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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 24, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 08
SGN's Academy Awards predictions
Arts & Entertainment
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SGN's Academy Awards predictions

by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN Contributing Writer

It doesn't feel like there's a lot of drama in regard to Sunday night's 84th annual Academy Awards telecast. While Hugo leads the way with 11 nominations, in reality it feels like an afterthought compared to The Artist and its 10 nominations, or The Descendants and its five. The latter two are films with all the heat and the buzz, and if there is going to be an upset, conventional wisdom has the latter coming out on top while the former sits in silent shock.

All kidding and obvious puns aside, this year's Oscar for Best Picture is without question The Artist's to lose. Writer and director Michel Hazanavicius' endearing poem to the early years of cinema - its melding of themes presented in timeless classics such as Singing in the Rain and A Star Is Born, its embracing of the silent film esthetic so complete and in such exacting detail - has been the talk of the awards circuit since November. It has swept the majority of the primary contests, and unlike the Republican presidential race, there hasn't been a single upstart that's come close to upsetting this frontrunner.

It could happen, of course, as stranger things have certainly taken place in Oscar history (Crash beating out Brokeback Mountain; Shakespeare in Love besting Saving Private Ryan; Rocky knocking out Network, All the President's Men, and Taxi Driver). But with the recent revelation (thank you, Los Angeles Times) that the Academy membership is 94% Caucasian and 77% male, with a median age of 62, this just doesn't seem all that likely, and much like last year's win of The King's Speech over The Social Network this year's Oscars feel vanilla and ordinary.

Still, that doesn't mean all of my predictions are going to pan out as expected. I'm guessing Hugo and The Artist tie with four wins apiece - not exactly an overwhelming victory by any stretch of the imagination.

BEST PICTURE
Nominees: The Artist, The Descendants, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Hugo, The Help, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, The Tree of Life, War Horse

Will Win: The Artist. This contest is done. Over. Finished. The Weinstein Company and writer/director Michel Hazanavicius have this one in the bag.

Should Win: The Descendants. Alexander Payne's absorbing and emotionally stirring family comedy of grief and reconciliation had depth and nuance, and as such ends up being one of the more enduring achievements of this or any other year.



BEST ACTOR
Nominees: Demián Bichir (A Better Life), George Clooney (The Descendants), Jean Dujardin (The Artist), Gary Oldman (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), Brad Pitt (Moneyball)

Will Win: Dujardin. As good as he is in the movie, and he is wonderful, his winning has the feel of Roberto Benigni taking home the statue for Life Is Beautiful in 1999.

Should Win: Clooney. The best performance of his career, hands down, and it's frustrating to think he won't be recognized for it. Granted, you could say the same thing about Pitt's work in Moneyball.



BEST ACTRESS
Nominees: 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)

Will Win: Davis. This is actually a tougher call than you would expect it to be, but I just feel like Davis has the momentum.

Should Win: Streep. I didn't like the movie - it's easily the worst picture of the five nominees - but that doesn't make Streep's work as Margaret Thatcher any less incredible.



BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Nominees: Kenneth Branagh (My Week with Marilyn), Jonah Hill (Moneyball), Nick Nolte (Warrior), Christopher Plummer (Beginners), Max von Sydow (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close)

Will Win: Plummer. He's had this in the bag since Beginners first hit theatres all the way back in June of last year.

Should Win: Plummer. The guy is flat-out incredible in the film, and as solid as the other nominees were in their respective features, none of them come even close to Plummer's work here.



BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Nominees: Bérénice Bejo (The Artist), Jessica Chastain (The Help), Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids), Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs), Octavia Spencer (The Help)

Will Win: Spencer. As close to a lock as anything at this year's Oscars.

Should Win: McTeer. If we're basing it on their work in the nominated film alone, then McTeer should easily be the frontrunner here, as her work in Albert Nobbs was head and shoulders above that of all the other nominees.



BEST DIRECTOR
Nominees: Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris), Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist), Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life), Alexander Payne (The Descendants), Martin Scorsese (Hugo)

Will Win: Scorsese. I'm predicting an upset here (and a Best Picture/Best Director split), as the Academy's love for Scorsese knows no bounds and I get the feeling they want to make sure Hugo goes home with something major and not just technical awards.

Should Win: Malick. Love it or hate it, The Tree of Life is the most audacious, daring, and interesting film on the board. It is also the one we're most likely to still be talking about a decade from now.



PREDICTING THE REST
Best Original Screenplay - Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Best Adapted Screenplay - Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash, The Descendants
Best Foreign Language Film - A Separation
Best Animated Film - Rango
Best Documentary - Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Best Cinematography - The Tree of Life
Best Editing - The Artist
Best Art Direction - Hugo
Best Costume Design - Hugo
Best Sound Mixing - Hugo
Best Sound Editing - Drive
Best Visual Effects - Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Best Makeup - The Iron Lady
Best Original Song - 'Man or Muppet,' The Muppets
Best Original Score - The Artist
Best Animated Short - The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
Best Live Action Short - The Shore
Best Documentary Short - Saving Face

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