Archive for ‘Gold Diggers’

January 10, 2013

They’re heeeeere! It’s Oscar Nom Morning!

It’s film buff Christmas and we’ve got lots of presents. AND I MEAN LOTS! So here’s this year’s Oscar nominations with all of my clearly unique analysis.

Best Picture:

  • Amour
  • Argo
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Django Unchained
  • Les Miserables
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • Zero Dark Thirty

9 Nominations and all of the usual suspect show up. I’m only marginally surprised to see Amour here. Their push really paid off for them. Clearly the support for The Master wasn’t where I thought it was which really hurt me. 9 great nominees. This is perhaps the least interesting category from a “what got nominated” stand point. Yesterday, this race was wide open. Today, it’s Lincoln way out front with 12 nominations.

Best Director:

  • Michael Haneke – Amour
  • Ang Lee – Life of Pi
  • David O. Russell – Silver Linings Playbook
  • Steven Spielberg – Lincoln
  • Benh Zeitlin – Beasts of the Southern Wild

Holy shit face, guys. No one saw this line up coming. Ben Affleck was a front runner to win and just like that he’s gone. History was also unmade when Kathryn Bigelow failed to be the first female with 2 nominations in the category. Instead David O. Russell made it in, which was an outside chance, but plausible. Then Michael Haneke made it in, which braver Oscar pundits than I were punditing, and then finally Benh Zeitlin ALSO made it for Beats of the Southern Wild. What this tells is that if you think Les Miserables or Zero Dark Thirty were leading some given category, it’s not anymore. It’s that other thing that’s right behind. If it’s Amour, Silver Linings Playbook, or Beasts of the Southern Wild on its coattails push that one up. Exhibit to come momentarily.

Best Actor:

  • Bradley Cooper – Silver Linings Playbook
  • Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln
  • Hugh Jackman – Les Miserables
  • Joaquin Phoenix – The Master
  • Denzel Washington – Flight

I still don’t believe John Hawkes got snubbed. He’s the star of The Sessions and his co-star gets in just because it was a weak category? I’m happy for everyone else in the category and none of it is a real surprise. Hugh Jackman is the only person that could potentially beat Daniel Day-Lewis in the Lincoln behemoth and my guess is he won’t.

Best Actress:

  • Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty
  • Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook
  • Emanuelle Riva – Amour
  • Quvenzhane Wallis – Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Naomi Watts – The Impossible

This category deserves an essay. Clearly the support for Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild was strong enough across the board (see: Director) that Emanuelle Riva and Quvenzhane Wallis both handily made it. Naomi Watts also snuck in. I predicted the wrong frenchie but it was not secret that there was only enough room for one, sorry Marion. Predicting a winner is where things get interesting. Zero Dark Thirty only has 5 nominations which is far fewer than anyone was predicting, especially with a crucial snub in the Director category. Does this mean Jessica Chastain is weaker for the win or that this will be the only category to reward Zero Dark Thirty at all and therefore she wins it? Considering all Amour, Beasts, and Silver Linings all got a boost, this race just became a lot closer. The race is still between Chastain and Lawrence, and it’s closer than ever, but 3rd and 4th place are closer than ever.

Best Supporting Actor:

  • Alan Arkin – Argo
  • Robert DeNiro – Silver Linings Playbook
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Master
  • Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln
  • Christoph Waltz – Django Unchained

I specifically asked for this not to happen, guys. This is the first time in history the category is 5 out of 5 previous winners. That means one of these 5 men will be a two-time Oscar winner in just 6 weeks. My guess? Philip Seymour Hoffman. We know that it’s not Alan Arkin since support for Argo is at an all-time low. Silver Linings and Lincoln are definitely the strongest movies here so maybe they will give DeNiro and Jones a bit of a push. This is a boring category and thank god it is.

Best Supporting Actress:

  • Amy Adams – The Master
  • Sally Field – Lincoln
  • Anne Hathaway – Les Miserables
  • Helen Hunt – The Sessions
  • Jacki Weaver – Silver Linings Playbook

So there’s nothing too out of the ordinary here except one major player. Jacki Weaver getting in for Silver Linings Playbook was largely unexpected. While she’s not going to win since Anne Hathaway has been locked to win since the trailer for Les Mis came out,  this nomination shows more support for Silver Linings Playbook than anyone ever thought. This is first time a movie has had an acting nomination in each category since Reds in 1981. Silver Linings Playbook now has a whopping 8 nominations that is really just the most it could have ever received so congratulations!

Best Adapted Screenplay:

  • Argo
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Silver Linings Playbook

This is the only category I got 5 out of 5 nominations correct in and that’s because it was boring. That’s fine. I needed this.

Best Original Screenplay:

  • Amour
  • Django Unchained
  • Flight
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • Zero Dark Thirty

I truly wonder who is going to win this category. Right now it’s a three-way race between Django, Moonrise Kingdom, and Zero Dark Thirty. This is the best place to honor any of the three of them. I predicted Zero Dark Thirty yesterday, but it isn’t showing as much support as it could have. I wonder if Moonrise Kingdom can fight it’s way to the top.

Cinematography:

  • Anna Karenina
  • Django Unchained
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Skyfall

There are no big surprises here, which again, is a relief this year. I can see Anna Karenina, Life of Pi, Lincoln or Skyfall winning this. Lincoln could very well just sweep the technicals, but that does seem so boring.

Costume Design:

  • Anna Karenina
  • Les Miserables
  • Lincoln
  • Mirror Mirror
  • Snow White and the Huntsman

Well it looks like the character Snow White is the big winner here. Anna Karenina has this in the bag with its flashy dresses, but this is actually a really lovely category with some really interesting work.

