Oscars 2011: The 10 Best & Worst Onscreen Relationships

Colin Firth Helena Bonham Carter 2011 oscars nominees The King's Speech

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YourTango's own 2011 Oscars nominations for the best and worst onscreen relationships.

Relationships are an integral part of our real lives, so it's only fitting that they take center stage onscreen as well. Love-themed story lines were woven throughout 2011 Oscar nominated films, making for gripping, tragic, thrilling and wonderful entertainment. For better of for worse, some of the strongest cinematic moments focused on relationship dynamics, and we gleaned a few important lessons from the characters' struggles and triumphs. Take a look at the best onscreen pairings of the year, and then tune into the 83rd Academy Awards telecast on February 27 to see which of the nominations will score precious Oscar gold. 

The Best:

1. The King's Speech. King George VI and Elizabeth. It takes a pretty strong couple to scale the obstacles in Best Picture nominee The King's Speech. Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) stands by her husband's side as he (Colin Firth) overcomes his stammer and ascends the throne of England. She reminded us of the love, support and communication we must rely on to face issues as a duo—which is always easier than managing problems solo. This onscreen bond helped land Firth and Bonham Carter Oscar nominations for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress respectively. Even if they don't win on Oscar night (though they very well might), we certainly think their on-screen relationship was a winning combination.

2. The Kids Are All Right. Nic and Jules. Sometimes partners stray and fall short in the relationship department. That happens in Kids when Jules (Julianne Moore) feels like her partner Nic (Annette Bening, a Best Actress nominee) has never appreciated her and cheats with the biological father of their two children. Yep, quite distressing. But even though they are both stinging from broken hearts and betrayal, Nic and Jules still care about each other and display one of the most necessary ingredients in any relationship: forgiveness. That theme helped this film score a coveted Best Picture nod. Hooray for that. Why You Can’t Have A Happy Relationship Without Forgiveness

3. Biutiful. Uxbal and his kids. Best Actor nominee Javier Bardem plays a father who makes his living in the shady Barcelona underground. When he finds out he has just a few weeks to live, he puts every effort into reconciling with the woman he loves and making sure his two children will have a bright future. Even though he doesn't exactly have a squeaky-clean reputation, he's a surprisingly devoted dad. When times get tough, the most important issues revolve around taking care of your family. This film highlights that perfectly, especially through Javier's riveting performance. If this new real-life dad (Bardem and actress Penelope Cruz are new parents of a baby boy) tries to be as good a father as he is in Biutiful, we think he'll do all right. Penelope Cruz And Javier Bardem Welcome A Baby Boy

4. The Fighter. Micky and Charlene. You're not always going to get along with your significant other's family, and that's totally the case in this Best Picture Oscar-nominated movie. Charlene (Amy Adams, who earned a Best Supporting Actress nod) gets pretty upset when Micky (Mark Wahlberg) puts his brother ahead of her, time and time again. But eventually the two work it out and Charlene reconciles with Micky and his dysfunctional sibling. At the end of the day, a relationship is much easier when you're on good terms with your man's family. So, in the name of love, try to get along.

5. Rabbit Hole. Howie and Becca Corbett. After tragedy strikes their happy family, Becca (Nicole Kidman, nominated for the role) and Howie (Aaron Eckhart) find themselves coping with loss in different ways, at different paces. They end up looking for solace outside their marriage when they can't find it from each other. Becca and Howie don't fully accept or understand each other's grieving process, which is just a slow fuse that leads to a massive explosion. Once they come to terms with their tragedy and decide to continue living, together, do they find a sense of relative peace.

The Worst:

1. Blue Valentine. Dean Pereira and Cindy Helle. Despite the ailing relationship portrayed, the heart of the film is about the many sides of love—the good, the bad and the downright ugly. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, nominated for her role, portray a multidimensional, up-and-down relationship we rarely see from Hollywood. As the marriage of hapless hopeless romantic Dean (Gosling) and practical, grounded Cindy begins to unravel, the audience is reminded of the importance of communication, of staying connected to one's partner despite the pressures of jobs and kids, and—as we watch this pair attempt to do, albeit too late—taking desperate measures to save what you've worked for years to create.

2. The Social Network. Mark Zuckerberg and Erica Albright. "You are probably going to be a very successful computer person," Erica (Rooney Mara) tells Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg, a Best Actor nominee). "But you're going to go through life thinking that girls don't like you because you're a nerd. And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won't be true. It'll be because you're an asshole." She was right on both counts. Zuckerberg founded Facebook and became a multi-billionaire, but realized all the money in the world can't buy you a good relationship. He ends the film, nominated for Best Picture, pining after the girl who told him off, and feeling pretty much alone.

3. Inception. Dom and Mol Cobb. Dom (Leonardo DiCaprio) can't get his dead wife, Mol (Marion Cotillard), out of his memory, which ends up dangerously sabotaging most every job he works on. Trains tearing through the city streets in your dreams? Not exactly good for business. We know Best Picture-nominated Inception is fantastical, but the lesson holds true: Dwelling on the past will never allow you to move forward. Whether it's the tough loss of a loved one or even just the end of a relationship, you have to let go. It's easier said than done but essential to keep on living.

4. Barney's Version. Barney Panofsky and Miriam. It's a real bummer when you meet the right person at completely the wrong time. But I'm pretty sure we can all agree that you should not pursue a woman at your own wedding…unless she's the gal you just got hitched to. Barney (Paul Giamatti), the star of this Best Makeup nominee, does, however, and well, it's clearly problematic on many levels. Is He The Right Man At The Wrong Time?

5. Black Swan. Nina Sayers and Thomas Leroy. Natalie Portman wrapped this Best Picture-nominated film with both a real-life love (fiance and Black Swan co-star Benjamin Millepied) and a Best Actress nomination. On the other hand, her character, Nina, found herself in a messy relationship with her theater director, Leroy (Vincent Cassel), who plays mind games with Nina, takes advantage of her youth and exploits her innocence. The love lesson here: never get involved with a boss or instructor whose intentions are dubious. We wish we could have told Nina: Run. Fast.

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