Academy Awards 2012 Predictions

So it’s that time of year again, where amateurs like me pretend to know what they are talking about! Here are my Academy Award predictions!
I will give a small explanation for each to show why I picked that nominee. Let’s see how many I get wrong!
Enjoy the ceremony, everyone!

Best Picture
This film has been getting buzz for the longest time. It’s innovative while paying tributes to the classics, it’s not overly deep but not overly shallow so many people will enjoy it, and it’s short and easy to digest (and rewatch). The Artist was my pick for the second best film of the year, and seeing as Drive isn’t even nominated (I mean, really?), The Artist is my next pick. I mean, seriously, not only did Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close get picked over other brilliant films, but there aren’t even ten films in the list (what’s up with there only being nine?).

“The Artist”
“The Descendants”
“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”
 “Midnight In Paris”
 “The Help”
 “War Horse”
 “The Tree of Life”

Best Director
Well, most of the time what makes the best picture the best is the man/woman behind the film itself. Some years this is not the case, but in regards to 2011, a year where auteurs ruled the cinemas, Hazanavicius is proof that this usual pairing of awards is there for a reason. His clever blend of silent film feel and modern day viewings of said era is perfect and I don’t think it could have been done any better.

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

Best Actor
I swear I will pick other nominees from other films. Dujardin took the difficult task of playing a silent film star in a silent film. “On screen” he is as exaggerated and overly dramatic as the acting had to be back then, and off screen he is the charming-yet-egocentric megastar we’d expect. His highs are hilarious and his lows are heart breaking. Dujardin is a new face to American audiences and one we won’t forget for a very long time (even if he doesn’t act in another movie ever again).

 Demian Bichir, “A Better Life”
 George Clooney, “The Descendants”
 Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”
 Gary Oldman, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
 Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”

Best Actress
Streep always gets the nominations but never the awards, not since Sophie’s Choice about thirty years ago. My personal pick is Michelle Williams, but sadly I don’t think she will win. Many are going with Viola Davis, but I think Streep has the force of the Weinsteins and the recent publicity behind her to push her ahead. Not only was the film released the closest to the time the Academy had to vote, but her performance is considered the sole reason to watch the film (as it is called one of her best performances ever, and that’s saying a lot for the actress of our generation).

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”

Best Supporting Actor
Christopher Plummer is featured here in a group of three other acting veterans (and one newcomer). Branagh ruled Shakespearean films for years, Nolte was the token tough guy we wish we were, and Von Sydow is as versatile as they come (seriously, look at his resume and tell me this guy isn’t unstoppable). However, Plummer, especially this year, is the most relatable, and his role in the dramady Beginners is easily the most important, while you can’t really say the same for the other roles (as wonderful as they all were).

Kenneth Branagh, “My Week With Marilyn”
Jonah Hill, “Moneyball”
Nick Nolte, “Warrior”
Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”
Max Von Sydow, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”

Best Supporting Actress
I think we’ve all seen this one coming. I voted Bejo for the Golden Globe awards because, well, I am obviously a nut for The Artist. However, I guess I didn’t really think about what it means to be a supporting character. While Bejo was truly remarkable in The Artist, Spencer’s part in The Help is easily the anchor of the film. While Davis’s role showed the passion during that horrible era, Spencer’s performance showed the humbleness and the silent power one can have. Spencer’s performance was unexpected and pure, and I think this is what got more to voters than just wonderful acting.

Berenice Bejo, “The Artist”
Jessica Chastain, “The Help”
Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids”
Janet McTeer, “Albert Nobbs”
Octavia Spencer, “The Help”

Best Original Screenplay
Woody Allen is creepy as all hell, but you can’t deny his genius when it comes to screenwriting. Midnight in Paris, I feel, is overlooked as it is a good film, and out of all of those nominated (I mean, Bridesmaids instead of 50/50 is just absolutely appalling), there clearly isn’t even an iota of a contest. Plus, it’s Allen’s best film and best script in a very long time.

Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”
JC Chandor, “Margin Call”
Asghar Farhadi, “A Separation”
Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, “Bridesmaids”

Best Adapted Screenplay
I’m tied between Moneyball and The Descendants, but I think the latter will pull through in the end. It’s easier to write a script about a situation we may all be familiar with than one about an event in sports history. However, it may be much more difficult to write a great and refreshing script about something we are all familiar with than one about  an event in sports history. Moneyball’s script was incredible, but The Descendants’ script was just the tiniest bit better, because it was daring enough to force us to laugh at horrible situations or to even cry at the same situations we just laughed at. It forced us to be the awkward one amongst our friends that reacted differently than them. The film is just like life itself where we really don’t know how to react to these situations without being improper, and to capture that on film and on paper is extraordinary.

Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash, “The Descendants”
John Logan, “Hugo”
George Clooney, Grant Heslov, , “The Ides of March”
Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian,  “Moneyball”
Bridget O’Connor, Peter Straughn, “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

Best Animated Feature
I won’t even begin with this. Rango was superb and a great tribute to the Western genre. Easily the best animated film of 2011. Next.

“A Cat In Paris”
“Chico & Rita”
“Kung Fu Panda 2”
“Puss in Boots”

Best Foreign Feature
I haven’t seen all of these, but I have seen A Separation and I can understand the huge support behind it. The only other possible competition there could have been was The Skin I Live In, and that’s not even nominated for an Academy Award. Should be a clear victory.

