Tag Archives: Oscars

The Times Like Those Alternative Oscars!

Every year, the same movies snatch up a big portion  of the Oscar nominations. Then, we hear about these movies for months as we lead up to Oscar night. And while this year has been a pretty exciting race (I’d say the winners for both lead acting categories are up in the air), and there were a few surprise nominees that snuck in at the last moment (what’s up, Demian Birchir?), it  can get a little bit repetitive to hear about the same movies over and over again, even if you enjoyed them.

In hopes of offering a change of pace, I’ve compiled my own “Oscar”  list of sorts. For my categories, I ignored all of the existing Oscar nominees and focussed on films and performances that didn’t receive as much awards attention this year. I also omitted people like Shailene Woodley, who did not receive an Oscar nomination but still got lots of attention from critics, bloggers, and awards groups leading up to the nominations.

Also, keep in mind that there are still lots of films from this year that I need to see. Shame, Take Shelter, Melancholia, and Martha Marcy May Marlene are just a few on that list.

Enjoy, and feel free to post your own “alternative Oscars” in the comments.

Best Picture

Drive

The Ides of March

Meek’s Cutoff

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Win Win

It may be a small, unassuming film, but Meek’s Cutoff stuck with me in a big way this year. The film is unconventional in almost every way (the pacing, the mumbled dialogue, the refusal to punch up the story with high drama), and it’s a true achievement in cinema.

Best Director

Tomas Alfredson, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

George Clooney, The Ides of March

Carey Fukanaga, Jane Eyre

Nicholas Winding Refn, Drive

Kelly Reichardt, Meek’s Cutoff

Again, I have to give this one to Meek’s Cutoff. While Nicholas Winding Refn offered a masterclass in cool and Tomas Alfredson built insane tension around old guys sitting around talking in a room, Kelly Reichardt created something truly unique. I didn’t care for her last project, Wendy and Lucy, but her deliberate pace and sparse, terse tone worked wonders in Meek’s.

Best Actor

Dominic Cooper, The Devil’s Double

Ryan Gosling, Drive

Tom Hardy, Warrior

Ewan McGregor, Beginners

Owen Wilson, Midnight in Paris

Cooper masters not one but two challenging roles in this messy film. He’s chilling and downright crazy as Sadam Hussein’s son, Uday, and also deeply sympathetic as Latif, the man hired as Uday’s double. It’s a towering pair of performances, and Cooper finally realizes the potential he showed in small roles in films such as Starter for 10 and An Education.

Best Actress

Felicity Jones, Like Crazy

Keira Knightley, Last Night

Mia Wasikowska, Jane Eyre

Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids

Robin Wright, The Conspirator

Wiig gives a downright brilliant comedic performance in Bridesmaids, and sometimes that is enough for me. She throws herself into every gag headfirst, and she comes out in the end with a highly charming, perfectly executed performance. McCarthy is also great, but for me, Wiig is the reason to watch Bridesmaids.

Best Supporting Actor

Michael Fassbender, Jane Eyre

Colin Ford, We Bought a Zoo

Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Ides of March

Simon Pegg, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Mark Strong, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

I thought Fassbender was a tad overrated in X-Men (sorry), but he reminded me why I loved him so much in Fish Tank with a similarly physical and subtly threatening performance in the gorgeous Jane Eyre. He oozes charisma here, and makes for a completely magnetic screen presence. Kudos to Mark Strong, too, for fantastic scene-stealing work in Tinker Tailor, and for converting me into a Mark Strong fan.

Best Supporting Actress

Jessica Chastain, The Tree of Life

Anna Kendrick, 50/50

Carey Mulligan, Drive

Amy Ryan, Win Win

Michelle Williams, Meek’s Cutoff

It was the year of Chastain, and my favourite performance of hers (though I haven’t seen them all) was as the ethereal wife in The Tree of Life. It’s a beautiful, moving performance, and she slips seamlessly into the languid tone of the film.

84th Annual Academy Award Nominations

Well, well, well. There were definitely a few surprises in this morning’s nominations. In fact, I’d say that there’s at least one surprise in all of the major categories. It keeps things interesting, which is fun. Let’s take a look.

