This is the third year I have blogged my predictions and like last year I'm leaving things to the last minute, but it is mainly as I am still undecided on some categories. This year has been the hardest in a long while to predict. This is great, it means there are some fine films with fine acting in them!
For those that may or may not know I predict purely with the intent of who I think will win - who I think should win is another matter all together. I predict from following some choice critics who know their stuff, past history, trying to understand the academy and what is popular. And even then it can be bloody difficult. I generally only use the SAGs and the Directors Guild as assistance in terms of winners, as they are the only awards that voters overlap. Anyone who uses The Golden Globes as an indicator has absolutely NO IDEA what they are talking about (that is a pet hate of mine!). Of course great performances and films will always sweep across the awards purely as they are great, but even then may not indicate who will take a golden boy home. I adore that randomness, it makes for a more exciting show, but makes it harder for me to pick a winner. I usually average between 13 to 16 categories correct out of the field of 24. Of course, there was 2009, where I scored 20 - I was on fire that year!!!!
I am beyond excited about the return of Billy Crystal, I hope he does not disappoint. People complain about him doing the same thing and that he is old school, but that is exactly why he works, it fits in perfectly with what you should (or at least what I) expect from an Oscars broadcast. At the very least the sweeping orchestration of Harry Connick Jnr's take on It had to be you will be expected! I adore film and the golden age of Hollywood and see no need to update the broadcast to be hip with younger viewers...respect the academy or don't watch is my advice. When they mix old school with new faces it works, when they try to be hip it just doesn't...that's not what the Oscars are about. I could go on, but have done so two years ago, so follow the link to see why I love film and the Oscars.
Well, that was a bit ranty...apologies...down to business.
Best Picture - The Artist
There are some great films nominated in the main category. But it will go down between Hugo and The Artist. With The Descendants and The Help close on their heels.
I think The Artist will win - it's the kind of film the academy love, it's clever, a homage and a brilliant film. I would be very pleased to be proved wrong and have Hugo come through as it was my favourite film of the year. But my money is on The Artist.
Directing - The Artist
Very rare for the movie to be separated from it's director and vice versa, so The Artist will shine. However, if Marty shines through, you will hear me shrieking across the globe!
Leading Actor - Jean Dujardin
Oh this is difficult, but I think Jean Dujardin will be taking home Oscar. It's a great collection of acting in this category and I think viewers would love to see Pitt or Clooney take this home, but it belongs to Dujardin, he carried a movie saying barely a word - that is acting. I loved Clooney's against type turn in The Descendants, and again be happy for him to win, but I think Jean just might out-suave George on the night.
Leading Actress - Viola Davis
Viola is a powerhouse actress, she won the SAG and I think will pip Meryl here. I really thought MS had it in the bag early on, but seems to be the underdog here. I also considered Michelle Williams for some time, as votes could split between Meryl and Viola and thus hand the Oscar to her. Also the academy love to give Leading Actress to the younger stars and also love to reward biopics. But I think it will be Viola. This is the one I am most unsure about, so we'll see on the night.
Supporting Actor - Christopher Plummer
Both supporting character categories can be a wild card, the least expected can win. This is a stunning role call in this category, but a well respected actor in a charming role - well Plummer should have it in the bag. Having said that, how cool would it be if Jonah Hill won or how classy would it be if Kenneth Branagh won...money is still on Plummer.
Supporting Actress - Octavia Spencer
I would love to see Melissa McCarthy win - who doesn't love an underdog (or a former Gilmore Girl) and you know her speech will be brilliant, Octavia has this locked in - bright, brave and gorgeous...expect tears.
Foreign Language Film - A separation
A field of devastation - In darkness's Holocaust (from Agnieszka Holland of the brilliant Europa Europa); Canada's Monsieur Lazhar about an Algerian refugee healing grieving children after the suicide of their teacher; Israel's Footnote about father/son rival scholars; and Belgium's Bullhead about corruption and crime within the meat industry. But A separation, an Iranian film about a family torn apart by a custody battle and crime has been very popular at the cinemas and making it to the best films of 2011 list - it is well known, very dramatic and features solid acting.
