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And The Oscar Goes To…TAM Picks The Academy Awards

First off, I want to say thank you. This will be our third year covering the Academy Awards and each year has gotten better and better. We’ve already had over 25 entrees into our Pick The Oscars Contest and can’t wait to see who comes out on top. For the first time ever, TAM has covered nearly 85% of all nominated movies. We feel more confident than ever in picking the winners. With that in mind, here’s our picks for the 83rd Academy Awards.

Best Picture: The Best Picture category is extremely tricky this year. While I firmly believe that the best movie of the year was The Social Network, it is very hard to see the Academy voting for it. Instead, it seems that they will pick The Kings Speech, the movie I feel was the second best movie of the year in the nights top category. The Social Network was just too young, and too unknown to blow the aging voters away. The Kings Speech was the exact opposite. It featured an all star cast and was a true “Oscar” style movie. TAM’s Pick: The Kings Speech.

Best Actor In a Leading Role: Honestly, this category might as well read, Best Actor In The Kings Speech. While past winners might have been contested or come down to very close races, this year will not. Colin Firth will walk away with this award for his role as the stuttering King George VI. The movie was brilliant and his performance was one for the ages. The only actor who could conceivably challenge for this award would be Jesse Eisenberg from The Social Network. While I do believe he gave an amazing performance, it was not enough to knock Firth off his thrown this year. TAM’s Pick: Colin Firth.

Best Actress In a Leading Role: Just like the lead actor category, this one too will be a landslide victory. In fact, Natalie Portmans performance in Black Swan was so good that I dare not even mention who her competition is. She gave one of the best individual performances I have even seen portrayed. An internal battle raging inside of her, she played this part on so many different levels, completely overshadowing the fact that Black Swan was a truly great movie. TAM’s Pick: Natalie Portman.

Best Actor In a Supporting Role: For us, the two hardest categories this year come in the supporting roles. Beginning with the actors, you have two stand out performances. One from Christian Bale as a drug adict boxer from Boston in The Fighter. The other is Colin Firths therapist in The Kings Speech, played by Geoffrey Rush. While I firmly stand by the fact that Rush’s performance was one of my favorites of the year, it seems unlikely that the lead and supporting victors come from the same movie. With that, Bale will likely take home the award he has already won at the Golden Globes. TAM’s Pick: Christian Bale.

Best Actress In a Supporting Role: The single hardest category of the entire night. You had two great performances from The Fighter, a breakout role for Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit and an over the top Helena Bonham Carter in The Kings Speech. While there is another nominee, we’ll leave her out. For the same reasons I left out Rush in the last category, I believe Carter will come up short. My winner would be Steinfeld who portrayed an amazing period piece alongside Jeff Bridges. The bought into the time period and she really shined in her big time debut. My winner is irrelevant. As she did at the Golden Globes, I expect the award to go to Melissa Leo from The Fighter. Her performance was just as moving as Steinfeld’s was and this Hollywood veteran will be honored for this role. TAM’s Pick: Melissa Leo.

Best Animated Feature: Come on guys, it’s the Toy Story franchise. How could this movie lose? TAM’s Pick: Toy Story 3.

Best Adapted Screenplay: This category does feature a few great movies. From a writing standpoint, the theme of this category, there is a clear winner. While The Social Network will likely come up short for Best Picture, Aaron Sorkin shouldn’t have much trouble taking home the award for this category on Oscar night. TAM’s Pick: Aaron Sorkin for writing The Social Network.

Best Original Screenplay: Over the last three years, the winner for Best Picture has taken home an award for the screenplay, be it adapted or original. Unfortunately for the other four writers nominated in this category, The Kings Speech was an original screenplay. We wouldn’t expect this trend to break in 2011. TAM’s Pick: Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg for writing The Kings Speech.

Best Director: Now this is a tough one. Taking the last three years into account again, the winner for Best Director always was in charge of directing the Best Picture. While I buy into that line of thinking, there are four huge names and more importantly, huge movies to consider here. Oscar favorites the Cohen Brothers directed True Grit while Darren Aronofsky did an amazing job bringing Black Swan to life. In the end it will, just as Best Picture did, come down to two movies. David Fincher for The Social Network and Tom Hooper for The Kings Speech. Personally, I hope it’s Fincher but let’s face it, the numbers don’t lie. TAM’s Pick: Tom Hooper for Directing The Kings Speech.

The Other’s:

Best Foreign Language Film: Biutiful

Best Documentary Feature: Exit Through The Gift Shop

Best Documentary Short: Sun Come Up

Best Live Action Short Film: The Confession

Best Animated Short Film: Day & Night

Best Original Score: The Social Network

Best Original Song: “If I Rise” from 127 Hours

Best Sound Editing: Inception

Best Sound Mixing: The Social Network

Best Art Direction: The Kings Speech

Best Cinematography: Black Swan

Best Makeup: Barney’s Version

Best Costume Design: Alice in Wonderland

Best Film Editing: The Social Network

Best Visual Effects: Inception

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