I May Not Always Be Right, But I Am Never Wrong: Oscars Predictions 2020

For the second year in a row I’m not staying up all night to watch the Oscars, although this year’s reason (I have a work-related call at 10am tomorrow) is less fun than last year’s (I was meeting kangaroos and the world’s biggest spiders at Taronga Zoo in Sydney). BUT that’s not going to stop me from making predictions, any more than is the fact that I still haven’t seen over half of the Best Picture nominees. That second fact doesn’t matter at all, of course, because the awarding of Oscars has nearly nothing to do with how good or otherwise a film or performance is, which is why Uncut Gems isn’t nominated for anything and Laura Dern will beat Florence Pugh in Supporting Actress.

Wait! I was going to leave the cynicism till later! For now I’m going to work my way up to the fun categories by beginning with the ones nobody cares about! So without further ado let’s agree that Makeup and Hairstyling is the least interesting category of all this year, and it’s also one in which a film without a hope anywhere else often wins, which is why my pick is Bombshell, for whatever the hey they did that made Charlize Theron look slightly, but also kind of not at all, like Megyn Kelly:

Screen Shot 2020-02-09 at 18.16.04
Say, when I greenlit Charlize Angels this is not what I expected to see!

Personally, I’m sort of fine with people playing other people without looking much like them (a conversation I have already had with myself elsewhere), but if you’re going to make the effort then doing it in a way that isn’t horribly distracting seems like it should garner some sort of reward.

I also don’t care about Costume Design this year, but it seems like a good way to give Little Women some love, given that it’s not going to win any of the biggies (except, I think, Adapted Screenplay).

Let’s talk about the Shorts! Have you seen any of them? I haven’t, because they’ve made the Oscars a month earlier than usual and I thought I had longer than I did to get around to catching up with everything. No matter; I can draw on the wisdom of others here and advise you that the bookies’ favourites are Learning To Skateboard for Documentary Short, Hair Love for Animated Short (and having read about it, that’s the one I’m keenest to see) and Brotherhood for Live Action Short, and I see no reason to disagree with any of that.

Let’s talk about films we’ve seen! Editing, like Cinematography, is one of the awards that gives you a pointer for Best Picture, although because the latter category is calculated differently from all the others it’s not always reliable. But since we’re all obediently pretending that 1917 hasn’t been edited at all I think this is a straight win for Parasite. The former film will make up the difference by winning in VFX, and to be fair to it, although it is a silly film it does have some great effects and giving it to 1917 means not giving it to The Irishman; a decision of which I think we can all approve.

Screen Shot 2020-02-09 at 19.10.46
Sam Mendes’ loving adaptation of the This Is Fine meme is heavily tipped to take home some glory

This year’s best Oscars fact is that Randy Newman, nominated for his score for Marriage Story, and Thomas Newman, likewise for 1917, are cousins. Isn’t that cool? But I think Hildur Guðnadóttir is going to win for Joker, because giving an award to a woman for a film about white male rage is a good way to get around the problematic-ness. (And because it’s a great score, but as we’ve established, that doesn’t matter.)

Song is going to Elton John and Bernie Taupin, obviously, for (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again from Rocketman, which you saw five times in the cinema and you’re not ashamed to admit it. It’s only an OK song but Elton is unstoppable, especially since they won the Golden Globe and he told us it’s the first award he and Bernie have ever received jointly, which is a story the Academy are going to be more than pleased to crown with a happy ending tonight, even though Elton is apparently Skyping in for his live performance. (Meanwhile Beyoncé and Taylor Swift aren’t showing up at all, despite having been nominated, presumably because they know as well as we do that they aren’t taking the little gold man home.)

Would you like me to explain again the difference between Sound Editing and Sound Mixing? Try this: if a film was an album, Sound Editing would go to whoever wrote the album, and Sound Mixing would go to whoever produced it. It doesn’t much matter in this instance because both of them will go to 1917, although I think Ford vs Ferrari is in with a shout too, because the Academy likes it when films reproduce difficult-to-find sounds, and 1960s race car engines are that (I imagine).

1917 will also take Cinematography in a deserved win for likeable dude Burt Bacharach Roger Deakins, who having managed a record thirteen nominations without a win between 1994 and 2015 is now going to make it a brace after winning two years ago for Blade Runner 2049. Everything comes to those who wait.

I keep thinking that Quentin Tarantino’s next film can’t possibly piss me off as much as the last one did, and then being wrong. Now, I will admit to having fallen asleep during part of the middle three hours of Once Upon A Time In Hollywood so I may not be best-placed to judge it, but where I think it stands the best chance outside of Best Supporting Actor (which is nailed on for Brad Pitt) is in Production Design, because even I, asleep and pissed off though I may have been, couldn’t help admiring the gorgeous evocation of Old Hollywood, and if there’s one thing we know Hollywood loves, it’s films about Hollywood.

