Thursday, February 23, 2012

The WWW's Oscars® Cheat Sheet: Part 1


It's the longest buildup to any event on the planet. After seemingly eons, the Oscars finally get doled out Sunday at the Kodak Theatre Hollywood & Highland Center. I'm saving the "The Big Six" for Friday but if you're playing in an Academy Awards office pool (which we all know you are), get set to crush the competition with the less "flashy" awards. Here's how we'll break it down:

The winner listed in Oscar gold
- My fave
- Who got jobbed
- Who has no business in the building
- Nominees listed 1-5 according to strength
                                                - My analysis



Best Original Screenplay

The Oscar goes to: Midnight in Paris
Erick's fave: A Separation
Got jobbed: The Muppets
Has no business in the building: Margin Call
  1. Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen)
  2. The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius)
  3. A Separation (Asghar Farhadi)
  4. Bridesmaids (Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo)
  5. Margin Call (JC Chandor)
E's analysis: This is the going to be one of the closest votes of the evening - Woody Allen gets the edge over Hazanavicius because well, he's Woody Allen and 'Midnight' did boffo box office - his biggest take ever.

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Oscar goes to: The Descendants
Erick's fave: The Descendants
Got jobbed: Drive
Has no business in the building: Ides of March
  1. The Descendants (Alexander Payne, Nat Faxton, Jim Rash)
  2. Hugo (John Logan)
  3. Moneyball (Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian)
  4. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (Bridget O'Connor, Peter Straughn)
  5. The Ides of March (George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon)
E's analysis: Everything points to The Descendants but keep one eye on Hugo.


Best Achievement in Cinematography

The Oscar goes to: Hugo
Erick's fave: Hugo
Got jobbed: Drive
Has no business in the building: None
  1. Hugo
  2. The Tree of Life
  3. War Horse
  4. The Artist
  5. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
E's analysis: Hugo has the glorious depth of 3D on its side (that's assuming Academy members bothered visiting a theater versus watching the DVD screener) but Tree of Life is a spectacle overflowing with awe-inspiring imagery - a pick 'em bet. How Drive was left out, one of the purest-looking films ever put on screen, is bewildering.


Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

The Oscar goes to: A Separation
Erick's fave: A Separation
Got jobbed: Declaration of War
Has no business in the building: None
  1. A Separation (Iran)
  2. In Darkness (Poland)
  3. Footnote (Israel)
  4. Bullhead (Belgium)
  5. Monsieur Lazhar (Canada)
E's analysis: While A Separation is by far the finest film here (it should have been a Best Picture nom), the Academy has a tradition of awarding Holocaust-set movies, which would give the vastly inferior In Darkness the win.

Original Score

The Oscar goes to: The Artist
Erick's fave: The Artist
Got jobbed: Drive
Has no business in the building: None
  1. The Artist (Ludovic Bource)
  2. War Horse (John Williams)
  3. Hugo (Howard Shore)
  4. The Adventures of Tintin (John Williams)
  5. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Alberto Iglesias)
E's analysis: Seeing as The Artist is a silent film, its plucky soundtrack is fairly important to the proceedings - a Kryptonite® lock.


Best Original Song

The Oscar goes to: Man or Muppet
Erick's fave: Man or Muppet
Got jobbed: Life's a Happy Song
Has no business in the building: Apparently the other three nominees
  1. Man or Muppet (The Muppets)
  2. Real in Rio (Rio)
E's analysis: How do you not nominate the brilliant 'Muppets' track 'Life's a Happy Song'? Bewildering.


Best Animated Feature

The Oscar goes to: Rango
Erick's fave: Puss in Boots
Got jobbed: Rio
Has no business in the building: Kung Fu Panda 2
  1. Rango
  2. Puss in Boots
  3. A Cat In Paris
  4. Chico & Rita
  5. Kung Fu Panda 2
E's analysis: One of the weakest fields ever - Rango wins by default.