Animated Feature - Rango
Only seen Kung Fu Panda 2 - none stand out in the way Toy Story or Up have in previous years. Rango is the one being mentioned by all my sources, so I shall go with them!
Adapted Screenplay - The Descendants
Alexander Payne's script from the book of the same name, carefully crafts a human, family story amidst a tragedy with the Hawaiian land council backdrop. Apparently the book wasn't that great a read, so to adapt it so successfully deserves kudos and will also be a reward for not winning best director.
Original Screenplay - Midnight in Paris
Probably between The Artist and this, but the lack of dialogue in The Artist and the exquisite, clever and witty dialogue in Midnight in Paris gives Woody the edge. A fabulous premise delivered perfectly, nothing new about time travel, but to present it in a way that it does not appear like time travel is great and to tie it up so perfectly shows a gifted artiste. Woody won't be there, but we (me) can all live in hope!
Original Score - The Artist
It was magnificent, sweeping and I have been meaning to purchase it - I rarely feel that way about scores. Obviously, as a silent film, it relied on its score more than all other films, and that alone should make it a winner, but it is grand, so fingers crossed!
Original Song - The Muppets
Really!?! Only 2 songs this year and nothing to be performed on the show - you know The Muppets will win, no competition really!
Cinematography - The Tree of Life
I have this, but yet to watch it, I have heard such mixed reviews, but the one thing I have heard constantly, is how magically it was filmed. I still think Hugo has stunning cinematography and the best use of 3D I have ever seen. So that is who I would like to win, but I suspect Tree of Life will...we'll see on the night!
Film Editing - The Artist
Almost always same as best Film.
Sound Editing - Hugo
I have no idea about this category, except it almost always goes hand in hand with Sound mixing. I've gone with Hugo because it deserves some Oscar appreciation and the sound was very important to the film, think about the train station, the train, the clocks etc.
Sound Mixing - Hugo
see Sound Editing!
Visual Effects - Harry Potter
There is usually one stand out film that snags this one - eg Avatar, Inception. This year it is difficult - Rise of the planet of the apes was excellent, as was Harry Potter and then there was Hugo. I have absolutely no idea and will go with Harry Potter.
Art Direction - Hugo
The sets of Midnight in Paris, Hugo and The Artist were perfection - how does one choose!!! I think Hugo did it better, especially in recreating George Melies and his fabulous glass studio.
Costume Design - Hugo
Going with Hugo again - especially for the Melies section.
Makeup - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow Pt 2
It's competition is Albert Nobbs and Iron Lady - basically making 2 American women into older English faux men;) Harry has so much more!!!
Documentary Feature - Undefeated
Up until recently I had my money on Pina - about Pina Bausch, the choreographer; and she died whilst the film was being made by the incomparable Wim Wenders. However Undefeated keeps popping up, about an underdog football team - the kind of stuff the academy loves. Mind you the other docos, Hell and Back Again about war; If a tree falls about ecology; and Paradise Lost 3 about the decade long tale of freeing The West Memphis 3, are also great academy bait.
Documentary Short - Saving Face
Tough field this one. The Barber of Birmingham - civil rights; God is bigger than Elvis - Dolores Hart who left Hollywood to be a nun, her last film was with Elvis; Incident in New Baghdad - war; Saving Face - about plastic surgeons performing constructive surgery on Pakistani women who have had acid thrown at their faces by their husbands; and The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom - a survivors tale. Have heard great things about Saving Face and it's HBO, so you know it's quality.
Animated Short Film - The Fantastic books of Mr Morris
Always difficult! A morning Stroll and The fantastic Books of Mr. Morris and La Luna all look great. My preference would be La Luna, but given it's Hurricane Katrina backdrop, I think Mr Morris will win.
Live Action Short Film - The Shore
Couldn't find much information about these this year that helped my decision, except that The Shore was directed by Terry George who directed Hotel Rwanda - so I'll pick that!