2012 Academy Awards Nomination Predictions


It’s that time of year again. I made a point not to follow the awards season here on the blog. I certainly enjoy and follow the awards season, and am aware of where the various films stand in their chances, but I don’t invest in it more than I feel I should. I don’t like to limit what I see to only checking off the awards contenders. And I don’t want this blog to be about tracking the long and windy road to the Academy Awards. But I do like to indulge in posting Oscar Predictions, because why the hell not? Earlier this afternoon I posted my Dream Ballot. Now here are my predictions for tomorrow’s announcements. My strategy is usually to play it safe. So I won’t be throwing anything too out of the ordinary here outside of a few of my choices for the alternate. I’ll do a brief explanation for each category. I did very little research on others picks, taking maybe four groups of predictions into consideration. If I spend more than a couple of hours deciding these I tend to get a little annoyed with myself. And it I ever find myself trying to ‘get into the head of the AMPAS groupthink’, as if there was such a thing for God’s sake, that’s my sign to finish as quickly as possible.

Best Picture:
The Artist
The Descendants
The Help
Hugo
Moneyball

6. Midnight in Paris
7. Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
8. Bridesmaids
9. The Tree of Life
10. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Those last five are in order. So for example, if eight nominees are announced tomorrow, I think it will be the top five and then my numbers six, seven and eight. Those first five are incredibly safe bets and all of them will appear tomorrow. I am not as sold on Dragon Tattoo’s supposed presence tomorrow, but there is nothing else that is particularly sticking out to me. I do have ‘Tattoo’ getting in a number of places because people are putting it for a number of different categories. I really just do not buy War Horse showing up here. It boggles my mind how people would feel passionate enough for Spielberg’s output this year to actually put that on their ballots. I think The Tree of Life stands a chance because it the people who are advocates for the film will likely be placing it in their top slot, allowing it a much larger shot.

Best Director:
Woody Allen – Midnight in Paris
Terrence Malick – The Tree of Life
Michel Hazanavicius – The Artist
Alexander Payne – The Descendants
Martin Scorsese – Hugo
Alternate: David Fincher – Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Taylor and Miller getting in for The Help and Moneyball seem like outside shots, although Miller could very well come into play. I have Fincher as my alternate because everyone else seems to think he stands a shot, so I feel I should put him. But for as well directed as Dragon Tattoo is, it feels somewhat ridiculous for him to pop up. And if he does, it won’t be a pity vote for last year’s Hooper preference. I can guarantee that zero individuals of this organization have this mindset. That line of thinking is entirely thanks to awards pundits who put infinitely more time into this than anyone who actually votes.

Best Actor:
George Clooney – The Descendants
Leonardo DiCaprio – J. Edgar
Jean Dujardin – The Artist
Michael Fassbender – Shame
Brad Pitt – Moneyball
Alternate: Michael Shannon – Take Shelter

Apparently the AMPAS don’t like Shame. Again, I do not buy into this collective groupthink. I’m sure the word around town is that the members who have seen it, at least the ones who have been vocal about it, have done so negatively. However, while I doubt Shame will show up tomorrow in almost all categories, I still think Michael Fassbender has the power to impress voters enough for them to recognize the performance without it being an endorsement for the film. The man has risen to the A-list in one year and, if the nomination happens, it will feel like a rite of passage for him into the Hollywood elite. Because the man is a star now. I see Oldman continuing his lifelong streak of being ignored for these awards. I could see DiCaprio being snubbed, but I don’t think it’ll happen. He is playing a historical figure across decades and the technicality of the performance I see being undeservedly recognized.

Best Actress:
Glenn Close – Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis – The Help
Rooney Mara – Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady
Michelle Williams – My Week with Marilyn
Alternate: Tilda Swinton – We Need to Talk About Kevin

Four of these nominations are all locks as far as I am concerned. Close will get in more for the decades in the making passion project aspect of Albert Nobbs. The reason I choose Mara over Swinton is because is feels logical. ‘Kevin’ will not show up anywhere else tomorrow. ‘Dragon Tattoo’ will. And it would make no sense if Girl with the Dragon Tattoo shows up in several other categories when the one thing that should be recognized, Mara, is absent.

Best Supporting Actor:
Kenneth Branagh – My Week with Marilyn
Albert Brooks – Drive
Nick Nolte – Warrior
Viggo Mortensen – A Dangerous Method
Christopher Plummer – Beginners
Alternate: Jonah Hill – Moneyball

Of all the acting categories, this one is the flimsiest. I’m unsure about everything here outside of Plummer. People are prepared for a Brooks snub and it very well could happen. Young Adult being largely ignored by all precursors everyone took Oswalt out of the running. I have doubts enough voters will have seen Warrior to put Nolte, but the idea of seeing the film and not putting Nolte on the ballot is unthinkable. Mortensen is someone I am taking a chance on and it is mostly wishful thinking. If I picked the nominations and winners, he would take the award home.

Best Supporting Actress:
Berenice Bejo – The Artist
Jessica Chastain – The Help
Melissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer – Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer – The Help
Alternate: Shailene Woodley – The Descendants

Considering that Janet McTeer is the only reason to see Albert Nobbs, I chose to put her in. The Help will make two showings here, unless Chastain splits votes over her different eligible performances. I think McCarthy has more than enough momentum to get in here.

