Oscar Predictions: 2012

A confession – it’s been an insanely busy year at work, and it has impacted both my ability to watch and write about movies. This year, I’m going into the awards day without having seen a fair number of contenders, so this time round it’s more guesswork than personal preference. It’s also another year of a “first”, because this is the first year both free to air and basic cable channels aren’t televising the awards live (blasphemy!), but I have had the good fortune of being able to score an invite to the GV Oscars viewing party thanks to my client. I have also decided this year to stop predicting the documentary and short film categories since they are blind guesses. Let’s see how I will fare this year:
Best Motion Picture of the Year

The Artist
The Descendants
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
The Help
Midnight in Paris
The Tree of Life
War Horse

Should win: Hugo
Prediction: The Artist

Perhaps because I am a cinephile, but a film like Hugo really appeals to the inner film geek, and it’s a master’s tribute to another master, which the industry may pick up on. However, The Artist is an equally good film and has garnered so many awards in the awards season that a win here is probably unstoppable. My personal favourite amongst all the titles here is Hugo, which is simply as magical as film can get.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

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
Prediction: Jean Dujardin

Few actors have to go through an entire film without saying anything, and Jean Dujardin’s silent film performance is a testament to great acting. Although the other actors all do pretty well, it’s hard to imagine Dujardin being upstaged at this point.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

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
Prediction: Viola Davis

I personally thought Meryl Streep was amazing as Margaret Thatcher, but I think her hopes of clinching yet another Oscar would be dashed by Viola Davis because The Help was simply a bigger movie. It would be a waste to have Streep lose yet again after her multiple nominations though.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Nick Nolte, Warrior
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Should win: Christopher Plummer
Prediction: Christopher Plummer

The age bracket for the winner in this category should be quite high, as I feel the strongest contenders would be Christopher Plummer and Max von Sydow. Max von Sydow is a bit handicapped (no pun intended) by the fact that he’s also playing a non-speaking character, and Jean Dujardin already has that aspect locked down.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Bérénice Bejo, The Artist
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer, The Help

Should win: Bérénice Bejo
Prediction: Octavia Spencer

I think every actor (including the dog) in The Artist are great actors, but Bérénice Bejo is likely to lose out to Octavia Spencer (who was also quite good in The Help) based on pre-Oscar wins and indicators.

Best Achievement in Directing

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

Should win: Martin Scorsese
Prediction: Michel Hazanavicius

Personally I think Martin Scorsese did a brilliant, amazing job in Hugo that outranks The Artist, but how do I go against the near perfect barometer of the Director’s Guild of America Award, which granted it to Michel Hazanavicius?

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

The Artist, Written by Michel Hazanavicius
Bridesmaids, Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig
Margin Call, Written by J.C. Chandor
Midnight in Paris, Written by Woody Allen
A Separation, Written by Asghar Farhadi

Should win: Midnight in Paris
Prediction: The Artist

I liked Margin Call a lot but it’s a really small movie, and although I think Allen did a great job with Midnight in Paris, the Academy would likely reward The Artist for being “retro-revolutionary” as a silent film.

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

The Descendants, Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
Hugo, Screenplay by John Logan
The Ides of March, Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon
Moneyball, Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin.  Story by Stan Chervin
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Screenplay by Bridget O'Connor & Peter Straughan

Should win: Hugo
Prediction: Hugo

It’s a pretty even playing field for this category, and I am split between predicting The Descendants (a film which may be given this award as a consolation prize for not winning anything else) and Hugo. I felt that Hugo was a more involving film, however, hence the choice for the win here.

Best Achievement in Cinematography

The Artist, Guillaume Schiffman
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Jeff Cronenweth
Hugo, Robert Richardson
The Tree of Life, Emmanuel Lubezki
War Horse, Janusz Kaminski

Prediction: Janusz Kaminski

All 5 films featured great cinematography is so it’s quite a toss up for me. I am inclined to go with Janusz Kaminski because his work on War Horse was simply astounding.

