Slant Magazine's Oscar Predictions

For the films of 2011
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Re: Slant Magazine's Oscar Predictions

Postby Sabin » Sat Jan 21, 2012 1:20 pm

Oscar 2012 Nomination Predictions: Actor
BY ERIC HENDERSON ON JANUARY 21ST, 2012 AT 9:00 AM IN AWARDS

What Kurt said yesterday about the Best Actress race applies to the Best Actor race in spades, only with a little more direct focus. Instead of covering the gamut of popular Oscar strategies, the two strongest locks in this category are playing variations of the same game: homecoming king. No one is going to say either Brad Pitt or George Clooney stretched their acting muscles to the point of tearing in Moneyball and The Descendants. They're mainly being rewarded for dependability and reasonably mature taste in pet projects, especially in the case of renaissance man Clooney, who at least has the wherewithal to play up his creeping schlubishness—not to mention split an onion in the palm of his hand during The Descendants's emotional high point.

In contrast, Pitt doesn't even break a sweat as Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane, much less shed a tear. If Pitt's performance is ultimately the better of the two, it's also the shallower and easier one. But what does one expect of a homecoming king other than to show up, be the effortless best in the room, and waltz away with everyone's vote? A vote for Pitt says, in essence, we don't need or even want you to "act." Just simply be the shining star you are. Oscar picks truly strange times to atone for ignoring Cary Grant, but even skeptics of Pitt's "magic" insofar as it applies to Moneyball have to at least hand it to the Academy for not forcing Pitt to pile on putty and dodder around as King Lear or Kim Jong-Il before handing over the goods.

Which brings us to Leonardo DiCaprio's tepidly received performance as J. Edgar Hoover in Clint Eastwood's dodgy, maybe ever so slightly senile biopic. There are about as few individual people who seem genuinely enthusiastic about his performance as there were contemporaries who witnessed the real Hoover clutch the pearls while imagining what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would look like in a printed sundress. But with nominations from both the Screen Actors Guild and the Golden Globes, the Eastwood factor, the biopic clause, and the old-age spackle all at play on his behalf, the math will likely just show its own work.

Obviously, the balloting closed before the moment Jean Dujardin, upon winning the Golden Globe for best actor in a comedy or musical (neither of which The Artist is) broke into an impromptu soft shoe, no doubt at the contractual demand behest of Harvey Weinstein. He's charming in both the film and on the circuit, but you'd have to hold your nose pretty tightly not to detect the faintest whiff of Roberto Benigni wafting from the worn elastic of Weinstein's cummerbund. The slot is all his, but I bet Weinstein wonders whether he shouldn't have forced Dujardin to scale Sofia Vergara's chair last Sunday.

No one can seem to agree on who will take that last slot, and the surfeit of solid contenders only points up how frustrating it is to see all but one of the slots in this category all but pre-filled out on the ballots. Some say Michael Shannon, some say Demian Bechir, some say Woody Harrelson. Probably the most salient name in the conversation is Gary Oldman, who delivers a remarkable, controlled performance in a film that admittedly makes it difficult to appreciate. The outrage is that his performance, which outclasses any of the four mentioned above, even comes with an Oscar campaign narrative: the workmanlike professional finally getting his due. On the other hand, there's Michael Fassbender, who appeared in almost as many movies this year as Oldman has throughout his career. We now know Clooney wants to schedule a round with him on the links, but (as Mark Harris pointed out already) Fassbender's naked performance in Shame comes up short (ahem) in the ways the Academy typically favors (i.e. it's implosive, not explosive), and is revealing in ways that make Oscar turn its head and cough. Still, given some of the other locks in this category are pretty skin (or latex) deep, we still like his chances.

