PG Cooper: 84th Academy Awards Thoughts and Predictions

Posted: January 30, 2012 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in Commentary

Best Picture

The Artist – Thomas Langmann

The Descendants – Jim Burke, Jim Taylor and Alexander Payne

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Scott Rudin

The Help – Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan

Hugo – Graham King, Martin Scorsese and Johnny Depp

Midnight in Paris – Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum

Moneyball – Michael De Luca, Rachel Horowitz, and Brad Pitt

The Tree of Life – Dede Gardner, Sarah Green, Grant Hill and Bill Pohlad

War Horse – Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy

Nominee Thoughts: Going from top to bottom, I love Hugo, Midnight in Paris, and The Artist. Those films really spoke to me. I also really like The Descendants. As for Tree of Life, I don’t think it’s one of the year’s best, but it’s such an ambitious film that doesn’t try to cater to anyone that I respect the choice. The Help is enjoyable enough, but doesn’t have the weight or craftsmanship to justify it’s nomination. I thought Moneyball was pretty boring, and War Horse just silly. The most surprising nominee is Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which I thought was an obnoxious mess and I think the Academy should be embarrassed for even nominating it.

Likely Winner: Best Picture seems to have come down to either The Artist or The Descendants. Personally, I’m thinking The Artist is gonna take this. It’s got a lot of the major awards going in, a bunch of other Oscar nominations, and it’s a movie about movies. Plus it’s a silent film and black and white, so that gives it an “artsy” advantage. It’s biggest weakness may be how similar the subject matter is with fellow nominee Hugo, which could siphon votes from The Artist. Still, I’ve got a good feeling about this one.

The Dark Horse: Hugo is another film people love which is about movies, not to mention it has more Oscar nominations than any other film this year. Plus, it’s directed by Martin Scorsese, so that will help too. Like I said, it and The Artist may split votes, but still. The other nominees don’t seem to have as big a chance. I suppose it’s possible Midnight in Paris could take it, but that seems extremely unlikely. And despite the director nomination for Terrence Mallick, The Tree of Life feels like it’s here more out of respect than out of it actually having a shot at winning.

Notable Omissions: I’m gonna echo most other people and say Drive, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two. Any of these films would have been deserving winners, but instead their not even nominated. The Potter snub is especially insulting considering just what an accomplishment the series has been for the last few years. What’s the point of expanding the number of nominees if you’re just going to nominate more Oscar bait like War Horse or Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close?

Who I Think Should Win: My favourite film of the year was Drive, and like I said, the three big snubs would have been deserving winners. But of the films nominated, I think I’d be most happy to see The Artist win. However, I like all three of the big contenders and would be happy to see any of them walk away with the statue. Tough call, but come Oscar night, I’ll likely be rooting for The Artist.

Best Director

Woody Allen – Midnight in Paris

Michel Hazanavicius – The Artist

Terrence Malick – The Tree of Life

Alexander Payne – The Descendants

Martin Scorsese – Hugo

Nominee Thoughts: This is actually a pretty awesome batch of nominees. All these guys did a great job. Woody Allen created a wonderfully romantic Paris, Michel Hazanavicius captured the feel of a Hollywood silent film, Terrence Mallick made a visual wonder, Alexander Payne brought an immense level of realism, and Martin Scorsese’s love of movies oozes through every shot in Hugo.

Likely Winner: This is one of those years where I expect a split between Best Picture and Best Director. I’m thinking Best Director will go to Martin Scorsese this year. Michel Hazanavicius is a relatively new filmmaker who’s previous claim to fame was a series of silly James Bond spoofs. Scorsese on the other hand is an old master and one of the most important filmmakers in history. Despite such a pedigree, he’s only won one Oscar. The Academy may want to change that, especially considering Hugo is a testament to the power of film which leads in nomination count this year.

The Darkhorse: I can see Alexander Payne taking this. The Descendants isn’t driven by it’s direction as much as Hugo, but if it takes Best Picture, the Academy may want to honour Payne as well. Also, while Payne isn’t exactly “overdue”, he is a director with a history of credible films (About Schmidt, Sideways). I also haven’t counted Michel Hazanavicius out quite yet. I don’t expect him to win, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he did.

Notable Omissions: Pretty obvious, David Yates for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two, David Fincher for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and especially Nicolas Winding Refn for Drive.