Best Picture

The Artist

The Descendants

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

The Help

Hugo

Midnight in Paris

Moneyball

The Tree of Life

War Horse

WOW, okay. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was definitely a surprise. I think most people (myself included) had given up on that one. The Tree of Life is less surprising, but I still would’ve thought The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo would’ve gotten in ahead of it. However, I do have to pat myself on the back a little bit for predicting that Dragon Tattoo would miss out. All of my predictions were correct in this category were correct – I just missed two of them.

Best Actor

Demian Birchir, A Better Life

George Clooney, The Descendants

Jean DuJardin, The Artist

Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Gary Oldman: Academy Award Nominee, at last! Guess this category wasn’t nearly as obvious as it seemed. Surprising about Birchir (guess I should have watched A Better Life when it was in the house), but I do feel a bit bad for Leo and Fassy (even though I’m not THAT surprised to see the latter snubbed).

Best Actress

Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs

Viola Davis, The Help

Rooney Mara, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

Oh, snap! Mara is a surprise (especially since she only got a Globe nom). Everyone else makes sense, but I am surprised that Swinton was the one to get snubbed over Close. I thought that this category would be pretty predictable.

Best Supporting Actor

Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn

Jonah Hill, Moneyball

Nick Nolte, Warrior

Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

When I saw EL&IC on the Best Picture list, I had a feeling von Sydow would be in. However, I thought he’d replace Nolte or even Hill – not the former frontrunner Albert Brooks. Brooks was obviously slipping after missing out on the SAG (and I had him ranked 4th), but I’m still very surprised. All of the critical favourites are missing out, it seems. Good for Nick Nolte, though. He was fantastic in Warrior.

Best Supporting Actress

Berenice Bejo, The Artist

Jessica Chastain, The Help

Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids

Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs

Octavia Spencer, The Help

Damn, Woodley was the one to miss out after all (but I thought she might be when Albert Brooks was snubbed). A lot of people saw that coming, but I definitely think she should have gotten in over McCarthy (she was great in that movie, but Oscar worthy?) and probably Bejo, in my opinion. Ah, well.

Best Director

Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris

Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist

Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life

Alexander Payne, The Descendants

Martin Scorsese, Hugo

The Malick fanboys will be happy, the Fincher fanboys will be pissed. A lot of people thought this category would match up with the DGA nominations. I figured Fincher would miss out, but I’m a little surprised that Malick was the one to bump him (especially since War Horse did get a Best Picture nom. I guess the fact that The Tree of Life also got one should have been my hint.)

Best Original Screenplay

The Artist

Bridesmaids

Margin Call

Midnight in Paris

A Separation

Two surprises with Margin Call and A Separation. They were both very much in the discussion, but I’m a bit surprised both made it in. Yay for Bridesmaids, though. (Academy Award Nominee Kristen Wiig!)

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Descendants

Hugo

The Ides of March

Moneyball

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Wow, I am really surprised that The Help missed out. Very, very surprised. I’m glad The Ides of March got in, though (even if it does mean yet another nomination for Clooney). I’m off to see Tinker Tailor later today, so we’ll see how that one measures up to the rest of the category.

Click here to see the full list of nominees. Want to know how many categories I correctly predicted all five nominees in? That would be zero.

FINAL Oscar Predictions

So this is it. In less than 48 hours, the nominations for the 84th Academy Awards will be announced. It’s been a pretty good race, in my opinion. It seems more unpredictable than the past couple of years, which is fun. Movies and performances that should been major contenders have kind of fallen by the wayside, while unexpected dark horses have emerged. I’m still conflicted about a couple of the acting categories, and I feel like there are definitely going to be some surprises on Tuesday morning. Here are my final FULL predictions for the nominees (the individual category pages, which include rankings, have also been updated).

Best Picture

The Artist

The Descendants

The Help

Hugo

Midnight in Paris

Moneyball

War Horse

I’m predicting that the Academy will nominate these seven films, though I could definitely see War Horse potentially missing the cut. The other six are pretty much sure bets. If the Academy wants to nominate more than seven (or snubs War Horse), then The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo would be my next guess, since it does seem to be picking up steam. The Tree of Life is another viable contender, but ultimately, I don’t think either film will make it in.

