2012 Oscar Predictions

The nominations for the Academy Awards were announced on January 24th, celebrating the best in film of the past year. Well, best according to the producers, actors, writers, directors, etc. who make up the Academy. Not to mention there’s a really long process as to determine the nominees for Best Picture (you can read about it here, courtesy of Entertainment Weekly’s writers). Seeing as how I didn’t get this post up in a timely manner (as in the day of the nominations), I figured I might as well make my predictions to go along with my thoughts on this year’s nominees. Hugo leads the pack with 11 nominations, followed closely by The Artist with 10 nominations.

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

It was certainly surprising to hear Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close being nominated, as it seems critics and audiences weren’t very kind to it in terms of reviews and box office revenues. Granted, before the movie came out there was the idea that the movie would be an Oscar contender, but that was before. Also, it seems that every year (or at least since the Academy expanded the number of nominees from 5) there’s at least one movie that makes it, which causes everyone to say “REALLY?” The rest were either locks for nominations or were expected to be nominated. I really wish though that the final installment of the Harry Potter series had been nominated, just as a cap to the whole series, but that’s not to say that I wasn’t entirely shocked that it wasn’t.

Unlike the past two years, I didn’t watch all the nominated movies. I got through 7 out of the 9 movies, and that was barely getting through The Tree of Life. I just couldn’t bring myself to watch War Horse and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I wasn’t even the least bit interested in seeing it. And this is coming from the fact that I sat through Winter’s Bone last year, and A Serious Man the year before.

As for predicting who will win, at this point, odds are in The Artist‘s favour. It has won the most “precursors” if you will, so it has got a lot of momentum going for it. Personally, I’d rather not see The Artist win (not that it wasn’t a good movie) but as happens most years, I always find myself rooting for a movie that isn’t the frontrunner. I like underdogs. Last year, it was a toss up between The King’s Speech and The Social Network, with the edge going to TKS. But I loved TSN, so I was really hoping it would win (obviously it didn’t). The year before, with everyone going on about how it was between Avatar and The Hurt Locker for the win, I was all “Screw that! I want Inglorious Basterds or Up In the Air to win!” This year, I’d really like it if The Help won – such a wonderful movie with great acting all around.

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

Most surprising is that The Help‘s Tate Taylor didn’t get nominated, instead Malick took his place. It’s hard to decide who should win in this category. The frontrunner in the category is Hazanavicius – I mean a silent movie, in this day and age? It was crazy talk, but it worked.

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

I still can’t believe that this is the first time Gary Oldman has been nominated for an Oscar. But without a doubt, the race is between George Clooney and Jean Dujardin. It’s so hard to choose because both performances were great. I mean Clooney has really never been better, but at the same time, Dujardin conveyed so many emotions without saying anything. I think I’m going to have to give the edge to Clooney.

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

Prior to awards season truly kicking in, there was talk that Elizabeth Olsen might get in for her performance in Martha Marcy May Marlene, which I think would’ve been great. She was absolutely amazing in that movie. Alas, that was all talk. I’ll admit that I’ve only seen The Help out of the 5 performances, so that makes me biased a little bit. But you know what? I don’t care, Viola Davis absolutely deserves the win. I know Meryl Streep is LEGEND, but Davis’ performance was incredible.

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

Christopher Plummer has been the winner all awards season, so there’s no doubt that he’s going to win the Oscar as well. I’ll say this though, how funny is it that we’re going to be seeing “Academy Award Nominee Jonah Hill” on movie ads from now on? I mean who woulda thunk it?

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

There’s some reservations that both Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer are nominated for The Help, which may lead to votes being cancelled out. But Spencer’s totally got the win – like Plummer for Supporting Actor, she’s won every other award this season.

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

Midnight in Paris might not stand much of a chance in winning the top prize, but Woody Allen sure as hell is winning here.

