Best Motion Picture, Drama
Will and should win: The King’s Speech
The year’s toughest race features two fantastic films (The King’s Speech and The Social Network) that will likely continue to battle throughout the awards season. Either would be a worthy winner, but give the edge to The King’s Speech, since the Hollywood Foreign Press voters usually prefer prestige.
WINNER: The Social Network
Best Motion Picture, Comedy/Musical
Will and should win: The Kids Are All Right
As The Hangover‘s win last year taught us, this category is fertile ground for a surprise. But as the only true Oscar contender in the bunch, the thoughtful Kids is the clear front-runner.
WINNER: The Kids Are All Right
Best Actress, Drama
Will win: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Should win: Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine
Unless the HFPA’s love for Nicole Kidman leads to a shocking upset, Portman’s frightening descent into madness makes her a good bet for the win. But I still haven’t been able to shake Williams’ heartbreaking performance as Blue Valentine‘s beleaguered wife.
WINNER: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Actor, Drama
Will win: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
Should win: Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine
Don’t get me wrong: Colin Firth completely deserves the trophy he’s absolutely destined to win on Sunday. But since the equally amazing Gosling probably won’t end up getting an Oscar nomination, I’d love to see him emerge victorious. Not going to happen, though.
WINNER: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
Best Actress, Comedy
Will and should win: Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
With seven career nominations, Bening is a Golden Globe favorite. And with Natalie Portman in the dramatic race, she’ll easily pick up her second trophy thanks to her fierce turn as Kids‘ lesbian mom.
WINNER: Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
Best Actor, Comedy
Will win: Johnny Depp, Alice in Wonderland
Should win: Jake Gyllenhaal, Love & Other Drugs
With two nominations in this category, there’s a chance that Johnny Depp could split his own vote. Should that happen, Casino Jack‘s Kevin Spacey could pull out the victory. But my vote goes to Gyllenhaal for his off-the-charts charismatic (and oftentimes clothing-optional) leading-man turn.
WINNER: Paul Giamatti, Barney’s Version
Best Supporting Actress
Will win: Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
Should win: Amy Adams, The Fighter
A tough call, but I’m thinking Bonham Carter gets caught up in the King’s Speech sweep. Though it would be nice to see Adams recognized for her impressively against-type Fighter performance.
WINNER: Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Best Supporting actor
Will and should win: Christian Bale, The Fighter
King’s Speech costar Geoffrey Rush is a potential upset candidate, but Bale deserves the prize for an astonishingly lived-in turn as boxer-turned-addict Dicky Eklund.
WINNER: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Best Animated Feature Film
Will and should win: Toy Story 3
The biggest no-brainer of the night. How can anything else possibly upset Pixar this year?
WINNER: Toy Story 3
Will and should win: David Fincher, The Social Network
Even if The King’s Speech pulls out a Best Picture victory, Fincher’s career-capping achievement demands attention and some major hardware.
WINNER: David Fincher, The Social Network