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Predictions for Tonight’s Academy Awards

— by ADAM POYNTER —

Well it’s here, the biggest day of the year for the entertainment industry: the 84th Annual Academy Awards. This is the day when the greatest names in the business get together and are awarded for their strenuous efforts in the past year for everything from Best Picture to Best Sound Mixing.

The eyes of the entire world will be on Hollywood and many are eager to see if their favorite actor, actress or movie wins big at the awards ceremony. The results of the show typically follow suit to the many smaller award shows that come prior to the Academy Awards, but there is usually a major upset or two to keep things interesting, will tonight be any different or do you think the top contenders have their golden statuettes in the bag?

Typically, the members of the Academy who vote on these prestigious accolades tend to award a certain type of film, granting the win to the more artful and dramatic films over the action-packed blockbusters. So in an effort to really be able to judge for myself the finest movies of the year, I have spent the last few months tracking down every nominated film, documentary, animation and short to really be able to gauge for myself who truly deserves to take home Oscar gold.

Here are the nominees and who I think the Academy of voters will choose and, if I disagree, who I think should win.


Best Picture

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

And the Winner is: The Artist. This is just the type of film that that the Academy loves, dramatic, different and very artsy. When I first heard about this silent blank and white movie long before the hype started I thought I would never go out of my way to see it, but when I did I was completely shocked by how funny, charming and enjoyable it was. It in no way suffered from its lack of sound, it had an amazing score mixed with brilliant performances and I was impressed. So I agree that this film should win, there were many great contenders in this category, but The Artist has this one all but won.


Best Actor

Demian Bichir, A Better Life
George Clooney, The Descendants
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Brad Pitt, Moneyball

And the Winner is: Jean Dujardin. While George Clooney and Brad Pitt are industry favorites they risk splitting some of the votes between them and because of this and The Artist completely charming role and persona it has given to Jean I think he will be the winner tonight. He is a fresh face in Hollywood and deserves this award as well, The Artist is this year’s sweetheart film and Jean Dujardin is its leading man.


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

And the Winner is: Viola Davis. This one is a bit harder to predict a clear winner, but due to how the Critic’s Choice Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards and Golden Globes have gone Viola is obviously the front runner to win this one. With a hit film like The Help which is up for Best Picture behind her Viola Davis is bound to beat Meryl Streep who has a history of losing at the Academy Awards even though she is constantly nominated. Now I did love The Help and Viola Davis role as Aibileen was raw, powerful and touching, I do think that Michelle Williams should win this award for her performance in My Week With Marilyn. I believe it is harder to become and embody a persona so well known and revered by so many as Marilyn Monroe was than it is to make a new character for the screen.


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

And the Winner is: Christopher Plummer. It is almost certain that this 82 year-old actor will win this award, with every precursor award won by him for this category the Academy will likely honor him for his 50 year career in the business and give him his very first Oscar win. If he wins he will become the oldest person to ever win an Oscar and the Academy loves to reward those with long and studious careers. I personally loved Plummer in Beginners and completely agree that he should win this category.


Best Supporting Actress

Berenice Bejo, The Artist
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer, The Help

And the Winner is: Octavia Spencer. I think that this category is brimming with talented women, but Octavia Spencer’s scrappy and wise-cracking Minny in The Help was so much fun to watch onscreen and one of the funniest performances I have seen all year. Melissa McCarthy’s character Megan in Bridesmaids was the only performance funnier than Spencer, but the Academy will reward the performance that came from the most dramatic film and therefore Octavia Spencer is the clear winner here. So the Academy and I agree that this year the character actress will be taking home the Oscar.


Best Director

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

And the Winner is: Michel Hazanavicius. Since this award usually coincides with Best Picture I am going to go with this 44 year-old director who before The Artist most outside of France had never heard of before. Other contributing factors in this win are that Scorsese won this award just five years ago for The Departed. Terrence Malick was another top choice but his film Tree of Life was so abstract and divisive that it is unlikely he would garner enough votes to win. Since I agree The Artist should win Best Picture I also agree on it winning Best Director too.


Best Original Screenplay

Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
JC Chandor, Margin Call
Asghar Farhadi, A Separation
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, Bridesmaids

And the Winner is: Midnight in Paris. The Academy is bound to seize this opportunity to recognize Woody Allen for his Paris-set fantasy that is full of artistic ingenuity and a re-invention of a way to fall in love with this romantic city once more. Midnight in Paris has grossed more than any other film made by Allen and if he wins this category will have garnered him his first win in 24 years and an unprecedented three wins in this category. I personally am not a huge fan of Woody Allen but will be the first to admit that this film swept me away and I was caught up in its nostalgia and found it completely entrancing.