Who I Think Should Win: The Artist is my favourite film of the nominees, so pretty much by default I’m rooting for Michel Hazanavicius. I really admire what Hazanavicius did with that film and he’s quickly become one of my director’s to watch. That said, I’m a huge Scorsese fan, and I’d be more than happy to see him walk away with it. Hell, any of these directors could win and I’d be happy.

Best Actor

Demián Bichir – A Better Life as Carlos Galindo

George Clooney – The Descendants as Matt King

Jean Dujardin – The Artist as George Valentin

Gary Oldman – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as George Smiley

Brad Pitt – Moneyball as Billy Beane

Nominee Thoughts: The only film I haven’t seen here is A Better Life, so I can’t talk about Demián Bichir’s performance. I’m sort of mixed on this batch of nominees. None of them were bad, but there are few I’d call award worthy. George Clooney does a good job playing a variation on his usual character but frankly, I thought he did a better job with similar material in Up in the Air. Brad Pitt was pretty good as Billy Beane, but that performance never struck me as award worthy. And as happy as I am to finally see Gary Oldman get nominated, his performance in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was nothing special. The only actor here who I feel really earned his nomination is Jean Dujardin, who really was excellent in The Artist.

Likely Winner: My money’s on George Clooney. Clooney plays a really likable character in an unfortunate situation, and he does do a pretty good job. He’s got a lot of positive buzz and awards already, and being one of the biggest movie stars in the world doesn’t hurt either. Not to mention the Academy has a history of awarding older actors who have paid their dues, so to speak.

The Dark Horse: While he may not have the star power Clooney does, Jean Dujardin has just as many awards for his role. Dujardin also pulls off quite a performance, creating a powerful character without the use of dialogue. Dujardin also has to pull off some dance numbers and physical bits. Brad Pitt also still has a dog in this race, and while it may be a long shot, him winning isn’t impossible. I don’t think the other two have any serious chances though. Gary Oldman doesn’t have enough buzz going for him, and the nomination for Demián Bichir took everyone by surprise.

Notable Omissions: Two of the most discussed have been Michael Shannon for Take Shelter and Michael Fassbender for Shame. I haven’t seen either film though, so I can’t judge. Though speaking of Fassbender, his work in A Dangerous Method was great and worthy of awards consideration. Between Drive and The Ides of March, Ryan Gosling delivered two of the year’s finest performances. Leonardo DiCaprio was great in J. Edgar, but the film’s been pretty much forgotten. Clive Owen gave one of the most heartfelt performances of the year, but nobody saw Trust. Joseph Gordon-Levitt also walked a fine line between comedy and tragedy in 50/50. Basically a lot of actors did a lot of great work last year, and a lot of it was ignored.

Who I Think Should Win: While none of the nominees were bad, Jean Dujardin is the only one that really struck me as award worthy. He allows you to sympathize with a character who’s less than perfect purely through his charm and passion. The fact that he does this all without speaking is a testament to just how good he is.

Best Actress

Glenn Close – Albert Nobbs as Albert Nobbs

Viola Davis – The Help as Aibileen Clarke

Rooney Mara – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as Lisbeth Salander

Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady as Margaret Thatcher

Michelle Williams – My Week with Marilyn as Marilyn Monroe

Nominee Thoughts: I haven’t seen Albert Nobbs or The Iron Lady, so I can’t offer my two cents on those. I will say that Viola Davis, Rooney Mara, and Michelle Williams were all very deserving of their nominations.

Likely Winner: I’m going with Glenn Close on this one. Her performance in Albert Nobbs has got a lot of positive buzz, but I think the reason for her win will have more to do with who she is. This is Glenn Close’s sixth Oscar nomination, and she’s never won. Given the amount of nominees and her age, it makes sense that the Academy would choose to honour her. After all, it could be her last chance.

The Dark Horse: Michelle Williams has a lot going for her. She’s young, sexy, she’s playing a real person, all things that normally lock an Oscar. Not to mention her performance is really damn good. In another year, I’d have called her the front runner. Viola Davis also has a pretty good shot since her role in The Help has built a lot of steam.

Notable Omissions: Jessica Chastain was excellent in The Debt, but that film was never taken seriously as an awards contender. Liana Liberato also delivered a very complicated performance in Trust, but again, nobody saw it.

