2010 Academy Awards®
Winners and History
Introduction, 1927/8-39, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s
Academy Awards Summaries
"Best Picture" Oscar®, "Best Director" Oscar®, "Best Actor" Oscar®, "Best Supporting Actor" Oscar®,
"Best Actress" Oscar®, "Best Supporting Actress" Oscar®, "Best Screenplay/Writer" Oscar®
"THE KING'S SPEECH," "Black Swan," "The Fighter," "Inception," "The Kids Are All Right,""127 Hours," "The Social Network," "Toy Story 3," "True Grit," "Winter's Bone"
Animated Feature Film:
"TOY STORY 3," "How to Train Your Dragon," "The Illusionist"
COLIN FIRTH in "The King's Speech," Javier Bardem in "Biutiful," Jeff Bridges in "True Grit," Jesse Eisenberg in "The Social Network," James Franco in "127 Hours"
NATALIE PORTMAN in "Black Swan," Annette Bening in "The Kids Are All Right," Nicole Kidman in "Rabbit Hole," Jennifer Lawrence in "Winter’s Bone," Michelle Williams in "Blue Valentine"
CHRISTIAN BALE in "The Fighter," John Hawkes in "Winter's Bone," Jeremy Renner in "The Town," Mark Ruffalo in "The Kids Are All Right," Geoffrey Rush in "The King’s Speech"
MELISSA LEO in "The Fighter," Amy Adams in "The Fighter," Helena Bonham Carter in "The King's Speech," Hailee Steinfeld in "True Grit," Jacki Weaver in "Animal Kingdom"
TOM HOOPER for "The King's Speech," Darren Aronofsky for "Black Swan," David O. Russell for "The Fighter," David Fincher for "The Social Network," Joel Coen and Ethan Coen for "True Grit"
Both major commercial blockbusters and smaller, low-budget independent films were included in the mix of different genres among the Best Picture nominees, in this second year in which the category was expanded to ten nominees. Almost every important film of the year was included in the list. Many of the ten Best Picture nominees were character or actor-driven personal dramas, or stories based on real people. Unlike last year, all of the films were critically acclaimed. Two films were tied with four Oscar wins apiece.
The Best Picture winner was:
- The King's Speech (with 12 nominations, and four wins for Best Original Screenplay (David Seidler), Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Picture), from the Weinstein Company, the British historical period saga about the monarchy on the eve of WWII, with nominees Colin Firth as King George VI, Helena Bonham Carter as his devoted wife, and Geoffrey Rush as his unconventional speech therapist
[Note: It was the seventh film in Academy history to win three Guild prizes: Directors, Producers, and Screen Actors. In six of those seven cases, the film went on to win Best Picture. The only exception was Apollo 13 (1995) which was also lacking a Best Director nomination.]
Other Best Picture nominees (in order of wins/nominations) included:
- Inception (with eight nominations, including four wins in technical categories: Best Cinematography, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Visual Effects), from WB, a twisting, surreal sci-fi blockbuster (the second highest grossing film of the nominees, at $292 million) about dream thief Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) who was able to steal secrets from inside a sleeping mind - he was hired by wealthy Japanese businessman Mr. Saito (Ken Watanabe) to plant an idea within the subconscious mind of Robert Fischer, the son (Cillian Murphy) of ailing corporate CEO Maurice Fischer (Pete Postlethwaite), in order to break up his father's business
- The Social Network (with eight nominations, including three wins for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Score), the early favorite from Sony, a drama about the Facebook phenomenon led by arrogant computer nerds, including social misfit Harvard undergraduate Mark Zuckerberg (nominee Jesse Eisenberg) and his rise to fame and riches
- The Fighter (with seven nominations, including two wins (Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress) from its three acting nominations), from Paramount, a biographical boxing-sports drama
