For as long as I started being really interested in movies, film critic Roger Ebert has run an “Outguess Ebert” contests where readers have the chance to do just that. The contest is now open, so I thought now would be a good time to make my picks. I don’t have much time between now and when the contest closes to see more films, so there’s not much point in delaying. I entered the contest last year and since I correctly picked more than Ebert, I won a 3 month subscription to MUBI, a streaming service that offered a lot of international and independent movies. Sadly, the films on the site didn’t appeal to me at all, so it was a waste. But this year, maybe I’ll win that grand prize. Probably not…
Here’s where Ebert and I agree. “The Artist” was one of my favorite films of the year and it’s as or more deserving than any of the other nominees. It’s a safe Academy pick (except for the silent/black and white thing) but a better choice than “The King’s Speech”, which was a safe pick that was totally undeserving in my opinion. I haven’t seen “Hugo” so I may be sort of biased here, as it also garnered a TON of nods. The only other pick I could see making a case is “The Descendants” but it really doesn’t have a chance and while I really enjoyed it, it’s not Best Picture material. If “The Artist” wins I will be very happy, maybe as happy was I was when “The Hurt Locker” got its win, we’ll see.
To me, acting is when an actor plays someone that is really, someone other than themselves. George Clooney was great in “The Descendants”, but I felt like I was watching George Clooney, and not really the character. I’m starting to almost feel this way about Leonardo DiCaprio and Ryan Gosling. This isn’t to say they aren’t great actors, but they just seem to be playing themselves. However, Jean Dujardin did NOT play himself in “The Artist.” Hell, look at his IMDB pictures and then at his character from “The Artist.” Dujardin was playing a modern and nostalgic take on a Hollywood legend and he really deserves to win this category. Clooney has won enough and Brad Pitt will get another chance (just not with World War Z).
Meryl Streep is a great actress, there is no doubt. However, I am getting a little tired of her nominations. If she wins, I’ll be very disappointed. Here, I’m going to agree again with Ebert and cast a vote for Viola Davis in “The Help.” Audiences loved this movie, however, I was just a little turned off by the whole “white person to the rescue” mentality and some of the humor just made it seem too campy. However, Viola Davis plays her part really well because she is so serious in a movie that probably demanded less subplots and more serious attention to its subject matter. She was the best part of the film and deserves a win. Part of me wonders about Michelle Williams in this category, but I think it’s still going to be Viola Davis. I guess we’ll get a hint if they choose Denzel or Forrest to present this one.
Best Supporting Actor
I confess to have seen only one of the movies that was nominated in this category and that was “Warrior.” Nick Notle again, was playing himself, so he won’t win this one. Christopher Plummer is distinguished and won the Golden Globe, so I’m going to agree with Ebert here. But this category could end up surprising us.
Best Supporting Actress
Here’s where I’m going to deviate a little. Ebert picked Octavia Spencer for “The Help.” Personally, I’m not sure I really liked her in the movie. She was intended to provide comic relief (along with a few other characters) and it just gave the film a screwball feel that I actually sort of hated it for doing. I’m going to go with Melissa McCarthy from “Bridesmaids” although is Berenice Bejo going to make another win for “The Artist”?
Lots of deserving nominees here. I’m going to bet that “The Artist” continues its sweep and picks up the win. Scorcese already won for “The Departed” so I think he won’t win this year simply because of that. But I could very well be wrong.
Best Animated Film
The only nominee I’ve seen from this category was “The Adventures of…” wait, just kidding. I’ve seen none of them. I actually HATE that this category even exists, but I’m going to go against Ebert here and pick “Chico & Rita” because I know nothing about it and “Rango” looked incredibly stupid to me.
Best Foreign Film
I usually only get to see these after the actual awards are given out, so I’m going purely based on hype. “A Separation” seems to be the clear frontrunner so I’m going to be safe here and go with that.
My thinking is one of three, “Descendants”, “Hugo” or “Moneyball.” I think the family dynamic of “The Descendants” and Alexander Payne’s reputation will get the win here.
To me, this is a pretty tough category to pick. “The Artist” really had no dialogue at all, so to me, it’s not a contender for once. I can’t see “Bridesmaids” winning as a comedy really needs Diablo Cody behind it to actually win (or maybe Cameron Crowe). I think “A Separation” will get its due in the Foreign Film category, which leaves “Midnight in Paris” and Woody Allen.