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

The way I see it, I can only really judge this category if I’ve read both the book and seen the movie – I haven’t read any of the original books and only saw 3 of the nominated films. Surprisingly, the screenplay for The Help wasn’t nominated, which REALLY doesn’t bode well for its Best Picture chances, but hey, weirder things have happened at the awards. Aaron Sorkin did the same thing with Moneyball, as he did with The Social Network – that is turn a subject/book that could’ve been really boring under the wrong hands, and co-wrote a screenplay that kept you interested regardless of whether you know baseball or not. Unfortunately, seeing as how Sorkin did just win last year for TSN, I don’t think he’s going to repeat. Chances are the writers of The Descendants are going to take it.

Best Animated Film
A Cat in Paris
Chico & Rita
Kung Fu Panda 2
Puss in Boots
Rango

For the first time in what feels like forever, a Pixar movie (Cars 2) didn’t get nominated, which means anything goes this year. Seeing as how The Adventures of Tintin didn’t get nominated, I think Rango‘s going to win.

Music (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

How did John Williams get nominated twice, leaving Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross (for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and also last year’s winners) out of the race? For the fact that The Artist is a silent movie, making the score all the more important, I really do feel that Ludovic Bource will win.

Music (Original Song)
“Man or Muppet” from The Muppets, Bret McKenzie
“Real in Rio” from Rio, Sergio Mendes, Carlinhos Brown, and Siedah Garrett

2 nominees? That’s it? I don’t know what to say about it really, but between the two, Bret McKenzie should win. It’s the Muppets after all!

Visual Effects
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Hugo
Real Steel
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Let Harry Potter win this please! A series ending, compilation win! I will admit though that the effects for Hugo were pretty incredible, not to mention the work at creating the apes of Rise. But seriously. Harry Potter!

The Oscars air on ABC, this Sunday Feb. 26th at 8:00 P.M. Billy Crystal hosts.

2011 Oscar Winners

This year’s Oscar races ended up being quite predictable, but it didn’t stop the show from continuing on its attempts at being not boring.

THE WINNERS (in order of appearance)

Best Art Direction: Alice In Wonderland, Robert Stromberg & Karen O’Hara

Best Cinematography: Inception, Wally Pfister

Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, The Fighter – Some people were questioning whether Leo would still get support after her self-promoted “For Your Consideration” ads, but there was really no need to question it. Leo had won pretty all of the precursors leading up to the Oscars, so there was really no reason to doubt that she’d take it here too. Also, Leo’s f-bomb (which went uncensored on CTV) was awesome. I don’t get why people were making a big fuss about it. It’s not like you’ve never heard the word before. It slipped out, big whoop.

Best Animated Short: The Lost Things, Shaun Tan & Andrew Ruhemann

Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 3 – Duh. This was a no brainer.

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network, Aaron Sorkin – This was also a no-brainer. I’ve said it before, but Sorkin’s script was a wonderful piece of work.

Best Original Screenplay: The King’s Speech, David Seidler – This win just felt like it was playing up the fact that TKS and TSN were the frontrunners to win Best Picture. Honestly, I was hoping Nolan would win for his Inception script. I mean really, you couldn’t get any more original than Inception last year.

Best Foreign Language Film: In A Better World (Denmark)

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter – Some said that Geoffrey Rush could’ve won, due to a TKS sweep, but again, this category was pretty much a done deal for Bale.

Best Original Score: The Social Network, Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross – So happy they won. Completely deserved.

Best Sound Mixing: Inception, Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo & Ed Novick

Best Sound Editing: Inception, Richard King

Best Makeup: The Wolfman, Rick Baker & Dave Elsey

Best Costume Design: Alice in Wonderland, Colleen Atwood

Best Documentary Short: Strangers No More, Karen Goodman & Kirk Simon

Best Live-Action Short: God of Love, Luke Matheny

Best Documentary: Inside Job, Charles Ferguson & Audrey Marrs

Best Visual Effects: Inception, Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley & Peter Bebb – It seriously would’ve been a travesty if Inception did not win in this category.