Will Be Nominated: George Clooney, The Descendants, Leonardo DiCaprio, J. Edgar, Jean Dujardin, The Artist, Michael Fassbender, Shame, Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Should Be Nominated: Tom Cullen, Weekend, Michael Fassbender, Shame, Choi Min-sik, I Saw the Devil, Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Michael Shannon, Take Shelter
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Re: Slant Magazine's Oscar Predictions

Postby Sabin » Fri Jan 20, 2012 12:56 pm

Oscar 2012 Nomination Predictions: Actress
BY R. KURT OSENLUND ON JANUARY 20TH, 2012 AT 8:52 AM IN AWARDS

If you want a good cross-section of Oscar habits, look no further than this year's top five candidates for Best Actress. In Michelle Williams, you have the eternally baity case of star playing star, and this time the star being played just might be history's brightest. In Tilda Swinton, you have a classic case of Academy catch-up, wherein voters nominate a brilliant talent for minor work as a means to remedy past snubs. Category fraud is personified by Viola Davis, whose push as a leading star is, admittedly, a falsity of the filmmakers and not of any voting body, but who should nevertheless be considered as supporting. In Glenn Close, there's you're wholly undeserving knee-jerk nominee, armed with a shameless checklist of Oscar-y draws like gender-bending, homosexuality, uglification, makeup effects, period details, decades-long commitment, and "past-due" desperation. And as for Meryl Streep, well, she's an Oscar habit in and of herself, isn't she?

It would seem Best Actress is this season's least suspenseful race, as virtually every precursor and pundit has supported the shortlisting of these five women. It's more than a little alarming that Close's Albert Nobbs train never derailed, so icky and detrimentally buttoned-up is that performance. Swinton's steady advancement is pretty confounding too, since her turn as a modern-day Rosemary is merely serviceable when held up against the amazement of what she delivered in Julia. If the winds were to shift, Close and Swinton would prove the two most vulnerable hopefuls, and despite the widespread consensus that this category has no room for upsets, goth-chic It Girl Rooney Mara is waiting to pounce as part of her movie's home-stretch sneak attack.

It's a bit of a shame that Mara stands as the only real spoiler. Last year boasted an embarrassment of phenomenal female performances, and as watchable as Mara was, her fierce, pierced hacker wasn't among them. The women who should be standing in her place can be counted on two hands. Where's the love for Anna Paquin's mad commitment in Margaret? Or Olivia Colman's revelatory unravelling in Tyrannosaur? Or Yun Jung-hee's heartbreaking grace in Poetry? Whatever happened to Elizabeth Olsen, the haunting bundle of damaged goods from Martha Marcy May Marlene? And what about Juliette Binoche's ever-evolving splendor in Certified Copy? And Mia Wasikowska's unerring presence in Jane Eyre? If any field could stand to go 10-wide, it's this one.

Will Be Nominated: Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs; Viola Davis, The Help; Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady; Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin; Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn

Should Be Nominated: Juliette Binoche, Certified Copy; Olivia Colman, Tyrannosaur; Anna Paquin, Margaret; Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady; Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Re: Slant Magazine's Oscar Predictions

Postby Bog » Fri Jan 20, 2012 9:02 am

Now that is a list!!

Of course it reads more like his choice candidates for slot five than it does an entire category with this academy...

Wonder what Eric thinks of this category

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Re: Slant Magazine's Oscar Predictions

Postby Reza » Thu Jan 19, 2012 11:44 pm

Sabin wrote:Should Be Nominated: Tomas Alfredson, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; Asghar Farhadi, A Separation; Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life; Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive; Lars von Trier, Melancholia


This won't happen, of course, but it would be wonderful to see these names announced. And I'm not even a fan of the von Trier or Malick films.

More power to Tinker, though, at the Oscars!!

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Re: Slant Magazine's Oscar Predictions

Postby Sabin » Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:27 pm

Oscar 2012 Nomination Predictions: Director
BY R. KURT OSENLUND ON JANUARY 19TH, 2012 AT 8:47 AM IN AWARDS

The directing race has boiled down to nine names, four of which you can pretty safely etch into stone. Michel Hazanavicius, whose surname becomes quite easy to spell after constant repetition, is your frontrunner, as both he and his film seem rather insurmountable at this point. Martin Scorsese is next in line for the prize, boosted by a victory at the Golden Globes and the bonus of being Martin Scorsese (if the Academy wanted to split picture and director for one big cine-stalgia duet, the Hugo helmer would surely be sitting pretty). Alexander Payne will hear his name called for The Descendants, a movie that should be snagging more love for its makers than for its blandly reliable star. And Woody Allen, Oscar Hall of Famer and all-around oxymoronic humanist misanthrope, is a shoo-in for his adorable, CliffsNotes time machine, Midnight in Paris.

