Friday, February 24, 2012

MY OFFICIAL OSCAR PREDICTIONS! (Note: These "predictions" are in now way official, and should not be considered as such; they're subject to change at any time, including after the ceremony)

It's Oscar weekend here at David Baruffi's Entertainment Views and Reviews! (We've been obsessing for months, so this shouldn't exactly be a surprise!) And now it's time to fill out my final official Oscar Predictions ballot. I want to preface that these are my predictions as to who will win, not my preferences. (Although if I have a preference I may at times note it, but even then, they're all subject to change) Afterwards. we'll be preparing for the Oscars all weekend, except for that brief moment on Saturday where I bitch about not having cable and not being able to watch the Independent Spirit Awards. Okay, we're gonna start at the top.

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

I've seen 7 of this year's 9 nominees so far. (I haven't seen "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close", or "War Horse" yet) If there's anything that could upset "The Artist," it's either going to be "Hugo," or "The Descendants", most likely "Hugo," since that movie actually got more nominations, and has some momentum going for it. Maybe, there's an outside chance at "The Tree of Life," garnering enough first place votes, but I doubt it. The rest are essentially also-rans. I'm tempted to predict the upset, but "The Artist," just hasn't lost anything yet, and I can't imagine that it will now.
PREDICTION: "The Artist"

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

I've seen three of the nominees in this category so far. (Will be getting to "A Better Life" very shortly, possibly before Oscar broadcast) This is also a tough category. Right now, I think it's a three-man race between Clonney, Dujardin and Pitt and it should be. Those are the three I've seen, and I've having a hard time deciding who I want to win myself. Pitt hasn't won the majority of the Awards, that goes to Clooney, but Dujardin, is on the hot streak, especially after his wins at the SAGs and BAFTAs. Bichir and Oldman, as good as they might be, they're most likely also-rans in the category.
PREDICTION: George Clooney-"The Descendants", barely.

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"

I'm a little more in the dark with this category, I've only seen one of the nominees so far, Viola Davis's, and while I loved her performance, I actually hated the movie. She and Meryl Streep are the favorites though, and have split the majority of Awards, but "The Iron Lady," has actually gotten fairly bad reviews as well, and with it only getting two nominees, this and make-up. Part of me thinks that everybody's reading this category wrong and that Michelle Williams is gonna win this. She should've won for "Blue Valentine," last year, and there's a long track history of not only actresses winning for portraying real people, but recent history says they also tend to win playing famous actresses, although "My Week with Marilyn", also only recieved luke-warm reviews and also only got acting nominations. I can't rule out Glenn Close either. This is her sixth nomination, and amazingly she's never won. She's due.
PREDICTION: Viola Davis-"The Help"

Kenneth Branagh-"My Week with Marilyn"
Jonah Hill-"Moneyball"
Nick Nolte-"Warrior"
Christopher Plummer-"Beginners"
Max von Sydow-"Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"

This is easily the most predictable category at this year's Oscars. The only person who was even splitting wins with Christopher Plummer was Albert Brooks for "Drive," but to many peoples' shock (me included), he wasn't nominated, and Plummer's fellow 82-year-old legend Max von Sydow earned the surprise 5th nomination. I haven't seen von Sydow's performance yet, but I've seen three of the performances, and I'd vote for Plummer too. Even though I didn't particularly love "Beginners", he was clearly the best performance and best part of the movie. Jonah Hill is good in "Moneyball," as well. Nolte's nomination completely baffles me. It's not that he's bad in "Warrior," in fact he's quite good, but if this is a nomination-worthy performance by Nick Nolte, than practically every performance he gives should earn him an Oscar nomination. Not that I wouldn't be in favor of that, but that's a strange nomination to me.
PREDICTION: Christopher Plummer-"Beginners"

Berenice Bejo-"The Artist"
Jessica Chastain-"The Help"
Melissa McCarthy-"Bridesmaids"
Janet McTeer-"Albert Nobbs"
Octavia Spencer-"The Help"

