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2012 Oscar Picks

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Scott Roberts
2012 Oscar Picks
on Feb 24, 2012 at 5:52:18 pm

Just to have a record of what I said somewhere, so that when I get them all correct on Sunday (haha, what a joke, doubt I've ever done better than 60%), here are my Oscar picks for this year. Feel free to tell us your picks, or just make a mockery of my picks (I don't mind).

Best Picture: The Artist

It's one of those good years when the best film nominated, and my favorite in the category, is favored to win. Sadly, it's also one of those years where the Best Picture category is almost embarrassingly mediocre for the most part.

Best Director: The Artist

They're usually pretty uniform with Best Picture/ Best Director (not always of course), and I think it will be that way this year. Though, I love Alexander Payne's films, and think he deserves a statue at this point in his career.

Best Original Screenplay: Midnight in Paris

In some odd turn of events, people are praising The Artist for having the best screenplay of the year... It must have some beautifully written action/description paragraphs... I thought The Artist succeeded mostly through a *simple* story, told with keen direction, great set pieces, and charismatic acting. Not brilliant in the story itself, but mainly in the execution of it all. I never thought the screenplay would get praised as much as it is. And because of that, I'm going with Woody. Midnight in Paris is his best film in years.

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Descendants

Probably the best screenplay of the year from any film. And I would like to see Jim Rash (Dean Pelton from Community) on stage with an Oscar.

Best Actor: George Clooney, The Descendants

I think it might actually end up going to Jean Dujardin, which is fine I guess. But if the Academy does things right, they'll recognize Clooney gave the better, more skilled performance.

Best Actress: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

You know what I hate about the eventual award for Streep here? The fact that she's in a bad movie. I know the argument there is that it's a great performance in a bad movie. Well, based on the trailers (I don't ever plan on actually watching The Iron Lady), it doesn't even look like that great a job she's doing, certainly not better than other work she's done and *not* won an award for. And the Academy is then basically giving an endorsement for people to rent and spend money on a bad movie. I get it if it's a mind blowing performance that MUST be seen, but this doesn't seem the case, and now my mom will probably waste two hours watching The Iron Lady when it comes out on DVD because she'll see that Meryl Streep won an award for it. Rooney Mara deserves the award for Dragon Tattoo, for not only doing a great job, but also being in a movie people should actually see.

Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, The Help

She was the best part about The Help, and probably the best in the category as well.

Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Seems pretty unanimous. Sorry, Fat Jonah.

Film Editing: Hugo

Schoonmaker ftw. Even though I thought the first half of Hugo was draggy, for some reason I get the feeling Thelma will win this one. My pick would have been Dragon Tattoo, or even Moneyball, over Hugo. But I'm just going with who I think will win. Most people liked Hugo way more than I did (I didn't hate it, I gave it a 6.5 out of 10).

Cinematography: The Tree of Life

I hated The Tree of Life, but honestly the only thing it had going for it in my opinion was spectacular cinematography. Plus it's winning other awards for cinematography, so it seems logical.

Art Direction: Hugo

Non stop set pieces! The Artist was really good in this category too, but I think Hugo has the edge.

Best Costume Design: Hugo

Though, a Madonna-directed period piece about rich British people (W.E.)? That also seems like a correct choice. Meanwhile, the guy who created the scorpion jacket from Drive didn't even get a nomination.

Best Makeup: Albert Nobbs

The whole movie is about making women look like men. It's about makeup! Though, who knows, they could decide to give The Iron Lady TWO Oscars... Semi-related side note; does anyone else watch Face Off on SyFy Network? It's a reality show where people compete to make movie makeup (mostly monster kind of stuff). It's pretty cool, just sayin'.

Best Sound Mixing: War Horse

Haven't seen it (it screamed 'wait for DVD' from the get go), but seems logical here.

Best Sound Editing: War Horse

My gut was to go with Transformers, because it probably does in fact have the best sound editing, but the previous two Transformers films have been nominated for the same award and lost both times. So what will be different about this time? Going with War Horse to dominate the two sound categories.

Best Visual Effects: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

I think everyone agrees the apes were pretty awesome in that movie. Plus, it's a good movie in general. That usually helps.

Best Original Score: The Artist

It's a silent film. The entire thing is music driven.