But what about slot number five? Just weeks ago, had you asked any pundit who'd be rounding out the field, the odds-on answer would have been Steven Spielberg (this blog certainly figured as much). But with War Horse's unseen rockslide of lost traction, everyone's favorite blockbuster maestro is probably going to have to settle for a producing nod only. Could Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn step up? Thanks in large part to Ryan Gosling and Albert Brooks, his movie definitely has voters' attention, and though his shot may seem as pulverized as a certain elevator rider's skull, he does boast nods from BAFTA, the BFCA, and the OFCS, not to mention wins from Cannes, the Houston Film Critics, and the San Diego Film Critics. Another very real possibility is new perennial favorite David Fincher, who blindsided just about everybody when he snuck into the DGA lineup for piloting "The Feel Bad Movie of Christmas."

The most bone-chilling scenario would be a last-minute nom for Tate Taylor, whose chicken-fried heartwarmer, The Help, is lurking in the wings as your new Best Picture dark horse. Swelling love for the film could will such a development into existence, and Oscar-nomination morning habitually has at least one bitch slap of a surprise. That'd be sour news for Terrence Malick, whose film has been fighting an uphill battle throughout the season. Shut out by every major guild, The Tree of Life seems less and less like a viable Best Picture candidate. Malick, however, doesn't appear to be out of the game just yet, serving as many prognosticators' go-to arty choice. It may be unwise to bet against Fincher, whose DGA citation makes him the safest bet of those vying to join the top quartet, but right now any declaration of a fifth contender feels like a leap of faith. And by that measure, no hopeful seems more worthy of blind trust than spiritual shepherd Malick, whose ode to existence has the auteurial awe to put him in the running.

Will Be Nominated: Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris; Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist; Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life; Alexander Payne, The Descendants; Martin Scorsese, Hugo

Should Be Nominated: Tomas Alfredson, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; Asghar Farhadi, A Separation; Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life; Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive; Lars von Trier, Melancholia
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Re: Slant Magazine's Oscar Predictions

Postby Sabin » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:25 pm

Oscar 2012 Nomination Predictions: Adapted Screenplay
BY ERIC HENDERSON ON JANUARY 18TH, 2012 AT 9:00 AM IN AWARDS

It's both unfair and too easy to shake out predictions for this category based on what is most likely to appeal to the Kindle Fire set. But with Harvey Weinstein's apparent disinterest in backing his own Coriolanus for anything taking out the only viable candidate in Olde English, this category is left without its usually stuffy literary pedigree. So be it. The plot points of Peter Straughan and Bridget O'Connor's adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy are complicated and abstract enough to count as an organizational form of iambic pentameter. Though any Oscar voter who hasn't read John le Carré's book is likely to come away from the movie with more questions than answers, the script's economy (by necessity, mostly) won't be ignored. Similarly, the efforts of Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian (both previous winners) to make baseball statisticians' math-jizzing sound as clever as the pentateuch of Saint Benjamin Hecht will be regarded by fellow writers as the screenwriters' equivalent of striking paydirt with a Tumblr blog showcasing stock photos of smiling women eating salad.

On the waning side of clever, The Help might be an ungodly, bloated mess, but the script by Tate Taylor (who will no doubt get an added boost from the perception that he's probably a lost cause in the director category) should play especially well to those who try to get one chapter in on each commute on the bus or subway. As any number of previous nominees in this category show, some voters even seem to prefer that lumbering, lurching quality that lets show every scar left behind by the adaptation. Which is one of the main reasons the surging The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo may end up getting sidelined here. The efforts of Zaillian (again) to make a script as sleek as David Fincher's visuals unfortunately had the side effect of making the novel's central mystery only a shade more complicated than a Choose Your Own Adventure book. On the flip side, Cameron Crowe's inability to wrap We Bought a Zoo up in less than four false endings benches him, too, which is especially sorry during a year in which animals couldn't be more Oscar friendly what with every other Oscar blogger currently campaigning for Uggie the dog to snag Andy Serkis's annual "wishful thinking" supporting actor bid. (Let's just pretend Spielberg's horse wasn't just sent to the glue factory by the guilds.)

