“The Social Network”(David Fincher)
In “The Social Network,” young actor Jesse Eisenberg steals the show with his quick wit and dry sarcasm as the evil genius that is Mark Zuckerberg, cofounder of Facebook. If you are looking for a 2010 movie with phenomenal acting and great directing, this is the one.
It is a roller coaster of emotions, and there are even appearances by Justin Timberlake, who plays Napster founder Sean Parker, and Rashida Jones, who plays a legal clerk. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry and at times it will even give you goose bumps. The drama is unending and the performances are masterful. “The Social Network” should, in a year with many great films, win a deserved Academy Award for Best Film.
David Fincher, “The Social Network”
David Fincher, mastermind behind such films as “Fight Club” and “Zodiac,” directs a brilliant group of young actors, most notably Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield, while telling the somewhat-biographical tale of how Facebook came to fruition. The mood is dark, the music is ominous and the delivery is pristine. Fincher’s work on “The Social Network”should not go unnoticed; this should be another big victory for the film, with David Fincher going home with the long-overdue Academy Award for Best Director.
Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech”
Once again, Colin Firth dazzles audiences with his dashing good-looks and coy, British charm, earning his second Best Actor nomination in a row. Even at 50 years old, Firth’s performance as King George VI is practically flawless. In “The King’s Speech,” he plays the King of England during the World War II era, who is unceremoniously presented the crown after his older brother, Edward, abdicates in order to marry an American socialite. His problem, however, is made worse by a stammer when he speaks. Firth’s ability to portray King George overcoming his stutter in order to make a speech to the people of England is awe inspiring and should earn him the first Academy Award of his career.
Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, “The Fighter”
Sometimes it can be hard to discern the best supporting actor in a film because the actor is not featured as often as the main actors, or simply because his or her character simply is not the focus of the film. In the case of “The Fighter,” however, Christian Bale left no room for doubt. As Dick Eklund, a former professional boxer from New England, Bale plays a role based on a true story: a character who must do his best to put aside personal issues with drugs for the sake of his family and his younger brother, Micky Ward, who is also a boxer. His best, at times, simply is not enough, as he struggles to keep himself out of prison. Bale gives a performance worthy of a standing ovation and should rightfully walk away with the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Natalie Portman, “Black Swan”
After several recent unimpressive performances, Natalie Portman seemed to have had a coming-out party in “Black Swan.” While she has always been beautiful, the performance especially allowed audiences to view her extreme elegance and grace. Despite Portman’s attractiveness, however, the film is an extremely dark and twisted fantasy world where her acting shines. Outside of the film itself, Portman spent months working tirelessly in order to perfect her ballet skills in preparation for her role. Natalie Portman’s role as Nina Sayers in “Black Swan” blew the lid off of every other performance this year and should deservedly be awarded the Academy Award for Best Actress.
Best Supporting Actress”
Melissa Leo, “The Fighter”
It is not often you see two movies that not only boast supporting roles worthy of award nominations but actually win them. Melissa Leo, in her second award nomination in three years, played a role all-too-familiar to every viewer: the overbearing mother. Having already won a Golden Globe for the role, Leo seemed to own the character. As the Eklund brothers’ caring, albeit sometimes aggravating mother, she was perhaps the most believable character in 2010. While she was playing the mother of nine children, she also convincingly represented the hair-spray-abusing late 90’s female caricature. Leo could, and very well should, leave the Oscars having won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
“Exit Through the Gift Shop” (Banksy)
Undeniably the most confusing film from 2010, “Exit Through the Gift Shop” is a gonzo documentary from the mind of infamous British street artist Banksy. The documentary follows the bizarre life of a French filmmaker named Thierry Guetta, who sets out on a quest to film a documentary about street art. What he fails to realize is that Banksy, the most secretive street artist in the world, is about to turn Guetta’s documentary upside down and create his very own piece about the current state of street art. The general consensus is that the entire documentary is a hoax. Hoax or not, Banksy once again fiddles with viewers’ minds and, in the process, creates a piece of satire about the street art game he himself dominates. The world of film appreciates all of the documentaries made last year, but none really glimmer the way “Exit Through the Gift Shop”does, and for that reason, it will take home an Academy Award for Best Documentary.
Best Animated Feature Film
“Toy Story 3”
Pixar is one of the few who can production studios that can boast a résumé of seemingly endless hit films. They have, time and time again, produced some of the most classic animated features. The studio’s magnum opus, “Toy Story,” is to this day one of the best received and innovative animated films of all time. So it should really come as no surprise to anyone that “Toy Story 3” will be a landslide victory for Animated Feature Film at this year’s Academy Awards, given its heartfelt characters and unbelievably touching story. Pixar once again will ever so deservingly stand tall atop the Animated Film world.
John Lopiano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org