Oscar 2011 front runners

Last Updated: Feb 25, 2011, 12:44 PM IST

Come 27th February 2011, the world is going to witness some of the biggest flicks of 2010 competing against each other for the coveted Best Picture Award at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards. With ‘Inception’, ‘Black Swan’, ‘The Fighter’, ‘127 Hours’, ‘The Social Network’ and ‘The King’s Speech’, Hollywood saw some of the most amazing and memorable films in 2010. Let’s take a look at Best Picture Nominees at the 2011 Oscars and what makes them one of the top contenders of most prestigious movie award in the world. May the best film win!

‘Black Swan’: Directed by Darren Aronofsky, ‘Black Swan’ (2010) is a dark, intense and passionate film starring Natalie Portman as Nina Sayers and Mila Kunis as Lily competing against each other to play the Swan Queen for a New York City ballet company’s Swan Lake production. Watch out for Nina, a non-nonsense ballerina juxtaposed against wild and perky Lily, while the former shows psychotic symptoms as the competition between the two of them to play the Swan Queen hits the crescendo. ‘Black Swan’ wooed the critics and audience alike and has already won numerous awards and accolades including the American Film Institute Award, Art Directors Guild Award, Austin Film Critics Association Award and Chicago Film Critics Association Award and many others. A powerful melodrama, ‘Black Swan’ is one of the best performances by Natalie Portman and one of the top contenders of Best Film award at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards.

‘The Fighter’: A David O Russell film, ‘The Fighter’ (2010) is a biographical drama based on the life and times of an American welterweight boxer Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and his personal demons. Managed by his frenzied mother Alice Ward (Melissa Leo) and coached by elder half brother, an unsuccessful boxer and a crack addict Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale). The movie traces how a shy and reluctant Micky transforms into a gritty boxer by his girlfriend Charlene Fleming (Amy Adams) and overcomes his overbearing mother and coach-brother into a winner – both inside and outside the ring. A winner of Screen Actors Guild Awards, Golden Globe Awards and Broadcast Film Critics, ‘The Fighter’ is all set to try it luck at the Oscars 2011.

‘Inception’: Christopher Nolan’s ‘Inception’ (2010) is a fascinating sci-fi flick, which includes Hollywood A-list actor Leonardo DiCaprio along with Joseph Gordon Levitt, Ken Watanable, Marion Cotillard, Tom Hardy Ellen Page and Michael Caine, where DiCaprio plays Dom Cobb – a corporate spy and a dream stealer, who is gifted with a rare power of entering into the unconscious mind of his target, while they are dreaming or sleeping. However, things take a violent turn when he is entrusted with the task of planting an idea into his target’s unconscious mind. A highly futuristic film, ‘Inception’ tries to explore the unknown and mysterious potentiality of human mind in a unique and intriguing manner. ‘Inception’ won Scream Awards, International Press Academy, IGN, Hollywood Film Festival and BAFTA award.

‘The Kids are All Right’: Lisa Cholodenko’s ‘The Kids are All Right’ (2010) is an American comedy film starring Annette Bening as Nic and Julianne Moore as Jules as a married lesbian couple, who each gave birth to a baby using the same, but anonymous sperm donor Paul (Mark Ruffalo). However, things take an unfamiliar turn when Paul accidentally comes into the life of Nic and Jules, all thanks to his biological kids Laser (Josh Hutcherson) and Joni (Mia Wasikowska). ‘The Kids are All Right’ has already won the BAFTA, Golden Globe awards and is gearing up for the 83rd Oscar Awards.

‘The King’s Speech’: A Tom Hooper film, ‘The King’s Speech’ (2010) is an English drama starting Colin Firth as a stammering King Gorge VI and his friendship with Australian speech-therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), who helps the former in overcoming his stutter and making a significant radio broadcast at the start of World War II. ‘The King’s Speech’ won numerous awards and including the 17th Screen Actor Guild Awards, Golden Globes, British Independent Films Awards 2010, British Academy Film Awards to name a few. ‘The King’s Speech’ is one of the front-runners for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards.