Given the lack of any major competition beyond old men counting their balls and young women writing about black women pooping, Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash would've probably been easy contenders for The Descendants no matter what, but they should also be thankful they have the added insurance that about 0.004 percent as many people have read the original novel as have read either The Help or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Without the burden of comparison, Payne's often risible middle-American caricatures (developed, for the first time, without the writing assistance of Jim Taylor) and their either unpredictable or, if you prefer, baffling behavior probably seem a lot more organic.

That leaves one slot for the taking. Common sense says it's a toss up between Eric Roth's detail-obsessive job on Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, George Clooney's continuing bid to turn himself into an "aw, shucks" Paddy Cheyefsky-next-door (The Ides of March), or Lynne Ramsay and Rory Kinnear's elliptical theme-and-variations approach to Lionel Shriver's We Need to Talk About Kevin. But none are carrying any Oscar heat, and so it's really Hugo's slot to lose, despite being arguably the most director-centric movie in the Oscar race this year.

Will Be Nominated: The Descendants, The Help, Hugo, Moneyball, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Should Be Nominated: Carnage, A Dangerous Method, Moneyball, Mysteries of Lisbon, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Re: Slant Magazine's Oscar Predictions

Postby Sabin » Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:32 pm

Oscar 2012 Nomination Predictions: Supporting Actor
BY R. KURT OSENLUND ON JANUARY 16TH, 2012 AT 9:00 AM IN AWARDS

Long before he delivered an über-classy acceptance speech at last night's Golden Globes, a speech that Oscarcast producers are surely hoping he has the wherewithal to repeat, Christopher Plummer had the Supporting Actor race all sewn up. For his tender turn as Ewan McGregor's late-blooming gay father in Beginners, the 82-year-old has been racking up the precursors, climbing toward a Kodak Theater standing O that's been in the cards since his movie dropped last June. If he were to lose, by the freak chance that voters were cool with slighting one of cinema's most beloved Oscar-less veterans, Plummer's trophy would go to Albert Brooks, who went way against type in Drive, playing a calculating Hollywood shitbag who cuts throats (Producers Branch? Check.). The third lock in this category is Kenneth Branagh, who hammed it up royally as Sir Laurence Olivier in My Week with Marilyn (a knee-jerk candidate since his gig was announced, Branagh owes much to the casting director, whose thespian-as-thespian stunt exceeds the actual work).

Stoking one's cynicism over this category is the very real probability that Jonah Hill will be an Oscar nominee, joining his Moneyball co-star Brad Pitt as one of the Academy's 20 acting standouts for 2011. Hill is just fine as his number-crunching character, and it's something of an immense relief that he's made it to this stage before his crude pal Seth Rogen, but his nod will nevertheless come as a gut-punch, especially since he'll be beating out such worthy gents as Viggo Mortensen (A Dangerous Method), Bruce Greenwood (Meek's Cutoff), Rhys Ifans (Anonymous), Robert Forster (The Descendants), and Corey Stoll (Midnight in Paris). He'll be the only hopeful in his field under 50, as the fifth and final slot is sure to go to either Warrior's Nick Nolte, 70, or Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close's Max von Sydow, 82. For giving some soul to a cloying quirkfest, von Sydow has been a strong possibility throughout the season, but his film is such a dismal underperformer, he's likely to go down with the ship. Expect Nolte to step forward and claim his third career nomination for playing an aging lush who brings to life that infamous '02 mugshot.

