Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I should've known that something was going on when they started the Best Picture category with a film that begins with a W. I've gotten some predictions right that I bet many of you didn't, but a lot of others that completely through me, but nothing more shocking than the 9th film to be announced as a Best Picture nominee. Well, it's all in the books now. We're going Award by Award, probably skipping the shorts until I get a chance to see them (sidebar:, that might not happen. Sorry shorts)

(Note: There'll be a star next to all the predictions I got right, 'cause while a lot has pissed me off so far, I want to gloat about a few other)
*The Artist
*The Descendants
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
*The Help
*Midnight in Paris
*The Tree of Life
1/2* War Horse

I predicted eight would get nominated, I was off by one. (I did mention that if there was 9 or 10, that "War Horse," would be in. "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," was the only one I thought would be nominated that wasn't. I won big money for "The Tree of Life," but I don't think anybody predicted "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close." Even the BAFTAs ignored that one. Hasn't been doing well at any Award shows up to this point, and the critical reception has been terrible. (And twitter reception hasn't been good either.) I posted 13 other films that I thought hypothetically could get a Best Picture nomination, and "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close," wasn't on that list! They did this two years ago to me, when I had written down over 35 films I thought would be nominated, and still they managed to find one I didn't think was even possible. (That film was "The Blind Side," and most intelligent people who actually saw it, couldn't believe it was nominated either.)

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

Two big shocks here, although one I predicted! I had one last look at the nominees yesterday, and somehow found myself writing down Demian Bichir's name. That one was a big gamble, but I got it right. The other one, Gary Oldam for "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," he was probably on a few more prediction ballots, but a lot of people are surprised Michael Fassbender, who actually had a spectacular year over multiple films, that his work in "Shame," doesn't get honored here. I thought the BAFTA nomination was putting him in, but nope. Leonardo Dicaprio, not getting in for "J. Edgar," probably also a minor surprise here.

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 thought Glenn Close, and not Tilda Swinton for "We Need to Talk About Kevin," was going to be the odd one out. I was taking a chance on that one, I knew, but, I still predicted the shocker in this category. I had Rooney Mara in for "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," although I'm shocked at how little else it got, especially no Best Picture, despite Fincher gettting a surprise DGA nomination, but I knew that was gonna propel somebody chances, and it looks like it was mostly hers.

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

Maybe even bigger than "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close," getting Best Picture, was Max von Sydow getting a supporting actor nomination for the film. Not so much for his performance, even most who didn't like the movie seemed to admire his work, but for who it knocked out. I knew that there was something off when Albert Brooks didn't get a SAG nomination, but I thought, like almost everybody else, that it was gonna be corrected at the Oscars. Pretty much him and Plummer were only two actors that had been winning this honor at all the other Awards shows, and his not being nominated caught everyone off guard. Nothing against Max von Sydow, I love him. He's been making movies, since working with Ingmar Bergman in his native Sweden, and unless I'm mistaken, this is his first nomination. Oh, I am mistaken, he nominated for "Pelle the Conqueror," in 1987. Only one other time, he should've been nominated for about six or seven. Saying that though, this is still the definition of a career nomination.

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

No real surprise here, although I didn't think Jessica Chastain was going to get nominated but most did. (She's nominated for the wrong film, but whatever.) I think we were all still holding our breaths a bit, hoping Melissa McCarthy's name would get called, and thankfully it did. Not totally surprised but, Shailene Woodley had won a few Supporting Actress Awards for "The Descendants," and I thought she would sneak in, but there seems to be a biasness against nominating young females actresses in big supporting roles in recent years. Last year, I was shocked that Mila Kunis wasn't nominated for "Black Swan", despite the fact her part is incredibly critical to that film, maybe moreso than Portman's. I thought she should've won, so her not getting nominated was somewhat bizarre, and Woodley's lack of a nomination is somewhat similar. Although, my favorite supporting role from the film was Judy Greer; I knew she wasn't getting nominated, but I would've liked to have seen her there.

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

YES!!!!!! Got it all right, as Terence Malick snuck in and I went 5/5 in the category. There was some discussion on who was going to get that fifth nomination, and Malick looked like the last one to get it for awhile. Spielberg, Fincher, Clooney, and Winding Refn, looked like possibles. Oh well.

