23 February 2012
  oscar predictions. . .

it's not the mtv movie awards. it's not the international cinephile society awards. so, in defense of the oscars, can we just let it be the oscars. they are never going to award the mainstream sci-fi, superhero and raunch-com fare that, even when good for its genre, doesn't fit into the sort of cinematic archetype the oscars are designed to reward. similarly, one never expects the grand achievements of arthouse auteurs to have much of a presence at the oscars either. there are other venues to reward these films, but not here. so let's just agree that the oscars give awards to the best oscar movies of the year, and acknowledge the fact that a nomination for hooper, spielberg or scorsese isn't coming at the expense of nolan, apatow or von trier. they were never going to be invited to the party in the first place. my predictions:

supporting actor:
will win. . . christopher plummer is likely to win, but it is still a relative toss-up between him and max von sydow. in any case, regardless of which one wins, it will be an alan arkin-type lifetime achievement win rather than an award for the performance for which they are specifically nominated.
should win. . . of those nominated, christopher plummer. but this is a very weak field. my personal choice in the category would be brad pitt in the tree of life.
my five. . . brad pitt, christoph waltz (carnage), albert brooks (drive), armie hammer (j edgar) and christopher plummer

supporting actress:
will win. . . octavia spencer. i suspected a year ago, before even knowing who she was, that she would be in contention for an oscar for this role. and she definitely deserves the award, although i don't think she is necessarily the best in her category or her film. that would be, rather-
should win. . . jessica chastain. not only has she given like six acclaimed performances this year, but she was really the overall highlight for me in the help.
my five. . . jessica chastain (the help), octavia spencer, jessica chastain (the tree of life), melanie laurent (beginners) and carey mulligan (shame)

will win. . . jean dujardin. i really feel like george clooney is out in this category. he has a relatively recent win. instead, i think the race here is between dujardin and brad pitt, who is really due and gave two great performances in best picture nominated films this year. still, the safest bet is on dujardin.
should win. . . i hope i'm not being suckered in (since i haven't seen any of his other work and could just be dazzled by his personality) but i did love dujardin in the artist.
my five. . . jean dujardin, ryan gosling (drive), michael fassbender (shame), leonardo dicaprio (j edgar), and demian bichir.

will win. . . per usual, this is the category with the fewest real contenders this year. that's because they make so few movies with female leads. it is certainly no coincidence that only one of the five nominated women comes from a best picture nominated film. that being said, viola davis has no competition in the category.
should win. . . of the five, viola davis. although, unfortunately, the single best onscreen performance of the year was not nominated. that would be kirsten dunst in melancholia. absolutely my favorite performance of 2011.
my five. . . kirsten dunst, charlotte gainsbourg (melancholia), viola davis, berenice bejo (the artist) and meryl streep.

original screenplay:
will win. . . woody allen. they will probably want to reward allen's "comeback" somehow, and this is where it will be. incidentally, i am dumbfounded at the praise being heaped on this film, but that's how i pretty much always feel about his work.
should win. . . in this category, it's tough for me to say, as I have yet to see a separation, and i thoroughly hated both midnight in paris and margin call. plus it would be hard for anyone to convince me that the artist has much of a screenplay. i'm sorry. overall, my favorite screenplay of the year is without a doubt the exquisite but not nominated script for the tree of life, by terrence malick.
my five. . . the tree of life, melancholia, beginners, weekend, and shame

adapted screenplay:
will win. . . much like in the original category, here they are likely to want to reward the descendants somewhere so screenplay is the most likely bet. i certainly wouldn't be shocked to see moneyball upset though in this category, especially since aaron sorkin's name is sort of vaguely attached.
should win. . . the ides of march is probably the best nominated adapted screenplay and truly the best of 2011 overall.
my five. . . the ides of march, the help, carnage, drive, and jane eyre.

will win. . . michael hazanavicius is likely to win for the artist, and it would no doubt be a tremendous surprise were anyone to overtake him at the last minute.
should win. . . it is a tremendously difficult decision to choose between two such evenly matched filmmakers who each surpassed all expectations in creating the best artistic pieces of the year and of their careers. in the end, and i'm sure i will be second guessing myself tomorrow, i choose terrence malick over lars von trier, but only by the slightest of margins.
my five. . . terrence malick, lars von trier, michael hazanavicius, wim wenders (pina) and kelly reichardt (meek's cutoff)

best picture:
will win. . . the artist was going to win best picture six months ago. it's still going to win best picture. people might be disappointed with the lack of drama in the category this year, but i doubt many are disappointed with the outcome. well deserved.
should win. . . the tree of life is the best of the category. melancholia is the best of the year. but, as i said in the beginning, the oscars isn't really the place for these kinds of films. that being said, i certainly won't be sad to see the artist win here.
my six. . . melancholia, the tree of life, the help, drive, the ides of march and shame

will win. . . hopefully the academy will want to reward the tree of life with something and it will rightfully get its award here. still, i'm predicting the artist.
should win. . . once again, i am very very narrowly choosing the tree of life over melancholia here, but it's such a close call.
my five. . . the tree of life, melancholia, war horse, the artist and drive

art direction:
will win. . . many are predicting hugo to win this one, but i would really be surprised to see the artist miss out here. plus, i just think that the sets and artistic backdrop behind the artist far outweighs the sort of superficial look scorsese put together for hugo. perhaps just a matter of taste really.
should win. . . of those nominated, definitely the artist. my personal pick for best art direction is a little bit out on a limb, but i really admired the sort of avant garde work of wim wenders' dance documentary, pina.
my five. . . pina, the artist, the help, tinker tailor soldier spy, melancholia

will win. . . the artist. it certainly has the most prominent and memorable score of any film this year. i wouldn't say it was exactly groundbreaking really, but it fit the film perfectly.
should win. . . the artist. the film couldn't have succeeded without this score.
my five. . . the artist, the help, hanna, jane eyre, and tinker tailor soldier spy
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