Archive for August, 2011

August 30, 2011

The 2012 Oscar Nomination Predictions: The End of Summer Edition

In just a couple of mercifully short days, the festival circuit will start, Oscar-bait movie season will be here and I’ll never have to struggle to find something in the movie theatre until February! In order to get my final two cents in before the storm, I’m making another big ballsy set of Oscar Predictions now. I recently read something by (I think) Jeff Wells on how all of the Oscar pundits, like myself, all start predicting things to win. Then the voters will think, “Well if they’re saying it might win, we should at least be talking about it!” So they talk, the pundits hear more buzz, the talk increases and soon everyone is only talking about the same films.

I’m here to buck the system a little. I tried to stay as faithful as possible to the unseen predictions I had made in March. Of course I didn’t stay 100% faithful, but my decisions are nevertheless different and I am truly confident with a lot of my choices. I’ll give a little bit of analysis after the list, but first I want to explain how I’m going to predict Best Picture under the new system.

With the new rules, a movie needs 5% of the vote to be a #1. That means it has to be over 600 people’s favorite film. That is no easy task. So long as 5 movies get over that 5%, how ever many make it, make it. Those who don’t, well, there’s a surplus rule, and you need the #2 votes of the more popular #1 votes, but also the #2 votes of those that got nearly 0 number #1 votes, and the whole thing is a statistical nightmare. In the end, there will be anywhere from 5 to 10 nominees, with the number to only be revealed after you count up all of the names they read out in February. It’s making the pundits nuts, so what I’m going to do is list my Top 5 unranked. Then numbers 6 through 10 will be in order of likeliness to be nominated with a small break where I think the cutoff will fall. Kapiche?

Best Picture:

