The King's Speech
This film is overflowing with phenomenal acting. The project was apparently brought to fruition by the always wonderful Geoffrey Rush. The great thing about the film is how understated it truly is. Colin Firth is utterly sensational and he fully deserves every award that comes his way. He has really hit his stride these last few years. I've always been a big fan, so I'm happy to see the original Mr. Darcy showing off his talent in a film that is not a romantic comedy also starring Amanda Bynes.
Uh, now I'm terrified of Natalie Portman. She was so good it was almost insane. (Black Swan joke! Get it.) I normally don't like thrillers because I don't like the ball that forms in my chest while watching. Things I am now wary of after watching the movie? Nail files, hang nails, paintings, and mirrors. The symbolism in the film really got my nerd-juice flowing. Darren Aronofsky put together a great film, and he's my personal pick for best director.
The Social Network
This film surprised me on all ends. Jesse Eisenberg is fantastic and his nod for best actor is well deserved. I first saw him in The Squid and the Whale and loved him even then, but it was truly solidified with the amazingness of Zombieland. He took a totally unlikeable character and made me empathize with him. I left the movie actually feeling bad for Mark Zuckerberg, which is a fairly impressive feat. This movie has been racking up the awards so far, but I'm not entirely convinced that it deserves to win best director or best picture. Sure, it was good, but it was not nearly as groundbreaking as other films like Black Swan or The King's Speech.
I've never felt that Christian Bale was a particularly amazing actor. His voice in Batman alone has always slightly turned me off. (Can someone please get the man a cough drop?) But man oh man, was he exceptional in The Fighter.You know those roles where the actor actually becomes the person? Christian Bale was so perfect as Dicky that I actually forgot it was him onscreen. Amy Adams and Melissa Leo also got best supporting nominations, but I have to say that Leo's transformation was much more complete.
If you want to be completely horrified by how unstable Jeremy Renner's character is, then watch this movie.
The Kids Are All Right
From what I've seen thus far, Annette Benning is Natalie Portman's best competition. The film is wonderfully heartbreaking and sweet, and I love that it explores what it means to be a family. I was glad to see that Mark Ruffalo also got recognized. He did a great job showing the vulnerability and all around fucked-up-ness of his character. I was a little surprised that Julianne Moore didn't get a nod, but I guess this is her karmic payback for her absolutely awful Boston accent on 30 Rock.
This film is beautifully heartbreaking. I personally feel that Ryan Gosling deserved to be nominated for best actor and he may be the biggest snub for me. He played off of Michelle Williams perfectly, who embodied the role of irrevocably sad wife. I loved the style of the film and was a bit disappointed that it didn't get any recognition in the best director category. The juxtaposition of the gritty, blue-tinted last weekend in the seedy motel and the wonderfully light and hopeful courtship was beautifully haunting.
Toy Story 3
I'm totally rooting for Toy Story 3 to win not only best animated feature, but also best picture. I realize it's a long shot, but this film really resonated with me. I somewhat unfortunately first saw the film right after graduation, and I ended up crying my eyes out for the last 5 minutes.
Most people that you talk to have entirely contrasting ideas about how the film actually ended. This ain't no Dallas episode, folks. There's no real way of knowing if it was all just a dream. I could totally see this being this season's Crash -- meaning, no acting wins, no directing nod, and yet it is somehow a contender for best picture.
Movies still on my list to see: