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“Final” 2011 Oscars Predictions

22 Feb

I haven’t been keeping quite as close a look at the Oscars race this awards season as I have the last few years. I’m not entirely sure why this is, but the result is that I find it hard to make confident predictions in quite a few categories. And it’s not even like last year, where a lot of uncertainty basically boiled down to whether The King’s Speech or Alice in Wonderland would pick up the most arts and crafts wins, or just how strong The Social Network still was. This year, there are plenty of categories where I have trouble even boiling things down to two possible winners. Then again, I did really poorly with my guesses last year – thanks to overconfidence in The King’s Speech, stubborn and ill-conceived faith in Annette Bening, and those damn short categories – so perhaps being a bit aloof about things will turn out to be a blessing.

So for what it’s worth, here are my picks in the various categories. They’re final, unless I change my mind. My predicted winners are in BOLD CAPS.

BEST PICTURE

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

Back in September when the race was still wide open, I made a baseless guess that the unseen War Horse would turn out to be the eventual Best Picture winner. At the end of 2011, The Artist had established itself as the front-runner, yet I had a hunch that it would run out of steam and not end up the victor. Well, here we are a few days away from the ceremony, and I have to concede that I was wrong on both of those occasions. It’s hard to see The Artist losing at this point.

BEST DIRECTOR

Woody Allen – Midnight in Paris
MICHEL HAZANAVICIUS – THE ARTIST
Terrence Malick – The Tree of Life
Alexander Payne – The Descendants
Martin Scorsese – Hugo

Most of the time, Best Picture and Best Director go hand in hand. Yet year after year, there’s always people predicting a split between the two. This is rarely wise, as when a split does happen, it’s always a major surprise – think Crash / Brokeback Mountain. So I’m playing it safe and going with Hazanavicius.

BEST ACTOR

Demian Bichir – A Better Life
George Clooney – The Descendants
JEAN DUJARDIN – THE ARTIST
Gary Oldman – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Brad Pitt – Moneyball

For a long time, I thought Dujardin was considered a vague favorite to win the Oscar here. Then he won the SAG award, and everyone was talking about what an upset it was that he beat Clooney, which had me a bit confused. Apparently, everyone else thought this was Clooney’s to lose. Proof that I really have been out of it this year, I guess. Since then, the Dujardin train has just kept on rolling, so I’m staying onboard.

BEST ACTRESS

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

Sure, Streep won at the BAFTAs, but then The Iron Lady is a very British film so that’s not a shocker. She’s the only one who could conceivably beat Davis at this point, but I don’t see it happening.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Kenneth Branagh – My Week with Marilyn
Jonah Hill – Moneyball
Nick Nolte – Warrior
Christopher Plummer – Beginners
MAX VON SYDOW – EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE

My “No Guts No Glory” pick of the year. Plummer is the safe bet here, and yet I see no reason why Von Sydow should lose. He is just as overdue as Plummer, being of the same age (82) with the same number of nominations (2) and the same number of wins (0). Reports from Academy screenings of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close tell of massive cheers and standing ovations, which means that there are plenty of people that love the film. Plus, while one should keep in mind that Plummer wasn’t at the Oscar luncheon and that this kind of thing hasn’t been a reliable indicator in the past, the fact remains that Max got a bigger reception than anyone at that event. Academy members love the guy, and I think many are underestimating his chances due to the cold critical reception towards the film. I think the Swede has a good shot.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Berenice Bejo – The Artist
Jessica Chastain – The Help
Melissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer – Albert Nobbs
OCTAVIA SPENCER – THE HELP

Spencer has won pretty much every precursor, and the nomination announcement offered no real surprise a la Von Sydow to challenge her. The only thing I could see as a remote possibility for an upset would be Berenice Bejo, and that’s only if The Artist becomes a juggernaught at the ceremony. But no. I tried that last year with Helena Bonham Carter, and that got me nothing. So Spencer it is, in the easiest-to-predict of the acting categories this year.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

A Cat in Paris
Chico & Rita
Kung Fu Panda 2
Puss in Boots
RANGO

Oooh, a Pixar-less year! Maybe now there’ll be some excitement in this category! Well, no, because without Tintin here, Rango is so far ahead of the competition buzz-wise that it’s not even funny.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Bullhead – Belgium
Footnote – Israel
IN DARKNESS – POLAND
Monsieur Lazhar – Canada
A Separation – Iran

