Thursday, 23 February 2012

FINAL ACADEMY AWARD PREDICTIONS


With ballots handed in and no major awards ceremonies other than the Indie Spirits (on Saturday) to go, there's no sense in leaving one's Oscar predictions to the last minute. We might as well make them NOW! (P.S. 'Favourite' refers to my personal favourite, not the favourite to win)

Best Picture
Prediction: THE ARTIST
Alternative: The Help
Favourite: Midnight in Paris
Look, it's not going to be anything other than The Artist. If any other film were in half-decent shape, it'd be The Help, but we're long past that stage. I've been wondering if a reactionary campaign against The Artist might materialise, but if one has, they haven't rallied behind any particular spoiler with the potential to cause an upset. I don't even think one has materialised at all this year. It's The Artist all the way, as I think it always has been.


Best Director
Prediction: MICHEL HAZANAVICIUS (THE ARTIST)
Alternative: Martin Scorsese (Hugo)
Favourite: Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life)
Again, I'm not kidding myself here, although I do think Scorsese has a better chance at winning this than any film has for Best Picture. My reason being: it's Martin fucking Scorsese. He may have been the Academy bridesmaid for so long, but his popularity has never been in question - a second Oscar is possibly even expected for such a legend. I can easily see Academy members ticking his name on their ballots out of sheer respect for the man. But Hazanavicius remains the strong favourite all the same.


Best Actor
Prediction: JEAN DUJARDIN (THE ARTIST)
Alternative: George Clooney (The Descendants)
Favourite: Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)
This will be one of the evening's final awards, although if Dujardin doesn't win this one, it could be symptomatic of a minor rebellion within the Academy against The Artist. I'm not doubting its ability to win Best Picture, just its ability to dominate the whole shebang. But, since Dujardin won the SAG, he's been in prime position to win the Oscar. Winning the BAFTA, I think, was a pretty major moment - it sealed his fate, pretty much closing Clooney out and dashing Oldman's chances of spoiling, although I dearly wish he would.


Best Actress
Prediction: VIOLA DAVIS (THE HELP)
Alternative: Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady)
Favourite: Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs)
This is one of the biggest battles of the night. Who can say which of these two will take this, or if Michelle Williams could sneak in a la Adrien Brody? My head says Davis will win - the argument will always be that Streep already has two Oscars and will have plenty more chances. Yet this is probably the closest Streep has come to a third Oscar since he won her second, which is saying something. But the strength of Davis' story is, IMO, too big to beat.


Best Supporting Actor
Prediction: CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER (BEGINNERS)
Alternative: Max von Sydow (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close)
Favourite: Nick Nolte (Warrior)
As it happens, this is the first category so far in which my personal favourite is even nominated, but poor Nick won't win. It seems that 71 isn't old enough this year, as two veteran 82-year-olds lead the pack. It's extraordinary to think that this is both Christopher Plummer's and Max von Sydow's second nomination, isn't it? Plummer has been winning almost everything this year, but although von Sydow only truly entered the race when he received this nomination, the kind of buzz it has created for him is notable. But whatever reasons one has to vote for von Sydow also apply to Plummer, and it'd be quite a coup for anyone of his opponents to beat him.


Best Supporting Actress
Prediction: OCTAVIA SPENCER (THE HELP)
Alternative: Berenice Bejo (The Artist)
Favourite: Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs)
Now this will be one of the first awards of the night, so if Berenice Bejo wins this, we'll know which way things are gonna swing. That said, Spencer has, like Christopher Plummer, been winning pretty much everything this year and is the clear frontrunner. The others all have something working for them - Chastain's brilliant year, Bejo's leading role in the Best Picture winner, McCarthy's impact on popular culture, McTeer's...well, almost all of them, but none can quite come close to matching Spencer.


More of these after teh cut!



Best Original Screenplay
Prediction: MICHEL HAZANAVICIUS (THE ARTIST)
Alternative: Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris)
Favourite: Asghar Farhadi (A Separation)
Wouldn't it be something if A Separation won? What a great film and what a great screenplay. But this is all about Allen vs. Hazanavicius. Allen did win the WGA (Hazanavicius wasn't nominated) and the Critics' Choice (Hazanavicius was), although the latter of those means little this late in the race. He also won the Golden Globe, over all adapted screenplays too. But my reasoning behind predicting Hazanavicius isn't just that he won the BAFTA, it's that this is an integral piece in the puzzle for 2012's Grand Sweep by The Artist...potentially...