Screen Shot 2020-02-09 at 19.12.27
What do you fancy doing tonight? Well, I thought I might brutally murder some burglars. Hey, that’s a great idea!

The odds for Documentary Feature are heavily in favour of American Factory and it probably will win, because it’s the first feature film from the Obamas’ production company, and for some reason nobody objects to giving prizes to Netflix-distributed films, which it is, in the smaller categories, but I’m going to stick my neck out and predict a win for For Sama because it has (deservedly) won every other documentary prize going, and I want you to see it more than I want you to see any of the others.

Animated Feature is super boring this year! Nobody wanted a Toy Story 4 and even the fact that it’s quite good does not justify its existence. I think it will win, but it will be a grudging, “go on then, if you must” win rather than a joyful one, which maybe means we’re getting closer to the time when Disney doesn’t win this category (though they will make up for it by winning all the others, so we don’t really get a net gain).

You can’t nominate a film for Foreign Language Picture and Best Picture and not give it the first one, so that’s an easy win for Parasite. Bong Joon-ho will also, I think, win Original Screenplay, so let’s hope he’s got someone with him who can carry at least one Oscar so that he has a free hand for greeting people with at the afterparty. Adapted Screenplay is tougher, because I think a lot of people really like Jojo Rabbit (maybe as many as hate it!) and even more people really like Taika Waititi, but I think even more people than that really like Greta Gerwig and feel bad that she isn’t nominated in Director, so I’m predicting a slim win for Little Women. (We never find out what margin anything wins by, so that “slim” is redundant, but I’m leaving it in anyway.)

On to the only categories you’re interested in! The acting awards have all been sewn up for months and will go to Joaquin Phoenix, Renee Zellweger, Brad Pitt and Laura Dern, though eye would give them to Adam Sandler (who isn’t nominated), Cynthia Erivo, Tom Hanks and Florence Pugh (I would give Florence Pugh all the prizes for everything, even for Midsommar which is a bad film in which she is great).

Screen Shot 2020-02-09 at 19.33.21
Florence shown here being told the news that while her rage is white enough to qualify for Academy recognition, it isn’t anywhere near male enough to win.

There’s less clarity in the Picture and Director categories, although the bookies will tell you otherwise. 1917 is by far the favourite for both, and I think Sam Mendes will indeed pick up Director (twenty years after he last did it, also for a Quite Bad film), but I think (and hope) that Parasite will dive in and take Best Picture. Here’s why:

  1. It won the SAG Ensemble Award, which means it’s the film that actors love the most, and actors form the biggest segment of Academy voters.
  2. Everybody likes it, which means that voters who rank a no-hoper like Jojo Rabbit or Ford vs Ferrari top will have it at second or third in their list and their vote will eventually be transferred to it.
  3. It’s the best film on the list (though obviously this isn’t relevant).

It could go the other way, with Bong Joon-ho taking Director and 1917 taking Picture, which historical-statistically is likelier (a foreign language film has never won Best Picture; everybody loves Bong Joon-ho and they do give Best Director to foreign language films, as they did last year with Roma; the Academy likes films about heroes which look like they were hard to make) but I think the split, at least, is likelier than not, despite what the odds are saying.

Did you skip straight down to the bottom in the hope there’d be a straightforward list without any of the flannel around it? You’re in luck, though I don’t really see why I should oblige you if you’re so uninterested.

Picture Parasite
Director Sam Mendes
Actor Joaquin Phoenix
Actress Renee Zellweger
Supporting Actor Brad Pitt
Supporting Actress Laura Dern
Adapted Screenplay Little Women
Original Screenplay Parasite
Foreign Language Film Parasite
Animated Feature Toy Story 4
Documentary Feature For Sama
Production Design Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Cinematography 1917
Sound Editing 1917
Sound Mixing 1917
Original Song Rocketman
Original Score Joker
Visual Effects 1917
Editing Parasite
Documentary Short Learning To Skateboard
Animated Short Hair Love
Live Action Short Brotherhood
Costume Design Little Women
Makeup and Hair Bombshell

(I had to write that table in HTML because WordPress doesn’t have an “insert table” tool any more! The things I do for you.)

Oscar predictions

Happy Oscar Eve! I had to hold back my predictions until today because I wrote about them for MostlyFilm, so rather than me writing them all out again, you should go on over there to check them out.  And then come back tomorrow evening, where we’ll be liveblogging it again, and I’ll be very stressed and irritable. It’ll be fun!

lady bird

“Boy, I hate how it looks”

I’m going to be writing MostlyFilm’s Oscars Predictions again* this year and although I will do it under my own name and so can be as partisan and opinionated as I like, I just need to get the following rant out of my system beforehand. Feel free to look away now. There be spoilers ahead for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, so you may prefer to look away for that reason. Whatever, just don’t read what follows, under any circumstances!