This category worries me. Recent history has taught me to ignore the obvious pick in this category. Pan’s Labyrinth, The Class, Waltz with Bashir, A Prophet, The White Ribbon and Biutiful are all films that for one reason or another have been heavily talked about in their respective years yet come up short against films that nobody really noticed. This time around, A Separation has all the buzz, appearing on many people’s Top 10 lists of the year and even scoring an extra nomination for its screenplay. It seems tough to beat, but since safe bets are never safe in this category, I’m forcing myself to look elsewhere. And of the others, In Darkness seems like it would be right up the voters’ alley. It’s a risky pick, though.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

The Artist
Bridesmaids
Margin Call
MIDNIGHT IN PARIS
A Separation

This one’s between The Artist and Midnight in Paris. While the Best Picture winner often snags a screenplay victory along the way, there are certain things working against The Artist here. Chiefly among them is the fact that when most people hear “screenplay”, they think “dialogue”. With The Artist being a silent film, it’s of course a tad light in that department. This leaves the door open for AMPAS to reward its favorite pen-pal Woody Allen, whose Midnight in Paris raked in more dough at the box office than any of his other films.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

THE DESCENDANTS
Hugo
The Ides of March
Moneyball
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Could easily go to any of the three Best Picture nominees represented here. I’m going with The Descendants, because it’s pretty funny I guess? I don’t know. Hugo might win. Or Moneyball. Ugh. Tough category.

BEST ART DIRECTION

The Artist
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
HUGO
Midnight in Paris
War Horse

This should be a fairly safe bet. I haven’t seen Hugo, but every still image from it seems to be laden with the kind of lavish work AMPAS goes for in this category. Harry Potter could play spoiler if they want to reward the franchise as a whole, but I wouldn’t put much stock in that.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Anonymous
The Artist
Hugo
JANE EYRE
W.E.

The custome designers are fun. They’ll nominate whatever they like, no matter what kind of overall Oscar buzz a film might have. This line-up features two Best Picture nominees, yes, but the other three all scored their sole nomination here. The branch’s love for period is still intact, however. I find this category hard to predict, but Jane Eyre seems the periodest.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

MAN OR MUPPET – THE MUPPETS
Real in Rio – Rio

Good news: Every single nominee here is better than last year’s winner. Bad news: There are only two nominees. Badder news: Neither is all that great anyway. I reckon most people are going with the Muppets song here, just because we all expected some song from that film to win here before the nominations were announced, and so we stick to that. I’m still on the Muppet train, but I could see this one go Rio’s way. The two songs are quite different from another, so it could all come down to what mood the voters are in at the time. Still, never doubt the power of a good ballad in this category. Even if the one this year isn’t very good. Eh, whatever. 50% chance to blindly guess right here anyway, so let’s move one and try to forget this fiasco of a line-up.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

The Adventures of Tintin
THE ARTIST
Hugo
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
War Horse

I haven’t seen any of the films here, nor have I listened to their scores. Haven’t heard any massive amount of praise for the music in any of them (Tintin being a borderline case though), so going with the likely BP winner seems a wise move. An added bonus is that The Artist’s score will be perceived as carrying the movie more than the other nominees, what with it being a silent film and all.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Hell and Back Again
If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
PINA
Undefeated

Nightmare category. No front-runner in sight, which opens up interesting possibilities. I’m thinking that the more conventional documentaries will split votes with one another, whereas those looking for something different will flock to the performance-filled Pina and bring it to victory.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

The Artist
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
HUGO
The Tree of Life
War Horse

Another tough one where any number of films could win – although probably not The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I’ll be honest: the main reason I’m going with Hugo here is to give it another win to justify its many nominations. This is a risky strategy, admittedly; I and many others did the same last year with True Grit, and that didn’t work out. Still, Hugo is a pretty movie, no?

BEST EDITING

THE ARTIST
The Descendants
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Hugo
Moneyball

Best Editing 101: When in doubt, go with the Best Picture winner.

BEST MAKEUP

Albert Nobbs
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
THE IRON LADY

This is the first time a Harry Potter film has been nominated in this category. Maybe the Academy at large have been wanting to reward the series for a long time and have been cursing the makeup branch for not letting them before. It could win. Still, The Iron Lady has received more praise for its makeup than either of the other nominees here, so it’s the safe bet.

