Oscar Nominees

And now, the nominees! Oscars tomorrow. This is most definitely not a prediction, because I don’t want to attempt to judge current tastes. I do however, offer my opinions, as always.

Best Motion Picture of the Year
The Artist
The Descendants
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
The Help
Hugo
Midnight in Paris
Moneyball
The Tree of Life
War Horse
If I have to pick a winner out of this group, it would be The Tree of Life. All artsy and nature-y and Stanley Kubrick-y, but choosing a film from this category is like when you’re playing Apples to Apples and you get stuck judging the hand when everyone puts in their throwaway cards. Moneyball? War Horse? These are not quality films.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Demián Bichir for A Better Life
George Clooney for The Descendants
Jean Dujardin for The Artist
Gary Oldman for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Brad Pitt for Moneyball
I did like Jean in The Artist. About the only thing I could stand about it. Gary Oldman is very good as well, but Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is such a “star-studded” piece, that he kind of gets lost in the shuffle.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis for The Help
Rooney Mara for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady
Michelle Williams for My Week with Marilyn
As previously mentioned, Meryl Streep, genius. Rooney Mara? Not even in her league.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Kenneth Branagh for My Week with Marilyn
Jonah Hill for Moneyball
Nick Nolte for Warrior
Christopher Plummer for Beginners
Max von Sydow for Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Christopher Plummer. And really, Jonah Hill? Is this belated praise for Superbad or something? Because that role is pretty much all he’s good at.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Bérénice Bejo for The Artist
Jessica Chastain for The Help
Melissa McCarthy for Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer for Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer for The Help
Jessica Chastain! She was so great in Tree of Life and The Debt and I haven’t seen Coriolanus yet, but she’s amazing in it. I know. Also, Melissa McCarthy already won an Emmy, ostensibly for “Mike and Molly,” but really for Bridesmaids. She did base her character on Guy Fieri, so that’s legit.

Best Achievement in Directing
Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris
Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist
Terrence Malick for The Tree of Life
Alexander Payne for The Descendants
Martin Scorsese for Hugo
Again, pick the best of the worst? Quality films, gentlemen! Oh look, no ladies. Such a shock. But, if this award is about achievement, then I would say Terrence Malick achieved the most with his film. If incoherent, Tree of Life is an achievement.

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
The Artist : Michel Hazanavicius
Bridesmaids: Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo
Margin Call: J.C. Chandor
Midnight in Paris: Woody Allen
A Separation: Asghar Farhadi
Hazanavicius should NOT be rewarded for all the stealing and destroying he did with that film. Kristin Wiig is a comic genius, and the only funny part of Midnight in Paris was Ernest Hemingway, and he probably really said all of that.

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
The Descendants: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
Hugo: John Logan
The Ides of March: George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon
Moneyball: Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin, Stan Chervin
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Bridget O’Connor, Peter Straughan
I think Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy represents the best achievement. Adapting a John Le Carre novel  well is actually difficult.

Best Achievement in Cinematography
The Artist: Guillaume Schiffman
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Jeff Cronenweth
Hugo: Robert Richardson
The Tree of Life: Emmanuel Lubezki
War Horse: Janusz Kaminski
Again, achievement-wise, Guillaume Schiffman demonstrated that he has indeed seen a classic film (unlike his boss) and has some respect for them (really unlike his boss), and while his shots were dead ringers for Citizen Kane and 1940’s noir and out of place in a 1920’s-era silent, he did do exactly as he was told. He should get an award for working with Hazanavicius and not coming out looking ignorant or rude.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
The Adventures of Tintin: John Williams
The Artist: Ludovic Bource
Hugo: Howard Shore
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Alberto Iglesias
War Horse: John Williams
This is actually atrocious as well. John Williams is competing against himself for Tin Tin and War Horse? How can I put more emphasis on how ridiculous that is? Oh, by comparing him to Ludovic Bource, who stole the score for The Artist from Vertigo (Bernard Herrmann). Hazanavicius admitted it and apparently does not care. How is The Artist even in this category? Hazanvicius said he bought the rights to the music, but by virtue of doing so, it makes the score unoriginal. Right? Oh, just give it to Williams.


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