Best Achievement in Editing

The Artist, Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius
The Descendants, Kevin Tent
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
Hugo, Thelma Schoonmaker
Moneyball, Christopher Tellefs

Prediction: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

I honestly have no preference either way in this category, but The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo did boast tight editing which made the story seemed a little more immediate that its Swedish forefather.  

Best Achievement in Art Direction

The Artist, Laurence Bennett (Production Design); Robert Gould (Set Decoration)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Stuart Craig (Production Design); Stephenie McMillan (Set Decoration)
Hugo, Dante Ferretti (Production Design); Francesca Lo Schiavo (Set Decoration)
Midnight in Paris, Anne Seibel (Production Design); Hélène Dubreuil (Set Decoration)
War Horse, Rick Carter (Production Design); Lee Sandales (Set Decoration)

Prediction: Hugo

They would be insane to not award this to Hugo – if it wins nothing else it surely has to clinch the nod in this category.

Best Achievement in Costume Design

Anonymous, Lisy Christl
The Artist, Mark Bridges
Hugo, Sandy Powell
Jane Eyre, Michael O'Connor
W.E., Arianne Phillips

Prediction: The Artist

I think the period films always stand a better chance in this category, but The Artist has the advantage of being more high profile than a film like Jane Eyre.

Best Achievement in Makeup

Albert Nobbs, Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight and Lisa Tomblin
The Iron Lady, Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

Prediction: The Iron Lady

Albert Nobbs featured makeup just a smidgen better than that of J. Edgar, and since I felt that The Iron Lady’s makeup trumped both films it’s an easy choice for me here.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score

The Adventures of Tintin, John Williams
The Artist, Ludovic Bource
Hugo, Howard Shore
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Alberto Iglesias
War Horse, John Williams

Prediction: Hugo

I don’t think John Williams will suffer a split vote despite having two nominations here since Tintin has been almost totally snubbed, but my personal preference for scoring is still Howard Shore’s work in Hugo.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song

"Man or Muppet" from THE MUPPETS, Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
“Real in Rio” from RIO, Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown; Lyric by Siedah Garrett

Prediction: Real in Rio

Two songs only? Seriously? I’m not a fan of either but I am guessing Sergio Mendes adds some cred to the Rio contender. I love The Muppets as a whole but was really unimpressed by the song.

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Bo Persson
Hugo, Tom Fleischman and John Midgley
Moneyball, Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, David Giammarco and Ed Novick
Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Peter J. Devlin
War Horse, Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson and Stuart Wilson

Prediction: War Horse

I hardly get these technical awards right, but I am guessing that Transformers will win more for visual spectacle than sound. I was quite impressed by the quieter moments in War Horse, hence my vote for it.

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

Drive, Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Ren Klyce
Hugo, Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty
Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl
War Horse, Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom

Prediction: War Horse

Same reason as my prediction in Sound Mixing, but honestly I have no preference either way.

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler and John Richardson
Hugo, Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossmann and Alex Henning
Real Steel, Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Dan Taylor and Swen Gillberg
Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White and Daniel Barrett
Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew Butler and John Frazier.

Prediction: Transformers: Dark of the Moon

I feel it’s a toss up between Hugo and Transformers, but for pure visual spectacle Transformers will definitely win out over Hugo’s more subtle visual effects. So it’s really just a matter of how the Academy votes. 

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

A Cat in Paris
Chico & Rita
Kung Fu Panda 2
Puss in Boots

Prediction: A Cat in Paris

Such a weak category this year, and if memory serves correctly, the only year since this award started that Pixar was not nominated. I don’t like any of the Hollywood productions nominated here (not for an Oscar, anyway), so I am going with A Cat in Paris. Interesting how many films nominated this year have something to do with France or Paris. Honestly I felt that The Adventures of Tintin should have been nominated here and would have won my vote above the rest.

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

Belgium, "Bullhead"
Canada, "Monsieur Lazhar"
Iran, "A Separation"
Israel, "Footnote"
Poland, "In Darkness"

Prediction: A Separation


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