Final 84th Academy Award Predictions
The big categories have all but been decided, but many of the technical categories still seem completely up in the air. So here is a rundown of who I think will win.
Best Picture=The Artist
This has been over for months now which is such a disappointment considering its the big category. The Artist is a good film, but it has not been worthy of the the easy path its had to the Oscar.
Best Director=Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Until the DGA it appeared Martin Scorsese might have been able to put up a challenge, but this is clearly going to Michel Hazanavicius now. Hazanavicius was the key component to The Artist's success so a win would be deserving, but it would be one of the greatest moments for the Academy if they gave this to Terrence Malick.
Best Lead Actor=Jean Dujardin, The Artist
After winning the Golden Globe, SAG Award and BAFTA award, Jean Dujardin has to be considered the frontrunner. However, there still seems to be a sense that George Clooney's clout in Hollywood is definitely translating into votes. Will it be enough to win? I don't think so. Dujardin would be a much more deserving winner too as he brought a lot of energy to the performance.
Best Lead Actress=Viola Davis, The Help
Viola Davis and Meryl Streep have split the precursor awards, but only one of them received a massive standing ovation at the SAG Awards: Viola Davis. Considering the actors branch is the largest branch in the Academy, it is looking likely that Davis will receive another standing ovation on Sunday. Davis would also be a deserving winner as she was one of the standouts in the best ensemble of the year.
Best Supporting Actor=Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Christopher Plummer has steamrolled through this entire awards season, and as much as some people want to put some intrigue into this race by saying Max Van Sydow is a threat, there is no way Plummer loses. Unfortunately, I thought Plummer's performance was good but was never given the opportunity to do something special. Instead this just comes across as a career award.
Best Supporting Actress=Octavia Spencer, The Help
Like Plummer, Octavia Spencer has steamrolled through the precursor awards. She will win again here. Unfortunately, this comes across as a grave mistake by the Academy to me. Spencer was good, but it still dumbfounds me how she is winning over co-star Jessica Chastain, who not only delivers a better performance in Spencer's film but has delivered two other performances (Take Shelter and The Tree of Life) this year that are equals to her performance as Celia Foote in The Help.
Best Adapted Screenplay=The Descendants
For a while, it looked like Moneyball could challenge The Descendants in this category. However, The Descendants won the WGA Award (a precursor of this category) and has found some momentum lately (also winning the ACE Award). While I would prefer The Ides of March or Moneyball emerging victorious here, it will be cool to know that Community will have an Oscar winner in its cast (Jim Rash).
Best Original Screenplay=Midnight in Paris
Out of the Big 8 categories, I think this is the closest. Midnight in Paris has steamrolled through the awards season but has never really had to face The Artist yet (The Artist was ineligible for the WGA which Midnight in Paris won). Considering the entire Academy votes on most categories instead of just one branch, it is very plausible that The Artist could have a sweep-like night. In that case, The Artist could pull off a win in this category. I still think love for Woody Allen and the strength of his screenplay will carry him to victory though, and he would be a very deserving winner.
Best Animated Feature=Rango
There is no real challenger to Rango here so it will be your winner on Sunday. I would prefer a Kung Fu Panda 2 victory here, but Rango is definitely a very good film.
Best Documentary Feature=Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
This is where things start to get interesting. All of the nominees in this category have a legitimate shot at the Oscar. I think due to the timeliness of the events portrayed in Paradise Lost 3, it will have the edge to victory. Unfortunately, I have not seen Paradise Lost 3 in time for the Oscars.
Best Foreign Language Film=A Separation
This another close one as it will be A Separation vs. 4 challengers. The problem for the challengers is that none of them have emerged from the group, which favors A Separation heavily. A Separation is the only film I have seen in the category, but it will take a strong effort to surpass the quality of this film, in my opinion.
Best Animated Short=The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore seems to be the frontrunner here and is very similar in tone to last year's winner, The Lost Thing. The problem with both of these shorts is that they convey a sense of importance that is never earned during its runtime. Wild Life would be a far better winner here.
Best Documentary Short=Saving Face
This is the one category I don't have knowledge of so I am winging it.
Best Live-Action Short=Time Freak
The Shore has all of the big names (Terry George directs and Ciaran Hinds stars) but I think the originality and energy of Time Freak will carry it to victory. It is also the best of the 5 nominees.
Best Art Direction=Hugo
Dante Ferretti is a huge name among art directors, and this is the one place where Academy members can easily reward Hugo with an Oscar so it's going to win. This would be a very deserving victory.
Best Cinematography=The Tree of Life
I'm really hoping that enough anti-Tree of Life contenders emerge to cancel eachother out because Emmanuel Lubezki is one of the greatest artists of our time. Yet he still does not have an Oscar. This is by far the best cinematography of the year so a victory by any other film would be unjustified. Be warned, this prediction is definitely coming from the heart.
Best Costume Design=Hugo
In a category as close as this go with the film that has Oscar royalty. Hugo's costume designer, Sandy Powell, is a 3 time winner. However, I hope this ends up going to the subtle yet realistic work of Jane Eyre.
Best Film Editing=The Artist
I had this all chalked up to Hugo, but then that film lost the ACE award to the subtle (and unworthy) editing of The Descendants. Meanwhile, The Artist is the inevitable Best Picture winner and won the ACE award for comedy films. To be honest, this entire category is a mess and if I had to pick one film from this batch for victory, it would be the subtle (but worthy) editing of Moneyball.
Best Makeup=The Iron Lady
The Iron Lady appears to have the slight lead in this category and there haven't been that many surprises in this category of late. While I hate the latest Harry Potter film, I would actually like to see it win here for its top notch makeup work.
Best Original Score=The Artist
Last year voters went for the nominee that was most unlike the rest of the field (The Social Network). Expect that to happen again this year with the deserving score of The Artist.
Best Original Song="Real in Rio", Rio
Something about this category being so mishandled by voters makes me believe that voters will find a way to make The Muppets lose. The big applause that the songwriter for the song from Rio got at the nominee luncheon is also very troubling for a fan of quality film songs (like those from The Muppets).
Best Sound Editing=Hugo
The two sound categories appear to be very unpredictable. I am going the safe route and picking the Best Picture nominee that did well with the precursors for both categories. Hopefully, something else (like Transformers) will win over the barely present work on display in Hugo.
Best Sound Mixing=Hugo
See above while substituting War Horse in for the should win.
Best Visual Effects=Rise of the Planet of the Apes
And in the final category we have a 2 horse race between Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Hugo. I'm assuming the far more deserving Rise of the Planet of the Apes wins out.
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