Thoughts on the 2012 Oscar Nominations (and some early predictions)

http://oscar.go.com/nominees

The nominations for the 2012 Academy Awards were announced this morning to an amount of fanfare appropriate for an awards ceremony that largely considered to be irrelevant. I hate when people say that, because the argument never seems to go beyond “Yeah, they don’t matter.” Well, of course they don’t! It’s an awards show. The winners don’t get a cash grant for their next project. They get recognition. Its relevance is totally subjective. I for one love the Oscars. The ceremonies themselves are hit-or-miss (last year’s were awful), but I love seeing what gets nominated and what eventually wins. It’s a lot of fun. I’m going to go through each category and talk about the nominees, and maybe do some predictions. Here we go!

BEST PICTURE:

Obviously, the big shocker here is that Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close got a nomination, despite awful reviews (48% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 46 Metacritic score). This got what I’m beginning to call the “Blind Side Bump“. The Blind Side is far from a good movie, but somehow it got nominated for Best Picture. Why? Because it was a feel-good movie, one with an “important” message.  One that everyone was “supposed to see”. Oscar bait, in other words. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close appears to be that times a million. I’m guessing people will forget that it even existed after it loses the Oscar.

I think that this is The Artist‘s award to lose, honestly. I’ve only seen 3 of the nominees, but I don’t see any of them beating The Artist. It’s a total Oscar bait movie, but due to its art house cred and not its weepy storyline. However, unlike most Oscar bait, The Artist is actually an excellent movie. I understand that Hugo – which I haven’t seen – could pull an upset here, but as of now, my money is on The Artist

Lead Actor:

I’d love to see a Gary Oldman upset, and George Clooney is the obvious pick, but I’m going to predict that Jean Dujardin will take it home. I’m seeing an Artist sweep on Oscar night.

Lead Actress:

Only seen one of these movies, and Rooney Mara isn’t going to win, so I have no dog in this fight. I hear that Viola Davis has the best shot.

Supporting Actor:

Christopher Plummer is going to win this one. But I’d just like to take this moment to point out that we now live in a world where the phrase “Academy Award nominee Jonah Hill” exists. Ladies and gentlemen, that gives me hope.

Supporting Actress:

Again, I’m going to go against the flow and predict that Bérénice Bejo is going to win it as part of an Artist sweep.

Animated Feature:

Apparently there’s a movie called Chico & Rita that nobody saw which is going to win this category. However, I’d like to see it go to Rango.

Cinematography:

This is a great category this year. All five of the films had beautiful cinematography. I think that Hugo might take it home, but I’d watch out for The Tree of Life as well. It’s probably the only award that that film has a shot at.

Art Direction:

I really, really want Deathly Hallows Part 2 to win it, because Stuart Craig truly deserves it for his work on the films over the years. I highly recommend the book Harry Potter: Page to Screen for a ridiculously comprehensive look at the making of the series. I have a new appreciation for Craig after reading it. Of course, Potter probably doesn’t have a shot. I’m guessing that Hugo will probably win.

Costume Design:

Hugo again. Hugo is probably going to sweep the technical categories, while The Artist will take everything else.

Directing:

Michel Hazanavicius totally deserves this for The Artist, but Scorsese won at the Golden Globes, which foreshadows a win at the Oscars. However, I think that it’s possible that the Academy will think, “You know, we gave him his ‘Career Oscar’ a few years ago. Does he deserve another one?” Therefore, I’m throwing my hat into the Artist ring.

Documentary Feature/Short:

Hell if I know. These movies never come to my local theater. If I had to guess, I’d guess Pina for Best Doc Feature, simply because I’ve heard a lot of buzz about it recently.

Editing:

The Artist actually had very good editing, but I believe that Dragon Tattoo will win in this category for the excellent way that it balances two parallel story-lines in the first half of the film.

Foreign Language Film:

Again, this is based purely on buzz, but A Separation is going to win this category. This category typically doesn’t have a lot of drama in it, so I wouldn’t expect a surprise upset.

Makeup:

This year, this category will make a perfect example of William Goldman’s argument that most Oscar winners win based on having the “most” of something, not the “best”. The actors who win had the “most acting”, the biggest performances. The editing award goes to the film with the “most editing”, the films where the editing is flashy and noticeable. That’s why this category is going to go to Albert Nobbs, the film on the list with the “most makeup”.

Original Score:

The Artist had an absolutely beautiful score, but I can see a challenger in Howard Shore’s score for Hugo.

Original Song:

“Man or Muppet”. Is this even a question? YouTube, right now. You’ll see.

Short Film (Animated/Live Action):

I never see the short film nominees, and this year is no exception. These are the sorts of categories that kill me when I do predictions, so I’ll hold off for now.

Sound Editing/Mixing:

Yeah. No clue on this one either. Transformers? That had…sound in it.

Visual Effects:

Now here’s where things get interesting. I’m seeing a two-horse race between Potter and Planet of the Apes. I can see Apes winning based purely on all the controversy over Andy Serkis recently (and the fact that the effects are very good), but ultimately I think that Potter is going to win, as a reward for the great, non-nominated work done over the whole series.

Adapted Screenplay:

Both screenplay categories have been infamous in recent years for surprising upsets and snubs. So even though The Descendants clearly deserves it, Hugo is probably going to win.

Original Screenplay:

Same thing here. The Artist seems obvious – and it’s got a better shot of actually winning than The Descendants does – but I wouldn’t count out Midnight in Paris. I could see Woody Allen getting the win there.

 

So there you have it. These will probably change after I see most of these films, but these are my immediate thoughts. Think I’m totally off-base? Leave a comment with your ideas!

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Josh Rosenfield

Josh Rosenfield is a Film Media major at the University of Rhode Island. He has been writing Popcorn Culture since 2010.

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