Still, the Oscars continue to exist in all their prestige and glory and no matter how much we would like to believe otherwise, are a yearly staple for film lovers, especially those bloggers who feel compelled to write daily posts and predictions and updates leading up to the show. So, here is what I predict the show will look like in the major categories:
Best Foreign Language Film:
What Will Win: A Separation
What Should Win: A Separation
There's no real logic to this category for me. Every year I pick the film I feel the most people are talking about. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.
Best Animated Feature:
What Will Win: Rango
What Should Win: Rango
This is a hard one. Most years it's Pixar vs the world. Not only did they not make the cut this year but there's also two films nominated that not many people in North America will have heard of. Last year, despite it truly being the best animated film, The Illusionist lost, so I'm discrediting those. Dreamworks has two spots but both of them were entertaining but thin, while Rango was the true surprise in that it appealed, not just to kids and not just to adults, but to the entire family without being winky or self referential. I hope it wins.
Best Adapted Screenplay:
What Will Win: The Descendants
What Should Win: The Descendants
In a lesser year Alexandr Payne's The Descendants would have been a front runner to sweep all the major awards. Seeing as this is a writer's movie and the Academy hasn't been afraid to honour Payne's writing in the past, this should be an easy call.
Best Original Screenplay:
What Will Win: Midnight in Paris
What Should Win: Midnight in Paris
Midnight in Paris is not only also a writers movie but it is a love letter to writing as a whole. That factored in with the fact that this has been Woody Allen's most successful movie and how Oscar loves a comeback should seal the deal over The Artist.
Who Will Win: Michel Hazanavicius
Who Should Win: Terrance Malick
The DGA has spoken and Oscar rarely ever disagrees. The director of the Artist will beat out the old masters, despite him having his name on the least interesting film of the batch. Will Oscar throw a curve ball and give it to Scorsese? I have my doubts.
Best Supporting Actress:
Who Will Win: Octavia Spencer
Who Should Win: Melissa McCarthy
The Oscars don't often honour character acting, especially in comedy. They much prefer "Hollywood acting" which is exactly the card that McCarthy doesn't hold. I'm often curious if the voters also take into mind what would make for good TV and after her teary standing ovation at the Golden Globes, who could deny Octavia Spencer the win?
Best Supporting Actor:
Who Will Win: Christopher Plummer
Who Should Win: Christopher Plummer
Plummer is a legend. Not only is his time due but look at his competition. This one is a no brainer.
Who Will Win: Viola Davis
Who Should Win: Michelle Williams
This is going to be the year Oscar isn't going to be racist with the big acting awards. But Oscar also loves it when Actors play real people (especially one of Hollywood's own), so could Michelle Williams possibly sneak in with an unexpected win?
Who Will Win: Jean Dujardin
Who Should Win: George Clooney
The Academy will honour the star of The Artist for no better reason than that we can't believe anyone anymore who could A) act in a silent movie while B) looking just like a silent movie star. Much more compelling, subtle and complex was Clooney who managed to shed his movie star hunk image to play a wounded everyman just trying to do what he thinks is best for himself and his family.
What Will Win: The Artist
What Should Win: Tree of Life
My problem with The Artist, although not as deep, is the same as my problem with Drive: they confidently show that they are able to create homage to bygone days but, really, so what? The Artist is an entertaining but thin yarn about silent movies and the effect the emergence of sound had on the stars. And since this is the year Hollywood decided to go retro The Academy will award the film that went the most retro and picked up the most awards along the way. If Hugo had performed better at the box office and with the year end criticis' awards it would have been the undeniable front runner. Tree of Life, on the other hand was the most beautiful, personal, poetic and profound statement any film made this year. If it had come out 40 years ago it would be a timeless classic, but it also required the audience to work to find meaning in it and that's not okay anymore. Therefore the grand poet of the cinema and America's greatest living director will be put behind the film that knew how to rehash the old conventions in the most obvious and simplistic way. Sigh.