In-depth thoughts on several of the 84th annual Academy Award nominations

This morning the nominations for the 84th annual Academy Awards were announced.  I like to take a look at the higher profile categories and nominees and think who I would like to see win the Oscar VS who I think the Academy will actually pick.

For the sake of this article I will only be making my predictions and thoughts for the higher profile categories.  These include acting both leading and supporting, screenplay adapted and original, original score and song, animated feature, directing and best picture. In all honesty, these are the nominations that average moviegoers care about the most.  It also helps to get more people to see these films.

What this post is not about is, the complaints I have been seeing from several people on the Internet , up in arms about who or what films were snubbed. Rather than be positive and think highly of the nominees, most people are just griping about those who should have made  the list.  I could write the entire article about this uproar and outcry, but that is not my intention.  Instead, I want to tell people about what I think about those actors, filmmakers and films that are nominated.

First off, I just want to say that I have not seen all the films in the categories that I will be sharing my opinion on or about, so take that as you will with a grain of salt. Also, forgive me for comparing and basing some of my picks off of the Golden Globes, but people use those awards to gauge who has a good chance of winning an Oscar.

For the supporting male actor, I would like to see Jonah Hill take the Oscar because Moneyball shows how good of an actor he really is.  He has been stuck in comedy films that have not let him mature as an actor.  This was the first role that really showed exactly what sort of actor he is and will become.  On the other hand, I predict that the Academy, will choose Christopher Plummer, from Beginners.  He won the Golden Globe for this role and I feel that while there may be other better nominees, he is someone, that nobody really expects to win, who knows, maybe i am completely wrong about him.

Hope will win: Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Expect to win:
Christopher Plummer, Beginners

While I don’t know much about the nominees for best supporting actress, I can tell you who probably will not win.  It would be a long shot to see Melissa McCarthy win, because she sticks out like a sore thumb, in a sea of more dramatic performances.  The Academy usually tends not to reward many films of the comedy genre.  I am going out on a limb and saying that the Academy will pick Octavia Spencer from The Help because she not only won the Golden Globe, but I think this film deserves to win an acting award for  a member of its ensemble cast and I am guessing that this is its best offering.

Hope will win: Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Expect to win:
Octavia Spencer, The Help

The best actor award is really a two man race between Jean Dujardin and George Clooney.  Both won Golden Globes for the roles in The Artist & The Descendants respectively. All of the five nominees are great in their own right, but I think it is a pipe dream of mine to finally see Brad Pitt win this award.  My best guess is that the Academy will pick George because is overdue for a best actor Oscar and he seems to be a stronger lead and carry the film. Unless they respect and actor who has to act in a movie where dialogue does not play a factor in the actors performance.

Hope will win: Brad Pitt, Moneyball
Expect to win:
George Clooney, The Descendants

As with the best actor, the best actress category seems to be a two woman race between Meryl Streep and Michelle Williams.  Not only were they the Golden Globe winners, but they are the most talked about female performances of the year.  I am highly surprised to see Rooney Mara on this list against other more experienced and probably more talented actresses.  I predict that Meryl wins, because it’s Meryl, do I have to say anything else?

Hope will win: Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Expect to win:
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

The screenplay categories are interesting, usually there are some films that are surprise nominees.  Even thought it has no chance of winning, this is where a movies like bridesmaids, gets nominated.  It would be fun to see Moneyball win this award, and Aaron Sorkin win two years in a row, though I am sure it will not happen.  I believe The Descendants will take the Oscar because the writers turned what I am sure is an already good story and crafted it into a film that made to showcase George Clooney’s acting. There is no doubt that the original screenplay award will go to Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris.

Original Screenplay:

Hope will win: Midnight in Paris

Expect to win: Midnight in Paris


Adapted Screenplay:

Hope will win: Moneyball

Expect to win: The Descendants

The animated feature category is strange this year, for starters Pixar is not on the list. Also, we get two films that have had little exposure and mention.   This is one award where I think I will align with the Academy.  The winner will be Rango.  I have no doubt in my mind that this animated film was above and beyond better than the other nominees.

