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Friday, February 24, 2012

Oscar Picks 2012 - Best Picture And More . . .

The 84th Academy Awards will be held this coming Sunday night, February 26th. Each day I will reveal my predictions for multiple awards with a culmination on Friday with a complete listing of all Oscar predictions and a complete breakdown of the Oscar race on a special Academy Awards edition of Nickel-Eye NewsCast! If you missed the previous picks you can find Day 1 hereDay 2 here and Day 3 here.  Let's get to the final predictions!




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


Should Win:  The one performance that rises above any other this year is George Clooney in The Descendants. We've known for a long time the George Clooney can act and has an amazing screen presence, he is the biggest movie stars in the world for a reason. The level of talent he shows in this role is almost shocking though.  He creates an honest, awkward and humble portrait of a real man warts, idiosyncrasies and all.  This isn't your typical Oscar-bait roles of a dying man and he doesn't have the opportunity for alot of histrionics.  No it is a quiet portrait of a man slowing suffocating in his own life.  It isn't just George Clooney's performance that shows his talent, but the way he a elevates the acting of every other person in the film.  He's like a great point guard giving every other actor what they need to score.  George Clooney may have given the performance of his life in The Descendants and Hollywood's leading man deserves to take home the statue.


Will Win:  As much is I think that George Clooney deserves to win the Oscar for best actor, one cannot discount the possibility that Jean Dujardin may take the award.  No one but the two of them has much of a chance in this category.  Damian Bichir's movie is simply too small, Gary Oldman's performance is too controlled and I suspect people feel like they're still waiting for the right moment to finally award Brad Pitt and Moneyball isn't it.  This award will go to George Clooney or Jean Dujardin.  I love what George Clooney did and think he deserves the award, but The Artist is just poised to have a huge night.  Jean Dujardin is going to be swept to the Best Actor Oscar.




Actress
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


Should Win:  There is always a lot of intrigue surrounds the award for best actress, there a lot of different angles that can dictate how members may vote. That's all human interest stories and politics though, and shouldn't be what this award is about.  This award should be about superb acting and in that regard, Viola Davis is at the top of the heap.  Viola Davis so completely created her character using everything from her walking gate to her bold vocal mannerisms to a wide eyed yearning and embarrassment, that she ceased to be simply character on the screen became a real person for us.  Viola Davis's character in The Help could have easily been one-dimensional or even patronizing.  Instead her rich, soulful performance served as both an illustration of a class and a wholly realized individual.  Viola Davis wasn't simply good in  The Help, the quality of the entire film was raised by her performance.  Viola Davis deserves to take home this prize.


Will Win:  Politics and human interest shouldn't in this category but they will.  Rooney Mara has the toughest times take on this award, she's playing a part that another actress has played a recently to critical acclaim.  Glenn Close probably wants to win worse than any other actress.  She's been nominated six times and never won an Oscar and Albert Nobbs was a dream passion project of hers for years.  I just don't think enough people are excited about her film to get her a win though.  Michelle Williams is great and Hollywood loves Marilyn, but if she didn't win for Brokeback mountain or Blue Valentine, I don't think this is the film to put her over the top. Meryl Streep has been went been winning a lot of awards for her role as Margaret Thatcher, and we know the Academy loves her, so common wisdom is Meryl Streep will win. I don't think that can happen though.  As much as the Academy loves Streep they won't feel guilty for not giving her a fourth award.  Viola Davis may bring enough people to her corner to be the surprise of the night.  It may just be my own biases but Viola Davis will win best actress of the year.




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


Should Win/Will Win:  I think best animated feature is a bit bloated in terms of the number of nominees, but fairly straightforward in terms of who's going to win.  Kung Fu Panda 2 and Puss in Boots simply aren't taken seriously enough to earn the award.  A Cat in Paris and Chico & Rita aren't well known enough to take the prize. That means Rango, as an offbeat and quirky Hollywood film with the star power of Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp will win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature.




Original Song
Man or Muppet - The Muppets, Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
Real in Rio – Rio, Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown Lyric by Siedah Garrett


Should Win/Will Win:  Many people are wondering why we have an original song category. The rules are so archaic that a lot of best nominees can never get nominated.  This year seems especially sad with only two nominees.  The Academy is even so apathetic that there will not even be performances of the songs during a ceremony this year. But, these are the nominees and one of them has to win. Man or Muppet will win Best Original Song because it serves the movie better, and the film is more respected.  




