Oscar Predictions 2012


If you know me it’s not uncommon that I wait till the last minute for everything. I love the Oscars despite their long stretches of boredom. I like to think I have the Academy Awards figured out (old, rich, jewish, white men). I’m pretty damn good at predicting the winners usually. Last year, I even outguessed Ebert by one and surprisingly picked the Best Foreign Language film pick despite it always being a name out of a hat.

2012 Oscars Nominations 

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

Who Will Win: The Artist
Who Should Win:  The Artist
Dark Horse:  The Descendants

A couple months ago this race was anyone’s game, hell even Tree of Life had a chance but nothing can derail the powerhouse train of “The Artist” beloved by some, overhyped by others, The Artist is a black & white silent gem winning the hearts and prizes of a majority of all the film awards this year. Don’t expect it not to go empty handed tonight.

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

Who Will Win: Jean Dujardin
Who Should Win:  Gary Oldman
Dark Horse: George Clooney

A great category that always has a completely out of the blue random pick (Demian Bichir) but this category belongs to Dujardin who has also been sweeping up awards like nobody’s business. Clooney and Pitt turned in great performances and I’d love to see Oldman get recognized finally but this is no doubt the year of the french.

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”

Who Will Win: Meryl Streep
Who Should Win:  Viola Davis
Dark Horse: Viola Davis

Another tight category full of great performances that will no doubt be given to Meryl Streep’s performance as Margret Thatcher. While I think she is undeserving of a win, statistically she has been racking up more best actress wins this year than any other. I wish Viola Davis would finally get recognized for her talent, but there’s a reason I suppose that Meryl Streep has more nominations than any other actress.

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”

Who Will Win: Christopher Plummer
Who Should Win:  Christopher Plummer
Dark Horse: Max Von Sydow

Another tight category that becomes a one-on-one for lifetime achievement between Plummer and Von Sydow. Both are extraordinary actors and deserving but Plummer has been cleaning up in his performance for “Beginners” and I see him picking up the Oscar as well.

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

Who Will Win: Octavia Spencer
Who Should Win:  Octavia Spencer
Dark Horse: Berenice Bejo

A stronger category than the Best Actress one, this category has long since belonged to Octavia Spencer’s wonderful performance. I wish all of the ladies here could get recognition but Spencer is going to be tough to beat.

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

Who Will Win: Michel Hazanavicius
Who Should Win:  Terrence Malick
Dark Horse: Martin Scorsese

A tough category to predict since the directorial awards have been all over the place. It is more or less between Hazanavicius and Scorsese and usually Best film and Director go hand-in-hand which is why my money is on the Director of the Artist.

Best Original Screenplay
Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”
JC Chandor, “Margin Call”
Asghar Farhadi, “A Separation”
Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, “Bridesmaids”

Who Will Win:  Midnight in Paris
Who Should Win:  Midnight in Paris
Dark Horse: The Artist

Tough to predict but Midnight in Paris was highly acclaimed and I don’t think The Artist had enough of a script to warrant a win.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxton, Jim Rash, “The Descendants”
John Logan, “Hugo”
George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon, “The Ides of March”
Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian, “Moneyball”
Bridget O’Connor, Peter Straughn, “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

Who Will Win: The Descendants
Who Should Win:  The Descendants
Dark Horse: Hugo

The obvious choice. The Descendants is 2nd to The Artist for Best Picture and this is usually the consolation prize.

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

Who Will Win: Rango
Who Should Win:  Rango
Dark Horse: Puss in Boots

I haven’t seen any of these films but Rango seems the most distinct and likable by most Award ceremony’s and critics to beat the other nominees.

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Bullhead (Belgium)
Footnote (Israel)
In Darkness (Poland)
Monsieur Lazhar (Canada)
A Separation (Iran)

Who Will Win: A Seperation
Who Should Win:  A Seperation
Dark Horse: Bullhead

An impossible category to predict. Usually the most obvious choice is never the winner but A Seperation has a lot of momentum behind it. Still the most well-known foreign film never wins so it’s anyone’s game.

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

Who Will Win: The Artist
Who Should Win:  The Artist
Dark Horse: Hugo

Tough category but I think that The Artist is so much music to carry it that it’ll probably topple any other contender.