Who I Think Should Win: Nobody transformed themselves to become their part quite like Rooney Mara did for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Her Lisbeth Salander is vulnerable and unstoppable, ruthless yet sympathetic, she’s an amazing character and Mara is so good in the role. That said, the other nominees (that I’ve seen) were also good, and wouldn’t be bad choices.

Best Supporting Actor

Kenneth Branagh – My Week with Marilyn as Laurence Olivier

Jonah Hill – Moneyball as Peter Brand

Nick Nolte – Warrior as Paddy Conlon

Christopher Plummer – Beginners as Hal Fields

Max von Sydow – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close as The Renter

Nominee Thoughts: Almost every year, I find myself really satisfied with the nominees in this category. Not this year. Again, it’s not that any of them are bad, but few of them leap out as award worthy. Plus there were so many great performances ignored. I was happy to see Jonah Hill take a bit of a risk with Moneyball, and he did a good job, but his work is nothing to write home about. Max von Sydow and Nick Nolte were both good in their roles, but award worthy? I don’t know about that. I don’t have a problem with Kenneth Branaugh’s nomination though, and Christopher Plummer was really good in Beginners.

Likely Winner: I’ll be shocked if Christopher Plummer doesn’t win. All the ingredients for a win are there. He’s a well respected actor, he’s older and probably doesn’t have too many films left in him, he’s playing a lovable gay man, and he’s got a lot of buzz. Not to mention he is really damn good in the role.

The Dark Horse: It almost feels silly to even consider a dark horse. If I had to name one, I’d say Max von Sydow for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. No, it’s not that great a performance and no, it doesn’t have a lot of buzz, but it’s another case of a well respected elderly actor giving out what might be one of his last performances.

Notable Omissions: The big one on everyone’s lips is Albert Brooks from Drive, and I’m inclined to agree. I thought Brooks was a lock, and he definitely deserved to be nominated, hell he’d have been a fine winner. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti both were excellent in The Ides of March, Patton Oswalt created a very sympathetic character in a very unsympathetic film in Young Adult, Viggo Mortensen created more than just a caricature in A Dangerous Method, and Jesper Christensen was creepy as hell in The Debt. Finally, my favourite supporting performance of the year was Alan Rickman in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two, another film that was unanimously ignored this awards season.

Who I Think Should Win: Christopher Plummer, easily.

Best Supporting Actress

Bérénice Bejo – The Artist as Peppy Miller

Jessica Chastain – The Help as Celia Foote

Melissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids as Megan Price

Janet McTeer – Albert Nobbs as Hubert Page

Octavia Spencer – The Help as Minny Jackson

Nominee Thoughts: Melissa McCarthy getting nominated is ridiculous. She’s the typical overweight, foul-mouthed, stupid character we always see in comedies. She was funny sure, but so was Zack Galifanakis in The Hangover, but we didn’t give him an Oscar nomination. Also, of all the Jessica Chastain’s 2011 performances, you nominate her for The Help? She wasn’t bad, but she did much better work in other films. Bérénice Bejo and Octavia Spencer are both good choices though. And as I said, I haven’t seen Albert Nobbs.

Likely Winner: Nobody really pops as the clear winner here, but since I have to pick, I’m gonna say Octavia Spencer for The Help. People seem to really love her work in The Help, and this also seems like the only award the film has a genuine chance of winning.

The Dark Horse: Bérénice Bejo was fantastic in The Artist, I’d say she was just as good as Jean Dujardin. She’s just as charming, and says a lot with no dialogue. And while she doesn’t have as much buzz as Octavia Spencer, she does have her share of awards and praise going in.

Notable Omissions: Melissa Leo gave a great performance in Red State, but Red State getting nominated was never gonna happen. Anjelica Huston had a small, but great role in 50/50, but that film’s been completely ignored. Kiera Knightley stole the show from Fassbender and Mortensen in A Dangerous Method. But to me, the biggest snubs were Shailene Woodley for The Descendants and Evan Rachel Wood for The Ides of March. To me, these two ladies were neck and neck for Best Supporting Actress, and neither of them got nominated.

Who I Think Should Win: I loved Bérénice Bejo in The Artist. She was so funny, so charming, and the fact that she did it all without any dialogue really is amazing. Not to mention all the great dancing she did. I loved her and her character so much that I actually want to see Peppy Miller films.

