Behind the Scenes: The 84th Annual Academy Awards

As Oscar time rolls around it’s time to take a look at this years nominees and pick the winners. If you agree or disagree, please feel free to post your comments. Here we go:

BEST PICTURE

The Nominees are:
The Artist, The Descendants, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, The Tree of Life, War Horse.

Missing: The Way

After going from five nominees to ten a couple of years ago the Academy once again changed their rules. When ballots go out, each voter is allowed to name five films in order of one through five. The new rules state that if a film is named in the first position on at least 10% of the votes, it is a Best Picture nominee. Which means next year we could have eleven nominees….or three!

Should win: The Artist

Will win: The Artist

One of the most original films of the 21st Century, this love letter to the days of early Hollywood should become the first silent film (o.k., there are two words spoken but why quibble) to be named Best Picture since “Wings” won the very first Best Picture Oscar.

BEST ACTOR

The nominees are: Demian Bichir (“A Better Life”), George Clooney (“The Descendants”), Jean Dujardin (“The Artist”), Gary Oldman (“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”), Brad Pitt (“Moneyball”)

Missing: Michael Fassbinder (“Shame”)

Should win: George Clooney

Will win: George Clooney

It’s really a two man race between Clooney and Dujardin, who won the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival. But Clooney gets the nod here because his performance here as a man who learns his critically ill wife has cheated on him is unlike anything he’s done before. Plus Hollywood loves him.

BEST ACTRESS

The nominees are: 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”)

Missing: Tilda Swinton (“We Need to Talk About Kevin”)

Should win: Meryl Streep

Will win: Viola Davis

Here we have a two women race. This is Streeps’ SEVENTEENTH acting nomination and most people assume she has 5 or 6 Oscars on the shelf. However, she’s only won twice (Best Supporting Actress for “Kramer vs Kramer” and Best Actress for “Sophie’s Choice”) with her last award coming almost three decades ago. She is due for Oscar number three and with her performance as Margaret Thatcher she should win it. However Davis (a past MediaMikes interview subject), in a role that could have easily slipped into stereotype, put so much dignity and soul into her performance that you truly rooted for her.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

The nominees are: Kenneth Branagh (“My Week with Marilyn”), Jonah Hill (“Moneyball”), Nick Nolte (“Warrior”), Christopher Plummer (“Beginners”), Max von Sydow (“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”).

Missing: Ben Kingsley (“Hugo”)

Should win: Nick Nolte

Will win: Christopher Plummer

Probably the closest race of the bunch, this category features three actors who are often regarded as the greatest in their countries history: Sweden’s von Sydow, Canada’s Plummer and England’s Branagh. There is a great irony in Branagh’s performance. He is often regarded as the successor to the great Laurence Olivier due to his Shakespearean background and his nomination comes from his portrayal of Olivier. In my opinion this award should go to Nolte, who gives one of his best performances ever in “Warrior.” But I think the Oscar will go to Plummer for his rare comedic performance as a man who comes out of the closet to his son after his wife dies in “Beginners.” Both Plummer and von Sydow are 82 and should either win they would become the oldest person to win an acting Academy Award. Currently the title is held by George Burns (Best Supporting Actor for “The Sunshine Boys”) and Jessica Tandy (Best Actress for “Driving Miss Daisy”), who were 80 when they won (though to be fair, Tandy was 200 days older then Burns).

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

The nominees are: Berenice Bejo (“The Artist”), Jessica Chastain (“The Help”), Melissa McCarthy (“Bridesmaids”), Janet McTeer (“Albert Nobbs”), Octavia Spencer (“The Help”).

Missing: Shailene Woodley (“The Descendants”)

Should win: Octavia Spencer

Will win: Octavia Spencer

This appears to be the runaway category, with Spencer nabbing pretty much every award she’s been nominated for. Like Viola Davis she took a role that could have easily spun into stereotype and put a humorous yet dignified spin on it. I will say that I am so glad to see Melissa McCarthy nominated. Comedy is so rarely recognized at awards time and she is truly deserving of her nomination.

