Tuesday, January 24, 2012

84th Academy Award Predictions Pt. 1

The 84th Academy Awards is ready to go as nominations are announced and it’s time for the Super Bowl of film awards to happen. Predictions to be made on what or who will win an award an all of that. It’s time to reveal what will likely to happen in the Oscars on who is going to win what and who/what are the long shots. Well, looking at the list of nominees in various categories. It’s obviously can be said that it’s kind of weak this year. No major nominations for the following films is pretty upsetting: Shame, Melancholia, Take Shelter, We Need to Talk About Kevin, Project Nim, and The Skin I Live In.

Here are the nominees for 11 of the major categories in the Oscars:

Best Picture

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

What Will Win: The Artist

The movie about the rise and fall of a silent film star upon the arrival of the talkies is among one of the most celebrated films of 2011. It’s a film that has what it takes to win such a coveted award as it’s got what filmgoers love. It’s entertaining, it’s funny, it’s dramatic, it’s got great musical numbers, and it has a story that people can root for. Plus, it’s a silent film being reborn to a new generation of filmgoers as it is the film that has what it takes to reach a wide audience.

What Should Win: The Tree of Life

Terrence Malick’s polarizing yet out-of-this world drama about the life of a Texas family in the 1950s is probably a film like no other that has come out in 2011. Often compared to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey in terms of its ambition and asking big question. Featuring a sprawling 20-minute sequence on the Creation of Earth and mesmerizing images. It’s really a film that does more than being just a film. It’s a true work of art that will never replicated for many years to come.

Dark Horse: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Stephen Daldry’s 9/11 drama about a boy who finds a missing key hoping that it might mean a message that his late father had left is something that Oscars seem to love. Yet, the film has received mixed reviews with many on the negative side stating that it’s very manipulative and contrived with a protagonist who can grate on its viewers. It’s the one film that really has no chance of winning as it came out very late in 2011 without getting any major critical or guild mentions.

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-The Artist

The French filmmaker, who has been known previous for the OSS 117 spy spoofs, has managed to do something quite impossible by bringing back an old form of filmmaking back to the 21st Century. Notably as he remained true to the form of the silent film style while playing around with it to create something fresh and exciting. His nomination is definitely deserving while he’s definitely the newcomer going up against some well-known veterans in this category.

Who Should Win: Terrence Malick-The Tree of Life

In the world of great filmmakers, no one is revered than Terrence Malick as far as working filmmakers are concerned. Known for his poetic imagery, unique approach to voice-over narration, explorations into the flaws of humanity, and being awe of certain surroundings. Malick takes that approach for his fifth feature film to new heights while going into bigger risks that certainly has him raising the bar of what could be told in film.

Dark Horse: Woody Allen-Midnight in Paris

Woody Allen is another of the old-school filmmakers like Malick and Martin Scorsese who had made their mark in the 1970s. While Midnight in Paris marks as his best work in a very long time, his nomination is definitely a surprise considering the barrage of films and filmmakers he’s up against. While he doesn’t have the kind of visual traits that Malick, Scorsese, or Alexander Payne are known for. Allen is a filmmaker that does have a style that audiences can know and say it’s him though he’s really the long shot in this category.

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-The Artist

In the role of George Valentin, Jean Dujardin plays a popular silent film star whose pride and ignorance towards the emergence of the talkies lead to his downfall. It’s a role that requires charm and a great physicality as Dujardin does all of that and more. Without having to speak any dialogue as it’s all about the traits of a silent film performance. It is definitely a performance that hasn’t been seen in years as Dujardin makes it seem fine and lively like it was back in the 1920s.

Who Should Win: George Clooney-The Descendants

While George Clooney is among one of the biggest stars working in film, he is also someone who is willing to take risks to play great parts. His role of a man whose life is in shambles following his wife’s boating accident as he’s dealing with land he’s been trusted to for many generations while being a full-time dad to his two daughters. It’s a role where Clooney gets to be the cuckold and express his frustrations as a man who feels humiliated by his wife’s extramarital affairs as she is comatose. It’s definitely among the best performances Clooney has given as a win would be a big deal for the actor.

Dark Horse: Demian Bichir-A Better Life

The Mexican actor’s role as a gardener who goes on the search for a truck with his son is among one of the most talked-about performances of 2011. Though the film wasn’t seen by a wide audience, Bichir’s performance got rave notices from critics as it managed to sneak him a nomination for the Screen Actor’s Guild. While his nomination has him going up against a favorite and three well-known actors. It is very likely that he will get more exposure with the nomination.

