Volume 2, Number 11 - February 23, 2012

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Kai Sacco

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2012 Oscar Predictions

By Kai Sacco

Picture from the movie The Artist
Hello Oscar: The Artist has a great shot of winning an Oscar


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

Don’t let the surprise inclusion of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Pretentious fool you; this year’s Best Picture race comes down to two films: The Artist and The Descendants. The Artist is the heavy favorite but faces stiff competition from the George Clooney camp. Both films are terrific pieces of work but The Artist holds the upper hand with its surprising universal accessibility despite its silent, black-and-white format. This is a typical Oscar film, but it will not be undeserving if declared the winner.

The Predicted Winner: The Artist
The Possible Spoiler: The Descendants
Biggest Snub: Drive
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
Gary Oldman finally gets the respect he’s deserved for so long with his first Best Actor nod, but his fantastic work in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy won’t be enough to beat out Jean Dujardin of The Artist.

The Predicted Winner: Jean Dujardin, The Artist
The Possible Spoiler: George Clooney, The Descendants
Biggest Snub: Michael Fassbender, Shame
Actor in a Supporting Role

Kenneth Branagh
My Week with Marilyn
Jonah Hill
Nick Nolte
Christopher Plummer
Max von Sydow
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
It’s nice to see Nick Nolte get recognition for his work in the vastly under-appreciated film Warrior, but Christopher Plummer’s name being called for the Oscar is almost inevitable. The only surprise here is the lack of Albert Brooks in the lineup —which most critics and I agreed was the best supporting work of 2011.

The Predicted Winner: Christopher Plummer, Beginners
The Possible Spoiler: Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Biggest Snub: Albert Brooks, Drive
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
It’s almost as if the Academy purposely neglects certain performances just to get people riled up. First it was Fassbender for Best Actor, then Albert Brooks for Best Supporting, and now Tilda Swinton for Best Actress. This is another instance in which the year’s best performance is left in the cold. But that’s not to say that the other nominees aren’t worthy. Viola Davis has been gaining traction since her SAG Award and now she’s set to take down the Queen, Meryl Streep, for Best Actress. She’s the clear front-runner and deservedly so.

The Predicted Winner: Viola Davis, The Help
The Possible Spoiler: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Biggest Snub: Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin
Actress in a Supporting Role

Bérénice Bejo
The Artist
Jessica Chastain
The Help
Melissa McCarthy
Janet McTeer
Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer
The Help
The Help carried one of the best ensembles of the year and a win for Octavia Spencer along with her co-star Viola Davis should solidify that. Spencer has already won a SAG Award and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress, which typically foreshadows things to come at the Oscars.

The Predicted Winner: Octavia Spencer, The Help
The Possible Spoiler: Bérénice Bejo, The Artist
Biggest Snub: Carey Mulligan, Shame

Animated Feature Film

A Cat in Paris
Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli
Chico & Rita
Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal
Kung Fu Panda 2
Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Puss in Boots
Chris Miller
Gore Verbinski
When I saw Rango earlier last year, I told everyone that it was one of the best animated movies I’d ever seen and that it would get nominated for best Animated Feature Film and would likely win. It doesn’t face much competition and should take home the award with ease.

The Predicted Winner: Rango
The Possible Spoiler:  A Cat in Paris
Biggest Snub: The Adventures of Tintin

The Artist
Michel Hazanavicius
The Descendants
Alexander Payne
Martin Scorsese
Midnight in Paris
Woody Allen
The Tree of Life
Terrence Malick
It’s almost a rule of thumb that whoever wins Best Director will also win Best Picture. This year things could get a little tricky. Although Michel Hazanavicius is the favorite, Martin Scorsese is posing a serious threat and could easily upset The Artist director. Many were skeptical when Scorsese announced that Hugo would be filmed in 3-D but the end product is nothing short of spectacular. Scorsese utilizes the 3-D as a companion piece to the progression of the story rather than a special effects gimmick. This is what happens when you marry technology with a master filmmaker.

The Predicted Winner: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
The Possible Spoiler: Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Biggest Snub: Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive

Hell and Back Again
Danfung Dennis and Mike Lerner
If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky
Wim Wenders and Gian-Piero Ringel
TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay and Richard Middlemas

For those interested in anything related to dance, Pina is a must see. And it’s the first art-house film shot in 3-D for those fascinated by the format. This is another movie that makes great use of the 3-D technology by immersing the audience and adding depth rather than cheaply throwing things at the screen. The movements of the dance sequences in the third dimension are incredible.

The Predicted Winner: Pina
The Possible Spoiler: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Biggest Snub: Interrupters
Foreign Language Film

In Darkness
Monsieur Lazhar
A Separation
Not only is A Separation the very best in the Foreign Language category, I would even go as far as to say that it’s better than most of the nominees for Best Picture. It’s a captivating drama that is precise and tense in its approach. A Separation is the winner here by a long shot. 

The Predicted Winner: A Separation
The Possible Spoiler: In Darkness
Biggest Snub: Miss Bala
Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

The Descendants
Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon &
Jim Rash
Screenplay by John Logan
The Ides of March
Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and
Beau Willimon
Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin
Story by Stan Chervin
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Screenplay by Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan
Any screenplay that has Aaron Sorkin’s name attached to it usually entails a nomination followed by a win, but The Descendants will most likely take an easy win with it’s whip smart dialogue.

The Predicted Winner: The Descendants
The Possible Spoiler: Moneyball
Biggest Snub: The Skin I Live In, Pedro Almodovar
Writing (Original Screenplay)

The Artist
Written by Michel Hazanavicius
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
As with Best Director, the Original Screenplay category could also get tricky. While it may seem that The Artist is the obvious choice, Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris is arguably his best film since 1994’s Bullets over Broadway and should take home the award with it’s charming and clever screenplay.

The Predicted Winner: Midnight in Paris
The Possible Spoiler: The Artist
Biggest Snub: Melancholia

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