BEST DIRECTOR

The nominees are: Michel Hazanavicius (“The Artist”), Alexander Payne (“The Descendants”), Martin Scorsese (“Hugo”), Woody Allen (“Midnight in Paris”), Terrence Malick (“The Tree of Life”)

Missing: David Fincher (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”)

Should win: Michel Hazanavicius

Will win: Michel Hazanavicius

Even though he made arguably one of the greatest films of the 1980s (“Raging Bull”) and the 1990s (“Goodfellas”), Martin Scorsese did not win a directing Oscar until “The Departed” five years ago. Had he still been Oscar-less “Hugo” would have surely brought him the prize. That being said, the award should go to Hazanavicius for his brilliant recreation of young Hollywood.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

The nominees are: A Cat in Paris, Chico and Rita, Kung Fu Panda 2, Puss in Boots, Rango.

Missing: The Adventures of TinTin

Should win: Puss in Boots

Will win: Rango

Despite winning the Golden Globe and Producer’s Guild awards for Best Animated Feature, Steven Spielberg’s “The Adventures of TinTin” was not nominated as apparently the animation branch of the Academy does not consider the motion capture process animation. Phooey! This is the first year that Pixar had a film eligible for a nomination (“Cars 2”) and didn’t receive one. Guess members aren’t big Mater fans. Dreamworks, the studio behind both “Kung Fu Panda 2” and “Puss in Boots” has won a couple awards in this category (for “Shrek” and a shared award for “Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit”) so the Academy should want to spread the wealth around and give it to “Rango.”

THE REST OF THE WINNERS

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory”

DOCUMENTARY SHORT: “God is the Bigger Elvis”

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: “A Seperation:

CINEMATOGRAPHY: “The Tree of Life” (yes, you read that right)

MAKEUP: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2”

ART DIRECTION: Hugo

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: “Midnight in Paris” – Woody Allen

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: “Moneyball” – Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin

ANIMATED SHORT FILM: “La Luna”

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: “Time Freak”

VISUAL EFFECTS: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2”

COSTUME DESIGN: “The Artist”

FILM EDITING: “Hugo”

SOUND MIXING: “War Horse”

SOUND EFFECTS: “War Horse”

ORIGINAL SCORE: “War Horse” – John Williams (including this year, Williams has been nominated for an Oscar 47 times! He’s actually competing against himself this year with “War Horse” and “The Adventures of TinTin”).

ORIGINAL SONG: “Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets

Check back on Monday for my thoughts on the winners and losers!

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One Reply to “Behind the Scenes: The 84th Annual Academy Awards”

  1. Since you’ve encouraged us to do so…
    Best Picture: War Horse
    Best Actor: Gary Oldman
    Best Actress: Meryll Streep
    Best Sup Actor: Nick Nolte (fist pumps people: Nolte, Nolte, Nolte, Nolte)
    Best Sup Actress: Octavia Spencer
    Best Director: wOOdy Allen
    Best Ani Feature: Rango
    DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: Hell and Back again
    DOCUMENTARY SHORT: The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom
    FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: In Darkness
    CINEMATOGRAPHY: War Horse
    MAKEUP: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2?
    ART DIRECTION: Hugo
    ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: “Midnight in Paris” – Woody Allen
    ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy
    ANIMATED SHORT FILM: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Nessmore
    LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: “Time Freak”
    VISUAL EFFECTS: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2?
    COSTUME DESIGN: Jane Eyre
    FILM EDITING: “Hugo”
    SOUND MIXING: “War Horse”
    SOUND EFFECTS: “War Horse”
    ORIGINAL SCORE: “War Horse”
    ORIGINAL SONG: “Man or Muppet” (how to you root against the Muppets? you don’t)

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