Film Editing:

  • Argo
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • Zero Dark Thirty

People often forget about Film Editing when thinking of things you need to win Best Picture, but you need it. You really do. No film has won Best Picture without the Editing nod since Ordinary People in 1980. This now seems like the only place to honor Argo, but it’s so weak now. I still think it will be the winner, but I could see Lincoln or Zero Dark Thirty taking it too.

Makeup:

  • Hitchcock
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • Les Miserables

This is officially my least favorite category. How did Lincoln miss out on this? How?!?!?! I guess more is always more here. Except when it’s not and it’s Les Miserables. I guess Les Mis is my pick to win but as always with the Makeup category, it could be anyone. Anyone!

Original Score:

  • Anna Karenina
  • Argo
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Skyfall

It is fascinating that with so much support for Beasts of the Southern Wild it failed to get nominated here with a fantastic score. That was my predicted winner! Oh wait, this the most exclusive category ever. You really have to be in the club to get a nomination. Only Mychael Danna for Life of Pi is a new nominee. I really don’t know who will go on to win it. John Williams seems like his own punch line at this point, but he really is in the best position here. I guess that is where my money lies.

Original Song:

  • “Before My Time” – Chasing Ice
  • “Everybody Needs a Best Friend” – Ted
  • “Pi’s lullaby” – Life of Pi
  • “Skyfall” – Skyfall
  • “Suddenly” – Les Miserables

What you can’t see here is this means Scarlet Johansson might PERFORM at the Oscars. That’s right, she’s singing the song from the documentary Chasing Ice. This also makes host Seth MacFarlane a nominee with a song from Ted. The other three were widely predicted and Adele is still far out front. This is actually a really lovely surprising category.

Production Design:

  • Anna Karenina
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • Les Miserables
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln

There is nothing surprising here.  Anna Karenina will walk away with this easily.

Sound Editing:

  • Argo
  • Django Unchained
  • Life of Pi
  • Skyfall
  • Zero Dark Thirty

This is one of the most prestige heavy Sound Editing categories ever. Usually the sound categories are stacked with summer blockbusters, but not this year. With the exception of Skyfall, everything else is in the hunt for Best Picture. I guess Life of Pi is my predicted winner? Tough category. It’ll change as the year goes on.

Sound Mixing:

  • Argo
  • Les Miserables
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Skyfall

See above except add: Oh and musicals do well here.

Visual Effects:

  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • Life of Pi
  • Marvel’s The Avengers
  • Prometheus
  • Snow White and the Hunstman

While I didn’t do well in this category, I like it a lot. Prometheus has such gorgeous work I can’t help but be happy for it. Also, this is 2 nominations for Snow White and the Huntsman which means I’m going to have to watch that tonight! Life of Pi is the easy winner in this category. Hands down.

Animated Feature:

  • Brave
  • Frankenweenie
  • ParaNorman
  • The Pirates! Band of Misfits
  • Wreck-It Ralph

No one saw one of these coming! Everyone was predicting something tiny and artful for the fifth slot, but instead the underwhelming The Pirates! Band of Misfits sneaks in for the nomination. Well, I say underwhelming, but it’s the only one I haven’t seen. None of these movies have any other nominations so there aren’t any context clues here. I’m standing by my prediction for Wreck-It Ralph. There’s no consensus so maybe I’ll be predicting with my heart by the end of the race.

Documentary Feature:

  • 5 Broken Cameras
  • The Gatekeepers
  • How to Survive a Plague
  • The Invisible War
  • Searching for Sugar Man

I’ve actually seen 2 of these already this year thanks to Netflix! I have no idea what’s going to win. The Gatekeepers?

Foreign Language:

  • Amour
  • Kon-Tiki
  • No
  • A Royal Affair
  • War Witch

Suck it Intouchables. I mean, it looks like Amour is going to run away with this.

Animated Short:

  • Adam and Dog
  • Fresh Guacamole
  • Head Over Heels
  • Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”
  • Paperman

HAHAHA THE SIMPSONS! THATS HILARIOUS. But really it is. I think everyone thinks that Paperman is the strongest here, but it’s also the only one anyone has seen.

Documentary Short:

  • Inocente
  • Kings Point
  • Mondays at Racine
  • Open Heart
  • Redemption

Live-Action Short Film:

  • Asad
  • Buzkashi Boys
  • Curfew
  • Death of a Shadow
  • Henry

 

I guess this is a year of a lot of surprises. My predictions were god awful. I only got 76/107 in the predicted categories. Oy vey. The big take away points are the following:

  • Lincoln is leading with 12, Life of Pi is close behind with 11, then Les Mis and Silver Linings Playbook with 8. 
  • Kathryn Bigelow and Ben Affleck and their films are the big losers today.
  • The big campaign push for Amour paid off times a million.
  • The Dark Knight Rises was completely shut out, so get ready to hear from Christopher Nolan fans until the end of time. So was The Hunger Games, Magic Mike, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,  Looper, and Cloud Atlas. A lot of people thought Cloud Atlas was going to sweep the techs, but that just didn’t happen.
  • Django Unchained cut the difference and got about half the nominations it could have, but better than an also possible shut out.

I’ve still got 14 movies to see to be a completist across the feature films so there’s still some work to do. Tonight’s project? Snow White and the Huntsman! Happy Oscars!

Advertisements
August 23, 2012

Oscar 2013 – End of Summer Predictions

Since I’ve been doing a lot of traveling, I haven’t seen nearly as many of the contenders as I had by the same point last year, but that’s all right since nothing is really lighting up the scene too much. Magic Mike? I saw it. It was actually pretty good. Prometheus? A bit of a non starter. Moonrise Kingdom? Unexpected serious buzz. And that’s about the end of the list. However, I know that I need to do an oscar prediction up date before the big festivals hit or else!

