Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Useless Clatter...My Oscar Guesses 2.0- The Dilemma of The Artist

    Why The Artist is making this year so difficult.

       I know this is totally illegal but like I said before I can't stand having to publicly make these predictions. Last week I finally posted my predictions for the Oscars but that isn't enough to get me through til Sunday. As much as I want to think The Descendants is most deserving, the whole world seems set on The Artist for Best Picture. The way I see it, you have two options when making any sort of prediction. One, you do your research, find out what most people are saying and go with that. Its a conservative approach but in the end, you'll probably get most picks right. The second option then is to go with the dark horses.  Picking The Tree of Life for Best Picture, is quite rebellious, but maybe too extreme. In this case where the obvious front runner is The Artist, anything besides that would work.
      I always make Academy predictions, and in the year's past, one ballot has always sufficed. But this year more than any, I found myself second guessing every decision I tried to make and I blame this on the success of The Artist. This post, given the 'second version' distinction allows me the opportunity to complain about how hard it is to pick this year's categories. But its not really complaining, though because I'm happy to see The Artist do so well, its just made the guessing a little harder.

 Best Picture 
The Artist Thomas Langmann, Producer 
The Descendants Jim Burke, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, Producers 
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close Scott Rudin, Producer
The Help Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan, Producers
Hugo Graham King and Martin Scorsese, Producers
Midnight in Paris Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum, Producers
Moneyball Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt, Producers
The Tree of Life Nominees to be determined
War Horse Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers

 +This field of nine quickly worked its way down to two final selections- The Artists and The Descendants. Everyone's going with The Artist at this point, but at one point earlier in the awards season, The Descendants had the edge. While I've said I prefer The Descendants over The Artist, I can't deny saying it has everything the academy voters want in a movie. Basically its a movie about movies- a celebration to the American cinema. Of course something like this appeals to no one better than the Academy voters, many of whom grew up on black and whites and silents.  The two movies have some similarities in their portrayal of struggling with love and while I like the story of The Descendants better, the Academy will probably reward The Artist for its boldness venture. No one could have foreseen the popularity and appeal this black and white silent has managed to attain this year and do agree that it is in a class of its own. In the end, I really wouldn't mind seeing either of these win on Sunday. 

 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

 +As I mentioned above no one could have predicted the widespread appeal given to The Artist and I believe much of that should be attributed to its director Michel Hazanavicius. This year marks his first nominations by the academy and a win for Hazanvicius would be terrific. At the same time, the dark horse of this category is a sort of popular American director named Martin Scorsese and his film Hugo. Scorsese has made a name for himself with his gritty, dark New York dramas like Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Gangs of New York, The Departed and of course...Hugo? This last one doesn't fit at all. First off its not in New York, there's no violence and I didn't see Robert DeNiro anywhere. It appeared that Scorsese had really stepped out of his comfort zone with this project but you couldn’t tell with the end product. When discussing Scorsese’ chances, it might hurt the fact that he recently won for The Departed five years ago. [I was always surprised knowing that he never won with any of his other movies, but that’s something on its own.] Instead, the vote is probably leaning towards Hazanvicuis, a well deserved first time nominee and winner. 

 Best Actor in a Leading Role 
Demián Bichir in A Better Life
George Clooney in The Descendants
Jean Dujardin in The Artist
Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Brad Pitt in Moneyball

+ Originally for Best Lead Actor, I was set on Jean Dujardin of The Artist but in my reassessment other Best Picture and Best Director, I have found myself veering away from my initial decision. This is not due to any realization that I now find Mr. Dujardin is unfit for the award, but if The Artist wins both Best Picture and Best Director, I don’t see the Academy handing out three major awards to The Artist. It’s a rarity to say the least. Ben Hur won all three while picking up 11 awards in 1959 and American Beauty did the same with its five wins in 1999. The Artist has attracted a lot of attention this year but if it wins Best Picture and Director, the Academy would not be wrong in giving something else a chance at Actor, especially when looking at this year’s nominees. Besides Dujardin, George Clooney’s performance has been given a good chance to win as well as Gary Oldman's and Brad Pitt's. Just today I came to the realization that Brad Pitt had never won an Oscar. Clooney has one under his belt already so I'm thinking that this might be the year for Brad Pitt.


  1. The Artist will probably sweep the top honours. Hope The Tree of life at least wins for cinematography, sadly I don't think it stands much of a chance for best picture or director, against the crowd-pleaser The Artist, we'll see.

    I just posted my oscar predictions along with a critique of The Artist-nobody else is, so I guess I have to...

  2. At this point I have to agree with you about The Artist- it probably will sweep. I do hope Tree of life wins cinematography.