The 2012 Academy Award nominations have been announced and, just as expected, there is plenty to talk about. This year’s list features several snubs, several surprises, and several Academy misfires. But then again, isn’t that what we’ve come to expect? And isn’t that just one of the things that makes the Oscar conversation that much better? Here is the list of the nominees for “The Big 5” categories. My prediction (not my personal favorite) will be in bold print but as always, it’s subject to change. There will be a lots of interviews and promotions over the next few weeks but here is how I think things will turn out:
Actress In A Supporting Role
Bérénice Bejo (The Artist)
Jessica Chastain (The Help)
Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids)
Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs)
Octavia Spencer (The Help)
I know we all like mystery and surprises when it comes to Oscar night but I don’t see there being any here. Octavia Spencer has dominated this category in the pre-Oscar awards shows and I don’t see this as being any different. Of this group I would have a hard time voting against her. I felt Jessica Chastain had the best female supporting performance of the year but it wasn’t for “The Help”. Her work in “The Tree of Life” was better but her very best work was in the underappreciated film “Take Shelter”. That was the best female supporting performance. But for Oscar night, expect it to be Octavia Spencer.
Actor In A Supporting Role
Kenneth Branagh (My Week with Marilyn)
Jonah Hill (Moneyball)
Nick Nolte (Warrior)
Christopher Plummer (Beginners)
Max von Sydow (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close)
I LOVED seeing Nick Nolte get a nod for his work in “Warrior”. It was my favorite male supporting performance of the year and it was the best work Nolte has done in years. Unfortunately Plummer has this category all but locked. Everything has pointed to Plummer and there is nothing about this list of nominees that would make me think otherwise. That being said, I’ll still be rooting for Nolte.
Actress In A Leading Role
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)
This is one of the most intriguing categories of the night. Meryl Streep has gotten all of the pre-Oscar awards show buzz but don’t count out Viola Davis. Many are trying to hype up the two person race but I think for good reason. Streep may be hurt by the fact that “The Iron Lady” is a very sub par movie and while “The Help” had its flaws, it’s a better picture. My personal favorite performance of the year was from Juliette Binoche for “Certified Copy” but out of this group I would prefer Davis. But my gut tells me Streep is the favorite.
Actor In A Leading Role
Demián Bichir (A Better Life)
George Clooney (The Descendants)
Jean Dujardin (The Artist)
Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)
Brad Pitt (Moneyball)
Once again my personal favorite of the year is left out. I thought Michael Shannon was nothing short of brilliant for “Take Shelter” but there are some really strong performances in this group. I love seeing Bichir nominated but he has no shot. Oldman was fantastic but he has no chance. Brad Pitt gave the second best performance of his career and his second best performance of the year in “Moneyball” but he won’t win. It all comes down to Clooney and Dujardin. While Shannon was my favorite male performance of the year, Dujardin was a close second. Clooney was fantastic even though “The Descendants” wasn’t as polished as many think. Of this group I would love to see Dujardin take home the gold. But I think Clooney carried his movie and has enough charm in Hollywood to win on Oscar night.
The Artist (Thomas Langmann, Producer)
The Descendants (Jim Burke, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, Producers)
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (Scott Rudin, Producer)
The Help (Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan, Producers)
Hugo (Graham King and Martin Scorsese, Producers)
Midnight in Paris (Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum, Producers)
Moneyball (Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt, Producers)
The Tree of Life (Nominees to be determined)
War Horse (Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers)
My favorite film of 2011 was “The Tree of Life” but “The Artist” was right behind it. Michel Hazanavicius creates a gorgeous film from start to finish and I think it will win on Oscar night. But it’s not a done deal just yet. “The Descendants” is high on many lists and has a good shot at winning. While I loved many of the other movies (specifically “Midnight in Paris”, “Hugo”, “Moneyball”, and of course “The Tree of Life”), this is a two-horse race and at the end of the day I feel “The Artist” will win Best Picture and I’m fine with that.