*The Artist-Michel Hazanavicius
Bridesmaids-Annie Mumolo, Kristen Wiig
Margin Call-JC Chandor
*Midnight in Paris-Woody Allen
*A Separation-Asghar Farhadi

"50/50", which had been nominated for practically every award  in this category suddenly was a complete no-show here. I got "A Separation," right. the Iranian film likely to win the Foreign Language Oscar; I had a feeling it's appreciation would earn it a nomination here. I came really close to predicting "Margin Call," but went with Diablo Cody's of "Young Adult," instead. "Bridesmaids," was a trendy pick, but I'm surprised it showed up here. Not unhappy, but surprised.

*The Descendants-Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash
*Hugo-John Logan
*The Ides of March-George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon
*Moneyball-Steve Zaillion and Aaron Sorking; Story by Stu Chervin
*Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy-Bridget O'Connor, Peter Straughan

I predicted that there was going to be an unusual lack of a correlation between Best Picture nomination and the screenplay noms, and boy is there ever! Of the 9 Best Picture nominations, only 5 got nominated in the screenplay categories. Even in the last two years of 10 Best Picture nomination, only three films "Avatar," "The Blind Side," and last year's, "Black Swan," managed to achieve this feat. (It unusually rare when you go back to when they only had 5 Best Picture nominations.) Well, I went 5/5 in this category, and I'm happy for that."The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," and "War Horse," are probably the biggest snubs in the category. This is a strange year indeed.

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

Well just as I said, "Damn, I knew I should've picked 'A Cat in Paris'," did I realize one the biggest snubs this year, as Steven Spielberg's "The Adventures of Tintin," didn't get nominated. This caught me completely offguard, based on some of the Awards, it was starting to look like "...Tintin," might just steal the Award away from "Rango". It had just won the Golden Globe, and more importantly a Producer's Guild Award, and basically "Tintin," and "Rango," had been the movies winning in the category everywhere. Well, I got "Chico & Rita," right; I knew something unusually foreign was gonna sneak in (And two did, with "A Cat in Paris") and I picked "Cars 2" over "Kung Fu Panda 2". I guessed, I thought more people liked Cars than pandas doing kung fu. Easy mistake I guess.

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

I'm fairly happy getting three right in this category, especially since it's so clearly tainted by the films that weren't eligible and next year's impending rule changes. I thought later that I should've put "Hell and Back Again," in their, but despite my reservations with the film, I thought they were gonna go with "Bill Cunningham New York". I forgot that rarely does the Academy nominated Biopic documentaries, especially good ones. ("Crumb," "The Kid Stays in the Picture," "Tyson," all not nominated!) Although I didn't care much for "Bill Cunningham New York," myself, it was a contender at most Award shows up 'til now. "Project Nim," not getting nominated is a minor surprise though here. That film, about people who studied and trained monkeys to live with/as humans, was both popular, and critically praised.

*Bullhead (Belgium)
Monsieur Lazhar (Canada)
*A Separation (Iran)
*Footnote (Israel)
*In Darkness (Poland)

While "Pina," made the final short list in the Foreign Language category, and despite a Best Documentary nomination, it's a little shocking that it didn't show up here. It's the only one I got wrong. They went with Monsieur Lazhar instead. Don't know the film myself, I thought they might go with Taiwan's entry "Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale" if there some other film was sneaking, if for no other reason, but they tend to spread the nominations around the world if they can, and Eastern Asia unusually doesn't have an entry. (South Korea keeps getting screwed over.)

Okay, so these are just the ones I predicted yesterday. So, I went 45.5/69, so, just under 2/3s. (I should put "War Horse," in there at Best Picture) Not terrible. I got at least 3 right in every category, but somethings you just don't see coming, and for some reason, it always involves Stephen Daldry. (Last three films of his, have been Best Picture nominated, each time I thought they wouldn't be. Damn him.) Were not done here. We're gonna look through the entire Oscars here, not just the majors ones. Let everyone else know why some of them matter, why some don't, and how some of those smaller categories can be really interesting.

The Artist-Guillaume Schiffman
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo-Jeff Cronenweth
Hugo-Robert Richardson
The Tree of Life-Emmanuel Lubezki
War Horse-Janusz Kaminski

No real shocking nomination here. "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" surprised me a bit. I thought either "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2," "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," or "Drive," might have snuck in the category, but this is a competitive category. In fact the Critics Choice Awards actually tied this year, giving their honor to Lubezki and Kaminski. Don't count out Robert Richardson either for "Hugo". These are some of very Top names in the business battling in this category. Kaminski, maybe the biggest name of all-time in fact. He has won twice, but it's always hard to beat a Terence Malick film in this category. He insists only on the best lighting, and Lubezki hasn't won yet, despite four previous nominations, and since it's unlikely "The Tree of Life," is going to get Best Picture or Director, this could be the most likely win for that film. Very intriguing category, as always. Without these lighting guys, movies would like so s***ty.

