Full Oscar predictions

Here are all my Oscar predictions, with comments for the categories I posted last night.

Note: I changed my costume pick to Anonymous, after realizing that it both won the costume guild award, and after remembering  that being set during the Renaissance is even better for this category than 19th century England.

Best Picture

The Artist

The Descendants

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

The Help

Hugo

Midnight in Paris

Moneyball

The Tree of Life

War Horse

The Artist has been a juggernaut this awards season. I loved it, personally, but I can also understand the puzzlement many in the media have showed over the awards dominance of a silent, French slapstick comedy. I think Mark Harris of Grantland is onto something: if The Artist wins Best Picture, it’s as much a statement about the lackluster crop of American films this year as it is a celebration of a movie that just doesn’t fit the Academy’s favored profile.

That said, I’ll be more than happy when it takes home the trophy tonight. My favorite film in the category, The Tree of Life, doesn’t have a chance, so I’m fairly ambivalent anyway, and The Artist is much better than several films to have won in in the last decade and change.

Best Director

Martin Scorsese, Hugo

Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life

Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris

Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist

Alexander Payne, The Descendants

There’s a splinter sentiment that Scorsese will win here, his reputation and Hugo’s big nominations haul leading to something of an upset. However, last year taught me a valuable lesson in this category. I joined everyone else who predicted that David Fincher would win the directing Oscar for The Social Network while The King’s Speech would take Best Picture. When the latter won both, I looked back through Oscar history and realized that Picture/Director splits only happen in a crazy, unpredictable fashion.

The last time it happened, for example, was when Crash stunned Best Director winner Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain and won Best Picture, maybe the most controversial Oscar win in history. Before that, Roman Polanski won for directing The Pianist as part of that film’s out-of-nowhere three Oscar haul (the most shocking of which was Adrien Brody’s well-deserved win for Best Actor) as it nearly toppled mega-favorite Chicago, which ended up winning Best Picture anyway.

Before that, there was the crazy race of 2000, when Gladiator prevailed in Best Picture, but was upset by Traffic’s Steven Soderbergh for Best Director. Lest we forget, Ang Lee was also among the favorites that year as well, winning the DGA for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Pretty much every single Picture/Director split in the last 40-odd years involved either a huge upset, usually for Best Picture (Shakespeare in Love, Driving Miss Daisy, Chariots of Fire) or a very tight race between two heavyweights (The Godfather and Cabaret  in 1972, In the Heat of the Night  and The Graduate in 1968). The Artist has been a huge favorite all awards season, and has shown no signs of weakness. If it loses here or in Picture, it’ll be an upset.

Best Actor

Demian Bichir, A Better Life

George Clooney, The Descendants

Jean Dujardin, The Artist

Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Brad Pitt, Moneyball

It’s been interesting watching Dujardin emerge as a front-runner in a category that features two of Hollywood’s biggest stars in their most critically acclaimed roles yet. He’s definitely earning novelty points for the silent-factor in his performance. Many see this is a bad thing. I don’t particularly. Every performance must be judged within its particular context, and judging Dujardin against Pitt and Clooney strictly on dramatic heft isn’t fair.

Regardless, he’s probably going to win here (whether or not history remembers this win fondly is another story), although I’m guarded about a Pitt or Clooney upset.

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

Viola Davis has emerged as something of desperation favorite, someone to give the award to instead of having to choose between one of two stars in mediocre biopics that were pretty clearly made for the sole purpose of winning Oscars. Make no mistake, Streep (and to a lesser extent, Williams) can’t be counted out here. But Davis has much more sentiment on her side right now, and there’s a sense that the voters don’t want to give Streep, possibly our best living actress, her third Oscar for a piece of Oscar-bait that no one really liked.

Best Supporting Actor

Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn

Jonah Hill, Moneyball

Nick Nolte, Warrior

Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

It’s been heart-warming for me to see Plummer emerge as the clear front-runner for this award, which would be his first. He’s delightful and heartbreaking in Beginners, which is a film that I didn’t expect to see on the awards circuit this year. If he loses, it’d be a monumental upset.

