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Your 84th Annual Oscar Predictions Are Here!

Last year we accurately predicted 19 out of 24 categories. Can we do it again?

 

Let's not waste time. It's a big year at the Academy Awards. Sure, the Best Picture seems like a sure thing – we're looking at you, The Artist – but can the little silent film that could really sweep the ceremony, or will there be room for runners up like Hugo and The Descendants to get a little Oscar god for themselves? We think we've got the answers.

Here are CraveOnline's predictions for the 84th Annual Academy Awards, to be presented this Sunday, February 26. We've actually got an impressive track record at this. Last year we accurately predicted 19 out of 24 categories, a number only matched by Pete Hammond at last year's Golden Derby. Nobody gave us any credit for the same accomplishment, but that's okay. We're not bitter or nothing.

 

Best Motion Picture of the Year

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

Who Will Win: The Artist

Dark Horse: The Help

Who Should Win: The Tree of Life

If The Artist doesn’t going to win Best Picture the entire industry will die of shock. If anything could beat it, it would probably be The Help, which has a lot of SAG support, but let’s not go nuts. The actual Best Picture of the year wasn’t nominated (sorry, We Need to Talk About Kevin), and the closest runner up, The Tree of Life, is too enigmatic to be a serious contender.

 

Best Achievement in Directing

Nominees: Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris), Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist), Alexander Payne (The Descendants), Terence Malick (The Tree of Life), Marttin Scorsese (Hugo)

Who Will Win: Michel Hazanavicius 

Dark Horse: Martin Scorsese 

Who Should Win: Terence Malick

Having won the Director’s Guild Award, one of the most accurate Oscar predictors in the world, Michel Hazanavicius seems like a lock. If anyone can take the award away, however, it’s Martin Scorsese, whose Hugo is a more obvious technical accomplishment. Terence Malick, who probably deserves the award more, is a long, long shot.

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Nominees: Jean Dujardin (The Artist), George Clooney (The Descendants), Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Brad Pitt (Moneyball)

Who Will Win: Jean Dujardin

Dark Horse: George Clooney or Demian Bichir

Who Should Win: Jean Dujardin

Jean Dujardin is the man to beat in the Best Actor race, with a heartfelt, funny and technically impeccable performance that also happens to be the showiest nominated, making him impossible to ignore. George Clooney and Demian Bichir offer some competition for their emotive performances as troubled fathers, with frequent also-ran Brad Pitt, who probably should have had a better shot this year given his two great performances in Moneyball in The Tree of Life, close behind. Gary Oldman’s performance is probably too subtle to receive many votes, especially with Dujardin stealing the limelight.

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Nominees: 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)

Who Will Win: Viola Davis

Dark Horse: Meryl Streep or Michelle Williams

Who Should Win: Michelle Williams

For a long time it seemed like a tough, neck-and-neck race for Best Actress this year, but I think that time has passed. The heat coming off of Michelle Williams’ exceptional performance in My Week with Marilyn has cooled, although I still wouldn’t count her out entirely (the Oscars still love ingénues in this category). And Meryl Streep’s superb work in The Iron Lady has been overshadowed by the film itself, which is sub-par at best. Glenn Close and Rooney Mara were always going to have to settle for their nominations. This seems to be the year of Viola Davis, but she shouldn’t get too comfortable.

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Nominees: Kenneth Branagh (My Week with Marilyn), Jonah Hill (Moneyball), Nick Nolte (Warrior), Christopher Plummer (Beginners), Max Von Sydow (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close)

Who Will Win: Christopher Plummer

Dark Horse: Max Von Sydow

Who Should Win: Christopher Plummer

With Albert Brooks out the running (grumble-grumble), Best Supporting Actor seems destined to go to Christopher Plummer, who at 82 years old would be the oldest person to win a competitive – as opposed to Honorary – Academy Award. His competitors don’t seem to have much traction, but if anyone can unseat him it’s Max Von Sydow, who, like Plummer: A) Has a showy role, B) Has never won an Oscar despite a long career and only two nominations to show for it, and C) Would also be the oldest person to win a competitive award at – you guessed it – 82 years old. (He’s eight months older than Plummer.)

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Nominees: Berenice Bejo (The Artist), Jessica Chastain (The Help), Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids), Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs), Octavia Spencer (The Help)

Who Will Win: Octavia Spencer

Dark Horse: Jessica Chastain

Who Should Win: Janet McTeer

Octavia Spencer was the early frontrunner in the Best Supporting Actress category, and nobody’s come along to challenge her yet. If anyone has a shot it’s Jessica Chastain, bolstered by her equally award-worthy work in The Tree of Life, but again, let’s not go nuts. Alas, Janet McTeer’s memorable, transformative performance in Albert Nobbs will probably go overlooked.

