Saturday, February 25, 2012

Oscar Predictions!

Tomorrow is the big night. The 84th annual Academy Awards. And, as I have done in the past, I will offer my predictions for the show.

As most readers know, I haven't watched the show in a little more than a decade. I'm not a fan of award shows, particularily the Academy Awards. I feel the show has become too political and image conscience. Plus, there is the old argument most viewers have. The feeling the wrong person or movie always wins. But, this year I may actually watch.

Now then, my predictions.

BEST PICTURE: "The Artist", "The Descendants", "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close", "The Help", "Hugo", "Midnight in Paris", "Moneyball", "The Tree of Life" and "War Horse".

Of the nine nominees, I have seen seven of them. I have not seen "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" or "Moneyball". With the exception of "The Help" and "War Horse", I pretty much like all of the nominated films. Some more than others. "Midnight in Paris" was my choice for the best film of the year on my "top ten" list followed by "The Artist". Also "The Descendants" made my list and "Hugo" was on my runner's up list.

Still, all the momentum seems to be in favor of "The Artist". And I'm all for it! It will become only the second silent film to win the "Best Picture" Oscar since the first Academy Award winner "Wings" (1928) back in 1928.

My Prediction: The Artist

BEST DIRECTOR: Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris), Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist), Terrence Malik (The Tree of Life), Alexander Payne (The Descendants) and Martin Scorsese (Hugo).

Nothing would give me greater pleasure than seeing Woody Allen win the award. He is my favorite filmmaker working today. It would be nice if Scorsese were to win, but, the Academy already gave him an award for "The Departed" (2006), so, they are pretty much done with him. Same with Allen. Both are great filmmakers but, the Academy likes to honor new talent and give the masters a "lifetime achievement" award instead. So, both men are immediately out. Terrence Malik should consider his nomination and the "Best Picture" nomination a win in itself.

Now we are down to two; Hazanavicius and Payne. If "The Artist" wins "Best Picture" more times than not the director of the same film wins.

My Prediction: Michel Hazanavicius

BEST ACTOR: Demian Bichir (A Better Life), George Clooney (The Descendants), Jean Dujardin (The Artist), Gary Oldman (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy), Brad Pitt (Moneyball)

Right off the bat lets knock off two names; Bichir and Oldman. This is nothing against them or their performance, but, once again we have a case of the nomination being a win in itself. They were recognized by the academy for their work. Bravo gentlemen!

The race is really down to Clooney and Dujardin. The Artist has the second most nominations with 10. If The Artist sweeps the awards Dujardin will benefit. But Clooney is an active liberal. And Hollywood likes liberals. Plus he wrote, directed and acted in another film this year, "Ides of March", a political film with Clooney playing a Democrat running for president. Plus a lot of people liked "The Descendants". But Clooney has won an Oscar already for "Best Supporting Actor".

My Prediction: Jean Dujardin

BEST ACTRESS: Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs), Viola Davis (The Help), Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Meryl Streep (Iron Lady) and Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn)

This is a tough category for me because of haven't seen some of the nominated films. Many people are guessing Viola Davis will win the award. I surely hope not. As I said, I didn't like that movie and I sure don't want to see it win any awards. So, instead, I'm going to pick what I want to see win instead of what I think will win.

My Prediction: Meryl Streep

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Kenneth Branagh (My Week with Marilyn), Jonah Hill (Moneyball), Nick Nolte (The Warrior), Christopher Plummer (Beginners) and Max von Sydow (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close)

The favorite going into this is Plummer as a dying gay man. It is the kind of role the academy likes to nominate and let win. A person dying and a gay man. Think Greg Kinnear in "As Good As It Gets (1997). Plus Plummer has been around for a while.

But if the academy is in a nostaligic mood maybe the great Swedish actor Max von Sydow would benefit. But I doubt it, though I see a lifetime achievement award in Sydow's future.

My prediction: Christopher Plummer

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Berenice Bejo (The Artist), Jessica Chastain (The Help), Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids), Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs) and Octavia Spencer (The Help)

A lot of people think one of the actresses from "The Help" should win. I've already expressed my opinion of this. My hope is, the two nominees cancel each other out. The race is usually a wild card anyway. It never goes as the film critics predict.

Why Melissa McCarthy is nominated is beyond me. I didn't like "Bridesmaids" as much as the public did. I felt it was somewhat over-hyped.

My Prediction: Berenice Bejo

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris), J.C. Chandor (Margin Call), Asghar Farhadi (A Separation), Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist) and Kristen Wiig & Annie Mumolo (Bridesmaids)

The "upset" in this category could be Asghar Farhadi. A lot of people liked "A Separation". I thought it was a good movie too. But, it is not often a foreign language film wins a "Best Screenplay" award.

My Prediction: Woody Allen

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Alexander Payne/ Nat Faxon/ Jim Rush (The Descendants), John Logan (Hugo), George Clooney/ Grant Heslov/ Beau Willimon (Ides of March), Steven Zaillian/ Aaron Sorkin/ Stan Chervin (Moneyball) and Bridget O' Connor/ Peter Straughan (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy)

Because the academy likes Payne and his movie so much, this is the academy's only option to celebrate the film. I really don't think "The Descendants" will win "Best Picture" and the academy is going to want to award the movie in some way.

My Prediction: Alexander Payne/ Nat Faxon/ Jim Rush

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM: A Cat in Paris, Chico & Rita, Kung Fu Panda 2, Puss in Boots and Rango

I have not seen "A Cat in Paris" or "Chico & Rita", though I have heard great things about "Chico" and I'm very much interested to see it, as I have developed an interest in Cuban culture and I'm a devoted jazz lover.

One of my favorite animated films of the year was "Rango", which made my "top ten" list (as well as Pixar's "Cars 2" which shamefully wasn't nominated). I wasn't much of a fan of either "Kung Fu Panda 2" (though I loved the first one) or "Puss in Boots". This, if this award is a popularity contest (and most usually award shows are) either one of these Dreamworks films could win.

My Prediction: Rango

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: Bullhead (Belgium), Footnote (Israel), In Darkness (Poland), Monsieur Lazhar (Canada) and A Separation (Iran)

In the past voters were not required to see all of the nominated films, so, the most popular of the nominees would win. But, the rules have changed. Now voters must see all of the nominated films. These films aren't always distributed here.

As far as popularity goes "A Separation" is in the lead. And it has another Oscar nomination for its screenplay, so clearly the academy likes it. But there is also "In Darkness" a Polish film about WW2. The academy loves to nominate films about WW2 and give them awards. It could be the biggest challenge to "A Separation". But, who knows, these other nominated films could be powerful masterpieces.

My Prediction: In Darkness