Geoffrey Macnab: My Oscar Favourites

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The Independent Culture

Best film - True Grit

This category is the Grand National of the Oscars, withThe King's Speech and The Social Network the front-runners. My choice,True Grit is a beautifully crafted affair, that combines a majestic sweep with trademark Coen bros' black humour.

ODDS 20/1. Favourite: The Social Network (1/3)

Best director - Daron Aronofsky (Black Swan)

Whatever the story Aronofsky is telling, he attacks it in the same febrile, uninhibited way. Natalie Portman may give a bravura performance but her virtuosity is more than matched by his, via swooping camerawork, close-ups and horror-film style sequences.

ODDS 25/1. Favourite: David Fincher/Social Network (1/16)

Best Actor - Colin Firth (The King's Speech)

It would be perverse if Colin Firth's turn as the stuttering British monarch was ignored. The film takes a weirdly deferential approach to royalty, but Firth ensures that The King's Speech has heart and never seems like just another piece of British heritage cinema.

ODDS 1/20 (favourite)

Best actress - Annette Bening (The Kids are All Right)

Actresses in comedies don't often win awards. This year Bening, as a lesbian mum, is up against Natalie Portman and Nicole Kidman, who emote in a way that she doesn't. But hers is the outstanding performance – imperious, funny and moving.

ODDS 5/1. Favourite: Natalie Portman/Black Swan (1/9)