One of the most meandering awards seasons in recent history comes to an end on Sunday night when the charming duo of James Franco and Anne Hathaway preside over Hollywood's biggest night, the 83rd Annual Academy Awards.
Will The Social Network regain its vigour to fight off The King's Speech's late award-season surge to win the grand prix? Will Annette Bening pull an upset win over Best Actress frontrunner Natalie Portman? Will Melissa Leo's controversial campaign ads cost her the supporting-actress win?
Obviously a lot has gone down since I last reported from the sidelines. And at this point, while Sunday’s winners include some surefire victors, beyond that it’s anyone’s guess. So how is the field looking at this point? Here’s my final rundown of who will go home with a trophy – and who truly deserves a lifetime with the little gold man.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Will win: In spite of the controversy she has invited upon herself within the past weeks, Melissa Leo is still the safe bet in this category for her thoroughly believable turn as matriarch Alice Ward in The Fighter. Also working in her favour are her important wins at the Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Awards.
Should win: I’m not a supporter of self-promo campaigns when it comes to awards shows, so you can imagine my disappointment to learn that Leo had been “pimping herself” via glamour-shot ad campaigns to appeal to Academy voters to “consider” her. Tacky. (Sharon Stone’s stunt with her Casino nomination comes to mind). As such, an upset looms in this category, with Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) or The Fighter costar Amy Adams set to capitalize should Leo lose massive votes.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Will win and should win: With Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) out of contention, my vote falls unequivocally to Christian Bale, who has been cleaning up at pre-Oscar shows all season. As washed-up, drug-addicted boxer Dicky Ward in The Fighter, Bale is simply a knockout. It’s an utterly committed performance in the vein of his work in American Psycho and The Machinist.