Best Editing: The Social Network, Angus Wall & Kirk Baxter

Best Song: “We Belong Together,” Toy Story 3, Randy Newman – Wasn’t really pulling for any one song to win. They were all kind of meh to me. Highlight during the performances though was definitely Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi performing.

Best Director: Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech – I was still holding out hope that Fincer would win this Oscar after losing the DGA, and from what I’ve read around the blogosphere, many people thought the same thing. But once Hooper won, I knew it was a done deal for TKS to win Best Picture.

Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan – Could it really have been anyone else?

Best Actor: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech – Firth was far and away a lock to win, you would’ve been stupid to bet against him.

Best Picture: The King’s Speech – I knew it was going to be TKS, but up until the last second, I was still holding out hope for TSN to win. Don’t get me wrong, TKS was a good movie, but I just absolutely loved TSN. What bugged me was the nominee montage, with all the movie clips “scored” to TKS’ climactic speech. It made it seem like there was bias towards TKS and pretty much said that TKS won without even officially announcing it.

Now, as for the show itself, I gotta say, I enjoyed watching it. I really don’t get all the hate and harsh words for this year’s telecast at all. For the Academy to bring in James Franco & Anne Hathaway was a risk. James seemed at times to be out of it, but you could not hate on Anne for her enthusiasm. Lots of people complained how Anne was constantly hooting and hollering about each presenter, but give me a break. She’s still a young actress, who may not have met a lot of these stars, so of course she’s gonna admire and give respect to these actors/actresses/directors LIKE ANY FAN WOULD. Sure bringing out Billy Crystal might not have been the greatest idea – it made Franco and Hathaway look far inferior in their hosting abilities – but these younger hosts gave it their best with the material they were given and I commend them for that. Also, no matter what happened, people were going to call the show boring because it’s the Oscars, but don’t blame it on the hosts. They do what they can to keep the show moving at a good pace and that’s what they did. Honestly, at no point in the show did I think how tediously long the show is, and I’m pretty sure that has a lot to do with our hosts and the presenters’ charm + banter.

But again, this is all just my opinion.

2011 Oscar Nominations

Nominations for this year’s Academy Awards were announced this morning, and not so surprisingly, The King’s Speech led all nominations with 12. True Grit followed with 10 nominations, and Inception and The Social Network tied with 8 noms.

BEST PICTURE

  • Black Swan
  • The Fighter
  • Inception
  • The Kids Are Alright
  • The King’s Speech
  • 127 Hours
  • The Social Network
  • Toy Story 3
  • True Grit
  • Winter’s Bone

Really, no surprises here. Everything that was presumed to be nominated was. The only movie that got left out was The Town, which some thought might get in over Winter’s Bone.

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
  • David O’Russell, The Fighter
  • Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
  • David Fincher, The Social Network
  • Joel & Ethan Coen, True Grit

Let’s get this out of the way: biggest snub goes to Christopher Nolan. While most people thought that the Coens would probably get in with a nomination and bump out O’Russell, it turns out the Coens bumped out Nolan. NOLAN! FOR INCEPTION! Come on now! Inception wouldn’t have been the movie it was if it wasn’t for Nolan. Ridiculous. What does the man have to do to get a nomination? Geez….

BEST ACTOR

  • Javier Bardem, Biutiful
  • Jeff Bridges, True Grit
  • Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
  • Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
  • James Franco, 127 Hours

What a nice surprise to see Bardem nominated. Despite not getting any recognition anywhere else this awards season, Bardem made it onto the final list for Oscars. But really, that fifth slot (after Firth, Franco, Eisenberg, Bridges) was a toss. Nice to see Bardem nominated, but a little surprised that Mark Wahlberg didn’t make the cut, especially considering all his costars were nominated. Also, kind of wish Ryan Gosling was nominated for Blue Valentine. Wow, Best Actor race was tough this year.