Best Adapted Screenplay
Prediction: NAT FAXON, ALEXANDER PAYNE AND JIM TAYLOR (THE DESCENDANTS)
Alternative: Stan Chervin, Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian (Moneyball)
Favourite: Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)
Just like Original Screenplay, I haven't got the slightest idea what film will win this one. The Descendants and Moneyball have been neck-and-neck all season - Moneyball won 13 critics' awards including Critics' Choice and was nominated for a further 8; The Descendants won 12, was nominated for a further 9 and won the Scripter and the WGA at the weekend. That, coupled with its advantage in the Best Picture race, puts it marginally ahead of Moneyball, but this one's too close to call for sure.


Best Cinematography
Prediction: EMMANUEL LUBEZKI (THE TREE OF LIFE)
Alternative: Robert Richardson (Hugo)
Favourite: Emmanuel Lubezki (The Tree of Life)
Imagine that: I'm agreeing with Oscar. Well, we don't know for sure yet. It'd be such a shame to see Lubezki lose again - he had a clear lead on his competition when he was nominated for Children of Men to pip him to the post. Hopefully he won't suffer similarly this year - whether it's to a vet (Richardson) or Guillaume Schiffman for The Artist - the BAFTA winner (Lubezki wasn't nominated). The Academy seems to like The Tree of Life, and it did win the ASC, so things are looking up.


Best Film Editing
Prediction: ANNE-SOPHIE BION AND MICHEL HAZANAVICIUS (THE ARTIST)
Alternative: Thelma Schoonmaker (Hugo)
Favourite: Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
If Michel Hazanavicius wins three awards on Sunday, it'll be quite something. But The Artist is  the frontrunner for all three awards in which he stands a chance - at least, one of two frontrunners. But when Kevin Tent won the Drama ACE Eddie over Thelma Schoonmaker, The Artist's lead in Film Editing only extended. Academy members may afford Schoonmaker the same treatment as Scorsese for Director (if they even do) and recognise her over the Oscar newcomers, as she's perhaps the only nominee in this category whose recognition spreads significantly beyond the editors themselves, but I'm still confident that this one's going to The Artist.


Best Art Direction - Set Decoration
Prediction: DANTE FERRETTI AND FRANCESCA LO SCHIAVO (HUGO)
Alternative: Stuart Craig and Stephenie McMillan (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2)
Favourite: Stuart Craig and Stephenie McMillan (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2)
No The Artist? Well, as with last year, I think this is a three-horse race. Harry Potter claims my 'Alternative' slot for the fact that voters may wish to honour the series' production design, as they ought to have several times prior - what stunning production design across all eight films - but Hugo's beautiful sets are the favourite to win. Again, if The Artist can beat the competition here and win, we might as well stop worrying altogether cos it's gonna sweeeep!


Best Costume Design
Prediction: MARK BRIDGES (THE ARTIST)
Alternative: Michael O'Connor (Jane Eyre)
Favourite: Arianne Phillips (W.E.)
The CDG had the good taste one might expect of a bunch of costume designers, and rewarded Arianne Phillips. But everyone else has been rewarding Mark Bridges - popular film, eye-catching costumes, period designs. Jane Eyre? Released ages ago! Hugo? Not enough Pretty Dresses! Anonymous? Who even saw that? W.E.? Who even likes that? And the winner is...The Artist!|


Best Sound Mixing
Prediction: TOM FLEISCHMAN AND JOHN MIDGLEY (HUGO)
Alternative: Tom Johnson, Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Stuart Wilson (War Horse)
Favourite: Tom Johnson, Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Stuart Wilson (War Horse)
I would love The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo to win here too, as I would in any category. But Hugo won the CAS, does feature some great sound mixing, and is evidently popular within the Academy. Only it and Moneyball were nominated for the CAS; Moneyball probably doesn't have much of a chance (do you remember the sound mix in Moneyball?), but, unusually, this is a rather wide open race this year, and any of the five could win.