Hope will win: Rango
Expect to win: Rango

For the original score it seems logical the statue goes to The Artist.  I think this because the entire film is sans dialogue, this is what carries the movie and helps to make it what it is.  On the other hand, as much as I’d like to see John Williams win again, I am picking Howard Shore with Hugo. John Williams against himself, just makes his chances of winning null and void.  For the nominated songs, all I can say is The Muppets. There is little else I can say about this.  Plus, it will be fun to see Jason Segal singing at the show.

Best Original Score:

Hope will win: Hugo

Expect to win: The Artist


Best Original Song:

Hope will win: “Man or Muppet,” The Muppets

Expect to win: “Man or Muppet,”  The Muppets

Now for best director.  This category is filled with five very talented men.  I know Woody Allen will not win and it’s not because he never attends the Academy awards.  This award will most likely go to Martin Scorsese for Hugo.  Him winning will not only continue to prove how great of a filmmaker everyone already knows he is, but it he will be the first to win for having directed a 3D film.  Terrance Malick probably also deserves to win, not may people saw The Tree of Life, or know much about it andI think his directing style is acquired taste. The Academy could decided to keep tradition and pick Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist, because, hey, it is also expected to win best picture and usually it is the best director winner that is a good indicator as to what the best picture will be, but not always.  Let’s hope for some change.

Hope will win: Woody Allen
Expect to win:
Martin Scorsese

For best picture, I’ll just say a little something about all nine nominated films.  First, the Academy changed up their rules for the number of best picture nominees.  It is not five or ten, rather any number between and including those two, this year it ends up being nine.  The Artist is a clear front-runner for this award as it’s style, subject matter, visuals and other unique cinematic choices make it stand out from the rest.  Besides it is a French film and uses lead actors that are foreign to American moviegoers.  Some of the same could be said about The Tree of Life, accept that it is more abstract and the general public had a hard time figuring out what it was about.  The Help has an ensemble cast of mostly women which may actually hurt its chances, not to mention it made more than twice as much money as any of its fellow nominees.  With nine choices, why pick the one that made the most money?  As for War Horse, it’s Steven Spielberg and a period piece.  He and his films are an easy shoe in nomination, go figure. Moneyball has slim chances of winning because has a sports movies that wasn’t about boxing ever won this award?  The acting in this film is superb, but that won’t help, it’s a sports movie.  For Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, it’s about the subject matter, for better or for worse.  Not sure if people care for a film that has plot points dealing with 9/11.  Mainly, this selection keeps the streak of all four of Stephen Daldry ‘s films being nominated for this award alive.   Midnight in Paris shows that the Academy still likes Woody Allen and acknowledges that this is his best offering in recent years.  Also, it is just a fun movie and on top of that Owen Wilson is essentially playing Woody himself.  Hugo is director Martin Scorsese’s love letter to cinema and filmmaking.  For him, this shows why he makes films and he expresses it in the best way possible.  Especially considering the film is 3D.  He is showing that 3D is not just a gimmick and if used in the right ways can turn a great film into a spectacular one. The Descendants is a film that showcases the wonderful acting of George Clooney.  Alexander Payne, just uses Clooney as the catalyst for a great film, garnering magnificent performances from all the actors leading or otherwise, in ways that are subtle and emotional.  While I felt that Midnight in Paris was my favorite movie going experience of the year, don’t say I told you so when The Artist the Oscar.

Hope will win: Midnight in Paris
Expect to win:
The Artist

For this being a year where seemingly everyone is talking about who got the short end of the stick instead of acknowledging those who made the cut, I honestly can not wait to see who the winners end up being.  Now that we know who the nominees are, I hope this will get people to see these wonderful and often overlooked films and grow their awareness and film appreciation.  I encourage everyone to visit http://oscar.go.com/nomineesand take a look for themselves at the full list of nominees.  I write this not to anger anyone or make them agree with me in any way, I just want people to look beyond the popcorn films and summer blockbusters that get shoved in our faces on TV, billboards, bus benches and print ads and expand their movie palate.  Once again, congrats to all the nominees and nominated movies and may the best films win.

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One thought on “In-depth thoughts on several of the 84th annual Academy Award nominations”

  1. I appreciate how the author has chosen to take a positive approach in making his choices rather than the typical approach of making choices based on how many negative things they can find about the actors/movies/etc, then deciding which is the lesser of the two evils.  It’s bad enough that’s how our political system works.  Thanks for staying positive.  It ‘s a refreshing approach which I hope to see more of.

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