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2012 Oscar Predictions


The 2012 Academy Award nominations were announced this morning at 5:30am PST. It's been an exceptional year for film, which made the 2012 nominations harder than usual to predict. Let's take a look at the nominations in the main categories and my predictions for each winner.

Best Picture
The Artist
The Descendants
Midnight in Paris
The Tree of Life 
The Help
War Horse 
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

I did not have Extremely Loud on my ballot, opting instead for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The Stephen Daldry film was an Oscar front-runner months ago but a lukewarm critical reception left me with doubts. The biggest surprise was the nomination of The Tree of Life, which many Oscar pundits had on the outside looking in despite its Palme d'Or win at Cannes earlier this year. Kudos to the Academy for getting it right. The field of nine is impressive (although I hated War Horse and The Help) and I see six of the films as deserving winners. Nevertheless, this is a three-horse race between The Artist, The Descendants, and Hugo.
My pick: The Artist

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

Hallelujah! The Academy defied all odds and nominated genuine auteur Malick for Best Director over the likes of Daldry, David Fincher, Bennett Miller and Steven Spielberg! This was my favorite surprise as The Tree of Life was the most original and ambitious film of 2011. This category will go hand in hand with Best Picture as usual and, sadly, The Tree of Life is an underdog for the marquee category. I can see Hazanavicius, Payne, or Scorsese all winning, but I really think it's The Artist's year.
My pick: Hazanavicius

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

Michael Fassbender was my prediction for the fifth slot here, although I thought Michael Shannon's performance in Take Shelter was more deserving. Bichir was the surprise nominee at the Screen Actor's Guild (SAG) nominations and he rode that headwind into an Oscar nod. He has no chance, however, as this is Clooney's category to lose. Pitt and Dujardin have outside shots with Oldman and Bichir the underdogs. It's about time the Academy recognized Oldman, who, incredibly, had never been nominated.
My pick: Clooney

Best Actress
Viola Davis - The Help
Meryl Streep - The Iron Lady
Michelle Williams - My Week with Marilyn
Glenn Close - Albert Nobbs
Rooney Mara - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

I had Tilda Swinton's We Need to Talk About Kevin performance over Mara's, but Mara is just as deserving. The four other nominees were predictable. Swinton was nominated by the SAG, but the Academy went the opposite direction this time. Despite Streep's Golden Globe win, Davis remains the front-runner here. Either could easily win, but my money is on Davis.
My pick: Davis

Best Supporting Actor
Christopher Plummer - Beginners
Kenneth Branagh - My Week with Marilyn
Nick Nolte - Warrior
Jonah Hill - Moneyball
Max Von Sydow - Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

One of the biggest surprises was the Academy's snub of Albert Brooks for Drive. The violent Nicolas Winding Refn movie was snubbed in every category despite being, arguably, one of the best films of the year. The SAG did snub Brooks as well, but critics everywhere had his as one of the best supporting performances of the year. Typically, the Academy rewards actors going off-type (see: Hill, Jonah). The rest of the field is solid, even Hill, who surprised many with his tight, nuanced performance in Moneyball. This one is over already though as Plummer will win.
My pick: Plummer

Best Supporting Actress
Octavia Spencer - The Help
Berenice Bejo - The Artist
Janet McTeer - Albert Nobbs
Jessica Chastain - The Help
Melissa McCarthy - Bridesmaids

Another nomination that will shock most casual movie-goers is McCarthy's. Her over-the-top and great performance in Bridesmaids gained real steam after her SAG nomination and she too, will be in attendence on Oscar night. I had predicted The Descendants' Shailene Woodley over McCarthy, but was pleasantly surprised when the nominations came out. McCarthy deserves it, and comedic performances, in general, deserve more acclaim. Unfortunately, Spencer has had this one locked up for months.
My pick: Spencer
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