The only nomination here I haven't seen is Janet McTeer's for "Albert Nobbs". If there was an Award for most acting, Jessica Chastain would've won easily. She's been in six major films this year, and while she's good in "The Help," she's nominated for the wrong movie here, (should've been up for "The Tree of Life") but even still, it'll be tricky for her to win, especially since he co-star Octavia Spencer has won the majority of Awards up until now. If there's an upset, and this category is known for a few, it'll probably go to Melissa McCarthy for "Bridesmaids", which will be a rare straight comedic performance win in this category, but I think that also means she'll be getting votes, especially if they start considering role difficulty. Although, if that becomes a voting standard, than it'll be hard to rule out Berenice Bejo, but I think it's more likely that her and McTeer are also-rans.
PREDICTION: Melissa McCarthy-"Bridesmaids", I'm calling the upset here.

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

"Chico & Rita," and "A Cat in Paris,"'s nominations surprised most casual observers, if for no other reason than they never heard of them. (Although I did predict "Chico & Rita" getting in) If there's an upset, it'll be one of those two films, and most likely of those two, "Chico & Rita". However, there's no upset here. "Rango," won most every Award it's been eligible for this season, and the few they didn't went to "The Adventures of Tintin", which was shockingly not nominated in this category. "Kung Fu Panda 2," and "Puss In Boots," are filling out the category which this year has five nominees since there was more than 15 Animated features released this year.

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

I think only six times has the Directing Oscar not gone to the winner of the Director's Guild Award, so this year's winner Michel Hazanavicius, seems like the shoe-in favorite, but there's some room for the trend to stop here. Martin Scorsese won the Golden Globe, one of the rare losses for Hazanavicius, and "Hugo," is the one movie that could upset "The Artist", and while Scorsese won a few years back for "The Departed," there's some thought that that Oscar wasn't for a truly deserving film (While I don't agree with that analysis, I do understand it), and I think most people would rank "Hugo," above "The Departed". One man who wasn't nominated by the DGA was Terrence Malick for "The Tree of Life," and he's actually got a legitimate shot at winning to.  Malick only finishes a movie about once a decade on average, and "The Tree of Life," is not only his most personal film, it's arguably his best, and almost certainly, it's the most director's film of this year's Oscars. He will also get first place votes. Payne and Allen's films are also amazing directorial works, but they're more likely to win in writing categories this year, both have in the past, so it's less likely they'll win here.
PREDICTION: Michel Hazanavicius-"The Artist"

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

Of the five nominees in this year's much-maligned Documentary Feature category, I've seen two of the films, "Hell and Back Again," and "If a Tree Falls: A Story of Earth Liberation Front". I preferred "If a Tree Falls..." but they were both good. If there's a sentimental choice, for me, I'd love to see "Pina," win, for Director Wim Wenders. He was one of the New German filmmakers along with people like Fassbender and Herzog and he's one of my personal favorite filmmakers which such films as "Paris, Texas," and "Wings of Desire". He was nominated for one Oscar before, in this category in fact, for the film "Buena Vista Social Club," which he lost, and I would personally love to see him win and it very well might. His 3-D film about the ballet of the late Pina Bausch made the final 9 cut for the Foreign Language Oscar also.  Saying that though, "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory", about wrongly convicted murderers in Arkansas, who after DNA testing and two previous films, finally got their release might be the favorite. Since most of the Award shows previously gave the film to Awards that weren't nominated in this category, it's somewhat tricky to figure out the likely winner.
PREDICTION: "Pina". This must might heart over head predicting here though.

