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Oscarwatch 2012 – The From The Block Picks

February 27, 2012

SO, Oscar Eve 2012 sure came around quick, didn’t it?  I’d really hoped that this would be the year that I FINALLY saw all of the nominated films prior to the awards but, alas, a combination of Life and the fact that there are 27 films nominated for Best Picture alone got in my way.  That being said, I managed a respectable 12 out of 18, including all the important ones, so I’m pretty qualified to best last years AWFUL 3/6 attempt at prognosticating these buggers.  After all, I can’t rest of my James Coburn / Marcia Gay Harden laurels forever, can I?

As I said last year, I think seeing all the nominated films actually makes it harder to get a perfect guess record, because you’re less objective and more emotional (like last years serious case of the Amy Adamses that I caught throughout award season).  But, no matter, let’s give it a go!  Bolded films are the ones I’ve seen, the rest should be pretty self-explanatory..


Hugo 3D
Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close
Midnight In Paris
The Artist
The Descendants
The Help
The Tree Of Life
War Horse


While we never got around to seeing the Tom Hanks 9/11 number, it’s pretty widely regarded to be the least deserving nominee in any category this year.  We actually have a sneaking suspicion that War Horse will be our 2011 equivalent of True Grit – aka, the movie we had zero desire to see that ended up being our favourite of the year.  But, alas, it has absolutely no support either.  Really, the fact that there are nine nominees is just ridiculous – the sooner the academy goes back to five, the more seriously this category will be regarded.  It is increasingly apparent that The Artist is going to sweep it here which, whilst it’s an amazing movie, it’s not the single best movie of the year.  The Tree Of Life and The Descendants are both better movies, but on a much less flashy level.  If we could pick, in the battle of the odes to the wonders of cinema, Hugo 3D is actually not only the better movie, but the best of the year.  It’s just beautiful and unexpected and truly magical – if you haven’t seen it, rush to the cinema before it’s too late to see it on the big screen.  It made us cry, and not ashamedly either.

WHO WILL WIN – The Artist
WHO SHOULD BE PISSED THEY WEREN’T NOMINATED –  Bridesmaids, Bridesmaids, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo





Demian Bichir – A Better Life
George Clooney – The Descendants
Jean Dujardin – The Artist
Gary Oldman – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Brad Pitt – Moneyball



One of the two genuine bona fide races of the year (other than Best Actress), this is probably the only real wildcard still.  Both Dujardin and Clooney are equally (and very differently) amazing in their respective roles.  The way we see it though, Clooney has two things working against him – the first being the fact he gave a very similar (and even better performance) in Up In The Air two years ago and also he’s got one of the little gold guys already recently for 2006’s Syriana.  Then again, he also wrote, directed and starred in the much respected The Ides Of March, so he might get some cumulative votes for the work there, as well as the fact he’s the most beloved guy in all of the Hollywood Hills.  I’d be happy with either winning, but Dujardin has the more impressive performance and, really, when they are equally as good, the showier, more original performance will probably sail to victory.  Also, how the fuck did Gary Oldman get nominated?  Like, seriously..

WHO WILL WIN – Jean Dujardin
WHO SHOULD WIN – It’s a toss up between Clooney and Dujardin but, for our money, if we had have had a vote, it’d have gone to Jean Dujardin
WHO SHOULD BE PISSED THEY WEREN’T NOMINATED –  Brad Pitt in The Tree Of Life was the better performance.  Michael Fassbender in Shame.  Ryan Goslings quiet, soulful turn in Drive.  Also, Owen Wilson in Midnight In Paris did gloriously underappreciated work.




Glenn Close – Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis – The Help
Rooney Mara – The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady
Michelle Williams – My Week With Marilyn 



What a tough category to call.  In all honesty, Davis, Streep, Williams and Mara all give amazingly immersive performances that you can just get lost for days and days in.  Mara, whilst amazing, is purely in the ‘nomination is reward enough’ category even if the performance itself if little gold statue calibre.  Streep and Williams are both let down by their respective films.  If it were purely about the performances, you could have a genuine three way tie, but Viola Davis has both the stronger film, the tougher role and the most emotion on her side.  It’s really a performance that you feel right down to your soul, as opposed to just being mightily impressive work like the other two.  Even though Meryl is still a contender, she has the fact that it’s Meryl Streep Doing A Brilliant Performance As Some Real Life Person In An Only Mediocre Movie, which is starting to become her stock in trade.  She basically has to juggle puppies whilst farting the national anthem to truly impress anyone anymore.  The fact that Tilda Swinton isn’t nominated is probably the single biggest outrage of the year considering it’s the one performance that give Viola Davis a run for its money and is, in our humble opinion, the better piece of truly amazing acting – it’s the most heartbreaking work of the year.