Best Sound Editing
Prediction: EUGENE GEARTY AND PHILIP STOCKTON (HUGO)
Alternative: Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom (War Horse)
Favourite: Erik Aadahl and Ethan van der Ryn (Transformers: Dark of the Moon)
My theory is that the average Academy voter probably doesn't know what the difference is between Sound Mixing and Editing, and will thus vote for the same film in both categories. On the other hand, War Horse did win the MPSE, which ought to put it in first place in the Sound Editing Oscar race. But when splits happen, they tend to be for a reason e.g. neither winner was nominated in the other category (Dreamgirls / Letters from Iwo Jima), or one film wins one in a sweep and another wins on merit (Slumdog Millionaire / The Dark Knight), and neither of those scenarios apply this year.


Best Visual Effects
Prediction: DANIEL BARRETT, DAN LEMMON, JOE LETTERI AND R. CHRISTOPHER WHITE (RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES)
Alternative: Tim Burke, Greg Butler, John Richardson and David Vickery (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2)
Favourite: Daniel Barrett, Dan Lemmon, Joe Letteri and R. Christopher White (Rise of the Planet of the Apes)
If this one doesn't go to Rise of the Planet of the Apes...well, that's almost to be expected, given the Academy's questionable taste with regard to this category in previous years. Remember when The Golden Compass beat Transformers? Thankfully, though, there are no bad nominees this year, but the idea of Real Steel winning over Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a bit ridiculous.


Best Make-Up
Prediction: MARK COULIER AND J. ROY HELLAND (THE IRON LADY)
Alternative: Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight and Lisa Tomblin (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2)
Favourite: Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight and Lisa Tomblin (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2)
Poor Harry Potter - bridesmaid in all three categories in which it is nominated. This was a toss-up for me - will they prefer Meryl's old age make-up and Olivia Colman's nose, or fantasy make-up in a major franchise film? I could barely choose - both films deserve the award, but I imagine voters will be more likely to remember the former. It's more their sort of thing, don't you think?


Best Original Score
Prediction: LUDOVIC BOURCE (THE ARTIST)
Alternative: John Williams (War Horse)
Favourite: John Williams (The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn)
How do you not give this one to The Artist? I mean, I wouldn't, but considering the sheer volume of music in The Artist, the 6,000-odd philistines in the Academy are surely going to think it deserves it most.  Not that it's not a good score, just that I can't remember a minute of it...


Best Original Song
Prediction: BRET MCKENZIE - 'MAN OR MUPPET' (THE MUPPETS)
Alternative: The Artist! jk, I mean 'Real in Rio', obviously
Favourite: 'Man or Muppet'
Real in Rio had better not fucking win, it's shit. Man or Muppet is no masterpiece, but it'll do. Get rid of this category already...


Best Animated Feature
Prediction: RANGO
Alternative: Chico & Rita
Favourite: I don't know, I've only seen one of them
With Tintin not nominated, I'm not sure any film can spoil here. It's surely got to be Rango. Puss in Boots? Come on...


Best Documentary
Prediction: PARADISE LOST 3: PURGATORY
Alternative: Undefeated
Favourite: Nope, seen none of this lot!
That's a little shameful of me. Anyway, I think Paradise Lost 3 will win cos it's right up their street. But I'm only going on what I've heard in making these predictions, not on what I know, cos I don't know nothin!


Best Foreign Language Film
Prediction: IN DARKNESS
Alternative: A Separation
Favourite: A Separation
Again, I've only seen one of these, but I doubt any of the other films will be able to beat it for me. However, despite the fact that A Separation is probably the most widely-seen of the five nominated films, voters need to have seen all five films, and In Darkness is just the sort of film AMPAS members would vote for. Recently, In a Better World beat Dogtooth and The Secret in Their Eyes (good film, now) beat The White Ribbon (great film). In Darkness is about the Holocaust. It'll fucking win. It's my one and only unorthodox choice, and there's usually at least one of those on Oscar night.


Best Animated Short
THE FANTASTIC FLYING BOOKS OR MR. MORRIS LESSMORE


Best Documentary Short
THE TSUNAMI AND THE CHERRY BLOSSOM


Best Live Action Short
THE SHORE


All in all, get ready for the worst night in filmmaking since last year's!