Forget Golden Globes: Oscar Preview

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The nominations for the 84th Academy Awards will be announced on Jan. 24, 2012. As we head off for winter break, another season will be starting. December through January is perhaps the best time for film fanatics. Many of the Oscar contenders will be released during this time. Other possible nominees have been out in major cities for months and won over critics at film festivals. Oscar does not always pick necessarily the best performance or film. (Let’s not even discuss Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side), but here is what/whom they will most likely be picking from.

Here is the College Magazine preview for the 84th Academy Awards:

Best Picture:

In 2009 the best picture category expanded from five to 10 nominees.  Early favorites for this year include The Artist, the French romance set in the dawn of talkies in the 1920s, Steven Spielberg’s War Horse, and The Help. There is a fairly good chance you will see nominations for The Descendants, Moneyball, The Tree of Life and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. It is looking like lesser known films such as Midnight in Paris, Melancholia and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy will have to battle it out with Hugo, Drive, We Bought a Zoo, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and The Adventures of Tintin for the final spots.

Early Prediction: War Horse. The academy loves a war drama. It loves Steven Spielberg even more. Based on a children’s novel, War Horse is set during World War I and shows the journey of a boy’s beloved horse through battle. It is set for release Christmas Day and already has a slew of positive reviews from critics. 

 

 

 

Best Director:

Early contenders include Steven Spielberg for War Horse, Alexander Payne for The Descendants, andMichel Hazanavicius for The Artist. Critics adored Martin Scorsese’s Hugo so you can bet he will receive his eighth nomination for Best Director. Other possibilities include Stephen Daldry for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Terrence Malick for The Tree of Life. Woody Allen could get a nomination for Midnight in Paris, but his open distaste for the Academy Awards may dissuade voters.

Early Prediction: It’s a tie between Spielberg and Scorsese. Spielberg’s War Horse is likely to take Best Picture, but that does not guarantee him Best Director. In the past 20 years three films have won Best Picture without earning their directors an award. Both have been nominated several times, but Scorsese only has one oscar to his name. Hugo is also his first family film. The voters might use the time to make up for the past.

 

 

 

Best Actress:

Kirsten Dunst took Best Actress at Cannes for her part in Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia, but the eccentricity of the film might cloud her talent for voters. Meryl Streep is a favorite for academy voters and will no doubt be a front-runner for The Iron LadyMy Week with Marilyn was met with lukewarm reviews from critics but Michelle Williams just received her fourth Independent Spirit Awards nomination for the role. Viola Davis will likely receive her second Oscar nomination for The Help. Other possible nominees include Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs, Tilda Swinton for We Need To Talk About Kevin, Elizabeth Olsen for Martha Marcy May Marlene and Charlize Theron for Young Adult.

Early Prediction: Viola Davis. The actress was previously nominated for her role in Doubt. Critics loved The Help. Streep could take the award but judging from the trailer alone, she has done better work than in The Iron Lady. Davis could pull a Melissa Leo and come back and win with her second nomination. Both are talented actresses who were steadily working under the radar for several years. 2012 could be the year Davis comes into the spotlight and become the second African-American to win Best Actress.

 

 

 

Best Actor:

George Clooney surprised and impressed critics with his turn as a shlubby father in The Descendants. Brad Pitt recently won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Moneyball. Leonardo Dicaprio aged himself with makeup, something the academy loves, for J. Edgar. Michael Fassbender was absolutely incredible in Steve McQueen’s meditation on sex addiction, Shame. The performance stayed with me for days after viewing it, but the NC-17 rated film will be controversial with voters. Other likely candidates include Michael Shannon for Take Shelter, Woody Harrelson for Rampart, Gary Oldman for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Matt Damon for We Bought a Zoo, but all of the talk is about an unknown Frenchman named Jean Dujardin for The Artist.

“I feel that Michael Fassbender should be nominated for best actor in Shame. His performance was amazing and heartbreaking. Plus having an actor be nominated for a NC-17 film would be interesting,” Erica Mann, a freshman at Hofstra University said.

Early Prediction: Jean Dujardin. It is likely Pitt and Clooney will cancel each other out. Though Fassbender’s performance is oscar-worthy, the film he stars in has critics split. Dicaprio will get a nomination, but his performance in J.Edgar had many people (including myself) cringing. Dujardin does not say a word as a film star in decline in the silent film The Artist, but his performance is so strong it does not require one. He already has several nominations for the role and took home Best Actor at Cannes.

 

 

 

Best Supporting Actress:

Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain have a strong chance of receiving nominations for their performances in The Help. Chastain could also be nominated for The Tree of Life. Shailene Woodley surprised critics (and anyone who’s seen The Secret Life of The American Teenager) for her work in The Descendants. Bérénice Bejo charmed audiences and critics in The Artist and there is a good chance that Vanessa Redgrave will get a nomination for Coriolanus. There is also talk of Carey Mulligan in Shame, Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids, Jodie Foster in Carnage and Janet McTeer in Albert Nobbs getting an Oscar nod.

Early Prediction: Octavia Spencer. Like Davis, Spencer has been working in films for years but has received little attention from the press. It comes down between her a Chastain, who had great performances in several films this year especially in The Tree of Life.

 

 

 

Best Supporting Actor:

Christopher Plummer was utterly charming and heartbreaking in Beginners. Albert Brooks took a break from his usual hapless funnyman and played a murderous mobster in Drive. Swedish icon Max Von Sydow may get a nomination for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Other possibilities include Patton Oswalt for Young Adult, Kenneth Branagh for My Week With Marilyn, Jonah Hill for Moneyball, Jim Broadbent for The Iron Lady, Ben Kingsley for Hugo, John Hawkes for Martha Marcy May Marlene and Viggo Mortensen for A Dangerous Method.

Kelsey Grashoff, a junior at George Washington University said she really wants to see Christopher Plummer get a nod for Beginners.

Early Prediction: It’s a toss up. The category has strong performances from seasoned actors and surprising turns from newcomers. The academy typically does not like comedian turned serious actors (case in point Jim Carrey in I Love You Phillip Morris), so Hill and Oswalt have a slim chance of winning. It is going to come down to Plummer vs. Brooks.

 

Sophomore > Magazine Journalism > Syracuse University

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