The 2011 Oscars: Winners, Losers, and Analysis

  • Publish Date: February 28, 2011
  • Comments: ↓ 19 user comments

The King's speeches

Films with Most Oscar Wins
1 The King's Speech 4 wins
  Inception 4 wins
3 The Social Network 3 wins

Sunday night, as expected, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences named The King's Speech the best film of 2010 when it handed out its 83rd annual Oscar awards. All told, representatives of that movie approached the microphone four times on the evening, matching Inception for the most Oscar wins this year.

In a moment, we'll reveal how accurate the experts -- and Metacritic users -- were in making their predictions, and we'll also sample the critical (with an emphasis on the word "critical") reaction to the broadcast itself, and the performance of first-time hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco in particular. But first, let's look at the evening's winners and losers.

The winners... and the surprises

Wait -- did we say "surprises"? You won't find any in the major categories (including acting and writing), which went pretty much as expected for months. Though a majority of experts had predicted that The Social Network's David Fincher would triumph over The King's Speech director Tom Hooper, it is not too unexpected the latter won the trophy, given that the director award usually goes to to the director of the best picture winner.

One surprising victory came in the admittedly hard-to-predict animated short category, where winner The Lost Thing was the only one of the five nominees not to be predicted to win by the three dozen experts we tracked. And Wally Pfister's win in the cinematography category for Inception can also be considered an upset; most experts had the award going to True Grit's Roger Deakins.

Listed below are this year's winners in each of the 24 categories.

83rd Annual Academy Award Winners
Category Winner
Best Picture The King's Speech
Director Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
Lead Actress Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Lead Actor Colin Firth, The King's Speech
Supporting Actress Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Supporting Actor Christian Bale, The Fighter
Original Screenplay David Seidler, The King's Speech
Adapted Screenplay Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Animated Feature Toy Story 3
Animated Short The Lost Thing
Documentary Feature Inside Job
Documentary Short Strangers No More
Foreign-Language Feature In a Better World
Live-Action Short God of Love
Original Score Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, The Social Network
Original Song Randy Newman, "We Belong Together," Toy Story 3
Art Direction Robert Stromberg and Karen O'Hara, Alice in Wonderland
Cinematography Wally Pfister, Inception
Costume Design Colleen Atwood, Alice in Wonderland
Film Editing Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter, The Social Network
Makeup Rick Baker and Dave Elsey, The Wolfman
Sound Editing Richard King, Inception
Sound Mixing Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo and Ed Novick, Inception
Visual Effects Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb, Inception

How accurate were the predictions?

Out of the 38 experts we tracked, just one -- Deadline's Pete Hammond -- was able to correctly predict at least 18 (75%) of the categories. (Last year, by contrast, there were seven experts with at least 18 correct picks.) These experts averaged just 15 correct picks, with the short film categories, cinematography, and director (where David Fincher was heavily favored) among their biggest failings.

Most Successful Oscar Prognosticators
Expert Site/Publication Correct Picks (out of 24 possible)
Pete Hammond Deadline Hollywood 19
Thelma Adams US Weekly 17
Tim Appelo Hollywood Reporter 17
Peter Howell Toronto Star 17
Michael Musto Village Voice 17
Tom O'Neil The Envelope 17
Bob Tourtellotte Reuters 17
Peter Travers Rolling Stone 17
Chuck Walton Fandango 17
(uncredited) Moviefone 17
Metacritic User Consensus

As a group, Metacritic users performed as well as the average expert, and also picked one more category correctly than they did last year. Individually, however, there were five Metacritic users who had more correct picks than the leading expert. The most accurate individual participants in our Oscar poll were:

  • Conor Samphire, 20 of 24 (83%) correct
  • Andrew Warshauer, 20 of 24 (83%) correct
  • 3 anonymous users, 20 of 24 (83%) correct

Another 16 users had 19 correct picks, tying the leading expert.

How was the telecast?

"Anne Hathaway and James Franco host a disastrous Academy Awards telecast" reads the headline of Alan Sepinwall's review at, and while some television critics weren't quite so extreme in their hatred of the broadcast, it is safe to say that few enjoyed it. The one portion of the broadcast that critics seemed to universally enjoy was the pre-taped opening film featuring Alec Baldwin and Morgan Freeman. But it was all downhill from there. And Hathaway and Franco as hosts? A major misfire, say the critics. Here's a sampling of their reviews, starting with the critics who had the biggest problems with the event:

"In what could go down as one of the worst Oscar telecasts in history, a bad and risky idea -- letting two actors host -- played out in spectacularly unwatchable fashion on the biggest of all nights for the film world. ... [Franco's] appearance played more like one of his performance art pieces than an actual attempt to be host."

--Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter

"No matter the talent involved nor the intentions, virtually nothing worked. ... [Franco's] demeanor from the evening started out like he couldn't remember why he had agreed to do this and ended like he deeply regretted the choice. ... The show around the two hosts was as ill-conceived as their chemistry."

--Alan Sepinwall, HitFix

"Anne Hathaway hosted the 83rd Annual Academy Awards on ABC Sunday night, as scheduled. And her co-host, James Franco, did what exactly?"

--Hank Stuever, Washington Post

"In a year offering virtually no surprises among the top winners, the only shock was how quickly the show went off the rails, and stayed there in a sluggish slow dance of glittery incompetence."

--Matt Roush, TV Guide

"Sluggish, badly-written, a near-disaster from start to finish, the Oscar show was the best evidence yet that even if the Academy thinks it want to be younger and hipper, it has no idea how to do that."

--Caryn James, indieWIRE

"At times, the prolonged effort to pander to younger viewers was downright painful."

