Sunday, February 26, 2012

Final Oscar Predictions

It wasn't much of an Oscar year, right? I mean it was interesting and the winner (we know it's The Artist) is definitely not your average Oscar film, but I thought overall the quality was pretty low (or not as high as usual), at least in the Best Picture line-up. The Tree of Life is an instant classic, a masterpiece, but other than that hardly anything to get excited about.

My Oscar wish that will never happen: The Tree of Life for Best Picture.
My Oscar wish that could happen: Meryl Streep for Best Actress.

So here they are, 10 months after my first predictions back in April 2011. The winners will be:

Best Picture: The Artist
Alternative: The Descendants
My vote: The Tree of Life

Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius, for The Artist
Alternative: Martin Scorsese, for Hugo
My vote: Terrence Malick, for The Tree of Life

Best Actor: Jean Dujardin, for The Artist
Alternative: George Clooney, for The Descendants
My vote: Jean Dujardin

Best Actress: Viola Davis, for The Help
Alternative: Meryl Streep, for The Iron Lady
My vote: Meryl Streep

Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, for Beginners
Alternative: Max von Sydow, for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
My vote: Christopher Plummer (haven't seen Warrior yet)

Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, for The Help
Alternative: Berenice Bejo, for The Artist
My vote: Melissa McCarthy, for Bridesmaids

Best Original Screenplay: Midnight in Paris
Alternative: The Artist
My vote: Bridesmaids (haven't seen Margin Call yet)

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Descendants
Alternative: Moneyball
My vote: Moneyball

Best Cinematography: The Tree of Life
Alternative: The Artist
My vote: The Tree of Life

Best Original Score: The Artist
Alternative: Hugo
My vote: The Artist (haven't seen/heard Tintin yet)

Best Original Song: The Muppets
Alternative: Rio
My vote: Rio

Best Editing: The Artist
Alternative: Hugo
My vote: The Artist

Best Art Direction: Hugo
Alternative: The Artist
My vote: Hugo

Best Costume Design: Hugo
Alternative: The Artist
My vote: - (I've only seen Hugo & The Artist, but I bet I'll love the costumes from W.E.)

Best Sound Mixing: Hugo
Alternative: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
My vote: Transformers III

Best Sound Editing: Hugo
Alternative: War Horse
My vote: Transformers III

Best Visual Effects: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Alternative: Harry Potter
My vote: Transformers III (haven't seen Real Steel yet)

Best Makeup: The Iron Lady
Alternative: Harry Potter
My vote: The Iron Lady

Best Animated Feature: Rango
Alternative: Chico and Rita
My vote: - (for now I've only seen Rango)

Best Foreign Language Film: A Separation
Alternative: In Darkness
My vote: A Separation (it's the only one I've seen for now, but I doubt I'll feel differently. I liked it)

I know too little about Documentary, Documentary Short, Animated Short & Short Film, so I won't make any predictions on them.

I'll just say this about tonight: if by some complete surprise The Descendants wins Best Editing, than it will also win Picture, Actor & Screenplay and defeat The Artist. It's the only way The Artist could lose. But I doubt it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Slowing down and Meryl...

I'm writing to let you know that I won't be posting so much in the next couple of weeks. I hope to catch up, but work has been really taking over my time for the past 2 weeks and on Monday I'm going to Athens for about a month or so, which means even more working hours...

I'm also behind on Oscar movies... like never before.

That being said, I want to congratulate Meryl! I SO hope she'll get to hold the Oscar 10 days from now. I love it that we won't know until the envelope is open. It could go any way.

Have a nice weekend!!

Your Alex.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Best Actress 2011

Since I’ve made my first predictions for 2011 back in April 2011, I guess you can say it was a 9 months journey till the nominations were announced. This sounds silly, but what can I do: I am devoted to Oscar. And for Best Actress 2011 we have big names competing, but we’ll get to the nominees in a moment. As of now, I’ve only seen 3 of the 5 nominated films and so far I am impressed (with the performances, not so much with the films). I’m anxious to see The Iron Lady and My Week with Marilyn, so I have now idea who my winner will be.

