It’s fun to watch the Oscar ceremony. As the award season is being over, each of us has some pretty good idea about how it will end, but we all know that there is always the possibility of upset in every year. Even when our predictions turn out to be right, there are some funny or moving incidents happening during the show, and they always provide small precious entertainment with spontaneity. While the show in the last year was almost disastrous, we remember how funny Kirk Douglas was when he presented Best Supporting Actress Award, or how wonderful it was to see Billy Crystal appearing on the stage even for a few minutes. I think Mr. Crystal will use some, if not all, of his old routines rather than trying something new for this year, but it has been 8 years since he hosted the show for the last time, and I’d love to see him singing the opening number for this year’s Best Picture nominees. After all, he is a veteran expert, and we like him and trust him.
I have been predicting the winners for more than 10 years, but I have never been able to predict correctly. My most correct prediction was in 2004, but, as you know, that was the most predictable year in the last decade due to the complete sweep with 11 awards by “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”(2003).
Anyway, I again submitted my prediction to Roger Ebert’s site, and here’s my guess. Let’s see what will happen on Feb. 26th, folks.
Best Motion Picture of the Year
The Artist (2011): Thomas Langmann
The Descendants (2011): Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011): Scott Rudin
The Help (2011): Brunson Green, Chris Columbus, Michael Barnathan
Hugo (2011): Graham King, Martin Scorsese
Midnight in Paris (2011): Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum
Moneyball (2011): Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz, Brad Pitt
The Tree of Life (2011): Sarah Green, Bill Pohlad, Dede Gardner, Grant Hill
War Horse (2011): Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy
“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”, “The Help”, “Moneyball”, and “War Horse” are not nominated for Best Director, so they do not have a chance at all. We all know it will be a miracle if “The Tree of Life” or “Midnight in Paris” wins, and “The Descendants” will probably be rewarded only with Best Adapted Screenplay award. With 11 nominations and 10 nominations, respectively, “Hugo” and “The Artist” has been competing with each other, and it seems “The Artist”, a funny, loving homage to the silent film era, will get the award considering that it won Golden Globe, BAFTA, PGA, and DGA awards. Like “Hugo”, the movie could have been included in my Top 10 list if I had watched it before 2012, but “The Tree of Life”, Terrence Malick’s stunning visual meditation on the universe and our life on the Earth, would still have remained at the top of my list.
Prediction: “The Artist”
Preference: “The Tree of Life”
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Demián Bichir for A Better Life (2011)
George Clooney for The Descendants (2011)
Jean Dujardin for The Artist (2011)
Gary Oldman for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
Brad Pitt for Moneyball (2011)
It’s a really shame that they did not nominate Michael Shannon in “Take Shelter” or Michael Fassbender in “Shame”, but let’s focus on what we get here. Demián Bichir and Gary Oldman are clearly rewarded with nomination only, and Brad Pitt has been losing his momentum. Many people believed George Clooney, who gave one of the best performances in his career, was the front runner at first, but, as I correctly predicted, it is becoming quite possible that Jean Dujardin will get the award for his funny, moving performance, and now he has already won Golden Globe, SAG, and BAFTA awards. His silent film performance is naturally showier than his competitors’, so he will get the award, and I will be happy for that.
Prediction: Jean Dujardin
Preference: Jean Dujardin – and kudos to George Clooney
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs (2011)
Viola Davis for The Help (2011)
Rooney Mara for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady (2011)
Michelle Williams for My Week with Marilyn (2011)
Now it is getting clear that the race is between Meryl Streep and Viola Davis. Though it is her 17th nomination and she has not won since 1982, I think “The Iron Lady” is not good enough to persuade the voters despite her recent BAFTA win. Therefore, my conclusion is Davis will win the award, though I think she should have won the award for her heartbreaking performance in “Doubt”(2008). Michelle Williams may make an upset with her beautiful performance as Marylin Monroe, and so may Glenn Close, who has not won the award yet, but I have not heard much buzz around them. In case of Rooney Mara, one of my favorite performances of 2011, I am glad that she gets nominated, but I don’t think she will win.
Prediction: Viola Davis
Preference: Rooney Mara
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Kenneth Branagh for My Week with Marilyn (2011)
Jonah Hill for Moneyball (2011)
Nick Nolte for Warrior (2011)
Christopher Plummer for Beginners (2010)
Max von Sydow for Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011)
Kenneth Branagh, Nick Nolte, Jonah Hill, and Max von Sydow all have taken a backseat while Christopher Plummer are competing with Albert Brooks, who is criminally overlooked by the voters. Therefore, Plummer will win the award for his fabulous young-at-heart performance in “Beginners”.