*If you look carefully, you’ll notice that I got all the important ones right last time.

On Sunday night, Three Billboards won Best Picture, Best British Picture (it isn’t, but the rules are weird), Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress for Frances McDormand and Best Supporting Actor for Sam Rockwell. It was a veritable sweep, only spoiled by losses to Guillermo del Toro for The Shape Of Water in Director, which everyone knew would happen, Roger Deakins for Blade Runner 2049 in Cinematography, which everyone hoped would happen, and Jonathan Amos for Baby Driver in Editing, which just goes to show that Edgar Wright could plop out a big poo on the red carpet and people would still defend him. (I haven’t seen Baby Driver.)

Anyway, I saw Three Billboards at its LFF premiere, in October. I’d been excited about it for months and as I settled into my seat I was prepared to laugh, to cry, to be thrilled and to be shocked.

No, wait. Actually, I was hoping for all those things, but I was prepared to be disappointed:

Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 11.20.44

What I mostly remember was that Frances McDormand was amazing, that the plot made no sense and that there was a scene where McDormand’s and Rockwell’s characters throw the n-word around which made me feel uncomfortable. I did laugh and I did cry and I seem to have come out happy enough:

Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 11.20.58

By the next day, I wasn’t so sure:

Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 11.21.19

I know it’s weird and self-indulgent of me to retrospectively analyse my tweets, but the thing is, Three Billboards doesn’t deserve three of its five BAFTA wins because it is a bad, badly-intentioned film that treats race horribly, and there is an argument circulating that people only started to view it that way once “activists” began complaining about it, and that the rest of us are lily-livered liberals who can’t bear to be thought of as on the wrong side, and so we’re all jumping on the bandwagon. Maybe we are, but I didn’t need to read Ira Madison to have a problem with it from the get-go, and if it’s true that the longer I think about it the worse I think it is, that’s just because I’ve had more time to think about it. In a world where black people are regularly murdered by the police, where Donald Trump is president, and where white kids can shoot a dozen people dead and be excused as “bullied” and “misunderstood”, you don’t get to make a film that uses racism as a subject for glib, wisecracking, slapstick. You earn the right to write about a difficult subject by making an effort to understand it, and McDonagh big fat didn’t bother. It’s the only bad thing about the film (if you ignore the plot), but it’s BAD ENOUGH BY ITSELF that the rest of it doesn’t matter. And no, adding a couple of peripheral black characters who do and say nothing that isn’t the barest “will this do?” version of screenwriting doesn’t solve the problem.

Also not an excuse: that he didn’t mean it, it’s not central to the movie, he’s British and they don’t really have racism there (I have genuinely heard this). You don’t have to be racist on purpose to be racist! It’s like nobody’s even SEEN Get Out.

Talking of which, I will be sooooooo angry if this film beats Get Out to Best Picture. But don’t worry, it won’t. I won’t spoil you for the official predictions post (which I think is happening on Oscars weekend itself), but even if I thought Three Billboards would win I wouldn’t predict it, because I still believe in a world where good things happen to good people, and last year it totally worked, apart from the whole envelope thing.

Oscar predictions

Alice Herz-Sommers
Only tangentially relevant, but I couldn’t resist the photo. Alice Herz-Sommers, who died today.

For the third year in a row, I will be attempting to stay up as late as possible this coming Saturday night in order to adjust my body clock such that I can liveblog the Oscars for MostlyFilm, and wonder again why they can’t hold the ceremony in New York or, ideally, London, so as to make the task less arduous for us European filmwatchers. Traditionally I have enlisted the assistance of sweets, crisps and fizzy drinks to keep me going, but what also helps is having an investment in the outcome and since YET AGAIN I haven’t been nominated in a single category, I am reduced to trying to beat my record for the highest number of correct predictions. And in order to stop me cheating, I am bringing you along for the ride…

Best picture

Nominees: American Hustle, Captain Philips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, Her, Nebraska, Philomena, 12 Years A Slave, The Wolf Of Wall Street

This is, I’m sure, between Gravity and 12 Years A Slave, and I think the latter will win because being accidentally turned into a slave in real life beats losing a fictional daughter in the heartstring-tugging stakes.

Actor

Nominees: Christian Bale (American Hustle), Bruce Dern (Nebraska), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf Of Wall Street), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave), Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

Matthew McConaughey ought to win; Chiwetel Ejiofor will, which I am also OK with because he is a Palace fan and we rarely win anything. (Leo, whom I love, is fantastic in WOWS, but it’s not a fantastic film and his character is so desperately unsympathetic that I don’t think he has a chance.)

