and you should understand why.

Those are my picks. What do you think?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Predictions: You Know What It Is

Like I said in my last playoff post, the Steelers have been my Super Bowl pick from the beginning. I don't see any reason to change.

Aaron Rodgers has been playing unbelievably well, but it's been against defenses that don't come close to Troy Polamalu, James Harrison and the rest of the Pittsburgh D.

The Packers will definitely get pressure on Big Ben, especially with Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson. But who hasn't? Roethlisberger is the toughest QB in the League and has championship experience. He's a winner.

I think Green Bay will make enough plays to keep the score close, but the Steelers are the better team.

So when tonight's game ends in the Jerry Dome, the scoreboard will once again show why they Steelers are the best organization in pro sports with their 7th Super Bowl victory.

Steelers 24, Packers 20