I admit it — I’m a sucker for the Academy Awards.  Just like hockey fans look forward to NHL Trade Deadline Day, I look forward to the Academy Awards.

Every year since I’ve had a platform to spout opinions, I’ve made my Oscar choices. My choices are based perhaps one-quarter on my actual opinion based on what I’ve seen, and three-quarters on educated guesses. My guesswork is better, because I have no emotional attachment to a movie I’ve never seen, so my judgment is not clouded.  For example, I’m STILL angry that Shakespeare in Love won best picture over Saving Private Ryan. Seriously, Academy — Shakespeare in Freakin’ Love??

This year, however, I’ve seen a lot more of the nominated (and not nominated) movies than ever before. (Speaking of not nominated, I think a few outstanding movies got shafted this year, like Margin Call, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Warrior, and my favourite movie of last year, Win Win.) I can, therefore, base my opinions on actually SEEING some of the movies, which doesn’t help.

So, let’s take a look, shall we?

Best Supporting Actress: A tough call. There are two actresses from The Help, which I have not seen and am in no rush to. Two from one movie always has the chance of cancelling out each other’s vote. I doubt if enough people saw Albert Nobbs actress Janet McTeer to win. Berenice Bejo from The Artist has a shot, because The Artist is a huge fav with the Hollywood crowd. So does Melissa McCarthy from Bridesmaids, although I doubt the academy would want to give its most prestigious award to an actress whose most famous moment involves shitting into a sink. So, I’ll have to go with what appears to be the odds-on favourite, Octavia Spencer from The Help.

Best Supporting Actor: No contest here. Canada’s very own Christopher Plummer will win for Beginners. Everyone else can stay home. (And by the way, Academy, Jonah Hill, Oscar nominee? Seriously? Albert Brooks got shafted out of a nomination; he is outstanding in Drive.)

Best Actress: An impressive field, and a tough call. First, scratch Rooney Mara for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. A surprise nominee, she is the one sure bet NOT to win in this category. Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs is a possible, but she’s been doing a lot of TV lately, which lessens her movie cred. Michelle Williams is apparently excellent in My Week with Marilyn, but she still seems to be the outsider. I think it’s down to Meryl Streep (17th nomination, just two wins) for The Iron Lady, and Viola Davis for The Help. Streep could win every year, really, which is why she has so rarely ever won. But still, my gut says Viola Davis.

Best Actor: Earlier in the year, George Clooney seemed to be the clear favourite for The Descendants. But the tide seems to have turned towards Jean Dujardin from The Artist. He is wonderful in this film, oozing charm and hurt at the same time. It’s really an outstanding performance in a really charming movie. So sorry, George and Brad and all of the others… it’s the Frenchman’s moment.

Best film: If I had a vote, it would to go Hugo, which was a triumph of movie making. And there’s still a chance it could win, but again, momentum seems to have switched to The Artist. (An aside: some writers have said that if The Artist wins, it will be the first silent picture to win since Wings won the first Oscar ever. But The Artist is NOT a silent film. It has a full musical score, and plenty of sound effects. It is a film without dialogue, but not silent.) The Help could squeeze in there, but from what I’ve heard, it’s still seen as a bit of a feel-good lightweight, not unlike The Blind Side from a couple of years back. Although I prefer Hugo and would be happy if it won, I’m predicting The Artist. Any film other than the three I’ve mentioned here would be a shock winner.

Other choices:

Animated feature film: Rango, the only one that made an impression this year.

Cinematography: Lots of good choices, but The Tree of Life is ALL cinematography, so it should win.

Art direction: Either Hugo or The Artist. I have a feeling that The Artist is going to clean up at Hugo’s expense, so The Artist it is.

Costume design: Same thing. And same result. Artist wins again.

Directing: Should go to Martin Scorsese for Hugo, will go to Michael Hazanavicius for The Artist.

Foreign Language Film: Canadian film, Monsieur Lazhar, will lose out to A Separation from Iran.

Makeup: Albert Nobbs, for making Glenn Close look like Glen Close.

Music: The Artist, because there is music in every frame of this picture.

Writing (adapted screenplay): The Descendants, because it needs some Oscar love.

Writing (original screenplay): A tough call. I wouldn’t think The Artist could win for a film with no dialogue, but if it does, it will sweep every award. I think it will go to Margin Call, which is a very complex story with excellent dialogue. Outside chance: Bridesmaids, to acknowledge the rise of female gross-out comedy.



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