Friday, January 20, 2012

Oscar Nomination Predictions

I have mentioned a few times this awards season that I am paying less attention to the race this year than I have in the past. And a strange thing has happened because I was paying less attention – I enjoyed it more. I haven’t been obsessing over who is going to be nominated, or decrying awards bodies when they don’t award my favorites this year, I’ve just sat back and watched it unfold. So while I’ve been less involved than ever in talking or even thinking about the Oscars this year, I have enjoyed it far more. Perhaps that’s a lesson to some of the bloggers and prognosticators who get so worked up over awards that they have no control over.

So, here they are – my Oscar nomination predictions ahead of Tuesday’s announcement. I have limited myself to 10 in each category – except for those categories with a shortlist that go above them (and one other category where I couldn’t decide). They are ranked in order of most to least likely nominees. I have provided a few comments for each category.

I will be back after the nominations to offer some thoughts.

Best Picture
1.       The Artist
2.       The Descendants
3.       Hugo
4.       The Help
5.       Midnight in Paris
6.       Moneyball
7.       War Horse
8.       The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
9.       The Tree of Life
10.    Drive

The big question here is how many films are going to be nominated – it could be anywhere between 5 and 10. I think you’re probably going to see 7 or 8, but I could easily be wrong. The top 6 are fairly safe in my mind, with the next three battling it out for the final couple of slots, and number 10 lurking on the outside.

1.       Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
2.       Martin Scorsese, Hugo
3.       Alexander Payne, The Descendants
4.       Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
5.       Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life
6.       David Fincher, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
7.       Steven Spielberg, War Horse
8.       Nicholas Winding Refn, Drive
9.       Bennett Miller, Moneyball
10.    Asghar Farhadi, A Separation

You can take the top 3 to the bank. I think Allen gets in, as he has made his most loved film in years, and the directors have always loved him. I’m going out on a limb with Malick, especially with safer choices behind him. If there’s a shocker, it could easily be Iran’s Farhadi.

Best Actor

1.       George Clooney, The Descendants
2.       Jean Dujardin, The Artist
3.       Brad Pitt, Moneyball
4.       Leonardo DiCaprio, J. Edgar
5.       Michael Fassbender, Shame
6.       Michael Shannon, Take Shelter
7.       Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
8.       Demian Bichar, A Better Life

The top 3 are locked, and the only ones with a chance to win. The next three are fighting for two spots, and I could easily see any of them in or snubbed.

Best Actress

1.       Viola Davis, The Help
2.       Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
3.       Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn
4.       Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin
5.       Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
6.       Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
7.       Charlize Theron, Young Adult
8.       Elizabeth Olson, Martha March May Marlene
9.       Kirsten Dunset, Melancholia

The top three are locks. I think the Academy will go darker with the final two nominees, but many think Glenn Close will squeeze in, and perhaps she will.

Best Supporting Actor
1.       Christopher Plummer, Beginners
2.       Albert Brooks, Drive
3.       Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn
4.       Jonah Hill, Moneyball
5.       Nick Nolte, Warrior
6.       Patton Oswalt, Young Adult
7.       Amie Hamer in J. Edgar
8.       Viggo Mortenson, A Dangerous Method

I waited all season for this category to get interesting, and it never really did. Plummer, Brooks, Plummer, Brooks all season long. I think you can count on Branagh, and Hill  seems secure. After that though, I would love to see them go off board with a out of left field pick (Serkis, Pitt, Hawkes) – but they probably won’t.

Supporting Actress
1.       Octavia Spencer, The Help
2.       Jessica Chastain, The Help
3.       Bernice Bejo, The Artist
4.       Shaillene Woodley, The Descendants
5.       Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
6.       Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
7.       Carey Mulligan, Shame
8.       Vanessa Redgrave, Coriolanus

I feel fairly safe in predicting the top 3, and I think Woodley should get spot four. After that it’s tough, though the Academy, who rarely responds to broad humor, is less likely than other groups to give it to McCarthy.

Best Original Screenplay
1.       Midnight in Paris
2.       The Artist
3.       A Separation
4.       Margin Call
5.       Bridesmaids
6.       Beginners
7.       Win Win
8.       The Tree of Life
9.       Young Adult
10.    50/50
11.    Take Shelter

After the top 2, this really is a free for all. I could see any 3 of the bottom 9 films on this list nominated.

Best Adapted Screenplay
1.       The Descendants
2.       Moneyball
3.       The Help
4.       Hugo
5.       Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
6.       The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
7.       The Ides of March
8.       War Horse
9.       Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
10.    Drive

You can count on the top three, but after that it gets murkier, and could go any number of ways.

