2012 Oscar Predictions & Rankings

Best Picture

Will Win: The Artist

Should Win (in ranked order):
1) The Descendants
2) Moneyball
3) Midnight in Paris
4) The Help
5) Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
6) The Artist
7) War Horse
8 ) Hugo
9) The Tree of Life

Should Have Been Nominated: Margaret, We Need To Talk About Kevin, Higher Ground, 50/50, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Don’t get me wrong, The Artist is fun.  It’s light-as-air and a cute nod to Hollywood past.  There’s nothing wrong or disqualifying about not being serious drama, but this feels almost confectionery.  For a 100 minute movie, it’s about an hour too long.  The Descendants, Moneyball, and Midnight in Paris are near-perfect films, they will all last the test of time.  The Help and Extremely Loud are majorly flawed but have enough truly great moments and performances to warrant inclusion.  Then there are the others…though it should be noted that only Tree of Life falls into an ‘D’ or ‘F’ grade from me.

Best Actress

Will Win: Viola Davis, The Help

Should Win (in ranked order):
1) Viola Davis, The Help
2) Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
3) Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
4) Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
5) Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn

Should Have Been Nominated: Vera Farmiga, Higher Ground

An incredibly solid line-up, one of the best in this category in many years.  Viola and Meryl were neck-and-neck for me for weeks, flipping into either spot.  I will be happy if either wins, but I think it’s the year of Viola Davis.  While I might have taken out Williams (who is incredibly good, but not her best work) for Farmiga or Anna Paquin in Margaret, it’s hard to quibble with this line-up.

Best Actor

Will Win: Jean Dujardin, The Artist

Should Win (in ranked order):
1) Brad Pitt, Moneyball
2) George Clooney, The Descendants
3) Jean Dujardin, The Artist
4) Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
5) Demian Bechir, A Better Life

Should Have Been Nominated: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 50/50

I’m afraid that Dujardin is going to happen.  Sure, he holds up the movie.  But is an hour and a half of schtik worth an Oscar?  Pitt and Clooney give masterfully-crafted, nuanced performances which are the best of their careers.  Unfortunately, they will probably be side-swiped by The Artist mania.

Best Supporting Actress

Will Win: Octavia Spencer, The Help

Should Win (in ranked order):
1) Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
2) Octavia Spencer, The Help
3) Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
4) Jessica Chastain, The Help
5) Berenice Bejo, The Artist

Should Have Been Nominated: I’m proposing an entirely new line-up here as there is no overlap with my list; J. Smith Cameron, Margaret/Vanessa Redgrave, Coriolanus/Dagmara Dominczck, Higher Ground/Jeannie Berlin, Margaret/Anjelica Huston, 50/50

It’s Octavia’s year, and I’m at peace with that.  She gave a performance much better than it was written, and brought the humanity, soul, and spirit out of what could easily have been an offensive stereotype.  None of these five fit into my top five, but that’s not too rare with the Supporting category which has dozens and dozens of great performances each year to choose from.  None of mine received proper momentum.  Though who can complain about Melissa McCarthy being an Oscar nominee for pooping in a sink.

Best Supporting Actor

Will Win: Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Should Win (in ranked order):
1) Christopher Plummer, Beginners
2) Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
3) Jonah Hill, Moneyball
4) Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn
5) Nick Nolte, Warrior

Should Have Been Nominated: Jeremy Irons, Margin Call

My least favorite performance line-up.  Plummer is incredible, so I’m glad he will win.  But I would have swapped out von Sydow with Jeffrey Wright from that film.  Is Branagh’s Olivier really better than Corey Stoll’s Ernest Hemingway in Midnight in Paris?  Nick Nolte? In that? I get he’s an old pro, but how about Jeremy Irons?

Best Director

Will Win: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist

Should Win (in ranked order):
1) Alexander Payne, The Descendants
2) Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
3) Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
4) Martin Scorsese, Hugo
5) Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life

Should Have Been Nominated: David Fincher, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Cue the sweep!

Best Original Screenplay

Will Win: Midnight in Paris

Should Win (in ranked order):
1) Midnight in Paris
2) Margin Call
3) A Separation
4) Bridesmaids
5) The Artist

Should Have Been Nominated: Margaret

If the silent film with one overlong gimmick wins for writing, let that be your sign of the unstoppable sweep.  I have faith that Woody Allen’s dense, clever, and perfectly constructed Midnight in Paris prevails here.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Will Win: The Descendants

Should Win (in ranked order):
1) Moneyball
2) The Descendants
3) The Ides of March
4) Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
5) Hugo

Should Have Been Nominated: Higher Ground

This will be the consolation prize of the night.  Alexander Payne, Miss Congeniality.

Best Cinematography

Will Win: The Tree of Life

Should Win (in ranked order):
1) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
2) The Tree of Life
3) War Horse
4) The Artist
5) Hugo

Should Have Been Nominated: Moneyball

Here will be another tell-tale sign early in the evening, if The Artist topples the beautifully photographed The Tree of Life.

