As 2010 comes to a close and winter lays its cold fingers upon us, the race for the Academy Award for Best Picture heats up with several clear frontrunners and several others vying for a nomination come January.
Two films seem to be garnering the most praise and may be the ones going head-to-head for the big prize. The Social Network, directed by David Fincher has been a critical and audience hit. Coupled with its great reviews and strong momentum, the film seems poised to take the top prize. Possibly standing in its way is Tom Hooper’s latest The King’s Speech. Colin Firth leads a starry cast and the story of a King who overcomes is great Oscar-bait. Both films have been well received and both films are certainly worthy, but will another film sneak in and take the coveted top spot?
Danny Boyle, director of 2009 Best Picture Slumdog Millionaire has returned with 127 Hours. The film has been critically praised and James Franco could be on his way to an Oscar for his performance, but could the gruesome end of the film hamper Academy voters from seeing it? The Fighter boasts a boxing story, strong performances and skillful direction by David O. Russell. It could be just the punch of a film Oscar is looking for.
Christopher Nolan’s Inception has been a critical and box-office success, but this sci-fi thriller with a brain will most likely have to be satisfied with only a Best Picture nomination and possibly some wins in the technical field. Toy Story 3, directed by Lee Unkrich, has a good shot at making the final Top 10 list and will most certainly be a Best Animated feature nominee (and some insiders say winner,) but will an animated movie be crowned the “Best Picture” of the year?
Joel and Ethan Coen have a great track record with Oscar and their remake of True Grit seems likely to get a nod as will Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids are All Right, the indie-comedy fromthis summer and if the buzz is correct, Darron Aronofsky’s The Black Swan will also dance its way to an Academy Award nomination.
Presumably, that leaves one spot left. Will it go to Ben Affleck’s well made The Town,Winter’s Bone directed by Debra Granik, Peter Weir’s The Way Back or Mike Leigh’s Another Year? Other films with some buzz include Blue Valentine, Rabbit Hole, Fair Game, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I, Shutter Island and another animated feature, How to Train Your Dragon.
What will happen come Oscar nomination day will certainly be affected by the announcements of the National Board of Review, the New York Film Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics and the Top 10 lists of major ciritics. As of now, it seems pretty safe to say that there is no clear that the race is off and running and who will go the distance will be revealed at the Kodak Theater come February 2011.