Saturday, February 25, 2012

Oscars Predictions

I've been working like a dog for the past few weeks, and seeing movies like a fiend when I haven't been working like a dog - which means that I've seen pretty much all of the major Oscars contenders but haven't had any time to say anything about them. In brief, the only movie I've seen recently that really impressed me was "A Separation" (up for Best Foreign Film and Best Screenplay, and deserving of both), although "Iron Lady" was more compelling than I expected - mainly, of course, because of the great Meryl Streep.

I managed to see all five Best Foreign Film nominees - thanks in large part to the National Geographic Museum's "Global Glimpses" series (they do a weekend marathon showing of all the Foreign Film nominees - great event, if you can see that many films in one weekend) and thought they were a solid bunch - not a dud among them. Surprisingly, even though I thought "A Separation" was the most accomplished, my personal favorite of the five was "Monsieur Lazhar," a Canadian film about an Algerian immigrant who gets a post as a new teacher in a Montreal grade school; it's very modest, but that modesty is part of its charm. However, the nominee most likely to upset frontrunner "A Separation" is (naturally) a Holocaust film, Agnieszka Holland's "In Darkness," which might be subtitled "If Oscar Schindler had been a mercenary sewer rat in Lvov, Poland."

My one big Oscar-watching failing: I haven't seen any of the nominated documentaries. (hangs head in shame) I guess I'm more of a fiction kind of gal, in movies as well as books - though I did (do) want to see "Pina."

Anyway, here are my predictions for the majors:


NOMINEES: The Artist; Hugo; The Descendants; The Tree of Life; Midnight in Paris; The Help; Moneyball; War Horse; Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
WILL WIN: The Artist, although no one seems very excited about that prospect
SHOULD WIN: The Tree of Life


NOMINEES: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist; Martin Scorsese, Hugo, Alexander Payne, The Descendants; Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life; Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
WILL WIN: Probably Hazanavicius, though I can't help thinking Malick might be a dark horse here. If Scorsese hadn't won relatively recently, he'd have a better shot.


NOMINEES: Jean Dujardin, The Artist; George Clooney, The Descendants; Brad Pitt, Moneyball; Gary Oldman, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; Demian Bichir, A Better Life
WILL WIN: Dujardin by a hair over Clooney
SHOULD WIN: Michael Fassbender. Oh, he wasn't nominated? Well, that's a shame. (Nyuk, nyuk. In all seriousness, I haven't seen "A Better Life," but among the rest, I'm rooting for Oldman. Very understated, perfectly calibrated performance.)


NOMINEES: Meryl Streep, Iron Lady; Viola Davis, The Help; Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs; Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn; Rooney Mara, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
WILL WIN: This is a tough one. I was leaning towards Viola, but having seen Iron Lady more recently, I'm less sure now. At post time, though, I'm sticking with Viola.
SHOULD WIN: Kirsten Dunst - oh wait. Hmph. Ok, I have to say I was pretty impressed with Meryl Streep - she somehow managed to make a person whose every word I disagreed with strangely compelling and, at the last, a sad but not pathetic old lady.


NOMINEES: Christopher Plummer, Beginners; Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close; Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn; Jonah Hill, Moneyball; Nick Nolte, Warrior
WILL WIN: Plummer
SHOULD WIN: I haven't seen Warrior, but all the rest fell in the "good, not great" category. (Clear omission: Brad Pitt for Tree of Life.) I'm ok with Plummer winning for body-of-work (could say the same for von Sydow, but Plummer's performance this time was better).


NOMINEES: Octavia Spencer, The Help; Bérénice Bejo, The Artist; Jessica Chastain, The Help; Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids; Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
WILL WIN: Spencer
SHOULD WIN: I love my girl Jessica, but of this group I was most moved by Bejo.


NOMINEES: The Artist; Midnight in Paris; A Separation; Bridesmaids; Margin Call
SHOULD WIN: A Separation - one of the best constructed screenplays I've seen in a while.


NOMINEES: The Descendants; Hugo; Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; Moneyball; The Ides of March
WILL WIN: The Descendants
SHOULD WIN: Tinker Tailor

And there you have it. I'm going to be back to working like a dog next week, so no Oscars recap for me - but you can bet I'll be watching. Go Billy Crystal!