Who’s gonna win, whether I like it or not.

So, the Oscars are on Sunday. And for a reason I still find tough to define, I’m going to watch them. I expect hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway to do a passable job – Franco does have some comedic chops, evidenced by his SNL and 30 Rock guest spots. But after the way Ricky Gervais made celebrities squirm, gasp and complain at the Golden Globes, any attempt at humor is going to seem like a Dave Barry column. Guaranteed, neither host will make Robert Downey Jr. get up and call the event “hugely mean-spirited with mildly sinister undertones.” Which is too bad.

Anyhoo, here are my picks for who’s gonna win this silly thing that I care about:

Best Supporting Actor

Who Will Win: John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone. The safe money’s on Christian Bale, whose “I luv my bruddah!!!” histrionics are a hardware magnet. But while WB might be an underdog on Sunday, but it’s also the kind of underdog story that wins Oscars. And Hawkes’ performance as the bad-ass-with-a-heart-of-gold Teardrop is both beautifully fashioned and easy to adore.

Who I’m Rooting For: Hawkes. Though if Geoffrey Rush wins, I’ll be content – his crisp comedic performance got me through The King’s Speech.

Best Supporting Actress

Who Will Win: Melissa Leo, The Fighter. If Bale loses, this is the only other category in which the Academy can reward all the melodrama. Plus, Leo’s a hard-working, somewhat unsung character actor, which always makes for a good story.

Who I’m Rooting For: Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom. Her performance as a sickly sweet matriarch was a high point of this well-crafted tale of an Australian crime family. Hailee Steinfeld’s turn as the bull-headed heroine Mattie Ross is also very much deserving.

Best Actor

Who Will Win: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech. While Firth approached this role with the respect and restraint it deserved, the end result just wasn’t all that compelling. Even Bridget Jones’s Diary made better use of his oozing good-naturedness. But, it’s a role that requires altering your vocal patterns (read: ACTING!), so he’ll win.

Who I’m Rooting For: Jeff Bridges, True Grit. It would be awesome if he could pull a Hanks. I’d also applaud if they honored Jesse Eisenberg’s cold, obnoxious turn in The Social Network.

Best Actress

Who Will Win: Natalie Portman, Black Swan. Did you hear that she trained to be a ballerina for this? (read: ACTING!)

Who I’m Rooting For: Annette Bening, The Kids are All Right. While this family dramedy was just all right, Bening’s performance was spot-on as usual, refusing to get all Oscar winner-y when her character gets cheated on, preferring to weather most of the storm on the inside – you know, like real people do.

Best Screenplay (Adapted)

Who Will Win: Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network. Probably the only no-brainer of the night.

Who I’m Rooting For: Sorkin, but the Coens adaptive work is certainly worthy as well.

Best Screenplay (Original)

Who Will Win: Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg, The Kids are All Right. The Academy’s gonna want to throw a bone to this movie in some way, to show they support old-fashioned family-centered stories.

Who I’m Rooting For: Mike Leigh, Another Year. Haven’t seen this yet, but the guy’s in a league of his own.

Best Director

Who Will Win: Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech. It’s between Hooper, whose feel-good period piece is certainly well-crafted, and David Fincher, whose steady hand made a cynical, dialogue-driven character study go down easy.

Who I’m Rooting For: Joel and Ethan Coen, True Grit. If they hadn’t won a few years back, perhaps they’d be in the running, a la Scorsese’s compensatory win for The Departed. They did, though, which is too bad, because their vision of this simple American story is as stark, troubled and inspiring as the country itself.

Best Picture

Who Will Win: The Social Network. The Academy will let us know that they still adore light, drab, “important” fare like The King’s Speech, but by giving the big prize to the “Facebook movie,” they’ll also let us know that they’re “with it.”

Who I’m Rooting For: True Grit. My favorite of the bunch, by a lot. TSN’s backs-and-forths are electric, but stacked side by side with the Coens’ simple tale of redemption, it’s all too obvious that, at least in 2010, less was more.

The Oscars have arrived.

Just watched the announcement of the Oscar nominees for Best Picture:

Black Swan – Haven’t seen it, not sure if I can take another two hours of Darren Aronofsky treating me like an idiot (and Natalie Portman crying).
The Fighter – Also haven’t seen it. Pretty much know what this has to offer, and I like my triumphs of the human spirit without screamy man speeches.
Inception – Mindblowing visuals. Headache-inducing story.
The Kids are All Right – A charming enough family drama that benefits greatly from the existence of Annette Bening.
The King’s Speech – A charming enough British period piece that benefits greatly from the existence of Geoffrey Rush.
127 Hours – My indifference to this one has resulted in me not having seen it. Crazy, huh?
The Social Network – A look at what megalomania looks like in the 21st century, propelled by fabulously constructed, rapid-fire dialogue.
Toy Story 3 – Missed the first and second parts of the series, and have heard from many folks that this installment will make me miserably sad. Maybe I’ll wait until summer to take in the trilogy.
True Grit – Jeff Bridges’ blustery performance is a treat, but the way the Coens make room for him in this simple adventure story is equally enthralling.
Winter’s Bone – Where Deliverance was gratuitous, these backwoods are stark, quietly frightening, and ultimately hopeful.

Franz List: Worst Pictures

How can you tell I’m not a real movie critic, beyond my lack of knowledge and questionable writing ability? I care about the Oscars. In 1992, when Silence of the Lambs cleaned house, I was watching the event for the first time. And considering that Silence of the Lambs was pretty much the greatest movie I’d ever seen, I thought this award show was pretty cool (despite Billy Crystal’s insufferable bullshit). Since then, however, I’ve felt like Clarice Starling – horrified and fumbling in the darkness.

With Oscar season upon us – nominations will be announced on January 25, with the ceremony set for February 27  – I figured why not relive some of those horrible moments? Here’s my list of the five worst movies to win the Academy Award for Best Picture in my lifetime.

5. Shakespeare in Love (1998)
What if Romeo & Juliet was autobiographical? This is the concept behind Shakespeare in Love, a movie that would be inane enough if it didn’t poison a grade A cast with the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Ben Affleck. If whimsy’s what you’re after, there’s more than enough here to choke an ox.

What I was rooting for: The Thin Red Line. While I’m not one for war movies, and found Terence Malick’s meditative style a bit tedious, at least the thing was beautiful.

4. Crash (2005)
Do the Trite Thing.

What I was rooting for: Brokeback Mountain. Thought I’d actually be happy this time, as a movie I adored was the odds-on favorite. I hadn’t learned my lesson.

3. Titanic (1997)
There’s usually something moving about characters who carry flames for a lost lover, deep into old age. But when James Cameron tried to find a common thread between this type of romance and one of history’s most epic tragedies, the result was as unfeeling as the iciest of Arctic waters.

What I was rooting for: L.A. Confidential. Even though Russell Crowe is a walking cliché, it’s film noir done right.

2. American Beauty (1999)
In the real world, when a middle-aged man gets his mid-life crisis Corvette, it’s embarrassing. In American Beauty, when he does this times 100, he’s a hero. And beyond telling us to worship at the altar of the male ego, the movie teaches us a valuable lesson about closeted homosexuals: They will murder you!

What I was rooting for: The Sixth Sense. One of the most imaginative ghost stories I’ve ever seen; the best of a very weak field.

1. Forrest Gump (1994)
A man does whatever he’s told – including going to war – without once questioning if it’s in his best interests, and lives an impossibly exciting life. A woman fights for what she believes in, and dies of AIDS. I’m pretty sure Dick Cheney wrote this.

What I was rooting for: Pulp Fiction. Like, duh.