Here goes nothing:

Best Picture:

  • Anna Karenina
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Django Unchained
  • Les Miserables
  • The Master
  • 6. Lincoln
  • 7. Zero Dark Thirty
  • 8. Moonrise Kingdom
  • 9. The Sessions
  • 10. Argo

I’ve kept 6 out of 10 from my last prediction, swapping out The Hobbit, Gatsby, The Hunger Games and TDKR for Beasts, Zero Dark, Moonrise, and Argo. Beasts of the Southern Wild seems to be sticking around for good and I’m putting a lot of faith in Anna Karenina. Joe Wright and Keira Knightley and period work so well and Oscar should take notice. If I had to play a fool’s game right now, I’d pick The Master to win. It seems artsy enough, zeitgeisty enough, and I think it’s the only one that feels like it could win. Can anyone honestly imagine Les Miserables winning? No. And I always think Ben Affleck directed pics  are always right on the outside. Maybe this one will sneak to the inside.

Director:

  • Paul Thomas Anderson – The Master
  • Kathryn Bigelow – Zero Dark Thirty
  • Quentin Tarantino – Django Unchained
  • Joe Wright – Anna Karenina
  • Benh Zeitlin – Beasts of the Southern Wild

I’ve kept 3 out of 5 from my last prediction, dropping Nolan and Luhrmann and adding Bigelow and Zeitlin. I think the love for Kathryn Bigelow from The Hurt Locker is so massive that if Zero Dark Thirty is at all good, she’ll nab another spot. I desperately wanted to make room for Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech fall out, but the talk of Les Miserables won’t be it’s directing. It never is for musicals. It’s always “Look that celebrity can sing too!”

Best Actor:

  • Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln
  • John Hawkes – The Sessions
  • Hugh Jackman – Les Miserables
  • Bill Murray – Hyde Park on Hudson
  • Joaquin Phoenix – The Master

I dropped Leo for Gatsby and I changed categories for Phil and the Master. This means I had to add 2 so Joaquin and Murray stepped up to the plate. I hope Murray, Hawkes, or Jackman give Triple D a run for his money. Could he really have sewn up this race just with one production still and now a poster? It’s possible.

Best Actress:

  • Helen Hunt – The Sessions
  • Keira Knightley – Anna Karenina
  • Laura Linney – Hyde Park on Hudson
  • Quvenzhane Wallis – Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Naomi Watts – The Impossible

This time around I felt like I had more contenders to choose from so I dropped Jennifer Lawrence for The Hunger Games, Amy Adams for Trouble with the Curve, and Michelle Williams in Take This Waltz for Hunt, Wallis, and Watts. The production still or poster or image of Naomi Watts in The Impossible going around just really does a lot for me. Who knows? And the buzz around little Quvenzhane is just too hard to ignore. I dropped Amy because I had to drop Clint Eastwood at some point and I didn’t see only one of them getting nominated in what appears to be a two-hander. Ditto Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep.

Best Supporting Actor:

  • Leonardo DiCaprio – Django Unchained
  • Michael Fassbender – Prometheus
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Master
  • Jude Law – Anna Karenina
  • William H. Macy – The Sessions

I just refuse to put Matthew McConaughey in for Magic Mike. It feels like that moment already past. My line up changed a lot, dropping Cruise for Rock of Ages, Eddie Redmayne for Les Miserables, and Gary Oldman for Lawless. I think Fassbender has a shot at the nomination for an interesting performance and since I’ve moved Phil, he’s a shoe-in. I’ve heard the buzz on Macy in The Sessions is strong. As for Jude Law, his part in Anna Karenina will certainly be the showiest. And if the film is as strong as I think it could be, he’ll sneak in.

Best Supporting Actress:

  • Amy Adams – The Master
  • Annette Bening – Imogene
  • Helena Bonham Carter – Great Expectations
  • Sally Field – Lincoln
  • Anne Hathaway – Les Miserables

I don’t know what the hell is going on in this category. I strangely dropped Olivia Williams for Hyde Park on Hudson and sensibly dropped Michelle Pfeiffer in Dark Shadows and Mulligan for Gatsby to replace them with Bening, Carter, and Hathaway – the front runner. Annette Bening’s role in Imogene just seems right up Oscar’s alley, the crazy gambling addict mother. And if there’s not a better Oscar bait role than Miss Havisham, I don’t know what it is. Maybe Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln.

Best Adapted Screenplay:

  • Anna Karenina
  • Argo
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Life of Pi
  • The Sessions

Lincoln doesn’t seem like a movie that will be remembered for its screenplay, but count on Life of Pi to slip for Lincoln to step up.

Best Original Screenplay:

  • Amour
  • Django Unchained
  • Imogene
  • The Master
  • Moonrise Kingdom

This is always a weak category, but it feels especially weak this year. Look for weird surprises here.

Art Direction:

  • Anna Karenina
  • Django Unchained
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • Les Miserables
  • Lincoln

No real thoughts. Surprise me Oscars.

Cinematography:

  • Anna Karenina
  • Django Unchained
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • The Master
  • To the Wonder

Just consider that part of the buzz surrounding The Master is the film it was shot on. Cinematography nod. Malick film?  One nomination in the bag.

Costume Design:

  • Anna Karenina
  • Django Unchained
  • Great Expecatations
  • Les Miserables
  • Mirror Mirror

This seems like a boring enough slate to be right up the academy’s alley. And here’s a weird thing, but Sharen Davis, costumer for Django Unchained, works on a lot of African American specific movies and gets nominated for them – Ray and Dreamgirls. Just a thought.

Film Editing:

  • Anna Karenina
  • The Dark Knight Rises
  • The Master
  • Les Miserables
  • Zero Dark Thirty

I’m still hurting for Lee Smith and his snub for Inception so I thin The Dark Knight Rises will fill some obligatory blockbuster slot.

