So my picks didn't exactly go as planned, a fact that resulted in my first loss against my friends in the four years we've been making predictions. All in all I went 15 for 24, a decent but disappointing performance. All of the risks I took went terribly awry, and I was over-reliant on everyone drinking the King's Speech Kool-Aid. Even worse, the telecast was easily the most boring I've ever witnessed. Anne Hathaway really seemed like she was trying, but she certainly wasn't gelling with James Franco, who clearly already knew he was losing to Colin Firth and got super high (Pineapple Express style) to numb the pain beforehand.
I've already posted my projected winners, but I want to take a moment to go over how I would have voted should someone have mysteriously allowed me to do so. I'm only going to do this for the major categories, as I'm not really qualified to say anything about animated shorts or sound editing.
Best Picture: My vote would have probably gone to Inception, as it brought forth original thought while exhibiting solid performances across the board. Nonetheless, the movie had no shot whatsoever against a British period piece and a film about a social phenomenon. I also felt as if Black Swan and 127 Hours were sorely underrated despite their innovation and powerful performances. I also would have personally nominated Shutter Island and Rabbit Hole while getting rid of The Kids Are All Right and The Fighter, but that's just me.
Lead Actor, Male: All of these performances were especially solid (well, I wasn't able to see Javier Bardem's in Biutiful), but for me James Franco had the most difficult assignment and passed it with flying colors. He truly raised his game to a new level, and I hope he continues to challenge himself.
Lead Actor, Female: The voters got this one right, as Natalie Portman's performance as a stifled ballerina was spot-on. She was able to show a lot of emotion throughout without getting over-the-top or pandering to the audience.
Supporting Actor, Male: Once again, the voters hit the nail on the head with Christian Bale. His performance in The Fighter represented yet another reinvention of his abilities while once again reminding me how ridiculous it is that he had never received a nomination prior to this year. I expect them to come at a much quicker rate from here on out.
Supporting Actor, Female: Melissa Leo was great, but my vote would have gone the way of Hailee Steinfeld, the 14 year-old who murdered her role as Maddie Ross in the Coen Brothers' rendition of True Grit. She played the role with a determined toughness and powerful tenacity you just don't see on the screen from anyone, let alone a girl who can't legally drive.
Best Director: I would say Christopher Nolan, as he really had his work cut out for him with his 10-year Inception project, but he didn't even receive a nomination. With that in mind, I would give the award to the long-deserving David Fincher. The Social Network was an excellent movie with Fincher's style all over it.