Back at the beginning of December in the My Week with Marilyn review I suggested that Michelle Williams, who plays Marilyn Monroe in the film, should be nominated for an Oscar for her performance. With the Academy Awards ceremony drawing ever closer, I’d like to revisit the Oscars and who should win what, especially considering now that a full list of nominations has been released so we can see who was recognised and who was snubbed. I’ll run through the list, comment on the options and give my choice as well as the movie or actor who is most likely to win because it’s one of the great tragedies of life that the people or films you want to win inevitably never do.
Let’s start with the most important award, Best Picture. The nominations are:
- War Horse
- The Artist
- The Descendants
- The Tree of Life
- Midnight in Paris
- The Help
- Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
I can’t say that I’ve seen all these films or in fact even most of them but it seems strange that My Week with Marilyn and The Iron Lady both missed out on nominations. Neither would have won but I expected both to be nominated. Worse still, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo missed out too. I’m not sure if that’s due to it being a remake of a Swedish film or if it’s just one of those films that sits outside the Academy’s tastes, rather like Watchmen and The Dark Knight but it feels like the list is lacking because of it. It seems extremely likely that The Artist will take home the prize. It’s got mostly positive reviews and I have a feeling the Academy will like it because it’s inherently about film and the awards are all about celebrating film. Hugo feels like too much of a pet project by Martin Scorsese to take home the prize, I don’t know anyone who has seen Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Tree of Life, while very artistic, is rather too weird and out there on the fringe to really win and though both Moneyball and The Descendents seem to be well received I don’t think they’ll really stand much of a chance.
Midnight in Paris and War Horse are the only two options that I feel even have the slights hope of edging out The Artist. Midnight in Paris has a similar sort of romanticism concerning the arts and culture, though it’s a little more focused towards writing and it’s a little more European than The Artist’s overall theme. But Midnight in Paris has the convincing notion that every generation looks to its past with nostalgia and really, we should appreciate where we are because where we are is actually pretty good, and that kind of point will probably go over well with the Academy. War Horse isn’t really anything new or inventive. Films about animals in war time have been done before but this one has Steven Spielberg behind the wheel so it has more empathy and better cinematography than the rest. I just don’t think that the Academy will give the nod to a film which has an animal as its lead actor essentially. If I were choosing, I’d pick The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo but since it wasn’t even nominated, expect The Artist to take home the prize.
Next up is the Oscar for Direction and 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)
Strange that Steven Spielberg didn’t get a nomination for War Horse but he probably doesn’t mind. He’s got three already. Woody Allen has three as well but about twenty more nominations. Scorsese has one and all the rest have none. Terrence Malick has had nominations in the past however, as director for The Thin Red Line. The director award generally goes to the film that they also liked but didn’t like enough to give Best Picture to. The intention seems to be to spread the love so no one feels left out for making a fantastic film but we also know that the Academy likes to reward people who have been nominated before but never won. There is only one nominee who fits that bill. Terrence Malick. Personally, I enjoyed Midnight in Paris so I wouldn’t be adverse to Woody Allen picking up the award. That’s my pick but I think Terrence Malick will take it.
The nominations for Best Actor are:
- Demián Bichir (A Better Life)
- George Clooney (The Descendants)
- Jean Dujardin (The Artist)
- Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)
- Brad Pitt (Moneyball)
I have no idea who Demián Bichir is or what A Better Life is about, so I don’t think he’ll take the award. It’s extremely likely that Jean Dujardin will take home the award but I’d like to see Gary Oldman take it. That’s not to say George Clooney or Brad Pitt were bad in their films, most critics seem to be perfectly satisfied with their performances. My decision to select Gary Oldman is quite simple. The guy is fifty three. He’s had an extremely prolific career but he’s never had an Academy Award nomination until now. That seems like a terrible oversight. Dujardin has many a years ahead to reach this spot again but the Academy need to start making up a life time of awards to Oldman. So he’s obviously my pick, though I fully expect Dujardin to take it.
Up for Best Actress 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)
I didn’t see Albert Nobbs and though The Help isn’t a terrible film, no one in it deserves a best actress award. So that leaves us with three. I’ve already advocated Michelle Williams winning the award in my Marilyn blog, but given that Rooney Mara had to put on a performance worthy of the picture but also compete with the actress in the original Swedish film, I’d like to see her recognised for her efforts. I don’t think she will be. Meryl Streep’s performance has gotten good reports so she might win her third Academy Award. I do think Michelle Williams has a good chance though because, like Terrence Malick, she’d had the nomination but never won. So my personal pick is either Michelle Williams or Rooney Mara and I think the award will actually go to either Meryl Streep or Michelle Williams.
Supporting Actor and Actress seem relatively straight forward. I can’t see anyone standing a chance against Kenneth Branagh for best supporting actor whereas the only threat to Melissa McCarthy’s supporting actress is probably The Artist’s Berenice Bejo. Obviously no one gets nominated for a bad performance so it’s possible that anyone else could win these awards, I don’t think that it seems likely. These three stand out above the rest and deserve to be recognised, although I’d like to see McCarthy recognised over Bejo. It’d be nice to see a comedy actress get some appreciation.
A lot of people seem rather sore that Harry Potter wasn’t nominated for any of the big awards but it’s not really the style of the Oscars. Big fantasy pieces like that don’t often get nominated for much else other than technical awards, unless it’s The Lord of the Rings and even then it’s third time lucky. Alan Rickman has done better stuff and all of the main characters, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint still seem a little wooden at times in their performances. They have long careers ahead of them in which they can better themselves and possibly make the Oscars then.
So those are my selections for the awards along with my thoughts on who will actually come out the other side with the award. The Award show itself won’t be until February 26th so there’s still plenty of time for rogue upcoming film posters to ruin people’s chances and plenty of time to keep on guessing who will win what.