Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Movie Review: On the Oscar Nominations

To see my predictions for this year's Oscar nominees, click here.

Here are this year's nominees in the eight highest-profile categories:

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 Best Picture category has become somewhat hard to predict. The number of nominees, starting this year, isn't predetermined. There could have been anywhere between five and ten nominees. The only requirement was that a film receive a number-one ranking on at least five percent of the nominating ballots. I predicted all nine films that made the final list. The possibility I predicted that didn't make it was The Ides of March, which I ranked as the eighth most likely to be nominated.

Predicted Winner: The Artist

BEST DIRECTION: The Artist, Michel Hazanavicius; The Descendants, Alexander Payne; Hugo, Martin Scorsese; Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen; The Tree of Life, Terrence Malick

There were no surprises here. This was the list I anticipated.

Predicted Winner: The Artist, Michel Hazanavicius

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: The Artist, Bridesmaids, Margin Call, Midnight in Paris, A Separation

I didn't anticipate Bridesmaids, Margin Call, or A Separation. I expected 50/50, Shame, and The Tree of Life instead. However, I'm kind of glad to be wrong. The three surprises--the year's preeminent Hollywood comedy, a highly touted indy picture that received no awards love until now, and the year's most acclaimed foreign-language film--seem better choices than three indy efforts that, apart from 50/50, were considered noteworthy for reasons other than the scripts.

Predicted Winner: The Artist

BEST SCREENPLAY ADAPTATION: The Descendants, Hugo, The Ides of March, Moneyball, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

I got four of the five right. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was nominated instead of The Help.

Predicted Winner: The Descendants

BEST ACTOR: Demián Bechir, A Better Life; George Clooney, The Descendants; Jean Dujardin, The Artist; Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; Brad Pitt, Moneyball

I got three for five in this category. I expected J. Edgar's Leonardo DiCaprio and Shame's Michael Fassbender instead of Bechir and Oldman.

Predicted Winner: George Clooney, The Descendants. However, he has close competition from Brad Pitt, who won this year's Best Actor prizes from the National Society of Film Critics and the New York Film Critics Circle. If they cancel each other out in the voting, Dujardin or Oldman may take the statue home.

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 Life with Marilyn

Four for five here. I expected Tilda Swinton for We Need to Talk About Kevin instead of Rooney Mara.

Predicted Winner: Viola Davis, The Help

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

This was three out of five. Instead of Nick Nolte and Max von Sydow, I thought it would be Albert Brooks for Drive and Armie Hammer for J. Edgar.

Predicted Winner: Christopher Plummer, Beginners. It is more than past time for this great actor to get the statue. It's hard to believe this is only his second nomination. (And his first came only two years ago!)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Bérénice Bejo, The Artist; Jessica Chastain, The Help; Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids; Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs; Octavia Spencer, The Help

I expected Shailene Woodley for The Descendants instead of Melissa McCarthy, so four out of five.

Predicted Winner: Octavia Spencer, The Help. Jessica Chastain is the breakout new performer this year with her performances in The Help, The Tree of Life, and two or three other films, but Spencer had the flashier role.

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