2012 Oscar Predictions
We finally have a full list of official nominations for this year’s Academy Awards taking place at the end of this month. Numerous prediction lists are floating around the internet, but Mission:Geek’s list will be unique as it will conform to my skewed views on the film industry. Whilst there might be twenty-four award categories, we’re going to focus on what I consider to be the “main nine” because I simply don’t know enough about Makeup, Sound Mixing, Documentaries, or Short-films to make any solid choices as to who would win, and (as controversial as it may seem) I don’t feel like it is fair to reward the writing of an adapted screenplay. I refuse to believe that someone who has labored over a completely original concept should be rewarded the same as someone who condensed a novel or expanded a short story - that’s just how it is. Regardless, here are my top picks for my top Oscar categories:
“The Artist” Thomas Langmann, Producer
There may be nine films vying for the title of ‘Best Picture’, but realistically it’s probably down to two films for this category: The Artist and The Descendants. Some will say that a French silent-film about stardom at the advent of the ‘talkie’ era is pretentious, but I’ll give up on cinema as-a-whole if The Artist loses to what I consider to be an ineptly crafted film. The Descendants may have some pretty slick visuals and Clooney at his best as an Actor, but it breaks the golden rule of filmmaking: show, don’t tell. The film never opts to use its visual flair in order to convey a message over shoving dull, lifeless exposition down your throat. Dialogue is unrealistic, the plot never settles on its direction, and the film is far too aware of how sad its subject matter is. Even without words, The Artist is a better film.
Actor in a Leading Role:
Brad Pitt in “Moneyball”
While I’m tempted to throw this category to Jean Dujardin for The Artist, I think the Academy is going to give ‘Leading Actor’ to someone more home-grown. George Clooney did indeed provide an award-worthy performance in The Descendants, but I think Mr.Pitt will be getting a nod this year for his work in Moneyball. Brad Pitt does an amazing job playing a complex protagonist, but the fact that he is still able to shine with SUCH an amazing supporting cast speaks for itself. If there is a dark horse for this category, it’s probably Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Gary’s performance was as consistent and solid as ever, but if he were to win it would be more attributed to Academy throwing Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy a bone after snubbing it so thoroughly elsewhere.
Actor in a Supporting Role:
Christopher Plummer in “Beginners”
While he’s up against some stiff competition, Christopher Plummer has long been fancied the winner of this category. The inclusion of screen veteran Max von Sydow (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close) could tempt the Academy and I suppose Jonah Hill (Moneyball) could be considered the dark horse, but I find it hard to see this category going to anyone other than Mr.Plummer. To be honest I’m still kind of surprised that Albert Brooks (Drive) and Christoph Waltz (Carnage) were snubbed. I get that these films were too stylish and edgy for an organization that’s typically fond of simple feel-good movies, but Albert Brooks in particular deserves some solid recognition for his performance and I’m getting tired of the Academy being stuck in its old ways.
Actress in a Leading Role:
Meryl Streep in “The Iron Lady”
This category in particular perturbs me. I just KNOW Meryl Streep with end up winning for The Iron Lady (and it sucks). She’s a fantastic actress who played the role near-perfect, but the movie was as forgettable as it was self-important. She stands out as an Actress because she is surrounded by blandness throughout the film and far more deserving women in better movies are likely going to get snubbed as a result. Out of the nominees, I feel like Viola Davis should rightfully win. Viola stole each of the scenes she was in and while ‘The Help’ isn’t a perfect film, it is considerably better than the schlock that is ‘The Iron Lady’. Probably the thing that bothers me MOST about Best Actress is its severe lack of Tilda Swinton. Those who read Mission:Geek’s Top 10 Movies of 2011 list might remember that my #1 was We Need to Talk About Kevin - due in no small part to Tilda’s performance. The fact that she isn’t even being recognized by a nomination is a travesty.
Actress in a Supporting Role:
Jessica Chastain in “The Help”
I’ll be really surprised if Jessica Chastain doesn’t win Best Supporting Actress. Not because she’s nominated for her role in The Help (which in itself was a solid performance), but more because of her run of exceptional performances in 2011 (Take Shelter, The Tree of Life, The Help). She’ll be up against her former ‘The Help’ co-star Octavia Spencer and Bérénice Bejo (The Artist), but I sincerely doubt that anyone else will take this category. It’s unfortunate that Jody Foster receive at least a nomination for her role in Carnage, but like said before - Oscar doesn’t entertain edgy.
“Hugo” Production Design: Dante Ferretti; Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
I know that The Artist is a technical wonder and likely will have a great shot at this category, but in a year so propelled by the filmmakers themselves it’s hard to see the Academy not acknowledging Martin Scorsese in some respect for his vision with Hugo. Every frame of Hugo looks beautiful and you can tell that there was a strong vision driving the film’s aesthetics. Some people will whine about Harry Potter or Warhorse not taking this category, but the films themselves were too dark and moody to stand a chance.
“The Tree of Life” Emmanuel Lubezki
Hugo and The Artist could easily take this category, but cinematography really was the only thing The Tree of Life had going for it. The film looked spectacular while failing at its medium. That’s all I have to say.
“The Artist” Michel Hazanavicius
While there are those out there that think that Michel Hazanavicius doesn’t have enough street cred to take this category, it’s pretty much tradition that Best Picture goes hand in hand with Best Director. Martin Scorsese definitely has a solid shot for his work on Hugo and there are those who think this category should rightfully go to Terrence Malick for The Tree of Life (I am not one of them), but Hazanavicius presented probably the best call-back film in years and I think he deserves it most. The most shocking thing about this category was how the Academy utterly ignored Steven Speilberg for War Horse.
Writing (Original Screenplay):
“Midnight in Paris” Written by Woody Allen
I’m at a bit of a disadvantage for this category, as I never saw ‘A Separation’ and I know it’s getting great Oscar buzz (with some even calling it a masterpiece). I can say that Bridesmaids doesn’t have a shot in hell and The Artist doesn’t have enough words in it to appeal en-mass to voters. If it’s between Margin Call and Midnight in Paris, I’m going to have to give it to Woody Allen’s latest opus. The film is witty, sweet, and sentimental - exactly what appeals to the Academy. I know several film buffs are butt-hurt over Kenneth Lonergan’s Margaret getting snubbed, but the film is simply too complex and insightful to get with Oscar.