Oscar nods, gay faves, and predictions to win

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imageThe Oscar nominations are in, and lesbian dramedy “The Kids Are All Right” will duke it out with heavyweights “The Social Network” and “The King’s Speech” at this year’s Academy Awards.

The film, about a female couple whose two kids decide to find their real father, is up for Best Picture in the Academy’s new 10-film format. Nominations were announced Monday morning, and there was other good news for the movie: It got a nod for Annette Bening (top photo, center) as Best Actress and Mark Ruffalo (left) for Best Supporting Actor. Out lesbian Lisa Cholodenko didn’t get a Best Director nomination, but she is up for Best Original Screenplay with co-writer Stuart Blumberg.

The ballet drama “Black Swan,” with some lesbian overtones, also got a Best Picture nomination, while star Natalie Portman is in the running for Best Actress. Her imaginary rug-muncher Mila Kunis was overlooked in the Supporting Actress category

imageGay director John Cameron Mitchell’s “Rabbit Hole” was shut out save for its expected Best Actress nomination for Nicole Kidman (second photo, cast with Mitchell).

The nominations were relatively free of surprises. Snubs went to Leonardo DiCaprio, who headlined two commercial and critical hits, “Inception” and “Shutter Island.” Andrew Garfield was ignored for his supporting work in “The Social Network.” Julianne Moore (top photo, right) must have pissed off someone big time – she was snubbed in last year’s “A Single Man” and this year for her role in “The Kids Are All Right.” Conspiracy theorists can claim it’s her penance for cheating on Annette Bening with a man in “The Kids Are All Right.”

Other disappointments – the gay fave “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work” and the gay romance “Undertow” were left out in the Best Documentary and Best Foreign Film categories, respectively. Cher’s “Burlesque” number “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me” didn’t make the cut in the Original Song category, despite winning the Golden Globe.

Perhaps the biggest shock inclusion was Javier Bardem’s Best Actor nomination for “Biutiful,” also a Best Foreign Language Film nominee. With the likes of Julia Roberts out in Hollywood braying for him, it’s not a total surprise. The bleak film opens in Atlanta Friday.

“The King’s Speech” leads the field with 12 nominations, while the Coen brothers’ “True Grit” received 10. “Inception” and “The Social Network” each grabbed eight.

The 83rd annual event, set for Feb. 27, will be hosted by Anne Hathaway and James “I play gay all the time and I pose in drag for magazines and I directed a short film where a teenage boy gets gang banged, but I have a girlfriend so that means I am straight” Franco. He’s up for Best Actor for “127 Hours.” He won’t win, but gays across the world can fantasize that he will come out that night.

Here’s a quick look at the nominees and the early favorites in top categories:

imageBest Supporting Actor:
Christian Bale (“The Fighter”)
John Hawkes (“Winter’s Bone”)
Jeremy Renner (“The Town”)
Mark Ruffalo (“The Kids Are All Right”)
Geoffrey Rush (“The King’s Speech”)

This is an easy call. Unless he goes ape shit and curses out an entire film crew and gets the tirade plastered on TMZ again – or his past comes back to haunt him like Eddie Murphy – this is Bale’s trophy. But please, comb your hair sometime this runway season. It’s the frigging Oscars, not a caveman convention.

Best Supporting Actress:
Amy Adams (“The Fighter”)
Helena Bonham Carter (“The King’s Speech”)
Melissa Leo (“The Fighter”)
Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”)
Jacki Weaver (“Animal Kingdom”)

This is a category known for upsets and one could definitely happen here. It would be stupid to go against Leo in all her chain-smoking, mother from hell glory, but Adams and Carter are beloved, and Steinfeld and Weaver steal their movies. Still, go with Leo – but if she wins, please bring those scene stealing white trash sisters from “The Fighter” onstage with you!

Best Actor:
Javier Bardem (“Biutiful”)
Jeff Bridges (“True Grit”)
Jesse Eisenberg (“The Social Network”)
Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech”)
James Franco (“127 Hours”)

Another lock. Many people thought Colin Firth should have won last year for his role as a gay man in “A Single Man.” He’ll take home the trophy this year – and he deserves to.

Best Actress:
Annette Bening (“The Kids Are All Right”)
Nicole Kidman (“Rabbit Hole”)
Jennifer Lawrence (“Winter’s Bone”)
Natalie Portman (“Black Swan”)
Michelle Williams (“Blue Valentine”)

This is the best race of the night, kind of like Sandra Bullock-Meryl Streep last year. It could go either way. Portman is the clear favorite, and she is a beautiful sight, beaming with motherhood at red carpets everywhere. It’s also arguably the performance of the year. If the long overdue Bening wins, though, few will be unhappy.

Best Director:
Darren Aronofsky (“Black Swan”)
The Coen Brothers (“True Grit”)
David Fincher (“The Social Network”)
Tom Hooper (“The King’s Speech”)
David O. Russell (“The Fighter”)

Another of the evening’s no-brainers. No matter what happens elsewhere, Fincher will win here, while Aaron Sorkin will win too for “The Social Network’s” screenplay.

Best Picture:
“Black Swan”
“The Fighter”
“Inception”
“The Kids Are All Right”
“The King’s Speech”
“127 Hours”
“The Social Network”
“Toy Story 3”
“True Grit”
“Winter’s Bone”

A week or so ago, no one would have bet against the Facebook drama “The Social Network.” But the tide might be changing. The Producers Guild lauded the crowd-pleasing “The King’s Speech,” and that film has the highest number of nominations, often a precursor for Oscar gold. It’s apples and oranges at this point, but “The King’s Speech” looks to be peaking when it matters. It’s also right up the often stuffy Academy’s alley.

imageJim Farmer is an Atlanta-based freelance writer and public relations professional specializing in film promotions. He has been a theater and pop-culture critic for more than a dozen years and is the director of Atlanta’s annual Out On Film gay and lesbian film festival.

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