It’s that time of year again, when the stars of the Hollywood A-list get together to pat themselves on the back and guzzle oodles of champagne. But far be it from me to be so cynical. Who’re we kidding? We love awards season and with several categories nicely poised, it’s definitely ripe for an interesting awards ceremony.
The critics have had their say, but it’s down to the all-important Academy voters to decide who walks away with a share of the spoils come Sunday evening in Los Angeles, California.
From the much lauded “The Artist”, starring Jean Dujardin, and Alexander Payne’s quirky but brilliant “The Descendants”, to Martin Scorsese’s love letter to film, “Hugo” and Woody Allen’s Parisian romance, “Midnight in Paris”, the run for best picture looks like a tight race.
That’s not to say that the nearly perfect list of nominations the Academy came up with last year isn’t replete with some glaring omissions.
Seeing “Drive,” ignored while lesser films such as “War Horse,” “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” get nominated was hard to swallow. Similarly, how breathtaking performances from Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan and Albert Brooks in “Drive,” Michael Shannon in “Take Shelter,” Kirsten Dunst in “Melancholia,” Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt in “Young Adult” and Michael Fassbender in “Shame” could get no Academy love is beyond me.
But, the show will still go on this Sunday, and I’ll still be watching. Here’s how I think Sunday night will shake out.
Best Original ScreenplayNominees: Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”; JC Chandor, “Margin Call”; Asghar Farhadi, “A Separation”; Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”; Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, “Bridesmaids”.
Who should win: Asghar Farhadi’s “A Separation” is without doubt an exquisitely written script. A family drama with undertones of class, gender, age, faith and death, the movie deals with issues that almost everyone can relate to.
Who will win: My guess is Woody Allen will get the call. His “Midnight in Paris” was utterly delightful, and in my opinion one of his most enjoyable films ever.
Best Supporting ActressNominees: Berenice Bejo, “The Artist”; Jessica Chastain, “The Help”; Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids”; Janet McTeer, “Albert Nobbs”; Octavia Spencer, “The Help”.
Who should win: If this was decided by laughs per minute, McCarthy would be a shoo-in for her flat-out hilarious role in “Bridesmaids.” But, comedies are tough sledding for Oscar, and she’s a dark horse. Chastain was everywhere in 2011. She was not only solid in “The Help,” but stunning in “Take Shelter,” extraordinary in “The Tree of Life” and fine in “The Debt.” She gets my vote.
Who will win: But going by the awards season this year, Octavia Spencer seems to be a lock for this category.
Best Supporting ActorNominees: Kenneth Branagh, “My Week With Marilyn”; Jonah Hill, “Moneyball”; Nick Nolte, “Warrior”; Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”; Max Von Sydow, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”.
Who should win: I’m glad to see the likes of Jonah Hill and Nick Notle getting Oscar nods. But Christopher Plummer’s a long-closeted gay man who, after losing his wife of 44 years, finds emotional fulfillment, is one of the performances of the year.
Who will win: At the ripe age of 82, Plummer should prepare himself for his first Oscar. It only goes to prove that it’s never too late.
Best ActressNominees: 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”.
Who should win: The moment the trailer for “The Iron Lady” was released, the Oscar for best actress seemed to be a foregone conclusion and it’s not undeservedly so. Her transformation into England’s paradigm shifting prime minister is eerily sublime. Besides it’s been too long since she took Oscar gold, poor thing only has two of them sitting on her mantle.
Who will win: With two wins out of 17 nominations, the math really doesn’t favour Streep. Add a few fantastic performances by Viola Davis in “The Help”, Glen Close in “Albert Nobbs” and Rooney Mara in “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” and the odds don’t get any better. Anyone of them is deserving winner that said, I think Streep is in for some Academy love this year.
Nominees: Demian Bichir, “A Better Life”; George Clooney, “The Descendants”; Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”; Gary Oldman, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”; Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”.Who should win: George Clooney gave perhaps the best performance of his career in “The Descendants” and it’s by far a more deserved nomination than his role in “Up in the Air” and deserves to take home the gold.
Who will win: The smart money is on Dujardin for his charming, and nearly silent, turn in “The Artist.” But I have a feeling Clooney just might steal this away from the dashing Frenchman.
Best DirectorNominees: Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”; Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”; Terrence Malick, “The Tree of Life”; Alexander Payne, “The Descendants”; Martin Scorsese, “Hugo”.
Who should win: What a year in film it’s been with the likes of Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese and Terrance Malick vying for top honour. Allen’s Midnight in Paris was my favourite movie of the year, but in this category my heart says Marty all the way.
Who will win: It’s hard to see anyone other than Michel Hazanavicius take home the statue. “The Artist” has become a phenomenon of sorts and his audacity to make a silent film in an era of 3D pyrotechnics seems to be paying off in heaps.
Nominations: “The Artist”, “The Descendants”, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”, “Hugo”, “Midnight in Paris”, “The Help”, “Moneyball”, “War Horse”, “The Tree of Life”.Who should win: While “The Tree of Life” was a deeply haunting movie that had this quality that stays with you long after watching it, “Hugo” would still be my pick. Perhaps it’s because of my soft spot for Martin Scorsese, bit it’s by far the best cinematic experience of the lot.
Who will win: Odds are the “The Artist” takes it. It’s been an ‘award show darling’ for the past few weeks, and even though the movie was great, I feel it’s getting more mileage, based on novelty alone, than it should.
This blog has been published in lieu of Dawn.com’s Weekly Classics due to the Oscars this Sunday.