BEST ACTRESS

  • Annette Bening, The Kids Are Alright
  • Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
  • Natalie Portman, Black Swan
  • Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

Michelle Williams got nominated!!!! Yes!!! On the flip side, I’m a little disappointed that Julianne Moore didn’t get nominated for The Kids Are Alright. I honestly think she was on par, if not better than Bening in the movie. But that’s just me.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Christian Bale, The Fighter
  • John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone
  • Jeremy Renner, The Town
  • Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are Alright
  • Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech

Only surprise here was that John Hawkes got in, taking Andrew Garfield for The Social Network out. It’s actually kind of funny thinking about it now, but when The Social Network was released in October, Dave Karger from Entertainment Weekly posed the question as to whether TSN could pull off 3 Supporting Actor nods (for Garfield, Armie Hammer, and Justin Timberlake). Look at it now, not even one nod for Garfield. Oh, what a pipe dream that was.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Amy Adams, The Fighter
  • Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
  • Melissa Leo, The Fighter
  • Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
  • Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

In a true surprise, neither Mila Kunis or Barbara Hershey from Black Swan got nominated. Kunis has been getting the most recognition this awards season of the pair, and assumed that Kunis would be a lock for a nomination, with many hoping that Hershey would get in as well (or at least, one or the other). With Steinfeld being nominated as Supporting Actress, it made the possibility of 2 nominations for Black Swan in the category rather difficult. While on the subject of Steinfeld, I have to say it’s well-deserved for her, but having recently watched the movie, I found her role to be more lead than supporting.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

  • How to Train Your Dragon
  • The Illusionist
  • Toy Story 3

I would’ve thought that Tangled might’ve gotten in, but I guess you can’t have 2 Disney movies nominated together. Actually, considering the amazing year that animation had last year, it would’ve been nice to see them expand the number of nominations to 5.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • Another Year, Written by Mike Leigh
  • The Fighter, Screenplay by Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson. Story by Keith Dorrington, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson
  • Inception, Written by Christopher Nolan
  • The Kids Are All Right, Written by Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg
  • The King’s Speech, Screenplay by David Seidler

Well, at least Nolan got nominated here. Lack of a directing nod for him still stings though.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
  • 127 Hours, Screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy
  • The Social Network, Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin
  • Toy Story 3, Screenplay by Michael Arndt. Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich
  • True Grit, Written for the screen by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
  • Winter’s Bone, Adapted for the screen by Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini

No surprises here really. I still find it fascinating how Toy Story 3 is nominated for an adapted screenplay. I mean I get that the technicalities of it is that it’s a sequel which uses characters from a previous movie, but otherwise it’s original. Technicalities.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

  • “Coming Home,” Music and Lyrics by Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey (Country Strong)
  • “I See the Light,” Music by Alan Menken; Lyrics by Glenn Slater (Tangled)
  • “If I Rise,” Music by A.R. Rahman; Lyrics by Dido and Rollo Armstrong (127 Hours)
  • “We Belong Together,” Music and Lyrics by Randy Newman (Toy Story 3)

Surprisingly, no nomination for songs from Burlesque.

For a complete list of nominations, visit Oscar.com. The winners will be announced on Sunday, February 27th on ABC.

2010 Best Picture Oscar Nominees

Just when you thought my pop culture nerdiness level could not get any higher, I go and have successfully gotten through ALL 10 of the Best Picture Oscar nominees.

My thoughts? I want an upset. People may go on and on about it being between The Hurt Locker and Avatar, but all the hype about it being between those two movies, have made me a cynic. I’d rather have Up In the Air or Inglourious Basterds win. Hurt Locker, for me, wasn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Maybe I need to watch it a second time to completely “get it” but shouldn’t a movie be able to make an impact on the first viewing? And Avatar was completely and utterly amazing for the visuals, but shouldn’t the Best Picture of the year have a decent script that we haven’t heard before and not win based entirely on its visuals? Just saying.

The other movies nominated were pretty much filler. But I have to give credit where it’s due in that Precious, An Education, and Up were all great movies in and of themselves. Up is obviously gonna win Best Animated Feature, so it shouldn’t feel so bad losing here. The Blind Side, District 9 and A Serious Man, should all be honoured to have been nominated.

