Saturday, February 25, 2012

84th Oscars - Final Predictions


I usually wait until right before the ceremony to post these, but I honestly don't think I will switch at this point, and since I've already gotten some ballots in my Oscar pool that virtually match this list, I might as well put it out there.

Best Picture

The Artist

The Descendants
Extremely Loud & Incredible Close
The Help
Hugo
Midnight in Paris
Moneyball
The Tree of Life
War Horse

Will Win: The Artist
Should Win: Hugo
The Upset: Hugo
Reasoning: The Artist has simply roared through this race since the Critics Choice Awards. It won that, the Golden Globe, the Producers Guild, and the Directors Guild. To bet against it at this point would be pure folly. Its only serious competition—Hugo—probably deserves this win (even if I like The Tree of Life most out of this slate) because of what it says about film and the revolutionary way it goes about saying it.

Best Director

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

Will Win: Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist
Should Win: Terrence Malick for The Tree of Life
The Upset: Martin Scorsese for Hugo
Reasoning: You just don’t bet against the Directors Guild. The last time it didn’t line up with Oscar was a decade ago, when Rob Marshall won the DGA and Roman Polanski won the Oscar.

Best Actor

Damien Bechir for A Better Life
George Clooney for
The Descendants
Jean Dujardin for
The Artist
Gary Oldman for
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Brad Pitt for
Moneyball

Will Win: Jean Dujardin for The Artist
Should Win: Gary Oldman for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
The Upset: George Clooney for The Descendants
Reasoning: On paper, Clooney and Dujardin are neck-and-neck: Clooney won the Critics Choice, and the Globe (Drama). Dujardin won the Globe (Comedy), the BAFTA, and the SAG. When it comes to the Screen Actors Guild, the Lead Actor has matched with Oscar since 2004.

Best Actress

Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis for
The Help
Rooney Mara for
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Meryl Streep for
The Iron Lady
Michelle Williams for
My Week With Marilyn

Will Win: Viola Davis for The Help
Should Win: Rooney Mara for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
The Upset: Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady
Reasoning: Since 2000, the Actress who wins the Screen Actors Guild (Davis) has won eight times. The Actress who wins the BAFTA (Streep) has won seven times. Davis has the Critics Choice; Streep has the Globe. Despite Streep’s awkward losing streak (she hasn’t won since 1982), Davis has yet to win, and is in a Best Picture nominee that has mass appeal.

Best Supporting Actor

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

Will Win: Christopher Plummer for Beginners
Should Win: Christopher Plummer for Beginners
The Upset: Max von Sydow for Extremely Loud…
Reasoning: Plummer has won every major award he’s been nominated for, but there’s something fishy about that Max von Sydow nomination. Both Plummer and von Sydow are octogenarians (either winning would make for the oldest winner this category’s had), and both have only been nominated once before. Von Sydow arguably has the greater “career legacy,” and his film has a surprise Best Picture nomination. If you feel like picking an upset, make it here.

Best Supporting Actress

Berenice Bejo for The Artist
Jessica Chastain for
The Help
Melissa McCarthy for
Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer for
Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spenser for
The Help

Will Win: Octavia Spenser for The Help
Should Win: Jessica Chastain for Every Movie in 2011
The Upset: Jessica Chastain for The Help
Reasoning: This is the most locked category of the evening, and Spenser has rightfully earned it, not just in the film but in her expert courting of the media during the awards season. If there’s going to be a major shocker in this category, Chastain seems most likely.

Best Original Screenplay

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

Will Win: Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen
Should Win: Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen
The Upset: The Artist, Michel Hazanavicius
Reasoning: You have to go back to 2004 to find a year when the Best Picture winner didn’t win a Screenplay Oscar. Although on paper, Woody Allen should lock up another Oscar (and he deserves it against this lineup), it’s not farfetched to see Hazanavicius snagging this one in an Artist sweep. The biggest divide: Allen’s film has actual dialogue.

Best Adapted Screenplay

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

Will Win: The Descendants, Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
Should Win: Moneyball, Steve Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin, Stan Chervin
The Upset: Moneyball
Reasoning: It’s hard not to pick a movie that won the Globe, the Writers Guild, and the Scripter. And yet, Moneyball, Tinker Tailor, and Hugo all feel exponentially more accomplished screenplays. As much as I like Payne, this is a weak win in a strong slate.

Best Animated Feature

A Cat in Paris

Chico and Rita
Kung Fu Panda 2
Puss in Boots
Rango

Will Win: Rango
Should Win: Didn’t see them all
The Upset: Kung Fu Panda 2
Reasoning: It’s cleaned up heavily across the board. Should be a “gimme” win in your Oscar pool.

Best Foreign Language Film

Bullhead (Belgium)
Footnote (Israel)
In Darkness (Poland)
Monsieur Lazhar (Canada)
A Separation (Iran)

Will Win: A Separation
Should Win: Haven’t seen any of them yet
The Upset: Monsieu Lazhar
Reasoning: It’s dangerous to bet on the most popular film in this category, but A Separation has scored so strongly across the awards circuit and with critics it’s truly difficult to not see it win.


