Unlike Matt (whose predictions can be found here), I take the Oscars a little seriously. My numbers are usually pretty good too, but I’ve yet to win any big predictions competitions and that bums me out just a little. That being said, this year’s race looks pretty flat and uncompetitive, with most of the nominees and frontrunners decided months ago. There are, however, a few nominees that could steal the scene from The Artist, which is expected to sweep.
Nominees: War Horse, The Tree of Life, Moneyball, The Artist, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, The Descendants, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Help
Will Win: The Artist. It’s the frontrunner because it’s an easy pick for Hollywood. While most of the other best picture nominees have a few deterrers, The Artist is unanimously adored at least to some fashion. The nostalgia crowd pleaser also happens to have strong technical components AND a few acting nominations, which sets it apart from other possible winners like Hugo, The Help and The Descendants that only fare well with one of the two. Don’t be too surprised if The Help crashes the party with an upset.
Should Win: Hugo. It has similar thematic ambitions as The Artist, but goes a step further to pay tribute to classic Hollywood. Scorsese doesn’t just recreate, he expands Hugo and the possibilities of cinema to create a much more dynamic, visceral and 21st century-appropriate experience.
Left out: Beginners was my favorite film of the year. I also would have liked to see Meloncholia, Certified Copy or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo make the cut.
Nominees: Martin Scorsese- Hugo, Terrence Malick- The Tree of Life, Woody Allen- Midnight in Paris, Alexander Payne- The Descendants and Michel Hazanavicius- The Artist.
Will Win: Michel Hazanavicius. This usually goes hand-in-hand with best picture, however, Scorsese could pull an upset if there is some last minute hesitation with letting The Artist take home all the big awards.
Should Win: Scorsese.
Left Out: There have been a great number of well-directed films this year that didn’t get recognized. Lars von Trier for Melancholia, Mike Mills for Beginners, David Fincher for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Clint Eastwood for J. Edgar.
Nominees: Michel Hazanavicius- The Artist, J.C. Chandor- Margin Call, Woody Allen- Midnight in Paris, Annie Mumalo and Kristen Wiig- Bridesmaids and Asghar Farhadi- A Seperation.
Will Win: This is a consolation prize for Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris being one of his best, wittiest and smartest screenplays (and film) in a very long time. Comedies usually do well in this category, however, so do best picture frontrunners. Don’t count out The Artist to take home the gold.
Should Win: Midnight in Paris.
Left Out: Mike Mills’ screenplay for Beginners was one of the film’s strongest components. Dustin Lance Black also did an excellent job in the annoyingly overlooked J. Edgar.
Nominees: Aaron Sorkin and Steve Zaillian- Moneyball, John Logan- Hugo, Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash- The Descendants, Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan- Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon- The Ides of March
Will Win: Another consolation prize goes to The Descendants. The Golden Globe winner stands out against the competition quite easily.
Should Win: The Descendants
Left Out: Zaillian for The Girl With Dragon Tattoo and Hossein Amini for Drive.
Nominees: Brad Pitt- Moneyball, Jean Dujardin- The Artist, George Clooney- The Descendants, Gary Oldman- Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Demián Bichir- A Better Life
Will Win: Jean Dujardin. Picking up some last minute steam from a sweep by The Artist, Dujardin should have a slight edge over Clooney with his newcomer status. It also helps Dujardin’s character is extremely likable in the film.
Should Win: This is one of those times I feel pretty assured saying any of these nominees deserve it. But to be honest, I’m also saying that because I feel like there are better performances that were overlooked.
Left Out: It is almost criminal Michael Fassbender was overlooked for Shame. It’s also quite shocking Leonardo DiCaprio didn’t recieve a nomination for his best performance to-date in J. Edgar.
Nominees: Meryl Streep- The Iron Lady, Rooney Mara- The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Glenn Close- Albert Nobbs, Viola Davis- The Help and Michelle Williams- My Week With Marilyn.
Will Win: Viola Davis. Streep is three decades and fifteen or so nominations overdue, but this is another consolation prize for The Help (the academy is really good at those).
Should Win: Rooney Mara is the most unexpected triumphant performance in the pack.
Left out: Kirsten Dunst is quite spectacular in Melancholia, as is Juliette Binoche in Certified Copy.
Best Supporting Actor
Nominees: Max von Sydow- Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Kenneth Branagh- My Week With Marilyn, Jonah Hill- Moneyball, Christopher Plummer- Beginners and Nick Nolte- Warrior.
Will Win: Plummer has been winning every award thus-far. This career achievement award could be upset by Sydow. Either of the two winning would make them the oldest winners in Academy history.
Should Win: Plummer.
Left Out: Ben Kingsley’s in Hugo is another shameful omission.
Best Supporting Actress
Nominees: Jessica Chastain- The Help, Octavia Spencer- The Help, Melissa McCarthy- Bridesmaids, Bérénice Bejo- The Artist and Janet McTeer- Albert Nobbs.
Will Win: Spencer. This goes along with the Academy finding ways to reward The Help.
Should Win: These are all extremely weak nominees, but Jessica Chastain deserves recognition for a number of solid performances this year.
Left Out: Carey Mulligan pulled her weight against Fassbender in Shame. Keira Knightley in A Dangerous Method.
Here are the rest of the major categories:
Cinematography: The Tree of Life
Animated Feature: Rango
Costume Design: The Artist
Art Direction: Hugo
Editing: The Artist
Foreign Language Film: A Separation
Documentary: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Makeup: The Iron Lady
Original Score: The Artist
Original Song: The Muppets
Visual Effects: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Sound Editing: Hugo
Sound Mixing: Hugo