Best Original Screenplay:
The Artist
Beginners
Bridesmaids
Midnight in Paris
A Separation
Alternate: Young Adult

There is a lot of love and affection for Beginners out there, and that likely transfers to the AMPAS voters who have seen it (and if they put Plummer, they probably have) making it feel right to me. A Separation has a ton of momentum, making it likely to break out of the Foreign Language category.

Best Adapted Screenplay:
The Descendants
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Help
Hugo
Moneyball
Alternate: The Ides of March

These feel fairly set to me. I don’t have anything to add. They are all major contenders for the Oscars this year and they succinctly fill out the five slots. But I desperately want Tinker, Tailor in here.

Best Editing:
The Artist
The Descendants
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Hugo
The Tree of Life
Alternate: Moneyball

Not really much to say here either, except that I really hope Moneyball makes it in tomorrow. It’s the only possible nominee that made my Dream Ballot. It has a wonderfully lively and entirely seamless pace that keeps up with the back-and-forth energy the dialogue generates.

Best Cinematography:
The Artist
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Hugo
The Tree of Life
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Alternate: War Horse

War Horse could really get in here for it’s very vocal use of old-school celluloid. I feel if Tinker, Tailor shows up in technical categories, it will show up in several or none. I don’t see it randomly popping up in two categories (hypocrite that I am, I only have it in for 3). This could be a category where something shows up that only shows up in one other place. For the sake of safety, I’m sticking with these choices.

Best Art Direction:
Hugo
Midnight in Paris
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
War Horse
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Alt. The Artist

The Harry Potter series always boasts top-notch art direction. Tinker, Tailor and Hugo are best in show from the possibles this year. War Horse and Midnight in Paris seem likely.

Sound Mixing:
The Artist
Hugo
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Super 8
Mission Impossible
Alternate: Hanna

Sound Editing:
The Artist
Harry Potter
Super 8
Mission Impossible
War Horse
Alternate: Hugo

One of these years I will gain enough of a basic understanding of these categories to make predictions that feel somewhat knowledge-based.

Costume Design:
Anonymous
The Artist
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Jane Eyre
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Alternate: Hugo

Impeccably dressed men in 1970’s period costume must go rewarded. I demand it! Anonymous is seemingly sure to pop up in a couple of categories for its period lavishness.

Score:
The Artist
Hugo
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Jane Eyre
War Horse
Alternate: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Anything John Williams is a sure bet, even if it is for the obnoxiously distracting score that was War Horse. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are building a good track record, even if I don’t get the big deal over their contribution this year. Hugo hits all the notes it needed to with the quality we expect from Howard Shore. The Artist is a total lock. Jane Eyre feels fairly certain, but I really hope that Alberto Iglesias is recognized for his stellar work in Tinker, Tailor.

Foreign Language
A Separation
Footnote
In Darkness
Monsieur Lazhar
Pina
Altnerate: Bullhead

No idea what to do here outside of A Separation, so I went with the films I know about, even though the AMPAS never ‘works’ that way.

Documentary:
Bill Cunningham, New York
Paradise Lost 3
Project Nim
We Were Here
Undefeated
Alternate: Pina

There is no rhyme or reason here. I chose to have Pina get in for Foreign Language as opposed to Documentary, but it could split votes and get in for neither or both. If Project Nim does not get in….I shouldn’t be surprised but I really will be. And if Buck does get in…how sad. I think it’s got a real shot, but I spitefully snubbed it here.

Animated Feature:
Adventures of Tintin
Cars 2
Rango

4. Chico and Rita
5. Puss in Boots

Tintin has Spielberg, Cars 2 has Pixar and Rango is just too damn good to ignore in an otherwise completely lackluster year for animation.

Visual Effects:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Hugo
Captain America
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
The Tree of Life
Alternate: Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Hugo has 3D, Rise of the Planet of the Apes has motion-capture, The Tree of Life has the cosmos, Captain America has a digitally wimpy Chris Evans and Harry Potter has quantity.

Makeup:
Anonymous
Gainsbourg
The Iron Lady
Alt. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

People seem to be putting Gainsbourg, and if one thing for Makeup is certain, it’s that the most random films possible show up here. We are working with a small finalist list, greatly narrowing the field. Gainsbourg being the most obscure and otherwise absent film on the list means it will probably make it. The Iron Lady is a sure thing. Anonymous feels right.

Best Original Song:
Albert Nobbs
The Help
Muppets – Life’s a Happy Song
Muppets – Man or Muppet
Muppets – Pictures in My Head
Alternate: Star-Spangled Man – Captain America: The First Avenger

I decided to go with 3 Muppets songs, because I feel confident that the AMPAS will overall be more receptive to The Muppets than the Hollywood Foreign Press Association was. If there is one place to reward the film it would be here and only here. Will 3 songs be nominated? Hell no. But I want them there and there they shall stay.

No Guts, No Glory:

Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain – Take Shelter
Actress: Charlize Theron – Young Adult
Score: The Chemical Brothers – Hanna

Tallies:
The Artist – 11 nominations
Hugo – 10 nominations
The Help – 6 nominations
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – 6 nominations
The Descendants – 5 nominations
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 – 5 nominations
Midnight in Paris – 4 nominations
The Tree of Life – 4 nominations
Moneyball – 4 nominations

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