Unless you’re Spanish, you may remember the 2010 World Cup being defined by Paul the psychic octopus, the Oberhausen dwelling cephalopod who became a global sensation after successfully predicting the outcome of all Germany’s matches, as well as the winner of the final itself.
In fact, such was the octopus’ notoriety, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad actually criticized Paul a number of times during a speech in Tehran last July. President Ahmadinejad accused the West of using the octopus to spread "western propaganda and superstition," lamenting western decadence.
Quite what Ahmadinejad makes of Heidi the cross-eyed possum remains to be seen...
Sadly, I don’t have the aid of a psychic animal to aid my 2011 Oscar predictions, and instead will be relying on reason and sense to make my picks today. That’s not to say I didn’t try. I borrowed next door’s cat for a bit, then I had to spend sometime at the police station, then I spent at least an hour clutching a worn copy of Driving Miss Daisy (winner of Best Picture in 1990 bizarrely) and frowning intensely.
No Oscar predictions were forthcoming – but I did give myself a spectacular migraine.
What follows are ten of my predictions for Sunday’s awards – what’ll win Best Picture, who’ll win Best Actor, who Banksy will be revealed to be, that sort of thing. I’d love to read yours below that. NB: if anyone encounters a psychic animal between now and the weekend, please do let me know. The cut off for William Hill is 11am on Sunday morning and I could really use a holiday.
What will win Best Picture?
After attending the 2011 BAFTA awards - an event where attendees were regularly dragged from the room, lined up against a wall and shot in the head for “not being that fussed” about The King’s Speech - I really can’t see there being any other winner in this category.
Also the Oscars are voted for by Americans and Americans think The King’s Speech is the definitive snapshot of British culture. It’s a film that breaks the fourth wall – Americans actually think it’s happening right now, that we’re drinking tea and being uptight about stuff. Ask an American child to draw a British person and they will draw Colin Firth. It’s amazing it didn’t get nominated for Best Documentary really.
Who will win Best Director?
With Se7en and Fight Club already on his CV, it’s surprising that The Social Network director David Fincher hasn’t already won this award. He was nominated in 2009 for The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button but everyone who did so rewatched it the night before the awards, fell into a deep coma and woke up en mass six months ago saying, “yeah, Slumdog Millionaire was much better actually…”
This year is all Fincher’s. His is a name that has become shorthand in Hollywood for 21st Century genius and it’s hard to argue with the herculean triumph of adapting the Facebook story into an emotive web of triumph, loneliness and what happens when you put your soul up for sale. I say this as someone who sat though a cut of Darren Aronofsky’s Twitter movie. Rubbish that was.
Who will win Best Actor?
Colin Firth for The King’s Speech. A crack team of SAS operatives (and Jason Statham, who just turned up for a laugh) are already entrenched on the Staples Centre roof, ready to extract vengeance on any naysayers. I also expect James Franco from 127 Hours to run onstage, shout “but I tore my arm off for this!” and be downed with a hail of bullets.
Who will win Best Actress?
The Kids Are All Right’s Annette Bening will run her close – and Warren Beatty’s scowl may well be forever imprinted on the retinas of anyone sat within ten rows of him when his wife doesn’t win - but I’m going for Natalie Portman for Black Swan for this one. Portman’s edgy, distressed performance is the best thing about the film. Also, she’s pregnant, and pregnant nominees – Meryl Streep in 1982, Catherine Zeta-Jones in 2003, Rachel Weisz in 2005 – rarely lose.
Chances that James Franco will arrive with a pillow up his shirt: fair to middling.
Who will win Best Supporting Actor?
Christian Bale for The Fighter. If you haven’t seen the film, Bale plays Dicky Eklund, crackhead, washed-up boxer and brother to Mark Wahlberg’s ‘Irish’ Micky Ward. He is mesmeric. Also, after the Terminator Salvation incident of 2008 (in which Bale confirmed he was more of a diva than Mariah Carey driving round a diamante encrusted JCB of puppies) no-one is more feared in Hollywood than the Welshman. Not even Jason Statham.
Who will win Best Supporting Actress?
It’s a pretty open category – and in Amy Adams and Melissa Leo, features two deserved nominations for The Fighter actresses – but the Academy has to reward True Grit - the second most nominated movie of the year – somewhere. I can see this award going to 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld who plays Mattie Ross in the Coen brothers’ film.
Just to give this achievement context, when I was 14 my biggest success in my life thus far was completing Streetfighter 2 on the hardest setting. Maybe Steinfeld has too. I don’t know. Shoryuken and all that.
Will Banksy turn up?
Nominated for his 2010 documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop, many are predicting that this year’s awards will see the attendance of British street artist Banksy. This is problematic since nobody knows who Banksy is. That said, nobody knew who Roberto Benigni was in 1998 either, and that didn’t stop him winning Best Actor for Life Is Beautiful.
“We’ve had a five-minute conversation about if they won how it would be handled,” says Academy president Tom Sherak earnestly, talking about the awards as if they’re the Middle eastern peace process and not just an opportunity for Glenn Close to buy a new frock. “How we could be comfortable and they could be comfortable. He wasn’t there. That we know – he could’ve been the waiter at the table. How would we know? His reps were very, very open, nice, trying to work with us”.
My prediction is that Exit Through The Gift Shop will see off stiff competition from Inside Job and win, then Banksy will be unveiled, not as a human, but as the communication between that world and this of the children trapped inside the realm of eighties cartoon Dungeons & Dragons. They will then attempt to return home through the magical roller coaster, but James Franco will trip on a cable just as they are, and they’ll be trapped inside the realm forever.
What will win Best Animated feature?
Toy Story 3. Wait, there are other films nominated? Really? No, really? Wow...
Will Inception win anything?
God knows what Christopher Nolan ever did to offend the Academy, but despite being a three-time Director’s Guild Of America nominee – for Memento, The Dark Knight and Inception - he’s never been recognized in the Best Director category by the Oscars. You’d think the Academy would leap at the chance to give 2010’s Inception a made up Oscar in the Best Original Screenplay category. But The King’s Speech is nominated, so that’s that fucked then.
Chances are that Inception may well clean up in the categories of Best Sound Editing, Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Mixing, but these are categories so far down the list of the Academy’s priorities the statuettes are actually made of bits of Bacofoil and old props from Battlefield Earth. The answer then is “yes” - but it’s a “yes” that’s more Elizabeth Berkley in Showgirls than Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally.
Will anyone die?
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