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Friday, February 24, 2012

FilmSnork's Official Oscar Predictions and Results UPDATED 2-28-2012

It is the biggest night in entertainment, the night Hollywood honors the best in the field of entertainment. Of course, I am talking about the Oscars. The night of the year that can transform careers and give lucky films a permanent seat in the film history books. As we grow ever so close to the ceremony I am still waiting for one thing that usually goes hand and hand with the When Eddie Murphy came on board as host the press had a field day – some loved the idea, some loathed it. Either way, it was press worthy. Well, that came to an untimely end after Eddie stepped down after a scandal that shook the film industry to the core. Okay, maybe not to the core, but it did make a few headlines in the local community newspaper/coupon book. In an attempt to save face, the Academy went back to a well that had been believed to have been empty or maybe just forgotten about; the emergency host, the most popular host in the last 30 years, perhaps ever... Billy Crystal. Riding the success of his latest movie, “City Slickers 2: The Legend of Curly's Gold” he was the obvious choice. When the news broke on that November 10th (a day that will go down in the annuls of film history) the response was beyond anything that could have been expected as fans, reporters and celebrities alike rejoiced with a big ole “meh.” With a host in place it was time to nominate some films. And what a batch they came up with, fan favorites like “Albert Knobs,” “W..E.,” “Extremely Close and Incredibly Loud.” With such a selection films it is no surprise that millions of film fans are completely indifferent about this year's show, awards and host.

Just about every year there is a film that I am passionate about, rooting for its victory in every category. Then there are years where there is a Big Bad, a Hollywood darling that is a shoo-in to win multiple categories (including Best Picture) – which, by chance, is also a film I can't stomach seeing win a single trophy (i.e. Titanic). This year has the distinction of having neither. Sure there are films I really enjoyed, but passion, don't think so. Also there is no Big Bad -not one film ever gained the momentum to make a true odds on favorite to sweep or even come close. As you will see in my picks, expect the Academy to spread the awards around, share the love and wait for the next great year of film and forget about 2011. I do have one trophy that I have a vested interest is Best Song. After listening to the movie soundtrack about 90 times while driving my kids around, I not only like the music, I love it. Written by most of the team from “Flight of the Conchords,” and teamed with The Muppets – result, movie magic. If “Man or Muppet” is chosen worthy of the trophy, my (and my kid's) night will be complete.

UPDATED 02/28/2012
So the tally is in and I did better than I had expected.  20 and 4.  Damn you Meryl Streep for your sneaky unexpected yet expected win.  I hope my picks and insight were helpful in making your Oscar party a bit more enjoyable or in the very least help you get to sleep.  We will do it again next year.
Now, with that said, let's get to the picks:

Best Picture
"The Descendants"
"Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"
"Midnight in Paris"
"The Help"
"War Horse"
"The Tree of Life"
This category lacks focus and should have been cut to five or six films this year – some are just not worthy. If you have been following my reviews you know which handful are deserving of their nominations and which are not. Because it is so easy to like, short, sweet, original and has a cute dog (that has gotten more buzz than most films in the category) “The Artist” will take hole the trophy. Other films like “The Descendants” were solid, but were a little too gloomy to embrace. My sleeper pick is “The Help,” it has a large cast, takes on racial issues and is well liked. I personally would like to see “Midnight in Paris” win – it is not an important film or a all that showy, it was just the film that I can see watching again and again. A “Hugo” victory would not be upsetting either, but Scorsese has received a trophy recently. If “EL&IC” happens to take home the gold, I will NEVER watch the Oscars again.

Best Actor
Demian Bichir, "A Better Life"
George Clooney, "The Descendants" SHOULD WIN
Jean Dujardin, "The Artist" WILL WIN   WINNER
Gary Oldman, "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
Brad Pitt, "Moneyball"
A solid category. All good performance, with only Brad Pitt's falling shirt of being an award-winning caliber performance. It may be a minor upset; I expect Dujardin with his mile long smile and silent charm to take the trophy. He is infectious and someone you want to see at the podium. The only other actor you will possibly see up there on Oscar night is Mr. Clooney – his performance is perfect; not as showy or glamorous just natural... when you make it look that easy, you are good.