Let’s talk a bit about them. The 5 ladies that Oscar had chosen for 2011, in alphabetical order:

Glenn Close as Albert Nobbs, in Albert Nobbs

Viola Davis as Aibileen Clark, in The Help

Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander, in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher, in The Iron Lady

Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe, in My Week with Marilyn

Let’s analyze a bit how these ladies got nominated, starting with the 3 performances we knew for sure will show up in the line-up. Viola Davis receives her 2nd Oscar nomination for her performance in The Help; she was previously nominated as Supporting Actress for Doubt. In the spring, when most of us started doing very early predictions, there was a bit of confusion in what category will Viola be nominated, so for a couple of months people predicted her in Supporting Actress, next to Octavia. As it became clearer that she gives the best performance in the film, they started her campaign for Leading Actress. For this performance she has been nominated for the Golden Globe and BAFTA and she’s won the Critics Choice Award and the SAG. Her film is the only one from this line-up that’s nominated also for Best Picture and the SAG win makes her the front-runner to win on Oscar night.

Meryl Streep received a record-breaking 17th Oscar nomination, 14 of which are for Leading Actress, for her performance as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. For playing this controversial character, Meryl has already won the Golden Globe, is nominated for a BAFTA (which she’ll probably win), won the award from the New York Film Critics Circle and received nominations from Critics Choice Award and SAG. This is the performance that will give Viola a competition for the win, as Meryl is trying to get her 3rd Oscar (she’s been previously rewarded for Kramer vs Kramer and Sophie’s Choice). She hasn’t won in 29 years and she’s been the obvious runner-up for all of her 4 previous nominations. This nomination was a lock, but a future win could be harmed by the bad reviews The Iron Lady has received.

Michelle Williams started the season on the right foot, as a sure thing for a nomination and a serious threat for the win. For her performance as icon Marilyn Monroe she’s won awards from plenty of critics’ groups: Boston, Dallas, Florida, Chicago, Toronto, Washington and Las Vegas. She’s also won the Golden Globe (strangely enough, for the Comedy/Musical category), and was nominated for Critics Choice Award, BAFTA and SAG. Lately nobody seems to be talking about this performance, which has probably dropped to an unthreatening 3rd place. This is Michelle’s 3rd Oscar nomination, she was previously nominated in Supporting for Brokeback Mountain and in Leading for Blue Valentine.

These 2 performances had a harder time getting here:

Glenn Close receives her 6th Oscar nomination, and her first one in 23 years; so it’s safe to call it a comeback. She has also co-written and produced Albert Nobbs, a small independent film that few people seem to like. This nomination (and the 2 others than Albert Nobbs received) are due to a very strategic & efficient campaigning and because actors know and respect Glenn’s efforts in making this happen. Prior to the Oscar nomination, Glenn Close only received nominations for the Golden Globe and for the SAG. She’s never won an Oscar, and it won’t happen now, given how few people have seen/enjoyed her film.

Rooney Mara was the real surprise of this category, managing to steal Tilda Swinton’s nomination. This is Rooney’s first Oscar nomination, which confirms my theory that you always need a newcomer in the Best Actress category. She plays the very popular character Lisbeth Salander in Fincher’s version of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Prior to the nomination, she had only received a Breakthrough Award from the National Board of Review and a Golden Globe nomination.

Let’s throw in some names of other actresses that competed for a nomination. There were only 2 or 3 bigger threats, but plenty of potential dark horses:

Tilda Swinton for We Need to Talk About Kevin (the clear runner-up and a surprising snub. She had won awards from the prestigious National Board of Review, Online Film Critics, San Francisco Film Critics and was nominated for Golden Globe, SAG, Critics Choice Award and BAFTA).

Charlize Theron for Young Adult
Elizabeth Olsen for
Martha Marcy May Marlene
Kirsten Dunst for
Felicity Jones for
Like Crazy
Kristen Wiig for
Olivia Colman for

Also, why not:
Saoirse Ronan for
Keira Knightley for
A Dangerous Method
Kristin Scott Thomas for
Sarah’s Key
Mia Wasikowska for
Jane Eyre
Michelle Yeoh for
The Lady
Juliette Binoche for
Certified Copy
Rachel Weisz for
The Whistleblower
Anne Hathaway for
One Day
Vera Farmiga for
Higher Ground

I’ll start writing about the 5 nominees, though no hurry, given I still have to find two of the movies. I might start with Glenn Close...