Saturday, February 25, 2012

Filling Out My Oscar Pool


Going all out this year and doing the full Oscar party complete with pool. In years past, being a movie guy who has seen all the nominees has hurt just as often as it helped as I let personal opinions cloud judgement. Zellweger for Cold Mountain? Scoff! Scoff, I say!

Let's see if I can avoid that pitfall this year.


Picture

Prediction: The Artist
Thoughts: It wasn't so much that The Artist was some kind of unstoppable juggernaut it was that there was never a breakout challenger to take it on. The Descendants, Hugo, and The Help are all splitting the runner up vote. There is a tiny, phantom voice away in the back of my head that says The Help but I think that's the same voice that tells me to worry about getting hit by an asteroid and other unlikely disasters.
If I Voted: Not one of my top 10 was nominated. My preference is a coin toss between The Artist and Moneyball with the slight edge going to Moneyball since I feel it is one I will return to more often.

Actor

Prediction: Jean DuJardin
Thoughts: Clooney seems like he should be the frontrunner here, but people vote their heart and DuJardin has all the excitement and momentum and the popular film. Sometimes it's smartest just to predict the person people most want to see on stage.
If I Voted: Oldman all the way. This is the only acting category where my top choice made the ballot.

Actress

Prediction: Viola Davis
Thoughts: Streep is masterful as ever but is no doubt hampered by the fact that Iron Lady is terrible. Rooney Mara should be a stronger contender but I think it was more of a welcome to party nomination. I can't see anybody but Davis winning. All the love out there for The Help is going to land right here.
If I Voted: Davis is the only choice from my ballot that made the big show. Her greatness shines through all the many problems I have with The Help.


Supporting Actor

Prediction: Christopher Plummer
Thoughts: The lock of the night. I might still predict Plummer if he was running against the rest of the field combined. Branagh is fun and Hill does well in a great part while Von Sydow and Nolte are both overdue as Plummer is, but really, nobody's close.
If I Voted: Again, Plummer is the only one from my ballot to make it and will make an incredibly deserving winner. Brooks was still robbed, though.

Supporting Actress

Prediction: Octavia Spencer
Thoughts: I'm sorely tempted to pick Melissa McCarthy here, in a kind of Chariots of Fire, everybody thinks they're the only one voting for her kind of win. But that seems like a great way to lose $5 in an Oscar pool. There's no denying that Spencer is the heavy, heavy favorite. 
If I Voted: McCarthy, no question. An brilliantly original comic performance that belongs alongside Kevin Kline's win for A Fish Called Wanda.

Adapted Screenplay

Prediction: The Descendants
Thoughts: Tough call between Moneyball and The Descendants. Moneyball is the more quotable of the two films but when in doubt go with the more popular film and that seems to be The Descendants.
If I Voted: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy impressive feat adapting LeCarre's labyrinth just edges out Moneyball's clever take on its cerebral material.


Original Screenplay

Prediction: A Separation
Thoughts: Can't keep myself from going out on a limb here. No doubt I'm letting my personal judgement cloud my predictions but it's just process of elimination. Midnight in Paris is the safe bet, and The Artist is the big name in the category, but Paris is fluff and Artist has no dialogue. If voters have gotten around to seeing A Separation by now I don't see how it doesn't have an impact on them. This category rewarded foreign language titles before with Almodovar.
If I Voted: A Separation by a mile. It is in a different class than the competition.

Director

Prediction: Michael Hazanvicius for The Artist
Thoughts: Same deal as picture. The Artist could lose if there was a single strong competitor but only a groundswell of Scorsese love could upset here, and Marty's got his trophy.
If I Voted: Like picture none of my favorites came close. Tree of Life is the most ambitious title but when it comes to who made the best possible movie out of their script, I have to give the edge to Hazanivicius.

Cinematography

Prediction: The Artist
Thoughts: This should be a easy win for Lubezki but I fear it's actually a three-way race between Tree, Hugo and The Artist with The Artist's momentum winning the day.
If I Voted: Tree of Life is the most beautifully shot film since Assassination of Jesse James. It's one for the all-time list.


Art Direction

Prediction: Hugo
Thoughts: You can't count The Artist out here but it's not that flashy and black and white might cost it some votes with the unenlightened. Some are saying Harry Potter is due a cumulative win for the franchise but I don't think voters feel they owe the the wizarding world anything. No film had it's art direction as front and center as Hugo.
If I Voted: Tinker Tailor was shamefully left out here, but Hugo is still a worthy choice.

Costumes

Prediction: The Artist
Thoughts: The rare wide open five-way race. When in doubt go with momentum of The Artist although Sandy Powell is a force to be reckoned with in this category and those Hugo costumes are eye-catching.
If I Voted: Hugo. Sandy Powell is a three-time winner for a reason. 

Animated Film

Prediction: Rango
Thoughts: If voters have seen those surprise foreign titles then this becomes impossible to predict, but if you count those as too small then I don't see how Rango loses.
If I Voted: I recused myself from making a ballot having not seen the foreign titles but out of the major releases Rango is clearly the most inventive, original of the choices.

Makeup

Prediction: Iron Lady
Thoughts: Easy call. Old age Thatcher is a stunning transformation, all the more impressive for coming on the heels of the disastrous old age J. Edgar.
If I Voted: Iron Lady.


Sound Mixing 

Prediction: War Horse
Thoughts: Tough call, but when in doubt go with the war movie. 
If I Voted: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was some of the most distinctive sound work of the year.

Sound Editing

Prediction: War Horse
Thoughts: Letters From Iwo Jima won its only trophy here. Go with the war movie.
If I Voted: Drive

Editing

Prediction: The Artist
Thoughts: Without a clear action favorite like The Matrix or Bourne Ultimatum this category goes with a flashy best picture contender
If I Voted:  Dragon Tattoo. Fincher's editing team deserve a repeat win.

Visual Effects

Prediction: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Thoughts: If they aren't going to honor Serkis for this achievement then they would have to go for it here
If I Voted:  Apes


Song

Prediction: Muppets
Thoughts: The nominating system is a mess but the win should easily go Brett McKenzie here
If I Voted:  I tried to listen to that Rio song and didn't make it to the end. Muppets. Even if it is the wrong song from Muppets.

Score

Prediction: The Artist
Thoughts: The Artist landed in some controversy with the prominent use of Bernard Hermann but that shouldn't diminish Bource's work and I doubt it will. Double nominee Williams can't be counted out though. He's more overdue than Meryl Streep.
If I Voted:  Another example of all my choices getting overlooked and disqualified. Out of these choices The Artist contributes the most to the film's success

Foreign Language Film

Prediction: A Separation
Thoughts: This category is notorious for leaving frontrunners at the altar, and the politics of rewarding Iran might trip up some votes. Still A Separation is a a formidable contender.
If I Voted: Separation was my #2 film of the year behind Drive.



Documentary

Prediction: Undefeated
Thoughts: Undefeated story of an underdog sports team seems to be the emotional choice here and seems like a strong bet.
If I Voted: Haven't seen the full roster 

The Shorts

I haven't seen enough of these to comment but there frontrunners appear to be Fantastic Flying Books in animated, Tuba Atlantic in live action, and Saving Face in doc.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so happy you said that about Real in Rio because I go to lengths so see as many nominees as possible in all categories and I felt so guilty about not listening to this. It takes far less time and energy to check this out on youtube than to go to the theatre and watch any of the movies. And I tried at least 4 or 5 times and everytime I end up skipping through the song to the end, hoping something good catches my ear and it never does. Awful song.

    Your prediction on A Separation for screenplay got my heart racing. I think we'll be disappointed though, sadly.

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