Best Original Song: "Man or Muppet" from The Muppets

If this doesn't win, my TV will receive a spinning axe kick. Yes, I can do that. Probably. I haven't tried.

Best Animated Film: Rango

Rango was in my top 5 films of last year. But I wouldn't be too surprised if one of the foreign entries no one has seen pulls this off instead.

Best Documentary Feature: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory

To be honest, it's the only film I've seen in this category, BUT (as you can see from my post from earlier this week) I think it's the bee's knees.

Best Foreign Language Film: A Separation (Iran)

As a middle-class American, I have seen none of the films in this category. But I've *heard* that A Separation is pretty great.

Live Action Short: Raju

I agree with Jeff's write-up, Raju seems pretty likely to win.

Documentary Short: Saving Face

After watching all the trailers and reading about them, (I agree with Jeff again!) Saving Face seems like the most powerful.

Animated Short: The Fantastic Flying Books or Mr. Morris Lessmore

See my write-up from earlier.

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Jeff Breuer
Re: 2012 Oscar Picks
on Feb 27, 2012 at 5:23:34 am

Good call on a lot of those Scott. Sorry for steering you wrong on best short. I was starting to think Tuba Atlantic might upset, but was shocked to see The Shore win. I think Planet of the Apes loosing Visual Effects was another big surprise for me. Honestly I missed Hugo (very excited to see it though), but Apes was just so darn amazing in that category.

I was however, very happy for The Muppets, they deserve an Oscar. I didn't call Midnight in Paris to win Best Screenplay, but I'm glad that it got the recognition, great script. Looking at my nominee list, there were a few good movies this year.

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Mike Cohen
Re: 2012 Oscar Picks
on Feb 27, 2012 at 2:16:45 pm

After the much more interesting selection of The Walking Dead and Kevin Smith's comic book reality show on AMC, we tuned in for the last half hour of the show, to see the actor, actress and picture awards. We liked the format of introducing the nominees by first name, speaking some accolades, then showing a clip.
Billy Crystal is to say this nicely...dated.
Then this morning with my oatmeal I scanned through the first hour.
The opening comedic movie scenes montage was not especially funny (those were funny 20 years ago when it was a new idea), and the CGI sequence that followed reminded me of a Disney MGM Studios ride and not terribly interesting.
The fake Wizard of Oz focus group was also a complete waste of time - like they needed filler, the show went almost an hour over schedule.
I think Billy said it best at the start of the show "what better way to take your mind off the economy than to watch a bunch of milionaires hand each other gold statues." (nobody laughed because it is absolutely true). Seriously the Oscars are very self-serving.

More later once I have seen more of the nominees, but as far as the broadcast itself, it is getting better. Thank goodness for the DVR.

Mike Cohen

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Mark Suszko
Re: 2012 Oscar Picks
on Feb 27, 2012 at 3:57:40 pm

I thought the focus group piece was a delightful dig at how ridiculous that process is, and I liked seeing all the SNL and Second City and National Lampoon cast members in it. You could see Clooney reacting to it's indictment of the system with knowing looks of recognition.

I could do without all the interpretive dance numbers, but I do enjoy Billy's insertions into movie clips. The jokes were just a little tame this year, is all.

I thought the Iranian Film's producer gave a standing-o-deserving speech, and was amazed no one stood up for that speech, which might get him killed or jailed in his home country.

The memorial section was especially tasteful, I thought. Nice singing, nice graphic presentation.

Nice to see Jim Rash win (Dean Pelton from "Community") as a writer.

I have said this before; I don't give a fig for what the "winner" is for any of the awards. There are too many irrelevant criteria and political issues involved to make a "winner" pick meaningful, and it's not fair to put two great but individual films next to each other and try to quantitatively say one is better than the other. How many years have we seen Oscars handed out and later the runner-up films get considered to be "better" over time? How often does a film or actor or director win an Oscar one year, just because they should have got one in a previous year, though the current work is not as good?

Naw, it's all meaningless to me, apart from just getting nominated to the finalists.

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Scott Roberts
Re: 2012 Oscar Picks
on Feb 27, 2012 at 4:09:38 pm

14 out of 24... sounds about right!