Makeup:

  • Anna Karenina
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • Lincoln

I can’t predict those random Il Divo nominations. I just can’t.

Original Score:

  • Anna Karenina – Dario Marianelli
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild – Dan Romer & Benh Zeitlin
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Howard Shore
  • Moonrise Kingdom – Alexandre Desplat
  • On the Road – Gustavo Santaolalla

Fuck John Williams. I really hope my On the Road prediction comes through. I love the idea of it a lot.

Original Song:

  • Something from Frankenweenie
  • Something from The Hunger Games
  • Something from Les Miserables
  • Something from Life of Pi
  • Something from Sparkle

I just picked random movies. Doesn’t it feel entirely possible that Life of Pi has a great original song somewhere in the movie?

Sound Editing:

  • The Avengers
  • The Dark Knight Rises
  • Life of Pi
  • Prometheus
  • Zero Dark Thirty

This seems appropriately loud. And I wouldn’t count on animated film this year. The buzz on Brave is a mere memory.

Sound Mixing:

  • The Avengers
  • The Dark Knight Rises
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • Les Miserables
  • Zero Dark Thirty

Musicals! Action movies!

Visual Effects:

  • The Avengers
  • The Dark Knight Rises
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • Life of Pi
  • Prometheus

Final thoughts:

I’m really banking a lot on Anna Karenina and Django Unchained. They seem like a good pairing to be successful movies. I think Zero Dark Thirty could really surprise and do a lot better. So could Moonrise Kingdom. And I dropped most of The Hunger Games predictions from my last time, but it is still a well-made incredibly popular blockbuster. It was just released in March. Let’s see if we remember it at the end of the year. I also have no idea what to make of Life of Pi. Do I give it lots of nominations? Technicals? A Lovely Bones-esque creative failure? And to date, both Ben Affleck movies have one supporting nomination. Who will it be? I couldn’t choose so I didn’t. Here’s to hoping Lincoln limps in and my picks in the horse race move forward!

Tags:
March 3, 2012

Early You Say? Nonsense!

Even though the 84th Annual Oscars are still less than a week old and we are still trying to re-align our brains to memorize that Meryl Streep now has 3 Oscars (!!!), it is time to try and predict the 2013 85th Academy Awards. Next year, we have a hundred or so big name fancy pants movies coming out with big directors and even bigger expectations. Obviously, some will succeed and some will fail, but the question is which. I’ll give a little bit of analysis at the end just to point out why I made some of the choices I did, but let’s face it, many of them are uncreative but I picked my favorites and I’ll stick to it!

Picture:

  • Anna Karenina
  • The Dark Knight Rises
  • Django Unchained
  • The Great Gatsby
  • The Master
  • 6. The Hobbit
  • 7. Les Misérables
  • 8. The Surrogate
  • 9. Lincoln
  • 10. The Hunger Games

I ranked my Best Picture nominees as a top 5 without ranking, and then the next five with a ranking in case the rules change again in a year, and lets’ be real. I hope they do.

read more »

February 25, 2012

And (I think) the Oscar goes to…

Source: The Weinstein Company

The Oscars are finally here. And since I need to spend tomorrow getting ready for my first annual Oscar party, I’m putting my predictions up today! Now this is something we all have been thinking about since well before even all of the movies get released, so it feels almost boring to put some finality to it (especially since I am a little too proud in calling The Artist’s victory earlyish). Fortunately, there are a few categories here and there that are up for debate and we can always expect one or two fun surprises. If a category needs explanation, I’ll give it, but you don’t need to hear any other random bloggers talk about Hugo’a Art Direction or Ludovic Bource’s score.

Picture:

Winner: The Artist

Runner-Up: Um… Hugo?

My Personal Vote: The Tree of Life

 

Director:

Winner: Michel Hazanavicius

Runner-Up: Martin Scorsese

My Vote: Terrence Malick (I do think there is more of a chance he will win then Woody Allen or Alexander Payne. I feel he has a lot of respect in the Academy and this movie is direction on display. However, The Artist is too and is not the least deserving winner.)

 

Actor:

Winner: Jean Dujardin – The momentum is there.

Runner-Up: George Clooney

My Vote: Jean Dujardin

 

Actress:

Winner: Viola Davis – This is her year! The narrative is just so much stronger than anything else. She’s a hardworking black woman representing the black film and she gives an amazing performance. If not now, then when?

Runner-Up: Meryl Streep – Always a bridesmaid, only a bride twice about 30 years ago.

My Vote: Michelle Williams – Yup.

 

Supporting Actor:

Winner: Christopher Plummer

Runner-Up: Max von Sydow?

My Vote: Christopher Plummer

 

Supporting Actress:

Winner: Octavia Spencer

Runner-Up: Melissa McCarthy – She could be the Helen Hunt of this year. And I think people just like rewarding her. Is that weird?

My Vote: This is tough. I would want to vote for Jessica Chastain, but for her body of work. I wonder if there are others who do this? If I had to vote for the single performance, it would be Berenice Bejo.

 

Original Screenplay:

Winner: Midnight in Paris

Runner-Up: The Artist

My Vote: Margin Call?

 

Adapted Screenplay:

Winner: The Descendants

Runner-Up: Moneyball

My Vote: Hugo (begrudgingly)

 

Art Direction

Winner: Hugo

Runner-Up: The Artist

My Vote: Hugo

 

Cinematography:

Winner: The Tree of Life

Runner-Up: The Artist – While I’m The Tree of Life’s number one fan, whenever someone asks me what my predictions are, I make a slip up and I always say The Artist for Cinematography because it just seems like where people want to aim the black and white movie that looks like a square. I seem to forget that The Tree of Life is even in the Oscar race. This makes me concerned…

My Vote: The Tree of Life

 

Costume Design:

Winner: Hugo

Runner-Up: Jane Eyre

My Vote: W.E. (even though I haven’t seen the movie, I saw the W magazine spread)

So obviously it seems like any of the five could win, which is crazy. I’ve decided that W.E. and Anonymous were both poorly reviewed and royalty extravaganzas so the people who vote for poorly reviewed royalty extravaganzas will cancel each other out. I hesitate to think that people will vote for the black and white costumes of The Artist, especially when they were probably designed in color. I’m giving the edge to Hugo just because of the large nomination count and I think if the academy liked Jane Eyre more, it would’ve been nominated in 1 or 2 other places (Dario Marianelli for Score, for example).