WHO WILL WIN – Viola Davis in The Help
WHO SHOULD WIN – Viola Davis
WHO SHOULD BE PISSED THEY WEREN’T NOMINATED –  Tilda Swinton in particular should have an Academy’s worth of Voodoo Dolls for overlooking her brava turn in We Need To Talk About Kevin which, at a pinch, is even better than Davis.  Kirsten Dunst isn’t far behind for her breathtaking career best work in Melancholia.  Charlize Theron in Young Adult and Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids were amazing to and would have flourished in a less jam-packed year.




Kenneth Branagh – My Week With Marilyn
Jonah Hill – Moneyball
Nick Nolte – Warrior
Christopher Plummer – Beginners
Max Van Sydow – Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close



Somehow, I just managed to miss all these movies.  Heck, until 3 hours ago, I hadn’t even seen Branaghs.  Major FAIL.  That being said, Plummer has not only won literally every single award since the season began he’s given what has been described as not only the best performance of the category, but of the whole year, so that has to account for something.  Although Van Sydow has had a lot of late blooming support, if you were looking for a real spoiler tonight, I’d put my money on Nolte.  Just a hunch.

WHO WILL WIN – Christopher Plummer in Beginners
WHO SHOULD WIN – *shrugs*
WHO SHOULD BE PISSED THEY WEREN’T NOMINATED –  Since I failed the nominees of this category so miserably, I’ll leave them all be.  I will say Patton Oswalt did amazing work in Young Adult though and Adrien Brody’s turn in Midnight In Paris has a touch of the Dame Judi Dench in Shakespeare In Love’s about it..  Albert Brooks was excellent n Drive.  Also, Ezra Miller in We Need To Talk About Kevin was utterly spellbinding.  To be honest, if Uggie The Dog was nominated for The Artist, we would have voted for him in a heartbeat.  Seriously.




Berenice Bejo – The Artist
Jessica Chastain – The Help
Melissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer – Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer – The Help 



Octavia Spencer has won every single award in the lead up to this, so she’s as sure a thing tonight as anything. Which is a shame as, even though it’s a rollickingly good performance, it bloody well should be since the author of the book wrote it with her in mind and then the screenwriter/director is her best friend.  She’s very, very good in a role that was both conceived and written for her – SHOCKER.  Jessica Chastain actually gives the better performance in a much, much more difficult role.  She’s so beautiful that you just want to reach into the screen and alternately hug her and cradle her in your arms like a wounded dove.  McCarthy too is a revelation, taking what could have been a (admittedly hilarious) caricature and creating the most three dimensional cinema moment this side of Hugo.  Between Chastain (and her absolutely banner year of brilliant performances) and McCarthy, this would be the hardest vote to make for us.  Bejo was also better than Spencer, for what it’s worth (not a lot, most likely).

WHO WILL WIN – Octavia Spencer for The Help
WHO SHOULD WIN – Jessica Chastain or Melissa McCarthy both gave better, more soulful and trickier performance, all without the benefit of starring in a role literally written in both the book AND the screenplay for them.
WHO SHOULD BE PISSED THEY WEREN’T NOMINATED –  Shailene Woodley should have WON this category for The Descendants.  Kathy Bates in Midnight In Paris, Jessica Chastain in The Tree Of Life deserves a separate nomination alongside her affecting, joyous work in The Help.  Also, the fact Bryce Dallas Howard has been completed overshadowed by her costars is a real shame, her work is almost equal to both (not quite, but very close.  Well, she’s actually better than Spencer).




Woody Allen – Midnight In Paris
Michel Hazanavicius – The Artist
Terrence Malick – The Tree Of Life
Alexander Payne – The Descendants
Martin Scorsese – Hugo 3D 



Anyone bar Payne would be a deserving winner in this category (which is nothing against Payne, it’s just the others were even better).  If Malick had’ve had the balls to lop out the Sean Penn storyline out of Tree Of Life, we’d give the trophy to him – the film is truly one of the most original, brave pieces of filmmaking to come out in years.  Allen does almost career best work in Midnight In Paris, looking the most alive he has behind a lense since Bullets Over Broadway (or, maybe, the underrated Match Point).  Scorsese does wonderous work, but the film could’ve done with a pinch of tightening in the middle.  While we have issues with The Artist being Best Picture of the year, there is no denying the brilliance of Hazanavicius’s storytelling and technical skill.  It’s truly amazing.  And, thus, we’d tip out hat to him.

WHO WILL WIN – Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist
WHO SHOULD WIN – You could make equal arguements for anyone but Alexander Payne.  Terrence Malick could print his name on the trophy if he had’ve lopped out the 30 minutes of unnecessary Sean Penn scenes from The Tree Of Life.
WHO SHOULD BE PISSED THEY WEREN’T NOMINATED –  David Fincher for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and Lars Von Trier for Melancholia were both ROBBED.



So, there you go – what are your thoughts?

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