Anyway, now that I have familiarized myself with this year's major contenders, allow me to reevaluate their quality and potential for the award.
Oscar rates: Picture-86/100, Actor-90/100, Supporing Actor-90/100, Supporting Actress-90/100
The Social Network - A wonderfully written film about the phenamenon known as Facebook, it definitely lives up to the buzz it generated throughout the season. The movie has practically dominated the Critics' Award grid, not to mention the prestigious Golden Globes, which I take in respectable consideration since the event is so relaxed and doesn't suck up to politics. This is probably the leading contender for the Best Picture award (competing against the previously reviewed). Jesse Eisenberg, though excellent as the fast-talking genius, will not be taking home the gold because he is still young and the Academy does not honor the babies in the business.
Oscar rates: Picture-83/100, Actor-75/100
The Fighter - Again, you read that I found this film to be great, as it progressed to the end, of course. (Unless you didn't read it, whatever.) The movie most definitely showed potential for the award, since the grudgy, reality-show-like cinematography and performances are appreciated by the Academy. However, it is not really thought of as a major contestant, which is to my delight. Christian Bale is a sure thing in the Best Supporting Actor category, which is deserved, but I prefer a certain Australian speech therapist. Melissa Leo is also a definite win in the Best Supporting Actress region, playing the psycho-bitch mother; the other actress in this race is Amy Adams, providing an equally great performance as the supportive girlfriend of Mark Wahlberg.
Oscar rates: Picture-78/100, Supporting Actor-76/100, Supporting Actress-77/100, Supporting Actress-75/100
Black Swan - Another outstanding film and, much like another nominee, its cinematography and acting was very "shaky" and realistic, but not in a horror way, just "artisitic". Usually I criticize the fact that this type of camerawork is considered art, but in this film's case it really is art. Plus, the horrifying images of blood and psychotic behavior just keep you more engrossed in the movie. The beautiful ballet is both graceful and makes up for the terror. Natalie Portman is the one to beat this year, and luckily she probably won't be. Her portrayal as the mentally-unstable ballerina who obsesses over a role in Swan Lake was absolutely marvelous. The director of this film, Darren Aronofsky, is the one I'm rooting for this year because he brilliantly conducted it without making it another boring documentary-type picture.
Oscar Rates: Picture-88/100, Actress-93/100, Director-88/100 (he's that great to get a rate)
The Kids Are All Right - Fortunately, this piece-o'-crap indie has absolutely no chance whatsoever of winning. I cannot even begin to comprehend why the Academy must irritate me with these ridiculous nominations. Annette Bening is definitely decent, but nothing worthy of such an honor. Especially for a shabby movie as this one. Hopefully she can redeem herself with a truly wonderful movie, and get Oscar credit for it. Mark Ruffalo's nomination is both laughable and a waste. If being a drunken sperm donor, who takes to the term "dude"and places "like" between every word, gets the Academy's attention, they might as well nominate James Franco for Pineapple Express. At least he intentionally makes me laugh.
Oscar Rates: Picture-27/100, Actress-58/100, Supporting Actor-19/100
Inception - An amazing film that dazzled my eyes, I was enthralled in this mega-hit blockbuster. The special effects blew my mind, and further impressed me as I discovered this was from the original idea of Christopher Nolan. This brilliant man produced, directed, and wrote this contemporary masterpiece, and with the recent Batman movies, he is one of Hollywoods most valuable gems. I hope someone can then explain to me why he got no independant credit for his craft behind the camera (directing). He was not the only snub in this production: Leonardo DiCaprio, who in my eyes in one of our most talented performers, got no nomination for his role as Cobb. It's a goddamn shame two of this year's greatest stars were snubbed for their most deserved honors.
Oscar Rates: Picture-89/100, Actor-87/100, Director-89/100
Toy Story 3 - Perhaps the best animated film of the decade, behind other winners like Shrek, the final installment of the prolific trilogy is a certainty in the Best Animated Picture category. In the bigger category, however, it has a very slim chance of coming out the victor. Besides the fact that it grossed the most money, and the Academy scarcely awards the blockbusters (maybe because they feel they've had their success and don't need some additional gold, preventing greed I guess), there is another factor getting in the way of their win: it's a cartoon. And cartoons, as history tells us, never win Best Picture.
Oscar Rates: Picture-92/100, Animated Feature-100% chance
Well, there you have it. My final tallies for the Oscars this year. I find them quite calculating and precise, if I do say so myself. But, that's for you to decide. Enjoy the Oscars, airing February 27 @ 8:00 PM EST!
(Follow-up: Okay, Im a bit late in posting this. The Oscars had already passed, announced two weeks ago. Either way, you can still see how close my estimates were! Farewell awards season, until next year.)