Best Writing – 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

Nominee Thoughts: Bridesmaids again?!!? Are you kidding me? Again, did The Hangover  a Screenplay nomination? Of course not, that be stupid. But for some reason, Bridesmaids gets in? Whatever. I haven’t seen Margin Call or A Seperation, but I’d really like to see both. As for The Artist and Midnight in Paris, both excellent choices.

Likely Winner: I’m going with Midnight in Paris. Midnight was a huge success for Woody Allen, but this seems like the only award it has a good chance at winning. Plus, this film depends on it’s script more than the other nominees, and Allen is easily the most prestigious of the nominees.

The Dark Horse: The only other nominee that really has a shot as The Artist. Working against it, the screenplay to the film is relatively straightforward and it’s more the direction, actors, etc. that make that movie what it is. But on the flip side, Allen has never shown much enthusiasm for the Oscars, so the Academy might give it to The Artist out of spite.

Notable Omissions: Will Reiser’s 50/50 had predictable elements, but it also walked the line between comedy and drama perfectly. Trust also had a great script, but no one saw it. Another Earth was a great blend of science fiction and human drama. They don’t get nominated, but god damn Bridesmaids does.

Who I Think Should Win: As much as I love The Artist, Midnight in Paris was arguably the best screenplay of the year. The dialogue, the pacing, the creative premise, the fun characters, Allen really delivered an excellent script. That said, if Michel Hazanavicius takes it for The Artist, I can’t say I’d be too upset.

Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay

The Descendants – Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash from The Descendants (novel) by Kaui Hart Hemmings

Hugo – John Logan from The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

The Ides of March – George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon from Farragut North by Beau Willimon

Moneyball – Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin; Story by Stan Chervin from Moneyball by Michael Lewis

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan from Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré

Nominee Thoughts: I’m pleasantly surprised to see The Ides of March nominated. In all honestly, it deserved a lot better then it’s got. Hugo and The Descendants are also great choices, but Moneyball and Tinker Tailor really don’t belong here. Since both suffer from the same thing; being really damn boring.

Likely Winner: I’m pretty sure this will be The Descendants. Alexander Payne hit gold previously with Sideways, no reason he won’t again. It’s also worth mentioning that The Descendants is a film that’s really powered by it’s script.

The Dark Horse: Probably Moneyball, that script has already received some awards attention, plus it was co-written by Aaron Sorkin, who’s a really well respected writer. And even I have to admit there was some great dialogue in the film. I suppose Hugo has a shot too, but the script seems to be one of the elements not being praised endlessly about that film.

Notable Omissions: A Dangerous Method was fascinating examination of two of history’s most unique individuals, The Debt studied the theme of guilt very effectively, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two brought the series to a cathartic conclusion, and finally, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was a tightly paced thriller with excellent characters.

Who I Think Should Win: Of these, I’d say the best script was John Logan’s Hugo. It was just such a loving tribute to film, and the way the script balances that aspect with the more traditional adventure is excellent. After that, I really enjoyed The Ides of March.

Best Animated Feature

A Cat in Paris – Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli

Chico and Rita – Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal

Kung Fu Panda 2 – Jennifer Yuh Nelson

Puss in Boots – Chris Miller

Rango – Gore Verbinski

Nominee Thoughts: The only one of these I’ve even seen is Rango, which I thought was awesome. I’d have lived to have seen Kung Fu Panda 2, but I never saw the first one…so yeah.

Likely Winner: Rango seems to have this one locked down.

The Dark Horse: Probably one of the foreign ones…I’ll go with Chico and Rita.

Notable Omissions: The obvious one is The Adventures of Tintin, but I didn’t really like Tintin, so I’m not exactly heartbroken. Oh, and Pixar wasn’t nominated this year. Probably because Cars 2 sucked, and kudos to the Academy for recognizing that.

Who I Think Should Win: RANGO!!!


Best Foreign Language Film

Bullhead (Belgium) in Dutch and French – Michaël R. Roskam

Footnote (Israel) in Hebrew – Joseph Cedar

In Darkness (Poland) in Polish – Agnieszka Holland

Monsieur Lazhar (Canada) in French – Philippe Falardeau

A Separation (Iran) in Persian – Asghar Farhadi

Nominee Thoughts: My theater doesn’t get foreign films, so I haven’t seen any of these.

Likely Winner: Critics seem to like A Seperation, and it also grabbed a screenplay nomination, so I’m guessing it’ll win.