Will Be Nominated: Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn; Albert Brooks, Drive; Jonah Hill, Moneyball; Nick Nolte, Warrior; Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Should Be Nominated: Albert Brooks, Drive; Robert Forster, The Descendants; Bruce Greenwood, Meek's Cutoff; Rhys Ifans, Anonymous; Viggo Mortensen, A Dangerous Method
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Re: Slant Magazine's Oscar Predictions

Postby Sabin » Sun Jan 15, 2012 2:37 pm

Oscar 2012 Nomination Predictions: Score
BY ERIC HENDERSON ON JANUARY 15TH, 2012 AT 11:49 AM IN AWARDS

All this talk about Meryl Streep and very few are editorializing much on when the Academy will give John Williams an award just for being America's most Kennedy Center Honor-ific film composer. He's been trophied more often and more recently, but it's still been a pretty long stretch since 1993. Both Williams and Steven Spielberg have been laying low since the latest Indiana Jones movie blew up in everyone's face, but they've returned in tandem and it's hard to see how the Academy's music branch will be able to a) resist, and b) choose one over the other. So expect them to have their cake and eat it too, citing both the traditional Wagnerian triumphalism of War Horse (which, up until the last two weeks, seemed a frontrunner for double-digit nods) and the more varied, synth-assisted, Prokofiev-tinged themes from The Adventures of Tintin.
Williams is far from the only composer who could theoretically compete against himself in this category, with baity double-dip work from Alexandre Desplat (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2), Alberto Iglesias (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Skin I Live In), and Thomas Newman (The Help, The Iron Lady). Howard Shore would've been mentioned alongside those three, but his regal, Lang Lang-assisted work on A Dangerous Method was not listed among the 97 eligible scores, leaving the path wide open for his oh-so-faintly Amélie-ish (emphasis on the "ish") Francophile fantasias from Hugo to sail toward a nomination.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo might feel a little too soon and too same for last year's winning team of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, but as Gustavo Santaolalla would be quick to admit, this branch seems to like play the Emmy game of nominating the same people year in, year out. That will probably help keep Cliff Martinez out yet again, but won't necessarily be enough to kick Hans Zimmer back in for Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows.

Lastly, Kim Novak may want to preemptively file the police report now, because The Rapist seems likely to not only get nominated, but also win. Never mind that Ludovic Bource's score seems to emulate nothing so much as the corny canned-orchestra arrangements that made watching silent movies on Kino videocassettes such an aural chore for film students everywhere, even before the unflattering (to say the least) juxtaposition against Bernard Herrmann's stolen "Scene d'Amour" theme from Vertigo (a score that, just to remind you of Oscar's eternally misplaced priorities, the Academy ignored in 1958). When there's practically nothing else to listen to for the entire duration, you know it's not going to be ignored.

Will Be Nominated: The Adventures of Tintin, The Artist, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Hugo, War Horse

Should Be Nominated: Belle Epine, Carnage, A Dangerous Method, Drive, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Re: Slant Magazine's Oscar Predictions

Postby Sabin » Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:58 pm

Mmm. Not buying Drive for Best Film Editing. Then again, not buying Drive for much anything.

Oscar 2012 Nomination Predictions: Editing
BY R. KURT OSENLUND ON JANUARY 14TH, 2012 AT 3:00 PM IN AWARDS

Since The Artist's ubiquity is even growing tedious for those who kneel at its grayscale altar, let's just stick to the facts: In all of Oscar history, only nine films have won Best Picture without an editing nod, and in the last 31 years, no Best Picture winner has been left out of the editing category. So, yes, this year's intertitled frontrunner will compete here too, marking a first-time nomination for editor Anne-Sophie Bion (director Michel Hazanavicius is also credited as co-editor). Standing in the way will be fellow female splicer Thelma Schoonmaker, a bona fide Oscar treasure who'll land her seventh career nomination—and possible fourth win—for cutting yet another contender for bestie Martin Scorsese. The third sure thing in this category certainly seems to be The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, whose wickedly sharp work from last year's winners, Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall (The Social Network), will yield its most deserving nomination.

