Thursday, February 23, 2012


It's time for my favourite awards show of the year, the Oscars. In the 84th Academy Awards, AMPAS (Academy of Motion Pictures Sciences and Arts) honors the best films of 2011 in 24 different categories.  The polls closed on Tuesday and the academy is now counting the votes for Sundays show. Event will be hosted by Billy Crystal, making this his ninth time on hosting duty. Here is a small trailer for the E!News Red Carpet Show:

Here are some facts I've picked up about the event:

Cirque Du Soleil will be giving us a three-minute performance. Last time they performed at Oscars was at 74th Awards ten years ago.

Uggie, the dog from The Artist, will make an appearance with  Crystal before retiring from show biz.

Kermit & Miss Piggy will be presenting an award. They will most likely hand out the award for Best Animated Feature

EP Don Mischer tries to keep the show in 3 hours, so hopefully the long boring speeches will be cut short

Kodak Theater is no longer the name of the venue, after Kodak pulled its sponsorship due bankruptcy. The venue will be called Hollywood & Highland Center, until a new sponsor is found.

Sasha Baron Cohen was reportedly banned from the Oscars, but Academy Spokeswoman confirmed that he is still welcome, just not as the character of his upcoming movie, The Dictator. He received the invitation due to his role in Hugo. UPDATE: Apparrntly the Academy is now OK with him. I don't think the Dictator has any place in the Oscars

The Green Room, designed by Waldo Fernadez, will look something like this: 

The stage itself is still a bit of a mystery, but here is a small peek:

 And now for the awards themselves:

Here you can find all the nominees! If you haven't seen all the nominated films, you can check out these cool (slightly altered) posters briefing what the movies are really all about, like this one from The Descendants:

Here are my predictions:
 (who I think will win, who I think deserves to win)

Best Picture: The Artist, The Artist
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist), Michel Hazanavicius
Best Actor: Jean Dujardin (The Artist), Jean Dujardin
Best Actress: Viola Davis (The Help), Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn)
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer (Beginners), Christopher Plummer
Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer (The Help), Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids)
Best Original Screenplay: Midnight In Paris (Woody Allen), Midnight In Paris
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Descendants (Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Best Animated Feature: Rango, Puss In Boots
Best Foreign Language Film: A Separation (Iran), A Separation
Best Documentary - Feature: Undefeated
Best Documentary - Short Subject: God Is Bigger Than Elvis
Best Live Action Short: Pentecost
Best Animated Short: A Morning Stroll, La Luna
Best Original Score: The Artist (Ludovic Bource), The Artist
Best Original Song: Man Or Muppet (The Muppets), Real In Rio (Rio)
Best Sound Editing:  Hugo, Drive
Best Sound Mixing: Hugo, War Horse
Best Art Direction: Hugo, Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows Part II
Best Cinematography:  The Artist, The Tree Of Life
Best Makeup: Iron Lady, Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows Part II
Best Costume Design: The Artist, The Artist
Best Film Editing: The Artist, The Artist
Best Visual Effects: Hugo, Rise of the Planet of the Apes

For those who care to read, here are my reasons:

And remember that the Academy members will vote on their respective field of expertise, so Sound Mixers vote Sound Mixing etc. Except Best Picture, which is a whole different mess after past year's changes (which explains 9 nominees)

Best Picture is pretty much sure bet at the moment. The Artist has already won Producer's Guild Award, which is pretty much the best predictions for the winner. The film has also won BAFTA and a Golden Globe among others. And I think it really deserves to win, because it really stands out from the other nominees. The viewing experience is truly extraordinary with the B&W and silence. Best Director award has almost always gone to the winner of Best Picture, and I don't think this year will be any different. Michel Hazanavicius has already won Director's Guild Award, and so far 57 of 63 DGA winners have taken home an Oscar too.

Best Actor should/will go to Jean Dujardin. His amazingly expressive performance is really stunning, and Geroge Clooney's role in Descendants which is close second on the awards, doesn't compare at all. With Screen Actor's Guild in his pocket, Dujardin will most likely become the first Frenchmen to win Oscar for Best Actor.

Best Actress is bit more shifty. Davis has won Critic's Choice and SAG, while Streep took home BAFTA and a Golden Globe. Streep's awards are bit more commercial, so that dips the scale for Davis. Also The Help is nominated for Best Picture when Iron Lady failed to score a nom.  And Streep managed to anger few academy members when her producers from Weinstein Company send mass email advertisement for her. From all five nominees I'd like to see Michelle Williams win, simply because she really made me fall in love with her interpretation of Marilyn Monroe, plus she nailed the appearance and she is long overdue to win an Oscar (but then again so is Davis).