Bullhead {Belgium]
Monsieur Lazhar {Canada}
A Separation {Iran}
Footnote {Israel}
In Darkness {Poland}

You can never fully be confident in this category. Even recent years where there looked to be heavy favorites, there's been some surprised in the Foreign Language category. I haven't see any of the films, but I predicted 4 out of the 5 nominees, with only "Monsieur Lazhar" surprising me. (I thought the aforemention "Pina" would've been the fifth nominee.) However, "A Separation," has won nearly every major Award, and got a nomination in the Screenplay category (Which I predicted it would), and there doesn't seem to be any push for any of the other films, although if there is an upset, I would start by looking at "Bullhead" from Belgium. It's gotten great reviews across the board, and knocked off the Dardenne Brothers's "The Kid and the Bike", which won the Palme D'Or at Cannes to be Belgium's entry, but it's still long odds.
PREDICTION: "A Separation"

The Descendants
The Ides of March
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash, have won nearly every Award, including a WGA and a Scriptee Award for "The Descendants", they are the favorites in the category. Saying that though, Alexander Payne has won before, for "Sideways," so there's a chance there might be a percentage who'll vote for another film. If that's the case, then I think John Logan will win for "Hugo", who's been nominated twice without a win. Despite some high profile names including George Clooney, one of three nominees for "The Ides of March", and former Oscar winners Steven Zaillion and Aaron Sorkin for "Moneyball", the rest of the category seems like filler, with "Moneyball," having a long-outside shot at it.
PREDICTION: "The Descendants"-Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash, although I am very tempted to pick an upset here.

The Artist
Margin Call
Midnight in Paris
A Separation

There were a few surprise nominations in the category. Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig for "Bridesmaids," and JC Chandor for "Margin Call" were probably not on every prediction ballot, and I think even fewer has Asghar Farhadi's "A Separation," an Iranian film sneaking into this category. However, this is the category where they're gonna honor "Midnight in Paris". With two nominations this year, that makes 23 overall for Woody Allen, and this would be his 4th win, and 3rd for writing if he gets it. There's a small chance that "The Artist," might win in this category, it wasn't eligible for the WGA Award for some reason, so there's some thought there, but Hazanavicius is more likely to win in Directing and possibly Editing as well.
PREDICTION: "Midnight in Paris"-Woody Allen

The Artist
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Tree of Life
War Horse

A very interesting and tough category to predict for cinema fans. In fact the Critic's Choice Award for the category actually tied between Emmanuel Lubezki for "The Tree of Life," and Janusz Kaminski for "War Horse", and the BAFTA went to Guillaume Schiffman for "The Artist," and there's nobody counting out Robert Richardson for "Hugo". (Bad timing for Cronenweth, just too many good names ahead of him this year) The ASC (Cinematographer's Guild) gave the Award to Lubezki and while this is a tough, close race, this is the best spot for "The Tree of Life," to get honored here. Even those who don't like the film, will Award it for cinematography, and it's just tough to go against a Terence Malick film in this category.
PREDICTION: "The Tree of Life"-Emmanuel Lubezki

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

There's some thought that "The Artist," might have a legitimate chance at this one, but "Hugo"'s Dante Ferretti and Francisco Lo Schiavo are considered the Best Art Directors around.They've won multiple Oscars in recent years, and won the Art Directors Guild Award for Drama, although "Harry Potter" won it in the fantasy category, and there's some sentimental vote here for Stuart Craig and Stephanie McMillan, they've been nominated several times for the "Harry Potter" films, and never winning. In fact, across the board, there's a somewhat surprising lack of Oscars, even in technical Awards for the "Harry Potter..." franchise. It looks likely that it'll be one or the other in this category.
PREDICTION: "Hugo"-(Pro.) Dante Ferretti; (Set) Francisco Lo Schiavo

The Artist
Jane Eyre

Going into this Award season, I was fairly convinced that Michael O'Connor's work for "Jane Eyre," was gonna be tough to be beat, but now he seems like a longshot. Mark Bridges won the Critic's Choice and the BAFTA for "The Artist", and I understand that to a bit, the costumes actually plays a critical role in that movie. The Costume Designer's Guild however, picked Arianne Phillips for "W.E.", I think most people we're baffled that Madonna's film got nominated for anything at the Oscars, although I've though it was a serious contender in this category from the start. Lisy Christl didn't even get a CDG nomination, so "Anonymous," is a longshot at best, and it's hard to eliminate the great Sandy Powell for "Hugo", but I do see her winning this year. There wasn't a lot of pretty, extravagent dresses in "Hugo", and only occasionally does that kind of film win in this category.
PREDICTION: "W.E."-Arianne Phillips

