Oscar Predictions: S.T. VanAirsdale On the Usual — and Not-So-Usual — Suspects Favored This Weekend

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Forty-eight hours to Oscar. Gut-check time — or maybe make that "gut-instinct check" time, a moment to break away from the meticulous zeitgeist-combing science of Movieline's Institute For the Advanced Study of Kudos Forensics and make a few choices for myself. Not that they'll be so different, but if you can't go with a hunch where 5,765 fickle, insular industry minds are concerned, then what can you go with? We can't all be be Otis the Oscar Cat, you know. Anyway, let's make this quick:

BEST PICTURE

A certain voluble sliver of the Oscar punditocracy likes to whine about The Artist's awards-season supremacy — as if it signaled some searing compromise of the Academy's historic tradition of recognizing only the finest, most artistically challenging and rigidly contemporary work. These people sound like some bitter old man bitching about how the Super Bowl halftime show never features anyone good anymore, or some mouth-breathing fanboy complaining about the vanquished integrity of Star Wars. You guys, they were never good to begin with. In their own way — as meritocratic tastemakers — neither were the Academy Awards. This year's foregone Artist win has less to do with regressive, reductive cultural tastes than it does with Harvey Weinstein being a good marketer, no different than 15 years ago. If these whinging bozos won't learn, then can't they at least shut up?

Will win: The Artist

Should win: Melancholia. Wait, what? Oh. Fuck it. That's the best picture of 2011. Period.

BEST DIRECTOR

Have you seen Midnight in Paris recently? Man, that one does not hold up. The Descendants never did in the first place. Hugo is fine, but I think the groundswell of voters who got Terrence Malick into the competition in the first place could be formidable enough to actually sweep him right past Martin Scorsese into very close competition with Michel Hazanavicius. In fact, you know what? I'll call it for Malick, why the hell not.

Will win: Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life

Should win: Lars von Trier, Melancholia. Yes, I heard you the first time. Make your own predictions.

BEST ACTOR

Here's where I'm a lot more confident in the upset factor: Demián Bichir hasn't won jack most of the year, but ask around in awards circles and he's the one guy everyone loves. Well, they love Jean Dujardin and George Clooney, too, but they love Bichir a little... different. The truth is that where a lot of observers are tripping over each other to taxonomize the trends in this year's race (nostalgia? Francophilia?), a parallel, white-Academy-guilt reality suggests recognizing stand-ins for the social underclass. The same voters who are rallying for Viola Davis over Meryl Streep are facing a decision Best Actor as well, and Dujardin's precursor triumphs aside, I don't see why Bichir (who, by the way, is also good in the film) persists as such an also-ran under the circumstances.

Will win: Demián Bichir, A Better Life

Should win: Brad Pitt, Moneyball

BEST ACTRESS

For not only the quality of her performance but also her unerring class, grace, and eloquence evinced one step after another all awards-season long, Viola Davis, this one's for you.

Will win: Viola Davis, The Help

Should win: Viola Davis, The Help

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

I love Christopher Plummer — sincerely — and I remain pretty certain that he will win. Nevertheless, does the Academy really have the heart to shaft Nick Nolte again — especially after that whole Moby Dick-off-the-wagon scene in Warrior? If Nolte doesn't win, we'll be laughing at that sequence for the rest of our natural lives. Only Oscar can rescue its solemnity now. Academy, do your worst.

Will win: Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Should win: Nick Nolte, Warrior

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Does anyone care about this "race" anymore? Did they ever? It's Jacki Weaver's world and we're still living in it.

Will win: Octavia Spencer, The Help

Should win: Anyone's fine, really

And the rest.... feel free to mark those ballots in ink:

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Stan Chervin, Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian, Moneyball

BEST ANIMATED FILM FEATURE
Rango

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FEATURE
A Separation, Iran

BEST ART DIRECTION
Laurence Bennett, Robert Gould, The Artist

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Emmanuel Lubezki, The Tree of Life

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Lisy Christl, Anonymous

BEST FILM EDITING
Christopher Tellefsen, Moneyball

BEST MAKEUP
The Iron Lady

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Ludovic Bource, The Artist

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
"Man or Muppet," The Muppets

BEST SOUND EDITING
War Horse

BEST SOUND MIXING
War Horse

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Rise of the Planet of the Apes

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
Saving Face

BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT
Tuba Atlantic

BEST ANIMATED SHORT
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

PREVIOUSLY
Stephanie Zacharek's Oscar Predictions
Otis the Oscar Cat Predicts Best Picture

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Comments

  • jane says:

    Melancholia is the best movie of the year and I'd add that Kirsten Dunst should be the one to win Best Actress.

  • AS says:

    I was going to comment but I just didn't care enough to do it.... oh wait.

  • Yashar says:

    Thanks for the awesomeness that was IFASKF (Institute For the Advanced Study of Kudos Forensics) and these predictions.

    Just one question. Why did you have to talk about "Melancholia" so nervously and say "Wait, what" and such?
    It is a superb picture and one that I definitely wasn't expecting to see from Von Trier. It's a decent story with sublime acting from Gainsburg and Dunst along with a surprisingly restrained directing. LOVED it and heck, to me, it was exactly what Tree of Life wanted to be (Albeit a bit more "spiritual" and "optimistic") but failed miserably.

    • S.T. VanAirsdale says:

      Thanks for the kind words and your readership! And re Melancholia, that was just a dumb affectation of mine to acknowledge that A) I know it's not nominated, and B) it should be nominated. I couldn't agree with you more; it has really stuck with me.

      • Yashar says:

        I understand. It definitely should have been nominated but we all know Academy will never nominate someone like Von Trier (And thus, his star). He and his movie don't have the "charm" that 60 year old white gentlemen at the Academy crave.

        Of course, the whole seasons could have been much more annoying if it wasn't for many wonderful Oscar writers like yourself and others that I found out about thanks to Oscar Index. Now, if only we could do more for Uggie...

        • S.T. VanAirsdale says:

          Thanks, Yashar! I'm sincerely glad to be able to contribute any comfort at all from the long, drab arc of this particular awards season.

          Incidentally, it's easy to forget that Emily Watson earned a Best Actress for Breaking the Waves back in the day. Von Trier may very well be persona non grata to the Academy in general, but the actors' branch could have very well have been persuaded had Dunst and Co. legitimately gone to bat on her behalf. That movie and that performance had many fans.

  • Trace says:

    I don't think I've ever read a more bitter prediction list than this. I'm sorry Melancholia and Drive were snubbed, but jeez, could you at least TRY to enjoy yourself?

  • Lauren says:

    You are a very hoolwlk smart individual!

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