- Toy Story 3 (with five nominations and two wins - Best Animated Feature Film and Best Original Song: Randy Newman's "We Belong Together"), from Buena Vista, the second sequel in the animated series and the continuing story of Woody, Buzz and the rest of the toys that dealt with obsolescence when their young adult owner Andy left for college, and they found themselves in a Gulag-like day care center run by fascistic toys; the top-grossing film of 2010 at $415 million, and the third animated film ever to have a Best Picture nomination, and only the second animated film to get a Best Picture nomination since animated films received their own category in 2001; it was the 4th consecutive winner in the category from Disney/Pixar animation, after Up (2009), WALL-E (2008), and Ratatouille (2007)
- Black Swan (with five nominations and only one win, Best Actress), from Fox Searchlight, a psycho-sexual thriller regarding two rival ballerinas during a production of Swan Lake - it was the only Best Picture nominee without a Screenplay nomination
- True Grit (with 10 nominations and no wins), from Paramount, a Coen Brothers western remake of the 1969 film, and the second major adaptation of Charles Portis' famed novel, and the first $100 million western hit since the early 1990s (Dances With Wolves (1990) and Unforgiven (1991)), at almost $139 million [Note: It became one of only four films in Academy history to be so dramatically shut out]
- 127 Hours (with six nominations and no wins), from Fox Searchlight, a grueling and gripping survival story of a life-and-death struggle
- The Kids Are All Right (with four nominations and no wins), from Focus, writer/director Lisa Cholodenko's lesbian-family romantic comedy about the complications that ensued when two teenaged kids of a lesbian couple sought out their biological sperm donor father
- Winter's Bone (with four nominations and no wins), from Roadside Attractions (and a Sundance Film Festival smash hit), directed by Debra Granik, a crime thriller about a teenager's search for her runaway drug-convict father in the Ozarks - it was the lowest-earning film of the ten nominees, at $6.3 million
The top seven studios with wins and noms for the year included:
- Weinstein (13 nominations and 4 wins from 2 films)
- Warners (12 nominations and 4 wins from 4 films)
- Buena Vista (10 nominations and 4 wins from 4 films)
- Sony/Columbia (9 nominations and 3 wins from 2 films)
- Paramount (18 nominations and 2 wins from 3 films)
- Sony Classics (7 nominations and 2 wins from 7 films)
- Fox Searchlight (11 nominations and 1 win from 2 films)
Two of the Best Picture nominees were produced by Scott Rudin (The Social Network and True Grit) - marking only the second time since 1951 (it also occurred in 1974) that an individual producer received two Best Picture nominations in the same year.
All of the five nominees for Best Director were males, unlike the previous year when Kathryn Bigelow won for the category. Two of the Best Picture-nominated films, directed by women (Cholodenko and Granik), were missing from the shorter list of Best Director nominees. All of the Best Director nominees were included in the larger list of Best Picture nominees, although it was surprising that Christopher Nolan was not nominated for Inception that won as many Oscars as the Best Picture. (Note: It seemed to be a repeat of two years earlier when he wasn't nominated in the category for The Dark Knight (2008)). The Best Director nominees included two first-time nominees who were often snubbed in the past, Aronofsky and Russell.
The Best Director winner was 38 year-old Tom Hooper (with his first nomination and first win) for his second major theatrical feature-film, Best Picture-winning The King's Speech. The other four nominees were:
- 56 year-old Joel and 53 year-old Ethan Coen (with a third Best Director nomination for Joel, 2nd for Ethan) for True Grit
(Note: the Coens scored a trifecta of nominations: as producers/writers/directors)
- 48 year-old David Fincher (with his second nomination) for The Social Network
- 41 year-old Darren Aronofsky (with his first nomination) for Black Swan
- 52 year-old David O. Russell (with his first nomination) for The Fighter
All of the major performance awards seemed to pit two favorites - a younger person with an older one (Firth vs. Franco, Bening vs. Portman, Rush vs. Bale, Leo vs. Steinfeld), with the awards split between them. Eight of the 20 performance nominees were first-timers, there were no African-American nominees, and there was only one non English-language performance, by Javier Bardem. All four winners in the acting categories were first-time winners.
