Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Oscar Predictions 2012

So here we are again, the least knowledgable person here making Oscar predictions (on the other hand, I'm the only person who posts here even semi-regularly, so I suppose it's my prerogative to make these predictions). As in past years, the only nominated movie I've seen is the Harry Potter movie, which picked up three nods (visual effects, makeup and art direction) and will probably not win any of them barring a win that winds up being a de facto award for the entire series.

Anyway, as with past years I'm sticking with "major" awards. The only comment I have about the other races this year is with original song. There are only two nominations, which makes me wonder why they're even bothering. I also have a hard time believing they couldn't scrape up three more songs to fill out the category.

Finally, my usual disclaimer. These aren't the predictions you should base your Oscar pool picks on. If you do so, well, I hope you weren't counting on winning.

Best Foreign Language Film - every year I try to come up with some sort of rationale for picking a winner, and every year I'm wrong. So I'm just going to go with Israel's entry, Footnote, as they've been nominated the most times without winning. It's as good of a rationale as any.

Best Animated Film -  I have no idea, though it seems like the lesser-known entries never win, so it's down to three films. And as there's no Pixar film in the bunch, I lose the easy guess. So I'm going with Rango, which is the only one of the three that's not a sequel or based on an earlier movie.

Best Adapted Screenplay - there's some decent competition here, between making a convincing movie out of baseball's quantitative revolution as seen in Moneyball and bringing the period spy tale Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy to a post-Cold War audience. But I think this will wind up being a make-up for what happens later in the night, with the award going to Alexander Payne for The Descendants.

Interesting that The Help isn't nominated here. I don't think that'll help its overall chances, for reasons I'll expound upon anon.

Best Original Screenplay - 2004 was the last time the winner of Best Picture was not also the winner in the appropriate screenplay category. I don't see 2012 being the next year for this to happen. Thus the wins for the two most likely Best Picture winners, with the award here going to The Artist.

Best Supporting Actress - The least unpredictable of the acting awards this year, as Octavia Spencer has been racking up awards for her role in The Help, including the Golden Globe, SAG Award, and a number of critics awards.

Best Supporting Actor - Oh, wait, the least unpredictable acting award may be this one, as Christopher Plummer has won even more awards for his role in Beginners than Octavia Spencer won for The Help.

I'm a little surprised to see this is only his second Oscar nomination, and the first one, for The Last Station, was just two years ago. Still not sure how he didn't get a nomination for The Insider.

Best Actress - This is probably the most wide-open of the acting category. Meryl Streep and Michelle Williams won Golden Globes for their roles in The Iron Lady and My Week With Marilyn, while Viola Davis took home the SAG Award for The Help.

I don't think Streep will win, given how she seems to get nominated for anything half-decent that she's in but never wins. I suppose this role could turn things around as she's supposed to be the only thing that's really good about The Iron Lady.

I would tend to favor Davis due to her win in the SAG Awards, but there's not a great deal of predictive value for this award (they've matched up the last couple of years, but before that it's pretty sketchy). But I think between Spencer's win and a compelling narrative we'll see Michelle Williams take the prize.

Best Actor - The SAG Award is more predictive here, as the winner of that award has taken the Oscar every year since 2004. I'm going to go along with that and give the nod to The Artist's Jean Dujardin over George Clooney.

Best Director - You have to go all the way back to 2002 to find the last time the DGA Award winner didn't take home this prize, and I don't see this year being the one that brings us the next upset. Michel Hazanavicius, please collect your Oscar.

Best Picture - Nine nominees, but this is going to boil down to The Descendants versus The Artist (though I may be short-changing Hugo, which has the most nominations at 11). Some will want to throw The Help in there based on its cast win at the SAG Awards, but I'm not. There are plenty of examples of films who won this and didn't take Best Picture (Inglorious Basterds, Little Miss Sunshine, Sideways, Gosford Park), and it only picked up four Oscar nods - Best Picture and three for acting. If you don't get nominated for directing, screenplay, or cinematography you aren't taking the top prize.

It seems unlikely that a film that's shot in black and white and is silent could win an Oscar, but given the amount of homage paid to the history of film in the average award ceremony, I have to think that voters may go for a film that pays homage as well. Thus, The Artist.

Which reminds me - does Vegas have a line as to how long it will take Billy Crystal to make a freedom fries joke?


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