(Image created by Alyssa Papachristos)
While my cable box remains a mystery—will it work, or wont it?—the excitement mounts as the hour draws nearer. And after months of forgetfulness, we will remember that we could be suffering through Eddie Murphy’s undoubtedly horrible hosting gig! Thankfully, the Academy dusted off good ol’ reliable, a.k.a. Billy Crystal, in lieu of the unfortunate choices they’ve made in recent years past (coughJamesFrancocough).
Now, as we prep and ponder, I present my predictions for the most prominent categories… that really means, here’s a list of people I want to win. How about you?
Best Support Actor: Christopher Plummer, “Beginners” – Looking at this distinguished, 82-year-old man, you’d probably never imagine him in the role of Ewan McGregor’s gay father, still teaching his son life lessons from beyond the grave. But the moment Plummer and his purple sweater take to the screen, you cannot help but feel the pain, love, and happiness emanating, grabbing you in a chokehold and shaking you until your emotions are just as scattered as the plotline.
Missing: Uggie (The Artist) and Cosmo (Beginners) …I know, people have been fighting for an animal category, but to no avail. The Academy should truly consider it, though. Often times, you can’t even train a human to act half as well as these two.
Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, “The Help” – How Melissa McCarthy made it into this category, I will never know. Men can make fart jokes and people find it crass and rude, but women do the same thing and they are seen as groundbreaking artists? McCarthy defecated in a sink. If you’re going to reward anyone’s bowel movements, the gold has to go to Octavia Spencer. Her storyline added to the comedic undertones of The Help, and her scenes with fellow nominee, Jessica Chastain may have been the most heartwarming, human segments throughout the entire film.
Best Original Screenplay: Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris” – We all have that longing, at one time or another, to visit another time—a time we believe to be simpler than our own. Midnight in Paris explores such themes in the most enchanting way, incorporating the magic of a cultural revolution and the power to time travel in a way that proves we’re not all that different from our predecessors.
Best Adapted Screenplay: John Logan, “Hugo” – I will admit that I have not seen any of the films in this category, so I am going to predict based on hearsay alone. As I’ve been told, I will probably like Hugo very much. And looking through the other titles, I’m pretty sure I will like Hugo best. Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind when I can make an educated assessment, but by that time, no one will care.
Best Director: Terrence Malick, “The Tree of Life” – Remember all those people who demanded their money back because The Tree of Life just wasn’t what they expected? Let’s hope the Academy isn’t quite so dumb. We all know it won’t win Best Picture. Too abstract, most likely. It leaves much up to the imagination, which is probably why the majority of our population couldn’t handle its contents. (See “dumb” remark above.) Beautifully done, this visual masterpiece evokes an array of emotions, all while pleasing the eyeballs with its outstanding imagery. Has Terrence Malick ever won anything, anyway?
Best Actor: Jean Dujardin, “The Artist” – This man oozes charm like the Blob through a shower drain. Regardless of the film’s subject matter, Dujardin exudes the sort of charisma not seen since Gene Kelly, and he has the dancing shoes, too. He manages to create a character of depth and emotion without words. That’s pretty powerful in a time where most films revolve around spectacle, not storyline. Here’s hoping he makes his way into more American films. We could use someone with talent.
Missing: Adam Sandler, “Jack and Jill” …What? Oh, that’s right. Please see The Razzies for details.
Best Actress: Viola Davis, “The Help” – What this all boils down to is a battle between Meryl Streep and Viola Davis. Streep is nominated because, somewhere along the way, she convinced the majority that she’s the greatest living actress (Mamma Mia notwithstanding, it would seem). Viola Davis is nominated because she dominated The Help. When you can feel a character’s emotions tug at your heartstrings, you cannot help but get swept up in the film itself. Streep is just a big name; Davis is a winner.
Missing: Elizabeth Olsen, “Martha Marcy May Marlene” …There’s a reason why this young lady has breathed new life into the Olsen name. While I doubt many saw this movie (yet), she proves that her range reaches much further than “You Got It, Dude” and “Don’t Call Me Squirt”. No, you don’t actually have to give her the award—she’s young, she’ll bounce back—but a nod certainly wouldn’t hurt.
Best Picture: “The Artist” – Never have I ever seen a film that approaches the “out with the old, in with the new” adage quite like this. Here, Hazanavicius addresses the encroachment of technology while using one of the oldest forms of modern visual storytelling. By breaking things down into their simplest form, The Artist employs minimal effects and focuses on the story without ever losing you attention. You’d be surprised how much one movie can say despite its sparing use of words.