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


Should Win/Will Win:  I have to admit that I haven't seen enough of the nominees in this category feel like I'm qualified to make a pick. From what I have seen, as well as the chatter, it really seems to be a two-way race between Paradise Lost 3 and Undefeated.  Paradise Lost 3 certainly has a chance because of the huge public interest in the story and the popularity of the previous films.  The movie just doesn't have the impact the first film did.  That's why if I had to put money down, I would say that Undefeated is most likely to win. As both an insightful and inspirational sports documentary I think it really has the inside track on the award.




Makeup 
Albert Nobbs - Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston 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


Should Win:  Call me a geek if you want, but when it comes to categories like best makeup I'm always going to prefer monsters and over-the-top fantasy to more subtle character driven age makeup.  If I had a vote for this category it would be going to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.  Harry Potter is only nominated for two Oscars Sunday night and it would be nice to recognize the film as it rides into the sunset.


Will Win:  I have a feeling that Harry Potter doesn't have much of a chance here just because of the more character centric work of the other two films.  In particular I think alot of credit is going to be given to Iron Lady.  The do such an expert job transforming Meryl Streep into Margret Thatcher through the decades you often forget just who it is up on screen.  That will be good enough to take home the Academy Award.




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, Dave 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 


Should Win/Will Win:  I mentioned yesterday the difference between sound editing and sound mixing is that sound editing in the creation of sounds and sound mixing is the way the sound is lined up, where it goes and controlling it's volume, effects etc.  Hugo's soundtrack is the most impressive of the year.  With the ambient sounds of a train station that never is completely silent, the ticking of clock gears, the roll of a projector, the murmur of crowds and the joy of a movie set Hugo's soundtrack keeps us grounded and understanding the world we are visiting.  None of the sound in Hugo ever becomes oppressive, yet we never lose important information.  That is why it will take home the prize.




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


Should Win: The two movies that are most deserving of winning Best Picture are The Artist and The Descendants.  I love The Artist and think it's an amazing film, but I would not vote for The Artist to win the Oscar.  If you have been reading my Oscar predictions over the last few days a couple of things should have become painfully clear by now, 1. I really like a bunch of different things about all these nominees 2. I love The Descendants. The Descendants is a grown-up movie made for adults about real life situations. Even though it's got one of the biggest movie stars in the world there is no glamor for artifice in this film. The characters in The Descendants aren't extraordinary for any reason other than the fact that there are ordinary. The issues that The Descendants wrestles with aren't fantasy, war, the artistic process, Major League Baseball, the history or cinema, race relations, 9/11 or the meaning of life.  The Descendants is about simple things, like how can I be happy? What does it mean to forgive someone? What does it mean to love? If we are unhappy, how can we change it? What does family really mean? What does commitment mean? The Descendants is a straight forward movie that doesn't try to answer these questions for us.  It just shows us relateable characters and we them struggle with the same issues that affect us all.  The reason The Descendants deserves to win Best Picture is because when the movie was over I wasn't thinking about George Clooney's masterful performance, I wasn't thinking about or the maturity and skill of Payne's direction.  When I walked out of The Descendants i was thinking about my own life.  When a movie can cease being about the artists that created it, and become about the audience experiencing it, you have something very , very special.  That is why The Descendants deserves to win Best Picture.


Will Win:  So, you just read my impassioned plea making the case for The Descendants to win Best Picture, but I really don't think it's going to win the top honor.  The Descendants is a movie that requires it's audience consider it as a piece of art that has something to share with them.  As a result not everyone will connect with the film and will wonder what all the fuss is about.  That's why The Descendant's won't win.  All of these movies will have a puncher's chance in this category because they appeal to particular groups;  Woody Allen lovers, people who like accessible films about race struggles, cinephiles will be enamoured with Hugo's love of cinema, each group seems to have a movie perfectly suited to them.   That is why The Artist will win Best Picture.  The Artist is a movie that breaks down barriers and comes to audiences exactly where they are.  No matter what you like in your movies The Artist will appeal to you.  If you enjoy comedy or melodrama.  The Artist is for you. If you love beautiful black-and-white photography or old Hollywood glamour, The Artist is for you. If your are a lover of history or Hollywood, The Artist is for you. If you're looking for want an homage to cinema genre or a message to parallel modern life, The Artist is for you. The Artist can appeal to any anyone from the most discerning critic to the most pretentious art-house snob to the geekiest geek to the person whose views movies is only a mild distraction. You can play The Artist for any audience anywhere in the world, and they would only understand it but they enjoy it. There is no other movie that comes close to having that broad appeal this year. The Artist will win the Academy award for best picture of the year.


So let me know what you think.  Have I been right on the money or way off?  Who will the big winners be Sunday night?  Leave a comment below!


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