Actress

Nominees: Amy Adams (American Hustle), Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Sandra Bullock (Gravity), Judi Dench (Philomena), Meryl Streep (August, Osage County)

Cate Blanchett has this nailed on, I think.

Supporting Actor

Nominees: Barkhad Abdi (Captain Philips), Bradley Cooper (American Hustle), Michael Fassbender (12 Years A Slave), Jonah Hill (The Wolf Of Wall Street), Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

This is a really strong category. I’d be happy with a win for Abdi or Cooper, but Jared Leto‘s turn as Rayon in DBC is a career-best piece of loveliness and I hope he takes it. I would also like to point out that had Behind The Candelabra been eligible for Oscar nominations, Matt Damon and Rob Lowe would both have deserved nods in this category, as would Michael Douglas in Leading Actor.

Supporting Actress

Nominees: Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle), Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years A Slave), Julia Roberts (August, Osage County), June Squibb (Nebraska)

I didn’t love J-Law in American Hustle. Or maybe I mean I didn’t love her as much as I love her in Silver Linings Notebook or Real Life™ – but she will win this regardless.

Animated Feature

Nominees: The Croods, Despicable Me 2, Ernest and Celestine, Frozen, The Wind Rises

From the buzz it’s generated among under-eights of my acquaintance, I’m saying Frozen.

Cinematography

Nominees: The Grandmaster, Gravity, Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska, Prisoners

I can’t imagine a world in which this won’t go to Gravity.

Costume Design

Nominees: The Grandmaster, American Hustle, The Great Gatsby, The Invisible Woman, 12 Years A Slave

It should be nominated for hair and makeup but since it isn’t, I think American Hustle will take this one instead.

Director

Nominees: David O. Russell (American Hustle), Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity), Alexander Payne (Nebraska), Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave), Martin Scorsese (The Wolf Of Wall Street)

Cuarón will lose out on Best Picture but I think he’ll pip McQueen to the winning post in this category.

Documentary Feature

Nominees: The Act Of Killing, Cutie And The Boxer, Dirty Wars, The Square, 20 Feet From Stardom

I will admit to not having had the guts to watch The Act Of Killing when I had the opportunity, but everything I’ve heard and read about it makes me think it has to win out here.

Documentary Short

Nominees: CaveDigger, Facing Fear, Karama Has No Walls, The Lady In Number 6: Music Saved My Life, Prison Terminal: The Last Days Of Private Jack Hall

How far ahead of the ceremony does voting happen? Only the cynic in me wants to say that since Alice Herz-Sommer, the 110-year-old holocaust survivor who is the subject of The Lady In Number 6, has just died, the already-good chances that it would win have just improved.

Film Editing

Nominees: American Hustle, Captain Philips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, 12 Years A Slave

Gravity is so sparse and elegant and beautiful that again, I can’t imagine it not winning here.

Foreign Language Film

Nominees: The Broken Circle Breakdown, The Great Beauty, The Hunt, The Missing Picture, Omar

Right, so, uh, I was going to predict a win for Blue Is The Warmest Colour but I’ve just noticed it hasn’t been nominated. So in the absence of any other information I will employ my traditional method of closing my eyes and stabbing at the screen, which gives me The Broken Circle Breakdown. You heard it here first.

(One rule I have when I make my predictions, by the way, is that I can’t go googling for betting odds or anyone else’s views. It has to be based on my own knowledge. Which is why I am often wrong!)

Makeup and Hair

Nominees: Dallas Buyers Club, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, The Lone Ranger

I’ve only seen one of these, but Jared Leto is so breathtakingly beautiful in Dallas Buyers Club that I hope it wins. Mainly, though, I just hope Jackass doesn’t. There is a time and a place for Jackass, and the Oscars ain’t it.

Original Score

Nominees: The Book Thief, Gravity, Her, Philomena, Saving Mr Banks

The rules are, when someone you know is nominated you have to say them. Now, nobody I know is nominated in this category, but someone I know knows someone who is, and so I’m going for Gravity (which also has a really good score).

Original Song

Nominees: Happy (Despicable Me 2), Let It Go (Frozen), The Moon Song (Her), Ordinary Love (Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom)

Yeah, I haven’t heard any of these. Also, when was Tangled? There’s a good song in that. Let’s say Frozen.

Production Design

Nominees: American Hustle, Gravity, The Great Gatsby, Her, 12 Years A Slave

Well actually this should definitely go to The Great Gatsby, but I think Gravity will win.

Animated Short

Nominees: Feral, Get A Horse!, Mr Hublot, Possessions, Room On The Broom

Cough. Well, Get A Horse! has the best name, right?