The Dark Horse: In Darkness is about the holocaust, so it could take it.

Notable Omissions: I don’t know.

Who I Think Should Win: I dont know.


Best Documentary – Feature

Hell and Back Again – Danfung Dennis and Mike Lerner

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front – Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman

Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory – Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky

Pina – Wim Wenders and Gian-Piero Ringel

Undefeated – TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay and Richard Middlemas

Nominee Thoughts: Again, I haven’t seen any of these. Paradise Lost 3 is probably the one that interests me the most.

Likely Winner: I’m gonna say If A Tree Falls.

The Dark Horse: Um, Hell and Back Again I guess.

Notable Omissions: I don’t know.

Who I Think Should: I don’t know.


Best Documentary – Short Subject

The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement – Robin Fryday and Gail Dolgin

God Is the Bigger Elvis – Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson

Incident in New Baghdad – James Spione

Saving Face – Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom – Lucy Walker and Kira Carstensen

Nominee Thoughts: Haven’t seen any.

Likely Winner: Let’s go with Incident in New Baghdad.

The Dark Horse: Uh, I’ll say The Tsunami and Cherry Blossom.

Notable Omissions: I don’t know.

Who I Think Should Win: I don’t know.


Best Live Action Short Film

Pentecost – Peter McDonald and Eimear O’Kane

Raju – Max Zähle and Stefan Gieren

The Shore – Terry George and Oorlagh George

Time Freak – Andrew Bowler and Gigi Causey

Tuba Atlantic – Hallvar Witzø

Nominee Thoughts: Again, I haven’t seen any of these, but I will say I want to see Tuba Atlantic.

Likely Winner: Tuba Atlantic.

The Dark Hose: Time Freak.

Notable Omissions: I don’t know.

Who I Think Should Win: I’m rooting for Tuba Atlantic based on it’s premise.


Best Animated Short Film

Dimanche – Patrick Doyon

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore – William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg

La Luna – Enrico Casarosa

A Morning Stroll – Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe

Wild Life – Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby

Nominee Thoughts: Okay, I promise this is the last award where I haven’t seen any of the nominations.

Likely Winner: The Fantastic Flying Books has won a bunch of awards, so I’m saying it.

The Dark Horse: La Luna because it’s Pixar.

Notable Omissions: I don’t know.

Who I Think Should Win: I don’t know.


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

Nominee Thoughts: Alright, back to a category I know about. Tintin, The Artist, and Hugo had pretty good scores. I don’t remember Tinker Tailor‘s at all. As for War Horse, I liked the score, but it did feel like John Williams was trying a little too hard.

Likely Winner: Being a silent film, The Artist has a really obvious score. It’ll be one of the easiest to notice, and that’s always helpful in this category, a trait shared by former winners like  Atonement and Babel. The music for The Artist is also quite distinct from the others, and it’s pretty catchy.

The Dark Horse: Some are probably thinking one of the Williams’ scores, but I think if anyone’s gonna spoil The Artist‘s fun, it’ll be Hugo. It’s from Howard Shore, who’s become a pretty respectable composer, and it’s also just really good. Not to mention The Artist may run into trouble for it’s use of the “Love Theme” from Vertigo, and I think the two Williams nominations will split the votes.

Notable Omissions: I thought the Best Score of the year was the Chemical Brothers work for Hanna. It was really different and really stuck with me. Cliff Martinez composed two of the best scores of the year with Drive and Contagion, and Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross knocked it out of the park for the second year in a row with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

Who I Think Should Win: I’ll be happy to see either The Artist or Hugo walk away with this. If I had to pick one, I’d probably say Ludovic Bource for The Artist.


Best Original Song

“Man or Muppet” from The Muppets – Bret McKenzie

“Real in Rio” from Rio – Sérgio Mendes, Carlinhos Brown and Siedah Garrett

Nominee Thoughts: Didn’t see The Muppets, don’t remember the song from Rio.

Likely Winner: Muppets in a landslide.

The Dark Horse: I suppose Rio by default.

Notable Omissions: People are saying that one from The Help, but I really don’t care.

Who I Think Should Win: The Muppets because I want Kermit to accept the award.


Best Sound Editing

Drive – Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Ren Klyce

Hugo – Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty

Transformers: Dark of the Moon – Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl

War Horse – Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom

Nominee Thoughts: And here we have Drive‘s only nomination…sigh. Oh, and the main difference between this and the other sound award is this one looks at the creation of the sounds itself. I saw all the nominees and…they all sounded fine I guess.