The five Best Actor nominees found a rematch of the previous year's competitive Best Actor race. Last year, Jeff Bridges won over Colin Firth (nominated for A Single Man (2009)) with his role in Crazy Heart (2009), but now Colin Firth had the edge and won as expected. Two of the Best Actor nominees were first timers. The Best Actor winner was the heavily-favored 50 year-old British actor Colin Firth (with his second nomination and first win), as stuttering, quick-tempered monarch George VI, Queen Elizabeth II's father, who was thrust to the throne when his brother abdicated in 1936, in The King's Speech.
The other Best Actor nominees were:
- 61 year-old Jeff Bridges (with his sixth nomination), as hard-drinking marshall Rooster Cogburn hired to search for the murderer of a young girl (nominee Hailee Steinfeld), in True Grit
[Note: John Wayne won his sole Oscar when he played the same role in True Grit (1969)]
- 41 year-old Spanish actor Javier Bardem (with his third nomination), a surprise nominee, as a terminally-ill, dying single father and underworld figure in Barcelona named Uxbal who criminally exploited immigrants, in the depressing and grim Spanish-language drama Biutiful from Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu (also nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category)
- 32 year-old James Franco (with his first nomination), as trapped mountain climber Aron Ralston with a boulder-crushed arm who was forced to sever his own limb after five days, in 127 Hours
- 27 year-old Jesse Eisenberg (with his first nomination), as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, in The Social Network
The five Best Actress nominees included four past nominees and one outstanding newcomer. The Best Actress winner was also the favored front-runner, 29 year-old Natalie Portman (with her second nomination and first win), as hallucinatory ballerina Nina Sayers in a production of Swan Lake by a NYC ballet company, when she slowly lost her mind as she began to explore the dark side of her psyche as the Black Swan, in Black Swan.
The other four Best Actress nominees were:
- 52 year-old veteran actress Annette Bening (with her fourth nomination, no wins), as lesbian mother Nic living in California and married to Jules (Julianne Moore), whose two teenaged kids Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson) discovered the identity of their sperm donor biological father Paul (Mark Ruffalo), in writer/director Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are All Right
- 43 year-old Australian-American actress Nicole Kidman (with her third Best Actress nomination), as stay-at-home mother Becca Corbett married to Howie (unnominated Aaron Eckhart) - both grieving their young son's death in a car accident, in director John Cameron Mitchell's drama Rabbit Hole
- 30 year-old Michelle Williams (with her second nomination), as struggling spouse Cindy Heller in a failing marriage to Dean Pereira (unnominated Ryan Gosling), in the romantic drama Blue Valentine
- 20 year-old Jennifer Lawrence (with her first nomination) as poor Missouri Ozark teenager Ree Dolly searching for her missing, runaway drug-convict father in the Ozark Mountains to avoid losing her house, in writer/director Debra Granik's drama Winter's Bone
The Best Supporting Actor nominees included a past Oscar winner, a past nominee, and some exciting new actors never before recognized. The winner was 37 year-old Christian Bale (with his first nomination and win), as former Irish-American welterweight boxer Dick "Dicky" Eklund, whose own boxing career was tarnished by crime and drugs, but helped his sparring partner, his younger half-brother "Irish" Micky Ward (unnominated Mark Wahlberg) to a title shot, in The Fighter.
The other Best Supporting Actor nominees were:
- 59 year-old Australian-born actor Geoffrey Rush (with his fourth nomination, and one past win in 1996), as stammering King George VI's (Oscar-winning Colin Firth) speech therapist Lionel Logue, in The King's Speech
- 40 year-old Jeremy Renner (with his second nomination), as Boston-area, blue-collar bank holdup man James "Jem" Coughlin, in director Ben Affleck's crime thriller The Town
- 51 year-old John Hawkes (with his first nomination), a surprise nominee, as menacing backwoods tough guy meth addict Teardrop, in Winter's Bone
- 43 year-old Mark Ruffalo (with his first nomination) as sperm-donor biological dad Paul of two teenaged kids for two lesbian parents (nominee Annette Bening and unnominated Julianne Moore), also an irresponsible, laid-back restaurateur, in The Kids Are All Right
The Best Supporting Actress nominees included two castmates, both previous nominees, from the same film, one of whom won her first Oscar. The winner was 50 year-old Melissa Leo (with her second nomination and first Oscar win), as big-coiffed, doting, manipulative, and domineering tough-love mother Alice Ward who also functioned as Ward's boxing manager, in The Fighter. [Note: The Fighter was the first film since Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) to win both Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress Oscars.]