Live Action Short

Nominees: Aquel No Era Yo, Avant Que De Tour Perdre, Helium, Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa?, The Voorman Problem

I wonder whether you tick a box or have to write in your answers, when you vote? Because nobody’s going to take the time to write out Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? by hand if they don’t have to. But it’s bound to be checkboxes, isn’t it? So let’s go with that. One day, when I grow up, I will be a person who watches the short films ahead of the Oscars (or even afterwards).

Sound Editing

Nominees: All Is Lost, Captain Philips, Gravity, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, Lone Survivor

Sound Mixing

Nominees: Captain Philips, Gravity, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, Inside Llewyn Davis, Lone Survivor

I think Gravity will take both of these.

Visual Effects

Nominees: Gravity, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, Iron Man 3, The Lone Ranger, Star Trek Into Darkness

I can’t remember whether the argument over possible or desirable punctuation in the name of the latest Star Trek movie came to a conclusion, so I’m leaving it out rather than get it wrong and risk the wrath of…well, you know. Obviously this will also go to Gravity.

Adapted Screenplay

Nominees: Before Midnight, Captain Philips, Philomena, 12 Years A Slave, The Wolf Of Wall Street

Before Midnight is an adaptation? Who knew? Well, the Academy, it would appear. I’m racing through these last few categories not because I want to go to bed, although I do, but because I think there’s barely any debate to be had about most of them. 12 Years A Slave will win this.

Original Screenplay

Nominees: American Hustle, Blue Jasmine, Dallas Buyers Club, Her, Nebraska

Whether he did or whether he didn’t, Woody will take this for Blue Jasmine, although I would give it to Dallas Buyers Club. But for some reason, nobody asked me. I know!

Oscars: the hangover

I should have posted this on Monday, but it took me two days to recover from staying up until 5.30am on Oscars night, liveblogging for Mostly Film. But I’m better now, you’ll be pleased to hear, so I’ve gone back and done the maths and I am delighted to be able to inform you that I did beat my 50% hit rate from last year, though not by much – I correctly predicted 15 of the 24 winners, which (I think, I’ve never been brilliant at sums) works out at 62.5%. The joy is tempered slightly – only slightly – by the fact that the beloved managed 19 out of 24, but I console myself with the knowledge that had I allowed myself to change my mind in the moments before some of the awards were announced, I would have done better (it was pretty obvious by halfway through the night that Jessica Chastain for actress, Lincoln for picture and Spielberg for director were all going to be off the mark, though I still wouldn’t have guessed at Ang Lee, even though I am glad he won because he’s so nice).

Anyway, that’s enough of that. On to the dresses! It wasn’t a standout year, I think. There was less beige than usual, but it was mostly replaced by bridal white (click on images to enlarge):

Amanda Seyfried, Jennifer Lawrence and Anna Hathaway, Charlize Theron
Amanda Seyfried, Jennifer Lawrence and Anne Hathaway, Charlize Theron

Vampy black:

Rebecca Miller and husband, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Sandra Bullock
Rebecca Miller and some guy, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Sandra Bullock

Or a combination of the two:

Helena Bonham Carter, Kelly Rowland and Zoe Saldana
Helena Bonham Carter, Kelly Rowland and Zoe Saldana

Also popular were metallics:

Catherine Zeta Jones, Naomi Watts, Nicole Kidman
Catherine Zeta Jones, Naomi Watts, Nicole Kidman

…so popular, in fact, that Halle Berry and Stacy Keibler, wearer of my favourite dress from last year by miles, wore his’n’hers versions of the same dress:

Halle Berry and Stacy Keibler

All of which made anyone who turned up in a bright colour look very daring, although it’s far to say that Jane Fonda’s choice was, in fact, pretty daring:

Jane Fonda in canary yellow
This actually hurts my eyes

I had two favourites in the end. Jenna Dewan-Tatum is clearly one of those women who looks even better pregnant – look at her literally glowing in that picture at the top of the page! – and I love her dress, even though it’s the same as everyone else’s. But for me the very best combination of dress, hair, makeup and all-out movie-starry stunningness came from Jessica Chastain:

Jessica Chastain
How can you turn up looking like this and not win a prize?

In a non-vintage year not just for frocks but for both the ceremony and the winners too, it’s good to know that there are still nominees who can turn up and knock it out of the park, even if they don’t go home with the prize.

Next year, though, I might take two days off work afterwards.