 

Film Editing:

Winner: The Artist

Runner-Up: Hugo

My Vote: Hugo

 

Makeup:

Winner: The Iron Lady

Runner-Up: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

My Vote: The Iron Lady

 

Original Score:

Winner: The Artist

Runner-Up: Hugo

My Vote: The Artist

 

Original Song:

Winner: Man or Muppet

Runner-Up: Real in Rio (obviously)

My Vote: Man or Muppet.

 

Sound Editing:

Winner: War Horse

Runner-Up: Transformers: Dark of the Moon – I was determined to predict this as the winner, but when I did some research, the war movies dominate this category. Whenever a war movie hasn’t won, it’s because no war movie was nominated.

My Vote: Hugo

 

Sound Mixing:

Winner: Hugo – I don’t know why I’m predicting a split… mostly to hedge my bets, but splits are the kind of thing that only happen with a war movie and an artsier best picture frontrunner so this doesn’t seem impossible. Think Letters from Iwo Jima and Dreamgirls winning trophies.

Runner-Up: War Horse

My Vote: Hugo

 

Visual Effects:

Winner: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Runner-Up: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

My Vote: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

 

Animated Feature:

Winner: Rango

Runner-Up: Chico and Rita?

My Vote: Puss in Boots? – This is my least favorite category of nominees this year by a long shot. Adapted Screenplay is a close second.

 

Foreign Film:

Winner: A Separation – I don’t think it will get snubbed because it seems so much more accessible than something like Un Prophete. But what if it was one of those movies saved by that executive committee…

Runner-Up: In Darkness

My Vote: Abstain.

 

Documentary Feature:

Winner: Pina

Runner-Up: Hell and Back Again

 

Live Action Short Film:

Winner: Raju – I never see these, but a friend went to the Live Action shorts program at our local theater and this was her favorite.

Runner Up:  Tuba Atlantic

 

Animated Short Film:

Winner: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Runner-Up: La Luna

 

Documentary Short:

Winner: Saving Face

Runner-Up: The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom

 

Wish me luck on Sunday!

 

January 24, 2012

THE 2012 OSCAR NOMINATIONS ARE HERE!

God, I love Oscar nomination morning. It’s like Christmas, but I wake up earlier and I can share my presents with the world.

BUT TILDA!!!!!! FASSY!!!!! BROOKS!!!!! There is also a lot of sadness today too. We must be respectful in our joy over GARY!!!! and  all of the other people that muscled their way in for a nomination.

The Biggest Winners: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Moneyball, War Horse

The Biggest Losers: Drive, The Help, Tilda and Fassy.

Without further ado, here are the 2012 nominations.

Best Picture:

  • The Artist
  • The Descendants
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
  • The Help
  • Hugo
  • Midnight in Paris
  • Moneyball
  • The Tree of Life
  • War Horse
How I Did: 8/9 – I missed Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Even looking at the nominees, I’m still shocked it’s in. But the love in the nomination room for Von Sydow and this film was there and that was very clear. I am also so happy for The Tree of Life getting here like I knew it should and feared it wouldn’t.

 

Director:

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

How I Did: 5/5 – Thank God for predictability. I wonder how far away Bennett Miller and David Fincher were. They were clearly right in there.

Best Actor:

  • Demian Bichir – A Better Life
  • George Clooney – The Descendants
  • Jean Dujardin – The Artist
  • Gary Oldman – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
  • Brad Pitt – Moneyball
How I did: 3/5 – I guess the two most vulnerable did drop. But there are many things going on here. J. Edgar got completely snubbed which means I don’t have to see it. Tinker Tailor and Gary showed strength, but signifying nothing, and the Academy is really opening them up to worthy performances with not one but two foreign nominees. Bravo! (Sorry Fassmember! You should’ve been there!)

 

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
How I Did: 4/5 – Tilda!!! That skank  actress Rooney Mara snuck in and took a spot from our girl. I guess it really does show the strength of Dragon Tattoo and being last.

Best Supporting Actor:

  • Kenneth Branagh – My Week with Marilyn
  • Jonah Hill – Moneyball
  • Nick Nolte – Warrior
  • Christopher Plummer – Beginners
  • Max von Sydow – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
How I Did: 4/5 – Poor Albert Brooks. I actually don’t feel as bad for Albert Brooks than as I do for those who wanted Albert Brooks to get nominated. It really did seem like he had it. It was never guaranteed, but nor was Jonah Hill! And for all of the 6th spot sneaker nomination Max von Sydow is not the best choice.

 

Best Supporting Actress:

  • Bérénice Bejo – The Artist
  • Jessica Chastain – The Help
  • Melissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids
  • Janet McTeer – Albert Nobbs
  • Octavia Spencer – The Help
How I Did: 4/5 – Color me shocked. I didn’t think Melissa could do it. And poor Shailene got Andrew Garfielded which is officially the term for being a young supporting thespian in a wordy heady Best Picture contending drama that got several nominations, but was doled a telling snub at the SAG awards which led to ultimate rejection. I am just thrilled that Jessica Chastain did not get locked out. She deserved it. This and Bichir are both strong testments to looking at SAG for future years.