Best Original Song
“Man or Muppet,” The Muppets; Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
“Real in Rio,” Rio; Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, Lyric by Siedah Garrett

Who Will Win: The Muppets
Who Should Win:  The Muppets
Dark Horse: Rio

50/50 shot. I chose Muppets over African Birds.

Best Achievement in Art Direction
“The Artist”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”
“Midnight in Paris”
“War Horse”

Who Will Win: Hugo
Who Should Win:  Hugo
Dark Horse: The Artist

Best Achievement in Cinematography
“The Artist”
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“The Tree of Life”
“War Horse”

Who Will Win: Tree of Life
Who Should Win:  Tree of Life
Dark Horse: The Artist

If Tree of Life doesn’t win, I give up on the Academy Awards.

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

Who Will Win:  Paradise 3
Who Should Win:  Paradise 3
Dark Horse: Pina

A hard category to pick. Pretty much anyone’s game. 

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”

Who Will Win: The Barber of Birmingham

Random pick.

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

Who Will Win: La Luna

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

Who Will Win: Raju

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

Who Will Win: Harry Potter
Who Should Win:  Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Dark Horse: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Harry Potter seems to be the fan favorite and also the top choice. I won’t complain.

Best Achievement in Costume Design
“The Artist”
“Jane Eyre”

Who Will Win: Jane Eyre
Who Should Win:  The Artist
Dark Horse: W.E

Always pick the period piece. W.E. may have a chance though. eh.

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

Who Will Win: Harry Potter
Who Should Win:  Harry Potter
Dark Horse: Albert Nobbs

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

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

Who Will Win: Hugo
Who Should Win:  Hugo/Drive
Dark Horse: Transformers: Dark of the Moon


Summer Movie Wrap-Up: May

Where did this summer go? I know this blog has been drier than a retired hooker but fear not, I have been to many movies of the cinema this summer, and instead of trying to write countless reviews and spend many man-hours of blogging, I’ve decided to just do many mini-reviews of all my summer movies in one nice, little, tidy bundle. So let’s start from May and go till the tail end of August.


May was probably the best month out of the summer, starting with the slam-bang action movie of the summer , a hilarious comedy and then giving us two independent film contenders for best film of the year.


Directed by: Justin Lin
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordanna Brewster, The Rock
Rated: PG-13

Yea, Yea. I know this film came out in April, but it was really the first big summer film that came out. The film brings back all the major players from the first four films and sends them to Rio for a mix of “Bad Boys 2” and “Ocean’s Eleven.” As ridiculous and over-the-top the movie looked and sounded, it turned out to be one of the best films of the summer and one of the best action films of the year. Diesel and Walker have always been mediocre action stars but paired together they have undeniable chemistry together, and paired with the additions of Ludacris, Tyrese, and The Rock, the film becomes a shit-ton of fun, featuring multiple shootouts, car chases, foot chases, and brawls. A theoretically ridiculous train heist sequence because one of the most insane, jaw-dropping action sequences Ive seen in awhile featuring realistic stunts and effects and little CGI. An ending action sequence featuring two cars, a bank vault, and a police chase through the streets of Rio isn’t only of the best car chases of the franchise but one of the best of the past few years in cinema. However, at almost 2 and 1/2 hours the movie does drag when it tries to balance all its characters, the movie still has a breakneck pace, with a kitchen sink attitude of film-making that manages to work. A movie that shows no matter how crazy and ridiculous it is, it can still be insanely fun.

Rating: 8/10


Directed by: Paul Feig
Starring: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne
Rated: R

The movie was called “The Hangover” for girls but I think that’s being generous to “the Hangover.” “The Hangover” was four guys who try to figure out what happened the night before after alot of heavy drinking, while the “Bridesmaids” is the story of Kristen Wiig and a 30 something modern female with no career, husband, or prospects in life, and dealing with the people you care about moving forward without you. Some pretty adult ideas for a romantic comedy with juvenile humor. Wiig pulls off the lead role flawlessly and is finally given a role that balances her dramatic/comedic chops with a chance to be in the limelight. However as good as Wiig is, the movie wouldn’t be as good without the phenomenal supporting cast. The always reliable Maya Rudolph, a perfectly matched foil to Wiig in the form of Rose Byrne, a hilarious Jon Hamm, an adorably sweet Chris O’ Dowd, and the breakout success of Melissa McCarthy, who I imagine will see the same success as Galifianakis did from the “The Hangover.” The movie does have the Judd Apatow syndrome of making a comedy over two hours and scenes could have easily been cut, especially in the third act, but these are minor quibbles. The movie was highlighted by the fact that it was a raunchy comedy with mostly all females. What people don’t realize is that females have always been gross, we just needed to find the right ones to make it into a good movie.

