Thursday, February 16, 2012

Useless Clatter...My Oscar Guesses

With the Oscars approaching in less than two weeks, I finally realized that I should get around to posting my predictions because after next Sunday, they really won't matter.  I tend to dislike making predictions of any sort solely for the fear of being wrong.  Of course every year I fill out a March Madness bracket for the NCAA basketball tournament, [which I will inevitably be doing within the next few weeks] but I cannot recall the last time I actually found the courage to total up my losses after the championship game.  In the case of the Academy Awards, the rumors and gossip in the weeks [or months at this point] heading up to that Sunday in February seems just as important as the actually awards ceremony.  Being a movie fanatic as well as movie blogger, it seems that this is post is something of a requirement.  Nevertheless, Oscar predictions have become an important part of today's movie culture and if anything, it promotes  further discussion and engagement with movies  enabling me to start up something like FILMclatter.
+The bold selection indicates my primary prediction and anything underlined is a secondary guess

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

+ Technically I'm going with an underdog this year picking The Descendants.  It seems like many people have started to say that The Artist is a lock for Best Picture, but I think otherwise.  The Artist is no doubt a great movie.  For a silent film to achieve any sort of success in an era dominated by action packed Blockbusters is definitely a surprise but in terms of Best Picture, I'm choosing The Descendants.  What could possibly hinder the chances of The Artist is actually the same thing that gave the film its glamour- its a modern day day silent paying homage to the earliest days of cinema.  Being a "cinephile" of course I like The Artist but I cannot say the same for people who don't reach back to old movies for enjoyment.  The Descendants has the ability to touch the hearts of more people.  Here we have a average man stuck in one- make that two extremely difficult situations that he must resolve with the help of his family.  Its the same type of struggle and success story that willed The King's  Speech over The Social Network in 2011 and this year, I'm hoping it happens again.

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

+ I think the Academy might lean towards originality this year and and as much as that word would seem to cater to Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life, I think that might have been to extreme.  The surprising success of a silent film in 2011 should be attested to its director Michel Hazanavicius.  Also, in my prediction that The Artist will fall second to the The Descendents in the Best Picture category, I still be believe Hazanavicus does deserves an Oscar of his own which could rightfully be awarded in this category.  

Writing (Original Screenplay)
"The Artist" Written by Michel Hazanavicius
"Bridesmaids" 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

+ A story about a man being uncontrollably transported back to 1920s Paris sounds a lot like that movie Night at the Museum.  You could say Midnight in Paris is like Night at the Museum for adults.  I'm not sure anyone had high hopes for Night at the Museum taking home any screenplay Oscars but since Midnight in Paris is a Woody Allen film, of course it's got a chance.  Once again, I think originality and sheer cleverness will score big for Allen's Midnight in Paris.  A story about a man who writes Hollywood screenplays is something Allen knows too well having received 15 Oscar nominations for his screenplays alone.  With the addition of characters such as Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, and Gertrude Stein this movie was dubbed an English major's dream come true and being one of those, I might be swayed towards this.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
"The Descendants" Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
"Hugo" Screenplay by John Logan
"The Ides of March" Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon
"Moneyball" Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin  Story by Stan Chervin
"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" Screenplay by Bridget O'Connor & Peter Straughan

+ For the sake of a good pun, I wish I could so say that I got my money on Moneyball but I'm going with The Descendants.  Moneyball screenwriter Aaron Sorkin took home the statue last year for The Social Network and Academy repeats are unheard of.  

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"

+Not having the ability to speak makes acting much harder.  Struggling with the little acting experience I have encountered in my own right, I can only imagine having to communicate emotions without words.  The Artist is a story about acting and when watching Jean Dujardin on screen, you can really learn a thing or two about how to act.

Actress in a Leading Role
Glenn Close in "Albert Nobbs"
Viola Davis in "The Help"
Rooney Mara in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"
Meryl Streep in "The Iron Lady"
Michelle Williams in "My Week with Marilyn"

+Having only seen The Help out of these five movies, I instinctively went to select Viola Davis, but I'm taking a shot in the dark here with Michelle William's in My Week with Marilyn.  She probably won't win but I'm doing it anyways.  Besides, I'm going with Octavia Spencer for Actress in a Supporting Role and rarely does one film ever win two acting awards.

+[Updated 2/25/12] Last minute change. I've decided to go with Viola Davis from The Help.  Like I said before, its a rarity for one film to pick up two acting awards, but I've decided to go with a  conservative approach.  Chances are one of the actresses from The Help will win, so by picking both of them, I guess I have better odds.

Actor in a Supporting Role
Kenneth Branagh in "My Week with Marilyn"
Jonah Hill in "Moneyball"
Nick Nolte in "Warrior"
Christopher Plummer in "Beginners"
Max von Sydow in "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"

+ I'll be honest, I actually didn't get around to seeing any of these movies in time to make an educated guess for Actor in a Supporting Role, but it seems like out of these five, everyone's talking about Christopher Plummer's work in Beginners so I'll go with that.

Actress in a Supporting Role
Bérénice Bejo in "The Artist"
Jessica Chastain in "The Help"
Melissa McCarthy in "Bridesmaids"
Janet McTeer in "Albert Nobbs"
Octavia Spencer in "The Help"

+ Of all my predictions listed here, this is my least confident.  I'm going with Octavia Spencer for no particular reason.  It's a rare event for one film to produce two nominations in the same category, but I dont know if that will help or hurt the chances of Spencer and Chastain.  Between the two ladies of The Help, I' have to give the edge to Ms. Spencer.

"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

+ Most people who came out to see The Tree of Life probably did not realize what they were getting themselves into when they bought the ticket to the new Terrence Malick film.  And you can try all you want explaining it to one of your friends.  But even if you didn't have a clue on what was going on, [especially when the dinosaurs appeared] you couldn't deny how beautiful Lubezki managed to make everything look- from the creation of our universe to the scenes of 1950s Texas, it was just cool to look at.  Many people believe Lubezki  deserved the Oscar in 2005 film for his work on Children of Men, but ultimately it went to Pan's Labyrinth. Never winning in his five nominations, I think Lubezki is overdue.

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