 

Best Writing, Original Screenplay

Nominees: The Artist, Bridesmaids, Midnight in Paris, Margin Call, A Separation

Who Will Win: The Artist

Dark Horse: Midnight in Paris or A Separation

Who Should Win: A Separation or Margin Call

A tough call this year in the Best Original Screenplay category; my gut tells me that the Academy might have trouble giving an award to The Artist, a screenplay with no dialogue to speak of (pun intended), but I’ve learned not to give them the benefit of the doubt. If my gut is right, however, the most likely winner is Woody Allen’s witty, nostalgic screenplay for Midnight in Paris, a beloved film which is otherwise likely to go unrewarded this year. The complex, character-driven and remarkable screenplays for Margin Call and A Separation are probably more deserving, but also a little too intellectually challenging to be serious contenders, and yet something tells me not to count A Separation out entirely, with its nomination for Best Foreign Film bolstering its visibility.

 

Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay

Nominees: The Descendants, Hugo, The Ides of March, Moneyball, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Who Will Win: The Descendants

Dark Horse: Hugo or Moneyball

Who Should Win: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Another tough category with no obvious frontrunner, Best Adapted Screenplay could go to The Descendants, Hugo or Moneyball with relatively equal odds. I’m giving the edge to The Descendants, a film with many fans who are likely to want the film to receive some token of appreciation, since it’s a long shot in every other category except Best Actor. Hugo seems too sprawling and unwieldy to win the top spot, and I suspect some folks will be unwilling to reward Aaron Sorkin for Moneyball (despite Steven Zaillian’s contributions), since it bears striking similarities to The Social Network, for which he already, and deservedly, won this prize last year. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy has been accused by many viewers as being impenetrable, but from a critic’s perspective it’s clearly a rich, exquisitely structured work with exceptionally realized characters, and probably deserves to win the most.


 

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

Nominees: A Cat in Paris, Chico & Rita, Kung Fu Panda 2, Puss in Boots, Rango

Who Will Win: Rango

Dark Horse: A Cat in Paris or Chico & Rita

I’m abstaining from suggesting who “should” win in this and a few other categories, since I have yet to see all the nominees. It’s almost like they don’t want us to see A Cat in Paris or Chico & Rita, which is strange since you’d think their surprise nominations would have inspired mass showings around the country. Of the other nominees, however, Puss in Boots and Kung Fu Panda 2 seem unlikely for the top spot, since they emphasize fluffy entertainment over any kind of substance. Gore Verbinski’s Rango, on the other hand, is a crowd-pleasing favorite brimming with creativity and philosophical subtext. It’s going to be hard to beat, but one of the underdogs could potentially pull a surprising upset.

 

Best Achievement in Cinematography

Nominees: The Artist, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Hugo, The Tree of Life, War Horse

Who Will Win: Hugo

Dark Horse: The Artist or The Tree of Life

Who Should Win: The Tree of Life

Best Cinematography has, in recent years, frequently gone to the runner up in the Best Picture race, and since Hugo has its fans, and is clearly an impressive technical accomplishment across the board, it probably has the edge. But The Artist could be on its way to a clean sweep, and The Tree of Life is too beautifully shot to be completely ignored. Tough call.

 

Best Achievement in Film Editing

Nominees: The Artist, The Descendants, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Hugo, Moneyball

Who Will Win: The Artist

Dark Horse: Hugo

Who Should Win: Moneyball

Unlike Best Cinematography, this award usually goes hand-in-hand with the Best Picture winner, unless one of the nominees is a real virtuoso. That doesn’t seem to be the case this year – nary a Black Hawk Down or Bourne Ultimatum in the bunch – so I expect The Artist to take home the prize, although it wouldn’t be wise to write Hugo off completely.

 

Best Achievement in Art Directon

Nominees: The Artist, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, War Horse

Who Will Win: Hugo

Dark Horse: The Artist or Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Who Should Win: Hugo

The fantastical sets of Hugo seem tailor made to win the award for Best Art Direction. Even The Artist’s period settings can’t compete with their opulence, although they’ve got a fighting chance if the film pulls a sweep. I’m betting the more likely dark horse is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, but that may lose votes from voters who notice that many of the film’s sets were previously designed from earlier films in the franchise.

 

Best Achievement in Costume Design

Nominees: Anonymous, The Artist, Hugo, Jane Eyre, W.E.

Who Will Win: Hugo

Dark Horse: The Artist or Jane Eyre

Who Should Win: Hugo

Pretty clothes win the award here, and Hugo probably had the prettiest of all. Of the nominees, it also probably also had the most costumes, which counts for quite a lot in this category. Still, don’t count out The Artist, and don’t count out Jane Eyre either, which boasts more of the frilly dresses that the Academy loves so much.

 

Best Makeup 

Nominees: Albert Nobbs, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, The Iron Lady

Who Will Win: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Dark Horse: The Iron Lady

Who Should Win: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

The last time a non-fantasy film won the Academy Award for Best Makeup it was 2007’s La Vie En Rose, a film with far more credibility than the underseen Albert Nobbs, or the well-acted but pretty awful The Iron Lady. Both of which, to their credit, have fantastic makeup. But this seems like the Academy’s last chance to give any credit to the Harry Potter franchise, which gave everyone in the industry a good name for the last decade. I’d be surprised if it lost, but if it does, this sucker’s going to The Iron Lady for some stellar age work.