Best Director

Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris

Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist

Alexander Payne, The Descendants

Martin Scorsese, Hugo

Steven Spielberg, War Horse

In some ways, this has been one of the least predictable categories. Hazanavicius, Scorsese, and Payne are obvious choices, but what about the other two slots? Spielberg should be a shoe-in for the visually grand War Horse, but what if the Academy snubs it for Best Picture. And what about that fifth slot? Bennett Miller for Moneyball seems like a solid choice, but his support really hasn’t been strong this awards season (he hasn’t gotten any major directing nominations this year). Similarly, Terrence Malick would be a very deserving nominee, but The Tree of Life seems too “out there” for the Academy (and if it doesn’t get a Best Picture nomination, could he still get in?). That’s why I’m going with Woody Allen. His film was an unexpected hit, he got the DGA and Golden Globe noms, and everyone loves Woody, right?

Best Actor

George Clooney, The Descendants

Leonardo DiCaprio, J. Edgar

Jean DuJardin, The Artist

Michael Fassbender, Shame

Brad Pitt, Moneyball

This is one of those categories that seem like they’re all sewn up. But while I am predicting Fassbender, I also wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him miss out on a nomination thanks to his controversial, small film. (Despite what some people are saying about Leo, I think he’s locked.) I just can’t come up with a compelling enough alternative to switch Fassbender out for. Gary Oldman would be the most likely replacement, I suppose, but aside from the BAFTA nomination, he really doesn’t have much momentum. Gosling, Birchir, and Shannon are all vaguely possible. I say Fassbender’s in, but there could definitely be an upset here.

Best Actress

Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs

Viola Davis, The Help

Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin

Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

These category appears to be a little bit more cut and dry. Sure, Close or even Swinton could miss out in favour of Charlize Theron or Rooney Mara, but I don’t really see that happening.

Best Supporting Actor

Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn

Albert Brooks, Drive

Jonah Hill, Moneyball

Nick Nolte, Warrior

Christopher Plummer, Beginners

We’ve got our winner already in this category, it’s just a matter of figuring out who the other nominees will be. Branagh is in, and Brooks and Hill look like pretty safe bets (but Brooks did miss out on that SAG nomination…). Nick Nolte is the most obvious fifth pick, but while lots of people like the performance, it doesn’t seem like he’s exactly taking this Oscar season by storm. I still think Max von Sydow could sneak in as a surprise, but he’s been almost completely absent this awards season (just like his film). Even Stanley Tucci had some precursor support when he got nominated for a similarly disliked prestige picture. Hammer, Oswalt, Mortensen, and Serkis have at least received a bit of precursor support, but I can’t really see any of those happening. What about Ben Kingsley? At least his film has some traction. Again, I wouldn’t be surprised to see an upset here, but for now, I’ll go with the “obvious” picks.

Best Supporting Actress

Berenice Bejo, The Artist

Jessica Chastain, The Help

Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs

Octavia Spencer, The Help

Shailene Woodley, The Descendants

I’ve probably agonized over this category the most. Spencer is the only sure bet. Bejo and Chastain are quite likely. But I could see any combination of McTeer, Woodley, and Melissa McCarthy getting in for the last two spots. No matter who misses out, it will be surprising (to me, at least). I know a lot of people think Woodley will miss out because she didn’t get a SAG nomination (or a BAFTA nom), and that is very possible. The same kind of thing happened to Andrew Garfield last year. But I’m sticking with her (barely). Maybe it’s more wishful thinking on my part, but it just seems like the right film and the right role to get a young actress nominated.

Best Original Screenplay

50/50

The Artist

Bridesmaids

Midnight in Paris

Young Adult

I’m not sure if so many comedies can get in, but the WGA went solid comedies in this category, too. And these were some of the best original screenplays of the year, so why not recognize them accordingly? Margin Call is definitely a possible spoiler, though.