--Alessandra Stanley, The New York Times

"While Melissa Leo dropped an 'f-bomb' early on, the 'f' words best describing the proceedings would be 'flat,' 'fumbling' and 'familiar' -- proving it takes more than a new coat of paint to invigorate a ceremony that easily flummoxes innovation."

--Brian Lowry, Variety

"You can't blame Franco and Hathaway for the tame, unmemorable jokes written for them (though a comedian might have at least punched them up). But whether it was nerves or inexperience, their delivery was off from the get-go: they stepped on each other lines and over the audience laughter (or worse, seemed to pause for laughter that wasn't there). ... [But] plenty blame for the plodding show belongs to the producers. There was a rough, dress-rehearsal feel to much of the show, which also suffered from odd long shots, the usual slack middle and several clip reels which, weirdly, spoiled plot points and key moments from movies that, in part, the awards are supposed to promote to viewers who haven't seen them yet."

--James Poniewozik, Time

"Overall, the evening had an oddly business-like feel, a mind-numbing evenness that was exacerbated by the relentless predictability of the winners."

--Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times

"Even when they stumbled, there was a sweetness to their performance that kept them from being aggravating. After so many hosts who seemed determined to prove they were smarter than the room, it was a pleasure to see two hosts who seemed happy to be in it. Unfortunately, as the evening wore on, as Oscar evenings tend to do, the pleasure diminished. Joy is nice, but professionalism, poise and — especially in Franco's case — presence would have been nice as well."

--Robert Bianco, USA Today

"James Franco and Anne Hathaway gave the 83rd Academy Awards the youthful energy it has needed for a long time ... But that energy quickly faded into the inertia of a bloated, self-important ceremony."

--Dominic Patten, The Wrap

A few critics enjoyed the affair a bit more than the others, however.

"Funny, poised, relaxed, and smart, Anne Hathaway and James Franco made for marvelous Oscar hosts. ... It was a fun, briskly paced night."

--Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly

"James Franco and Anne Hathaway didn't necessarily make a brilliant splash as co-hosts -- Hathaway seemed determined to overcome Franco's sodden, wooden presence through sheer perkiness -- but they acquitted themselves respectably. ... This was not an Oscar telecast for the ages ... but as awardsfests go, this was a mild but entirely watchable celebration."

--Maureen Ryan, TV Squad

What do you think?

Were you happy with the Academy's selections? What did you think of the broadcast, and Franco and Hathaway as hosts? Let us know in the comments section below.

We're sorry, but comments are closed for this article.

Comments (19)

  • Karma  

    PS Billy was the Grand Poobah of all Oscar hosts so far, so I definitely wouldn't mind seeing him again either. He was another one who could be outright hilarious and off-the-cuff (and off the teleprompter)WITHOUT being actually mean or offensive to anyone in the audience. And I think that kind of metaphorical (and sometimes literal) tightrope-walking is what makes a host REALLY pop and be great.

  • Karma  

    Hi there Psychedelic Soul Food! I totally agree with you about RDJ and Jude. I bet they could totally host the night and do wonderfully. Also? They had more chemistry in their few scant minutes together than it appears James and Anne had with each other during the entire night. Semi-surprisingly, Sandra Bullock was both hilarious AND sweet AND seemingly very-off-the-cuff and sans telepromter in her own little bit (presenting Best Actor) near the end as well, so I bet she's another actor who could do a good job and do so without being crass or mean to anyone too. Thought that Anne did pretty well given the circumstances, but conversely that James needed to pick up the energy. And yes, USUALLY, James IS a fun one to watch. I wonder what went awry with him that night though? :S

  • Psychedelic Soul Foo  

    Ptero, you said it.

    Fincher totally deserved that Best Director award and it is a DAMN SHAME that they gave it to Hooper.

    About the hosts... Hathaway was pretty good but Franco? James is normally outgoing and funny. He wasn't feeling it that night. Maybe the Academy should bring back Billy Crystal or have Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law host the show (their segment was HILARIOUS).

  • Ptero  

    Tom Hooper winning Best Director is the biggest joke. Apparently the Academy equates "movie we liked best" with "best direction." Seriously, the direction was nothing extraordinary. I guess Fincher will get his years from now when the Academy realizes they f**ked up, for a movie that is not close to his other films in quality.

  • Nathan  

    I rather enjoyed the show and thought it was a huge improvement over last year but, that's because I care more about the awards themselves and seeing those who've earned then win them than anything,. If you want to see True Oscar entertainment then search KIDS PLAYING OSCAR on youtube this is HILARIOUS!

  • Danny  

    Still haven't seen The King's Speech, but I most certainly will now. That clip they showed that made Geoffrey Rush cry convinced me. The Social Network would have been the better choice if the Academy wanted to attract younger viewers, but it's not like they all collude to decide on what wins will satisfy the best demographics.

    And I still think Toy Story 3 and The Town deserved more recognition. I'm Irish, though, so The Town is probably a biased decision on my part.

  • Kyle  


  • Kyle  

    If found it interesting that Inception took home the majority of the technical categories for which it was nominated, yet fell short of the two it arguably deserved most: score and original screenplay. The effects were wonderful, but I wonder if the sentimental value of "The King's Speech's" writer sharing his protagonists stuttering problems had a swing on the Academy. Nolan's script, I felt, was the strongest original of the year. The bareness of Reznor's work for "The Social Network" was great, so I can't argue much about it winning over the climactic work of Zimmer.

  • Dan  

    I haven't seen Inside Job, but I think Exit Through the Gift Shop was fantastic and can't imagine it's not the better film.

  • Randy  

    Totally boring and predictable, though Best Supporting Actor should've definitely gone to Geoffrey Rush.

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