Super Awesome Shiny Happy Oscar Picks

It’s that time again, and I thought it would be good to get these picks on record, since I’m guesting on Trending Cinema this week alongside its esteemed hosts Simon Miraudo and Jon Tilton, as well as my esteemed husband Scott Admiraal. Many of these are no-brainers this year, and I wish I could say the same for others. But we’ll get there.

Best Picture: The Social Network

Here’s the thing.

I loved The King’s Speech, and of the six Best Picture nominees I’ve seen, it’s in a dead heat with The Social Network when it comes to which film I had the most affection for. However, while critics adore it, it’s just not remarkable enough technically or script-wise to deserve Best Picture, while The Social Network is brilliantly crafted, expertly written, and remarkably well-acted. I’m not certain my pick will be correct. But I think it’s what truly deserves the honor.

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech

In another year, this would almost certainly go to Jesse Eisenberg, who blew me away as the sometimes sympathetic, occasionally despicable, and harrowingly realistic Mark Zuckerberg. But Firth really does beautifully with his turn as King George. All signs point to Firth, and while my heart aches a bit for Eisenberg, I think that’s fair.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Christian Bale, The Fighter

It’s hard for me to critique this choice, because I haven’t seen The Fighter. But when the nominees were announced, I was fairly disappointed that The Social Network’s Andrew Garfield got passed over. Also, I find it surprising that Geoffrey Rush hasn’t bested Bale in any major awards outside the BAFTAs. Regardless, Bale is a skilled performer and deserves recognition, so this seems about right.

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Natalie Portman, Black Swan

Not much to say here. Portman does a masterful job with an extremely demanding role in a stark and beautiful film. It’s the only performance I’ve seen among these, and I think it’s certainly a safe bet.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Melissa Leo, The Fighter

Hey, I just noticed Mark Wahlberg didn’t get a nomination for The Fighter! That’s weird. Guess the Academy really does get off on Javier Bardem. Anyway, this seems obvious. She’s been sweeping (with, again, the exception of the BAFTAs, because Brits love Brits). I’d really love to see Hailee Steinfeld win for True Grit in what might actually be my favorite performance of the year, but it’s not going to happen, so I’ll cry internally for the next few hours then move on.

Best Animated Feature Film: Toy Story 3

Best Art Direction: Inception

I think Inception is going to sweep most of the technical awards. As I said, The King’s Speech is no great technical shakes, and they’re not going to pay attention to the Harry Potter franchise all of a sudden. True Grit is great, but in the category of Badass Visuals, Inception is better.

Best Cinematography: Inception

Best Costume Design: The King’s Speech

Best Directing: The Social Network

I fear that The King’s Speech will have this, but it really doesn’t deserve it. Either Inception or The Social Network does, and since Inception got passed over (the only time I’ll say this: screw you, Academy), thenĀ in a perfect world, The Social Network should be a lock. Let’s hope.

Best Documentary Feature: Restrepo

Best Film Editing: The Social Network

Dare to dream.

Best Foreign Language Film: Biutiful

Best Makeup: The Wolfman

Best Music (Original Score): The Social Network

Best Music (Original Song): “We Belong Together,” Toy Story 3

Best Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Visual Effects: Inception

Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay): The Social Network

Best Writing (Original Screenplay): The King’s Speech

It’s been a great year for film. And I’m hoping for a great time celebrating that tomorrow.


Why I Gave Up On Glee

There was a time when I looked forward to Wednesday mornings, when I didn’t have a job and Scott went off to work and I threw some hot dogs in the microwave or some cereal in a bowl and watched Glee. It was pure camp, pure schmaltz, and purely entertaining in a way that didn’t require me to think. The characters were caricatures, the stories were poorly plotted, and the dialogue, oh, the dialogue was incredibly flat and expositional. However, the musical numbers were something like phenomenal, and I just couldn’t look away.

Then came the second season.

I was already trying to convince myself that I should quit watching, because I got a job and wouldn’t be able to watch it sans Scott anymore. Scott, to his credit, has always hated Glee. He cannot comprehend its appeal, though there are certain song and dance sequences he liked. But basically, he can’t even be in the room if Glee is there, too. So that posed a problem. But I pressed on for a few weeks. Then came “Never Been Kissed.”

I’ve always had mixed feelings about the character of Kurt (ably portrayed by Chris Colfer). Kurt is gay and wears it as a badge of honor in a way that some might view as empowering, but I see as grating. He’s the anti-Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) of Modern Family: where they accept their homosexuality as normal and nothing to be thought of as notable, Kurt wants his sexual preference to seem like an accomplishment. But the character’s strengths sometimes outweighed his weaknesses, and Colfer sings beautifully, and that was good enough for me.

In “Never Been Kissed,” Kurt visits Dalton Academy, a local all male school (they even wear uniforms!) that one of my favorite TV critics described as “a kind of tolerance Narnia.” My high school had a zero tolerance policy, too, but that didn’t actually mean anything. At Dalton, it means everything’s hunky dory, even–especially–if you’re gay. Upon arrival, Kurt meets Blaine (Darren Criss), a dreamy fellow homosexual who’s the unspoken leader of the Warblers, Dalton’s almost laughably talented glee club. Everything seems to be going beautifully for Kurt, then (and here’s the breaking point) he goes back to McKinley High, his own school (till he inevitably transfers in a later episode I haven’t seen), and an extremely homophobic bully kisses him.

Now, it seemed, the writers were working under the assumption that if you dislike gay people, then it follows that you’re gay. This is only the second character to really beat up on Kurt for being gay, and you may recall that Finn (Cory Monteith) kind of had a point when he expressed discomfort about living with someone who had a crush on him. This just feels completely unnecessary and borderline ridiculous, and it’s not in a way that’s cute or endearing. In fact, I found it downright offensive.

The same episode included more of Will (Matthew Morrison) being wildly inconsistent and a completely superfluous girl on girl make out session, and when you put all of this together, or even took the Kurt problem on its own, it spelled out what was obvious: this wasn’t on my watch list anymore. I’ll skim the AV Club’s reviews and ask friends how it’s progressing. But Glee no longer deserves my miniscule contribution to its inflated ratings, if it ever did.