“Bullhead” (Belgium)
“Footnote” (Israel)
“In Darkness” (Poland)
“Monsiuer Lazhar” (Canada)
“A Separation” (Iran)

Best Art Direction
This one is tricky. I will go with Hugo because it created an environment that was both magical for children and whimsical for adults. The many areas inside of just a train station alone that seemed to be marvelous is an incredible feat to pull off. Really, this award could easily go to any of the nominees (something that shouldn’t be this rare this year but sadly it is), but if I had to pick the film that had the most astonishing visuals in an artistic sense, for me it’s Hugo.

“The Artist”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”
“Midnight in Paris”
“War Horse”

Best Cinematography
I’m honestly surprised The Tree of Life has gotten so much praise from the Academy, especially since so many other wonderful-yet-different films were shunned. While it may not win best picture or best director, there can’t be any way whatsoever it won’t win for its cinematography; Some of the best I have ever seen, to be frank (I never understood that saying. Why would I want to be Frank? Is he cool or something?). If the Tree of Life doesn’t win for its cinematography, I will eat my own eyeballs (considering some of the nominees alone are incredible let downs, pun intended, maybe this statement wasn’t such a good idea).

“The Artist”
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“The Tree of Life”
“War Horse”

Best Costume Design
Jane Eyre pulled off what Marie Antoinette tried to do many years before, except not nearly as radical. The visuals in Jane Eyre are classically based but so modern, and this includes the costume design. The pastel colours are both historically based and cinematically vibrant, and the clothes themselves look exactly how they should. Engaging enough for those of us who can’t stand period films, and accurate enough to please those who love them.

“The Artist”
“Jane Eyre”

Best Documentary Feature
The huge support for this documentary and its recent release on HBO will probably push this film ahead (but I can’t be for certain). Considering how weak the selection of documentaries are this year (compared to the goliath five from last year anyways), it’s anybody’s game really, so I will go with the most recent and the most well received: Paradise Lost 3.

“Hell and Back Again”
“If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front”
“Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory”

Best Documentary Short
I’ve only seen The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom, so I’ll pick that. Next.

“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 Film Editing
What made the American Dragon Tattoo the most different from the Swedish films was its messy, jagged editing. It turned the noir-esque story of cinematically daunting proportions into an edgy, sharp thriller. I prefer the former, but this editing made the American film very different and it shut the mouths of many naysayers (including myself) that didn’t think an American film even had to have been made. Out of the other films, the editing sticks out the most in Dragon Tattoo. The frame rate and tributing use of cuts in The Artist may give Dragon Tattoo some competition, but I don’t think so.

“The Artist”
“The Descendants”
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

Best Make-Up
This could go to anyone,  but the make up job that made Meryl Streep one step closer to being Margaret Thatcher will probably give The Iron Lady the win.

“Albert Nobbs”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”
“The Iron Lady”

Best Original Score
Considering the vast majority of the song in The Artist was just music, this category is almost an absolute landslide. If the score was bad, the movie would fall flat and our attention would have been lost. This creative score that time traveled us back in time and showed us the many types of orchestrated songs that accompanied movies back then (from giddy and joyful to sorrowful and dramatic).

“The Adventures of Tintin”
“The Artist”
“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
“War Horse”

Best Original Song
Considering I could win or lose this prediction by a coin toss, I’ll go with the better and more beloved film: The Muppets. Plus, it’s The Muppets. They’re always known for their songs. I also find it incredibly bizarre that there are only two nominees. What about the original songs in Drive? Oh well.

“Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets” Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
“Real in Rio” from “Rio” Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown Lyric by Siedah Garrett

Best Animated Short Film
This is one of two categories I won’t even begin to pretend to know what I’m talking about. Flying books sound sweet, and Morris Lessmore is a clever name I am sure to name my son when I am eventually a father. Next.

“The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore”
“La Luna”
“A Morning Stroll”
“Wild Life”

Best Live-Action Short Film
Same thing. The Shore sounds to the point and I don’t think a film called simply The Shore would screw around. Aren’t you glad you’re following my predictions now?

“The Shore”
“Time Freak”
“Tuba Atlantic”

Best Sound Editing
Back to some legitimate predictions. Wow, what’s this? A nomination for Drive? Somebody grab a camera! I’m not picking Drive because it was my favorite film last year, but the sound editing really was well done. If I put my bias aside, I’d pick War Horse, but I truly believe Drive had the best sound editing out of these five.

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
“War Horse”

Best Sound Mixing
Sound mixing, however, is a victory for War Horse for me. A close second would be Dragon Tattoo, and to be fair Drive’s editing was better than its mixing (I know it’s not even nominated but I still feel the need to explain myself). The war scenes in War Horse alone show sound mixing done beautifully well, and what puts Dragon Tattoo in second are the chase sequences and the most thrilling moments where the mixing shines.

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
“War Horse”

Best Visual Effects
Has to go to the Apes.
Do I have to explain myself? Well, okay. The new approach to the Apes series (using CGI instead of make up effects for the humanized, aforementioned apes, especially in this film where they are less human) was a risk that payed off. The use of motion capture technology was some of the best I’ve seen lately, and the segments of choreographed fighting, whether it be one on one or large groups against each other, was extremely well done. Caesar alone makes this film worthy of the win.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”
“Real Steel”
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
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