The Artist
The Descendants
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

This is always a category to keep an eye on. Even more than Best Director, the Best Editing is the greatest predictor of the eventual Best Picture winner. Only in a few distinct kinds of scenarios is that not the case, one involves action or chase movies where the editing, especially quick-cut editing that's very difficult to do. ("The Bourne Ultimatum," "Bullitt," are good example of a past winners) The other is when Thelma Schoonmaker wins. Schoonmaker, Scorsese's longtime editing partner has one three times, and only once did it correlate with Best Picture ("The Departed"), so it would be far from unprecedented if she won here, and say "The Artist" took Best Picture. Saying that though, "The Artist," with editors Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius did win the Editor's Guild Award (ACE, the Eddie Awards they're called) for Editing in a comedy/musical, but "The Descendants" and editor Kevin Tent won for drama, so suddenly, that's not the greatest predictor this year either. Actually, I'm a little surprised that those films were honored for Editing, I thought that was one the weaker aspects of those films, particularly "The Descendants," which I thought director Alexander Payne, correctly so, tended to keep the camera on George Clooney for an extended period of time, even during times when it seemed like there would be a cut. Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall won last year for "The Social Network," and they're nominated here for "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," which didn't get a Best Picture nomination, but the editing is crucial in that film as well, with a very convuluded mystery and continued switching of narratives, it has some of the qualities of a film that could pull off an upset in the category. So does "Moneyball" though, with editor Christopher Tellefsen who I think kinda forced through what isn't a naturally filmable story by using many different tricks and techniques to shove a story along. Good nominees in this category, and it's a little unpredictable this year.
PREDICTION: "The Descendants"-Kevin Tent

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

There's three interesting nominations in this category, each one being film where the make-up is inherently critical to the film, and each one clearly had some exceptional make-up in it. If it's the "Most Make-Up", it'll go to "Harry Potter...". There's some criticism that "Albert Nobbs," make-up, a film about a women who passes herself off as a man for years at turn-of-the-century England, made Glenn Close seem more like "Mrs. Doubtfire," than it probably should've, but she and Janet McTeer also got Oscar nominations, so it must not have been too bothersome. "The Iron Lady," won the BAFTA in this prize, while the Critics Choice, gave it to "Harry Potter...", so the voting is a little split here.
PREDICTION: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"-Martal Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle

The Adventures of Tintin
The Artist
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
War Horse

It was a pretty big surprise when last year's winners, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, weren't nominated this year for "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", which had been considered a favorite until then. John Williams, got nominated for both "War Horse," as expected, and also for "The Adventures of Tintin," that one seemed to have taken "...Dragon Tattoo"'s place. Howard Shore, nominated for "Hugo," has been nominated three times and has won three times, so it's hard to count him out, but, especially considering how critical the score is to the movie, Ludovic Bource, looks like the clear favorite for "The Artist," and he's won most of the Awards coming in. Alberto Iglesias's nomination for "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," seems like the 5th nominee here.
PREDICTION: "The Artist"-Ludovic Bource

"Man or Muppet"-The Muppets
"Real in Rio"-Rio

As much as I and many other have been criticizing the Academy's voting process and decision-making in this category in recent years, and especially after they only managed a pitiful two nominees this year, I do have to admit that they did actually pick two good songs. I haven't seen the films yet, but I did get to listen on youtube, so at least they didn't pick a crappy song this year. (And don't think they haven't done that in the recent past) "Man or Muppet," was probably the heavy favorite going in, it is the better song, it's also the more catchy song, and I think people finally want to see "The Muppets," who've been nominated in this category before, most notably "Rainbow Connection," actually win it for once. This looks like an easy pick
PREDICTION: "Man or Muppet"-"The Muppets"-Bret McKenzie