So recap: even though it’s probably not gonna happen, I want an upset a la Crash beating Brokeback Mountain.

82nd Annual Academy Award Nominations

Oscar nominations were announced this morning and as usual, there are a few things to be discussed. Both Avatar and The Hurt Locker lead the nominations with 9 each, clearly indicating that that is where the race is. I won’t go into detail about all the nominees, as a lot of the nominations were expected and similar to other awards handed over the past month or so. 

First of all, what makes this year different than years past is the widening of the Best Picture category from 5 nominees to 10. If the Academy had stayed with 5 nominations, it would have been easy to tell who would be nominated right off the bat: Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious and Up In the Air. Those 5 were obviously nominated but the other 5 slots were really up for grabs. There was really debate when the initial announcement of this change made news of whether the other 5 slots would just simply go to other “Oscar-bait”/smaller films or if it would lead the way for the inclusion of successful box office movies that a larger majority of people have actually seen. Well, this morning we saw what happened. The other 5 slots went to: The Blind Side, District 9, An Education, A Serious Man, and Up. Of those 5, The Blind Side was the biggest surprise as it had no previous nomination from any other guild award. Up is now only the second animated movie to ever be nominated for Best Picture. It was somewhat expected that District 9 and An Education would also get nominated, but just as a personal opinion (and probably the fact that I haven’t actually seen the movie), I don’t really understand the inclusion of District 9. It doesn’t exactly scream “Oscar!” but again, that’s just years of conditioning by the Academy into making us think year after year that no summer blockbuster/popcorn flick or comedy is worthy of being nominated. I guess it could also be that same logic that prevented potential nominees The Hangover (the Golden Globe winner for Best Picture, Musical/Comedy), Star Trek and (500) Days of Summer from being nominated in this expanded Best Picture race. But let’s be real here, the race is really amongst the first set of 5 (and more particularly, between Avatar and The Hurt Locker), with the second set of 5 being more of “it’s an honour to be nominated” type of thing.

Now onto some other nomination categories:

  • Best Actor: This is really Jeff Bridges’ to lose
  • Best Actress: Pretty much the usual suspects this awards season. It’ll be, as it has been, between Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side) and Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia), with I think the edge going to Bullock.
  • Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds) has this in the bag
  • Best Supporting Actress: Mo’Nique (Precious) is a lock to win here as well. What’s interesting about the other nominees is the inclusion of Maggie Gyllenhaal for Crazy Heart. Some expected Julianne Moore to be nominated for A Single Man, or one of the ladies from Inglourious Basterds, Diane Kruger or Melanie Laurent (although Laurent has been missing awards support in general, despite a fantastic performance in the movie).
  • Best Animated Film: I think it’s kind of obvious that Up is going to win. No one beats Pixar.
  • Best Song: Interesting lineup of nominees. 2 songs from The Princess and the Frog were nominated, along with 1 each from Paris 36 (a movie I’ve never heard of), Nine, and Crazy Heart. Ed Helms’ “Stu’s Song” from The Hangover was unfortunately not nominated, which is a shame. Not to mention that this is Best Song and when we’ve seen “It’s Hard Out There for a Pimp” from Hustle & Flow and “Lose Yourself” from 8 Mile WIN the award, anything could have happened with the nominations. Also, “I See You” from Avatar wasn’t nominated – guess it’s no “My Heart Will Go On” after all.  
  • Best Original Screenplay: As has been noted on other sites, Avatar was overlooked for a screenplay nomination, just as Titanic was over 10 years ago. This is actually a good thing. Can you imagine what would have happened if Avatar WAS nominated for this category? ORIGINAL Screenplay? I mean I liked Avatar a lot, but I agree with the masses when it comes to the fact that the story wasn’t really anything new or original.

That’s all I’ve got to say about the nominations. The Academy Awards will be handed out on Sunday, March 7th, with hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin.