It’s hard to go into the office kitchen these days without getting into a philosophical discussion about Aaron Sorkin’s wordplay or why Colin Firth just deserves an Academy Award. But the big debate is over the Best Picture category. Critics want you to think it’s just a battle between The King’s Speech and The Social Network, but we dare to disagree. Oh, we dare! For this post, Seattle Met staffers—a fanatic film-going bunch—revealed their secret underdog picks for the film of the year. Sadly, no one chose Toy Story 3.
Restaurant critic Kathryn Robinson: "All right, all right…though I genuinely regard King’s Speech and Social Network as two of the most moving, best told, and finest written pieces of cinema…maybe ever…I nurture not-so-secret luuuuuv for True Grit. And not for any highfalutin Oscarish arty reason either. No, I would stand up on the table and dance if True Grit won simply because of its badass portrayal of a girl. That character is so steely, fearless, and take-no-prisoners she drains all the blood from words like ‘empowerment’ and ‘confidence.’ Girls are almost never portrayed this way in movies, except for in sexual contexts. Bravo Coens. I can’t wait to take my 12-year-old daughter to see it. If it weren’t for the chopping-off-the-fingers scene I already would have. Twice."
Designer Andre Mora: "The Kids Are All Right was by no means my favorite film of the year (Mark Ruffalo’s character had too sloppy an exit), but I secretly hope it wins. We need to celebrate true dramas—real stories. In American Beauty, Annette Bening’s Carolyn had to confront her fractured family, and 12 years later her role as Nic reminds us that things aren’t any less fragile. Like the film, her’s wasn’t my favorite performance of 2010—but I secretly hope she wins too."
Lifestyle editor Jessica Voelker: "On its surface Winter’s Bone is an ungussied portrait of modern mountain America—as raw as Frontline’s “Country Boys,” with glimpses of a rural community low on resources and rich with methamphetamine. But it’s also an epic adventure. In the search for her itinerant drug dealer of a father, Ree (Jennifer Lawrence) performs ever-more-hair-raising acts of heroism, culminating in that gruesome river scene. John Hawkes, meanwhile, is brilliantly ambiguous as Ree’s uncle, a menacing-then-helpful-then-menacing pseudo-father figure. Bleak, unflinching, stunningly human, this movie earned every fleck of gold-plating on that statuette. I hope it gets one."
Arts editor Laura Dannen: "I almost feel dirty for saying this, but I’d love to see Black Swan win. Consider the odds: Natalie Portman had to learn ballet—Wynona Ryder had to learn how to act!—and Darren Aronofsky managed to make crazy look absolutely stunning. I couldn’t get out of my seat once the movie was over. I had to watch The King’s Speech to calm down.”
Senior editor Matt Halverson: "I walked into a screening of True Grit expecting to see a standard, bloody Coen brothers flick—you know, the kind where a gaggle of socially stunted degenerates compete for the title of Most Likely to Die in a Way Befitting Their Idiocy. But what I got was a wholly satisfying Western that focused more on respect earned than punishment deserved. If for no other reason than because the Coens’ willingness to step way outside of their comfort zone should be recognized (I actually liked most of Grit’s characters and wanted good things to happen to them!), I’m pulling for a Texas-sized upset."
Who would you like to see win this weekend?
The 83rd Academy Awards air on Sunday, Feb 27, at 5pm PT on ABC. Fingers crossed cohost Anne Hathaway drops her ‘Princess Diaries’ bumbling pretty-girl act and lets James Franco tell the jokes.