Beyond that, the field gets tricky. A knee-jerk candidate would be War Horse's Michael Kahn, the most nominated editor ever and, to boot, the recipient of the 2011 Lifetime Career Achievement Award from the American Cinema Editors. Can he lose? A hunch says yes, given that Spielberg's dusty weepie hasn't quite galloped ahead as expected, and the editing race is one where it could prove most vulnerable. Likely to take its place is Drive and the crackerjack cuts by Matthew Newman, a recurring Nic Refn collaborator who, like Bion, would be a first-time nominee. As for the final slot, The Tree of Life couldn't look like more of a no-brainer if it led with a poster broadcasting its ceaselessly diverse and staggeringly interwoven pieces (oh, wait...). However, since so many editing nominations have historically focused on pacing, and Terrence Malick's magnum opus has elicited ample ennui complaints, give bid number five to Moneyball, an especially nimble sports film catering to a category that favors them.

Will Be Nominated: The Artist, Drive, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Hugo, Moneyball

Should Be Nominated: Drive, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Moneyball, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Tree of Life
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Re: Slant Magazine's Oscar Predictions

Postby Sabin » Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:48 pm

Oscar 2012 Nomination Predictions: Cinematography
BY R. KURT OSENLUND ON JANUARY 14TH, 2012 AT 9:00 AM IN AWARDS

As evidenced by recent colorless contenders like Good Night, and Good Luck and The White Ribbon, the Academy rarely passes up the chance to gush over black-and-white lensing. And since they're not about to toss a bone to The Turin Horse, The Artist's Guillaume Schiffman will surely be nominated here, an inevitability that, unlike some other impending nods, will be more about formal fundamentals than the film's overall dominance. The cinematographer to beat, however, is most certainly Emmanuel Lubezki, whose tireless, all-consuming work in The Tree of Life has already netted him trophies from the National Board of Review, the New York Film Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and the Broadcast Film Critics. Lubezki's win from the latter body was shared with War Horse's Janusz Kaminski, who, despite being dissed by the American Society of Cinematographers (they shrewdly gave his spot to Hoyte van Hoytema for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), will likely see his throwback tableaux and battles royal compete in the big race.

For Melancholia's intoxicating prologue alone, Manuel Alberto Claro should be a natural inclusion here, likewise Mysteries of Lisbon's André Szankowski, whose commitment to foreground interest and indoor and outdoor fluidity made for breathtaking viewing. But given its gathering storm of late-in-the-game momentum, the guild-beloved The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is poised to add Best Cinematography to its list of probable noms, giving slick Fincher go-to Jeff Cronenweth his second consecutive Oscar bid. And unless voters are feeling generous in regard to the last hurrah of Harry Potter (a series they've never quite warmed to), the man rounding out this field should be Hugo's Robert Richardson, whose swooping, glistening contribution to Scorsese's past-meets-future vision is a lasting aesthetic triumph.

Will Be Nominated: The Artist, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Hugo, The Tree of Life, War Horse

Should Be Nominated: Hugo, Melancholia, Mysteries of Lisbon, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Tree of Life
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Slant Magazine's Oscar Predictions

Postby Sabin » Fri Jan 13, 2012 7:08 pm

Thus commences Slant Magazine's Oscar Predictions.


Oscar 2012 Nomination Predictions: Visual Effects
BY ERIC HENDERSON ON JANUARY 11TH, 2012 AT 9:00 AM IN FILM


Ten films remain in the running for berths in Oscar's visual effects category, and all but two of them are fodder for snarky infotainment graphics showcasing just how many top-grossing movies this year were either superhero epics or franchise entries or epic superhero franchise entries. Which probably ought to make this the most important category of the year for the demographic that evidently decides everything that gets green-lit. By that measure, don't get your hopes up too high for either Hugo or The Tree of Life to make appearances here. The former's swooping 3D tracking shots and Best Picture heat will probably allow it to squeeze in alongside Transformers: Dark of the Moon's more broad-shouldered robo-jock jamming. (The downright photorealistic metal-head getting ready to rumble throughout Real Steel may end up lost in the shuffle—a classic middle child held up against Optimus Prime and that crying French boy's tinker toy.) But I'd already had little enough faith in The Tree of Life's six spare shots of graceful Jurassic Sean Penn surrogates making the lineup even before the film's (in retrospect predictably) piss-poor showing the last few weeks. Yes, there are also the shots of Earth's creation to take into consideration, but the biggest hurdle for Malick's answer to 2001: A Space Odyssey may be the demonstrable fact that this category favors movies with titles longer than your average James Joyce sentence.