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: Viola Davis-The Help

Viola Davis has been an actress who had recently becoming well-known for memorable roles in films like Far from Heaven and Doubt. Playing the role of a middle-aged maid who deals with the loss of her son and the prejudice she faces from her employer as she takes part in revealing the prejudice to a young reporter. It’s a very big role for an actress that has been known mostly for supporting work as it is definitely going to raise Davis’ profile.

Who Should Win: Michelle Williams-My Week with Marilyn

Michelle Williams is among one of the best young actresses working today as her roles in the works of Kelly Reichardt like Wendy & Lucy and Meek’s Cutoff along with 2010’s Blue Valentine has shown the kind of range she has. In the role of the legendary Marilyn Monroe about the making of The Prince and the Showgirl, Williams brings Monroe back to life as she displays all of the charm and grace as well as Monroe’s insecurities as it’s a performance for the ages.

Dark Horse: Glenn Close-Albert Nobbs

A longtime passion project for Glenn Close, Close’s performance as a woman being a man is one that often wreaks of Oscar-bait. Though Close is a brilliant actress and this is a part that she had done in a play back in 1982. It’s also something that can spell trouble as the film itself hasn’t received stellar reviews though Close is praised as it’s really hard for her to win in this category unless she gets it as some lifetime achievement prize.

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-Beginners

The legendary Canadian actor known most famously as Captain von Trapp from The Sound of Music gets to play an aging man who realizes he’s gay. Though it’s a part where his character learns about this in the final moments of his life. There is an enthusiasm and energy that has charmed audiences as it’s also a very daring part for the veteran actor as he’s becoming the odds on favorite.

Who Should Win: Kenneth Branagh-My Week with Marilyn

Playing Sir Laurence Olivier in a film about the making of The Prince and the Showgirl that Olivier starred and directed in. Branagh brings all of the charms and flaws of Olivier as a man whose theatrical acting style is on its way out as he has a hard time dealing with changing times and Marilyn Monroe. It’s a role that gives Branagh the chance to be funny as well as displaying his roots in the theater. It’s also the chance for Branagh to pay tribute to one of his favorite idols as he makes Olivier come alive again.

Dark Horse: Max von Sydow-Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

While it’s often cited as the highlight of the film, Max von Sydow’s performance as an aging mute man helping out a young boy is key to the film’s exploration of grief and finding answers after the loss of a loved one. Throughout the film, von Sydow only answers this boy either by his hands that says “yes” and “no” or write something on a pad. It’s probably the only thing about the film that has gotten positive notices though it’s not likely he’ll win considering the lukewarm response it has received from critics.

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-The Help

In the role of a younger yet more outspoken maid who ends up working for a kind social outcast, Spencer’s role has been the discovery of the year. Particularly for the fact that she was an unknown prior to this film. For this role of the young maid, Spencer brings a brash humor to this rebellious maid who helps out expose the dark secrets of prejudice while befriending a lonely housewife played by fellow nominee Jessica Chastain.

Who Should Win: Berenice Bejo-The Artist

While it’s a silent role that has Berenice Bejo display the kind of grace and charm of a young dancer who becomes a major movie star. It’s a performance that is another breakthrough for an actress that is not known largely by the public. Bejo’s performance has her dancing alongside co-star Jean Dujardin as she brings a real sense of drama to a woman whose stardom has realizing that the man who gave her a break is on the outs. It’s a truly mesmerizing performance for the Argentine-French actress.

Dark Horse: Janet McTeer-Albert Nobbs

Janet McTeer is an actress that is a name that not many people know about despite being nominated for Best Actress back in 1999 for Tumbleweeds. In the role of another woman pretending to be a man, she plays the one person who would discover the titular character’s secret while becoming its closest confidant. While it’s a role that would help raise McTeer’s profile, she is least likely to win due to the film’s low-key release and mixed reception.

Best Original Screenplay

Woody Allen-Midnight in Paris
J.C. Chandor-Margin Call
Asghar Farhadi-A Separation
Michel Hazanavicius-The Artist
Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig-Bridesmaids

Who Will/Should Win: Woody Allen-Midnight in Paris

The concept of a screenwriter trying to find inspiration to write a novel by traveling back in time to 1920s Paris is definitely one of Woody Allen’s most fascinating stories. Since it’s a story that has a lot of humor, charm, romance, and great ideas of what many of these artists were like in the 1920s. It’s also a movie that has great characters that people can enjoy or hate but also meet famous figures from the 1920s in one of the most beloved cities in the world. After all, what better way to cap off Woody’s biggest commercial hit with an Oscar win.

Dark Horse: J.C. Chandor-Margin Call

The story about a 36-hour period during the 2007-2008 financial crisis involving investment brokers and various employees was among the surprise debut features to come out of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. For its writer/director J.C. Chandor, it is a very ambitious idea to tackle an ensemble film about something like a financial crisis. Though Chandor has very tough competition, his nomination does at least raise his profile as a new director on the rise.

