Three days ago, I made my final predictions for the 83rd Academy Awards. At the time, I meant it.
But I've been dithering on a few races ever since, and now I'm going to make a couple of changes. So these are my new final predictions – which are truly final, because I'm going to be way too busy to give this any more thought from here on out.
The first change comes in the Documentary Feature category, where I've always had a nagging feeling that "Inside Job" is just a little too dry to connect with the voters. I could easily see the sheer entertainment value of "Exit Through the Gift Shop" triumphing instead, or the impact of "Gasland" … but there's something about the emotional lift provided by "Waste Land" (left) that now makes me think it'll prevail.
The Live-Action Short category, meanwhile, is another tough one. I think it'll go one of three ways: "Wish 143" (touching and deft), "Na Wewe" (dark and tough) or "God of Love" (breezy and entertaining). I'd originally gone with "Wish 143," which remains my favorite – but looking back over the last decade of nominees, it's the kind of film that doesn’t often win.
In this group, "God of Love" (right) stands out for its black-and-white photography and its glib charm; it might be kind of a lazy choice for voters, but I have a feeling that the same folks who chose "The New Tenants" and "West Bank Story" could go this way.
The last category I agonized over was one of the biggest: Best Director. Most of the Academy members I've spoken to lately think that while Tom Hooper's "The King's Speech" will win Best Picture, David Fincher will win Best Director for "The Social Network." And plenty of smart prognosticators have decided the same thing.
But after going back and forth, I'm sticking with Hooper. My decision was sealed on Saturday afternoon, when I emailed a veteran Academy member who usually has a good take of how the votes are going (particularly among the older members who make up so much of the voting body). He was the first to tell me that Roman Polanski was going to win Best Director even though Rob Marshall's "Chicago" would take Best Picture in 2003, so I figured he might be attuned to this split, too. His take is that it'll go to Hooper, not Fincher, and I agree.
So here's my final final forecast, delivered with the caveat that this year has quite a few tricky races (Supporting Actress, Documentary Feature, Original Song) and that I'm definitely going against the grain in a couple of them (Art Direction and Foreign-Language Film).
Best Picture: "The King's Speech"
Best Actor: Colin Firth, "The King's Speech"
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, "The Fighter"
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, "Black Swan"
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, "The Fighter"
Animated Feature: "Toy Story 3"
Art Direction: "Inception"
Cinematography: "True Grit"
Costume Design: "The King's Speech"
Directing: Tom Hooper, "The King's Speech"
Film Editing: "The Social Network"
Makeup: "The Wolfman"
Original Score: "The King's Speech"
Original Song: "We Belong Together" from "Toy Story 3"
Sound Editing: "Inception"
Sound Mixing: "Inception"
Visual Effects: "Inception"
Adapted Screenplay: "The Social Network"
Original Screenplay: "The King's Speech"
Documentary Feature: "Waste Land"
Documentary Short Subject: "Strangers No More"
Foreign Language Film: "Biutiful"
Animated Short Film: "Madagascar, carnet de voyage"
Live Action Short Film: "God of Love"