Oscar Predictions 2012!

The 84th Academy Awards are tonight. Or, in the UK, at 1:30am. After finally seeing all nine of the Best Picture nominees and many of the other films represented in other categories, I now present my predictions and commentary!

In order that they will be announced tonight:


★ Emmanuel Lubezki, Tree of Life

Bob Richardson, Hugo

Jeff Cronenweth, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Guillaume Schiffman, The Artist

Janusz Kaminski, War Horse

I think this is a sure win for ‘Tree of Life,’ although all are strong worthy options here (except ‘War Horse’). ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’ should have made the cut though.

Art Direction

★ Hugo

The Artist

War Horse

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

Midnight in Paris

My favorite category! ‘Hugo’ deserve to win, and all deserve to be nominated, except maybe ‘Harry Potter.’ This is the one category for which ‘War Horse’ deserved recognition.

Costume Design


★ The Artist


Jane Eyre


I don’t see a clear winner here, so why not give another award to ‘The Artist.’ That said, it could easily go to any of them, and for some reason I keep thinking it will be ‘Jane Eyre.’ Maybe because that film isn’t really recognized anywhere else and it’s the kind of thing that could snag Costumes.

Best Makeup

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

★ The Iron Lady

Albert Nobbs

Wouldn’t it be funny if this were the only Oscar Harry Potter ever won? But no. It has to be ‘The Iron Lady’ here – it should be recognized if Meryl Streep isn’t. More on that in a bit. By why no ‘J Edgar’ nomination?

Foreign Language Film

★ A Separation (Iran)

In Darkness (Poland)

Footnote (Israel)

Bullhead (Belgium)

Monsieur Lazhar (Canada)

I haven’t been able to see any of these, but ‘A Separation’ looks like a no brainer. It’s too bad that ‘La Piel Que Habito’ (‘The Skin I Live in’) from Spain and ‘Shi’ (‘Poetry’) from South Korea were not entered for consideration (not sure if ‘Shi’ would have qualified for 2011 instead of 2012 though).

Supporting Actress

★ Octavia Spencer, The Help

Jessica Chastain, The Help

Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids

Berenice Bejo, The Artist

Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs

Another no brainer category: definitely Octavia Spencer. Her performance was one of my favorites of the year overall, so I will be very happy to see her win. Jessica Chastain was also brilliant in ‘The Help,’ but I think her nomination should have been for ‘Tree of Life.’ Perhaps because ‘The Help’ was driven by so many strong female performances hers didn’t stand out as much as when she was the representation of women in ‘Tree of Life.’ I’m glad Melissa McCarthy got a nod here, and kind of glad that Shailene Woodley did not.


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo


★ The Artist


The Descendants

I really want this to go to ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,’ but Best Picture and Editing usually go hand in hand. It would be my second favorite award to Art Direction, but it’s always so predictable. That said, I’m happy ‘The Social Network’ was able to grab it last year – while ‘Dragon Tattoo’ was brilliant, it wasn’t nearly as brilliant as last year’s Fincher.

Sound Editing

★ Hugo


War Horse

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo


Can ‘Drive’ win something please? I do not understand the Sound categories at all and don’t know if I ever will. I loved the ‘Drive’ score, but it didn’t have enough original material to qualify for the Score category. So…sound? :) But no, I’m going to be safe and put ‘Hugo’ for both categories, hoping against a ‘War Horse’ upset.

Sound Mixing

★ Hugo


War Horse

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo


*apparently after the Sound category presentations we are rewarded with a Cirque du Soleil performance!*

Documentary Feature

★ Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory


Hell and Back Again

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front


Haven’t seen any of these, but I just read Paradise Lost so maybe that’s why it’s sticking out to me…

Animated Feature

★ Rango

Kung Fu Panda 2

Puss in Boots

Chico & Rita

A Cat in Paris

My second least favorite category. I’m particularly bitter this year since they shut out ‘Tintin’ which had the best animation I’ve ever seen. To be fair, of the nominees I’ve only seen ‘Rango.’ The story is weak, but the concept is promising, as are the voice actors. And Roger Deakins. I’ll think of it as a belated ‘True Grit’ cinematography award.

Visual Effects

★ Rise of the Planet of the Apes


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Real Steel


The visual effects were all ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ had going for it. And James Franco, but that was wasted on bad writing. Anyway, the visual effects were great, Andy Serkis was great – they get my vote.

Supporting Actor

★ Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn

Jonah Hill, Moneyball

Nick Nolte, Warrior

Max Von Sydow, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Christopher Plummer please! Another of my favorite performances of the year. ‘Beginners’ was such an overlooked film (as was its canine star, although he was nominated for a Golden Collar!). So glad Jonah Hill got an unexpected nod.


