Oscar Predictions: Who Will Win at the 2011 Oscars?


The 2011 Oscar nominations are in! Which means it's now time for us to gaze into our crystal ball and post our official Oscar predictions in time for the Feb. 27 ceremony.

Should Colin Firth start writing his speech? Will Natalie Portman dance away with her first Oscar? And what will win Best Picture: 'The King's Speech' or 'The Social Network'?

Check out our final winners predictions below.

Oscar Winners 2011 List


BEST PICTURE

The Nominees:
'Black Swan'
'The Fighter'
'Inception'
'The Kids Are All Right'
'The King's Speech'
'127 Hours'
'The Social Network'
'Toy Story 3'
'True Grit'
'Winter's Bone'

Will Win: 'The King's Speech'
Dark Horse: 'The Social Network'

Commentary: For months, it seemed like nothing could stop 'The Social Network' from winning Best Picture, especially after it took home four Golden Globes in January.

But in recent weeks, the Facebook frontrunner has been dethroned by 'The King's Speech' after the British period piece won prizes from the Producers Guild, Directors Guild and Screen Actors Guild of America.

Now we're left with a very important question: Will the Academy continue to award innovative, more modern movies, as they did with 'No Country For Old Men' and 'The Hurt Locker'? Or will they go for the more emotional, classic Oscar bait choice? Anything can happen, but for now, we think Harvey Weinstein may want to get his speech ready.


BEST DIRECTOR

The Nominees:
Darren Aronofsky, 'Black Swan'
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, 'True Grit'
David Fincher, 'The Social Network'
Tom Hooper, 'The King's Speech'
David O'Russell, 'The Fighter'

Will Win: David Fincher
Dark Horse: Tom Hooper

Commentary: Just like in the Best Picture race, Best Director has been narrowed down to two contenders: 'The Social Network' and 'The King's Speech.'

But in this category, 'The King's Speech' has a bigger hill to climb. Tom Hooper up against a veteran director (Fincher) who is well overdue for an Oscar, and who fits in with the recent winners in this category -- Ang Lee, Martin Scorsese, the Coen Brothers, Danny Boyle and Kathryn Bigelow. 'The Social Network' may be losing steam in other categories, but we still "like" its chances here.

BEST ACTOR

The Nominees:
Javier Bardem, 'Biutiful'
Jeff Bridges, 'True Grit'
Jesse Eisenberg, 'The Social Network'
Colin Firth, 'The King's Speech'
James Franco, '127 Hours'

Will Win: Colin Firth
Dark Horse: None

Commentary: We could go on, and on and on about how under-the-radar contenders like Jesse Eisenberg or James Franco could pull off a last-minute upset, but we'd just be kidding ourselves. This race has been Colin Firth's to lose from the get-go, and after winning the Critics' Choice, the Golden Globe and the SAG Award, there's no stopping him now. Firth will win the Oscar on Feb. 27. You can go ahead and bet the farm.

BEST ACTRESS

The Nominees:
Annette Bening, 'The Kids Are All Right'
Nicole Kidman, 'Rabbit Hole'
Jennifer Lawrence, 'Winter's Bone'
Natalie Portman, 'Black Swan'
Michelle Williams, 'Blue Valentine'

Will Win: Natalie Portman
Dark Horse: Annette Bening

Commentary: For awhile, it seemed like this race would turn into a showdown between the veteran actress (Bening) and the pretty young ingenue (Portman). But between the awards she's won, her pregnancy and engagement, this story will likely end with Portman dancing away with the Oscar after all.

Sure, 'Black Swan' didn't get as many nominations as some were predicting; it received "only" five total. But the momentum remains in Portman's favor following her victory at the SAG awards -- so much that we'd be shocked if anybody else won.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

The Nominees:
Christian Bale, 'The Fighter'
John Hawkes, 'Winter's Bone'
Jeremy Renner, 'The Town'
Mark Ruffalo, 'The Kids Are All Right'
Geoffrey Rush, 'The King's Speech'

Will Win: Christian Bale
Dark Horse: Geoffrey Rush

Commentary: Though he may not be as big of a lock as Colin Firth, we can't imagine anyone winning Best Supporting Actor besides Christian Bale. It's the type of performance the Academy loves to honor, and he's already won practically every major award in sight. The remaining four nominees simply won't be able to put up a fight.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS


