The 84th Annual Academy Awards (aka The Oscars) are this Sunday. This is the only awards ceremony that I actually look forward to and watch every year. It will be nice to have Billy Crystal hosting again after the train wreck that was the James Franco/Anne Hathaway pairing last year, though I do hope that they figure out a way to make the Oscars a little fresher in the coming years. Some of that banter the presenters have to engage in is just painful to watch.
I am disappointed that they will not have performances of the best original song nominees, mostly because that means that Jason Segal and the Muppets will not be performing (though the Muppets will apparently be presenters). I would have thoroughly enjoyed that as I love all things Muppet. It is also unclear if Uggie, the adorable dog from The Artist, will be performing or in attendance on Sunday night. I’ve read conflicting reports. I hope he does do a bit because that dog is amazing. I’m not a dog person by any stretch of the imagination, but after watching The Artist I turned to my friend and said “I would totally own a dog if you could guarantee it was just like Uggie.” Being part of Hollywood’s big night would be a fitting sendoff for the pup, who is retiring from show business due to a neurological disease.
I’ll also miss the days when Jack Nicholson was sitting in the front row and became an informal participant of the show. George Clooney seems the heir apparent for this position and is a worthy choice (seriously – is there ANYONE cooler than Clooney?), but there was just something about seeing Nicholson in his shades yucking it up with the host that was so enjoyable.
Since I’ve managed to see just about everything this year, here are my best guesses for the major awards and who will be standing victorious at the microphone on Sunday night:
Who I think will win: I’m guessing that The Artist walks away with the big prize. It has a lot of momentum going into the Oscars as it has been racking up the hardware at other award shows. Plus, since the average Academy voter is an older white man, the tribute to the bygone era of cinema is kind of in their wheel house. A safe and noncontroversial choice.
Who I think SHOULD win: I actually really enjoyed The Artist, so it is a fine choice for Best Picture. None of the films blew me away this year. The only other movie I’d consider would be The Descendants, which I really wanted to love more than I actually did.
Actor in a Leading Role
Who I think will win: I think this is Clooney’s year. He played a character in The Descendants unlike anyone he had played before. He was convincingly a frumpy and confused middle aged dad. That bears repeating: George Clooney was frumpy. He has plenty of good will in Hollywood so I think he’ll pick up his second Oscar. There is a chance of a Jean Dujardin (The Artist) upset if Clooney and pal Brad Pitt (Moneyball) somehow split the vote.
Who I think SHOULD win: I’m all in on Clooney. Dujardin was pretty amazing in The Artist – I don’t know how many actors could have pulled that role off – but the Academy likes to reward a career rather than necessarily a single performance, so I don’t think Dujardin will dance off with the Oscar. Brad Pitt was also darn spectacular as Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane. I don’t think Pitt gets enough credit as an actor. He is more than just a pretty face (but what a face!).
Actress in a Lead Role
Who I think will win: I’m guessing Viola Davis (The Help) will take this one. Though the movie has been criticized, I don’t think anyone would disagree that Davis gave a subtle and nuanced performance as maid Aibileen. She really was the heart of the film. Plus the Academy loves nothing more than a beautiful woman putting on some weight for a role (David gained 25 lbs.) or otherwise down playing their looks.
Who I think SHOULD win: I was really mesmerized by Michelle Williams’ portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn. She really became Marilyn, which is no easy feat. I’ve always really like Williams and think she has made some very interesting choices as an actress. So I’d like to see her win.
Actor in a Supporting Role
Who I think will win and SHOULD win: I think this is the closest thing to a lock this year – Christopher Plummer for Beginners. I absolutely loved this movie and a lot of that is due to Plummer’s performance as a father in his seventies who finally comes out as a gay man after the death of his wife. One of my favorite performances of the year. If you haven’t seen Beginners, definitely check it out.
Actress in a Supporting Role
Who I think will win: Octavia Spencer for The Help. A solid performance that already won her a Golden Globe.
Who I think SHOULD win: Comedies get absolutely no love at the Academy Awards, but Melissa McCarthy’s performance in Bridesmaids was so fearless and weird that I’d love to see her get an Oscar to go along with her Emmy. She’s come a long way from Gilmore Girls.
Who I think will win: I’m going with Martin Scorsese for Hugo. Again, I think the nostalgia factor with his film will appeal to many of the voters. As I noted in my review, Hugo was also an interesting departure for Scorsese and I believe the Academy will want to reward that.
Who I think SHOULD win: I’m a big Scorsese fan, so I’d be pleased to see him win. I didn’t really get all of The Tree of Life (they lost me with the dinosaurs) but I do think what Terrence Malick tried was interesting and daring so he would be an unconventional choice. Really, I’d be OK with any of these directors winning.