It’s been a while since I’ve been back in the old writer’s seat for Fernby Films. In fact, the last I believe I set an article up was when I set up my nominations two years ago, and I’ll admit, I was pretty impressed looking back at my thoughts over some of the major gongs handed out that year.
And so I thought it was time to give it another crack.
Now, I have to admit that this year’s nominations are a little harder to decide over those from 2010, but here anyway are my thoughts for who will win this year at the Academy Awards…
Let’s kick off the proceedings as we did last time with the Best Performance By An Actor In A Leading Role.
THE NOMINEES: Demian Bechir, A Better Life; George Clooney, The Descendants; Jean Dujardin, The Artist; Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; Brad Pitt, Moneyball.
The field this year is impressive, with some familiar faces up for contention and a couple of new faces eager to steal the spotlight. And, naturally, it’s one of those new faces that is going to take home the award this year, with my pick being Jean Dujardin for his performance in the feel-good French film, The Artist. Dujardin has come virtually out of nowhere in this role, although foreign film aficionados will remember him fondly from his OSS 117 films (a must see for those who love a good spy parody – I saw the first and have to admit, it was hilariously funny!).
My dark horse is the winner of the Golden Globe in this category this film: George Clooney in The Descendants. Clooney has proven himself over time to be one of Hollywood’s nice guys, and also over the last decade of Hollywood’s truly gifted all-rounders, with numerous nominations for directing, producing as well as acting. Golden Globes were once a huge barometer for success at the Academy Awards, but this year it’s most likely that Clooney may have to settle for a smaller prize (details to follow…!)
I did see Moneyball, and I thought that Brad Pitt did an exceptional job, but I have to say that it isn’t quite Oscar-worthy. Gary Oldman’s nomination for George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy comes as no surprise, also. I’ll admit that I hadn’t even heard of A Better Life until the Oscars nominations were announced, so I’m not too sure what to say about it. The only thing that I am aware of in relation to this film is that it was directed by Chris Weitz, director of About A Boy and Twilight: New Moon… So, to get an Oscar nom for working with a director of a Twilight film deserves a standing ovation. But not the award.
Now, let’s move over to the other side and have a look at the Best Performance By An Actress In A Leading Role.
THE NOMINEES: 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.
There are two front runners for the award this year: Meryl “I’ve been nominated how many times now?!?” Streep and Viola Davis. The Brits voted for Streep. They also voted in droves for Margaret Thatcher. YOU STILL HAVEN’T LEARNT YET, HAVE YOU? Hence, my nod goes to Viola Davis, for her spectacular performance in The Help. And the good news? She won’t be up for Golden Raspberry, like former Oscar winner Halle Berry! Yay!
My dark horse has to go to Michelle Williams for My Week With Marilyn. It would be so great to see her win, in the role of one the world’s most beautiful actresses, who was sadly never destined to win an Academy Award herself.
Glenn Close has received her sixth Oscar nomination, and this is her third for Leading Actress. But the cross-dressing thing feels a little dated, what with Hilary Swank receiving the Leading Actress Oscar in 2000 for Boys Don’t Cry and Julia Andrews earning a nomination for Victor Victoria at the 1983 Oscars. She is a superb actress, that is of no doubt, but I think this has just come out in the wrong year. And Rooney Mara? Slow year, Academy?
We’ll jump over to the supporting role nominations, starting with Best Performance By An Actor In A Supporting Role.
THE NOMINEES: Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn; Jonah Hill, Moneyball; Nick Nolte, Warrior; Christopher Plummer, Beginners; Max von Sydow, Incredibly Loud & Extremely Close.
Hmm. I’ll stick with the popular vote and go with Christopher Plummer. But in my heart, I really want Jonah Hill to take the Oscar.
And now it’s the ladies’ turn with Best Performance By An Actress In A Supporting Role.
THE NOMINEES: Berenice Bejo, The Artist; Jessica Chastain, The Help; Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids; Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs; Octavia Spencer, The Help.