Prediction: Christopher Plummer
Preference: Christopher Plummer
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Bérénice Bejo for The Artist (2011)
Jessica Chastain for The Help (2011)
Melissa McCarthy for Bridesmaids (2011)
Janet McTeer for Albert Nobbs (2011)
Octavia Spencer for The Help (2011)
The nominees are all scene-stealers who deserve the nomination. We all thought that Jessica Chastain will win the award because of her impressive outputs in 2011, though she was good but not at her best in “The Help”. And then her co-actress Octavia Spencer, who has a major career breakthrough with her nice performance, becomes the front runner with her win at Golden Globe, SAG, and BAFTA. Meanwhile, Melissa McCarthy stole the show in “Bridesmaids”, and McTeer was astounding in “Albert Nobbs”, and then there is Bérénice Bejo, who was as effortless as Dujardin in “The Artist”.
Prediction: Octavia Spencer
Preference: Melissa McCarthy
Best Achievement in Directing
Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris (2011)
Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist (2011)
Terrence Malick for The Tree of Life (2011)
Alexander Payne for The Descendants (2011)
Martin Scorsese for Hugo (2011/II)
The question is simple; will it be Scorsese or Hazanavicius? I think the latter will win considering that he won DGA award.
Prediction: Michel Hazanavicius
Preference: Terrence Malick
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
The Artist (2011): Michel Hazanavicius
Bridesmaids (2011): Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo
Margin Call (2011): J.C. Chandor
Midnight in Paris (2011): Woody Allen
A Separation (2011): Asghar Farhadi
It’s a good time to give the award to Woody Allen, who scored the 15th Best Screenplay Oscar nomination for his delightful comedy. Like Roger Ebert, I really hope he will attend the ceremony even though the chance is quite low.
Prediction: Midnight in Paris
Preference: A Separation
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
The Descendants (2011): Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
Hugo (2011): John Logan
The Ides of March (2011): George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon
Moneyball (2011): Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin, Stan Chervin
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011): Bridget O’Connor, Peter Straughan
Alexander Payne scored again with his new movie “The Descendants”, and he and other co-writers deserve the award for their rich human drama. Maybe “Moneyball” or “Hugo” can make a sneak attack, but we will see.
Prediction: The Descendants
Preference: The Descendants
Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
A Cat in Paris (2010): Alain Gagnol, Jean-Loup Felicioli
Chico & Rita (2010): Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal
Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011): Jennifer Yuh
Puss in Boots (2011): Chris Miller
Rango (2011): Gore Verbinski
I have seen all of them, and my favorite is “Rango”, and I am sure it will the award.
Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Bullhead (2011): Michael R. Roskam(Belgium)
Footnote (2011): Joseph Cedar(Israel)
In Darkness (2011): Agnieszka Holland(Poland)
Monsieur Lazhar (2011): Philippe Falardeau(Canada)
A Separation (2011): Asghar Farhadi(Iran)
I only watched two of them, but I do not think other three nominees can be as powerful as “A Separation”. But “In Darkness” can be a surprise winner, because it is about, well, the Holocaust.
Prediction: A Separation
Preference: A Separation
Best Achievement in Cinematography
The Artist (2011): Guillaume Schiffman
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011): Jeff Cronenweth
Hugo (2011): Robert Richardson
The Tree of Life (2011): Emmanuel Lubezki
War Horse (2011): Janusz Kaminski
All nominees are visually impressive. I knew instantly that Emmanuel Lubezki would get the nomination for his stunning work when I saw “The Tree of Life”, and I think he has a good chance at this time.
Prediction: The Tree of Life
Preference: The Tree of Life
Best Achievement in Editing
The Artist (2011): Anne-Sophie Bion, Michel Hazanavicius
The Descendants (2011): Kevin Tent
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011): Angus Wall, Kirk Baxter
Hugo (2011): Thelma Schoonmaker
Moneyball (2011): Christopher Tellefsen
This award usually goes to Best Picture winner, so I guess it will be “The Artist”, but it is also possible that its competitor will win.
Prediction: The Artist
Best Achievement in Art Direction
The Artist (2011): Laurence Bennett, Robert Gould
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011): Stuart Craig, Stephenie McMillan
Hugo (2011): Dante Ferretti, Francesca Lo Schiavo
Midnight in Paris (2011): Anne Seibel, Hélène Dubreuil
War Horse (2011): Rick Carter, Lee Sandales
“Hugo” is the most cinematically bountiful one. I was completely won over by its fantastic production design.
