2010 was yet another solid year for Hollywood films, and on February 27, 2011, the best of those films will be honored at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards ceremony at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles. Particularly with the ten Best Picture nominees, this year had its fair share of memorable movie moments – like when Mark Zuckerberg heard the first use of the phrase, “Facebook me!” And when Dom Cobb’s spinning top would determine whether his whole existence was a dream or reality. Or when ballet dancer Nina’s transformation into a beautiful swan on stage was complete. While a lot of movies fared well both at the box office and with critics, only one can win Best Picture. Here’s a review of the top five nominees.
The Frontrunner: The King’s Speech – This was the inspiring tale of King George IV overcoming his stammer with a speech therapist before having to broadcast a message to the people of Britain. It might not sound like the most engaging idea for a script ever written, but it was actually one of the best, most well written dramas of the year. Star Colin Firth is a shoe-in for Best Actor, and in my opinion, The King’s Speech is at the lead of the pack for Best Picture, since Academy voters tend to favor artsier, indie-er dramas over big box office hits. (Just look at last year’s victory of The Hurt Locker over Avatar)
The Runner-Up: The Social Network – David Fincher’s film about the world’s youngest billionaire and creator of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, is the other prime contender for Best Picture. Featuring quick, witty dialogue and a genuinely interesting story about a young entrepreneur who will stop at nothing to become rich and famous, The Social Network is the most modern, relevant story we’ve heard in a long time.
Inception – Chris Nolan’s mind-bending thriller about entering the dreams of a corporate executive was a massive box office smash and a critical success. Although Nolan was inexplicably snubbed for a Best Director nod, Inception will go down as one of his best, as a truly complex and creative film exploring dreams vs. reality.
Black Swan – Another dark psychological drama from Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan follows Best Actress frontrunner Natalie Portman as Nina Sayers, a ballerina preparing for a production of Swan Lake. She undergoes a brutal transformation, both literally and figuratively, from the perfect, innocent white swan into the dark, seductive black swan.
The Fighter – While boxing movies are often prone to clichés, The Fighter is a powerful biopic starring Mark Wahlberg as boxer Micky Ward. With Supporting Actor and Actress nominations for Christian Bale and Amy Adams, respectively, the film is an ambitious and fresh take on a real-life athlete’s troubled past.