The popular vote goes with Octavia Spencer, and I tend to agree with this. Again, the Academy must have been having a slow year to nominate Melissa McCarthy. Okay, I enjoyed Bridesmaids, and she was very good in the film, but good enough for an Oscar nomination, though? I’m afraid not.
We’ll now plough our way through some of the “technical” awards. I’ll list the nominees, then select my “winner” and “dark horse”.
Best Visual Effects
THE NOMINEES: Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler and John Richardson, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2; Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman and Alex Henning, Hugo; Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Dan Taylor and Swen Gillberg, Real Steel; Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White and Daniel Barrett, Rise of the Planet of the Apes; Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew Butler and John Frazier, Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
MY PICK: Hugo (but most likely Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2)
MY DARK HORSE: Real Steel
Best Sound Editing
THE NOMINEES: Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis, Drive; Ren Klyce, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty, Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstro, War Horse.
MY PICK: War Horse
MY DARK HORSE: Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Best Sound Mixing
THE NOMINEES: David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Bo Persson, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; Tom Fleischman and John Midgley, Hugo; Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, Dave Giammarco and Ed Novick, Moneyball; Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Peter J. Devlin, Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson and Stuart Wilson, War Horse.
MY PICK: Hugo
MY DARK HORSE: War Horse (no pun intended…)
THE NOMINEES: Guillaume Schiffman, The Artist; Jeff Cronenweth, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; Robert Richardson, Hugo; Emmanuel Lubezki, The Tree of Life; Janusz Kaminsk, War Horse.
MY PICK: Guillaume Schiffman, The Artist
MY DARK HORSE: Robert Richardson, Hugo
Best Film Editing
THE NOMINEES: Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist; Kevin Tent, The Descendants; Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; Thelma Schoonmaker, Hugo; Christopher Tellefse, Moneyball.
MY PICK: Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
MY DARK HORSE: Thelma Schoonmaker, Hugo
THE NOMINEES: Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle, Albert Nobbs; Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight and Lisa Tomblin, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2; Mark Coulier and J. Roy Hellan, The Iron Lady.
MY PICK: Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight and Lisa Tomblin, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
MY DARK HORSE: Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle, Albert Nobbs
Best Costume Design
THE NOMINEES: Lisy Christl, Anonymous; Mark Bridges, The Artist; Sandy Powell, Hugo; Michael O’Connor, Jane Eyre; Arianne Phillip, W.E..
MY PICK: Sandy Powell, Hugo
MY DARK HORSE: Mark Bridges, The Artist
I’ll skip over the documentary nominations, as I don’t have a clue about any of them (and Senna wasn’t nominated for Best Documentary Feature (Boo!)), and Best Short Animated Film and jump into Best Animated Feature Film!
THE NOMINEES: A Cat In Paris; Chico & Rita; Kung Fu Panda 2; Puss In Boots; Rango.
So, DreamWorks have two films up for nomination this year. Interesting. Since neither of them will win. The foreign films haven’t made a murmur in any of the previous major awards ceremonies. Which means, my vote goes to that little chameleon… Rango! I thought this was the best animated film of 2011, as KFP2 lacked the original appeal that made the original so wonderful, and Puss In Boots, while somewhat enjoyable (I saw it on my flight to Perth – thanks, QANTAS!), it doesn’t cut the mustard to be the best.
I’ll also skip Best Short Film and jump into the writing categories, starting with Best Original Screenplay.
THE NOMINEES: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist; Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids; J.C. Chandor, Margin Call; Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris; Asghar Farhadi, A Separation.
The popular pick would be to back the favorite and go with The Artist. Right? No. I’m giving my nod to Asghar Farhadi for A Separation. It’s a gutsy piece of work, looking at divorce in the country of Iran, through the eyes of a couple faced with the dilemma of whether to stay in Iran to care for family or move for better opportunities for their daughter. My back up is definitely one of the long shots of the group, but it’s Annie Mumulo & Kristen Wiig. The dialogue written for Bridesmaids was sharp and very funny.
Now it’s time for Best Adapted Screenplay…!