Likely Winner: A lot of the little sounds really stood out in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, so I’m gonna go with that.

The Dark Hose: This is Drive‘s only nomination, so the Academy may want to throw it a bone. Other then that, I wouldn’t be surprised if War Horse or Hugo won it. I doubt Transformers has a shot though since I don’t the Academy wants to give a film that bad anything.

Notable Omissions: I don’t know.

Who I Think Should Win: I’m probably not very qualified to talk about this, so I’ll say Drive just out of blind love for the film.


Best Sound Mixing

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Bo Persson

Hugo – Tom Fleischman and John Midgley

Moneyball – Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, David Giammarco and Ed Novick

Transformers: Dark of the Moon – Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Peter J. Devlin

War Horse – Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson and Stuart Wilson

Nominee Thoughts: This award looks at best overall sound. Well, they all sounded fine I guess.

Likely Winner: War Horse was probably the loudest film, so I’m going with it.

The Dark Horse: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo again.

Notable Omissions: Don’t care.

Who I Think Should Win: I probably noticed the sound in War Horse more, but I’m gonna say The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.


Best Art Direction

The Artist – Laurence Bennett and Robert Gould

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 – Stuart Craig and Stephanie McMillan

Hugo – Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo

Midnight in Paris – Anne Seibel and Hélène Dubreuil

War Horse – Rick Carter and Lee Sandales

Nominee Thoughts: These are all pretty good choices, the only one I may disagree with is War Horse. It recreated the time fine, but it didn’t stand out as anything special.

Likely Winner: I’m pretty confident this will go to Hugo. There’s a reason this film is racking in the tech nominations, and the art direction is one of it’s shining attributes. I think being a mix of period piece and sort of a fantasy will make this a win.

The Dark Horse: The Artist is a period piece too, and it’s also executed with a lot of style. Plus it’s in black and white, and I have a feeling that will help it even if it technically shouldn’t. Harry Potter still has a shot too. Especially considering it’s the last chance the series has to win any Oscars. Midnight in Paris and War Horse are also both period pieces so they’re not completely out yet.

Notable Omissions: Thor brought the incredible world of Asgard to the big screen and made it look cool, and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows had an awesome steam punk take on Europe.

Who I Think Should Win: I think Hugo had the best art direction of the year, so it has my vote. I’d also be happy to see Harry Potter take it, and even The Artist.


Best Cinematography

The Artist – Guillaume Schiffman

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Jeff Cronenweth

Hugo – Robert Richardson

The Tree of Life – Emmanuel Lubezki

War Horse – Janusz Kamiński

Nominee Thoughts: All really well shot films. It was weird how the horse in War Horse is shot like how Michael Bay shoots women, but whatever.

Likely Winner: While I know not everyone “got” the film, you don’t need to be a genius to appreciate the cinematography in The Tree of Life. It’s an ambitiously shot film and this seems like the only award it has a legit shot of winning. It also helps that cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki has previously done great work for Children of Men and The New World, but has yet to actually win.

The Dark Horse: Robert Richardson’s work on Hugo was simply beautiful, and I love the way the camera whirls around. All these nominees do some to have a fairly good chance though. I haven’t ruled any of them out.

Notable Omissions: Eduardo Serra’s work on Harry Potter was gorgeously dark, Newton Thomas Sigel gave the incredibly slick Drive, and Steven Soderbergh gave Contagion a depressingly cold look, but all three of these films seem to have been left in the dust.

Who I Think Should Win: As great as The Tree of Life looks, I really want Hugo to take this. Mainly because the cinematography in Hugo always serves the story, while in Tree of Life it sometimes feel like it’s the other way around.


Best Makeup

Albert Nobbs – Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnson and Matthew W. Mungle

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 – Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight and Lisa Tomblin

The Iron Lady – Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

Nominee Thoughts: I’ve only seen Potter, and the make up was good.

Likely Winner: Last year, I went with the more “classy” choice and it cost me, so I’m saying Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two.

The Dark Horse: The Iron Lady recreates a real person, so it’s got a good shot. Albert Nobbs could also take this one.

Notable Omissions: J. Edgar made it’s principle actors look convincingly older, but that film has been completely ignored by the Academy. Captain America made a dude covered in red paint look badass, and Contagion had to create bunch of deathly ill people.