Best Supporting Actress

Berenice Bejo, The Artist

Jessica Chastain, The Help

Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids

Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs

Octavia Spencer, The Help

Spencer has dominated the pre-cursors, and there’s a general warm and fuzzy feeling about her winning. She’s a hardworking veteran, who has long made the most of whatever screen time she could get (I’ll forever remember her as the crowbar lady in the elevator in Being John Malkovich). She’s a lock here.

Best Original Score

The Adventures of Tintin (John Williams)

The Artist (Ludovic Bource)

Hugo (Howard Shore)

Alberto Iglasias (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)

War Horse (John Williams)

The Social Network’s win here last year indicated that the Academy was weighing the cinematic importance and memorability of the score as much as its level of heartstring-tugging. In that case, I can’t imagine a film whose only sound for 95% of the run-time is music losing here.

Best Song (what the hell happened to this category this year?)

“Man or Muppet?” from The Muppets

“Real in Rio” from Rio

I don’t even know. Seriously, what gives, Academy? Two nominees? Fix this category’s nominating process, or get rid of it. But nominating two blah songs and calling it a day is embarrassing.

Adapted Screenplay

The Descendants (Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash)

Hugo (John Logan)

The Ides of March (George Clooney, Grant Heslov, and Beau Willmon)

Moneyball (Stephen Zallian, Aaron Sorkin, and Stan Chervin)

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan)

Original Screenplay

The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius)

Bridesmaids (Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig)

Margin Call (J.C. Chandor)

Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen)

A Separation (Asghar Farhadi)

Animated Feature

A Cat in Paris

Chico & Rita

Kung Fu Panda 2

Puss in Boots

Rango

Documentary Feature

Hell and Back Again

If a Tree Falls Short: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front

Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory

Pina

Undefeated

Foreign Language Film

Bullhead (Belgium)

Monsieur Lazhar (Canada)

A Separation (Iran)

Footnote (Israel)

In Darkness (Poland)

Film Editing

The Artist

The Descendants

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Hugo

Moneyball

Sound Mixing

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Hugo

Moneyball

Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon

War Horse

Sound Editing

Drive

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Hugo

Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon

War Horse

Visual Effects

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Hugo

Real Steel

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Documentary Short

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

Short Film (Live Action)

Pentecost

Raju

The Shore

Time Freak

Tuba Atlantic

Animated Short 

Dimanche/Sunday

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

La Luna

A Morning Stroll

Wild Life

Art Direction

The Artist

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Hugo

Midnight in Paris

War Horse

Costume Design

Anonymous

The Artist

Hugo

Jane Eyre

W.E.

Cinematography

The Artist

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Hugo

The Tree of Life

War Horse

Makeup

Albert Nobbs

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

The Iron Lady

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About johnmichaelmaximilian

Freelance writer from New Bedford, Massachusetts. Movies are my favorite thing.

4 responses to “Full Oscar predictions”

  1. aculturedlad says :

    Loved your post!

    As you can see on my predictions I’m really rooting for The Descendants. i know Dujardin was fantastic but Clooney was such a master in The Descendants. He really moved the audience. But Dujardin definitely carried The Artist. They’re both fantastic films but The Descendants deserves the title. I do however know that The Artist will take home gold. I think it is disgusting however that Drive has only been nominated once, in Sound Editing and We Need to Talk About Kevin hasn’t been nominated at all!

    • johnmichaelmaximilian says :

      Best Actor is the toughest call of the major categories, I think. I can also see Pitt emerging out of the pack to win, considering that he’s one of the most recognizable stars in Hollywood and a lot of pundits are calling Moneyball the best performance of his career. The odds are good for Dujardin, but Clooney is a close second.

      Totally agreed about Drive. It was probably my favorite film of the year (a toss-up with The Tree of Life and Hanna). It’s absurd that it didn’t get more recognition.

  2. Martha Bebinger says :

    You did very well – at least in the top five or six categories. What was your overall score??

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