Best Original Screenplay:

  • The Artist
  • Bridesmaids
  • Margin Call
  • Midnight in Paris
  • A Separation
How I Did: 3/5 – Margin Call really had a lot of heat, but that was in November. I’m surprised to have seen it bounce back. This does confirm my one problem with my own line up that it was too happy and they threw out my comedies for not one, but two dramas. Gotta love that sadness.

 

Best Adapted Screenplay:

  • The Descendants
  • Hugo
  • The Ides of March
  • Moneyball
  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
How I Did: 4/5 – Maybe a year from now someone will be able to explain to me why The Ides of March is getting any awards attention at all. But I guess if it were to be nominated somewhere, it would be the prestigious play adaptation aspect of it with the Clooney celebrity to boot. This is one category that shows The Help’s weakness. If it had a shot at Best Picture, it needed this. Sorry ladies… and Tate.

 

Best Art Direction:

  • The Artist
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
  • Hugo
  • Midnight in Paris
  • War Horse
How I Did: 3/5 – I’m sure there is some lovely story about exterior art direction in War Horse, but this just gives the tiniest pushes to Midnight in Paris. I guess it could have gotten lots of below the line nominations, but none were really expected. I wonder if it will beat The Artist in Original Screenplay. Look for clues elsewhere in the nominees to predict winners. And the snub for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is officially my most egregious snub of the day. It is just appalling.

 

Best Cinematography:

  • The Artist
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Hugo
  • The Tree of Life
  • War Horse
How I Did: 4/5 – While I correctly guessed the love for digital helmer Jeff Cronenweth, I didn’t expect the ultra traditional Janusz Kaminski to sneak in for War Horse. I guess that was a nomination for Most Cinematography.
How I Did: 4/5 –

 

Best Costume Design:

  • Anonymous
  • The Artist
  • Hugo
  • Jane Eyre
  • W.E.
How I Did: 3/5 – I predicted the surprise Anonymous nomination in the wrong spot! Damn! But I did get W.E. and that makes me glad. The costume designers have yet again showed that they are clearly paying attention to the craft in a way only  a costumer designer can and are doing their honest best to nominate the best costume design of the year. A commendable branch.

 

Best Film Editing:

  • The Artist
  • The Descendants
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Hugo
  • Moneyball
How I Did: 4/5 – You win some, you lose some. The Descendants did get that nomination they so desperately wanted/needed, but at the expensive of… something undeserving? All I know is Moneyball is a true surprise and the editing there is heartfelt and tender at best. The editing brach has taken their first step in making up for the Inception snub last year…

 

Best Makeup:

  • Albert Nobbs
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
  • The Iron Lady
How I Did: 2/3 – Glenn Close’s nose.

 

Best Original Score:

  • Ludovic Bource – The Artist
  • Alberto Iglesias – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
  • Howard Shore – Hugo
  • John Williams – The Adventures of Tintin
  • John Williams – War Horse
How I Did: 4/5 – They love John Williams and hate Dario Marianelli. What else is new? However, the Alberto Iglesias nomination for Tinker Tailor is a moody surprise stand out.

 

Best Original Song:

  • “Man or Muppet” – The Muppets
  • “Real in Rio” – Rio
How I Did: 1/2 –  I would not be surprised if this category did not exist next year. This is clearly a stand from the song branch that the field is too weak. And “Real in Rio”? Wow.

 

Best Sound Mixing:

  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Hugo
  • Moneyball
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon
  • War Horse
How I Did: 2/5 – Damn it War Horse! All of my Pirates always nominated nonsense caused me to take it out at the last second. Look at how strong Moneyball is! The strength in weird pockets like this and Editing should translate to wins elsewhere… in either Actor or Adapted Screenplay or both. It’s a spoiler lying in wait for sure. This is also where The Artist really missed out on what Moneyball picked up. I don’t think it shows great weakness for The Artist, just its first not-perfect performance.

 

Best Sound Editing:

  • Drive
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Hugo
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon
  • War Horse
How I Did: 2/5 – So I had Hugo in the wrong place. Oops. This is also the first year in a three or four without an animated feature and really only one visual effects heavy film – two staples of the category. I honestly think that’s a shift in the branch to recognize more realistic challenges in their field like in Drive and War Horse where a lot of those sounds don’t sound made up, but are painstakingly made as real as possible. Good job, Sound Editors!

 

Best 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
How I Did: 4/5 – REAL FUCKING STEEL! Over THE TREE OF LIFE?!?!?! This is my most infuriating snub of the day. I said it was something else, but really?!? I can’t believe it. ARGH! I wonder if the name will ever officially be changed to Best Computer Visual Effects.

 

Best Animated Feature:

  • A Cat in Paris
  • Chico and Rita
  • Kung Fu Panda 2
  • Puss in Boots
  • Rango

How I Did: 2/5 – And proud of it. The Animator’s branch knew it was a shitty year and stuck out on a limb for the arthouse guy… twice. I’m not sure the right other films made it in, and it is definitely a comment on motion capture, but the animators have stood strong.

Best Documentary Feature:

  • Hell and Back Again
  • If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
  • Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
  • Pina
  • Undefeated
How I Did: 3/5 – Here is one of those inside baseball times where the Joe Schmo viewer at home can’t see Harvey Weinstein shoving Undefeated down everyone’s throats. But it worked. He is the best at what he does.

