November 4, 2011

Gaze Into My Crystal Ball: The Black Hole's First Oscar 2012 Predictions

I was watching Your Highness today and for some reason I don't entirely understand, it got me thinking of what movies stand a chance of being nominated come Academy Awards time.

It was probably because I thought that there was no way a piece of shit like Your Highness would ever be nominated. Yeah, that was probably it.

But it did get me thinking. Less than two months are left in the year, and there are still a whole slew of movies that have yet to see the light of day. Though "Oscar" season is in full swing right now, it is far from over, with more than a handful of potential candidates queued up. And yes, a post like this is nothing new. Everyone does one of these. But, just give me a chance, and I'll do my best to impart some 19 year old wisdom on you.

Ok, let's go.

Now, it's only the first week of November. That means there are still a crap ton of movies that are coming out, many with more than a good shot at some Oscar glory. Given that the past few weeks have been uncharacteristically strong for so early in the season, one can expect great things in the days to come. J. Edgar, Melancholia, The Descendants, Hugo, A Dangerous Method, and The Artist, all of which come out by the end of November, look poised to command some nomination attention, whether it be through hype, early critical praise, pedigree of the people involved, or some combination of both.

Take Hugo, for example. Ordinarily, a whimsical tale of some kid going off on some adventure wouldn't warrant a passing glance from anyone. But Hugo is directed by Martin Scorsese, which immediately elevates the project to "Must See" status.

These aren't the mean streets!

Even some November films that wouldn't ordinarily catch the eye of Academy voters look like they could surprise. The Muppets could be just the family friendly affair that the Academy is looking for. Immortals looks like 300, but I'm getting a sense that there is a stronger project lurking beneath all that smoke and mirrors that could sweep some voters off their feet. It doesn't hurt that the Greek epic is being directed by an "art-house" director, Tarsem Singh.

And then we get to December, where a lot of big boys come out to play. First and foremost is David Fincher's take on The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which is practically assured some heavy nominations only for the fact that it's Fincher, and he really should have won last year. Everything is working for Dragon Tattoo to be the big winner on Oscar night. It's based on a much loved book. It has great actors and actresses. It has David Fincher at the helm. Also, let us not forget that the last time a movie adapted from a foreign movie won big at the Oscars, it was also helmed by a director long overdue for a win.

But it looks like dear old Lisbeth Salander will be facing some competition by big name players in the Christmas month. The cold-war spy thriller, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, one of my most anticipated of the year, boasts an incredible display of excellent British actors, and is being overseen by Tomas Alfredson, who's last movie was the superb Let the Right One In.

I'll do my utmost (to win).

Cameron Crowe makes a return to features and teams up with Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, and Thomas Hayden Church for We Bought a Zoo, which looks to fill the inspirational, dysfunctional family thing that the Academy loves so much quite well. Meryl Streep is practically guaranteed Oscar nom #17 as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, and Stephen Frears tackles coping with 9/11 in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Writer Diablo Cody teams up with director Jason Reitman again for Young Adult. Being that this is the pairing that gave us Juno, consideration is immediately there.

Steven Spielberg has, not one, but two big movies coming out that could warrant some serious buzz. First is Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, filmed entirely using motion capture, which could easily pick up some technical nods and maybe even a Best Animated Feature consideration. Then there is War Horse, which clearly has loftier goals. A big, rousing, war epic is something that hasn't been seen on the list of noms since Letters From Iwo Jima way back in 2007, and the fact that it's based on critically praised play and boasts some great talent from the likes of David Thewlis and Tom Hiddleston, well, you can see where it's going.

Some potential upsetters include Angelina Jolie in her directorial debut with In the Land of Blood and Honey, and Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly in We Need to Talk About Kevin. 

Two December releases would stand a chance in my mind, if they weren't so controversial. Roman Polanski's Carnage, which looks great, has no chance thanks in large part to the director's legal troubles. Shame, with Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan, garnered incredibly strong reviews from the festival circuit, but it's that damn NC-17 rating that puts the nails in the coffin. The Academy hates sex. It's proven.

Of course, we mustn't forget what has already come. The clear front runner, in my eyes, of the movies that have already come out is Drive, which is a methodical, art house picture, which makes it a likely candidate before you throw in the heaps of critical praise.

People! Seriously! I got this!

But the likes of Moneyball, Contagion, The Ides of March, and 50/50 could provide hefty competition. Moneyball has the Brad Pitt factor, the Aaron Sorkin factor, and the storied American pastime factor. Contagion has Steven Soderbergh, and is a multi-layered, ensemble drama, which the Academy loves. Crash, anyone? Even though I didn't dig on it, I can't deny that The Ides of March is a relevant film, and the critics did warm up to it. 50/50 stands the lowest chance, but even that could prove to have legs.

Going back even further, you find that the summer had something to offer. Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life, while a very polarizing film in its own right, is just the kind of trippy, art-house, avant-garde piece of work that the Academy snobs would go for. I mean, the film totally deserves it; it's amazing, but still. Beginners is just the kind of small quirky indie that the Academy looks for to round out their selection, and Super 8 certainly garnered enough critical praise to warrant a mention.

I would talk about Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but that's a whole 'nother article in and of itself.