Best Adapted Screenplay

Alexander Payne, Nat Faxton, Jim Rash, The Descendants
John Logan, Hugo
George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon, The Ides of March
Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian, Moneyball
Bridget O’Connor, Peter Straughn, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

And the Winner is: The Descendants. This category is for films based off previously existing work and the team that turned Kaui Hart Hemmings’ novel this hit film will be remunerated for this work. The Descendants was seen early on as the front runner to win Best Picture, but since has fallen behind the massive support for The Artist. I think this will be another way the Academy acknowledges this great film and all of the hard work that went into it. I thoroughly enjoyed The Descendants and believe it has earned this award; all of the performances and drama in it make it an easy movie to love.


Best Animated Feature

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

And the Winner is: Rango. Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp’s post-Pirates of the Caribbean reunion together in Rango has proven quite lucrative for the film and since Steven Spielberg’s The Adventure’s of Tintin wasn’t nominated for this category the path seems clear for this beautiful and quirky film to take the Oscar. Although I wasn’t as impressed with the storyline as some of the other nominees and felt it was more for adults then children, it’s extremely detailed animation, style and dry humor make it the film to beat. While some of the smaller and less know films like A Cat in Paris and Chico and Rita have their charms, their less structured rougher animation styles may seem less polished and therefore less likely to win. In the past ten years since this category was created 8 times out of ten the winners were 3D animated over traditional hand-drawn, so if I were to choose a winner this year Rango would be it.


Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

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

And the Winner is: A Separation. As always with the Academy voter’s I say they go with the most dramatic, and while In Darkness is a holocaust drama, Asghar Farhadi’s Farsi-language drama A Separation focuses on the failing of communication in a relationship has already won the majority of awards for this category and therefore is looking to win an Oscar as well. A Separation is only the second Iranian film to be nominated and would be the first to ever win at the Academy Awards and that is exactly what people are looking to see. I thought that A Separation was moving and a great portrayal of ideologies and religious mind-sets in Iran and was an interactive experience, inviting the audience along through all of the pain and heartache. If any other film were to be an upset in this category in would be the film from Belgium Bullhead which had an astonishing performance by its lead Matthias Schoenaerts who brings power and sadness to his role of a steroid ridden cattle farmer who makes a deal with a shady Mafioso meat trader.


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

And the Winner is: The Artist. It seems clear that Hollywood’s love for The Artist and everything involved with it is at the top of the respective categories, and since it is a silent film the score is a major component in keeping the audience involved. This fun and dramatic score sweeps you off your feet and brings you along for the ride to the glamour of 1920’s Hollywood and makes you want to get up and dance the Charleston. I really enjoyed War Horse and Hugo’s scores and felt that they delivered a bit more diversity in their styles, but I see why The Artist will most likely win.


Best Original Song

“Man or Muppet,” The Muppets; Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
“Real in Rio,” Rio; Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, Lyric by Siedah Garrett

And the Winner is: Man or Muppet. Although there are only two songs in this category this year I feel that The Muppets have this one in the joke bag. I can see how Real in Rio seems more international and that usually might persuade the Academy to vote for it, but Man or Muppet was a funny and touching song that uses humor along with an identity crisis to create something catchy and uplifting.


Best Achievement in Sound Editing

Drive
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Hugo
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
War Horse

And the Winner is: Hugo. Now we’re into the more abstract categories and personally I believe these could go to any of the nominees, I choose Hugo because these awards typically go to the movie that the voters liked the most and since Hugo is an amazing film filled with great sounds that are complex and yet enjoyable I choose it. The other major contender for me was Transformers: Dark of the Moon because it is so multi-layered and complex, there are many different types of sound recording that go into creating the robots and their sounds that come from the most unexpected places you would not believe it, this has a small chance of taking this category.


Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Hugo
Moneyball
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
War Horse

And the Winner is: Hugo. Usually this category goes along with Sound Editing so I figured Hugo would take this category as well. See above for my reasoning.


Best Achievement in Art Direction

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

And the Winner is: Hugo. When it comes to this award it is usually given to a film that’s either a period piece or fantasy and Hugo offers voters both which make it a likely winner. With a husband-and-wife team that has collaborated on 8 of Scorsese’s last 9 pictures and have already won this award twice – for The Aviator and Sweeny Todd- they are more than likely taking it home once again. The only upset I could see here is if The Artist sweeps-up this award as well for its bold period look and the general adoration for the film.


Best Achievement in Costume Design

Anonymous
The Artist
Hugo
Jane Eyre
W.E.