Best Foreign Feature:

  • Bullhead
  • Footnote
  • In Darkness
  • Monsieur Lazhar
  • A Separation
How I Did: 3/5 – Besides the fact that Footnote is the weirdest nominee here, there is nothing too surprising. I am sad that Pina didn’t make super bizarre trivia history. It was so close…

 

Best Animated Short Film:

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

 

Best Documentary Short Film:

  • 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

 

Best Live-Action Short Film:

  • Pentecost
  • Raju
  • The Shore
  • Time Freak
  • Tuba Atlantic

I guess overall, this was a year of many quiet surprises. Nothing ever really came out of left field, but the status quo was never really upheld. I went 72 out of 104 or about 69%. So I passed, but barely. How do I even call myself an Oscar predictor? However, I’m glad that many of my missteps were from assuming predictability and stodgy attitudes from the Academy, which I will never do again. They really spread the love this year, with many films as individual nominees and a few of the choices were almost inspired. Moneyball as the 3rd place nomination count holder? Just shocking. And with the snub of Shailene Woodley, it is officially the end of the chances for The Descendants. The Oscar goes to The Artist and I’m as pleased as punch. What is exciting is that since Bridesmaids stumbled ever so slightly, that Supporting Actress race is still hot, which means 3 of the 4 acting races are still up in the air, as are director, and both screenplay races. This season is not over yet.

 

11 – Hugo

10 – The Artist

6 – Moneyball

War Horse

5 – The Descendants

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

4 – The Help

3 – Albert Nobbs

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Midnight in Paris

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

The Tree of Life

2 – Bridesmaids

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

The Iron Lady

My Week with Marilyn

A Separation

1 – The Adventures of Tintin

Anonymous

Beginners

A Better Life

Drive

The Ides of March

Jane Eyre

Kung Fu Panda 2

Margin Call

The Muppets

Puss in Boots

Rango

Real Steel

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

W.E.

January 23, 2012

My Final 2012 Oscar Nomination Predictions!

It’s hard to believe it’s been a whole year since all of Los Angeles woke up at 5:30 AM to hear Mo’Nique read a list of 10 movies everyone knew were going to be nominated. But this year, it’s different. It seems there are so many more questions than just “which best picture nominee won’t get a screenplay nomination?!?!” Supporting Actor and Actress have so much fluidity, the Original Screenplay race has 3 spots wide open, and we don’t even know how many best picture nominees there will be this year! Count me as excited!

So without further ado, here are my final predictions for this year’s Oscar nominees.

Best Picture

  1. The Artist
  2. The Descendants
  3. Hugo
  4. The Help
  5. Midnight in Paris
  6. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  7. The Tree of Life
  8. Moneyball
  9. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
  10. Bridesmaids

This would be my 10 list, but I am going to predict the top 7. Moneyball feels like it’s been getting just a little too little buzz in these last couple of weeks to truly go the distance. Conversely, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo struck at exactly the right moment, and I think some Fincher love will carry this one through. I’ve also been predicting The Tree of Life from the beginning and I’m going to continue to do so. It will get number 1 votes. It has to, right?

Director:

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

Sorry Tate and David. I just don’t think it’s your time.

Actor:

  • George Clooney – The Descendants
  • Leonardo DiCaprio – J. Edgar
  • Jean Dujardin – The Artist
  • Michael Fassbender – Shame
  • Brad Pitt – Moneyball

While this has been the 5 all along, many are predicting a change. I think the shocker will be that it stays the same. No love for Oldman, and just enough love for a DiCaprio performance I actually can not convince myself to see. The academy loves themselves an Eastwood biopic nomination so this should be no problem. And if that nomination fails, it will be the first time since 2002 and Blood Work that a one of his movies did not score a nomination in a year when he made a film. A weird statistic, yes. But a true one.

Actress:

  • Glenn Close – Albert Nobbs
  • Viola Davis – The Help
  • Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady
  • Tilda Swinton – We Need to Talk About Kevin
  • Michelle Williams – My Week with Marilyn

Another boring slate, but I’m having a large problem putting Swinton on my list. It just almost doesn’t seem real that this incredibly weird and alienating movie will be the one weird and alienating movie she makes that actually gets her the already overdue next nomination.

Supporting Actor:

  • Kenneth Branagh – My Week with Marilyn
  • Albert Brooks – Drive
  • Jonah Hill – Moneyball
  • Nick Nolte – Warrior
  • Christopher Plummer – Beginners

I feel extremely uncomfortable predicting Nick Nolte since Warrior was such a non-starter, but I wrote about it and him and I guess it just seems like the safest choice. But it’s not even that safe! There’s about a 10% chance he gets a nomination. There just so happen to be 22 other choices for the nomination. Exhausting.

Supporting Actress:

  • Bérénice Bejo – The Artist
  • Jessica Chastain – The Help
  • Janet McTeer – Albert Nobbs
  • Octavia Spencer – The Help
  • Shailene Woodley – The Descendants

So for those of you counting at home, I’m leaving off Melissa McCarthy, Vanessa Redgrave, and Carey Mulligan. Shame is just the Fassbender show, Redgrave only has weird non-buzz, and I don’t believe in the strength of Bridesmaids. My own feelings aside, it seems too broad to really break in anywhere interesting and McCarthy seems a little too 2011 right now.

Adapted Screenplay:

  • The Descendants
  • The Help
  • Hugo
  • Moneyball
  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

I really wanted to keep Dragon Tattoo on here, but I just don’t think it has quite as strong of a literary narrative as these other choices. The Help could be weak because the screenplay is weak and Tinker Tailor could be out because it is unseen. But I think Zaillian will have to deal with one nomination in this category.

Original Screenplay:

  • The Artist
  • Bridesmaids
  • 50/50
  • Midnight in Paris
  • Young Adult

It seems too lighthearted to be true. Look for some dark, sad spoiler to oust Young Adult or 50/50. I’m thinking A Separation or Take Shelter. P.S. This is easily my favorite category this year for potential nominees. It runs so deep in terms of quality, not in terms of plausibility.