Best Actress
Glenn Close, "Albert Nobbs"
Viola Davis, "The Help" WILL WIN/SHOULD WIN
Rooney Mara, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
Meryl Streep, "The Iron Lady"  WINNER
Michelle Williams, "My Week With Marilyn"

Kind of a weak batch for Best Actress. Two impersonations, one manyl woman dressed like a man and one hell of a lot of piercings and body art – which leave Viola Davis. She is a fresh face to most people, she is charming, and with body language alone she made you feel bad for her. Meryl is too good and too consistent for her own good. Would not mind Rooney Mara making her way to the podium, but her big mouth used to disses may have prevented that.

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh, "My Week With Marilyn"
Jonah Hill, "Moneyball" SHOULD WIN
Nick Nolte, "Warrior"
Christopher Plummer, "Beginners" WILL WIN  WINNER
Max Von Sydow, "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"
Nolte played a character he has played before in a little seen film. Von Sydow does not speak a word and if it weren't for the terrible film he is in could have a chance. Not the most exciting category of the night. Christopher Plummer will win unless Jonah Hill's weight loss is enough to find him some extra votes.

Best Supporting Actress
Berenice Bejo, "The Artist"
Jessica Chastain, "The Help"
Melissa McCarthy, "Bridesmaids" SHOULD WIN
Janet McTeer, "Albert Nobbs"
Octavia Spencer, "The Help" WILL WIN  WINNER
There are three strong performances in this group. Berenice Bejo was wonderful to watch, but I cannot see two Oscars going to silent roles. Melissa McCarthy was hilarious even with my high expectations. Working against her is the film was not only a comedy, it was a gross one – some Academy members may not have been able to stomach it. The trophy goes to Octavia Spencer who shined in “The Help.”

Best Director
Woody Allen, "Midnight in Paris" SHOULD WIN
Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist" WILL WIN  WINNER
Terrence Malick, "The Tree of Life"
Alexander Payne, "The Descendants"
Martin Scorsese, "Hugo"
This is a tough one. I think the restrained performances of “The Descendants” were the best of the year – they rang very true. Woody's “Midnight in Paris” captured the city and its citizens not only in the 2000's, also in the 1920's. The visual storytelling of Scorsese transcends genres in “Hugo.” Then again, the work in “The Artist” took everyone out of their element; the performances and the style of the genre of film was emulated to the tee. A close call.

Best Original Screenplay
Woody Allen, "Midnight in Paris" WILL WIN/SHOULD WIN  WINNER
JC Chandor, "Margin Call"
Asghar Farhadi, "A Separation"
Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist"
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, "Bridesmaids"
If Woody Allen shows up to pick up the award Hollywood will be shocked. Something tells me this trophy will be sitting on his mantle soon. The surprise for me was the nomination of “Bridesmaids” it was alright, but nothing groundbreaking.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxton, Jim Rash, "The Descendants" WILL WIN/SHOULD WIN  WINNER
John Logan, "Hugo"
George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon, "The Ides of March"
Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian, "Moneyball"
Bridget O'Connor, Peter Straughn, "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"
Alexander Payne will have to settle for a writing Oscar. Hugo would be a great competitor if the film was 20 minutes shorter.

Best Animated Feature
"A Cat In Paris"
"Chico & Rita"
"Kung Fu Panda 2"
"Puss in Boots"
“Rango” has it in the bag. “Kung Fu Panda 2” was good as well – too similar to the original. Glad to see that “Cars 2” did not get any recognition even if it was a Pixar film. They have been given a free ride for too long.

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Bullhead (Belgium)
Footnote (Israel)
In Darkness (Poland)
Monsieur Lazhar (Canada)
This Iranian film will not be beat, with a nomination for Screenplay as well as foreign Film, “A Separation” is the obvious victor.

Original Score
"The Adventures of Tintin," John Williams
"The Artist," Ludovic Bource WILL WIN  WINNER
"Hugo," Howard Shore
"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," Alberto Iglesias
"War Horse," John Williams
There is one film that you can remember the score of, or at least think you can, “The Artist.” That alone will give it the win. FYI: John Williams picked up his 47th and 48th nominations this year. That is amazing.