Will Be Nominated: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Hugo, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, X-Men: First Class

Should Be Nominated: Real Steel, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Super 8, Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, The Tree of Life



Oscar 2012 Nomination Predictions: Art Direction
BY ERIC HENDERSON ON JANUARY 11TH, 2012 AT 3:00 PM IN AWARDS

First take a look at the 15 feature films nominated by the Art Directors Guild. Then swiftly cross out all five movies honored in the category of "contemporary film." The last time a non-fantasy, non-period movie was nominated for an Oscar in this category...well, let's just say it was during a time that would now be considered eligible within the ADG's generous description of "period," which this year includes the likes of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. (For real though, the most recent corollary I can see is 1996's The Birdcage, which is arguably not a fantasy film only to the same demographic that presumes all gay men dress in drag at home as a matter of course.) Even the fantasy slate this year seems a tad thin, with The Adventures of Tintin, Cowboys & Aliens, and the latest Pirates of the Caribbean abortion all looking highly unlikely. Captain America: The First Avenger and Hugo might get in for doubling down (they're both fantasy and period), but Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 seems the only sure bet from cinema's playpen. Which leaves a lot of room for those period movies, some of which seem, ahem, Tailor-made for inclusion here (seriously, I wanted to cut Maria Djurkovic's wallpapers up like pot-laced brownies), and others of which might still slip in thanks to the vacuum effect. It's probably anybody's guess as to whether they'll lean back as heavily on Elizabethan digs as their compatriots in the costumers' branch often do. They might not have to, if they're as in love with that damned faux-silent as the rest of Hollywood apparently is.

Will Be Nominated: The Artist, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, Hugo, Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Should Be Nominated: A Dangerous Method, Hugo, Super 8, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, War Horse



Oscar 2012 Nomination Predictions: Makeup
BY R. KURT OSENLUND ON JANUARY 12TH, 2012 AT 9:00 AM IN AWARDS

Seven finalists remain in the Oscar race for Best Makeup, the category that's poised to prove just how strong a frontrunner The Artist actually is, not to mention stoke the fire of the film's backlash. The tinting of Jean Dujardin's toothy mug to accommodate black-and-white cinematography is about to rob recognition from the folks who toiled away, one last time, on magically morphing Ralph Fiennes into the pasty bane of Harry Potter's existence. It's also going to beat out Ben Kingsley's carnivalesque transformation into Georges Méliès in Hugo; Vanessa Redgrave's caked-on, Elizabethan kabuki in Anonymous; and the fake ears, nose tip, and finger-weave hair that turned Glenn Close into a mouse man in Albert Nobbs. All of this says nothing of the worthy candidates The Artist already beat to the shortlist, like J. Edgar, whose old-age artistry was wrongfully knocked in reviews, and Green Lantern, which saw Peter Sarsgaard grossly mutate into the ultimate toxic egghead.

The inspired hopefuls The Artist will square off against are The Iron Lady, a film with the great benefit of an actress who can truly allow makeup to further texturize her performance, and Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life, an inventive French film whose makeup's dark whimsy recalls that of Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth—or, to cite another del Toro makeup nominee, Hellboy II: The Golden Army. In general, the Academy's makeup branch tends to operate rather autonomously, honoring the handiwork in movies like Il Divo, Barney's Version, and The Way Back, all of which were shut out in every other category. This year, though, Gainsbourg will likely be the only such film to advance. The other two will be a surefire Best Actress vehicle and a Best Picture powerhouse with very sticky coattails.