Oscars: the aftermath

The Hangover

This, I promise, is my last Oscars post for 2012. It’s the one where I compare my predictions to the results, although I can already tell you that I wouldn’t have won the million. The calculations are complicated by the fact that I made two sets of predictions, so I’m only counting the newer ones where I was specific, and not the one where I said “Hugo will win a load of technical categories”. On that basis, I accurately predicted the winners of eleven of the 24 categories, although if I wanted to be generous I could award myself an extra point for saying of the VFX category that I thought Hugo would win if the opening shot counted as a visual effect, and since awarding myself an extra point would give me a 50% hit rate, I think I’ll go ahead.

(Although I was so adamant that Woody wouldn’t win Original Screenplay that I almost think I should deduct another half-point.)

How did you do? Anyone win a million?

Full predictions and results in this attractive table, if you really don’t have anything better to do:

Category

I said

Then I said

They gave it to

Picture Hugo The Artist The Artist
Director Malick Hazanavicius Hazanavicius
Actor Clooney Dujardin Dujardin
Actress Streep Streep Streep
Supporting actor Plummer Plummer Plummer
Supporting actress Bejo Bejo Spencer
Animated feature Chico and Rita Chico and Rita Rango
Art direction The Artist The Artist Hugo
Cinematography Tree of Life Hugo Hugo
Costume design The Artist The Artist The Artist
Documentary feature Pina Pina Undefeated
Documentary short The Barber of Birmingham The Barber of Birmingham Saving Face
Film editing The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Foreign language A Separation A Separation A Separation
Make up Harry Potter Harry Potter The Iron Lady
Original score War Horse War Horse The Artist
Original song The Muppets The Muppets The Muppets
Animated short La Luna La Luna The Fantastic Flying Books of Mister Morris Lessmore
Live action short Raju Raju The Shore
Sound editing Transformers Transformers Hugo
Sound mixing Transformers Transformers Hugo
Visual effects Harry Potter Harry Potter Hugo
Adapted screenplay The Descendants The Descendants The Descendants
Original screenplay The Artist The Artist Midnight in Paris



Oscars dresses: vote now!

From what I saw of last night’s red carpet, there were no awful dresses at the Oscars. There were some boring dresses and some mildly unflattering dresses, but no outright disasters.

On the other hand, there were quite a lot of fantastic dresses, and because I have only had four hours’ sleep and I have to go to work soon, I am going to make you talk about them so I don’t have to. Here are the four which really knocked me out: tell me which you like best, or if I’ve left out your favourite.

(Click on the pictures for bigger versions)

1. Penelope Cruz was stunning in a soft blue. She’s gone from kookily pretty to old-school glamorous without me noticing:

Penelope Cruz

2. George Clooney’s escort Stacy Keibler effortlessly outshone her ageing squeeze in a dress that made her look exactly like an Oscar, only better:

Stacy Keibler

3. Viola Davis combined gorgeous green Vera Wang with red hair au naturel and a breezy confidence that made me wish she was my friend:

viola davis

4. J-Lo looked (as always) like a sculpture of the perfect woman:

j-lo

(I will compare the actual Oscar results to my various predictions later. I think if you combine both sets of predictions judiciously I got about half of them right, including precisely none of the technical categories.)

Oscars predictions redux

The Artist
Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo in The Artist

Happy Oscars Day! I’ve changed my mind about tonight’s big winners. The momentum behind The Artist appears to be unstoppable, and I think it’ll win best picture after all, and Michel Hazanavicius best director. Hugo will win some of the technical categories in which it’s nominated, including cinematography (the one it deserves the most), but Jean Dujardin may well beat George Clooney to best actor, not because it’s a better performance, which it is, but because in the last few weeks he has gone on a charm offensive which could put even Clooney to shame. This is his time, and he knows it.

Streep is still a shoo-in for best actress, naturally, and I stand by Bérénice Bejo and Christopher Plummer as best supporting actress and actor. I can’t remember what I said about any of the others and it’s too early and I am too lazy to check, but I expect I was right.

See you over at Mostly Film from 11.30pm for live! Oscars! updates! – in the meantime I have a lunch date as well as an Oscars-themed quiz this evening, so for now please excuse me while I go and put some clothes on.*

*I am not writing this naked, you understand, but I feel like my lunch hosts deserve better than a Primark nightshirt, jogging pants and woolly snowman socks.

