But I even have "The Artist" down for Original Screenplay, echoing the choice the BAFTAs made. I imagine that they're not going to look too superficially at it as undeserving because it's a silent film. And yes, I'm assuming "Midnight in Paris" will go home emptyhanded. Much as I enjoyed it, that's something I expect to happen. The performance categories are irreversible at this point, almost depressingly so in terms of that search for surprise. But let's reflect, shall we? This year, 82-year-old Christopher Plummer, who had not been nominated until last year, will receive his first, and deserving, Academy Award.
It'll be the first time two black actresses win in the same year, the second time two black performances win in the same year, but the first time the two winners would be from the same film. The first time was between Forrest Whitaker of "The Last King of Scotland" and Jennifer Hudson of "Dreamgirls". I don't mean to make it seem like more than it is, but this year is distinctly less prejudicial against race, age, or nationality. After all, a French comedy filmed silent and in black and white is about to sweep the major categories, and land Jean Dujardin with an Oscar. Maybe it's worth noting it as the first time a French man wins Best Actor. I think it is.
And since I'm one for taking leaps of faith, I'm going to say that "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" wins for Adapted Screenplay. Yes, I'm also saying that "The Descendants" is going to go home empty-handed. Maybe I'm thinking too optimistically on that one, but I'd rather love the bragging rights, and in this case, I could care less if I'm right. There are categories that are destined to be taken by "Hugo", and that's just natural. I think "Jane Eyre" has a significant chance for costume design. Showiness dictates it to go to "Anonymous", but just maybe they'll hand it to something more reserved, and perhaps... better? But the guild award went to "W.E.", so that may be where you should end up placing your Sunday cards.
I have "Hugo" down for the predestined Art Direction and Visual Effects, but only for Sound Mixing. Sound Editing, I'm holding out hope for "Drive", and this will be the chance to see if the Academy has enough passion in them to hand them just one award. This has gone to films the Academy has ignored to a degree in the past, or else had some visceral passion for. Between "Inception", "The Hurt Locker", "The Dark Knight", "The Bourne Ultimatum", "King Kong", and even "The Incredibles", I think they're heading for something more action oriented in this slot. It could go to "Transformers: Dark of the Moon", or even "War Horse" for all I have to care, but maybe they'll push to give the best film nominated this year something.
Other than that, we're pretty much just waiting for the cards to fall. For the documentary branch, I'm going for "Undefeated" to take it. That seems like the most significantly themed doc up there, and something in me just has no interest in "Paradise Lost 3" winning. And since I have nothing else to play cards on, I'm going for "A Separation" in the Foreign Language branch. Let the automatics go soundly. Let the cards land where they will. In the words of Heath Ledger, "We really should stop this fighting, or else we'll miss the fireworks!"
Best Picture: "The Artist"
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius ("The Artist")
Best Actor: Jean Dujardin ("The Artist")
Best Actress: Viola Davis ("The Help")
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer ("Beginners")
Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer ("The Help")
Best Original Screenplay: "The Artist"
Best Adapted Screenplay: "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"
Best Animated Feature: "Rango"
Best Art Direction: "Hugo"
Best Cinematography: "The Tree of Life"
Best Costume Design: "Jane Eyre"
Best Film Editing: "The Artist"
Best Makeup: "The Iron Lady"
Best Original Score: "The Artist"
Best Original Song: "Man or Muppet" from "The Muppets"
Best Sound Editing: "Drive"
Best Sound Mixing: "Hugo"
Best Visual Effects: "Hugo"
Best Foreign Language Film: "A Separation"
Best Documentary Feature: "Undefeated"