Friday, February 24, 2012

Oscar Predictions

This time of year, I always find it interesting to hear Oscar predictions, and there's usually controversy over who should win versus who will win the film industry’s most valued prize. Considering I’ve seen 8/9 films nominated for Best Picture, and the majority of the nominated performances, I decided to give my two cents regarding who should and will win, and who got unfortunately snubbed (there's always a wildcard nominee!) My predictions definitely won’t be 100%, but we’ll see come this Sunday!

Best Picture a few thoughts on this category in general. The Academy should never have increased the number of nominations from 5 to 10. And this year, they could only come up with 9 deserving of a nomination! My wallet and I are begging you, return the number to 5.

“The Artist”
“The Descendants”
“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”
“Midnight in Paris”
“The Help”
“War Horse”
“The Tree of Life”
Should Win: “The Help” – The Academy doesn’t usually favor Blockbusters for the big prize (“The King’s Speech” beat out “The Social Network,” “The Hurt Locker” won over “Avatar,”) but this film’s powerful and inspiring story resonated with millions. Plus the five main women acted their butts off.

Will Win: “The Artist” – I won’t be disappointed if this swoops in and steals home. A silent film hasn’t won since 1927, but the Academy loves innovative and refreshing films like this one. Also, Weinstein = WINstein (“The King’s Speech” last year, in fact) so any movie this man touches turns to Oscar gold.

Wild Card: “The Descendants” – a quirky story about a midlife crisis could surprise everyone. Plus The Academy loves Clooney. I was thrilled to see “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” grab a nomination, though it doesn’t have a chance at winning.

Best Actor Noticeably missing: Michael Fassbender in “Shame.” This man was able to make a sex addict creepy in one scene, yet alluring in another. Any actor who can make the audience have sympathy and really care for this pervert’s feelings deserves recognition. Also, Thomas Horn in “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” – Tatum O’Neal won an Oscar at ten years old, and the range of emotions 14-year-old Horn portrayed in “EL&IC” deserves a nomination.
Demián Bichir - "A Better Life"
George Clooney - "The Descendants"
Jean Dujardin - "The Artist"
Gary Oldman - "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
Brad Pitt - "Moneyball"

Should Win: Jean Dujardin in “The Artist.” Without saying a single word, this man made us laugh, cry and fall in love with him. Actors struggle to do this with a full script and he made it look effortless in silence.

Will Win: George Clooney in “The Descendants.” I like George Clooney fine in real life. Not that I know him, but his charming, witty bachelor-for-life personality is cute, I guess. But that’s pretty much the character he played in this film. It didn’t appear he was doing much acting, but The Academy loves this man, so go ahead and give it to him.

Wild Card: As much as I’m secretly pulling for Brad Pitt, this wasn’t an Oscar-winning role for him.

Best Actress
Glenn Close - "Albert Nobbs"
Viola Davis - "The Help"
Rooney Mara - "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"
Meryl Streep - "The Iron Lady"
Michelle Williams - "My Week with Marilyn"

Should Win: Meryl Streep in “The Iron Lady.” I can’t help but always pull for this woman, who hasn’t won since “Sophie’s Choice” in 1983. I don’t know how many more brilliant performances Meryl can keep pulling out, but this is another perfect portrayal of a historical figure. After two decades of unrivaled achievements, it’s time to reward this goddess another Golden statue.

Will Win: Viola Davis in “The Help.” Don’t get me wrong, this was a great role for Davis, but I feel that the other women in the film outshined her. But after snagging the Screen Actors Guild Award and the Critic’s Choice Award, it’s safe to say she’s got it in the bag.

Wild Card: Michelle Williams in “My Week with Marilyn.” Williams studied Monroe for months prior to production, and nailed this performance. She showed three different sides of the troubled bombshell and after two nominations, The Academy may feel it’s time to reward her.

Best Supporting Actor - Noticeably missing: Sacha Baron Cohen in “Hugo.” Cohen sticks to his comedic roots in the movie, though darkly comedic, and he makes us both hate and pity him. (He was the only bright spot in that film.)

Kenneth Branagh - "My Week with Marilyn"
Jonah Hill - "Moneyball"
Nick Nolte - "Warrior"
Christopher Plummer - "Beginners"
Max von Sydow - "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" (the second silent performance nomination!)

Should Win: Christopher Plummer in “Beginners.” This veteran actor has never won an Academy Award. Can you believe Captain von Trapp of “The Sound of Music” is still an Oscar virgin?! This 82-year-old needs to be recognized for his entire body of work, not to mention what I hear is a humorous yet heartbreaking performance. Max von Sydow doesn't stand a chance, but he's also an 82-year-old Oscar virgin.

Will Win: Christopher Plummer in “Beginners.” The Golden Globe, SAG and Critic’s Choice Award already rest on his bookshelf, so the other nominees shouldn’t even bother showing up.

Wild Card: I guess Kenneth Branagh should show up, just in case The Academy is feeling a little crazy. He delivered a spot-on performance as Sir Laurence Olivier, and has been around long enough to deserve recognition.

Best Supporting Actress Noticeably missing: Bryce Dallas Howard from “The Help.” I truly felt she gave the most outstanding performance in the film, and she hasn’t been recognized at any of these award Shows. Her turn as a cold, racist woman was bone-chilling, and promising of a bright, successful future for her.

Bérénice Bejo - "The Artist" (the THIRD actor nominated who didn’t deliver one line in a movie!)
Jessica Chastain - "The Help"
Melissa McCarthy - "Bridesmaids"
Janet McTeer - "Albert Nobbs"
Octavia Spencer - "The Help"

Should Win: Octavia Spencer in “The Help.” This was to many, the most memorable role in the film. As a maid who stood up to her heartless boss during the 1960s, Spencer played the part with vigor and strength, and no doubt The Academy will recognize it.

Will Win: Octavia Spencer in “The Help.” The theory is that if you win the Golden Globe, the SAG and the Critic’s Choice, you better have a damn good acceptance speech for that Oscar stage.

Wild Card: No one. However, Melissa McCarthy in “Bridesmaids” and Jessica Chastain in “The Help” have bright futures ahead of them. The nomination was the honor for these two.

Best Director
Michel Hazanavicius - "The Artist"
Alexander Payne - "The Descendants"
Martin Scorsese - "Hugo"
Woody Allen - "Midnight in Paris"
Terrence Malick - "The Tree of Life"

Should Win: Michel Hazanavicius for “The Artist.” Making a film without sound and color is difficult. Making said film one of the best of the year seems impossible. Hazanavicius delivered a fabulously entertaining movie, and managed to squeeze heartfelt performances out of his actors.

Will Win: Michel Hazanavicius for “The Artist.” I’ve tried so hard to learn how to pronounce his last name, but the person presenting the award is the one that really needs to learn it. Haza-whatcha-macall-it did wonders with this screenplay, and raised the bar high above the other nominees.

Wild Card: Alexander Payne for “The Descendants.” If I know The Academy like I think I do, they’ll divide up the wealth, and if Dujardin wins Best Actor, Payne will get Best Director. If it’s Clooney’s big night, Haza-what-ever-it-is will take home gold.

I hope you enjoy the big show as much as I do. Us artsy folk consider this our Superbowl. No joke. My mom and I are all set for our annual Oscar bash (my dad is ready for these award shows to be over!) and look forward to the surprises, the FASHION and the acceptance speeches (may they not run over time TOO much.) Happy Oscars!

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