How to follow the Oscars

Joe Levine and Sophia Loren at the Oscars
Any excuse for a photo of Sophia Loren

If you are in the UK and want to follow the action from this Sunday night’s Oscars ceremony, there are lots of ways to do it that don’t involve taking out a Sky subscription. One of them is illegal so of COURSE I shan’t mention it here, but lots of them aren’t. Here are my picks:

  • The Oscars website has a “buzz” section showing an aggregation of Oscars-related tweets which is already trotting along at a healthy rate, leading me to suspect that it might start moving so fast as to be unreadable on the night. For a more streamlined view, try following @TheAcademy, tweeting from behind the scenes, @OscarInterviews for glimpses of the stars and @OscarGoer for an audience-eye-view of the ceremony.
  • The red carpet is being shown live on E!, which I think is on Freeview, although half-hearted attempts at independent verification of this have failed, because I can’t work the internet. Anyway, it’s definitely available through Virgin cable packages, and you can always come over and watch it at mine. Bring popcorn.
  • If you want to go meta, follow @LostRemote, who will be tweeting all of “their favourite social media moments” on the night.
  • Finally, an all-woman team featuring Jo, TindaraConcetta and your correspondent will be live-blogging the whole affair from 11.30ish on Sunday evening over at Mostly Film, as well as taking over the Mostly Film twitter account for the evening (I have promised not to tweet every thirty seconds, but who knows where the mood will take me?).

Pre-BAFTA Oscar predictions

an oscar statuette
Shiny!

I don’t usually make Oscar predictions, because I have only ever seen half the films on the list, and because I am no good at guessing games. But this year there are two good reasons to give it a go. Firstly, a company with whom I am professionally connected is running a competition where you can win £1m if you correctly predict all 24 winners. I can’t enter, but I’d like to record my guesses for posterity, just in case it turns out that I could have won a million.

Secondly, I am going to be live-blogging the Oscars red carpet over at Mostly Film, which will be much more fun if I have favourites to cheer for.

Caveat: I have only seen about half of the films with multiple nominations, and less than half of those nominated in a single category. If you want educated predictions by people who actually know what they’re talking about, you have come to the wrong place. But if you want half-assed guesses from an on-off film fan, I’m your girl!

These are my pre-BAFTA predictions: I may revise them after this evening.

Best picture

Nominees: The Artist, The Descendants, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, The Tree of Life, War Horse.

I think it’s a two-horse race here between The Artist and Hugo. They are both lovely films, but the nailer is that they are both about the history of film-making, and Hollywood loves movies about the movies. On the basis that The Artist is a film about American cinema made by a French director and Hugo is a film about French cinema made by an American director and deep down Americans like Americans best, I’m going to plump for Hugo.

Best director 

Nominees: Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist), Alexander Payne (The Descendants), Martin Scorsese (Hugo), Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris), Terrence Malick (Tree of Life)

I’ve been back and forth on this one. The only person I’m sure won’t get it is Woody, partly because he hates the Oscars and partly because Midnight in Paris, despite being better than anything else he’s made in the last decade, isn’t all that good. It’s quite good, but it’s not that good. Any of Hazanavicius, Payne or Scorsese could take it, but I’m going to go for Malick, because he’s never won before and his average of a film every seven years means he doesn’t have many more stabs at it left.

Best actor

Nominees: Demián Bichir (A Better Life), George Clooney (The Descendants), Jean Dujardin (The Artist), Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Brad Pitt (Moneyball)

Jean Dujardin should win, but I think they’ll give it to George. I have not seen The Descendants, because a film whose trailer includes a shot of three people sitting silently on a sofa  is a film for which there is not room in my life. But everyone loves George, and George as the betrayed husband of a possibly-dying wife has Oscar written across it in 48-point Helvetica.

Best actress

Nominees: Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs), Viola Davis (The Help), Rooney Mara (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), Meryl Streep (Iron Lady), Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn)

I haven’t seen Iron Lady either, because there has been enough Margaret Thatcher in my life. But of course they’ll give it to Meryl.

Best supporting actor

Nominees: Kenneth Branagh (My Week with Marilyn), Jonah Hill (Moneyball), Nick Nolte (Warrior), Christopher Plummer (Beginners), Max von Sydow (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close)

Max von Sydow might just upset this, but on balance I think that Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is not the 9/11 film we are looking for, and will go ungarlanded. Christopher Plummer, on the other hand, plays a gay 75-year-old dad dying of cancer in Beginners. I’m pretty sure he has it in the bag.

Best supporting actress

Nominees: Bérénice Bejo (The Artist), Jessica Chastain (The Help), Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids), Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs), Octavia Spencer (The Help)

Apparently Uggie the dog is not eligible for a prize, but Bérénice Bejo is the second-cutest thing about The Artist and I think will reap the benefits of the affection that the film has inspired.

uggie
Uggie the dog

Animated feature film

Nominees: A Cat in Paris, Chico & Rita, Kung Fu Panda 2, Puss in Boots, Rango

Yeah, I haven’t seen any of these.  I think Chico and Rita will win, because it has the best poster and is about humans.

Art Direction

Nominees: The Artist, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, War Horse

I haven’t seen War Horse, but in the stills it looks sort of grey and dank. The others are all good-looking in their own ways, and although part of me thinks Hugo might sweep all the visual design categories, I’m going to go for The Artist, because it is visually more unusual than the others.