‘127 Hours’: Oscar winner Danny Boyle’s ‘127 Hours’ is a gripping narrative and a triumphant human story of mountaineer Aron Ralston (James Franco), who was trapped in Robbers Roost, Utah for more than five days in 2003, before saving his life not before severing his arm with a blunt knife. ‘127 Hours’ was based on Ralston’s autobiography ‘Between a Rock and a Hard Place’. In ‘127 Hours’, Boyle repeats his ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ team by reuniting with Simon Beaufoy and Christian Colson in addition to ‘Mozart of Madras’ AR Rahman. ‘127 Hours ’ was nominated for one hundred and twenty five awards in 2010, out of which it won twenty two awards, including the British Academy Film Awards, Broadcast Film Critics Association, Phoenix Film Critics Society and Utah Film Critics Association Award to name a few. Let’s wait and watch whether Boyle recreates the ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ success at Oscars 2011.

‘The Social Network’: David Fincher’s ‘The Social Network’ traces the founding and success of famous social networking site Facebook. Starring Andrew Garfield as Eduardo Saverin, Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg and Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker, the film also includes Brenda Song, Max Minghella, Armie Hammer, Rashida Jones, Rooney Mara and Joseph Mazzello. The film is a cinematic adaptation of Ben Mezrich’s book ‘The Accidental Billionaires’ (2009). The movie chronicles the origin of the most popular social network created in a drunken rage when Mark breaks up with his girlfriend. ‘The Social Network’ won numerous awards including the BAFTA, Hollywood Film Festival Award, American Cinema Editors Award, Broadcast Film Critics Association Award and numerous other prestigious awards.

‘Toy Story 3’: Lee Unkrich ‘Toy Story 3’ is one of the most loved 3D CGI animation flick from Walt Disney. Like its two earlier sequels, ‘Toy Story 3’ is based on the Buzz Lightyear, Woody and their amazing friends with voiceovers from Hollywood stars like Tom Hanks, John Cusack and Tim Allen to name a few. A treat for children, ‘Toy Story 3’ was a Box Office hit and worldwide fifth highest grossing animated film and won the 2011 Grammy Awards. Let’s see whether ‘Toy Story 3’can make it to the Oscars 2011 or not.

‘True Grit’: Directed by Coen Brothers, ‘True Grit’ (2010) is a film adaptation of Charles Portis’ novel by the same name. Starring Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Hailee Steinfled, Josh Brolin and Berry Pepper, ‘True Grit’ is narrated by Mattie (Elizabeth Marvel), who recounts how her father was ruthlessly murdered, by one of his hired workers – Tom Chaney (Brolin), when she was a fourteen year old girl. Things become interesting when Mattie hires Rooster (Bridges) and LaBeouf (Damon) join her on the journey of revenge. Competing for the Best Film at 83rd Academy Awards, ‘True Grit’ has already won Broadcast Film Critics Association Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, British Academy Film Award.

‘Winter’s Bone’: ‘Winter’s Bone’ (2010) is a highly charged drama and a film adaptation of Daniel Woodrell’s novel by the same name. Directed by Debra Granik and starring Jennifer Lawrence and John Hawkes, ‘Winter’s Bone’ is a gripping tale based on the life of a teenage girl Ree Dolly (Jennifer) and her trials and tribulations to keep her family together in a dreary rural area, raising her two younger siblings and fulfilling her dream of joining military. ‘Winter’s Bone’ won various awards including the 25th Seattle International Film Festival Award, 9th San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award, 35th Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award and 60th Berlin International Film Festival Award.

Well, the list seems to be pretty interesting and I’m sure that ‘Black Swan’, ‘The King’s Speech’ and ‘Inception’ will fight it out for top honours as all of them are spectacular in their own right. Of course, it’s the jury to decide which film will win the Best Film Academy Award. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

Compiled by Aman Kanth