With just hours to go before the Oscars launch, it's time to tackle the big question: who's going home with the Best Picture award?
In a field of ten nominees, it's seemingly once again down to two familiar competitors. Just as "The Hurt Locker" and "Avatar" raced neck-and-neck throughout the 2009 Academy Awards, tonight's show appears to be a similar throwdown between the popular favorite and the critical darling: "The Social Network" versus "The King's Speech."
But is the race really down to two? What of the other eight contenders? We've got some analysis after the jump, and make sure to cast YOUR vote for the Best Picture winner in our poll!
In just about any other year, virtually all of the 83rd Academy Awards' nominees for Best Picture would have the award on lockdown.
"Inception" was a blockbuster masterpiece that deftly married big budget effects with a thought-provoking story, while "True Grit" brought the Western back into the limelight with a blazing fury. "127 Hours," from "Slumdog Millionaire" Oscar favorite Danny Boyle, is an equally powerful tale of what a man will do to survive when all hope seems lost. "The Kids Are All Right" and "The Fighter" both feature fantastic performances and easily relatable tales about family turmoil, camouflaged in the form of a dysfunctional lesbian couple and a past-their-prime boxing clan. "Black Swan" might be Darren Aronofsky's crowning achievement to date, and it certainly is for Natalie Portman, but Portman's Oscar is likely as far as this one's going to go. Similar story for "Winter's Bone" — the lesser-known indie drama's real victory is the slew of Oscar nominations it received, not the statues. And "Toy Story 3," arguably the best of the series, is going to walk away with Best Animated Feature; that's its prize.
Despite all of their worthiness, the eight aforementioned contenders are not going to walk away with the Best Picture award this year. It's down to "The Social Network" and "The King's Speech," the two films that have dominated awards season through and through. Momentum seems to be on "The King's Speech" side, and it's certainly tailor-made for Oscar gold on the surface: a British drama about royalty and strife, armed with brilliant actors like Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush and beautiful direction from Tom Hooper. How can this story of overcoming personal adversity possibly lose?
"The Social Network" is what stands in the way. This is a movie that is very much of our time, exploring the making and dangers of the social networking community's most powerful tool. Facebook brings so many of us together, but it tore its founders apart. It's a shockingly devastating tale thanks to hard work from David Fincher, Aaron Sorkin and the entire cast. It's won several top prizes at awards shows, though the recent resurgence of "King's Speech" has seemingly derailed Fincher's Oscar hopeful. But don't be surprised if "The Social Network" has proudly accepted the academy's friend request by the end of Oscar night.
Who do YOU think will win Best Picture on Sunday night? Vote in the poll above, and explain your picks in the comments section and on Twitter!
Make sure to tune into MTV.com on Sunday night at 6PM EST for our live-stream red carpet Oscar coverage!