THE NOMINEES: Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash, The Descendants; John Logan, Hugo; George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon, The Ides of March; Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin (story by Stan Chervin), Moneyball; Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
Here’s the Oscar that Clooney has a strong chance in. But he won’t win. The award will be given for his other film: The Descendants. Moneyball won’t get the nod, as while it may be a good film, films about baseball just don’t win Academy Awards. Hugo and The Ides of March will fight out for the minor placings on the night, with Hugo coming in as my dark horse for this group.
Now’s it’s the part of the show where we get the audience to sing along and vote for the Best Original Musical Score and Best Original Song. Let’s warm up our throats with the Best Original Scores, and-a-one-and-a-two-and-a…!
THE NOMINEES: John Williams, The Adventures of TinTin; Ludovic Bource, The Artist; Howard Shore, Hugo; Alberto Iglesias, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; John Williams, War Horse.
John Williams nominated twice! Howard Shore is also nominated! Yet Ludovic Bource will steal the crown! Bource’s score has been the toast of the awards scene this year, and will continue on its merry way to the Oscar. I did thoroughly enjoy Williams’ score for TinTin, as well as Shore’s work for Hugo.
Now that the vocal cords have been warmed up, let’s break into the Best Original Song!
THE NOMINEES: Bret McKenzie, “Man or Muppet”, The Muppets; Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown (lyrics by Siedah Garrett), “Real in Rio”, Rio.
What do think I’d give it to…?
…Of course “Man or Muppet” will win! (1) It’s awesome, and (2) It was written by one half of The Flight of the Conchords, and (3) It features Jim Parsons (Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory) singing the song in the film! “Real in Rio”? Dream on!
Y ahora it’ tiempo de s para la mejor película del idioma extranjero. I mean, maintenant it’ ; temps de s pour le meilleur film de langue étrangère. What I said was: jetzt it’ s-Zeit für besten Fremdsprache-Film. Rrrr! As I was saying… 今it’ 最もよい外国語のフィルムのためのsの時間。 Oh, forget it! And now it’s time for Best Foreign Film… There! I did it! Oh, che rilievo dolce… Ah, гречиха!
THE NOMINEES: Bullhead (Belgium); Footnote (Israel); In Darkness (Poland); Monsieur Lazhar (Canada); A Separation (Iran).
My nod must go to A Separation. If it gets this award and the Best Original Screenplay award, it will have made a major accomplishment for Iranian and Middle Eastern cinema. And I sincerely hope that it does.
Well, we’ve hit the home stretch and it’s now down to the final two awards: Best Director and Best Film. So, without any further delay, as these Oscar blogs can go on for ages, here’s the nominees for Best Director.
THE NOMINEES: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist; Alexander Payne, The Descendants; Martin Scorsese, Hugo; Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris; Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life.
This year’s Academy Awards will most likely be known as “the Feel Good Oscars”. And the one film that has helped to some this up has been The Artist. And so, the Oscar for Best Director will go to Michel Hazanavicius, as it has been through all the previous major awards ceremonies this year. The world has been crying out for a film like this, and Hazanavicius has certainly delivered that, and more.
Which leaves the nominations for Best Film.
THE NOMINEES: The Artist; The Descendants; Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close; The Help; Hugo; Midnight in Paris; Moneyball; The Tree of Life; War Horse.
All five Best Director nominated films are in this category. And recent history has shown that if the film wins Best Director, it will also win Best Film. Here’s a breakdown for just the past five years to show this:
And thus far, of all the films which have received the Best Picture Academy Award (currently 85 in total prior to 2012), 62 have also received the Best Director Academy Award.
Based on this, the Oscar for Best Film goes to… The Artist. If there was to be an upset on the cards, though, my money would be on The Descendants or The Help pulling off this coup. But history can be an excellent indicator with regards to these two awards.
So, that’s it! It’s all done! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my thoughts on who will (won’t) win at the 84th Academy Awards, and good luck to all the entrants!
© 2012, Greg Bowden. All rights reserved.