  • The Artist
  • A Dangerous Method
  • The Help
  • The Tree of Life
  • War Horse
  • 6. Albert Nobbs
  • 7. Young Adult
  • 8. The Rum Diary
  • 9. Midnight in Paris
  • 10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II
Best Director:
  • David Cronenberg – A Dangerous Method
  • Michel Hazanavicius – The Artist
  • Terrence Malick – The Tree of Life
  • Jason Reitman – Young Adult
  • Steven Spielberg – War Horse
Best Actor:
  • George Clooney – The Descendants
  • Johnny Depp – The Rum Diary
  • Leonardo DiCaprio – J. Edgar
  • Jean Dujardin – The Artist
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt – 50/50
Best Actress:
  • Glenn Close – Albert Nobbs
  • Viola Davis – The Help
  • Elizabeth Olsen – Martha Marcy May Marlene
  • Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady
  • Charlize Theron – Young Adult
Supporting Actor:
  • Kenneth Branagh – My Week with Marilyn
  • Viggo Mortensen – A Dangerous Method
  • Brad Pitt – The Tree of Life
  • Christopher Plummer – Beginners
  • Alan Rickman – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II
Supporting Actress:
  • Elle Fanning – Super 8
  • Keira Knightley – A Dangerous Method
  • Vanessa Redgrave – Coriolanus
  • Andrea Riseborough – W.E.
  • Octavia Spencer – The Help
Adapted Screenplay:
  • Albert Nobbs
  • A Dangerous Method
  • The Descendants
  • The Help
  • War Horse
Original Screenplay:
  • Like Crazy
  • Martha Marcy May Marlene
  • Midnight in Paris
  • The Tree of Life
  • Young Adult
Art Direction:
  • The Artist
  • A Dangerous Method
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II
  • War Horse
  • W.E.
Cinematography:
  • The Artist
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • The Rum Diary
  • The Tree of Life
  • War Horse
Costume Design:
  • Albert Nobbs
  • A Dangerous Method
  • My Week with Marilyn
  • W.E.
  • Wuthering Heights
Film Editing:
  • The Artist
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • The Rum Diary
  • The Tree of Life
  • War Horse
Makeup:
  • Albert Nobbs
  • J. Edgar
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Original Score:
  • The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn – John Williams
  • The Artist – Ludovic Bource
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Nico Muhly
  • The Ides of March – Alexandre Desplat
  • War Horse – John Williams
Original Song:
  • “Star Spangled Man” by Alan Menken – Captain America: The First Avenger
  • “Collision of Worlds” by Brad Paisley and Robbie Williams – Cars 2
  • “The Living Proof” by Mary J. Blige – The Help
  • Untitled Chris Cornell Song – Machine Gun Preacher
  • “Think You Can Wait” – Win Win
Sound Editing:
  • The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II
  • Source Code
  • Super 8
  • War Horse
Sound Mixing:
  • The Artist
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon
  • The Tree of Life
  • War Horse
Visual Effects:
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
  • The Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon
  • The Tree of Life
Animated Feature:
  • The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
  • Happy Feet 2
  • Kung Fu Panda 2
  • Rango
  • Rio
Assorted Notes:
  • A Brief list of movies that weren’t  at all or were barely on my radar 6 months ago: A Dangerous Method, War Horse, The Artist, W.E., The Help. Good.
  • Animated movies this year are just not up to snuff. Pity.
  • I gave Young Adult the exact same nomination spread Juno got. It seems logical and I love Jason Reitman.
  • The Original Song category is just made up of original songs I know exist. I firmly believe “The Living Proof” will make it, and “Collision of Worlds” has a chance, but the others are mostly fillers. I know I’m the first to predict anything for Original Song so you heard it here first!
  • I think J. Edgar is going to be terrible. Like Invictus terrible. There is a high possibility it will be too long, bloated, and just scenes from this man’s life. Leo will still get the nomination (like they did for Invictus) but it’s just going to be a non-starter otherwise.
  • My love for The Tree of Life is undying, so I somehow managed to go down from 12 nominations to 8. Since the individual branches vote on nominations, I think they will be smart enough to reward all of the wonderful work.
  • Michael Fassbender or Viggo Mortensen?
  • I’m the only one with The Rum Diary really on the radar, but it was all abuzz about a year ago. I’m still interested.
  • I once heard train movies did really well in Sound Editing because they have to supply the constant sound of the train chugging. This proved true when Unstoppable got a nomination. Ergo Source Code.
  • Boy was I wrong about One Day. 6 nomination guesses down the drain.
  • I’m most proud of my set of 2 nominations for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Cinematography and Film Editing – a very Fincher film strong set) and the 3 nominations for Madonna’s W.E. (Supp. Actress, Art Direction, Costume Design). They just seem ultra appropriate.
  • My Best Picture slate seems really devoid of thriller action stuff. It’s very 2008.
  • The strongest category is Supporting Actor, the weakest is Supporting Actress.
There is a short list of movies that either only have 1 nomination or are altogether absent from my predictions. I want the world to know that I do know they exist and I am shunning them for a variety of reasons.
  • Carnage – Roman Polanski is officially a pariah and moreover he seems wrong for the film. Christoph Waltz has problems with the English language (see Water for Elephants). No amount of Kate Winslet will make this not seem like a stage play.
  • Drive – I forgot about it while making my list. I could also say it will be too extreme/hip/wonderful for the Oscars. They might find it a little too much of an exercise in fun serious movies.
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – I gave it a score nomination possibly only because it suggests something about the score in the title. I have a feeling it will play very similarly to The Town or Secretariat. Very-well liked, Oscar buzzed a little, and then it may or may not go a couple places. And Stephen Daldry films are usually very musical.
  • The Ides of March – I feel like it’s going to be The Ghost Writer but with more attractive people. I wanted to give Alexandre Desplat something and since he did so well with the similarly themed The Ghost Writer, I thought this would be a lovely nomination for score. Political thrillers don’t usually do well. Sorry.
  • Moneyball – I had this in a lot of categories once upon a time. And then other things just became more interesting and shinier.
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – This is the one I’m most likely to be completely wrong about. I’m again hoping it plays too minor, but something tells me my nomination slate is going to be spoiled by this.
  • We Bought a Zoo – I don’t trust Cameron Crowe. I did once, but no longer.
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August 29, 2011

Gold Diggers: The Oscar Chances of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II

On March 2nd, I made some predictions for the coming year’s Emmy nominations. I predicted that the final chapter of the Harry Potter universe would score 9 nominations. At the time, I firmly believed it. Now…

I’ve waited until the buzz died down in order to make this post to really think about what the world was seeing in this movie. One singular performance was singled out and many of the others were given consolation prizes (isn’t Ralph Fiennes jumping off the screen the most really?). And while the movie itself was universally liked, I’m not sure it was wild enough to be loved. It’s emotionally tame as far as Harry Potter standards go. It’s all horcruxes straight through. Let’s take a walk through the categories to see what it will look like.