 

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score

Nominees: The Adventures of Tintin, The Artist, Hugo, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, War Horse

Who Will Win: The Artist

Dark Horse: Hugo or The Adventures of Tintin

Who Should Win: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

The “gimme” category for The Artist is clearly Best Original Score, since given the film’s lack of dialogue and sound effects, the music was impossible to ignore. Hugo could take the award in a small sweep of the technical categories, but I wouldn’t count on it. The subtler work of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is bound to go unrewarded, although John Williams’ bombastic Tintin themes could receive a voting boost since the movie was snubbed in the Best Animated Feature category.

 

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song

Nominees: "Man or Muppet" from The Muppets, "Real in Rio" from Rio

Who Will Win:Man or Muppet” from The Muppets

Dark Horse: Real in Rio” from Rio (obviously)

Who Should Win:Man or Muppet” from The Muppets

The joke category this year has only two nominees, only one of them particularly memorable. The odds of Bret McKenzie losing the Best Original Song award for “Man or Muppet” are astronomical, but if he doesn’t, well, it can only go to Rio.


 

Best Sound Mixing

Nominees: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Hugo, Moneyball, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, War Horse

Who Will Win: Hugo

Dark Horse: War Horse

Who Should Win: War Horse

Finally, an award The Artist can’t win. It’s a long-running joke, but if you look at recent years it seems that the Academy usually just votes for whichever movie they like the best in the Sound categories. In that case it’s bound to be Hugo, which is indeed a mighty accomplishment, or maybe War Horse, which was damned impressive from a mixing perspective and certainly ain’t gonna win anything else.

 

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

Nominees: Drive, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Hugo, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, War Horse

Who Will Win: Hugo

Dark Horse: War Horse or Drive

Who Should Win: Drive

Same holds true here, although there’s a chance that the exceptional sound design of Drive could eke out a token award since it was snubbed in every other category.

 

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

Nominees: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Hugo, Real Steel, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Who Will Win: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Dark Horse: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Who Should Win: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Some folks are still bummed that Andy Serkis couldn’t get nominated for Best Supporting Actor in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which should give the film the leg up it needs to unseat Harry Potter in the Visual Effects category. On the downside, it also might reinforce the notion that motion-captured performances belong in the VFX category rather than the acting realm.

 

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

Nominees: Bullhead, Footnote, In Darkness, Monsieur Lazhar, A Separation

Who Will Win: A Separation

I haven’t seen most of the nominees, but the foreign film everyone’s talking about this year is A Separation, and with good cause. It’s a stunning piece of minimalist drama that resonates in any culture. This is a notoriously difficult category to predict, however, with supposedly obvious frontrunners frequently losing out to surprise contenders, so any of the other nominees could turn out to be this year’s Departures, or The Lives of Others, or No Man’s Land.

 

Best Documentary, Features

Nominees: Hell and Back Again, If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front, Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, Pina, Undefeated

Who Will Win: Pina

This is another category in which I haven’t seen most of the nominees, but if you’ve ever talked to somebody who’s seen Pina, you’ve heard them rave about it. But the other nominees are all contenders, since this is another category that’s notoriously hard to predict, and Pina doesn’t have the benefit of heavy subject matter, which the Oscars usually reward in the documentary categories.

 

Best Documentary, Short Subjects

Nominees: The Barber of Birmingham: Footsoldier of the Civil Rights Movement, God is the Bigger Elvis, Incident in New Baghad, Saving Face, The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom

Who Will Win: Saving Face

This one’s a shot in the dark for me, so I’m going to pick the documentary short with the most disturbing subject matter, Saving Face, which focuses on a terrifying wave of attacks on women in Pakistan… with acid. It even sounds unforgettable.

 

Best Short Film, Animated

Nominees: Dimanche/Sunday, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, La Luna, A Morning Stroll, Wild Life,

Who Will Win: La Luna

Dark Horse: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Who Should Win: Wild Life

At last, another category in which I’ve seen all the nominees. It’s an intriguing crop of films this year in the Best Animated Short category, and I suspect the magical but conventional La Luna will grab the most votes, but the gorgeously animated (but dramatically thin) Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore could eke out a win based on craftsmaship alone. Alas, the best film in the category, Wild Life, may be too melancholy to earn the Academy's favor. I hold out hope though.

 

Best Short Film, Live Action

Nominees: Pentecost, The Shore, Raju, Time Freak, Tuba Atlantic

Who Will Win: Tuba Atlantic

Dark Horse: The Shore or Raju

Who Should Win: Tuba Atlantic

Two of the nominees, Pentecost and Time Freak, are far too slight to be real contenders. Of the remaining three, I suspect the imagination, emotional heft and humor of Tuba Atlantic will enchant the most Academy voters, although the subtle character work of The Shore and the social significance of Raju could sway them in other directions.

 


 

Those are our Oscar predictions for 2012. What are yours?

 

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