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Descendants-Nat Faxon, Alexander Payne, and Jim Rash, based on the book by Kaui Hart Hemmings
Hugo-John Logan, based on the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
The Ides of March-George Clooney, Grant Heslov, and Beau Willimon, based on the play Farragut North by Beau Willimon
Moneyball-Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin and Steve Zailian, screen story by Stan Chervin, based on the book by Michael Lewis
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy-Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughn, based on the novel by John LeCarre

Who Will/Should Win: Nat Faxon, Alexander Payne, & Jim Rash-The Descendants

Alexander Payne is a master in adapting novels into script as he teams up with Nat Faxon and Jim Rash to adapt Kaui Hart Hemmings’ novel about a land trustee whose life unravels with the near-fatal boating accident of his wife that has left her comatose. It is a film that plays into Payne’s theme of adults growing up and facing their own flaws. Yet, it is Payne’s most dramatic work to date as well as his most mature in terms of exploring the dynamic between a man and his two daughters.

Dark Horse: Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughn-Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

The story about a retired spy asked to come back to uncover a mole is an intriguing tale on loyalties and corruption from the John LeCarre novel. Though the film has received some criticism for its length, it is a film that takes its time to unravel the mystery. Notably as it studies a man that is trying to uncover everything that is happening as he tries to find the mole. While it is an interesting story, the films that it’s facing might prove to be a real challenge.

Best Animated Film

A Cat in Paris
Chico & Rita
Kung Fu Panda 2
Puss in Boots

What Will/Should Win: Rango

Gore Verbinski’s western that features various animals fighting off forces is one of the most exciting and entertaining animated features of 2011. With its emphasis to play up to the genre while creating landscapes that feels real through computer animation. It is a film that does more for its audience by being a fun, western-comedy that appeals to kids and film buffs.

Dark Horse: Chico & Rita

While the animated love story about a musician and singer in the 1950s that span into different locations like Havana and New York City is one filled with joy and heartbreak. A 2010 film that became a festival hit in 2011 all over the world, it is a film that had a difficult time being seen worldwide. This along with A Cat in Paris are definitely the long shots this year as it’s the first year that Pixar is not in Best Animated Film category.

Best Foreign-Language Film

Bullhead (Belgium)
Footnote (Israel)
In Darkness (Poland)
Monsieur Lazhar (Canada)
A Separation (Iran)

What Will/Should Win: A Separation

The 2011 winner of the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival is among one of the most acclaimed and talked-about films of the year. The story of an Iranian couple’s decision to divorce is hampered by various issues in a world where divorce is considered subversive. It is a film that has gotten lots of attention while a win would definitely be a big breakthrough for Iranian cinema despite its political and social turmoil.

Dark Horse: Monsieur Lazhar

Choosing a dark horse or a winner in this category is tough as it’s a very unpredictable one. Monsieur Lazhar is the most likely one despite its dark story about an Algerian man taking over for a deceased elementary school teacher in Montreal while dealing with his own personal issues. Canada is known for having a great film scene though it’s not often that it will pick up another prize like The Barbarian Invasions did back at the 2004 Oscars.

Best Documentary

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

What Will Win: Undefeated

Audiences love an inspirational story and what is more inspirational than a football team from Memphis who work hard to become an undefeated team after years of losing seasons. It’s definitely the kind of film that appeals to sports fans and those looking for a story with a happy ending as it’s the sentimental choice to win.

What Should Win: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory

Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky’s concluding trilogy of the West Memphis 3 has the duo reveal new evidence that proves the innocence of Jessie Misskelley, Damien Echols, and Jason Baldwin over the murders of three young boys in West Memphis, Arkansas in May of 1993. The documentary explores all of its previous films as well as revisiting characters including the families of the victims who felt manipulated over what really happened. Now that Misskelley, Echols, and Baldwin are free, a win would cap all the hard work Berlinger and Sinofsky had done to prove the innocence of these three young men.

Dark Horse: Hell and Back Again

The least-known of the nominees is a tale of life after war as soldiers try to return to normalcy. While it’s a story that is quite familiar in dramatic features, told in a documentary style does make it different since it follows real people. It’s a story that definitely will appeal to people although the competition is tough as the film is the definite long-shot.

© thevoid99 2012


s. said...

Nice predictions! But I think Clooney and Streep are winning. I'd love for Chastain to win, but the category is strong so whoever wins it's going to be fine, McTeer was especially good, the more I think about her performance the more I love it. I'm going to be so happy if The Artist wins it's such a magical movie.

Castor said...

If Extremely Loud somehow manages to win Best Picture, the Academy will be done in terms of credibility (whatever they have left). Nice set of predictions Steven :)