Booredatwork’s Oscar Picks

Oscar2012

Sometimes life gets in the way – hence our complete lack of Oscar coverage this year (between 2 west coast trips, an overload at my full time job, general busy-ness, and the need to create excuses for my lack of Booredatwork – work.)  However, I have given enough time in the midst of everything to put together this wonderful Oscar write-up for you.  I feel truly blessed to deliver my feelings of complete understanding in the film world unto you – the wonderful readers of Booredatwork. For tonight, you shall be blessed with my knowledge.

Without further Ado – My thoughts and picks for the Oscars…

Best Picture
The Artist – Thomas Langmann
The Descendants – Jim Burke, Jim Taylor, and Alexander Payne
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Scott Rudin
The Help – Brunson Green, Chris Columbus, and Michael Barnathan
Hugo – Graham King and Martin Scorsese
Midnight in Paris – Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum
Moneyball – Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz, and Brad Pitt
The Tree of Life – Dede Gardner, Sarah Green, Grant Hill, and Bill Pohlad
War Horse – Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy

If any of you have read my Oscar picks in the past (as I would hope), you would know how I despise the 9 noms (this year – 10 most others) for Best Picture.  Why add 4 movies that are not deserving of a Win?  By diluting the pool, you just open it up for more debate, and allow the cream to rise to the top.  It is easy to see which films will NOT be stepping to the podium (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Help, and Moneyball), and which of the remaining 5 are not fitting (Midnight in Paris, The Artist.) Out of the remaining 3, never has an all-ages film won best picture (Hugo).

OK – 2 truly deserving films this year. This is manageable.

Out of these 2, only 1 stands out as being cream of the crop.  It has been recognized by critics and panels around the world as being the finest film, and in my mind is poised to be the Best Picture of 2012

Winner: The Tree of Life

Best Director
Woody Allen – Midnight in Paris
Michel Hazanavicius – The Artist
Terrence Malick – The Tree of Life
Alexander Payne – The Descendants
Martin Scorsese – Hugo

This is a subject up for much debate with me.  Every year, I wax poetic that the Best Director must direct the Best Picture.  It is as astute an observation as saying the sun rises in the east and sets in the west – how else could this be?  The finest picture in all the land for 2012 MUST be the finest director of 2012.  However – I must give special notice to Michel Hazanavicius for “the Artist”.  As difficult as it is to shoot a period piece, behind the camera is all modern equipment, and while the look around might be stylized, the shots themselves are simply like every other film.

Except with “The Artist”.  They do not use a zoom lens, the camera is fixed, and it feels like an authentic 1920’s feature.  Many Kudos to Michel Hazanavicius for this.  While not a win – creative and difficult.

Winner: The Tree of Life

Best Actor
Demián Bichir – A Better Life as Carlos Galindo
George Clooney – The Descendants as Matt King
Jean Dujardin – The Artist as George Valentin
Gary Oldman – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as George Smiley
Brad Pitt – Moneyball as Billy Beane

This year’s group is an interesting conglomeration of talent.  For example, normally when you are playing a biographical role of a historical event, it translates into Oscar gold – not this year for Brad Pitt (Sorry – it didn’t really feel like a lead actor that was stretching himself very much on this one).  Although thoroughly incredible, neither will Jean Dujardin be gracing us this year as a winner, though I feel he showed more talent and range in a silent movie then Brad Pitt did as Billy Beane.

No, this year’s pick is a bit of a standout, yet a blend-in.  Ok – I am shocked at this, but my pick this year is up for his first nomination.  While he has been nominated for several awards in his home country – this is his first here in this country – a shock to me, and probably to you.  But a much overdue, well deserved, and spectacularly talented nomination.

WINNER: Gary Oldman – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as George Smiley

Best Actress
Glenn Close – Albert Nobbs as Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis – The Help as Aibileen Clark
Rooney Mara – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as Lisbeth Salander
Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady as Margaret Thatcher
Michelle Williams – My Week with Marilyn as Marilyn Monroe

This is too close to call.  My lord – how do you choose?

