Pre-BAFTA Oscar predictions

an oscar statuette

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 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.


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?


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.

The Oscars

I always think the Oscars are kind of a strange idea. I used to imagine annual awards for accountancy, say, or plumbing, and use them as an illustration of what why I thought the Oscars were kind of a strange idea, but there probably are annual awards for accountancy and plumbing these days, and what’s more they are probably televised, so my illustration no longer works. Nonetheless, I do think it’s weird to give prizes to people for doing their jobs, and for a self-appointed committee to decide what’s “best” in a competition which is limited in its scope and necessarily subjective. You might as well give a prize for the “best” marriage guidance counsellor, or the “best” GP.

But I don’t really care about any of that, because I like looking at the dresses, and while I can take or leave the ceremony itself, I do love the red carpet moments. Last night’s costume choices seemed to be dominated by an inexplicable preference for silver, grey and silvery-grey dresses that made the wearers look thin and pale and bosomless, but I suspect that’s a popular look in Hollywood all the year round. Three cheers, then, for Charlize Theron, who couldn’t look bad if she tried, but who I thought looked sensational in this dress, which walks the unsteady line between old-style glamour and Bjork-ish overindulgence, and gets it exactly right:

On TV it seemed pinker than it looks here, so the clash with the red lipstick was stronger. Those boob-roses are almost too much, but the old-fashioned shape of the rest of the dress and the elegant hair and lack of accessories bring the overall effect right back to understated glamour. She looks classy and interesting and hellasexy all at once.

My favourite red carpet interview was with that nice chap Colin Firth, who as far as I could tell in two hours of watching was the only nominee who, when pulled over for questioning by Ryan Seacrest, shuffled around to make some more space in front of the camera and included his wife in the interview. “And here’s Livia!”, he said brightly, as though she was the real star for whom they’d all been waiting. What a nice man, and how nice to see a couple who seemed not to have to make an effort to look as though they were enjoying each other’s company. And what a strange place Hollywood is.

Beard badness

Never mind the funereal procession of black gowns (you have to say “gowns”; “frocks” at a push – never “dresses”) on display at last night’s Oscars ceremony: I am more distressed by the profusion of poorly-thought-through beards. Witness the otherwise-attractive Seth Rogen, James McAvoy, Viggo Mortensen (although in his defence, he’s never looked good, apart from in comparison with the rest of the cast of LOTR, all of whom were playing monsters) and the master of the ill-advised facial hair arrangement, Johnny Depp. Sigh. Such a shame.