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

What a strange nomination here for "Midnight in Paris". I get it, but about half that film takes place in modern time, and it didn't even get a ADG Art Directors Guild) nomination in the Contemporary category (They separate their category by eras and genres). That said, "War Horse," also didn't make their ballot either, so both of those are probably longshots. "Hugo," with Production Designer Dante Ferretti and Set Designer Francisco Lo Schiavo look like heavy favorites though. They've won the Award twice in the last five years, for "The Aviator," and "Sweeney Todd...", however the Art Direction in the "Harry Potter" movies has never won in the category despite Stuart Craig and Stephanie McMillan being nominated three times for the film. They've won for other projects in the past though. "The Artist," could play spoiler, but it looks like "Harry Potter," is taking on "Hugo," here.

Anonymous-Lisy Christi
The Artist-Mark Bridges
Hugo-Sandy Powell
Jane Eyre-Michael O'Connor
W.E.-Arianne Phillips

Usually, the nitpicking on the Costume Design Oscar is that the film with the most Costume Design wins, often over the Best. That, and there's a typical lack of nominees from films that take place in contempory times. In fact, all these films take place, at least, sixty or seventy years ago. Well, that doesn't make some of the nominees less impressive however. Sandy Powell is one of the biggest Costume designers around. She's been nominated ten times, including this year, which is her third consecutive year she's been nominatied, and she's won 3 Oscars, the last two years ago for "The Young Victoria." Only Lisy Christi for "Anonymous," didn't get a CDG (Costume Designers Guild) Award nomination, she's probably out. Michael O'Connor's work for "Jane Eyre," has arguably been a heavy favorite for months now, and it seems to be the category everybody been remembering the film for. Costume Design really has a habit of completely ignoring more popular and critically acclaimed films, so there's more than a chance for Arienne Phillips for "W.E.", but it looks to be between "The Artist," "Hugo," and "Jane Eyre" right now.

The Artist-Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius
The Descendants-Kevin Tent
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo-Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
Hugo-Thelma Schoonmaker
Moneyball-Christopher Tellefsen

Even more than the Directing category, no Award better predicts the Best Picture winner than the Best Editing Award. Only "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," doesn't have a Best Picture nomination, but Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall won Oscars last year in the category for "The Social Network", and on the occasions when their is an anomoly winner, it's usually for an action movie like "Bullit," or recently "The Bourne Ultimatum". "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," has a very complicated story and plot, a mystery, with action and violence, and it's a tough plot to explain every detail of what's happening, so the editing is critical for that film. It's got the pedigree to pull off an upset here. This is also the third nominee for Michel Hazanavicius as a co-editor on "The Artist," but it's rather unlikely for a Director to win in the Editing category as well. Thelma Schoonmaker has won this Award three times, she's always a favorite, especially since most of the other nominees are first/second time nominees, she's clearly the veteran favorite. Looks like a year where the category could determine the Best Picture winner as well.

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

Normally, the makeup category is usually pretty easy, you just vote for Rick Baker, but he's not nominated this year, so it's a little more interesting. Usually, just like the Costume Design category, the winner is the one with the most make-up, and not-so-much best, which would indicate "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2," as the favorite. Mostly newcomers in the category, even the Harry Potter crew has never been nominated until now. If they're going experience, the team of "Albert Nobbs," was 1 Oscar and five nominations between them, they're the scentimental choice. Three good nominees though, all three films different, but all also depend heavily on the make-up, so good category, with smartly chosen nominees here.

The Adventures of Tintin-John Williams
The Artist-Ludovic Bource
Hugo-Howard Shore
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy-Alberto Iglesias
War Horse-John Williams

A few big surprises in the Score category, and a very surprising snub for Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo". They won last year for "The Social Network," a lot of people thought they were a surefire nominee again this year, but instead the great John Williams ended up a double-nominee as he got awarded for both "War Horse," which was expected, but also for "The Adventures of Tintin." (BTW, John Williams has now been nominated for an unbelievable 47 OSCAR NOMINATIONS in his career, winning only 5, but still...)  I'm as baffled to see "...Tintin," in this category and not Best Animated Film as anybody else, but alright. Ludovic Bource for "The Artist," does appear to be the favorite in the category; for obvious reasons, a movie's score become doubly important when the movie is silent otherwise, but there is some criticism of his score out there. Part of the score actually uses the Bernard Hermann score from the film "Vertigo," and some have criticized this for not using an entirely original score, and for using one from a film that wasn't silent. Both of those arguments are incredibly stupid. First off, the rules state that at least 80% of the score has to be original, which it more than is, and secondly many people use other works at starting points for their own music, especially in movie scores. Last year, for instance, the score for the movie "Inception," was based off the Edith Piaf song that was also heavily used in the movie, used as a callback in thay case. He's still the frontrunner, can never count out Williams, or Howard Shore either. Shore's had three wins in just three nominations in his career. Hard to beat.

