With the Oscar ceremony less than a week away,
I’ll probably be eating these words on Sunday, so don’t take it too seriously.I will also only be focusing on the big nominations – Best Picture, Best Actor, and the like.
Best Picture – The Artist is the shoo-in for this award. It is the most critically lauded, the most well-known, and the most unique. Picking it would not only be picking one of the best films of the last year (unlike, say, picking The Help or Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close), it will recognize a relative newcomer to the field, and it will show respect to the art of film. This last quality is what the Oscars are all about. Speaking of which, am I the only one who thinks Billy Crystal is going to milk the silent aspect for all it’s worth in the opening monologue?
Best Actor – Gary Oldman, who has frequently topped the list of “best actors who have never been nominated for an Oscar.” This is probably going to be a “we’re sorry” Oscar, rather than one that rewards Oldman’s specific performance. A lot of people will claim Clooney will win. This is a tempting choice, but Clooney has won before and been nominated many times. Oldman never has, and they love to award work just so people will not yell at them.
Best Actress – Many people assume that Meryl Streep is a given for this one. I’m not so sure. Why? Because the film itself (The Iron Lady) was a critical flop. Rewarding Streep would seem like giving the film as a whole merit it does not possess. Now, normally the performance is supposed to be considered separately, but that never happens. It reminds me of the situation with Chaplin. Robert Downey Jr’s performance was the best of the year, but the film itself was garbage, so he didn’t win. So who could upset Streep? I would love to see Rooney Mara take home the trophy, Michelle Williams will probably win. She has already won many awards for her performance and seems like an equally safe choice. AMPAS is always about patting classic Hollywood on the back. Rewarding a woman who portrays one of Hollywood’s biggest legends is just too tempting.
Best Director – Michel Hazanavicius. I would love for Malick to win (I still have a bet going on as to whether or not Malick will even show up…he tends to avoid publicity) but Tree of Life was too challenging for many people to “get.” Scorsese and Allen will get their awards in separate categories (yes, I know Scorsese didn’t write Hugo, but any award for that film will seem like an award for him). It was also the direction of The Artist (and the two leads) that made the film work as well as it did.
Best Original Screenplay – Midnight in Paris. The Artist is also nominated, but the strength of the film was in its execution, not its writing. Midnight is the smartest script of 2011, and Allen is also one of the most beloved Hollywood personalities. Besides, the other films nominated will either win another award (A Separation will win Best Foreign Film) or come from a genre AMPAS hates (like Bridesmaids).
Best Adapted Screenplay- I’m going with Hugo on this one. The theme of the Oscars this year is rewarding classic Hollywood. This is why The Artist has received so many nominations. Hugo, the most nominated film of the year, will be pushed out of most of the big categories by The Artist. This is simply a safe option that will reward Hugo and still leave room for The Artist to win without people complaining that AMPAS is ignoring Scorsese again.
Best Supporting Actor – Christopher Plummer, don’t ya think? He’s the favorite, he plays a gay character (something AMPAS loves), and it’s a good way for Hollywood to reward a vet. Like I said, this year is all about AMPAS patting classic Hollywood on the back.
Best Supporting Actress – Octavia Spencer is a tempting choice, but I think that Berenice Bejo will win. She’s been nominated for a lot of other acting awards, but usually has been pushed out by either Steep or Williams. In fact, classifying her performance as a “supporting” role is a way to make sure Bejo has a chance to finally get an award.
Best Animated Feature-This may be the first time a Pixar film has not been nominated, which means that the race is far more exciting. There have been some great films (like Coraline and The Triplets of Belleville) that have not won because Pixar crowds them out. Rango will win, as it is one of the few that is a) not a sequel and b) is something that most people are aware of. This is one of the few categories where a majority of people will have seen the (mainstream studio) nominees. AMPAS has always been eager to please – that’s why this category exists in the first place.
Best Documentary – First off, why was Werner Herzog not nominated for Into the Abyss? That was a huge blunder. But in terms of the nominees, only two look interesting – If a Tree Falls (about the classified as a terrorist organization ELF) and Paradise Lost 3. And I believe Paradise Lost 3 is the most deserving. The series of films focuses on a string of horrific murders and the men who were convicted of the crime. But of course, they may have been innocent all along – and this documentary tells the story of their release. It is the most widely known subject, and the one that resonates the most with people. After all, there has been enough story here for three films. For the same reason Return of the King swept in 2003, this will win because AMPAS wants to reward the trilogy.