To tally, Ebert and I only disagreed on 2 awards, so we’ll see how it turns out. To see a full list of nominations, check ’em out here.
Alright, the nominees for the 2012 Oscars are in. I’ll admit that I have a love/hate relationship with these awards. They are way too long, the musical numbers are sort of boring to me, and I really hate how the academy chooses sometimes. But, I do enjoy movies, I like watching the reactions of winners/losers, and I like rooting for movies I love (The Hurt Locker‘s and Kathryn Bigelow‘s triumph were probably my favorite moments of recent memory). I’ll do a more in-depth Oscar post closer to the awards, but here are the nominees with some very quick thoughts that I’ll probably regret later.
- “War Horse”
- “The Artist”
- “The Descendants”
- “The Tree of Life”
- “Midnight in Paris”
- “The Help”
- “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”
A few surprises here. Everyone had basically written off “War Horse” after it got snubbed from the other awards, but it makes an appearance here, though I don’t see it winning. No nomination for “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” but I think that’s for the best as frankly, I’m just sick of that movie (although, I could see how some people might have wanted it after Fincher and company got totally robbed with “The Social Network”). Not sure where “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” came from, although it stars a few Academy favorites. I haven’t seen it, but making a movie about 9/11 is such an endeavor that I wonder if that will hurt or help its chances. My frontrunner now is “The Artist” with “The Descendants” in second, with “Hugo” in third, but we’ll see what happens.
- Demián Bichir, “A Better Life”
- George Clooney, “The Descendants”
- Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”
- Gary Oldman, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
- Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”
Personally, I’d go with Jean Dujardin in this one, but George Clooney has had a good year, so he may have a chance. Very nice to see Gary Oldman getting a nomination as he is a tireless worker who is often overlooked because of the character bits he plays. Again, I feel like Jean Dujardin has the momentum, but Clooney could make a run as well. No Michael Fassbender here for “Shame”, I’m guessing NC-17 is a little too edgy for an award nom these days.
- 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”
So it’s here that Rooney Mara gets the only big nomination for her film. Big names here with Glenn Close and Meryl Streep. I’m sort of sick of Meryl Streep getting nominated and I was sort of glad to see critics go after “The Iron Lady”. She is definitely a great actress, but for some reason I am starting to view all of her performances as Meryl being Meryl, and nothing else. I think Michelle Williams actually might pick this one up, but that’s just a first thought.
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”
First off, I really liked “Warrior” so I’m glad to see Nick Nolte get a nomination. I don’t think he’ll win though, the same goes for Jonah Hill. There are too many legends in this category to root against them this time. Someone with grey hair will take this one.
Best Supporting Actress
- Bérénice Bejo, “The Artist”
- Jessica Chastain, “The Help”
- Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids”
- Janet McTeer, “Albert Nobbs”
- Octavia Spencer, “The Help”
Here’s where “The Help” might pick up a win, as I don’t really see it winning any other of its categories (though I may be wrong since audiences seemed to love it). Since Viola Davis probably won’t win best actress, would the Academy then vote for Octavia Spencer instead? I feel Jessica Chastain gets the nomination here because of her other work this year. Berenice Bejo really became her character, but Melissa McCarthy could take this one as a semi-dark horse.
- Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
- Alexander Payne, “The Descendants”
- Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”
- Terrence Malick, “The Tree of Life”
- Martin Scorsese, “Hugo”
No Fincher nomination, or Spielberg for that matter. The latter probably doesn’t deserve it, but I think a few people might think Fincher does, especially because he should have won for “The Social Network”. If “The Artist” gets sweep momentum then it could win this, but Malick has a shot here as “The Tree of Life” got great reviews and probably won’t win much else. This one will be good.
I’m skipping animated feature because I think it’s a stupid category and it basically shuts out Pixar from ever winning an Oscar for Best Picture, which is a shame because they make amazing films.
I’ll save the rest of the nominees for a predictions post, but really quickly a few thoughts. No standout for Original Screenplay, unlike the year Diablo Cody won for “Juno” or Cameron Crowe picked it up for “Almost Famous.” Could Harry Win for Art Direction? I dunno, but I liked the darkness of the film. I feel like Cinematography is the one chance for “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, except maybe editing as well. Few nominations for “Drive” even though it was loved by everyone. Nice to see “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory” nominated. I wonder if the buzz about “West of Memphis” will help or hurt its chances. Anyway, those are my thoughts, they’re probably wrong, but we’ll see won’t we?