Rating: 8/10

Midnight in Paris:

Directed by: Woody Allen
Starring: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, Marion Cotillard
Rated: PG-13

Even though I was a longtime Woody Allen fan, I didn’t dig deep into his filmography until this year. Say what you want about him, he is one of the most talented, consistent American filmmakers today. Allen churns out an insane number of films, and sometimes has dry-spells but still delivers an overall entertaining product. “Midnight in Paris” is a welcome return to classic Woody Allen. Many of Allen‘s films from the 2000’s have been hit or miss, and sometimes experimental, but “Midnight in Paris” reminds us why he is one of our most beloved filmmakers. The film stars Owen Wilson as Gil (playing the Woody Allen surrogate) as a California screenwriter on a trip with his fiance, struggling with a first novel, in love with the city of Paris, and during his midnight walks he is magically transported to 1920’s Paris where he runs into many famous people from the literary and art world, and finally feels right where he should be. The movie has the beautiful shots of the city and is obviously Allen‘s love letter to Paris, along with his traditional jazz score, witty dialogue, and eclectic cast of characters, Allen crafted a charming, lovable film that takes full advantage of the oddball concept and makes great use of character actors playing roles of Hemingway, Dali, and Gertrude Stein among other famous artists and including a hilariously pretentious performance from Michael Sheen. The movie is almost a great study of Art history as much as a travelogue to Paris. People questioned Owen Wilson as the lead,but he actually helps propel this movie above and beyond. His charming and neurotic personality fits the surrogate Woody Allen role like a glove and is one of the best actors besides Woody Allen himself to play the role. His chemistry with Marion Cotillard is also one of the better on-screen romances to appear in 2011. A likable, fun, diversion. A love letter to Paris, as much as it is a love letter to a golden age, while being a study of our modern relationship with nostalgia. Bravo.

Rating: 9/10

Tree of Life:

Directed by: Terrence Malick
Starring: Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, Sean Penn.
Rated: R

This may be one of the best movies ever made or one of the most pretentious. This is one of the best films I’ve ever seen that I’d have trouble recommending to anyone. Malick‘s near masterpiece is a grandeur cinematic near-masterpiece about life, death, heaven, earth, and everything in between. This is a highly ambitious, one-of-a-kind film that is hard to categorize, at times confusing and frustrating, but full of moments of extreme beauty and poignancy. A difficult film to describe, a majority of the story is about the summer of a small-time Texas family in the 1950’s who raise three young sons under the aggressive and emotional abusive of Brad Pitt, as Mr. O’ Brian, and Jessica Chastain as Mrs. O’ Brain, the angelic, caring mother. The film alternates between images of the universe’s creation and Sean Penn as the grown up version of the young son Jack. Granted, some of the parts of the film, such as the moments with Sean Penn, feel drawn out and almost at times pointless, but mark my words, the Academy Awards will be a travesty if this film does not win Best Cinematography. The film ranks of one of the most beautifully photographic films of all time. Seeing this film on a large screen, is almost heart wrenching in its astounding beauty. The movie although is highly experimental, and is a commitment to sit through and absorb, this is not the kind of film you can tune in and watch on autopilot, it is a masterclass in filmmaking and full of metaphorical imagery and layers of complexity whether it be the value of life, family, science, religion, and our place in the world. The kind of film that deserves to be seen by everyone, but will have a difficult time finding an audience. Many people will claim that it is long, has no story, is boring, and makes no sense, and for many people this will be the truth, but for some people who are willing to sit back and be engrossed in a rare motion picture, the experience will be extremely rewarding. For me, it was.

Rating: 9.5/10

I also saw the film “Thor” theatrically in the month of May but have a separate review already posted that can be found here: https://prodigalfilmstudent.wordpress.com/2011/05/14/thor-2011-review/