BEST SOUND EDITING

Drive
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Hugo
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
WAR HORSE

War movies are often a wise pick in this category. War Horse even has “war” in its title, so how could it possibly lose?

BEST SOUND MIXING

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Hugo
Moneyball
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
WAR HORSE

Less addicted to action than its sister category above, but it’s still semi-rare for AMPAS at large to really kow the difference between the two. I’m going with War Horse here too. It’ll probably win at least one of them, so that seems like the safest bet.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
HUGO
Real Steel
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Transformers: Dark of the Moon

The voters just don’t care about the Transformers franchise is in this category, so that one’s out. Real Steel, for all its box office business, just has no momentum. Harry Potter, again, could win to reward the whole series, but does Deathly Hallows 2 really bring much new to the table compared to the earlier installments? I’m thinking this’ll be a battle between Hugo and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Hugo has the benefit of being the lone Best Picture nominee in this field, which has proven to be a real advantage in this category historically. I find it hard to come up with an argument for why Rise would win, to be honest, other than it by all accounts having great effects. But quality only gets you so far at the Oscars. Hugo it is.

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM

Pentecost
Raju
The Shore
TIME FREAK
Tuba Atlantic

The dreaded short categories! Bane of Oscars predictors everywhere! Very much including yours truly, who has an amazingly shitty track record with picking the winners in these categories. Going with Time Freak here as it sounds kind of quirky and off-beat, which is something that has worked to conofvince voters the last few years.

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM

Dimanche/Sunday
THE FANTASTIC FLYING BOOKS OF MR. MORRIS LESSMORE
La Luna
A Morning Stroll
Wild Life

What with this being the firs time a Pixar film has failed to score a nomination in the Best Animated Feature category, some may be looking for La Luna to win here as compensation. But Pixar has never won this category before, and I don’t feel like betting on a trend-breaker here. The Fantastic Flying Books seems as likely a victor as any.

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT

The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement
God is the Bigger Elvis
Incident in New Baghdad
SAVING FACE
The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom

Yeah, why not? From what I’ve read, Saving Face is a really powerful piece. The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom is also a possibility.

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7 Comments

Posted by on 22 February, 2012 in Oscars

 

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7 responses to ““Final” 2011 Oscars Predictions

  1. Film Thoughts By Zach

    22 February, 2012 at 15:16

    Great list! Gotta disagree on the Best Cinematography category though…Tree of Life should lock that one up.

     
    • Emil

      22 February, 2012 at 16:04

      It could definitely happen, but I think the film’s divisive nature will turn some voters off from it, unfair as that would be. Glad you liked the post!

       
  2. Alex Withrow

    22 February, 2012 at 17:10

    I agree with most all of your selections, but Plummer is a lock. The fact that Extremely Loud was beyond awful doesn’t help Von Sydow’s chances (even though he was good in it). I also think The Artist will nab screenplay, but that’s a damn close call.

     
    • Emil

      22 February, 2012 at 19:30

      Well, I certainly wouldn’t advice anyone to bet against Plummer as he has won pretty much all the precursors and whatnot. Von Sydow is just a hunch I’m going with. No fun to only play it safe. Plus, EL&IC is up for Best Picture. Beginners is not. Whether EL&IC is good or not doesn’t matter, as long as the Academy likes it. And they clearly do.

       
      • Alex Withrow

        23 February, 2012 at 15:49

        Very true, most of the film’s the Academy likes suck anyway. We shall see.

         
  3. Movies - Noir

    25 February, 2012 at 19:02

    Having done my own predictions (with percentages), I feel you’ve done well. Well, that’s something we’ll see on Sunday of course, but we’ve picked a lot of the same “winners”.

    I really hope you’re wrong on Viola Davis though, but I know she’s the favorite (for some reason). And I agree with you that Meryl Streep is the only one that can beat her, even though I felt Glenn Close was the best of the nominated.

     
    • Emil

      25 February, 2012 at 20:07

      I’ve only seen Davis and Mara of the Best Actress nominees, and of those two, I definitely prefer Davis. I thought it was a strong performance (among many) in a film that otherwise was quite unremarkable. Can’t say I have much desire to see either Albert Nobbs or The Iron Lady. Both seem kind of dull.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if I do horribly prediction-wise this year. Lots of tricky categories in the below-the-line categories.

       

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