Will Be Nominated: The Artist, Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life, The Iron Lady

Should Be Nominated: Green Lantern, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, The Iron Lady



Oscar 2012 Nomination Predictions: Costume Design
BY R. KURT OSENLUND ON JANUARY 12TH, 2012 AT 3:00 PM IN AWARDS

While one hopes that those nominating for Costume Design will be keen to acknowledge the subtle ways that clothes complement character, like the vision obstruction caused by the bonnets in Kelly Reichardt's Meek's Cutoff or the dirtiness of the period duds in Bertrand Tavernier's The Princess of Montpensier, history has certainly shown that pomp and spectacle win the day. And if your pomp and spectacle are housed in a castle setting, all the better. So look for Anonymous, the year's flashiest bit of dolled-up royalty, to handily nab a slot here, if not the win. (There's plenty of precedent for this, as The Duchess, another frilly film with minimal Oscar traction, took the trophy three years back, and Shakespeare in Love, which also showcased Elizabeth I in all her lavishly collared regalia, nabbed it in 1999).

Going up against the queen—who's dressed by Lisy Christl—will surely be Hugo's Sandy Powell, the Shakespeare in Love victor and Oscar favorite who whipped up a beautiful array of threads that wholly merge with Martin Scorsese's Franco-steampunk aesthetic. Another likely candidate is Anna B. Sheppard, a past nominee for The Pianist and Schindler's List who brought a gruff, utilitarian nostalgia to the supersuit in Captain America: The First Avenger, and decked out Cappy's co-stars in handsome vintage garb. The sheer iconography of Sheppard's work could edge out the retro, character-defining looks in My Week with Marilyn, The Help, and The Iron Lady; ditto the many cloaks in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, which haven't been cited since the series's first installment.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy could see Jacqueline Durran's crowded wardrobe of '70s suits squeeze its way into the race, but odds are the last two spots will go to Jane Eyre, which boasts Michael O'Connor's muted answer to Anonymous's period pageantry, and The Artist, whose Mark Bridges-designed cloche hats and three-piece suits will join the film's laundry list of honored elements.

Will Be Nominated: Anonymous, The Artist, Captain America: The First Avenger, Hugo, Jane Eyre

Should Be Nominated: Hugo, Immortals, Jane Eyre, The Princess of Montpensier, The Skin Live In



Oscar 2012 Nomination Predictions: Animated Feature
BY ERIC HENDERSON ON JANUARY 13TH, 2012 AT 9:00 AM IN AWARDS

The "Drudge siren" headline this year is that Pixar's uncharacteristically horrible Cars 2 will, after a completely unbroken, eight-for-eight string of nominations (and, in most cases, also wins) stretching all the way back to this category's inception back in 2001, probably keep the house that Woody built completely out of the race. And that's despite the presence of enough eligible candidates to allow for five nominations. The rules are vaguely worded, but say any year in which "16 or more animated features are released, a maximum of 5 motion pictures may be nominated." Given they had to include The Smurfs, Mars Needs Moms, and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked among their finalists to reach that benchmark, one would've hoped the Academy put that all-important "maximum" in all caps. Still, it would be worth it for a five-deep slate to include all three of those cartoons for especially moronic children if only just to make a point to Pixar: Class up or ship out.

But Pixar is hardly alone in their shame. Shrewd, crass sequels to proven (in this context: previously nominated) properties were popping up everywhere this year, and it's hard to tell if they'll be able to keep them all out of the lineup, no matter how much money they made. History says they'll try. Only two sequels have ever been slated, and for that fact alone, iffy contenders Rio and Arthur Christmas can feel better about their chances (along with no-discussion-necessary presumptive nominees The Adventures of Tintin and Rango). And even though Puss in Boots is technically warmed-over kiddie litter brought to you by the studio that just can't stop milking the Shrek franchise, its status as a spin-off (not a sequel), makes it a safe bet as well. Smart money would probably go with those five, but most years, the branch of animators find a way to slip at least one critically acclaimed, snob-approved entry. And since Pixar let us down this year, we're feeling good about the chances of Fernando Trueba's Chico and Rita.

Will Be Nominated: The Adventures of Tintin, Arthur Christmas, Chico and Rita, Puss in Boots, Rango

Should Be Nominated: The Adventures of Tintin, Arthur Christmas, Chico and Rita, Rango, Winnie the Pooh
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