Now that you have all submitted your ballots for the 2nd Annual C&R Oscar Contest, you can read what I have to say about this year’s lineup of award-worthy (or not) films. “Why would you listen to me?” you might query. Well unbeknownst to you and pretty much everyone, I am the best film critic in the world. So prepare yourselves for the quickest, dirtiest, Oscar predictions ever.
We shall start with two categories that people don’t pay much attention to at all. And that is a real shame, because they are two very important indicators of whether a movie was actually good: the Writing Awards. In Adapted Screenplay, it is most likely a threeway race between Moneyball, Hugo and The Descendants. You can probably eliminate Moneyball, because Aaron Sorkin just won and the movie was well reviewed but didn’t really go anywhere at the box office. This leaves us with the final two. Who comes out on top? The Descendants. Why? Because the Academy loves Alexander Payne, they love awarding writer/directors and it just won the Writer’s Guild of America award for Adapted Screenplay (and as you may or may not know, Academy members vote based upon the craft that brought them to the Academy. This means that there is significant overlap between the WGA and the Academy voters on screenplays). But who should win? I would probably have to say Hugo, which I’m basing entirely on the fact that writing in the other pictures wasn’t that great and I haven’t seen Hugo yet.
Now that you have listened to me go on and on about the Adapted Screenplay, you will have to hear me go on and on about the Original Screenplay. Well actually, there isn’t much to say here other than the fact that Midnight in Paris is a sure thing AND it actually should win. Why? No one has actually seen Margin Call or A Separation (although I’m sure we all probably should), The Artist was cute but not a revelation in writing, and Bridesmaids got a nod because of how much money it made and since it was written by two women (which is drastically and stupidly rare in Hollywood). Midnight in Paris is one of Woody Allen’s best works and he deserves to take home another statue for it.
From the very high, we go to the very low. For possibly the first time since the introduction of the Animated Feature category, I am not excited about any of the nominees. This is undoubtedly connected to the fact that Disney/Pixar’s hit and statue machine wasted our brains with a sequel to that crappy Cars movie. Oh well…so I’m going to guess that Rango will rise above the dreck and take home an undeserved award. And in case you are wondering, I think that none of the nominated movies deserves the award.
In the Best Director Category, we have a lot of talent competing for one chance at glory. Every nominee has been nominated or won the statue before, except for The Artist‘s Michel Hazanavicius. But he will most likely be the only name you need to know. With Woody Allen almost assured of the writing prize, that leaves this as a three way race between Scorcese for Hugo, Payne for The Descendants, and Hazanavicius. Hazanavicius has the momentum, having nearly swept most of the previous awards, and the fact that everyone loves to get a big star to repeatedly say that long of a name. I’m pretty sure they will have to work on their elocution before reading the name in that envelope. As for who should win, I’m going to have to say that Woody Allen is the one who probably should be getting more attention than he is.
Now we are on to the categories that you most likely actually care about. Why? Because the people in them are famous and will probably be wearing something tragic. The Supporting Actor and Actress categories are pretty definitively going to Christopher Plummer for Beginners and Octavia Spencer for The Help. Mr. Plummer has a long and storied career in the business and his performance in Beginners was perfect. He deserves the award for putting in long years of service and NOT phoning in a role at his age. Ms. Spencer is likeable and you will most likely remember her from any number of roles she did on TV, but she does not deserve to walk away with this award. Her performance in The Help was great, but I would rather see the award go to Janet McTeer of Albert Nobbs. McTeer is a gifted and versatile actress who doesn’t get nearly enough attention (sort of like Tilda Swinton).
And finally we get to the big battles of this Oscar night: Best Actor and Best Actress. Over on the male side, everyone is talking about this being a fight between friends Brad Pitt and George Clooney, but they are overlooking the fact that Jean Dujardin has the momentum of The Artist and a Screen Actor’s Guild award. My money is on him stealing the award from the both of them. In the end, I think the award should actually go to Dujardin too. The Artist was not the deepest movie of the year, but its premise was risky and its success relies heavily on Dujardin’s earnest performance as silent era film star George Valentin. On the clitoral side of the rope, we have a big showdown between Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady and Viola Davis in The Help. Both actresses gave strong performances, but both have things working against them. Streep’s film went no where in the theatres and her status as perpetually nominated might hold her back; Davis has given much stronger performances in much stronger films and her role is actually a supporting one (because the WHITE people are really in charge here). So who will win and who should win? My gut is telling me that this is Meryl’s year to take the podium again, which she actually hasn’t done in almost 30 years, and I have a feeling she deserves it.
The last award is the most coveted of the night: Best Picture. There are 9 movies nominated this year for Best Picture, but only five of them really have a chance: The Artist, The Descendants, The Help, Hugo & Moneyball. The other four nominees aren’t really in the competition and, aside from Midnight in Paris, don’t even deserve to be nominated. Of the five movies in the running, the two with the best shot at taking home the prize are Hugo and The Artist, the two movies with movie making in their plot. That means the award will come down to momentum and exposure, which means that The Artist will be the first silent film since Wings to win the Oscar for Best Picture. In the end, I would have to say that the award for Best Picture should go to Midnight in Paris. In this pool of frankly mediocre nominees, Allen’s is the most elegant and memorable. This all pains me because I loathe Owen Wilson and I hated him in this movie, but I have to honestly say that I think this should be Mr. Allen’s year.
So I may be right and I may be wrong…but that’s all I have to say about this year’s Oscars. I will, of course, be live tweeting the telecast….so get your phones and or computers ready!