Original Screenplay - The King's Speech
Adapted Screenplay - True Grit
Visual Effects - Inception
Sound* - Inception
Original Song - Tangled, "I See The Light"
Music* - Inception
Documentary - Exit Through the Gift Shop
Directing - David Fincher, The Social Network
Costumes - True Grit
Cinematography - True Grit
Animated Film** - How to Train Your Dragon
Supporting Actress - ??
Actress*** - Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit (write-in)
Supporting Actor - Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech
Actor - Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Picture - The Social Network
From my early picks one might conclude I favored True Grit as best of the year, but ultimately The Social Network held together as the movie which excelled as more than the sum of its parts while tapping into something essential about the digital revolution of social interaction. Even with its apparent fabrications. If Exit Through the Gift Shop could be nominated for the lead category, I would pick it over all of them.
*Both categories, 'cause I don't understand the difference. Inception won the year as host to the most spectacular sights and sounds available in theaters. It's score at first seemed ominous, then laughable, then perfect--after somebody slowed down that Edith Piaf song and put it up on YouTube to show how the score tied into the film's web of interlacing dreams.
**Yes, Toy Story 3 was a strong three-quel and yes, I generally love Pixar. But I thought Dragon excelled as a smart, exciting and gently heartwarming film. Pixar knows how to be touching, and TS3 was no exception--strangely enough, however, after last year's heart-wrenching Up I was ready for a more uneven combination of style and substance.
***As usual, the lead actress nominations go to indie/art films with strong female leads but I haven't seen any of them. I've written in Steinfeld because she was the true lead performance of True Grit, not the superb Bridges, and the studio campaigned for the Supporting Actress award because there was no chance she would win vis-a-vis Hollywood heavy's like Natalie Portman, Annette Bening & Nicole Kidman.
Addition - BTW, I still would like to see The Fighter, Winter's Bone & 127 Hours.