26 Feb 2012 @ 3:40 PM 

Sunday Minute
No. 238 | February 26, 2012

2011 Oscars Preview & Predictions


You can find my thoughts about the films of 2011 in these two posts cleverly titled “Films of 2011”—Part 1, Part II.  In this post I pretend to know what the members of the Academy will be doing (or should be doing) when they hand out those little golden men on Sunday night.  A “pick” is my choice among the nominees, where I have an opinion; a “prediction” is my opinion about other people’s opinions.  I wouldn’t bet the farm.

Best Picture

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

The Academy decided five nominees were not enough, then decided ten may be too many.  For the first time ever, this year there are nine.  I won’t argue about the number (other, better films were left off) but Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, The Help, and War Horse have no business being on the list.  Moneyball I’d have skipped too.  If any of the other five win, I wouldn’t be disappointed.  But I’d be shocked if The Artist is not the name in the envelope.

PICK:  The Artist

Actor in a Leading Role

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

The early awards have been split between George Clooney and Jean Dujardin.  I liked them both.  Clooney surprised me, and Dujardin did his share of mugging but had his moments of subtlety too.  I suspect the winds are blowing in The Artist‘s favor.

PICK:  George Clooney
PREDICTION:  Jean Dujardin

Actress in Leading Role

  • 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

A year ago I picked Michelle Williams in this spot, for her raw and brave performance in Blue Valentine.  A very different role this time, and I’ll pick her again.  Which is not to say she will win.  It’s a toss-up between Meryl Streep (will she ever win again?) and Viola Davis.

PICK:  Michelle Williams
PREDICTION:  Viola Davis

Actor in a Supporting Role

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

These actors have turned in some great performances over the years, though no one here has yet won an Oscar.  A high crime indeed.  Max von Sydow is perhaps the most overlooked, getting only his second nomination.  He deserves the statuette but it appears his contemporary Mr. Plummer (both were born in 1929) will be giving the speech.

PICK:  Max von Sydow
PREDICTION:  Christopher Plummer

Actress in a Supporting Role

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

Not a lot of suspense with this one.  Well deserved.

PICK:  Octavia Spencer
PREDICTION:  Octavia Spencer


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

The picture and the director go together, right?  I look forward to the presenter trying to pronounce his name.

PICK:  Michel Hazanavicius
PREDICTION:  Michel Hazanavicius

Writing (Original Screenplay)

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

Woody has won his share of Oscars, and this should add to his collection.  His best work in years.

PICK:  Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
PREDICTION:  Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

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

In another year The Descendants would win many categories.  Still, it will not go home empty-handed.

PICK:  Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash, The Descendants
PREDICTION:  Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash, The Descendants

Animated Feature Film

  • A Cat in Paris
  • Chico & Rita
  • Kung Fu Panda 2
  • Puss in Boots
  • Rango


Documentary (Feature)

  • Hell and Back Again
  • If a Tree Falls:  A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
  • Paradise Lost 3:  Purgatory
  • Pina
  • Undefeated

PREDICTION:  Undefeated

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
  • The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom

PREDICTION:  The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom

Foreign Language Film

  • Bullhead, Belgium
  • Footnote, Israel
  • In Darkness, Poland
  • Monsieur Lazhar, Canada
  • A Separation, Iran

PREDICTION:  A Separation

Short Film (Animated)

  • Dimanche/Sunday
  • The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
  • La Luna
  • A Morning Stroll
  • Wild Life

PREDICTION:  The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Short Film (Live Action)

  • Pentecost
  • Raju
  • The Shore
  • Time Freak
  • Tuba Atlantic


Art Direction

  • The Artist
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
  • Hugo
  • Midnight in Paris
  • War Horse



  • The Artist
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  • Hugo
  • The Tree of Life
  • War Horse

PREDICTION:  The Tree of Life

Costume Design

  • Anonymous
  • The Artist
  • Hugo
  • Jane Eyre
  • W.E.


Film Editing

  • The Artist
  • The Descendants
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  • Hugo
  • Moneyball



  • Albert Nobbs
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:  Part 2
  • The Iron Lady

PREDICTION:  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Music (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

PREDICTION:  Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Music (Original Song)

  • “Man or Muppet,” music & lyric by Bret McKenzie, The Muppets
  • “Real in Rio,” music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, lyric by Siedah Garrett, Rio

PREDICTION:  “Man or Muppet”

Sound Editing

  • Drive
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  • Hugo
  • Transformers:  Dark of the Moon
  • War Horse


Sound Mixing

  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  • Hugo
  • Moneyball
  • Transformers:  Dark of the Moon
  • War Horse


Visual Effects

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:  Part 2
  • Hugo
  • Real Steel
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  • Transformers:  Dark of the Moon


Quote of note
“You think losing is fun?”
—Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), Moneyball (2011)


Posted By: John Farmer
Last Edit: 26 Feb 2012 @ 04:37 PM

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