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2011 Oscar Predictions

The following table provides predictions for the four main categories for the 2011 Academy Awards presented on Feb 27, 2011. The nominees are presented in order of expected probability to win, with the probabilities (in percentages) given in the second column. Eventual winners shown in bold.

Picture: The King's Speech scores high for receiving 12 overall nominations, but True Grit (10 nominations), The Social Network (8 nominations), and Inception (8 nominations) aren't too far behind. However, since Inception lacks an accompanying Best Director nomination, The Fighter (7 nominations) and Black Swan (5 nominations), which don't, score higher overall. Also, The FighterThe King's Speech, and The Social Network have nominations in several other "strong" categories, such as acting (lead and supporting), screenplay, cinematography, and editing. Finally, the Producer's Guild win for The King's Speech usually carries more weight than the Golden Globe wins for The Social Network (drama) and The Kids Are All Right (musical or comedy). The remaining three films are real long shots. Overall, this category seems the hardest to call of the four major races this year.
The King's Speech 84%
The Social Network 5
The Fighter 4
True Grit 4
Black Swan 1
Inception 1
The Kids Are All Right <1
127 Hours <1
Toy Story 3 <1
Winter's Bone <1
Director: First-time nominee, Tom Hooper, benefits from his Director's Guild win and 12 overall nominations for The King's Speech, giving him a big advantage over the Coen brothers (Joel with two previous Best Director nominations, for 2007's No Country for Old Men and 1996's Fargo, and Ethan with one, for 2007's No Country for Old Men, while their 2010 film, True Grit, has 10 nominations), David O. Russell (first-time nominee for his film, The Fighter, with 7 nominations), David Fincher (one previous Best Director nomination for 2008's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, while his 2010 film, The Social Network, has 8 nominations), and Darren Aronofsky (first-time nominee for his film, Black Swan, with 5 nominations).
Tom Hooper for The King's Speech 93%
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen for True Grit 3
David O. Russell for The Fighter 2
David Fincher for The Social Network 2
Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan 1
Actor in a Leading Role: In a reverse from last year, Colin Firth scores big for his Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe wins, while Jeff Bridges is unlikely to win again this year. First-time nominees, Jesse Eisenberg and James Franco, and Javier Bardem, with a previous Lead Actor nomination for 2000's Before Night Falls, also seem unlikely to win this year. All indications point to an easy win for Colin Firth, but there have been big surprises in this category before, notably Denzel Washington winning over Russell Crowe in 2001.
Colin Firth in The King's Speech 99%
Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network <1
James Franco in 127 Hours <1
Javier Bardem in Biutiful <1
Jeff Bridges in True Grit <1
Actress in a Leading Role: Natalie Portman scores big for Golden Globe (drama) and Screen Actors Guild awards, and also for being nominated in a movie that has also been nominated for Best Picture. Annette Bening and Jennifer Lawrence also benefit from having been nominated in movies that have been nominated for Best Picture. Annette Bening benefits from her Golden Globe (musical or comedy) award, while Nicole Kidman's previous Lead Actress win for 2002's The Hours reduces her chance of winning again this year.
Natalie Portman in Black Swan 87%
Annette Bening in The Kids Are All Right 9
Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone 3
Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine 1
Nicole Kidman in Rabbit Hole 1

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