Best Achievement in Film Editing


The Oscar goes to: The Artist
Erick's fave: Hugo
Got jobbed: Drive
Has no business in the building: None
  1. The Artist
  2. Hugo
  3. The Descendants
  4. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  5. Moneyball
E's analysis: Another real shot for Hugo here.


Best Achievement in Sound Editing

The Oscar goes to: Hugo
Erick's fave: Drive
Got jobbed: None
Has no business in the building: None
  1. Hugo
  2. Drive
  3. War Horse
  4. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  5. Transformers: Dark of the Moon
E's analysis: These "smaller" awards are where Hugo is eventually going to clean up. Would be quite fitting if Drive won the only award it's nominated for - my favorite film of 2011 without question.

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

The Oscar goes to: Hugo
Erick's fave: Hugo
Got jobbed: Drive
Has no business in the building: None
  1. Hugo
  2. War Horse
  3. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  4. Moneyball
  5. Transformers: Dark of the Moon
E's analysis: Again, Hugo with the "smaller" win.

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

The Oscar goes to: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Erick's fave: Hugo
Got jobbed: None
Has no business in the building: None
  1. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  2. Hugo
  3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
  4. Real Steel
  5. Transformers: Dark of the Moon
E's analysis: The prodigious push to get a supporting nomination for Andy Serkis should pay off in a lesser way for 'Apes' as it scores a less heralded award but Hugo and 'Harry' are right there.

Best Achievement in Art Direction

The Oscar goes to: Hugo
Erick's fave: Hugo
Got jobbed: None
Has no business in the building: None
  1. Hugo
  2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
  3. The Artist
  4. War Horse
  5. Midnight in Paris
E's analysis: This should be Hugo's but The Artist or 'Harry' could conjure up a spell to steal the thing.
    Best Achievement in Costume Design

    The Oscar goes to: Jane Eyre
    Erick's fave: The Artist
    Got jobbed: None
    Has no business in the building: None
    1. The Artist
    2. Jane Eyre
    3. Hugo
    4. Anonymous
    5. W.E.
    E's analysis: While The Artist is the prohibitive favorite, I'm picking the period piece Jane Eyre in an upset.


    Best Achievement in Makeup

    The Oscar goes to: The Iron Lady
    Erick's fave: The Iron Lady
    Got jobbed: J. Edgar
    Has no business in the building: None
    1. The Iron Lady
    2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
    3. Albert Nobbs
    E's analysis: It's looking like Meryl Streep will get (criminally) robbed as Best Actress, so this is the opportunity to give massively underrated The Iron Lady some love.

      Best Documentary Feature

      The Oscar goes to: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
      Erick's fave: The Interrupters (not nominated)
      Got jobbed: The Interrupters and Senna
      Has no business in the building: None
      1. Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
      2. Hell and Back Again
      3. If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
      4. Pina
      5. Undefeated
      E's analysis: Seeing as the West Memphis Three was the cause of a number of Hollywood luminaries, 'Paradise' is a lock.


      Best Documentary Short Subject


      The Oscar goes to: The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom
      Erick's fave: Can't comment
      Got jobbed: ???
      Has no business in the building: ???
      1. The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom
      2. The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement?
      3. Incident in New Baghdad
      4. God Is the Bigger Elvis
      5. Saving Face
      E's analysis: The devastation Japan suffered from the tsunami is the most compelling subject which equals an Oscar.


      Best Animated Short Film

      The Oscar goes to: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
      Erick's fave: Can't comment
      Got jobbed: ???
      Has no business in the building: ???
      1. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
      2. Dimanche/Sunday
      3. La Luna
      4. A Morning Stroll
      5. Wild Life
      E's analysis: Academy voters tend to pick the catchiest title here year after year.


      Best Live Action Short Film

      The Oscar goes to: Pentecost

      Erick's fave: Can't comment
      Got jobbed: ???
      Has no business in the building: ???
      1. Pentecost
      2. Raju
      3. Tuba Atlantic
      4. The Shore
      5. Time Freak
      E's analysis: Going with the religious title - always a safe bet.