Who I Think Should Win: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two.


Best Costume Design

Anonymous – Lisy Christl

The Artist – Mark Bridges

Hugo – Sandy Powell

Jane Eyre – Michael O’Connor

W.E. – Arianne Phillips

The Nominees: I haven’t seen Anonymous or W.E. (has anyone seen the latter?), but the other three all had good costume design.

Likely Winner: Jane Eyre is the kind of film that usually takes this.

The Dark Hose: I’ve heard some buzz about the costumes in W.E., so I suppose it could take it. I think most of these films have reasonable chances though, except for Anonymous.

Notable Omissions: A bunch of super hero films got snubbed this year. Thor, Captain America, and X-Men: First Class all had great costume designs and in the case of Cap and X-Men had to replicate period clothing. Drive also deserved praise for the badass jacket, and other little details like the gloves.

Who I Think Should Win: The only film of the nominees where the clothes really popped was The Artist.


Best Film Editing

The Artist – Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius

The Descendants – Kevin Tent

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

Hugo – Thelma Schoonmaker

Moneyball – Christopher Tellefsen

Nominee Thoughts: The Descendants being here suggests it has some good Best Picture chances because it doesn’t actually deserve a nomination here. Moneyball was extremely slow so I definitely don’t agree with it. I’m with the other choices though.

Likely Winner: Being the frontrunner for best picture, I’m going to say The Artist. Not to mention it’s really exciting, has some clever montages, and a really fast pace.

The Dark Horse: Despite it’s slow pace, Hugo could take it best on how the story shifts, and because Thelma Schoonmaker has a good history with the Academy.

Notable Omissions: Matthew Newman for Drive. Drive blends different genres, every scene is cut perfectly, and the film is paced well. What more could you ask for? Mark Day also did a great job with Harry Potter,  and so did Alexander Berner for The Debt.

Who I Think Should Win: Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter made a two hour and forty minute film constantly exciting with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. The film never has a dull moment. I’d also be happy if The Artist or Hugo wins.


Best Visual Effects

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 – Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler and John Richardson

Hugo – Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossmann and Alex Henning

Real Steel – Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Danny Gordon Taylor and Swen Gillberg

Rise of the Planet of the Apes – Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White and Daniel Barrett

Transformers: Dark of the Moon – Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew E. Butler and John Frazier

Nominee Thoughts: I can’t really argue with any of these since they all did have good special effects.

Likely Winner: Rise of the Planet of the Apes effects are a breakthrough and unlike the other nominees, they use the effects to display intimate emotions. I’ll be shocked of Apes doesn’t win.

The Dark Horse: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two. The effects were great, and like I said, this is Potter‘s last kick at the can.

Notable Omissions: There’s a few, but these nominees all have great effects so I won’t bother.

Who I Think Should Win: Rise of the Planet of the Apes really did have the best visual effects of the year. It definitely deserves this. That said, I wouldn’t exactly be disappointed if Harry Potter took it.

  1. Great set of predictions. I too am hoping for Tuba Atlantic and Fantastic Flying Books in the shorts (though I haven’t seen either of them.)

    And I loved this line from best song:

    The Dark Horse: I suppose Rio by default.


    • pgcooper1939 says:

      lol, thank you. Yeah, Tuba Atlantic actually sounds really interesting.

      Oh, and if you of all people are saying my predictions are solid, than I’m doing something right :)

  2. ianthecool says:

    I think you`re expecting too much by wanting Harry Potter in for Best Pic. I see where you`re coming from, but as much as I like the Potter films, I can`t see it winning an Oscar. or not a major one, though I am surprised the series hasn`t won at least one of the technical awards at some point.

    You think Scorcese will win, huh? Interesting.

    • pgcooper1939 says:

      I don’t see it either, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve it. I didn’t think it was going to get nominated, but I do think it was one of the best films of the year and thus, a notable omission. Besides, I’d have gained massive respect for them had they given it a BP nomination.

      Yeah man, I’m thinking Scorsese. Granted, I’m not generally good at predicting these things, but Scorsese seems a good bet.

  3. Jaina says:

    Think your predictions there are probably pretty accurate. Think the only thing I’m really miffed about with the oscar noms this year is totally missing out Senna in the Best Documentary – Feature. Big snub.

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