★ Ludovic Bource, The Artist

John Williams, War Horse

Howard Shore, Hugo

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

The Adventures of Tintin

There weren’t any standout scores for me this year, so I’m happy with whatever. I’m quite happy with the nominees actually – while Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross did a good job with ‘Dragon Tattoo’ it was no where near ‘Social Network’ so it’s okay that they weren’t nominated again. ‘The Artist’ relies on the score for the entire film, so yes, this makes sense.


★ Man of Muppet, Muppets

Real in Rio, Rio

Seriously? Why is this even a category? I liked ‘Rio’ a lot (no animated film nomination though? I guess I can’t really judge having only seen one of the films), but haven’t really taken the time to analyze either song. Nor will I be taking it.

Adapted Screenplay

★ Alexander Payne, Nat Faxton, Jim Rash,The Descendants

John Logan, Hugo

Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian, Stan Chervin, Moneyball

George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon, The Ides of March

Bridget O’Connor, Peter Straughn, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

This is where ‘The Descendents’ will get their recognition. But they shouldn’t. It was at least better than the confused jumble that was ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,’ but not as cleverly woven together as ‘Hugo’ or as sharp and compelling as ‘Moneyball’ (still haven’t seen ‘Ides of March.’ I’m sorry, Ryan.).

Original Screenplay

★ Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris

Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist

Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo, Bridesmaids

Asghar Farhadi, A Separation

JC Chandor, Margin Call

Yes Woody Allen! My favorite film of the year deserves something and this is where it will get it. My glee for ‘Midnight in Paris’ shall outshine my fury that ‘Bridesmaids’ is on the list. Unoriginal and un-fun. I hear that ‘A Separation’ deserves to win, but I still haven’t seen it.

Live Action Short

Tuba Atlantic

★ The Shore



Time Freak

I’m not going to pretend to know anything about this category. At all.

Animated Short

★ The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

La Luna


A Morning Stroll

Wild Life

Again, um, yeah. People seem to like ‘Flying Books.’ Okay, that then.


★ Michel Hanazavicius, The Artist

Martin Scorsese, Hugo

Alexander Payne,The Descendants

Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris

Terrence Malick, Tree of Life

Best Picture/Best Director rule. Easy.


★ Jean Dujardin, The Artist

George Clooney,The Descendants

Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Gary Oldman, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Demián Bichir, A Better Life

Clooney and Pitt deserve it more than Dujardin, but they will cancel each other out (Pity. Clooney should win.). Oldman and Bichir should just be happy to be nominated. It was an ‘aw’ moment to see them recognized. Still bitter about Uggie not qualifying though.


★ Viola Davis, The Help

Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

Rooney Mara, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Glen Close, Albert Nobbs

This should be Meryl Streep’s year,but alas, it is Davis’s. She was great. But the character she played was not nearly as demanding as Streep’s. That’s always the tough thing about these acting categories. Best performance of the year was Tilda Swinton, but that was never going to be Oscar appropriate. My favorite moment of the awards season was hearing Rooney Mara’s name announced for her nomination – so unexpectedly wonderful.


Midnight in Paris

★ The Artist



The Help

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

The Descendants

Tree of Life

War Horse

There is no question. ‘The Artist’ will win. And it should win. I’ve listed the films above in the order that I liked them. Of this list, I think that there should have been only five nominated, cutting off at ‘The Help.’ Kind of a dull year, but still some good films recognized. The theme of the year seems to be nostalgia – cinematic and artistic. The second, less interesting but still powerful, theme is persistence. Those two themes cover all of the films nominated for Best Picture. Except maybe ‘Tree of Life.’ I still just don’t get it.

Happy Oscar night, everyone!


Challenge: Sugar-Free Seventh Week

I love sugar. But I have come to realize that it does not love me back. It is detrimental to my energy, athleticism, and general health. The annoying thing is, sugar is so beautifully presented: carefully decorated cakes, enticing ice cream sundaes drizzled with chocolate sauce, brightly colored candy shoppe sweets…Not only does it taste delicious, but the treat looks like a treat.

But this week, the seventh week of term, I will resist. I have tried similar experiments, the most recent of which was the “no sugar except on special occasions” rule, which was decided upon in order to allow myself to enjoy halfway hall and baking climbing cookies, but turned into “it’s sunny outside, so that’s a special occasion to have ice cream.” No. There are no such occasions this week, so I shall resist. I will even skip my weekly pub cake on Wednesday and my traditional pre-tutorial affogatos. It’s just one week. A little experiment of my self-control with the added health benefit.

I’m announcing this publicly so that many people can hold me to it, or even help me through it. So don’t go offering me chocolate. That would be mean.

So here we go: Sunday through Saturday, no sugar. The fast will be broken with climbing truffles at the Lakes this weekend.