Best Documentary
1.       Project Nim
2.       Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
3.       Buck
4.       Hell and Back Again
5.       Pina
6.       Bill Cunningham New York
7.       We Were Here
8.       Semper Fi
9.       The Loving Story
10.    Sing Your Song
11.    Undefeated
12.    Battle for Brooklyn
13.    If a Tree Falls
14.    Jane’s Journey
15.    Under Fire

This branch continually has its head up its ass, so guessing what they’ll do is a crapshoot. But guess I did anyway.

Best Animated Film

1.       Rango
2.       The Adventures of Tintin
3.       Puss in Boots
4.       Arthur Christmas
5.       Kung Fu Panda 2
6.       Winnie the Pooh
7.       Chico and Rita
8.       Rio
9.       Cars 2
10.    Happy Feet 2
11.    Alois Nebel
12.    Gnomeo and Juliet
13.    Wrinkles
14.    A Cat in Paris
15.    Mars Needs Moms
16.    Hoodwinked 2
17.    The Smurfs
18.    Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked

Rango is locked, unless this branch continues its hate for motion capture, than so is Tintin. After that, pick your favorite between 3 and 6 ( I think there are only 3 nominee this year, right?)

Best Foreign Language Film
  1. A Separation - Iran
  2. In Darkness - Poland
  3. Monsieur Lazhar – Canada
  4. Pina – Germany
  5. Footnote – Israel
  6. Bullhead – Belgium
  7. Omar Killed Me – Morocco
  8. Superclasico – Denmark
  9. Warriors of the Rainbow – Taiwan
Out of the 9 films shortlisted, I picked the five that I heard of – never a good way to predict, but as good as any other way I can think of.

Best Cinematography
1.       The Artist
2.       The Tree of Life
3.       Hugo
4.       War Horse
5.       The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
6.       Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
7.       Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II
8.       Drive

Watch for Tinker or Harry to upset one of the frontrunners – but I have no idea which one.


1.       The Artist

2.       Hugo

3.       The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

4.       War Horse

5.       Drive

6.       Moneyball

7.       Rise of the Planet of the Apes

8.       Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

9.       The Tree of Life

Watch for Moneyball, which could very easily knock something above off – probably Drive, but I just have a gut feeling on that one.


1.       The Artist
2.       War Horse
3.       Hugo
4.       The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
5.       Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
6.       The Adventures of Tin Tin
7.       The Skin I Live In
8.       The Help
9.       Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Going to be interesting what gets in to the fifth spot. I feel good about the other four.


  1. The Help – The Living Proof
  2. The Muppets – Life’s a Happy Song
  3. The Muppets – Pictures in My Head
  4. Albert Nobbs – Lay Your Head Down
  5. Captain American – Star Spangled Man
  6. Gnomeo and Juliet – Hello Hello
  7. The Muppets – Man or Muppet
  8. Winnie the Pooh – So Long
Nobody knows nothing on this one. You just wait for the nominees to be announced.

Art Direction

  1. The Artist
  2. Hugo
  3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II
  4. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  5. The Tree of Life
  6. The Help
  7. War Horse
  8. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  9. A Dangerous Method
  10. Jane Eyre
Will Tree of Life make it as it should? Here’s hoping.

Costume Design

  1. The Artist
  2. Hugo
  3. My Week with Marilyn
  4. Jane Eyre
  5. The Help
  6. The Iron Lady
  7. Anonymous
  8. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  9. Midnight in Paris
  10. Captain America


I feel confident about my choices here, which is usually a sign I'm going to be way off.



  1. The Iron Lady
  2. Hugo
  3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II
  4. Albert Nobbs
  5. Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life
  6. The Artist
  7. Anonymous
Apparently, I was the only one who thought J. Edgar contained some stunning work, which is why it was left off the shortlist. Other than Anonymous, I could see anything else get in here (and now, watch, Anonymous will get nominated).

Sound Mixing

  1. Hugo
  2. War Horse
  3. Super 8
  4. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  5. Moneyball
  6. The Adventures of Tintin
  7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  8. Transformers: Dark of the Moon
  9. The Tree of Life
  10. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
This could still go any number of ways, as the sound branch usually doesn’t care about the quality of the movie itself, just the sound work, which is both good and bad, I guess.

Sound Effects Editing

  1. Hugo
  2. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  3. Super 8
  4. War Horse
  5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  6. The Adventures of Tintin
  7. Transformers: Dark of the Moon
  8. Captain America
  9. Hanna
At least when they had a shortlist, you could make an educated guess. Now, it’s just pure guesswork.

Visual Effects

  1. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  2. Hugo
  3. Captain America
  4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II
  5. The Tree of Life
  6. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
  7. Transformers: Dark of the Moon
  8. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
  9. X-Men: First Class
  10. Real Steel
I’m going to stick with picking The Tree of Life to get a nomination, foolish as that may be.

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