Best Art Direction

Will Win: Hugo

Should Win (in ranked order):
1) Hugo
2) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II
3) Midnight in Paris
4) War Horse
5) The Artist

Should Have Been Nominated: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

I think with 11 nominations, we can expect to see some love for Hugo early in the night, luckily in this category and Costumes they actually earned it.

Best Costume Design

Will Win: Hugo

Should Win (in ranked order):
1) Hugo
2) The Artist
3) Jane Eyre
Anonymous
W.E.

Should Have Been Nominated: Pina

Best Film Editing

Will Win: The Artist

Should Win (in ranked order):
1) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
2) Moneyball
3) The Artist
4) The Descendants
5) Hugo

Should Have Been Nominated: The Skin I Live In

This category has a tough time seeing beyond its overall favorites, expect the Best Picture winner to prevail.

Best Original Score

Will Win: The Artist

Should Win (in ranked order):
1) The Artist
2) War Horse
3) Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
4) Hugo
The Adventures of Tintin

Should Have Been Nominated: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The effervescent score which holds up half the film is the only win The Artist will get that I won’t grumble about.  Though I wouldn’t have nominated any of these.  Dragon Tattoo, Take Shelter, The Skin I Live In, Contagion, and Moneyball had far better scores that really elevated their films–but this is one of those Oscar categories where ‘Best’ actually means ‘Most’. (The below isn’t actually part of it’s original score, but it is AWESOME)

Best Makeup

Will Win: The Iron Lady

Should Win:
1) The Iron Lady
2) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II
3) Albert Nobbs

Should Have Been Nominated: Contagion

Best Visual Effects

Will Win: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Should Win (in ranked order):
1) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II
2) Rise of the Planet of the Apes
3) Hugo
Real Steel
Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Best Documentary Feature

Will Win: Undefeated

Should Win (in ranked order):
1) Pina
2) Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
3) Undefeated
4) Hell and Back Again
5) If A Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front

Should Have Been Nominated: The Interrupters

This category is the WORST.  Year after year they nominate a bunch of mediocrity over the best documentaries of the years, every damn time.  Of course they tend to like things that bludgeon you over the head with its ‘message’ and leaves no actual critical thinking up to the viewer (I mean, this is the Academy that awarded Crash).  Having said that, Pina is absolutely spellbinding but it’s not actually a documentary.  Paradise Lost 3 is also great.  Though none of these come close to The Interrupters, one of the best films of the year of any category.  Bill Cunningham New York and Project Nim are also far superior to the bottom three on my ballot.  I expect the slickly-produced (it looks and feels like The Blind Side) and Weinstein-backed Undefeated to walk away with the big prize.

Best Animated Feature

Will Win: Rango

Should Win (in ranked order):
1) Rango
2) Puss in Boots
A Cat in Paris
Chico & Rita
Kung Fu Panda 2

Should Have Been Nominated: Abstain

After two nominees were announced without New York releases, and my desire to see Kung Fu Panda 2 was lower than my desire to see Transformers–I decided to take a pass on this category this year.  But Rango is great!  Go Rango!

Best Original Song

Will Win: “Man or Muppet” from The Muppets

Should Win (in ranked order):
1) “Man or Muppet” from The Muppets
2) “Real in Rio” from Rio

Should Have Been Nominated: “Life’s A Happy Song” from The Muppets

This category is in desperate need of an overhaul by the Academy.  Its confusing rules lead to an unpredictable number of nominees and deprive the telecast of all fun.  Last year instead of 5 nominees, it had 4 and snubbed Cher.  This year, it left out possible performances by The Muppets, Sinead O’Conner, and Mary J. Blige to instead have only two nominees.  Granted, “Man or Muppet” is clearly the best of the year, so I guess it has less competition now.

Best Sound Editing

Will Win: War Horse

Should Win (in ranked order):
1) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
2) War Horse
3) Drive
4) Hugo
Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Should Have Been Nominated: Rango

It’s hard for me to get excited about Sound categories, but over the years of Oscar watching I have started to notice it more and more.

Best Sound Mixing

Will Win: Hugo

Should Win (in ranked order):
1) Moneyball
2) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
3) War Horse
4) Hugo
Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Should Have Been Nominated: Take Shelter

Moneyball’s sound is so delicately weaved and adds a lot to the story.  But once again, ‘Best’ will mean ‘Most Sound in a Movie We Liked’

Best Live Action Short Film

Will Win: Time Freak

Should Win (in ranked order):
1) Raju
2) Tuba Atlantic
3) Time Freak
4) The Shore
5) Pentecost

Just a shot in the dark on that prediction

Best Animated Short Film

Will Win: La Luna

Should Win (in ranked order):
1) Wild Life
2) Morning Stroll
3) The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
4) Dimanche/Sunday
La Luna

Since Pixar isn’t nominated (and therefore can’t win) feature this year, I’m assuming La Luna (their short film entry) might take it.  Just a hunch though.

Best Foreign Language & Documentary Short Film

Skipped those this year, due to availability.

But I’ll put my money down on In Darkness and Saving Face.

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