It’s already Oscars time, and for some reason I feel less connected this year than other years. It might be because I’ve seen very few films nominated for any category this year. I apologize for not getting this list out sooner. I always want to get it out more than just a few days before, but in any case, here it is.
1. Best Picture: “The Descendants”
2. Best Leading Actor: Jean Dujardin, for “The Artist”
3. Best Leading Actress: Viola Davis, for “The Help”
4. Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, for “Beginners”
5. Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, for “The Help”
6. Best Director: Michael Hazanavicius, for “The Artist”
7. Best Original Screenplay: “Midnight in Paris”
8. Best Adapted Screenplay: “The Descendants”
9. Best Cinematography: “The Tree of Life”
10. Best Editing: “The Artist”
11. Best Art Direction: “Hugo”
12. Best Costume Design: “The Artist”
13. Best Makeup: “The Iron Lady”
14. Best Original Score (Music): “The Artist”
15. Best Original Song: ‘Man or Muppet’ from “The Muppets”
16. Best Sound Mixing: “Hugo”
17. Best Sound Editing: “War Horse”
18. Best Visual Effects: “Hugo”
19. Best Animated Film: “Rango”
20. Best Foreign Language Film: “A Separation”
21. Best Documentary : “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory”
22. Best Short Documentary: “Saving Face”
23. Best Short Animated Film: “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore”
24. Best Short (Live Action) Film: “The Shore”
As usual, I will comment on some of my predictions below. Every year, I tend to comment on a lot, so we’ll see how many of them I feel like talking about. The numbers below correspond to the categories above, which are numbered.
1. This has to be one of the toughest years to predict this category. I was very close to saying “The Artist”. It may come as a surprise to not pick an obvious choice like that, but here is my reasoning. Both “The Artist” and “Hugo” are vying to win this award. I can’t see the Academy giving either film the award easily. That’s not to say they won’t win-in fact, they probably have a better chance of winning than my pick does. However much my pick is a dark horse, “The Descendants” does have many things going for it. One of the most important things is the film’s nomination in directing. Though I don’t think it will win directing, the nomination itself is telling. It’s very rare that a film wins Best Picture without at least being nominated for directing.
The next thing that is has going for it is the tale itself. I haven’t seen the film, but it seems like it is telling a story that many people can relate to. This is not some whimsical adventure or a time away from us. This is a modern tale of a struggling family. “Up in the Air” felt close to winning, but perhaps too much sentiment kept it from winning. Here we have a film that was beloved by most critics. It is rare that so many top critics on Rotten Tomatoes have given this film a perfect score that it’s hard to ignore the idea that it will win the big Oscar. Did I give this choice much thought? No, but I probably gave it more thought than most others who will simply check off The Artist because many others are vying for it to win. Hey, it probably will win. But I am going with my pick-do or die.
2. Some people are saying Clooney. I am saying as much as I and everyone else likes him, he is doing the same type of performance that he is known for. I think the Academy will like to award somebody new this year.
3. Let’s be honest-Meryl Streep has another chance, like she does every year. Was there anyone who really felt that of all the times Streep was nominated that her performance for “The Iron Lady” puts her over these other performances? Like many others, I am going with the favorite to win, which is Viola Davis for “The Help”.
4. All I have to say about this one is this: why was Max von Sydow nominated? It seems like he is a go to guy for a somewhat mysterious, tall, old guy. Okay, so he doesn’t really talk in his performance this year, but there’s just no way he is going to win. That being said, I’ll go again with the favorite and say, Christopher Plummer.
9. Having only seen “The Tree of Life”, it’s hard to know which one will win. I trust Janusz Kaminski did a fine job with “War Horse”, as he always does for Speilberg. I can see “The Artist” walking away with the win if the Academy felt that Schiffman accurately captured this time period well enough. Even “Tattoo” could see a win here-frankly, I was captivated by the setting of the film. Perhaps the camerawork is all too conventional in “Tattoo”, but it obviously did enough to garner a nod. However, after thinking about it for a while, I think “Tree” has this one. It might be a close call, but then again, there was never really a favorite for this category to begin with.
15. Since when has this one been a two-man race? Last year was hard, but I am just going to go with Man or Muppet on this one. It’s kind of amazing that Man or Muppets got nominated. It works for the film, but the lyrics are a little crazy for winning the Oscar. But it was nominated, so it kind of makes you think it will win. I am not a huge fan of “Real in Rio”, and it seems like it would have the edge here. It is slightly annoying, but is also slightly more complex than the Muppets song. Nonetheless, the Muppets song could not have been nominated without a reason.
17. I am getting tired of losing the sound categories. Though I won last year when predicting “Inception” for both, I lost the year prior when I predicted “Avatar” and “The Hurt Locker” came away the winner. It really hurts having not watched this year’s films, but I am going with “War Horse” and hoping for the best. The reason for “War Horse” is that when a war film is nominated in Sound Editing, it tends to win. Before I had my blog, I correctly predicted “Letters from Iwo Jima” in this category, even though many others thought that different films would win. So, I am feeling confident enough about “War Horse” here.
18. This one will be really close between “Hugo” and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”. “King Kong” won over “War of the Worlds”, perhaps for its length being an hour longer than “War of the Worlds”. But the work in “War of the Worlds” was phenomenal, in my opinion (though the movie itself was less than phenomenal). So many people are thinking “Apes” for this one. It hurts that I have seen neither, especially because I am hearing that “Apes” looked that amazing. However, I have to stick with the precedent set that a film that was a Best Picture nominee will win visual effects over a film that wasn’t nominated for Best Picture. “Hugo” is the only one that fits the bill here.
20. It’s the only foreign film nominated for two Oscars, so it’s the obvious choice.
22. I don’t know if I have mentioned before how I choose the shorts categories and especially the short documentary category. I simply decide by the summary of the movie which one will win. Why? Because think about it this way-it wouldn’t have been nominated if it wasn’t a quality movie. So, I go with the topic that people would most likely resonate with. Having seen the trailer for “The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom”, I just don’t see it being the last word on this tragedy. While the cherry blossom is an important part of the Japanese culture, I just don’t see how surviving cherry blossom trees after the tsunami really gives hope to these people who are still cleaning up, even a year later. So, I am going to go with “Saving Face”-a film that chronicles Pakistani women who lose their face to acid blasts to the face. I feel like “Incident in New Baghdad” will be a close second, so let’s see if my prediction will win.
I tend not to comment on how well I do after each year, for some reason. I probably won’t this year, but last year I think I only missed 5 of my predictions. Let’s see if I can get it down to 4 this year.