Gracious good evening to you, b-rollers! The Oscar nominations are almost upon us, and so I bring you my official predix and reax. Won’t you reax in the comments below? (Sorry, I know that’s moronic. I’ll stop.)
Please note that I’m just talking about the big categories here, picture/acting/directing; I’m not in the loop or technologically astute enough to predict Best Sound Editing. But please feel free to do so if your hearing is better than mine.
Also, not to stall, but may I rant for a bit? I’d like to take a moment to discuss how, for this brief and shining moment, this is all kind of exciting and surprising; pretty soon, though, not so much. This endless awards season tends to iron out any of that pesky spontaneity, leaving us with a crisp, predictable Oscar telecast. Case in point: As much as I adore The Artist, it’s winning every award in reach, and the odds of it not tap-dancing away with the Best Picture prize are as likely as a professional NFL kicker missing a 32-yard field goal. (Too soon, Ravens fans? Sorry.) Anyway, my point is that if freshly-minted Golden Globers like George Clooney and Meryl Streep win a SAG Award this weekend, prepare yourselves for another charming, witty, rambling Oscar acceptance speech, rather than one of those, Oh my God, Adrien Brody won?! Wait, IS HE KISSING HALLE BERRY?!?!?! moments. Those days, I fear, are behind us.
Anywho, let’s get started.
Okay, see, right off the bat no one knows what the hell is going to happen here; there could be five nominees, or ten, or any number in between. And isn’t that at least mildly interesting? To anyone but me? No? Okay then.
The Artist is IN, as are Hugo and The Descendents. Moneyball, The Help and Midnight in Paris are highly probable. I would say The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, War Horse, Drive, Bridesmaids and The Tree of Life are in the “unlikely but possible” category. (I’m casting as wide a net as possible so that I seem brilliant and prophetic tomorrow. Is it working?) Twilight is definitely out, but there’s always the Razzies. I’ll be pulling for you, guys.
Since Beauty and the Beast was released twenty years ago and is apparently ineligible (whatever), the only glaring omission that I see is Harry Potter 7.2, a thrilling and brilliant series finale that is not getting nearly its due (Oh, that wizard movie, scoff the Muggles). But besides HP, Hugo and The Artist were my favorites this year, so color me satisfied. Also, there’s a 90% chance that I’m wrong, but I have a sneaking suspicion about Drive…
Official Prediction (in alphabetical order): The Artist, The Descendents, Drive, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball
George Clooney (The Descendents) is the clear frontrunner here, though I’ll be honest – I really hope that Jean Dujardin (The Artist) pulls a Roberto Benigni-style upset. Either way, they’re both highly likely to get nominations, along with Brad Pitt (Moneyball). Michael Fassbender (Shame) is almost certainly in, too. Last spot? Leonardo DiCaprio’s probably got a good shot with J.Edgar, but I vote for a surprise: I think that Drive gets a Best Picture nomination (see above), and Ryan Gosling has his crazy, stupid, love-ly (Ha! Sorry) year rewarded, too. Either that, or a true indie like Damien Bichir (A Better Life) or Michael Shannon (Take Shelter), and no, I have not seen either one of those movies.
Official Prediction: George Clooney, Jean Dujardin, Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt
At this point, it only seems fair that the Meryl Streep Award for Acting Excellence will probably go to the (Iron) Lady herself. This seems like a category of locks; I don’t see how Meryl (The Iron Lady) Viola Davis (The Help), Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn), Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin) and Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs) get left off of the ballot. I guess if there’s a Dragon Tattoo movement afoot we could see Rooney Mara, though.
Also, another mini-rant: Why does the Best Actress prize this year seem to actually be “Best Powerhouse Performance in an Otherwise Unmemorable Movie”? By all accounts, that’s the best way to summarize The Iron Lady and Albert Nobbs (neither of which I’ve seen, so huge grain of salt, though it’s certainly true of My Week with Marilyn). I hate it when a film is supposedly worthy of an Oscar, and yet my gut reaction is, “Eh, I may Netflix it.”
Official Prediction: Glenn Close, Viola Davis, Meryl Streep, Tilda Swinton, Michelle Williams
Best Supporting Actor
Christopher Plummer (and his nose) is surely in for Beginners. I’m sure that Kenneth Branagh (My Week with Marilyn) and Albert Brooks (Drive) will make the cut, too. Jonah Hill’s been getting a lot of recognition for Moneyball, and not to be rude, but why, again? He was perfectly fine, but “Bravo, you successfully muted your sardonic jackass shtick!” is not a high bar to hurdle. But it’s not the world’s strongest year for supporting actors, apparently, so here we are. Anyway. In my dreams, Uggie the Dog (The Artist) fills the final slot, but it’ll probably be Nick Nolte (Warrior) or Max von Sydow (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close), neither of whom are as cuddly.
Official Prediction: Kenneth Branagh, Albert Brooks, Jonah Hill, Christopher Plummer, Max von Sydow
Best Supporting Actress
…in The Help is the unofficial end of that phrase; Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain are both considered locks. So is Berenice Bejo (The Artist), and I’d love to see her win. Janet McTeer is apparently very good in Albert Nobbs so okay, we’ll put her on the shortlist. I think Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids) gets in to provide the 2012 Oscar Memorial “SEE! We get comedy!” Moment (Not particularly, but whatever.) I wasn’t as wowed by Shailene Woodley (The Descendents) as a lot of people were (she was very good, but I didn’t necessarily think, “Holy crap, polish that girl an Oscar!”), but there’s a definite lack of rising young stars in the mix this year, and Best Supporting Actress has a tendency to be the Next Generation Award. So I think she sneaks in.
Official Prediction: Berenice Bejo, Jessica Chastain, Melissa McCarthy, Octavia Spencer, Shailene Woodley
Martin Scorsese (Hugo) has to be in the lead for this, yes? He’s a movie guy who made a really great movie about how awesome movies are. Talk about catnip. With all The Artist momentum, there’ll definitely be a nomination for Michel Hazanavicius (pardon me while I take a victory lap for spelling that name correctly on the first try; feel free to express your admiration by humming the Rocky theme, or Vertigo). Alexander Payne (The Descendents) and Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris) are in, too. So who does that leave? David Fincher (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, dark and twisty and Fincher-esque)? Steven Spielberg (War Horse, no offense but not your best effort)? George Clooney (The Ides of March, ahem but ditto)? Tate Taylor (The Help)? I have no freaking clue, b-rollers. I’ll say Fincher gets in, but as far as I can tell it’s pick ’em.
Official Prediction: Woody Allen, David Fincher, Michel Hazanavicius, Alexander Payne, Martin Scorsese
Okay, I’m done. What say you, b-rollers? Who are you rooting for tomorrow morning? Sound off! And I’ll check back tomorrow night with my reactions, and compare my predictions to the actual nominations. HOW WILL I DO?! (Spoiler: Probably not well.)