Awards season is in full flow and it peaks this Sunday with the 84th Annual Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, baby! And it being the Oscars there are very few guarantees. We can be pretty certain about one or two things however: the red carpet will be out; the camera bulbs will be flashing and the good people over at E! television will be as annoying as ever as they shout, “you look AMAZING” at the nominees as they try their best to avoid the inane questions that are slung their way.
It promises to be an interesting year with a number of enticing storylines emerging. Will evil finally triumph over good in Hollywood with Meryl Streep winning for her portrayal of everyones least favourite Prime Minister? Will Martin Scorsese’s Hugo become the first 3D film to win Best Picture? Will John Williams add yet another statuette to his collection and win Best Original Score? And in the battle of the beautiful, will it be Brad or George who brings home the Oscar for Best Actor?
Below are my predictions, do you agree?
The Oscars Overlords will save this one until last on Sunday evening but I’m going to get it out of the way early. I’m still not a fan of the ‘ten nominations’ form they are employing again this year rather than the old five nominations they used to give out a few years back. If anything it helps make the ceremony even longer than it already is as each picture is introduced with its own special montage throughout the ceremony. And god knows the ceremony does not need to be any longer!
The big question is will The Artist win? It seems pretty likely that it will, but it isn’t a definite. The Descendants or perhaps The Help may yet pull a, what I like to call, ‘Little Miss Sunshine’. As two small, independent films they have a vibe that the Academy has found particularly alluring in recent years. I find it difficult to believe that Spielberg will add to his collection of Oscars though, surely War Horse is just too mainstream for the elite of the Academy? And the same goes for Scorsese’s Hugo. I mean, 3D…really?!
Who Will Win: The Artist. It has to be really. It’s niche, original and everyone is talking about it.
Who Should Win: The Descendants. A wonderful little film that in any other year would have been favourite, as was proven at the Golden Globes as it took Best Film there in a field devoid of any French silent cinema.
Biggest Upset: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Now I love Tom Hanks, and I mean LOVE, but there is no getting around the fact that this film is just plain bad.
One of the nice things about this year’s awards is that there is a distinct international flavour to them. For once foreign talent hasn’t been relegated to dark oft forgotten corners of the ‘Foreign’ categories. This is notable in the Best Actor category this year as we have one Mexican in the form of Demián Bichir and one Frenchman in the form of Jean Dujardin, who is apparently known as France’s answer to George Clooney. Then we have the American answer to George Clooney in the beautiful form of George Clooney, and his less attractive compatriot Brad Pitt. Rounding out the group is the token Brit, Gary Oldman.
But actually Oldman’s inclusion is anything but token. He has as good a chance as any to bring this one home for Team GB thanks to his fantastic turn in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, a film which really should have received more nominations than it did. But then there is no clear favourite in this category. Clooney has turned himself in to a bit of an Oscar darling recently but he certainly has some tough competition this year.
Who Will Win: George Clooney. I’ve gone for George because he was truly brilliant in The Descendants and as much as I admire it I just can’t see Jean Dujardin’s silent performance taking it.
Who Should Win: Gary Oldman. Again, such a difficult one to pick but I’ve gone for Gary because TTSS deserves more recognition than it has received.
Biggest Upset: Brad Pitt. As good an actor as he is, I’m not sure that even he can make a sports drama Oscar worthy. Especially one about baseball.
For us Brits at least this may well be the most interesting award of the night. Meryl Streep’s portrayal of dear old Margaret Thatcher had many of us screaming ‘too soon!’ and shuddering uncontrollably as we saw the Iron Lady’s image painted on the side of buses and billboards. Yet many across the pond believe her to be favourite to take the little statuette home, especially after her triumph in the Golden Globes.
There is worthy opposition here though. Viola Davis has been nominated for her performance in civil rights era drama The Help, and she is just one member of an absolutely fantastic ensemble cast with two other nominations for the film in the Best Supporting Actress category. And Rooney Mara might not be your conventional choice but her performance as Lisbeth Salander was good enough to draw very few comparisons with the magnificent performance of Noomi Rapace in the original Swedish version. Considering that the all round consensus prior to the American version’s release was that no one could replace Rapace that is certainly an impressive feat.
Who Will Win: Meryl Streep. I really, really hate to say this but Maggie may have it. I may be wrong though. Please god let me be wrong.
Who Should Win: Viola Davis. Critics went mad for her performance on release of The Help, and after missing out at the Golden Globes I’d love to see her take this one from underneath Streep’s nose.
Biggest Upset: Glenn Close. No, just no. Albert Nobbs was a terrible film, it really would be a massive upset if she was to win.
And here are just a select few of the remaining categories. Find out the rest of my predictions by following the Saint on Twitter and join me as I join Billy Crystal for the 84th Annual Academy Awards being shown over here by Sky Movies HD starting at 1:30am.
Best Supporting Actor
Yet another close one, but critics seem to be relatively certain that Plummer may well have this one. About time too.
Who Will Win: Christopher Plummer. He definitely deserves it and it would be great to see Beginners win at the Oscars as I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Who Should Win: Christopher Plummer. He’s a legend, fact.
Biggest Upset: Jonah Hill. I’m not going to start bashing Jonah but he is definitely the least deserving of an Oscar in this category. Just imagine if he beat both Branagh and Plummer. The RSC would have to cast him in Macbeth before the end of the year and no one wants to see that.
Best Original Score
John Williams has been nominated twice in this category for his work on War Horse and The Adventures of Tintin, but don’t expect him to win. This one surely has to go to the (not so) silent film The Artist.
Who Will Win: Ludovic Bource – The Artist. A magnificent score and one of those truly worthy of beating the legend that is John Williams.
Who Should Win: Ludovic Bource. It really has to be but I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing it go to Alberto Iglesias for his terrific work on Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
Biggest Upset: Howard Shore – Hugo. This may be a little controversial but I truly believe that Shore is one of the least inspiring and unoriginal composers to ever grace the Oscars and the big-time. Yes he has won three Oscars but they will all for his work on Lord of the Rings, surely the easiest films ever to score?!
Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay
There are some absolute crackers in this one and frankly I wouldn’t mind seeing any one of them take home the Oscar on Sunday evening.
Who Will Win: The Descendants. A worthy winner. I would like to say that Clooney made this film but he was given a big helping hand by an excellent screenplay.
Who Should Win: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. John Le Carré’s excellence isn’t squandered here and the film has just as much excitement and bite as the original novel. Why TTSS wasn’t nominated for Best Picture few know.
Biggest Upset: Moneyball. It may be unthinkable to have Aaron Sorkin as a nominee yet not have him as the favourite but frankly a film that has baseball statistics at its heart just won’t win. And I actually quite like baseball. But in a list of five, this comes 5th.