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Descendants

The Help

Hugo

Moneyball

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

The last couple of spots are murky, and The Ides of March or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo could easily get in over Hugo or Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy


Cinematography

The Artist

Hugo

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

The Tree of Life

War Horse


Art Direction

The Artist

Captain America: The First Avenger

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Hugo

War Horse


Visual Effects

Captain America: The First Avenger

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Hugo

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Transformers: Dark of the Moon


Costumes

Albert Nobbs

The Help

Hugo

Jane Eyre

My Week With Marilyn

Make-Up

The Green Lantern

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

J. Edgar

Film Editing

The Artist

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Hugo

Moneyball

War Horse

Sound Editing

Captain America: The First Aveger

Drive

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

War Horse

Sound Mixing

The Adventures of Tin-Tin

Hugo

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

War Horse

Original Score

The Artist

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Hugo

Moneyball

War Horse

Original Song

“Lay Down Your Head”, Albert Nobbs

“Star-Spangled Man”, Captain America

“Hello Hello”, Gnomeo & Juliet

“The Living Proof”, The Help

“Life’s a Happy Song”, The Muppets

Animated Feature

The Adventures of Tin-Tin

Happy Feet 2

Puss in Boots

Rango

Winnie the Pooh

Golden Globes: Best Dressed

Top Row: Claire Danes, Tilda Swinton, Evan Rachel Wood

Middle: Laura Dern, Berenice Bejo, Charlize Theron

Bottom: Michelle Williams, Diane Lane, Octavia Spencer

Golden Globe Final Predictions!

Best Picture – Drama

Will Win: The Help

Should Win: The Descendants

Best Picture – Comedy

Will Win: The Artist

Should Win: Midnight in Paris

Best Actor – Drama

Will Win: George Clooney, The Descendants

Should Win: George Clooney, The Descendants

Best Actress – Drama

Will Win: Viola Davis, The Help

Should Win: Davis is the only one I’ve seen, and I thought she was great.

Best Actor – Comedy

Will Win: Jean DuJardin, The Artist

Should Win: Jean DuJardin, The Artist

Best Actress – Comedy

Will Win: Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

Should Win: Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids (though I haven’t seen Marilyn)

Best Supporting Actor

Will Win: Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Should Win: Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Best Supporting Actress

Will Win: Jessica Chastain, The Help

Should Win: Shailene Woodley, The Descendants

Best Director

Will Win: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist

Should Win: Martin Scorsese, Hugo

Best Screenplay

Will Win: Moneyball

Should Win: Midnight in Paris

Best Original Song

Will Win: “The Living Proof”, The Help

Best Original Score

Will Win: The Artist

Best Animated Film

Will Win: The Adventures of Tintin

Best Foreign Language Film

Will Win: A Separation

Best TV Series – Drama

Will Win: Boardwalk Empire

Best TV Series – Comedy

Will Win: Modern Family

Should Win: Modern Family

Best Mini-Series/Made for TV Movie

Will Win: Mildred Pierce

Best Actor in a TV Series – Drama

Will Win: Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire

Should Win: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad

Best Actress in a TV Series – Drama

Will Win: Claire Danes, Homeland

Best Actor in a TV Series – Comedy

Will Win: Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock

Best Actress in a TV Series – Comedy

Will Win: Laura Linney, The Big C? (No idea who will take this category)

Should Win: Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

Best Actor in a Mini-Series/Made for TV Movie

Will Win: William Hurt, Too Big to Fail?

Best Actress in a Mini-Series/Made for TV Movie

Will Win: Kate Winslet, Mildred Pierce

Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series, or Made for TV Movie

Will Win: Paul Giamatti, Too Big to Fail (these TV supporting categories are so packed that I could see anyone winning)

Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series, or Made for TV Movie

Will Win: Maggie Smith, Dowton Abbey

10 Actors Who I’m Happy To See Nominated Just Because I Like Them

  • Michael Fassbender
  • Ryan Gosling
  • William Hurt
  • Diane Lane
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt
  • Kelly MacDonald
  • Bill Nighy
  • Guy Pearce
  • Kristen Wiig
  • Owen Wilson