The easiest is to trim out the first time nominees – Viola Davis and Rooney Mara – as the academy rarely awards a woman on her first nomination.  But how do you select from there?  Michelle Williams did a fabulous version of Marilyn Monroe – right down to the very breathy speak, smile, and movement.  But having her with the other two is like asking who is a better hitter between Mantle, DiMaggio, or Berra (Hint: Michelle Williams is Yogi Berra in this comparison).  How can anyone NOT vote for Meryl Streep?  My God – when she retires, they will have to name the stage at the Oscars for her, since she seems to have spent most of her career annually strolling red carpets and collecting hardwear.  Seriously, does she have any shelf space left?

Quite possibly.

WINNER: Glenn Close – Albert Nobbs as Albert Nobbs

 

 

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh – My Week with Marilyn as Laurence Olivier
Jonah Hill – Moneyball as Peter Brand
Nick Nolte – Warrior as Paddy Conlon
Christopher Plummer – Beginners as Hal Fields
Max von Sydow – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close as The Renter

This is a “who’s who” of the last 20 years of acting talent – a virtual cavalcade of acting.  The gentlemen on this list have forgotten more this week about acting then any of us will ever know.  The depth of their perceptive knowledge and talents knows no bounds, and I find it difficult to narrow down a winner.  I mean the talent alone here is astounding.

Oh, and there is Jonah Hill too.

I am guessing Nick Nolte won’t be winning, as he is a relative newcomer to the Oscar stage (one previous nomination 20 years earlier for Prince of Tides). Nor Max Von Sydow (whom I adore as an actor), as he has never been nominated before in his longstanding career, and I don’t see him being able to pick up a statuette this time.  However, Kenneth Branagh, one of the most delightful and decorated actors currently in the UK will be empty handed at the end of this evenings event as well.

WINNER: Christopher Plummer – Beginners as Hal Fields

Best Supporting Actress
Bérénice Bejo – The Artist as Peppy Miller
Jessica Chastain – The Help as Celia Foote
Melissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids as Megan Price
Janet McTeer – Albert Nobbs as Hubert Page
Octavia Spencer – The Help as Minny Jackson

This is always a wildcard of a category.  This year, it is filled with first and second timers, which makes predicting the academy so difficult.  As a result, I will consult with my Gut on this.  Give me a moment…

* Pause for effect *

Excellent.  My gut told me there is only one actress that is head and shoulders above the rest, and has excelled in the last 18 months to become the pre-eminent young actress of this generation.  Her wins around the country for her role in The Help have helped leapfrog her not only onto the Academy landscape, but into all of our homes

WINNER: Jessica Chastain – The Help as Celia Foote

Best Writing – Original Screenplay
The Artist – Michel Hazanavicius
Bridesmaids – Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo
Margin Call – J.C. Chandor
Midnight in Paris – Woody Allen
A Separation – Asghar Farhadi

This is an interesting year…a silent film is in for Best Original Screenplay, as is a comedy, and a thinly veiled look at the the failure of Lehman Brothers – and none of these will win, no matter how great, how funny, or how true to life they are.  It is nearly impossible for a comedy to win anything at the Oscars, as is a silent film; nor does the academy enjoy having to look into society’s mirror, even under the “fictional” tag.  Nor is it easy for them to swallow a film from Iran, given our current status with the middle eastern state.  No, that leaves but one fine film from an academy longstander, someone whom knows how to turn a phrase, direct poignant films, and make entertainment for us all to enjoy

WINNER: Midnight in Paris – Woody Allen

Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay
The Descendants – Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash from The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings
Hugo – John Logan from The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
The Ides of March – George Clooney, Grant Heslov, and Beau Willimon from Farragut North by Beau Willimon
Moneyball – Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin; Story by Stan Chervin from Moneyball by Michael Lewis
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan from Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré

How does one choose the best adapted screenplay?  Is it best adapted from the original story?  Or is it the best story of the group?  Or, does the best of the whole lot make it, regardless if it was adapted completely, and accurately?  These are the thing I ponder at 3 am when I cannot sleep – what makes an adapted screenplay the best adapted screenplay?

Your guess is as good as mine – as the professionals around the world seem split themselves on which of these are the best.

Well, here goes my opinion: In all I have seen, read, considered, pondered, conceived, thought about, debated, parcelled, divided, divied and courted, I came to one conclusion – there is no clear cut winner.  However, someone does need to win.  And while I have 3 that I think deserve it, I believe there is only one strong enough to carry this category, as they do not have many Oscars coming tonight.

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