84th Oscars: Final Predictions

by Tom Ingram

Due to time and availability constrains (not to mention money) I can only watch a certain number of films between the announcement of the nominees and the actual ceremony. I realize now that I’m hurting for not having seen The Descendants. I’m not sure how much it’s actually going to win, but it’s on so many lists that I feel like I have no frame of reference in several of the categories.

I didn’t even get to do a profile on two of the movies I saw—I just couldn’t think of what to say about Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and I couldn’t get through War Horse. So here are my predictions, with my reservations noted where applicable. Nominees that I have scene are in bold, and those I haven’t are in regular font.

Best Original Score

  • The Adventures of Tintin (John Williams)
  • The Artist (Ludovic Bource)
  • Hugo (Howard Shore)
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Alberto Iglesias)
  • War Horse (John Williams)

I thought for sure it would be either Shore or Williams, but having now seen The Artist, I can’t entirely rule out Ludovic Bource. His score was the only sound for most of the movie, and even if it were no good at all, that’s a lot more responsibility than the composer usually has.

We can safely forget about Alberto Iglesias. Williams’s score was the only good thing about War Horse, but it was omnipresent and a little intrusive. Shore’s work on Hugo was less distinctive and more subtle. You may or may not consider that a good thing.

Will win: Ludovic Bource. The other two contenders both have plenty of Oscars, and while they did fine, it’s not an obvious year for them.

Should win: I’m conflicted on this one.

Best Original Screenplay

  • The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius)
  • Bridesmaids (Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo)
  • Margin Call (J.C. Chandor)
  • Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen)
  • A Separation (Asghar Farhadi)

This is one of the categories where I have no frame of reference, having only seen two of the movies. I can’t be sure there are no dark horses among the other three. Still, I think that it will most likely go either to The Artist (as part of a big awards sweep) or Midnight in Paris (probably as the movie’s only recognition tonight).

Will win: Midnight in Paris. I have a feeling that other people have good feelings about Woody Allen this year.

Should win: I wouldn’t choose Midnight in Paris or The Artist, and I haven’t seen the others. I really couldn’t say.

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • The Descendants (Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash)
  • Hugo (John Logan)
  • The Ides of March (George Clooney, Grant Heslov, and Beau Willimon)
  • Moneyball (Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin)
  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan)

I feel pretty comfortable with this category. Tinker Tailor shouldn’t win, and I don’t think it will. Moneyball was very well-written, but Aaron Sorkin won last year, and I don’t think they’ll give it to him (which is a shame, because he actually deserves it this year). It’s looking like, despite the huge number of nominations, Hugo might not win quite so many awards. This category might be where the Academy tries to make up for that.

Will win: Hugo.

Should win: Moneyball.

Best Supporting Actor

  • Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn
  • Jonah Hill, Moneyball
  • Nick Nolte, Warrior
  • Christopher Plummer, Beginners
  • Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

I really wanted to see My Week with Marilyn, but it wasn’t meant to be. I couldn’t get ahold of it in any format and it wasn’t playing in any theatres here. So while the idea of Kenneth Branagh playing Laurence Olivier makes me giggly, I really don’t know how well Branagh did.

I love Max von Sydow and honestly defend Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, but even I have to admit that his role in it was unremarkable. The only way he could win would be as a career award. Jonah Hill seems like a very strange person to be nominated for an Oscar, but his quiet, unassuming conviction in Moneyball was infectious.

Will win: I did not see enough films in this category to make an accurate prediction. I think it will be one of the nominees I did not see, probably Branagh or Plummer.

Should win: Jonah Hill.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Bérénice Bejo, The Artist
  • Jessica Chastain, The Help
  • Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
  • Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
  • Octavia Spencer, The Help

Bejo was respectable, but not amazing. As was Chastain. Octavia Spencer, on the other hand, kicked righteous ass in The Help.

Will win: Octavia Spencer. Even if she wasn’t any good at all, it’s the kind of role that gets you an Oscar.

Should win: Octavia Spencer.

Best Actor

  • Demián Bichir, A Better Life
  • George Clooney, The Descendants
  • Jean Dujardin, The Artist
  • Gary Oldman, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
  • Brad Pitt, Moneyball

I’m not quite sure why Gary Oldman is on this list. Brad Pitt was excellent in Moneyball, but special mention has to go to Dujardin, who did a remarkable job without even speaking.

Will win: Jean Dujardin.

Should win: Jean Dujardin.

Best Actress

  • Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
  • Viola Davis, The Help
  • Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
  • Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn

I didn’t like Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady. There was something uncanny about her performance that was off-putting. I’ve heard that Glenn Close in Albert Nobbs is in a similar situation—a respected actress who was nominated more out of tradition than praise for her work. That leaves Davis, Mara, and Williams. Unfortunately, I didn’t see Dragon Tattoo or My Week With Marilyn due to time and availability constraints.

Will win: Michelle Williams. This is actually a very hard slate to predict. You have a multiple Oscar winner and a serial Oscar nominee, and you can’t rule out the possibility that Streep or Close will get it just because. On the other hand, you have two newer faces, one as a victim of racism and the other as Marilyn Monroe. I’ve heard good things about Williams’s performance, so I’ll tentatively predict in favour of her, but I expect to be surprised.

Should win: Viola Davis. Being unable to evaluate Mara and Williams, I’m only left with one option. Davis brought her patronizing role in The Help to life, and transcended the otherwise-average movie.

Best Director

  • Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
  • Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
  • Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life
  • Alexander Payne, The Descendants
  • Martin Scorsese, Hugo

I’m of the opinion that fuck Woody Allen, but it seems like no one agrees with me. Still, he seems to be better known and respected as a writer than a director, so I think he’ll get Original Screenplay instead. Hazanavicius did a good job with The Artist, but I think that it was conceptually flawed and he’s responsible for the concept. It’s probably a contest between Scorsese and Malick.

Will win: Scorsese.

Should win: Malick.

Best Picture

  • The Artist
  • The Descendants
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
  • The Help
  • Hugo
  • Midnight in Paris
  • Moneyball
  • The Tree of Life
  • War Horse

First of all, the bottom half of the list: Extremely Loud, The Help, Moneyball, War Horse. These movies will not win, and I don’t think they would have been nominated if the list hadn’t been expanded. I personally liked Extremely Loud and Moneyball, but they never had a chance.

I can’t rule out The Descendants 100%, but no one who has seen it seems all that excited about it. I couldn’t even get through the first hour of War Horse—a procedurally-generated script and lacklustre performances wore my patience thin.

Midnight in Paris, though I didn’t like it, is getting good reviews, but it seems to me more likely that it will pick up a writing award, instead of Best Picture. The Tree of Life is just too inaccessible to get enough votes. Again, I think it’s a tossup between Hugo and The Artist, the latter having a narrow advantage because of the Academy’s prejudice against children’s films.

Will win: The Artist.

Should win: The Tree of Life. I was surprised by it, actually. Moneyball, my previous favourite, is a culturally important film, but The Tree of Life is clearly the most artistically valuable nominee this year.

So, that’s it. We’ll see how I did this evening.