Hugo threw a wrench in a lot of my picks. I also went against my first instinct on Jean Dujardin for Actor, Dragon Tattoo for Editing, and Hugo for Cinematography. Then when I actually trust Hugo to win Costumes, the Artist sneaks that one in... And this year I actually got two of the three short film categories correct. If only I got better advice from someone who'd seen all the live action films... (haha, just kidding Jeff :) I watched all the trailers myself and thought Raju looked the best as well.)

Overall, though, I was pretty pleased with most of the winners, this wasn't one of those years where it felt like they got everything wrong. Of course, the *TWO* wins for The Iron Lady were really stupid. As they played the clips from that movie, it almost felt like I was watching a fake movie, like a spoof of biopics. It looked really bad.

I was also disappointed that a documentary about a high school football team going undefeated beat out Paradise Lost 3. I haven't seen Undefeated, but, c'mon...

The telecast itself... it was OK. Better than some other years. Way better than last year's show. I laughed at Billy Crystal a few times surprisingly, but I always think it's nicer to have an edgy host. At least edgier than Billy Crystal (well, *my dad* is edgier than Billy Crystal). The opening video segment felt very MTV Movie Awards-ish. And I agree with Mike, the Wizard of Oz focus group with the Christopher Guest crew went on a little too long even for a three minute segment, but I laughed a couple times during it. One thing I noticed was that everyone kept their speeches pretty darn short, which I liked. I hate boring speeches that are just a list of names. Do something interesting! I think only one time (when Undeafeated won best doc) did anyone get played off by the music.

There were some highlights though:

-Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis playing cymbals in Brad Pitt's face, followed by Bret from Flight of the Conchords receiving an Oscar for The Muppets.

-Jim Rash making fun of Angelina Jolie by sticking his leg out seductively after winning Best Adapted Screenplay.

-I thought the Emma Stone / Ben Stiller presenter banter was clever and funny, as well as the Robert Downey Jr. one.

[Mark Suszko] "How often does a film or actor or director win an Oscar one year, just because they should have got one in a previous year, though the current work is not as good?"

Yeah, that happens a lot in the major popular categories (acting / directing). But I still find it nice to see Sound Mixers and Short Film directors get emotional when then win an Oscar, because it recognizes their work on one of the largest stages in the world, and it means a lot to them. Yes, Meryl Streep winning was probably political and/or a popularity contest kind of thing, but a lot of the smaller awards are just recognizing legitimately great work. And it's nice to be recognized more than just a nomination, to be singled out as the best in your field. I like winning stuff!

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Mike Cohen
Re: 2012 Oscar Picks
on Feb 27, 2012 at 5:23:04 pm

I'd like it if for the technical nominations they did more than show a 2 second clip from the film. Yeah everyone knows what editing is and what cinematography is, but how about cutting out a dance number and include 30 seconds for each nominee - let them talk about their process, show them talking about a particular cut or shot. I mean, George Clooney and Julia Roberts only have careers because their performances have been photographed and edited in a way that can be digested by the lay public.

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Bob Cole
Re: 2012 Oscar Picks
on Feb 28, 2012 at 3:55:57 pm

Great work Scott, on your predictions.

[Mike Cohen] "I mean, George Clooney and Julia Roberts only have careers because their performances have been photographed and edited in a way that can be digested by the lay public."

My sympathies are with you about recognizing the crafts of filmmaking, but I'd say that Clooney, etc. have faces that look pretty damn good no matter how they're photographed. imho those of us who labor in the vineyards of video, working with ordinary people, have a lot harder job making our subjects palatable than people who get to work with actors who "photograph well."

The Baltimore Sun's David Zurawick wrote a great column about the Oscars telecast, btw. (Or, at least a column that expressed my thoughts.) The Academy laid an egg by going young last year, so this year they reconstituted an old movie palace, which very few people even recognized as such (it just looked old). The clips, including the endlessly-recycled Meg Ryan orgasm scene, only served to remind viewers of how much they USED to like going to the movies. And Billy Crystal... USED to be fresh.

And yet, when I looked at the clips of the individual nominees, I realized that the actual work being done today, across the whole range of the art, is really excellent. Just to be nominated is an honor; I agree that the "real" winners are only sorted out years later. How can the Harry Potter franchise never, ever win an Oscar? Because there is a lot of great special effects work out there.

Bob C

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