Being involved in theatre and the arts from an early age, one thing I’ve always had a huge love for is the Academy Awards. Although I was never one to go through that “I want to be a famous movie star when I grow up” phase that other kids did, I love movies, and have a huge amount of respect for the many different talents that need to combine forces in order to put out a successful movie. The Oscars always seemed to me to be a very special way to celebrate that huge amount of hard work and dedication necessary to create a film. Though the event itself is full of glitz, glamour, and self-congratulatory speeches, anyone who’s ever worked on a movie knows it’s a distinctly unglamorous job. I’ve always loved the Oscars because it is the night that Hollywood celebrates everything that it collectively does, and all those things play such a huge role in American culture. While there’s plenty of award shows–the Tonys, The Emmys, The Grammys, etc.—none of them are able to capture the same style and camaraderie the Academy Awards are known for.

While I can’t exactly hop on over and attend the Oscars in person, I love Oscar Night parties, and am looking forward to attending a formal charity gala this evening that allows us to watch the show on the big screen, in a large theatre that’s typically used for the Atlanta Opera and other large-scale live performances. It’s a definite upgrade from sitting at home in my PJ’s, eating junk food, and painting my toenails during the 4-hour show.

On that note, here’s my thoroughly uneducated guesses for who’ll be taking home the honours tonight. I’ve actually only seen about half the Best Picture nominees (it’s much harder to see them all since they’ve expanded the nominees to 10 films, and Inception has literally been sitting on top of my DVD player for a month.), but I enjoyed almost all those I did see. “The Social Network” is the one I personally enjoyed the most, but “The King’s Speech” featured some tremendous acting. I’m a huge fan of both James Franco and Natalie Portman, though I didn’t see either of their respective movies, and I’m wondering if I’m the only person who thought “The Kids Are Alright” was a bit overrated, since it was enjoyable, but mostly just alright.

Alayna’s Oscar Picks:

Best Picture: “The King’s Speech”
Best Director: David Fincher, “The Social Network”
Best Actor: Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech”
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, “Black Swan” (though the relatively unknown actress from “Winter’s Bone” was impressive, and far eclipses Annette Benning’s performance in “The Kids Are Alright”, Benning seems to be the favourite in this category.)
Best Supporting Actor: Geoffrey Rush, “The King’s Speech” (yep, I’m the only one out there who doesn’t think Christian Bale is a lock.)
Best Supporting Actress: Hailee Steinfeld, “True Grit”
Best Animated Film: “Toy Story 3″
Best Original Screenplay: “Inception” (it is not favoured, but I think it’s the more creative of the nominees.)
Best Adapted Screenplay: “The Social Network” (Aaron Sorkin of “The West Wing” definitely rocks!)
Best Foreign Language Film: “Biutiful”
Best Art Direction: “Alice In Wonderland”
Best Costuming: “The King’s Speech”
Best Cinematography: “True Grit”

I think this year is an example of a varied field of films, each with a particular set of strengths and weaknesses. Unlike years where one blockbuster hit sweeps the field, the 2010 season provided a good diversity of films, most of which deserve to be recognised for the one aspect of the film that was simply head and shoulders above the competition.

I don’t know how Anne Hathaway and James Franco will stack up as hosts, but, hey, at least they’re better looking than Billy Crystal. ;)