Mark Dujsik's Random Musings

Picks and Predictions for the 84th Annual Academy Awards (aka, the 2012 Oscars)


At least last year’s Oscar race was one for a while.  The inevitable Best Picture winner has pretty much been set–at least by the entertainment press (who apparently have nothing better to do with their coverage of film than to determine whether or not any given movie is an Oscar contender)–since the film’s showing at Cannes.

That film, of course, is The Artist, a loving homage to the film industry and, specifically, silent movies.  In theory, the Academy loves this stuff; a campaign from the Weinstein Company doesn’t hurt, either.

Reaching for gold.

So, once again, in the spirit of what really matters when it comes to the Academy Awards: Good luck in your various pools.

Best Picture
My prediction: We can eliminate all but three.  Hugo, which is tied for the highest number of nominations this year, is a legitimate dark horse, which, like the other potential upset The Descendants, has the magic trifecta of nominations (Picture, Director, and Editing).  Martin Scorsese’s passion project is also, in part, about the movie industry of a bygone era.  I would be tempted to consider The Help a contender, but it’s lack of Director and Editing nominations certainly undermines its status as an audience favorite and social-message movie.  This category is for The Artist to lose.
My pick: The Tree of Life

Best Director
My prediction: Safe money is on Michel Hazanavicius to win for The Artist (and for the presenter to mispronounce his name), so take that into consideration.  I’m going to go out on a limb (and probably get this wrong) and predict that Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life) will pull off a win in a similar fashion to Roman Polanski’s surprise win in 2003.  I may also be a bit biased in this regard (See immediately below).
My pick: Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life

Best Actor
My prediction: Like the film he stars in, this is for Jean Dujardin (The Artist) to lose.
My pick: Jean Dujardin, The Artist

Best Actress
My prediction: Could Meryl Streep win her third Oscar with her 17th nomination?  Yes, but Viola Davis (The Help) has come to dominate the major pre-Oscar awards, and she is a well-respected actress who has paid her dues with smaller, less-showy roles for years.
My pick: Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn

Best Supporting Actor
My prediction: Voters have four chances for a career award (Kenneth Branagh, Nick Nolte, Max von Sydow, and the eventual winner) and one to award an actor playing against type (Jonah Hill).  Christopher Plummer (Beginners) really deserves this, though–career award or not.
My pick: Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Best Supporting Actress
My prediction: This is probably the weakest of the already weak acting categories.  Bérénice Bejo, the best of the bunch, is technically playing a lead.  Jessica Chastain is fine in The Help but gave stronger performances in almost any of the other five films in which she appeared last year (Hence, the rationale for my own personal pick).  Melissa McCarthy could be a surprise; the Academy does do that occasionally, especially when it comes to comedic performances.  Octavia Spencer (The Help) will surely get a boost for having a showcase role after years of playing bit parts.
My pick: Jessica Chastain, The Help

Best Original Screenplay
My prediction: Midnight in Paris
My pick: Margin Call

Best Adapted Screenplay
My prediction: The Descendants
My pick: Moneyball

Best Animated Feature
My prediction: Rango
My pick: Rango (Note: I have not seen A Cat in Paris or Chico & Rita.)

Best Foreign Language Film
My prediction: A Separation
My pick: N/A

Best Documentary (Feature):
My prediction: Undefeated
My pick: N/A

Best Art Direction
My prediction: Hugo
My pick: Hugo

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

Best Costume Design
My prediction: Hugo
My pick: Hugo

Best Documentary (Short)
My prediction: “The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement”
My pick: N/A

Best Film Editing
My prediction: The Artist
My pick: Moneyball

Best Makeup
My prediction: The Iron Lady
My pick: The Iron Lady

Best Original Score
My prediction: The Artist
My pick: The Artist

Best Original Song
My prediction: “Man or Muppet” from The Muppets
My pick: “Man or Muppet” from The Muppets

Best Short Film (Animated)
My prediction: “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore”
My pick: N/A

Best Short Film (Live Action)
My prediction: “The Shore”
My pick: N/A

Best Sound Editing
My prediction: Transformers: Dark of the Moon
My pick: Drive

Best Sound Mixing
My prediction: Hugo
My pick: Hugo

Best Visual Effects
My prediction: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
My pick: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

The 84th Annual Academy Awards airs this Sunday, February, 26th on ABC at 7:00 pm CST.

I will be livetweeting the show on Twitter at @markreviews, much to the chagrin of my followers not watching.