Oscar® 2011 Picks and Predictions

A movie fan sorts the best from the rest in this year’s Major Award Movie Sprint


Image courtesy Greg in Hollywood (Greg Hernandez), CC 2.0

I’ve seen an awful lot of movies in the past month, all so I can have an informed opinion on Oscar night. Here’s who I predict will win an Oscar, and who I’d give it to if I could.

BEST PICTURE
In a perfect world, I would say “Screw the haters!” and choose The Tree of Life. But as innovative as it was, Hugo edged it for pure ingenuity…which will mean nothing in the face of The Artist’s juggernaut.

My prediction: The Artist
My pick: Hugo

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Critics seem to split down the middle between George Clooney and Jean Dujardin. I can’t go with Clooney, though. As my father put it, “He always looks like he’s trying to figure out what somebody just said to him in Chinese.”

My prediction: Jean Dujardin, The Artist
My pick: Jean Dujardin, The Artist

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Despite the enormous talents in this category, my choice was easy. Christopher Plummer as a gay man who exits the closet at age 75 was pitch-perfect.

My prediction: Christopher Plummer, Beginners
My pick: Christopher Plummer, Beginners

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Michelle Williams became Marilyn Monroe without looking like a celebrity impersonator. You could say she out-Meryled Meryl Streep.

My prediction: Viola Davis, The Help
My pick: Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
The actresses of The Help are overwhelming favorites in their categories, and Octavia Spencer is no exception, but I’d like to see comediennes get some love.

My prediction: Octavia Spencer, The Help
My pick: Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Here’s where I run screaming from the conventional wisdom, which is overwhelmingly pro-Rango. Those dirty, greasy little animals gave me the heebie-jeebies. Though I usually hate anything with a “2” at the title’s end, I’ll take the Chinese fireworks of Kung Fu Panda 2 instead, but The Adventures of Tintin should have been nominated here.

My prediction: Rango
My pick: Kung Fu Panda 2

ART DIRECTION
The art direction in Hugo was breathtaking…not what one usually associates with a Scorsese film.

My prediction: Hugo
My pick: Hugo

CINEMATOGRAPHY
How can a film that was shot almost completely outside, with cameras often aimed straight up at the sun, be so astoundingly beautiful? I guess we should ask Terrence Malick’s cinematographer, Emmanual Lubezki.

My prediction: The Tree of Life
My pick: The Tree of Life

COSTUME DESIGN
The Academy only seems to nominate period pieces for this award; luckily, there were plenty of those. Even so, many knowledgeable clotheshounds feel Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was robbed.

My prediction: The Artist
My pick: W.E.

DIRECTING
It takes courage to make a silent film in 2011. It also takes courage to spend 30 years perfecting your vision.

My prediction: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
My pick: Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Everyone likes a (reasonably) happy ending, as happened with the West Memphis 3, thus my pick and prediction. However, there could be an upset staged by Pina, the first documentary shot in 3D.

My prediction: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
My pick: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory

DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
These films are notoriously hard to see—heck, Saving Face isn’t even on HBO until March 8. But despite the nun who dated Elvis getting a lot of press (from God Is the Bigger Elvis), I think another film will get the win.

My prediction: The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom
My pick: The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom

FILM EDITING
This is another category where I’m going to go against the experts with my pick.

My prediction: The Artist
My pick: Hugo

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
I don’t get why these films are so incredibly hard for the average viewer to find. However, when one is nominated in more than one category, that usually means it’s pretty special.

My prediction: A Separation
My pick: A Separation

MAKEUP
This is a tough category to call. Both Glenn Close’s and Meryl Streep’s transformations seem to involve so much more than makeup, and may cancel each other out.

My prediction: The Iron Lady
My pick: Albert Nobbs

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)
It seems like madness to bet against John Williams, but I did. His two nominations (The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse) will likely split the votes for him. And with almost no talking, the score was thrust to the forefront in The Artist.

My prediction: The Artist
My pick: The Artist

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)
My husband will kill me for going against The Muppets, not to mention Brett of Flight of the Conchords. But Rio had a samba school!

My prediction: “Man or Muppet,” The Muppets
My pick: “Real in Rio,” Rio

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)
The experts seem not willing to bet against Pixar (La Luna), but the flying books seemed like a clear winner to me. See trailers for all the Oscar shorts at http://theoscarshorts.shorts.tv.

My prediction: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
My pick: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)
Pentecost seems to be the favorite of both the critics and soccer fans, and I always love seeing Ciarán Hinds (The Shore), but my vote went to a German-Indian production about poor children in Calcutta that tugged at the heart.

My prediction: Raju
My pick: Raju

SOUND EDITING
I would love to give this award to Drive, but sound editing was the least of its greatness.

My prediction: Hugo
My pick: Hugo

SOUND MIXING
Sound editing, sound mixing…what’s the difference? Proof I shouldn’t be picking in either category.

My prediction: Hugo
My pick: Hugo

VISUAL EFFECTS
My pick and prediction was also the overwhelming favorite of the critics. Was this a backhanded compliment to Andy Serkis’ motion capture acting?

My prediction: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
My pick: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
My pick here is based solely on “how-did-they-make-a-movie-of-that-book?” difficulty.

My prediction: The Descendants
My pick: Moneyball

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)
I’d give my pick to Margin Call, but the screenwriters implied that viewers are as dumb as golden retrievers. Kudos to Asghar Farhadi for incredible restraint and faith in our intelligence.

My prediction: Midnight in Paris
My pick: A Separation

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