Cinematography

Nominees: The Artist, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Hugo, The Tree of Life, War Horse

If they give the directing prize to Malick, they’ll want to back it up with another one, and this is the most likely candidate. Tree of Life ftw.

Costume Design

Nominees: Anonymous, The Artist, Hugo, Jane Eyre, W.E.

This is another category where I haven’t seen most of the candidates, so I have just gone and looked at some pictures (see how seriously I am taking this?). The costumes in Anonymous and Jane Eyre look exactly like the costumes from every other film covering the same ground. The costumes in W.E. are a bit more interesting, but I’m never sure you should give awards for costume to films about real people on the basis that there are photos. The costumes in Hugo are good but caricaturish, and the costumes in The Artist are perfect, so that’s my bet for this one.

Feature documentary

Nominees: Hell and Back Again, If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front, Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, Pina, Undefeated

<cough> Pina.

Short documentary

Nominees: The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement, God Is the Bigger Elvis, Incident in New Baghdad, Saving Face, The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom

<splutter> The Barber of Birmingham.

Film Editing

Nominees: The Artist, The Descendants, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Hugo, Moneyball

I’ll come clean: I don’t really know what this category means. And the nominees are the same as in all the other categories. Might as well close my eyes and take a stab at the screen.

<closes eyes, takes a stab at the screen>

I landed on The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Well, why not?

Foreign Language Film

Nominees: Bullhead, Footnote, In Darkness, Monsieur Lazhar, A Separation

I haven’t seen any of these either, although I do have A Separation sitting on my hard drive ready to be watched, so I’ll go for that. I never said this would be scientific, OK?

Makeup

Nominees: Albert Nobbs, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, The Iron Lady

Harry Potter has to win this one, really, if only for that bit at the end where everyone is old, and they handled the makeup by hardly  doing any, and just getting everyone to act old. Watch and learn, J Edgar.

Music (Original Score)

Nominees: The Adventures of Tintin, The Artist, Hugo, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, War Horse

I can never remember the music from films, or at least not until I’ve seen them several times*. What I mean is, I can’t remember the music from any of these films. But if you had to guess without hearing any of the music, you’d go for John Williams’s War Horse, wouldn’t you? It’s probably very sweeping and dramatic and heart-rending.

*The exception to this rule is the music from Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, which lodged itself firmly in my brain the first time I ever saw it, and has never left.

Music (Original Song)

Nominees: “Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets”, “Real in Rio” from “Rio” 

Why wouldn’t they give it to The Muppets? I think they’ll give it to The Muppets.

Short Film (Animated)

Nominees: Dimanche/Sunday, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, La Luna, A Morning Stroll, Wild Life

<blink> La Luna.

Short Film (Live Action)

Nominees: Pentecost, Raju, The Shore, Time Freak, Tuba Atlantic

<falls over> Raju.

Sound Editing

Nominees: Drive, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Hugo, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, War Horse

I don’t understand why The Artist isn’t nominated in either of the sound categories. It does clever and interesting things with sound, that no film has done before and probably no film will do again. But since it isn’t, I am going to take a wild stab at Transformers.

Sound Mixing

Nominees: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Hugo, Moneyball, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, War Horse

I have no real idea of the difference between this and the last category. Anyone? In the absence of any expert knowledge I shall take the same wild stab at Transformers.

Visual Effects

Nominees: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Hugo , Real Steel, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Transformers: Dark of the Moon

I’m not sure whether that opening shot in Hugo comes under Cinematography or Visual Effects. If the latter then I think it will win this, but if the former then I think a decade’s patient work on the Harry Potter franchise should reap its reward here.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Nominees: The Descendants, Hugo, The Ides of March, Moneyball, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

This is another tricky one! I feel like they might give it to The Descendants, because the Academy like to think it’s a bit quirky (it isn’t).

Writing (Original Screenplay)

Nominees: The Artist, Bridesmaids, Margin Call, Midnight In Paris, A Separation

I can’t call this one either. The obvious choice is The Artist, with an outside chance for Midnight in Paris, but Bridesmaids is a better screenplay than either. But it won’t win, will it? So, The Artist.

Reviewing my choices, I see I have ended up predicting that Hugo will win Best Picture and nothing else, which doesn’t seem very likely. Perhaps it will win costume and cinematography and art direction after all. Or perhaps The Artist will live up to early expectations and sweep the board. I sort of hope so, because it is such a likeable film.

Tonight’s BAFTAs may or may not provide a clue to the eventual outcome, and I expect I will cravenly come back and change my mind tomorrow. But for today, those are my predictions. Now please tell me yours.