The Nominees:
Amy Adams, 'The Fighter'
Helena Bonham Carter, 'The King's Speech'
Melissa Leo, 'The Fighter'
Hailee Steinfeld, 'True Grit'
Jacki Weaver, 'Animal Kingdom'

Will Win: Melissa Leo
Dark Horse: Hailee Steinfeld

Commentary: This remains the only open acting category. Conventional wisdom and statistics show that Melissa Leo is the obvious frontrunner, and she'll probably win. But keep an eye out for newcomer Hailee Steinfeld. She's in the second-most nominated movie of the year, and if there's one category in which voters love to honor an up-and-comer, it's here. We're sticking with Leo, but don't be surprised if Steinfeld's name is called on Oscar night.

BEST DOCUMENTARY

The Nominees:
'Exit Through the Gift Shop'
'Gasland'
'Inside Job'
'Restrepo'
'Waste Land'

Will Win: 'Inside Job'
Dark Horse: 'Exit Through the Gift Shop'

Commentary: 'Exit Through the Gift Shop' may be the most popular and widely-seen movie of the bunch, but we're liking the topical 'Inside Job's' chances here. (The film tracks the reasons behind the 2008 financial crisis.)

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

The Nominees:
'How to Train Your Dragon'
'The Illusionist'
'Toy Story 3'

Will/Should Win: 'Toy Story 3'
Dark Horse: None

Commentary: 'How to Train Your Dragon' and 'The Illusionist' are both strong movies, but when you're up against a Best Picture nominee -- not to mention a Pixar movie -- you pretty much have no shot at winning. In fact, we'll go ahead and call 'Toy Story 3' a lock in this category.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

The Nominees:
'Another Year'
'The Fighter'
'Inception'
'The Kids Are All Right'
'The King's Speech'

Will Win: 'The King's Speech'
Dark Horse: 'Inception'

Commentary: After getting snubbed for Best Director, you'd think the Academy would leap at the chance to give Christopher Nolan a makeup Oscar wherever they could. Unfortunately, it won't be in this category, as Nolan is up against Best Picture frontrunner 'The King's Speech.' Sure, Nolan may have won the WGA, but remember: 'The King's Speech' was ineligible in that race. This one is a completely different ballgame.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

The Nominees:
'127 Hours'
'The Social Network'
'Toy Story 3'
'True Grit'
'Winter's Bone'

Will Win: 'The Social Network'
Dark Horse: None

Commentary: Even if 'The Social Network' doesn't win Best Picture, Aaron Sorkin's fast-talking screenplay is a lock to win Best Adapted Screenplay, and his speech should be one of the highlights of the evening.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

The Nominees:
'Biutiful' (Mexico)
'Dogtooth' (Greece)
'In a Better World' (Denmark)
'Incendies' (Canada)
'Outside the Law' (Algeria)

Will Win: 'In a Better World'
Dark Horse: 'Biutiful'

Commentary: Javier Bardem's Best Actor nomination proves the Academy -- or at least the acting branch -- is a fan of 'Biutiful.' Still, we think Denmark's 'In a Better World' will keep its Golden Globe-winning momentum going all the way to the Kodak stage.

BEST ART DIRECTION

The Nominees:
'Alice in Wonderland'
'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I'
'Inception'
'The King's Speech'
'True Grit'

Will Win: 'Alice in Wonderland'
Dark Horse: 'The King's Speech'

Commentary: All signs point to 'The King's Speech,' especially after it won the Art Directors Guild award. However, Tim Burton's eye-popping sets may be too hard for voters to resist. (See: 'Sleepy Hollow.')

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

The Nominees:
'Black Swan'
'Inception'
'The King's Speech'
'The Social Network'
'True Grit'

Will Win: 'True Grit'
Dark Horse: 'Inception'

Commentary: Wally Pfister's beautifully lensed work on 'Inception' won him top honors from the American Society of Cinematographers. But he's up against Roger Deakins, who lensed the 10-time nominated 'True Grit' and who has yet to win an Oscar (if you can believe it). We think 2011 may finally be his year.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

The Nominees:
'Alice in Wonderland'
'I Am Love'
'The King's Speech'
'The Tempest'
'True Grit'

Will Win: 'The King's Speech'
Dark Horse: 'Alice in Wonderland'

Commentary: Jenny Beavan is a past winner ('A Room With a View'), so she's already in good graces with the Academy. Plus, the fact that she designed the costumes for the Best Picture frontrunner should be enough to push her past dark-horse contender and two-time winner Colleen Atwood ('Alice in Wonderland').

