Oscars 2012: Will Win (Part 1)

See my remaining picks in the major categories here.

Movies are an art, not a science. And yet The Academy, save for a few eye rolling hiccups each year, operates like clockwork. Predicting the winners at the Oscars is as simple as playing the horses at the track, so here’s your betting form for the big race on Sunday night.

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Descendants: 40%

“The Descendants” is bound to win something, and because it’s a screenplay that greatly differs from the source material and comes from a director and screenwriter who hasn’t put out a movie in six years, it’s looking more and more certain.

Moneyball: 30%

“Moneyball” is a serious contender in this category for the way in which it adapts a fact based, nonfiction book into a story with likeable and pathos filled characters. It also comes from last year’s winner, Aaron Sorkin and other Oscar fave Steven Zallian.

Hugo: 20%

“Hugo” isn’t exactly a writer’s movie, but Brian Selznick’s children’s book is surprisingly rich and colorful, and somehow John Logan tops it.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: 5%

The Ides of March: 5%

Best Original Screenplay

Midnight in Paris: 55%

The Academy has reminded themselves how much they love Woody Allen, even if he doesn’t love them back enough to even show up. “Midnight in Paris” is his best screenplay in nearly two decades, and it’s exactly the feel good story the Academy will respond to.

Bridesmaids: 20%

I don’t need to remind anyone how loved “Bridesmaids” is in some circles. Two nominations in major categories means something, and there’s the thought that it would be the 10th slot in a full Best Picture field. I’d love to see Kirsten Wiig win an Oscar too.

The Artist: 15%

“The Artist” is supposed to go on a sweep, but the Oscar usually goes to a very literary film. Are they really going to pick one that doesn’t even have any dialogue? Beyond that, it’s very rare for a movie to win Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay.

Margin Call: 5%

A Separation: 5%

Feature Documentary

Pina: 20%

Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory: 20%

Hell and Back Again: 20%

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front: 20%

Undefeated: 20%

So I haven’t seen any of the documentaries this year, which says more about the nominees than it does about me. And all the nominees could potentially win, but for my money, pick “Pina,” from the legendary German art house director Wim Wenders. The Academy however does prefer docs with a message, and “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory” makes a strong case for proving three convicted murderers innocent.

Foreign Language

A Separation: 50%

In Darkness: 20%

Footnote: 10%

Monsieur Lazhar: 10%

Bullhead: 10%

Again, I haven’t seen any of these nominees. The Iranian film “A Separation” however is one of the most critically acclaimed titles of the year. That however means little considering the award’s abysmal track record for recognizing plain dreck. That said, the tough sit Holocaust drama, “In Darkness,” may be the winner, or “Monsieur Lazhar” from the producers of last year’s great “Incendies.”

Best Animated Feature

Rango: 100%

Puss in Boots: 0%

Chico & Rita: 0%

Kung Fu Panda 2: 0%

A Cat in Paris: 0%

Talk about another awful category. I’m sure “Chico & Rita” and “A Cat in Paris” are surprisingly good, but if anything other than “Rango” wins, I’ll be speechless. Watch me eat my words.

Cinematography

Emmanuel Lubezki, The Tree of Life: 30%

Guillaume Schiffman, The Artist: 20%

Robert Richardson, Hugo: 20%

Janusz Kaminski, War Horse: 20%

Jeff Cronenweth, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: 10%

Unlike a number of the other categories, the crop of work in cinematography is stunning through and through, with various styles all competing for the same prize. I think “The Tree of Life,” one that is not only beautiful but is done in a modern, handheld style, has the best chance, namely because of the craft at play. There’s still the strong possibility that the more obviously good looking films, either “The Artist” done in black and white, “Hugo” done in 3-D or “War Horse” done in good-ole “Gone With the Wind” colors, could come away with the win.

Original Score

Ludovic Bource, The Artist: 70%

Howard Shore, Hugo: 10%

Alberto Iglesias, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: 10%

John Williams, War Horse: 5%

John Williams, The Adventures of Tintin: 5%

Even with the controversy over “raping” Bernard Hermann’s “Vertigo” score, the music in “The Artist” is arguably the most integral part to making the whole thing work. The other nominees, all of whom are more famous than Ludovic Bource, do all stand something of a fighting chance though, even the twice nominated John Williams.

