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Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
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My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Wednesday, January 5

The Oscars

We’re in an Oscar countdown and this year I think I’m ready. I’ve seen more of the contenders this year than normal, and I think I’m ready to make my predictions.

Starting with best picture and working backward, there seem to be at least thirteen movies that could win the big one: The Fighter, The Town, The Kids Are All Right, True Grit, The King’s Speech, 127 Hours, The Social Network, Inception, Black Swan, Winter’s Bone, Toy Story 3, Get Low, and Rabbit Hole. The last four I haven’t yet seen, partly because that damned Harkins brings them into the Valley exclusively at only one Harkins site, some of which never get to any other theatres. I’ll try to find Winter’s Bone and Rabbit Hole sometime before the awards show. The other two have come and gone, whoosh. Of the other nine, I think I can eliminate The Social Network, 127 Hours, and Inception simply because I didn’t come out after seeing any of them with that feeling of “Wow, what a good movie!” All three were good, but not good enough for me. I’ve already professed my dislike of Black Swan, so that one’s not even part of my consideration, nor should it be of any of the voters. And taking out the four I haven’t seen, I have five left. I loved The Town and was so happy to see Ben Affleck finally shake off the ugliness of Pearl Harbor and Gigli, both as actor and director. But his picture won’t win. I also loved The Fighter, especially the performances of the three up for consideration for best actors and supporting actors—Christian Bale, Amy Adams, and Melissa Leo. But it won’t win. That leaves True Grit, The King’s Speech, and The Kids Are All Right. I especially appreciated the way the Coen brothers treated the novel by Charles Portis, and the film was not just good, but very good. Still not a winner, though. We just saw The King’s Speech and were most impressed with Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush and what they did, making a film about the relationship between two people and very little else. A very good movie, but not a winner. That leaves The Kids Are All Right, a film I came out of practically shouting, “Wow, wowzee, what a great movie!” The story was great, the characters all really fine, nearly all of them worthy of consideration for best acting. This one should win it all. At least that’s the one I’ll be rooting for.

That brings me to the best male and female actors. Jeff Bridges, Colin Firth, Robert Duval, Jesse Eisenberg, and James Franco seem to be the five most people would list. I’d think it would be between Bridges and Firth, with Firth probably winning simply because Jeff Bridges seems to have the role of grizzled drunk down pat and won just a year ago for Crazy Heart. Not that he isn’t worthy of winning, but the voters will skip him because of last year’s win.

The women mentioned are Annette Bening, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lawrence, Natalie Portman, and Michelle Williams, and of these five, I’ve seen only two—Bening and Portman. But of these two, Annette Bening should be head and shoulders above Portman. Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) and Williams (Blue Valentine) are both too young to win, not that they shouldn’t win, but simply because the voters tend to take such things as age into consideration. And Kidman is my sleeper because I haven’t yet seen her performance in Rabbit Hole. So I’ll say Bening will win, with Kidman as a possible second.

Best supporting actor. Skip all the others, this one is all about Mark Ruffalo (Kids), Chritian Bale (The Fighter), and Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech). Ruffalo was so surprisingly good in Kids that it would be nice to see him win. But he won’t. I’d call it a tie between Christain Bale and Geoffrey Rush, but I think Bale will win it.

Best supporting actress. This one is closer because the ones nominated aren’t as well known. I’m guessing Amy Adams and Melissa Leo from The Fighter will be among them. But Adams is noteworthy simply because this role is so different from her others where she’s this quiet little prim girl playing a housewife or a nun. She won’t win. Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech) was just too much a fringe person to win. Mila Kunis from Black Swan was a hateful character in a hateful film and I sincerely hope she doesn’t win. Hailee Steinfield, the young narrator of True Grit was excellent in an excellent film, but she won’t win because she’s just too young. Guess what? That leaves as the last woman standing, Melissa Leo from The Fighter. But I wouldn’t discount Julianne Moore from Kids. She’d be my second choice.

There, that’s it from me. I can’t guess at best director or the other awards because I just don’t understand what criteria the voters use for their votes.  See you at The Oscars.

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