Best Achievement in Costume Design
Anonymous (2011/I): Lisy Christl
The Artist (2011): Mark Bridges
Hugo (2011): Sandy Powell
Jane Eyre (2011): Michael O’Connor
W.E. (2011): Arianne Phillips
I think “Hugo” also has a good chance in this category, but “The Artist” can win, too. I will not be surprised if “Jane Eyre” wins. The British period dramas always have had big advantages in this category, you know.
Prediction: The Artist
Best Achievement in Makeup
Albert Nobbs (2011): Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnson, Matthew W. Mungle
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011): Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight, Lisa Tomblin
The Iron Lady (2011): Mark Coulier, J. Roy Helland
Two other nominees look small compared to “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2”.
Prediction: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
Preference: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
The Adventures of Tintin (2011): John Williams
The Artist (2011): Ludovic Bource
Hugo (2011): Howard Shore
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011): Alberto Iglesias
War Horse (2011): John Williams
Welcome back, Mr. John Williams, but the award will go to Ludovic Bource, whose score for “The Artist” was one of the crucial elements in the film.
Prediction: The Artist
Preference: The Adventures of Tintin
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
The Muppets (2011): Bret McKenzie(“Man or Muppet”)
Rio (2011): Sergio Mendes, Carlinhos Brown, Siedah Garrett(“Real in Rio”)
Do I need to say anything?
Prediction: The Muppets
Preference: Who Cares?
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011): David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce, Bo Persson
Hugo (2011): Tom Fleischman, John Midgley
Moneyball (2011): Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, David Giammarco, Ed Novick
Transformers: Dark of the Moon(2011): Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush, Peter J. Devlin
War Horse (2011): Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson, Stuart Wilson
There is no well-liked blockbuster nominees, so the award will go to “Hugo” or “War Horse”.
Preference: War Horse
Best Achievement in Sound Editing
Drive (2011): Lon Bender, Victor Ray Ennis
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011): Ren Klyce
Hugo (2011): Philip Stockton, Eugene Gearty
Transformers: Dark of the Moon(2011): Ethan Van der Ryn, Erik Aadahl
War Horse (2011): Richard Hymns, Gary Rydstrom
The same can be said about this category, too.
Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011): Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler, John Richardson
Hugo (2011): Robert Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossmann, Alex Henning
Real Steel (2011): Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Danny Gordon Taylor, Swen Gillberg
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011): Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White, Daniel Barrett
Transformers: Dark of the Moon(2011): Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew E. Butler, John Frazier
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” is the most impressive one, but….
Preference: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Best Documentary, Features
Hell and Back Again (2011): Danfung Dennis, Mike Lerner
If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (2011): Marshall Curry, Sam Cullman
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (2011): Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky
Pina (2011): Wim Wenders, Gian-Piero Ringel
Undefeated (2011): Daniel Lindsay, T.J. Martin, Rich Middlemas
Another mistake of the Academy awards – they failed to nominate excellent documentaries like “The Interrupters” or “Project Nim”. I have seen four nominees, and they are all nice, anyway. I will vote on “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory”, the latest chapter on the West Memphis 3, while thinking about how cool it will be to see Wim Wenders on the stage with the award.
Prediction: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Preference: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory or Pina
Best Documentary, Short Sub
The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement (2011): Robin Fryday, Gail Dolgin
God Is the Bigger Elvis (2012): Rebecca Cammisa, Julie Anderson
Incident in New Baghdad (2011): James Spione
Saving Face (2011): Daniel Junge, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom (2011): Lucy Walker, Kira Carstensen
Prediction: The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom
Best Short Film, Animated
Dimanche (2011): Patrick Doyon
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (2011): William Joyce, Brandon Oldenburg
La Luna (2011): Enrico Casarosa
A Morning Stroll (2011): Grant Orchard, Sue Goffe
Wild Life (2011): Amanda Forbis, Wendy Tilby
Prediction: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
Best Short Film, Live Action
Pentecost (2011): Peter McDonald
Raju (2011): Max Zähle, Stefan Gieren
The Shore (2011): Terry George, Oorlagh George
Time Freak (2011): Andrew Bowler, Gigi Causey
Tuba Atlantic (2010): Hallvar Witzø
Prediction: The Shore