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
War Horse

A lot of surprise when Sound Editing was the only category "Drive" got nominated in. I think it's a longshot in this category. This is also one of those weird spot where "Transformers..." could win. Action and war movies tend to do well in this category. The MPSE (Sound Editors Guild) was all over a map a bit, but "War Horse," did win, although many of the other films here, weren't nominated for MPSE Awards, so it might not be the most reliable predictor, but Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom are the most honored and famous in the category. Tough call here.
PREDICTION: "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"-Ren Klyce

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
War Horse

I think it's a longshot that "Moneyball" will win, but I think they actually had quite good sound mixing in that film. "Hugo" won the Sound Mixing Guild's Award, I think they are the favorites, I think they'll probably win. Although, if there's a sentimental vote, Greg P. Russell, one of the nominees for "Transformer..." has never won despite 15 previous nominations, if there is someplace where "Transformers..." would get honored, it would be here.
PREDICTION: "Hugo"- Tom Flieschman and John Midgely

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

This is a popular category, and this year, there's some good nominations. "Hugo," is the only one nominated for Best Picture, and there are some amazing special effects in "Hugo", and on top of that, it's got some of the 3-D of all-time, even James Cameron said so. However, there's also a major push for "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," and that's a deserving one as well. The special effects really were the best thing about the film, and this could be a supplemental prize for not nominating Andy Serkis for Supporting Actor for his Motion-Capture performance in the film. The leader of the "Rise..." crew is Joe Letteri, who's won 4 Oscars in the last decade for "Avatar," "King Kong," and "Lord of the Rings..."  because of his motion-capture work. "Harry Potter...," "Real Steel", and "Transformers..." are really just filling out the category here, it's definitely either "Hugo" or "...Apes".
PREDICTION: "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"-Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White, and Daniel Barrett

Okay, I haven't discussed the Short Film categories until now, and I haven't seen any of them, although I do plan/hope to in the future. Many future great filmmakers start in the short film medium, so it's good to be aware of these categories.

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

The director of "The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom," Lucy Walker, was nominated last year in the feature-length category for her wonderful film "Waste Land", so she is clearly in the Documentary Branch's forefront getting a short nomination this year for her film on post-tsunami Japan. Most of the press seems to be leaning towards "Saving Face," about a Pakistani plastic-surgeon that works on saving the faces of women who've been attacked with acid strikes, in Pakistan. That film was directed by Daniel Junge; he's been nominated in the category before, never winning before; it's looking like one of these two will be winning the Award.
PREDICTION: "The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom-Dir. Lucy Walker, Pro. Kira Carstenson

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

The animated short is always a fun category. Grant Orchard's film "A Morning Stroll," won the BAFTA earlier this month. It's not the greatest of predictor, but it's about all that we've got so far. You can never count out Pixar, and their film "La Luna," from Enrico Casarosa is their entry. Just looking at some of the clips though, "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore" from William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg, has to be considered a favorite as well. I'm pretty sure it's between those three, although Amanda Forbes and Wendy Tilby's might be sentimental favorites for "Wild Life"; they've been nominated a couple times before, but they seem to be up against good competition this year.
PREDICTION: "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore"-William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg

The Shore
Time Freak
Tuba Atlantic

While these categories are normally for up-and-coming filmmakers, sometimes there's well-established filmmakers in this category, and that's the case with Terry George's "The Shore". His two previous Oscar-nominations are for writing "In the Name of the Father," and "Hotel Rwanda," which he also directed. It's not always a guarantee win, but just name-recognition alone makes him a favorite. There's some push also for "Tuba Atlantic" about a dying man who's trying to make amends with his brother and "Time Freak," seems to be one of the more imaginative of the shorts. I don't know, nothing really is standing out huge, so probably best to go with the biggest name.
PREDICTION: "The Shore"-Dir. Terry George, Pro. Oorlagh George

Well, those are my "Official" predictions. (Note: the use of the word "Official" in no way indicates that are David Baruffi's official predictaions. They can be change/altered at any time up to, including and even after the Academy Awards on Sunday). I hope I get a few of them right. Everybody else, time to make your own, as the countdown, is on!

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