Let’s start with some givens. Over the years, the franchise has scored a uniquely unsteady set of nominations. Of the first seven films, five were nominated for awards (number 2 and 5 missed out). Only the first had 3 nominations, the others had one or two. The franchise as a whole has never won. The only category they have scored 3 times in is Art Direction, and I would count on a fourth, and quite possibly a win for Stuart Craig and his team. There have also been 2 nominations for visual effects and that was with 3 spots in the category. With the new-and-improved jumbo-sized category, it’s going to get another nod. The sound categories also go to well-liked blockbusters so check those off the list.

And now for some question marks. While Alexandre Desplat is the oxymoronical new perennial nominee, he won’t make it for this score that is basically the John Williams one, but with 7 school years more angst and mood. Cinematography is certainly an interesting prospect, if only because I can barely think of other things to take its place. Makeup is a wildly unpredictable category, but I don’t think there really is enough craaaazy makeup, that is aging or prosthetics, to qualify (it’s mostly vfx). And to round out the below-the-line categories, it’s not “Oscar-y” enough for film editing and the costumes are the same from the first movie.

The next 5 categories are the big’uns. I doubt it will get nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. That is always a highly competitive category, doubly since any sequel is considered an adaptation, which is just preposterous, but I digress. It’s not writerly enough, especially since it’s a whole of action. Best Director for David Yates, is a slight possibility, as it very well could be a “thanks for the last four Harry Potter movies, bro” kind of nomination, but he really doesn’t have a big enough of a profile. Not with Malick, Polanski, Fincher, Payne, Cronenberg, Allen, Crowe, Reitman, Soderbergh, etc. all competing this year too.

If you would’ve asked me if Harry Potter 7B would get a best picture nomination 5 months ago – oh wait, you did! I thought it was going to get a Best Picture nomination. When thinking about academy members were struggling to fill out a list of 10, The Deathly Hallows surely would have come to mind and there it would be as nominee number 8 on the list.  With the new 5% rule, I feel it’s a lot less likely. Was it really anyone’s favorite movie? I liked it a lot, but it wasn’t even my favorite of the series, not by a long shot. Count this one out for a best picture nomination.

I also predicted two thespians to get acting nominations from this film. One seems possible, the other just foolish. Helena Bonham Carter was  is poised to get another nomination soon. She’s back in the conversation! Just not in the conversation of Harry Potter. Bellatrix Lestrange had 10 lines at most and a couple of wild cackles. It was truly a pity. Other actors who won’t get nominations include Daniel Radcliffe (too bland), Ralph Fiennes (too vfxd), Maggie Smith (too delightful), Robbie Coltrane (too nowhere).

The only shining shimmering chance of hope is Alan Rickman. A name that makes Potter fans go weak in the knees. I’m guesstimating he only has 12 minutes of screen time in the movie, but he does have actual emotions in his character arc and he is doing something. I’m afraid the part is just too small. This may sound confusing, but I think he will have an easier time winning the statue if he is nominated, than just getting nominated. For the nomination, he has to break through dozens of other actorly people, who will no doubt be giving co-lead performances in Oscar bait movies.

Rickman here is just a little too underused in his THREE scenes. The first scene is that added scene in the hall where all he does is give some silly speech about how Harry must be found then Harry steps forward and he runs away – no acting. The second is him dying in the boathouse. Sorry about that spoiler but really? There he’s just kind of dying. It’s good dying, but in the narrative arc of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II it’s unemotional at best. In the emotional arc of the series, it’s touching, but have enough crumbly old voters really watched the whole series and understand who this baritone slime ball is? His third scene is all of the “flash back” pensieve which is again, in my opinion, good not great. If Warner Bros. decides to really push for Alan Rickman, he could get it. If not, his chances are slim. I’m still going to predict him, because my tea leaves show me large spread internet campaigning Betty White style, so until more candidates come forward, he’s in.

I believe at this point Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 will get 5 nominations.

  • Best Supporting Actor – Alan Rickman
  • Art Direction
  • Sound Editing
  • Sound Mixing
  • Visual Effects
August 27, 2011

Gold Diggers: The Oscar Chances of The Help

So right now there is a whole lot of talk going around about this little movie that could. While The Help is a movie I’m not particularly too wild about, it’s important to take a look at it in the abstract sense. Right now, it’s the movie everyone is talking about, which is impressive for a movie on its 3rd weekend, even at the end of August. People are talking about the controversial messages, both overt and unintended, that stem from white people effecting change for blacks. People are talking about it as a female book of the month movie adaptation and how it compares to the now annual list of late summer similarities. But what I hear most now is people talking about The Help and the Oscars.

Let’s start big. Right now, a perfect storm is brewing. The Help is going to have 5 things going for it to snag a Best Picture nominee.

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