The 84th Annual Academy Awards

Once again, it’s time for Oscar predictions. Last year I did a pretty poor job with my predictions, getting only 10 correct.

Best Short Film, Live Action:
Prediction: Tuba Atlantic
My Pick: N/A

Best Short Film, Animated:
Prediction: La Luna
My Pick: Tangled Ever After
It’s interesting that La Luna is nominated, despite the fact that it has yet to play nationwide.  You’d think Pixar would have waited on it until it airs before Brave this summer.

Best Documentary, Short Subject:
Prediction:Saving Face
My Pick: N/A

Best Documentary, Feature:
Prediction: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
My Pick: African Cats
Hollywood has been very invested in the West Memphis Three saga, and I’m sure in light of their release from prison, the latest Paradise Lost is probably a sure bet.

Best Foreign Language Film:
Prediction: A Separation
My Pick: N/A
Could be big news if Iran wins their first Oscar for foreign language film.

Best Animated Feature Film:
Prediction: Rango
My Pick: Rango
I think many people are absolutely shocked that The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn wasn’t nominated.  In addition to being directed by Academy favorite Steven Spielberg, it was a masterpiece on its own, and an enormous undertaking.  Pushing it out in favor of Kung Fu Panda 2 or Puss in Boots seems unthinkable.  However, for my pick, I would still go with Rango, which was one of the most creative, entertaining, and funny films of the year, animated or otherwise.  But in a year without a Pixar nominee, anything could win, especially the more artsy nominees.

Best Achievement in Visual Effects:
Prediction: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
My Pick: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
With all the talk of a possible nomination for Best Supporting Actor for Andy Serkis’ performance capture work in Apes, I think it’s a safe bet to pick up the win here.

Best Achievement in Sound Editing:
Prediction: Hugo
My Pick: Super 8
I thought this would be the best bet for Super 8 to pick up a nomination, due to the spectacular train crash sequence, but I think Super 8 was ignored despite the praise it received due to it being to hard for people to classify.

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing:
Prediction: Hugo
My Pick: Super 8

Best Achievement in Makeup:
Prediction: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
My Pick: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song:
Prediction: “Man or Muppet” – The Muppets
My Pick: “Life’s a Happy Song” – The Muppets
People have been saying it for years, but I think the time has finally come for the Academy to take another look at its selection process for Best Song.  Only two nominees?!?  The way I understand it, it’s possible under their rules for there to be no nominees at all.  But when the Golden Globe winning song from Madonna is excluded due to being buried too deep in the credits of the film, and only two nominees are chosen, one of which is from a movie already forgotten and another is not even the best song from the movie it was in, there needs to be a change.  I would love to have seen “Life’s a Happy Song” nominated, as well as “Rango Theme Song”.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score:
Prediction: The Artist
My Pick: The Artist
I am thrilled John Williams picked up two nominations for his brilliant work in War Horse and The Adventures of Tintin, but the obvious choice is Ludovic Bource for The Artist, and his amazing accomplishment of filling a silent film with music that heightens the emotion on screen without distracting from its silence.

Best Achievement in Costume Design:
Prediction: Hugo
My Pick: Hugo

Best Achievement in Art Direction:
Prediction: Hugo
My Pick: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
The beautifully recreated Paris train station in Hugo was a masterwork of art direction, but the painful beauty of Hogwarts during the second half of Deathly Hallows gets my vote.

Best Achievement in Editing:
Prediction: The Artist
My Pick: The Artist

Best Achievement in Cinematography:
Prediction: Hugo
My Pick: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Published or Produced:
Prediction: The Descendants
My Pick: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
I think Steve Kloves deserves recognition for the masterful job he did bringing all of the Harry Potter films to the screen.

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen:
Prediction: Midnight in Paris
My Pick: The Artist
Can a silent movie win an Oscar for writing?  Yes.  Will it win?  Probably not, because Oscar loves Woody Allen.

Best Achievement in Directing:
Prediction: Michel Hazanavicius; The Artist
My Pick: Michel Hazanavicius; The Artist
This one could go a lot of different ways, and I think both Scorsese and Payne are contenders for Hugo and The Descendants.  But often Director and Picture are paired as winners, and I think The Artist has the best bet.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role:
Prediction: Octavia Spencer; The Help
My Pick: Octavia Spencer; The Help
The most certain pick of the awards, Spencer has dominated this awards season.  There are some other great nominees, but no one was as memorable or layered as Octavia Spencer as Minny.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role:
Prediction: Christopher Plummer; Beginners
My Pick: Alan Rickman; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
This seems like a lock for Plummer, but I think Rickman deserves the award.  His perfomance as Snape captured all of the tragedy and despair of the misunderstood hero.  The flashback sequence was devastating, and the pain of Rickmans performance, as he held his lifelong love’s dead body is something that will stick with many of us for a long time.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role:
Prediction: Viola Davis; The Help
My Pick: Viola Davis; The Help
Streep could pull an upset here, but I think Davis is the better choice.  She was so strong and courageous as Aibileen in The Help, and the way she showed how the world had worn this woman down was truly masterful.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role:
Prediction: Jean Dujardin; The Artist
My Pick: Jean Dujardin; The Artist
This is by far the closest race.  Clooney was superb in the Descendants; his performance was so physical and restrained in the way he completely inhabited his character.  Dujardin, on the other hand, seems like one of those casting miracles, where you could never imagine his role being played by anyone other than him.  He found a way to give Valentin a sense of melancholy in the good times, and used that rakish grin to soften the bad.  And he did it all while only speaking two words.  It was the more unique and interesting performance compared to Clooney, and I think the Academy will award him for that.  (On another note, I am thrilled Gary Oldman was finally nominated, for his much deserving role in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as George Smiley.)

Best Picture:
Prediction: The Artist
My Pick: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
There are some truly great films included this year in the nominees.  The Artist, Hugo, The Descendants, War Horse, The Help, and Moneyball were all brilliant and varied.  While there were no true blockbusters in this years list (with only The Help grossing more than $100 million), most are widely known and successful, and I’m generally pleased with the nominees.  However, the film universally acknowledged as the best reviewed film of the year was left off, and it’s frankly an insult.  Deathly Hallows– Part 2 was also the highest grossing film of the year, and is the one people will be talking about much longer than any of the other nominees.  It was the crown jewel of a masterful series, and it deserves the same sort of recognition The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King received years ago.  I understand the impulse to reject the popular merely as a statement that popularity does not equal quality, but it is possible to be popular and a masterpiece at the same time.  Deathly Hallows was indeed the best picture of the year and deserves the win.  However, of the nominees I think that The Artist is both going to win and deserving to win.

I, of course, couldn’t be more excited that Billy Crystal is returning to host, and I can’t wait for the event!

Tell me what you think!

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