"Man of Muppet"-The Muppets-Bret McKenzie
"Real in Rio"-Rio-Music: Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown; Lyric by Siedah Garrett

Two frigging nominations in this category, that's it! Alright, I'm gonna be writing an entirely separate entry on this category in the near future, and let's just say, there will be some heavy criticism. Anyway, "Man or Muppet," was the presumed favorite going in, it's a fair bet that it'll win, and I guess "Real in Rio," from another animated movie (Wow, that's 7 animated features that got nominations this Oscars, that might be a record) was added to, fill the ballot, ironically. Either way, this has become the only Award where I've become more interested in the Golden Globe than the Oscar, and it didn't used to be that either.

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

It looked just a few weeks that "Drive," could be a major player at these Award, but instead, this is the only nomination that the film got. Sound editing, as usual is lead by action and war movies, although I'm a little surprised "The Artist," didn't show up in either here or Sound Mixing. The Sound Editors Guild are all over the map on this one. Guessing though, I doubt "Drive," can win it with just one nomination, and while this is a
strength category for "Transformers...", did enough people like it to give it an Oscar? It looks like it's between "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," "Hugo," and "War Horse," with an outside shot for "Transformers..."

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

Okay, there is a different between sound editing and sound mixing, although it isn't uncommon to jam them together. The Editing category, is recording sound mostly, boom microphones for instance, but it's also post-production Foley work, where sound is recorded in a studio and timed with the finished edited film product. Mixing, is a lot of that, but it also requires combining different sounds together, which are then edited. Often in musicals, sound mixing becomes rather key. (Although, again, the lack of "The Artist", huh?) Both are also unbelievably important in animated films, but none of them either. It's not uncommon for a film not nominated in one of the categories to win in the other, and "Moneyball," has a lot of sound mixing. Listen again to some of the scenes at the baseball games, lots of sounds combining there. It could win this category, might be a good place to honor "Moneyball," actually. Still, the other four nominees are strong. Greg P. Russell, a nominee in the category for "Transformers...", is on a Susan Lucci-esque losing streak; this is his 15th nomination, but he's never won, so if there's a reason to honor "Transformers..." that might be it. "War Horse," nominee Andy Nelson however, has won one Oscar, in 16 nominations, so there's some unlucky streaks competing here, and possibly getting unlucky again.

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

Okay, well first of all, the surprise nomination by "Real Steel," means I gotta put it on my Netflix now, and I'm running out of room as is. Damn. Second, how did "The Tree of Life," not get nominated here? Bad miss by the Academy here. Also, a little surprised "Super 8," didn't sneak into the category either, but there are some strong nominations here. "Hugo," is an obvious favorite here, the film with the most nominees to begin with, plus apparently 3-D that blew most of the other out of the water, makes it a likely winner here, despite "Harry Potter..." (Which I don't think ever won the Visual Effects Oscar before, any of the film. Could be wrong about that but...), and "Transformers..." (Always hard to bet against Michael Bay film in visual effects.) However, I wouldn't be shocked by "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," winning here. There's a strong argument that it might be the best use of motion capture ever done so far. Joe Letteri, has already won five Oscars in the category already, and he's won many of them recently (Including one for "Avatar"). Don't knock "Rise...Apes," out of it, quite yet. "Hugo"'s the favorite, but the Apes aren't just filling out the category.

Whew! I'm exhausted. The Oscars are overblown, overrated, and completely useless and trivial, but that's what makes it fun to analyze them so intently. At least for me. I'll be educating myself on as many of the nominated films as I can, including the short films if possible, where I'll make predictions before the Awards come up. Hope you had fun during this Oscar Nomination Announcement Day! If you predicted more of the nominations than I did, feel free to gloat, for now. Back to the normal everyday routine here 'til Oscar time. Good luck, Mr. Crystal, the stage is waiting for you.

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