Best Supporting categories have been pretty much carved in stone since the start. Both Christopher Plummer and Octavia Spencer have won SAG, BAFTA and Golden Globes. From the male nominees, I didn't really find anyone that great, all were literally supporting and didn't make a splash, but Plummer did a great job as the bit confused elderly who came out as gay at his seventies. Octavia Spencer deserves all the praise she's gotten, with her sassy performance as the maid who makes Bryce Dallas Howard eat her shit. But I was so happy to see a comedy role represented at the Oscars, that for that shear fact (and her hilarious performance) Melissa should win the award.

As for the screenplays. AMPAS has prove its love for Woody Allen in the past, making his the most nominated writer in Oscar history, and Midnight In Paris is really beautifully written story that is the basically the indie version of Inception when Owen Wilson's character gets sucked in to the magic of the 1920's. The  Artist did win at the BAFTA's for writing, which was a bit surprising taking into account that it is a silent movie. Descendants will most likely score at Best Adapted category (which might be its only award). I personally liked Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. I haven't read either of the originals, so I base my decision on the overall writing of the movies. Midnight In Paris and The Descendants also won at the Writer's Guild Awards.

Best Animated Feature is pretty safe too. Rango has scored almost all the awards it has been nominated, except at the Golden Globes, where Adventures of Tintin won the prize. To be honest I was surprised that Tintin didn't get nominated, at first I thought it just wasn't eligible for the category, since it's motion capture, but it was on the short list. I think some voters opted for it as a Best Picture, reducing its chances at Animated Feature. For my taste Rango was bit too dry (not just because the story is basically about water shortage), but it didn't make me laugh or feel much at all. Now Puss In Boots is a whole different story, I went to see it with my sister (there were no kids at the audience btw) and we just kept laughing and it was really entertaining overall.

Then there are some categories, where I rely on the things I've read. Since I haven't seen any of the doc's and only one Foreign Language Film, I just go with what the other critics have said. A Separation is a pretty sure thing, since its biggest competition The Skin I Live In didn't even get nominated. Documentaries are apparently a lot harder to predict, since almost all the sites I've read have different picks. As for the Animated Short Subject: Pixar has been for long overlooked since it started dominating at the Animated Feature, but based on the trailers La Luna seems like so heartfelt and adorable story it should win. Guess I'll just have to wait for the next Pixar full feature Brave (more on next weekly issue). 

Best Score is hopefully a sure bet too. John Williams might have two nominations, and two great scores, but the score in The Artist plays so great part, it should be nominated as an supporting actor. It is what brings the movie to life. With only two nominees (RAGE, Academy has promised  "a hard look at the issue"), the Best Original Song is really a 50:50 game. Muppet is a beloved franchise and the song is really vowen into the movie. where as Real In Rio song is made by popular south American artists and  a great vibe on the song.

The most nominated movie of the evening Hugo gets its chance to shine at the technical awards. Hugo has already won plenty for Sound Editing and Mixing, and so it will at the Oscars too.  With the 3D technology and visuals Scorsese has crated for Hugo, it will most likely take home Best Art Direction and Visual Effects. Now since I can't stand Hugo, I've picked other favourites for winners. No comments on them, since this post is running pretty long already, except that my picks are the best and Hugo should lose at all of them.

With the amazing job the make-up artists made in Iron Lady, its no wonder it might win Best Makeup. But I think Harry Potter did even better job, but it is being overlooked by the academy, even Daniel Radcliffe says so. And also, in the past the winner of Best Makeup has also been nominated for Best Picture, so that kinda rules the rest out.  Best Costume Design might be hard to guess, facts (most costume winners are Best Picture nominee/winners, and time pieces), but I'm guessing The Artist, since it relies on the visuals, which costumes are a part of. Madonna's W.E won at the Costume Designer's Guild, so that gives it a bit of momentum, but I still believe The Artist will win.

And for those who still like to read after all that, you can find a great piece about 100 Oscar Facts at


In case you ever happen to win an Oscar, here are some tips what not to do when accepting an award.

I'll be writing a post-Oscar post too, lets see how my predictions went!

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