Opinion: Letting it ride on Natalie Portman

Mike Crissman

Mike Crissman

Mike Crissman is a sophomore newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

This Sunday is the 83rd annual Academy Awards or, in other words, an opportunity to make some money. As a gambling man, I am always looking for good bets that are sure things. As an expert on movies, I know there are a couple obvious Oscar picks that will net me, and anyone else who listens to me, a sweet profit.

When choosing who will win an acting category or which movie will win Best Picture, people usually base their opinion on the only movies they’ve seen. There were probably a lot of idiots last year who thought “Avatar” should have won top honors only because it was the only nominated movie they saw. However, the 3-D blockbuster lost out to little-known “The Hurt Locker” not because of its state-of-the-art graphics but because of its elementary plot.

I’ve seen eight of the 10 movies nominated for Best Picture this year, so I think I’m fairly qualified to make an educated decision about which is the best movie of the bunch. It’s not an expected answer like

“Inception”, “Toy Story 3”, or “The Social Network”. It’s “Black Swan”, and, yes, that’s surprising, even to me.

It’s a movie about ballet: perhaps the lamest activity one can take part in. Yet, somehow it works. Actress Natalie Portman delivers the performance of her career as a troubled ballerina struggling to overcome her dark side while striving toward perfection as a dancer. There is more to the film than the much talked about lesbian scenes. There is an engaging story with some of the best acting you will witness all year (see Natalie Portman).

While I personally think “Black Swan” deserves the award over all the others, I am not certain Oscar voters will choose it over a more snobby pick like

“The King’s Speech”, a movie about King George VI of England overcoming stuttering. It sounds like a snooze and a half, but, like “Black Swan,” there is enough heavy-weight acting to hold even the average viewer’s interest.

Like Natalie Portman, actor Colin Firth (King George VI) gives an Oscar-worthy performance. He will most likely win for Best Lead Actor. His biggest competition in the category will be James Franco, who is also hosting the awards show this year with Anne Hathaway.

Franco took time out of his get-high-all-the-time schedule this past year to portray a man who gets his arm trapped under a boulder while rock climbing. The film, which is based on a true story, “127 Hours” boasts one of the sickest scenes in cinema history, starring Franco, his arm and a dull pocket knife. Check it out! (Warning: Contains graphic violence)

Another bankable Oscar pick is Christian Bale for Best Supporting Actor. He, Firth and Portman are sure things worth putting cash on. While I haven’t had an immaculate betting record (I bet that there would be 10 or more punts in the Super Bowl. There were nine. I lost $50.), I feel pretty confident about these.

I’ve always been a big fan of the Oscars, especially if the price is right.