And the Winner is: The Artist. While all five nominees in this category are period pieces –the Academy’s favorite- I will talk about the two main contenders Hugo and The Artist. While both are period pieces the Artist has style, flair and glamour to the design of its costumes while Hugo’s are a bit more earthly and toned down, I think it’s that extra glimmer and shine that will help The Artist polish off its competition for this category.


Best Achievement in Cinematography

The Artist
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Hugo
The Tree of Life
War Horse

And the Winner is: Tree of Life. I believe that Tree of Life was one of the most beautiful movies of the year, albeit abstract in its contents and although I didn’t love this movie, the complex nature and meaning behind it is exactly what the Academy typically rewards. I do think that Hugo was a completely beautiful film with a warm perspective on what could have been a cold and impersonal world and holds a small chance at winning this category as well.


Best Achievement in Makeup

Albert Nobbs
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
The Iron Lady

And the Winner is: The Iron Lady. While many believe Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 has this one I think that The Iron Lady with Meryl Streep at its helm as the aging Margaret Thatcher has the advantage here. First of all Meryl truly transforms herself in every performance and the addition of makeup just makes it that the more convincing, but the aging process done to her throughout the film was truly remarkable and I think it should win over creating goblins and monsters.


Best Documentary Feature

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

And the Winner is: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory. While Pina is an artful look at the dance style of Pina Bausch and holds all of the artistic significance to win this category, Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory is the third and final chapter in Paradise Lost trilogy of documentaries that have chronicled and followed three men dubbed the West Memphis Three who have spent the last 18 years in prisons for a crime they say they didn’t commit. This examination of the American Judicial system and the power of filmmaking, along with the tragic crime at its center is exactly the type of movie should honor. Being unfamiliar with the first two documentaries didn’t make this one any less enjoyable and I was blown away at what it showed and the travesty of innocent men condemned for a heinous crime that they likely didn’t commit.


Best Documentary Short Subject

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

And the Winner is: Saving Face. The first film shot in Pakistan, by a Pakistani to be nominated for an Oscar. This heart wrenching film is about the horrific acid attacks on women and how a London based plastic surgeon returns home to help some of these women who have fallen victim to acid violence. The harsh reality and struggles of these women trying to find justice and healing to move beyond these incidents is the human interest story that is too compelling for the Academy to pass by.


Best Animated Short Film

Dimanche/Sunday
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
La Luna
A Morning Stroll
Wild Life

And the Winner is: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. While my gut says the Pixar-esque visuals and style of La Luna would be the film that would garner lots of attention from members of the Academy used to the beautiful visuals and colors of its 3D animation, the content and context of The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore tell a story and teach a lesson about the mystery and magic books can bring to your life and in essence fill you with the color of knowledge. I think it’s the added bonus of these lessons that will help it win for best animated short.


Best Live Action Short Film

Pentecost
Raju
The Shore
Time Freak
Tuba Atlantic

And the Winner is: Raju. Once again I believe it will win for its human interest quality Raju follows a German couple whose child they adopted in Calcutta, India disappears. The dark subject nature of this short film gives it the edge over the other nominees with lighter subject matter. In a category that is usually deadly serious this year 3 out of the 5 nominees were comedies so if a darker and grittier film is what the Academy normally chooses Raju has the advantage.


Best Achievement in Film Editing

The Artist
The Descendants
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Hugo
Moneyball

And the Winner is: The Artist. Because of the nature of the film and lack of sound it relies on other aspects and editing is one of its strong qualities, taking you seamlessly from scene to scene and from comedic to dramatic the flow of this film is superb and never has an unnecessary frame or shot, that is why it will win.


Best Achievement in 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

And the Winner is: Rise of the Planet of the Apes. While many in Hollywood are clamoring for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 to take home some Oscar gold due to its lack of nominations for any of the major categories, I believe that the New Zealand-based WETA digital effects artists have brought motion capture to a new level and have made it possible for this technique to be used to create a lifelike main character that is capable of feeling as real as any living creature. The advance technology mixed with the brilliant performance by Andy Serkis has created visual effects worthy of winning tonight.

. . .

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4 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. Cherrybell #
    1

    Great preditcions. Can’t wait to see if you’re right.

  2. Bev #
    2

    I think you’ve guessed right in every area though I’m not sure about Best Actress. All the nominees there are great.

  3. Robert Stewart #
    3

    Great picks…we think you are right on the money! Now we’ll see if THEY got it right!

  4. Cherrybell #
    4

    Great job on the predictions tonight Adam! You hit the majority of the categories right on the head.



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