Comments & Curiosities: The 'King' of all award shows

"Hooray for Holly."

Come on, everybody, "Hooray for Hollywood, that screwy bally-hooey Hollywood, where any office boy or young mechanic, can be a panic."

No, wait, stop, please. That was awful.

We try that every year and it never gets any better. But you know what? It doesn't matter. Because whenever you hear that tune, you know what time it is, don't you?

Yes, Sparky, it's time for the Annual "Peter B-Holy-Cannoli-How-Does-He-Know-That-Oscar Picks."

Are you excited? I knew you would be. Ready? We begin.

The nominees for Best Supporting Actress are: Amy Adams in "The Fighter;" Helena Bonham Carter in "The King's Speech;" Melissa Leo in "The Fighter;" Hailee Steinfeld in "True Grit;" and Jacki Weaver in "Animal Kingdom." These girls are an experienced crew, with one newcomer, Hailee Steinfeld in "True Grit."

If they left these things up to me, I would hand Helena Bonham Carter any award she's up for, no questions asked, but it is not to be. Until a few weeks ago, Melissa Leo was the prohibitive favorite as the boxing manager-slash-mother from hell in "The Fighter" — a gritty look at a family of typical Red Sox fans.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the Oscars. Leo ran a series of ads in the trades pumping her nomination, which is not at all uncommon for agents and managers — but a little off-putting when the actress herself places the ads.

If there is a dark horse in this race, it's Steinfeld, the lovable, unstoppable and exceedingly cute tween who reprises Kim Darby's character, Mattie Ross, from the original John Wayne pic. But the negative buzz over Leo's self-promotion campaign has died down, which means the winner is Melissa Leo.

The nominees for Best Supporting Actor are: Christian Bale in "The Fighter;" John Hawkes in "Winter's Bone;" Jeremy Renner in "The Town;" Mark Ruffalo in "The Kids Are All Right;" and Geoffrey Rush in "The King's Speech." Save your breath, save your energy, save your money. This one goes to Bale in "The Fighter," for his hair-raising portrayal of Dicky Eklund, a Southie who moves the bar for crack cocaine addicts to a new low.

The nominees for Best Actor are: Javier Bardem in "Biutiful;" Jeff Bridges in "True Grit;" Jesse Eisenberg in "The Social Network;" Colin Firth in "The King's Speech;" and James Franco in "127 Hours."

Winston Churchill said, "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat," and Firth might as well e-mail that line to the other Best Actor nominees because that's all they will ever get in this one. That's not to say Firth doesn't deserve it. He does, in spades, as the stammering George VI, Queen Lizzie's dad.

A few critics are calling Bridges a dark horse, which would be fine with me, but the chances of winning two Oscars back to back are slim and none and slim has left the building. Bardem is outstanding in "Biutiful," funky spelling aside, but isn't he always? Eisenberg and Franco were top notch, but "The Social Network" peaked way too early and no one except trauma surgeons was able to make it through all of "127 Hours."

And the winner is Colin Firth in "The King's Speech." Rule Brittania, dude.

The nominees for Best Actress are: Annette Bening in "The Kids Are All Right;" Nicole Kidman in "Rabbit Hole;" Jennifer Lawrence in "Winter's Bone;" Natalie Portman in "Black Swan;" and Michelle Williams in "Blue Valentine."

This was a two-woman race for quite a while between Bening and Portman. But in recent weeks, Portman has surged, with her portrayal of a ballet dancer who is flirting with the thin line between artistic genius and madness. And the winner is, Natalie Portman.

The nominees for Best Director are: Darren Aronofsky for "Black Swan;" David O. Russell for "The Fighter;" Tom Hooper for "The King's Speech;" David Fincher for "The Social Network;" and Joel Coen and Ethan Coen for "True Grit."

This is another lead-pipe cinch, fait accompli, it's over. I've told you how to show off your psychic powers in this category, right?

Just check the Director's Guild Award results, which are always a few weeks before the Oscars. Why? Because only directors vote for the Best Director Oscar, and on Jan. 29, the DGA handed the big prize to Tom Hooper, which means the winner is: Tom Hooper for "The King's Speech."

See? Being clairvoyant is easy.

The nominees for Best Picture are: "Black Swan;" "The Fighter;" "The King's Speech;" "The Social Network;"; "Inception;" "The Kids Are All Right"; "127 Hours;" "True Grit;" "Winter's Bone;" and "Toy Story 3."

Really? "Toy Story 3" — Best Picture? Note to Academy: please, please go back to five Best Picture nominees instead of 10.

It's important. There are some big dogs bumping their way around the track here, with "The Social Network" and "The King's Speech" in the lead. Some critics are picking "Black Swan" or "Inception," but as good as they were, they are too dark to get a Nude Little Gold Guy.

I would love to see it be "True Grit," but it has no chance. And the winner is, "The King's Speech."

There you have it. I have no more to tell you. I am spent. Don't ever change, let's do lunch, have your people call my people, you're the best. Seriously. It's all good. I gotta go.

PETER BUFFA is a former Costa Mesa mayor. His column runs Sundays. He may be reached at

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