Art Direction:

  • The Artist
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
  • Hugo
  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
  • The Tree of Life

This is my most wishful of my forced nomination guesses for The Tree of Life. But I firmly believe that the art direction in that movie isn’t just amazing, but it also has the cool story of them buying an actual block and decorating the whole thing to be the set. That’s a cool narrative. Narratives get you nominations.

Cinematography:

  • The Artist
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Hugo
  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
  • The Tree of Life

I can’t even come up with a plausible 6th option. Moneyball?

Costume Design:

  • The Artist
  • The Help
  • Hugo
  • My Week with Marilyn
  • W.E.

I had War Horse up there until the last second, but it all felt a little too Euro-centric. I added The Help for that flair of Americana.

Film Editing:

  • The Artist
  • The Descendants
  • Drive
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Hugo

This entire plausible slate would send the world into an uproar. But I think Drive is strong enough to score outside of Brooks and The Descendants is powerful enough to clinch this necessary nomination.

Makeup:

  • Anonymous
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
  • The Iron Lady

This is the only category where I think sentimentality alone will sweep up Harry Potter to a nomination. Makeup is so unpredictable that why not? Harry Potter!

Original Score:

  • Ludovic Bource – The Artist
  • Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Howard Shore – Hugo
  • Dario Marianelli – Jane Eyre
  • John Williams – War Horse

To all those predicting double Williams – you’re wrong! The Artist is a behemoth, Dragon Tattoo and the NIN boys are way too cool to pass up, Howard Shore and Hugo are breathtakingly obvious, and you never bet against Dario Marianelli doing a stringy classical score for a romantic British novel adaptation. Just don’t do it. So I had to choose a Williams.

Original Song:

  • Lay Your Head Down – Albert Nobbs
  • Star Spangled Man – Captain America: The First Avenger
  • The Living Proof – The Help
  • Life’s A Happy Song – The Muppets
  • Man or Muppet – The Muppets

I can’t believe a super hero movie is going to get a nomination in this category. It seems so wacky.

Sound Editing:

  • The Adventures of Tintin
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  • Super 8
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon
  • War Horse

Sound Mixing

  • The Artist
  • Hugo
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
  • Super 8
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon

People seem to question The Artist and Hugo here when they happen to be the two that I am the most sure of. Sound Mixing is a little notorious for sneaking in Best Picture nominees. It also helps that these two films have sound mixes that are an active part of the story. And I’ve mentioned before that there exists no Pirates of the Caribbean movie nor a Rob Marshall movie without an Oscar nomination. I don’t bet against statistics so I made room for On Stranger Tides in this category. As I write this now I’m considering going back and predicting an Art Direction nomination too… hmm….

Visual Effects:

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
  • Hugo
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon
  • The Tree of Life

Hasn’t this been decided for months now?

Animated Feature:

  • The Adventures of Tintin
  • Cars 2
  • Puss in Boots
  • Rango
  • Rio

I just don’t believe that more than 2 sequels can get in. And Puss feels less like a cash grab than Kung Fu Panda 2, but let’s face it… It is such a weak year for this category. And I just can’t bring myself to nominate a movie with Christmas in the title. I was including it for it’s production diversity, but I guess Tintin gets to be European enough and Rio gets to be Latino.

Documentary Feature:

  • Bill Cunningham New York
  • Hell and Back Again
  • If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
  • Pina
  • Project Nim

Bio Doc, War Doc, Eco Doc… Check, Check, Check. I worry that I checked some of those boxes twice, but there are usually two of some kind.

Foreign Film:

  • In Darkness
  • Monsieur Lazhar
  • Omar Killed Me
  • Pina
  • A Separation

A film with “monsieur” in the title makes up for snubbing a French movie in Oscar math. Don’t ask questions.

Here is the overall nomination count for anything with more than 1 predicted nomination.

11 – The Artist

10 – Hugo

7 – The Help

6 – The Descendants

5 – The Tree of Life

4 – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

3 – Albert Nobbs, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, My Week with Marilyn, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Transformers: Dark of the Moon

2 – The Adventures of Tintin, Drive, The Iron Lady, The Muppets, Pina, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Super 8, War Horse

I wish I could’ve found more room for War Horse. 2 seems awfully small. It is in 6th or 7th place in my predictions in Adapted Screenplay, Art Direction, Cinematography, Costume Design, Film Editing, Sound Editing, Director, Best Picture. I could see it surprising and doing really well. But I’m predicting the other end of the spectrum… disaster.

I can’t wait to see how I did. Go Tree of Life!

January 11, 2012

Sorting through the Supporting Actor Glut

Source: Columbia Pictures

The Supporting Actor category this year, at least for a couple spaces, has really seemed in this large state of flux. Rarely in recent memory has there been in a category in which so many different contenders have won a precursor award, but my challenge today is to sort through all of those precursors to really sniff out who has a chance, because let’s face it – no one really thinks John C. Reilly is going to be nominated for Cedar Rapids.

So let’s get the easy stuff out of the way. There are three men who are all but guaranteed a nomination come the announcement. In terms of awardage, Albert Brooks for Drive is surprisingly in first place with a whopping 28 mentions from various critics groups including the BFCA, the Globes, and the NYFCC. While he missed out at SAG, don’t expect that to happen at the Oscars. He’s in for a nomination – possibly the win. Christopher Plummer for Beginners is certainly still in there too, with 21 mentions across the groups. He, however, has the best record with the big boys. Plummer really only missed the NYFCC and got all 5 of the BFCA, the Globes, LAFCC, the NBR, and SAG. Shue in. The third nominee who is a strong definite is the hyper-British hyper-actor Kenneth Branagh for My Week with Marilyn. His far stealthier awards track still holds 9 award mentions including the BFCA, the Globes, and SAG. He’s got a pretty good record going for him, he turns in a fun performance, and I can’t see why he will miss this nomination.

Now it’s time for the tricky part…

read more »

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.
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.

read more »