Welcome to Oscar Season 2011! With cool young hosts, popular movies getting lots of nominations, and some difficult races, it looks to be a great show this year. To be honest, I don't expect to do as well with my picks as last year, but I'll certainly have fun trying and I hope you'll have fun reading my posts. Let's jump right in with Best Supporting Actress:
This years Supporting Actress race features Amy Adams and Melissa Leo (The Fighter), Helena Bonham Carter (The King's Speech), Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit), and Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom). All are strong performances, but as the least-high profile nominee, I suspect that Jacki Weaver will have a tough time in this race. Bonham Carter was good, but her competition all had bolder performances and more aggressive characters. Leo and Adams are in the same movie and their votes will likely get split, but there's a chance that voters will get behind Melissa Leo.
More likely is a win for young Hailee Steinfeld. She is, technically, the female lead in True Grit and gives a bold, focused performance, holding her own against some heavyweight Hollywood veterans. Her movie has been popular and well-reviewed, but her age is a serious factor - the Academy doesn't give awards to kids lightly. The best thing she can do, now that she's been nominated, is to campaign like crazy. She needs to go on talk shows and show everyone that she isn't at all like her character and prove that she's an actress in whom the Academy can invest its votes. If she doesn't do that, Melissa Leo, an actress who already has Academy respect, will have the edge.
I'm picking Steinfeld, but we'll see how the campaigning pans out.