Best Original Song
"Man or Muppet," The Muppets; Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie WILL WIN/ SHOULD WIN     WINNER
"Real in Rio," Rio; Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, Lyric by Siedah Garrett
If The Muppets do not win for “Man or Muppet” I will turn off the award show... and then immediately put it back on. I would be extremely upset though. My biggest disappointment of the night I have ben notified of in advance, there will be no performance of the song. I really wanted to watch that with my daughter and bind over The Muppets, movies, awards and Twitter (@filmsnork) – instead Kermit and Co. will get to present an award. Yawn.

Best Achievement in Art Direction
"The Artist"
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"
"Midnight in Paris"
"War Horse"
“Hugo” is a beautiful film – if only 20 minutes shorter it would be winning more than the technical categories.

Best Achievement in Cinematography
"The Artist"
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
"Hugo"  WINNER
"The Tree of Life" WILL WIN/ SHOULD WIN
"War Horse"
This one will all depend on who is voting for the award, if it is the Academy as a whole this will go to “The Artist,” otherwise “Tree of Life” will take it. If not for the annoying 3D camera angles that were often more obtrusive than tolerable, “Hugo” would be a major contender. All are worthy of the honor.

Best Achievement in Costume Design
"Jane Eyre"
The era was captured perfectly in “The Artist” but the work in “Hugo” was equally worthy. Berenice Bejo's outfits are memorable enough to bring the Oscar to the artist.

Best Documentary Feature
"Hell and Back Again" SHOULD WIN
"If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front"
"Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory"
"Undefeated"  WILL WIN   WINNER
The third “Paradise Lost” film has a well known news story to make it the stand out from the crowd. For me “Hell and Back Again” resonates the most. But, "Undefeated" seems like the easiest to root for.

Best Documentary Short Subject
"The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement?"
"God Is the Bigger Elvis"
"Incident in New Baghdad"
"Saving Face"   WINNER
"The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom" WILL WIN
I am taking a stab in the dark here - sounds like a story of pain and renewal.

Best Achievement in Film Editing
"The Artist" WILL WIN
"The Descendants"
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" SHOULD WIN   WINNER
“The Artist”did have the task of emulating a different era of film while entertaining modern audiences. For that it wins.

Best Achievement in Makeup
"Albert Nobbs"
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2" SHOULD WIN
"The Iron Lady" WILL WIN    WINNER
This is the one award I always get wrong – it seems like Harry Potter with its Valdamort and cast of odd creatures and characters is the obvious choice. I am sure that means something else will win. Giving it to “Iron Lady” for the aging of Margaret Thatcher over the man-ification of Glenn Close.

Best Animated Short Film
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore WILL WIN    WINNER
La Luna
A Morning Stroll
Wild Life
Another category I have little or no access to. Based on descriptions, this would be the one I would buy a ticket to see.

Best Live Action Short Film
"Time Freak"
"Tuba Atlantic"
I do not get the opportunity to view these films so I must go based on the descriptions and this one sounds interesting.

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
"War Horse"
Transformers was just a mess of over saturated sight and sound. Going with “Hugo” because sometimes less is more.

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
"War Horse"
Transformers was just a mess of over saturated sight and sound. Going with “Hugo” because sometimes less is more.

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"
"Hugo"   WINNER
"Real Steel"
"Rise of the Planet of the Apes" WILL WIN
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
There were apes, lots of apes – not men in apes suits, not cartoons – realistic, scary apes all acted out by one man Andy Serkis (aka Gollem). Winner.

Well that's it. This seemed to be the easiest picking in recent memory. With that said, do not blame me if you copy my picks and lose your office pool, I myself have had some off years picking the winners.
Sound off and let me know what you think. I want to hear YOUR opinions.

Also follow my live Oscar Tweets on at my @snarkysnork Twitter page. And as always follow everything at the @FilmSnork Twitter page and on my Facebook page. I will see you there.

Enjoy the show.

- FilmSnork

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