BEST FILM EDITING

The Nominees:
'Black Swan'
'The Fighter'
'The King's Speech'
'127 Hours'
'The Social Network'

Will Win: 'The Social Network'
Dark Horse: 'The King's Speech'

Commentary: This category is often a telling sign of what movie will win Best Picture, but no matter what happens in that race, 'The Social Network's' fast-paced and stylized editing will likely be too hard for voters to resist here.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

The Nominees:
'How to Train Your Dragon'
'Inception'
'The King's Speech'
'127 Hours'
'The Social Network'

Will Win: 'The King's Speech'
Dark Horse: 'The Social Network'

Commentary: Alexandre Desplat is long overdue for an Oscar, and his 'King's Speech' score is the exactly the type that voters love to honor. But after the Golden Globes, voters could go for 'The Social Network' instead. Let's be honest: Who wouldn't want to see Trent Reznor accept an Oscar?

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

The Nominees:
'Coming Home' - 'Country Strong'
'I See the Light' - 'Tangled'
'If I Rise' - '127 Hours'
'We Belong Together' - 'Toy Story 3'

Will Win: '127 Hours'
Dark Horse: 'Toy Story 3'

Commentary: This is a wide-open field, which means that any movie could win, especially 'Toy Story 3,' which has the most recognizable name (Randy Newman). But don't count out A.R. Rahman, who won two years ago for 'Slumdog Millionaire' and who may very well win again this year.

BEST SOUND MIXING

The Nominees:
'Inception'
'The King's Speech'
'Salt'
'The Social Network'
'True Grit'

Will Win: 'Inception'
Dark Horse: 'The Social Network'

Commentary: Since it doesn't have much of a chance in the major categories, expect 'Inception' to sweep the sound and visual categories.

BEST SOUND EDITING

The Nominees:
'Inception'
'Toy Story 3'
'TRON: Legacy'
'True Grit'
'Unstoppable'

Will Win: 'Inception'
Dark Horse: 'True Grit'

Commentary: 'Inception' is the biggest and most tech-savvy movie of the bunch, so look for an easy win here. Its only main competitor, 'True Grit,' feels like a distant second at best.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

The Nominees:
'Alice in Wonderland'
'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I'
'Hereafter'
'Inception'
'Iron Man 2'

Will Win: 'Inception'
Dark Horse: 'Alice in Wonderland'

Commentary: Once again, 'Inception's' high-profile status -- not to mention dazzling visual effects -- is more than enough for a win here. If there's a surprise, it'll come from 'Alice in Wonderland' -- but don't count on it.

BEST MAKEUP

The Nominees:
'Barney's Version'
'The Way Back'
'The Wolfman'

Will Win: 'The Wolfman'
Dark Horse: 'The Way Back'

Commentary: We know what you're thinking: Academy Award Winner 'The Wolfman'? Sure, it sounds crazy, until you realize the makeup was done by six-time winner Rick Baker. Expect him to pick up a seventh win on Sunday.

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM

The Nominees:
'Day & Night'
'The Gruffalo'
'Let's Pollute'
'The Lost Thing'
'Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)'

Will Win: 'Day & Night'
Dark Horse: 'The Gruffalo'

Commentary: For more on the nominated films, click here.

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT

The Nominees:
'Killing in the Name'
'Poster Girl'
'Strangers No More'
'Sun Come Up'
'The Warriors of Quiugang'

Will Win: 'Strangers No More'
Dark Horse: 'Killing in the Name'

Commentary: For more on the nominated films, click here.

BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT

The Nominees:
'The Confession'
'The Crush'
'God of Love'
'Na Wewe'
'Wish 143'

Will Win: 'Na Wewe'
Dark Horse: 'Wish 143'

Commentary: For more on the nominated films, click here.