But the one that must not be over looked is the biggest one of the year. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 currently holds a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the highest of any major release so far this year, and, to date, has grossed over a billion dollars world wide, 380 million in the US alone. This movie could go all the way. Not only is it good enough to do so, but it's the final installment in a much beloved, and more importantly, successful franchise, the most profitable in history. This could be along the lines of what happened with Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. If it wins, it won't be so much a testament to the singular film's quality, but the franchise as a whole. I mean, I don't think there's any chance Deathly Hallows: Part 2 isn't getting a Best Picture nom, and with the reputation it has already built up, a win doesn't seem so far fetched either.

After everything I've done for you, I think I deserve it!

We are still a long way off, so a lot of what I'm saying here will almost certainly change. This is also made doubly so when you remember that the Academy will nominating some random number of films for Best Picture, more than 5, but less than 10, potentially. But, whatever. For now, these are my predictions.

The 5-10 Best Picture will consist of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Drive, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Tree of Life, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, War Horse, The Artist and The Ides of March, with the winner being a toss up between Deathly Hallows and Drive. 

Best Director will be Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive), David Fincher (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), Tomas Alfredson (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), David Yates (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2), and Steven Spielberg (War Horse), with the winner being either Winding Refn or Fincher.

Best Actor will be Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Ryan Gosling (Drive), Brad Pitt (Moneyball), Leonardo DiCaprio (J. Edgar), and Viggo Mortensen (A Dangerous Method), with the winner being Oldman. He's far overdue.

Best Actress will be Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady), Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene), Kirsten Dunst (Melancholia), Rooney Mara (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), and Charlize Theron (Young Adult), with Streep taking the trophy in the end.

I shaved my eyebrows off for this role! I better win!

Best Supporting Actor will be Alan Rickman (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2), Albert Brooks (Drive), Christopher Plummer (Beginners), Michael Fassbender (A Dangerous Method), and Matt Damon (Contagion), with Plummer taking it home.

Best Supporting Actress with be Carey Mulligan (Drive), Jessica Chastain (The Tree of Life), Melanie Laurent (Beginners), Sandra Bullock (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close), and Kate Winslet (Contagion), with Chastain or Mulligan pulling through.

That's all for now. Like I said, I fully expect to be 100% wrong in the long run, but, whatever. This whole thing is a game anyway.

Anyway, what say you? Agree? Disagree? Sound off! Peace!


  1. Lots of movies I haven't seen :(

    I think HPDHP2 getting a nod will depend heavily on a handful of films that are considered Oscar contenders coming up way short. Though the power of 'due' is one not to be denied in Hollywood circles.

    Which is why I think Oldman has a real shot at best Actor, even if the movie turns out to be as polarizing as some of the early reviews I've read.

  2. You can take this to the bank: Not a snowball's chance Potter gets a BP nomination.

  3. Oh, and while I'm raining on your parade, no way that DRIVE wins either. It has a possibility of getting a BP nomination - though even that is a stretch - but it doesn't come with the weight that most BP winners have built in.

  4. Fincher for Best Director; the campaign starts here! But for a remake??? I'm not sure that's fair...

  5. As much as it saddens me to say, I agree with Ryan in that neither Potter nor Drive have much of a chance of a nomination, let alone a win. Potter is too populist without being groundbreaking like Return of the King or Avatar were. Drive is too alienating.

    I'm betting on Best Picture noms for:

    War Horse
    The Help
    The Artist
    The Descendants
    J. Edgar
    Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
    Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy
    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

    I'm also calling it now: the most deserving candidate to get snubbed will be Nick Nolte for Best Suporting Actor in Warrior. Won't get a nomination despite deserving a win

  6. @Univarn: Maybe. I still think the amount of praise Potter received will elevate it into the nominees. It'll be this year's Inception.

    @Hatter: Well, maybe. LIke I said, it's still early. I just don't think you should underestimate the staying power of those two.

    @pturner1010: Hey. Scorsese won for The Departed, which was technically a remake of a foreign film.

    @Tom: SHIT!!! I forgot about The Help. White guilt always gets a nom, even though I hear that one actually deserves it.

  7. I don't dispute their staying power - I believe that they'll be on many people's year-end top ten lists.

    What I do dispute, is the sort of films Oscar voters hail at year's end...

    They have had no love for the Potter series up until now, and as Tom mentioned this is a radically different situation than the LOTR situation. The hailing of return of the king was their way of rewarding *one* vision, made by *one* director in *one* ambitious continual stretch. Potter has been a franchise passed around between a group of directors and been a constant evolution. What's more, its final instalment wasn't as monstrously impressive as the final LOTR instalment.

    It was the final chapter in a pop culture phenomenon...but pop culture phenomenons do not translate into Oscar nominations.

    As for DRIVE, it stands an outside shot, but remember that Oscar voters tend not to reward 'cool factor'. The movie is very divisive, and eschews story for style.

    What's more is that it's turned out to be a good year, and DRIVE might just be overmatched. Of the films that have already premiered, it's going to be in tough with seven titles already - and there are still a mittful of heavy-hitters to come.

    At the end of the day, it just comes down to the sort of film that Oscar voters tend to nominate...and neither DRIVE nor potter are that sort of film.

  8. Fair point about Scorcese and Departed. Perhaps Fincher will get the Oscar because the academy are desperate to recognise him after missing his other classics! I imagine the fim will be too brutal though.