Sunday, February 26, 2012

Predictions for the 84th Academy Awards

At long last, another awards season is about to come to a close. Overall, 2011 was a strong year for cinema, yet ultimately AMPAS' nominees don't fully reflect this. There are any number of films and performances that ought to be attending the ceremony as nominees tonight (Michael Shannon, Elizabeth Olsen, etc...) but sadly won't. Still, at the very least I can hope that AMPAS will pick worthy winners out of some line-ups with rather uneven quality among the nominees.

For a refresher on the nominees, click HERE.

Best Picture
Will Win: The Artist
Should Win: The Tree of Life

I can't really say anything bad about The Artist as the likely winner of the top prize. It's a delightful, wonderfully made film through and through. In fact, out of the entire line up, The Artist is the only film really deserving of the title of Best Picture. Except for that little Terrence Malick movie. Whatever charms The Artist has, Malick's magnum opus really ought to be taking home this trophy. The film is only my second favorite of 2011 (#1 being Take Shelter), but I can't deny that The Tree of Life is last year's defining cinematic achievement.

Best Director

Will Win: Michel Hazanvicius - The Artist
Should Win: Terrence Malick - The Tree of Life

See above.

Best Actor
Will and Should Win: Jean Dujardin - The Artist

It's been a close race between Dujardin and Hollywood golden boy George Clooney, but the Frenchman took the lead in the last legs of awards season. Clooney still has a very strong chance here, but ultimately this will go to the 'newcomer' of the group (I guess Demian Bichir would count too, but his nomination is his reward). Besides, Clooney already has an Oscar, and I don't think AMPAS will mind making him wait longer for a second one.

Best Actress

Will and Should Win: Viola Davis - The Help

The Help may be little more than a decent film, but the work from its cast is excellent across the board, particularly Davis. While there's a chance that Meryl Streep could finally win her third statue, Davis' film has infinitely more support than The Iron Lady, not to mention serious momentum. Everyone else should just be glad that they're here.

Best Supporting Actor
Will and Should Win: Christopher Plummer - Beginners

Mike Mills' lovely Beginners should have significantly more nominations, but if it has to come down to one, Plummer is a fabulous choice. I hate that Ewan McGregor has been ignored, but at least his co-star will be able to represent the film with class tonight. Plummer is the film's heart and soul, so even though this might be something of a "career win," it's one that feels completely deserved.

Best Supporting Actress
Will Win: Octavia Spencer - The Help
Should Win: Jessica Chastain - The Help

As much as I'd like to see Chastain take this award (which would essentially be for all of the films she was in anyway), Spencer has had this locked up ever since the Golden Globes. That's certainly not a bad thing, but Chastain's mix of goofiness and vulnerability were one of The Help's highlights, and it's too bad that they're being passed over.

Best Original Screenplay
Will Win: The Artist
Should Win: A Separation

Best Adapted Screenplay
Will Win: The Descendants
Should Win: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Best Cinematography
Will Win: Hugo
Should Win: The Tree of Life

No commentary other than that this will be the travesty of the night.

Best Editing
Will Win: The Artist
Should Win: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Best Art Direction
Will Win: Hugo
Should Win: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2

The real question, though, is why the hell they overlooked Tinker Tailor here, of all places. The dense, dreary world of Cold War London looked immaculate.

Best Costume Design
Will Win: Hugo
Should Win: The Artist or Jane Eyre.

The costumes from Anonymous look incredible as well, but I haven't seen the film so I'll refrain from officially passing judgement. Strange that, in a year filled with so many amazing films, there really weren't too many with mind-blowing wardrobes.

Best Animated Film
Will and Should Win: Rango

Despite its early opening (March), I still think that Gore Verbinski's delightfully strange neo-Western will triumph here. I've heard good things about Chico and Rita, but it doesn't seem to have the industry support that Rango has.

Best Foreign Language Film
Will and Should Win: A Separation [Iran]

It's critically adored and has swept its category throughout awards season. If it loses, it'll be the biggest category upset since Pan's Labyrinth's loss (and even that one wasn't a complete surprise).

Best Original Score

Will and Should Win: The Artist

Given its lack of any other sounds, Ludovic Bource's score has to do quite a bit of heavy lifting, yet the composer makes it all feel effortless. It's not necessarily the best work of the year, but it's high up there, and it stands head and shoulders over its competition. If they give it to Williams for War Horse, I'm going to scream.

Best Original Song

Will and Should Win: "Man or Muppet" - The Muppets

Best Visual Effects
Will and Should Win: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

I guess I'll know in a few hours how good/bad/disastrous these were. Either way, it's Oscar night, so there isn't too much that can get in the way of a good time. It's not like James Franco is hosting again...

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