Sunday, February 26, 2012

Oscar the grouch

Well, with the tired bunch of earnest nominations for Best Picture this year, this is the least interesting Academy Awards in some time. I’ll miss out on the live broadcast of the part I’m most interested in: the technical and craft aspects like Film Editing.

I should be home in time to see the twee elegiac styling of The Artist be declared the Best Picture over a bunch of other smug crap. Yippee.

Below, I’ve picked the likely winners in each category. Where I felt I had sufficient information to judge, I have also picked the best candidate of those on offer in each category.

Best Picture:
The Artist
The Descendants
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
The Help
Midnight in Paris
The Tree of Life
War Horse

Predicted winner: The Artist
Should win: The Descendants

The Artist won Best Motion Picture: Comedy or Musical, at the Golden Globes (The Descendants won for ‘Drama’ category) and hasn’t looked back since then in terms of the sort of mainstream awards that generally predict Oscar success. There’s virtually no doubt that it will pick up the Best Picture Oscar.  Who should win? It’s hard to care much about the category this year, with such a lacklustre line-up. The Descendants was pretty good, so I’d like to see that win.

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

Predicted winner: Michel Hazanavicius
Should win: Payne or Malick

Despite generally promoting the idea that modern films are ‘authored’ by their directors, there are occasions where the Academy separates its pick for Best Director from its pick for Best Picture. This will not be one of those occasions.

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash, “The Descendants”
John Logan, “Hugo”
George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon, “The Ides of March”
Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin; story by Stan Chervin, “Moneyball”
Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”

Predicted winner: The Descendants
Should win:  
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

The late Bridget O'Connor & Peter Straughan did an exceptional job of converting John le Carre’s dense, convoluted spy-drama into something that could be shot as a single feature film. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is far better than any of the Academy’s list of Best Picture nominees. Still, I don't hold out any hope that even its taut screenplay will do better than a nomination.

Best Original Screenplay:
Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig, “Bridesmaids”
J.C. Chandor, “Margin Call”
Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”
Asghar Farhadi, “A Separation”

Predicted winner: Midnight in Paris

Once this vote goes to the wider Academy (as it does for the final “winner is” vote; the relevant subsection selects the nominees) I doubt the majority of members will be able to bring themselves to vote ‘Best Screenplay’ for a movie that has no spoken dialogue. ‘But no one says anything!’ they’ll puzzle, and move on down the alphabetical list. Mainstream comedies are at a disadvantage in the credibility stakes, and “Margin Call” has been too low key, so they will stop at “Midnight in Paris”.

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”

Predicted winner: Viola Davis
Should win:
Rooney Mara, although I’m not too fussed on this one.

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

Predicted winner: Jean Dujardin
Should win:  
Gary Oldman

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

Predicted winner:
Octavia Spencer

Best Supporting Actor:
Kenneth Branagh, “My Week with Marilyn”
Jonah Hill, “Moneyball”
Nick Nolte, “Warrior”
Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”
Max von Sydow, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”

Predicted winner: Christopher Plummer

Best Art Direction:
Laurence Bennett, “The Artist”
Stuart Craig, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2″
Dante Ferretti, “Hugo”
Anne Seibel, “Midnight in Paris”
Rick Carter, “War Horse”

Predicted winner: Hugo

They’ll want to give “Hugo” something – this could be it.

Best Cinematography:
Guillaume Schiffman, “The Artist”
Jeff Cronenweth, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
Robert Richardson, “Hugo”
Emmanuel Lubezki, “The Tree of Life”
Janusz Kaminski, “War Horse”

Predicted winner: The Tree of Life

The Academy can be a bit myopic when it comes to the semi-technical/semi-artistic categories like cinematography and film editing. The cinematographers, for example, pick their nominee list, but the whole Academy votes for the winner, and they gravitate towards the one or two films in the running to win Best Picture. But that’s not an insurmountable bias, and I think Emmanuel Lubezki's sublime cinematography should stand out in this case.

Best Original Score:
“The Adventures of Tintin,” - John Williams
“The Artist,” - Ludovic Bource
“Hugo,” - Howard Shore
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” - Alberto Iglesias
“War Horse,” - John Williams

Predicted winner: The Artist
Should win:  Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

As per the bias mentioned above, with Iglesias’s film not even in the running for Best Picture, I expect The Artist to come through here, despite the score for TTSS being superior.

Here's my picks for the rest, sans any further pontificating.

Best Film Editing: 
Anne-Sophie Bion & Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
Kevin Tent, “The Descendants”
Kirk Baxter & Angus Wall, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
Thelma Schoonmaker, “Hugo”
Christopher Tellefsen, “Moneyball”

Predicted winner: The Descendants
Should win:
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Best Sound Mixing:
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
“War Horse”

Predicted winner: War Horse
Should win:
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Best Sound Editing:
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
“War Horse”

Predicted winner: Hugo
Should win: Drive

Best Original Song:
“Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets,” Bret McKenzie
“Real in Rio” from “Rio,” Sergio Mendes, Carlinhos Brown and Siedah Garrett.

Predicted winner: Bret McKenize

Best Foreign Language Film:
“Bullhead” (Belgium)
“Footnote” (Israel)
“In Darkness” (Poland)
“Monsieur Lazhar” (Canada)
“A Separation” (Iran)

Predicted winner: A Separation

Best Animated Feature Film
“A Cat in Paris”
“Chico & Rita”
“Kung Fu Panda 2″
“Puss in Boots”

Predicted winner: Rango  

Best Costume:
“The Artist”
“Jane Eyre”

Predicted winner: The Artist

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

Predicted winner: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

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

Predicted winner: Paradise Lost 3 

Best Documentary (short subject):
“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”

Predicted winner: The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom

Best Makeup:
“Albert Nobbs”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2″
“The Iron Lady”

Predicted winner: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Best Animated Short Film:
“The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore”
“La Luna”
“A Morning Stroll”
“Wild Life”

Predicted winner: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Best Live Action Short Film:
“The Shore”
“Time Freak”
“Tuba Atlantic”

Predicted winner: “Raju”

1 comment:

Sam said...

I would love Gary Oldman to be the big spoiler here, but it's not going to happen. The same with the TTSS score - it's truly magnificent.