Best Documentary Feature

Hell and Back Again

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Pina
Undefeated  

Will Win: Paradise Lost 3
Should Win: Abstaining
The Upset: If a Tree Falls
Reasoning: This is a wide open category, mostly because the most popular docs weren’t nommed (blame some really messed up rules). Throw a dart.

Best Art Direction

The Artist, Laurence Bennett, Robert Gould
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Stuart Craig, Stephenie McMillan
Hugo, Dante Ferretti, Francesca Lo Schiavo
Midnight in Paris, Anne Seibel, Helene Dubreil
War Horse, Rick Carter, Lee Sandales

Will Win: Hugo
Should Win: Hugo
The Upset: The Artist
Reasoning: Hugo won the Art Directors Guild (as well as the BAFTA as a bit of prediction security), and Dante Ferretti is immensely respected. If The Artist wins this early in the evening, down your drink, it’s going to be a long night.

Best 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

Will Win: The Tree of Life
Should Win: The Tree of Life
The Upset: The Artist
Reasoning: The Tree of Life has the ASC, which is about 50/50 when it comes to the Oscar. It has a Best Picture nomination, so there’s support for it, but I believe it was blogger Kris Tapley who crunched the numbers and realized no film has won this category without having any additional tech nods in 62 years. That’s a tall order to overcome, especially for the oft-slighted Lubezki. It paves the way for an early win for The Artist. But this category has felt like Tree of Life’s to lose since November, and its Best Picture nod gives it a bit of support here.

Best Costume Design

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

Will Win: The Artist
Should Win: Jane Eyre
The Upset: Hugo
Reasoning: This is, honestly, the second hardest category of the night. W.E. won the Costume Designers Guild, but the film is immensely unrespected. The Artist and Hugo share strong chances (especially with Sandy Powell’s name behind Hugo). Anonymous and Jane Eyre have the elaborate period stuff that recent winners have simply oozed with. I’ll go with the Best Picture frontrunner and pray the Academy is voting in a “pack” mentality here.

Best Film Editing

The Artist
, Annie-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 Tellefsen

Will Win: The Artist
Should Win: Moneyball
The Upset: Hugo
Reasoning: The ACE Eddie Award was not helpful this year, inexplicably going to The Descendants on the Drama side (and, predictably, The Artist on the Comedy side). One has to think Hugo and Moneyball are major players in this category, even if the latter’s steam is simply nonexistent anywhere. Since Hugo didn’t score the ACE, it’s hard for me to pick it here.

Best 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

Will Win: The Iron Lady
Should Win: Harry Potter
The Upset: Harry Potter
Reasoning: It’s being called a “gimme” category, with lots of identifiable face/old age makeup paving the way for The Iron Lady. If they didn’t hate Harry so much, it would be Potter’s to lose.

Best 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

Will Win: The Artist
Should Win: Hugo
The Upset: Hugo
Reasoning: It’s not a particularly strong slate, making The Artist’s win that much easier to spot.


Best Original Song

"Man or Muppet" from The Muppets

"Real in Rio" from Rio 

Will Win: The Muppets
Should Win: The Muppets
The Upset: Rio
Reasoning: Get rid of this category. It officially looks stupid.

Best 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, Dave Giammarco, Ed Novick
Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush, Peter J. Devlin
War Horse, Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson, Stuart Wilson

Will Win: Hugo
Should Win: Moneyball
The Upset: Moneyball
Reasoning: The sound categories are tricky. You don’t think Hugo would win this category, and yet it’s the supposed frontrunner amidst a war movie, a sci-fi actioner, and a sports movie. Go figure. With the Cinema Audio Society honors, Hugo is the one to beat.

Best 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

Will Win: Hugo
Should Win: Drive
The Upset: War Horse
Reasoning: Next to Costumes this is the hardest of the night. In recent years, the Academy has coupled the Sound categories. But to see Hugo winning both? I’m not sure, but I feel confident it will win one of the two. War Horse won the MPSE foley honors, which matches about half the time

Best Visual Effects

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
, Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler, John Richardson
Hugo, Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman, Alex Henning
Real Steel, Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Dan Taylor, Swen Gillberg
Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White, Daniel Barrett
Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Dan Glass, Brad Friedman, Douglas Trumbull, Michael Fink

Will Win: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Should Win: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
The Upset: Hugo
Reasoning: Some combination of history and stats has put forth the idea that Hugo will win this. Something about a Best Picture nominee in this category never losing to a non-Best Picture nominee. I say, look at the films. Apes is a far greater achievement, and one that keeps in line with the Academy using this category to award motion capture evolution.


Ballot Overview
 
Picture: The Artist
Director: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Actor: Jean Dujardin
Actress: Viola Davis
S. Actor: Christopher Plummer
S. Actress: Octavia Spenser
O. Screenplay: Midnight in Paris
A. Screenplay: The Descendants
Animated: Rango
Foreign Language: A Separation
Doc: Paradise Lost 3
Art Direction: Hugo
Cinematography: Tree of Life
Costume Design: The Artist
Film Editing: The Artist
Makeup: The Iron Lady
Score: The Artist
Song: Muppets
Sound Mixing: Hugo
Sound Editing: Hugo
Visual Effects: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

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