Here are my Oscar preferences – not my predictions. This demands a far more clever understanding of how those voters think. Or at least how Harvey Weinstein wants them to think. (After all, they gave us “Shakespeare in Love” when “Saving Private Ryan” was around.)
Sometimes with the Oscars, it seems to be a toss-up between The Popular v The Desrving. For Best Actor, it’ll probably be George Clooney for “The Descendants”. He was very good, and having seen it again yesterday, it’s really a superb movie. But he’s not a touch on Gary Oldham. “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” is a movie about deception – of country, of friend, of spouse. And Oldham’s Smiley is a man of such a guarded nature that he barely registers emotion; and yet, Oldham manages to suggest a man borne under by the weight of the deceptions around him; whilst also suggesting a relentlessness and ferocity just hidden under the veneer of grayness. BrilliantBest Female: Probably Meryl Streep. She’s always credible. Her imitations of people seem more real then the people themselves. She’ll be a Popular Choice. But really, the award should go to the hands-down winner: Tilda Swinton, for “We Need To Talk About Kevin” – a movie that probably only about three of the Oscar voters saw. She became the embodiment of that hard-done-by mother; indeed she has that staring, slightly demented look that really was the embodiment of the entire disturbing movie
Kenneth Branagh deserves Best Supporting (Male) though the Popular Choice will probably be Christopher Plummer. I guess Captain Von Trapp deserves our love.
Best Supporting (Female): Octavia Spenser from “The Help” is certainly deserving of it. She’ll be a Popular Choice. But really, why wasn’t Marisa Tomei nominated. She was outstanding in “Ides of March” and the only decent thing in “Crazy, Stupid Love”
For Best Motion Picture. Popular Choice will be “Hugo”. After all, it’s Scorcese. His eyebrows alone are worth an Oscar. But really, “The Artist” was a movie of such incandescent loveliness, it brought back the sheer bubbling joy of being at the movies (something “Hugo” labored to pound into the audience’s head)
As for the rest: Best Screenplay – “Midnight in Paris”; Woody Allen. Sheer, intelligent, engagingly witty movie writing. Woody at his best.
Best Director – Michael Hazanavicius. He probably won’t get it because no one will be able to pronounce his name.
Best Foreign Language: “A Separation” (Asgar Farhadi from Iran). Most people probably haven’t seen this movie – go see it. It hooks you into its spell. Probably one of the best “Foreign Movies” I’ve seen since the Argentinean thriller, “Secrets in Their Eyes”
Music: John Williams (for “War Horse” and “Tin Tin”) is the Popular Choice. But really Ludovic Bourse (“The Artist”) deserves it. His music was an actor in the film. It was the movie’s script. Brilliant.
Finally, Visual Effects: “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” Were they the best visual effects (better than the leaden “Transformers 3”)? Who knows. But that was such an unexpectedly good movie, and, man, those apes. Wow