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Onward State Picks the Oscars

The Academy Awards are tonight, but if you’re looking for last-minute advice in your Oscar pool, well, we’re not here to help you. That would be far too easy. Let’s be honest, as far as the major categories go, the front-runners have been clearly established, and pretty much any upset would be a major surprise.

But we here at Onward State have quite the assemblage of movie buffs, and we figured it would be far more interesting to go around the table and pick who we think should win. No, our votes don’t count, but they probably should.

So whether you’re hoping that James Franco and Anne Hathaway, the unlikely pair that they are, can turn the Oscars into an enjoyable 4 hour affair or whether you’re planning on watching the Knicks-Heat game tonight, we hope you’ll indulge us as we walk you through our favorites in film of the past year.

John Dempsey:

Best Picture: Toy Story 3

  • I’m going to get flak for this but I’m doing it anyway. The Best Picture should be the one that captures the audience on every emotional level. This year, that movie was Toy Story 3.

Best Director: David Fincher, The Social Network

  • The Social Network should have been incredibly pompous and uninteresting. The fact that it wasn’t says a lot about Fincher’s direction. Give this man his due.

Best Actor: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech

  • The King’s Speech is good because of the outstanding acting. The most outstanding of which is Colin Firth. Game, set, match.

Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan

  • I have to admit, I was torn between Portman and Annette Bening. The Academy probably is too. In the end, Portman should get the win for making Black Swan as terrifically chilling as it is.

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter

  • While I am hesitant to give Mr. Bale any kind of blunt object, he truly deserves this one. I was captivated by his role in The Fighter and if you watch the credits, the real Dicky is EXACTLY like Bale portrayed him.

Best Supporting Actress: Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit

  • The Academy’s laughable definition of “supporting” aside, at least Steinfeld has a good shot at winning by being in this category. There are a lot of heavy hitters here, but I think Steinfeld deserves the win for going toe to toe with Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon. Kid’s got moxie.

Devon Edwards:

Best Picture: Inception

  • The King’s Speech was great, and The Social Network was very, very good, but neither was nearly as ingenuitive, creative, or game-changing as Nolan’s latest triumph–and unlike the Academy, I don’t have a bias against sci-fi films. That zero-gravity fight scene alone should have secured the Oscar.

Best Director: Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan

  • Fincher will probably win, but Sorkin’s screenplay didn’t require much auteurism on his part. Meanwhile, Aronofsky turned in another total mind-fuck, one that wouldn’t have been nearly as suspenseful or frightening–or funny, at times–without his direction.

Best Actor: James Franco, 127 Hours

  • This is easily the toughest category for me, because Firth and Eisenberg were equally phenomenal (and so too was the snubbed Michael Douglas in A Solitary Man). But Franco takes this one with his sheer charisma alone–unlike Firth and Eisenberg, he didn’t have a Geoffrey Rush or Andrew Garfield to act off of.

Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan.

  • Not much to say here. Absolute slam-dunk. Portman was brilliant, as always. This one, they’ll get right.

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Figher

  • It’s funny, for all the awards “The King’s Speech will win, the phenomenal performance by Rush deserves an Oscar more than any. Unfortunately, he’s going against Christian Bale, who put his body through hell–again–and literally transformed himself into the cracked-out has-been Dicky Eklund. His performance single-handedly carried the otherwise mediocre Fighter to an Best Picture nom. If he doesn’t win, I riot.

Best Supporting Actress: Hailie Steinfeld, True Grit.

  • I’m not quite sure why Steinfeld was nominated here, and not for Best Actress, but any time a 14-year old can outshine Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon you’ve got something special. She brought the innate confidence of a seasoned veteran to the role, not a newcomer’s uncertainty.

Lee Lawver:

Best Picture: The Social Network

  • I’m pulling for an upset here. The King’s Speech feels classic, but the Facebook movie seems relevant. The Academy will get with the times on this one. “Like”

Best Director: David Fincher, The Social Network

  • I’m more confident that Fincher will win this than his movie will win best picture. He took something that absorbs so many people’s lives and transformed it into a movie. Smart stuff.

Best Actor: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech

  • He does a bloody good job in The King’s Speech. Jeff Bridges isn’t going to win two years in a row, and Jesse Eisenberg didn’t have to act with a speech impediment. Crown the king.

Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan

  • Dance Natalie, dance. I’m afraid that if I don’t pick her she’ll kill me. Stay beautiful, and stop looking at me, swan.

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter

  • Oh Patrick Bateman, how I love everything you do. You transform your body and your speech for every role. But you won’t fool me, I know what goes on inside the Bat Cave. Don’t just stare at it… Say thank you for the Oscar.

Best Supporting Actress: Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit

  • Any young girl who’s not Dakota Fanning gets my vote. Though slightly overshadowed by the star power of Bridges, Brolin, and Damon, she’s a young gun that’ll walk away victorious from this shootout.

Alex Federman:

Best Picture: Black Swan

  • Black Swan soared above its competitors to have the most emotional impact on me. Darren Aronofsky skillfully weaved together horror, comedy, and suspense with incredible performances by Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, and Barbara Hershey.  I never knew ballet could be so amazing and emotionally charged.

Best Director: David Fincher, The Social Network

  • Fincher is known for doing upwards of 100 takes for some scenes, and this painstaking attention to detail in both the visual style and great performances of The Social Network created an interesting and intense look at the creation of Facebook.

Best Actor: James Franco, 127 Hours

  • Since I haven’t seen two of these performances, I’m going with the one that I liked the most. While Jeff Bridges was great as usual and Jesse Eisenberg had a very talented cast to bounce his usual nervous ticks off of, Franco spent most of 127 Hours alone. Trapped under a boulder with very little water, no companionship, and no easy way out. I have to hand (or should I say arm?) it to Franco, by the time the movie’s over, you really feel like he’s earned his ending through all the different stages of emotion he goes through.

Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan

  • Enough said.

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter

  • Though I’ve only seen one of the movies from the actors nominated in this category, from the trailers for The Fighter, Bale looks to have completely transformed into a new character, though John Hawkes’ performance was one of the best parts of Winter’s Bone.

Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, The Fighter

  • Was Hailee Steinfeld playing Mattie Ross in True Grit annoying and unrelatable, or is that just me? In any case, from the buzz surrounding The Fighter and Leo’s Golden Globe win probably means that she should take home this award.

Ariel Abramowitz:

Best Picture: The Social Network.

  • I would be extremely surprised if the Academy chose this film over The King’s Speech but this was one movie that lived up to all of the hype. Months later, it is still on the forefront of everyone’s mind. It’s just that good.

Best Director: David Fincher, The Social Network.

  • I would be happy with a win for Darren Aronofsky, Tom Hooper, or Fincher. All are relatively young within the Academy and deserve this recognition for three great films. The Social Network was the movie of the year and Fincher made that happen.

Best Actor: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech.

  • I went into The King’s Speech with no expectations and was absolutely blown away by Firth’s portrayal of King George VI. Firth made everything feel majestic; exactly what you would expect from a Best Actor nominee.

Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan.

  • This was the best performance of Portman’s career to date. She blew my mind in a creepy, psychosexual way and absolutely deserves it. Unfortunately, the Academy will probably choose Annette Bening (The Kids are All Right).

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter.

  • I absolutely hated The Fighter but you cannot deny the energy and spark Bale exuded in every single scene. For me, he was the only memorable part of the movie.

Best Supporting Actress: Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech.

  • There is just something about the crazy-Carter-train that has me hopping on at every single station. When you take her away from Johnny Depp and Tim Burton, you can actually see how ridiculously talented and mesmerizing Carter can be.

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