Original Song

Man or Muppet, The Muppets: 99%

Real in Rio, Rio: 1%

Two nominees? Really? Why am I even bothering to predict this category?

Makeup

The Iron Lady: 80%

Albert Nobbs: 15%

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: 5%

Meryl Streep is old. But she looks even older in “The Iron Lady” and is made up to look quite a lot like Margaret Thatcher. Glenn Close is made into a man though, so that’s a possible upset.

Costume Design

Mark Bridges, The Artist: 30%

Sandy Powell, Hugo: 30%

Lisy Christi, Anonymous: 25%

Michael O’Connor, Jane Eyre: 10%

Arianne Phillips, W.E.: 5%

Who would’ve ever guessed Costume Design, of all things, would be the hardest to predict. History has it that the lavish costume dramas always take the prize, so my impulse was “Jane Eyre.” But “Jane Eyre” is about a poor girl with drab clothing in a dark castle. The much more eye-popping and garish “Anonymous” seems like the obvious choice instead. But there’s more! “Hugo’s” Sandy Powell has won this award three times and has been nominated a kagillion more. But “The Artist’s” Mark Bridges nails the glamorous Old Hollywood period clothing, and contemporary fashion designer Arianne Phillips models chic American and British styles in Madonna’s “W.E.” I’m going with “The Artist,” but this category’s dressed to kill.

Documentary Short

Saving Face: 45%

The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom: 40%

Incident in New Baghdad: 5%

God is the Bigger Elvis: 5%

The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement: 5%

Once again, I’ve seen none of these, but “Saving Face” is supposed to be a devastatingly powerful documentary about women in Pakistan being attacked with acid. Former nominee Lucy Walker has offered the category a more artful, less message driven film about the regions of Japan hit hardest by tsunamis. What the Academy will respond to more is hard to say.

Animated Short

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore: 50%

La Luna: 25%

Wild Life: 10%

A Morning Stroll: 10%

Dimanche (Sunday): 5%

I loved just about all of these films, and although Pixar’s “La Luna” is their best in the 11 years since they last won this category, it’ll be an upset over “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.” The movie has enchanted kids and parents alike in the way it celebrates the joys of reading, and it’s got a solid pedigree behind it. I saw it as something of a PSA for books, but if it wins the Oscar then I guess I have no soul.

Live Action Short

The Shore: 40%

Tuba Atlantic: 35%

Time Freak: 10%

Raju: 10%

Pentecost: 5%

Unlike the cartoons, I just about hated all the live action shorts. It’s a weak category to say the least. “The Shore” is a slight film, but a feel-good one directed by “Hotel Rwanda’s” Terry George and starring Ciaran Hinds. The Norwegian student film, “Tuba Atlantic,” which I haven’t seen, tackles some of “The Shore’s” same themes and does so a little better. But please don’t let there be a surprise victory for “Time Freak.”

Technical Categories

Here’s my blanket statement on all the technical categories: when it comes to things like Sound Mixing and Sound Editing, the awards usually go to the same movie, more often than not to the loud, busy, action blockbuster. But if you thought “The Artist” was going for a giant sweep, think again. I’m going out on a limb and predicting “Hugo” to sweep all five categories. I’m most concerned about Visual Effects going to “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” which is being championed for its impeccable motion capture technology on Andy Serkis. Art Direction is also a toss-up that could go to anything. And if not “Hugo” in the remaining three categories, consider “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”

Film Editing

Hugo: 40%

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: 35%

Moneyball: 20%

The Artist: 2.5%

The Descendants: 2.5%

Art Direction

Hugo: 40%

The Artist: 35%

War Horse: 15%

Midnight in Paris: 7%

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: 3%

Visual Effects

Hugo: 40%

Rise of the Planet of the Apes: 40%

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: 10%

Transformers: Dark of the Moon: 5%

Real Steel: 5%

Sound Editing

Hugo: 40%

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo: 35%

War Horse: 15%

Transformers: Dark of the Moon: 7%

Drive: 3%

Sound Mixing

Hugo: 40%

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo: 35%

War Horse: 15%

Transformers: Dark of the Moon: 7%

Moneyball: 3%

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2 Comments

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  1. How did you come up with the percentages? Was it a poll or your own opinion?

    Like

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