The other four nominees were:
- 36 year-old Amy Adams (with her third nomination), as blue-collar boxer Micky Ward's defiant and tough girlfriend and bartender Charlene Fleming, in The Fighter
- 44 year-old Helena Bonham Carter (with her second nomination), as the bemused future Queen Mum who sought a speech therapist (nominee Geoffrey Rush) for her husband (nominee Colin Firth), in The King's Speech
- 14 year-old Hailee Steinfeld (with her first nomination), in a breakout lead role as 14 year-old farm girl Mattie Ross - who hired lawman Cogburn (nominee Jeff Bridges) to track down her rancher father's killer Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), in True Grit
- 63 year-old Australian actress Jacki Weaver (with her first nomination) as terrifying, sociopathic Melbourne crime family matriarch Janine "Smurf" Cody, in writer/director David Michôd's noirish crime film Animal Kingdom
Oscar Snubs and Omissions:
- a Best Picture nomination for the heist thriller The Town, and for its director Ben Affleck
- Despicable Me, one of the year's biggest animated hits was missing from the Animated Feature Film nominees, as was Disney's blockbuster Tangled
- Christopher Nolan, writer-producer-director of Inception, was omitted from the nominees for Best Director, although he received noms for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay (he was also snubbed for Memento (2000) and The Dark Knight (2008))
- director Danny Boyle was also a no-show for Best Director, for 127 Hours
- the omission of Walt Disney Pictures' sequel to the 1982 original film, Tron: Legacy from the list of nominees for Best Visual Effects
- some of the biggest blockbusters of the year basically scored nominations in the Best Visual Effects or Costume/Art categories: one of the biggest hits of the year at $334 million was Alice in Wonderland with three nominations and two wins (Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design); there was only one nomination (Best Visual Effects) and no wins for Iron Man 2, at $312 million; and there were only two nominations (Best Art Direction, Best Visual Effects) and no wins for another blockbuster, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, at $295 million
- the omission of director David Guggenheim's feature-length documentary about the failed US educational system, Waiting For Superman, from the list of Best Documentary Films
- Mark Wahlberg, as boxer Mickey Ward - the half-brother of Dicky Eklund (Oscar-winning Christian Bale), in The Fighter, in the Best Actor category (when three other co-stars were nominees)
- 80 year-old Robert Duvall, as misunderstood hermit Felix Bush who held a "living funeral" for himself, who missed out on a potential seventh Oscar nod (he won for Tender Mercies (1983)), in Get Low (with no nominations), in the Best Actor category
- Ryan Gosling, as Dean Pereira, the second half of a disintegrating marriage (to nominated Michelle Williams), in Blue Valentine, in the Best Actor category
- Julianne Moore, as laidback lesbian housewife Jules (married to nominated Annette Bening) in The Kids Are All Right, in the Best Actress category
- Leslie Manville, as lonely alcoholic Mary, in writer/director Mike Leigh's British drama Another Year (with one nomination, Best Original Screenplay), in the Best Actress category
- Andrew Garfield, as Mark Zuckerberg's (Jesse Eisenberg) business partner Eduardo Saverin, in The Social Network, in the Best Supporting Actor category
- Michael Douglas, reprising his role as Gordon Gekko in director Oliver Stone's sequel Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, in the Best Supporting Actor category
- Sam Rockwell, as wrongly-convicted murderer Kenny Waters (brother of co-star Hilary Swank as Betty Anne who helped prove his innocence), in director Tony Goldwyn's biographical drama/thriller Conviction, in the Best Supporting Actor category
- Mila Kunis, Natalie Portman's newcomer ballet rival Lily, and Barbara Hershey as Portman's over-controlling mother Erica, in Black Swan, in the Best Supporting Actress category
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