Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The WWW's Oscar Locks

Here are my 'Big Six' Oscar nomination locks - having seen roughly 98.6% of the films here (my reviews linked), you can trust that my picks are not pulled from thin air as they are often apt to be.

Best Picture 
Five films are guaranteed to get nods (expecting 7 or 8) - listed in order of strength of nomination:
  1. The Artist
  2. The Descendants 
  3. Hugo
  4. The Help 
  5. Midnight in Paris                                                                                                                                                    ---------------------
  6. The Tree of Life
  7. War Horse
  8. Moneyball 
  9. Drive 
  10. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Bubbling under: The Ides of MarchMy Week with MarilynJ. EdgarMelancholiaMartha Marcy May Marlene 

WWW's fave: Drive
Winner: The Artist

My take: An especially strong year with several films that could capture Oscar. While 'Drive' is in my estimation the finest film of 2011 (if it doesn't get a slot I'm boycotting the entire show) - 'The Artist' is the front runner but I could easily see 'The Descendants' or 'The Help' stealing it.

Best Actor
  1. George Clooney (The Descendants)
  2. Jean Dujardin (The Artist)
  3. Brad Pitt (Moneyball/The Tree of Life)
  4. Michael Fassbender (Shame)
  5. Leonardo DiCaprio (J. Edgar)
Bubbling under: Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Michael Shannon (Take Shelter), Ryan Gosling (Drive)

WWW's fave: George Clooney
Winner: George Clooney

My take: Initially I was sold on DiCaprio as the runaway winner but that was before Clooney crushed it in 'The Descendants' - his piercing monologue to his dying wife in the hospital was the clincher.
Best Actress
  1. Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady)
  2. Viola Davis (The Help)
  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)
Bubbling under: Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs), Elisabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene), Kirsten Dunst (Melancholia)

WWW's fave: Meryl Streep
Winner: Meryl Streep

My take: It's Streep and everyone else but I wouldn't be mouth agape if Davis somehow steals it.

Best Supporting Actor
  1. Christopher Plummer (Beginners)
  2. Albert Brooks (Drive)
  3. Kenneth Branagh (My Week with Marilyn)
  4. Jonah Hill (Moneyball)
  5. Armie Hammer (J. Edgar)
Bubbling under: Ben Kingsley (Hugo), John Hawkes (Martha Marcy May Marlene), Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Ides of March)

WWW's fave: Albert Brooks followed closely by John Hawkes
Winner: Christopher Plummer just edging Albert Brooks 

My take: The most competitive category by far - while Plummer was pitch perfect in 'Beginners', Brooks was the most chameleon-like. Transforming from laughable everyman to dagger-adoring gangster is quite the stretch and Brooks nailed it. That said, the Academy tends to award actors in homosexual roles (see: Sean Penn and Tom Hanks), which makes Plummer the guy. The fact that Hawkes is getting zero acknowledgement for his riveting role as a sinister cult leader is criminal.
Best Supporting Actress
  1. Octavia Spencer (The Help)
  2. Shailene Woodley (The Descendants)
  3. Berenice Bejo (The Artist)
  4. Jessica Chastain (The Help/The Tree of Life/Take Shelter)
  5. Judi Dench (J. Edgar)
Bubbling under: Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids), Carey Mulligan (Drive/Shame)

WWW's fave: Octavia Spencer
Winner: Octavia Spencer

My take: All of the actor/actress awards appear to be locks with Spencer the clear choice here. Woodley was a wonder and Bejo was sensational but she could end up in the Best Actress category.

Best Director
  1. Martin Scorsese (Hugo)
  2. Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist)
  3. Alexander Payne (The Descendants)
  4. Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris)
  5. Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life)
Bubbing under: David Fincher (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive), Steven Spielberg (War Horse), Tate Taylor (The Help)

WWW's fave: Nicolas Winding Refn just edging Martin Scorsese
Winner: Martin Scorsese over Michel Hazanavicius

My take: Another tight race here with Scorsese the favorite but with 'The Artist' seemingly the awards circuit's darling, Hazanavicius is right there. Refn was an utter revelation but the Academy can't resist stalwarts Allen and Malick.