Monday, 19 December 2011

Incoherent Oscar: Director, Picture

If we learned anything from last week’s slew of nominations and wins at precursors it’s that nothing is assured. And, for me, that’s the crux of the fun in Oscar prognostics. When the nominees are announced next months these words might either seem sage or ridiculous. Potential unintelligibility ahead…
The results of the Golden Globe and SAG nominees, for me, proved that this year’s race is still something of a question mark and I have this inkling that the actual Oscar nominees will see a divide from them. I don’t know what’s with all the bodies wanting to get their nominees out earlier and earlier, and will it affect the parallel between the precursors and the real thing? Maybe, maybe not. For now, I’ll take a look at the top categories…


MY GUESS: Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist; Terrence Malick for The Tree of Life; Bennett Miller for Moneyball; Alexander Payne for The Descendants; Martin Scorsese for Hugo;

THEN AGAIN, PERHAPS: Stephen Daldry for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close; Steven Spielberg for War Horse; George Clooney for The Ides of March; Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris

MORE POSSIBILITIES: David Fincher for Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; Tate Taylor for The Help; Clint Eastwood for J. Edgar

Remember Julian Schnabel and Mike Leigh in 2007 and 2004? Both earned lone director nominations for films which weren’t showing up much in precursors. Leigh’s Vera Drake earned a single other nomination (Best Actress for Imelda Staunton) and Schnabel’s took nods for Director, Screenplay, Cinematography and Editing. Now, I have a feeling that The Tree of Life could take some important in the technical categories and The Tree of Life is unremittingly “director’s” film. And, looking below the belt I don’t see any of those men as assured of nominations, even though they could very well make it in.

I’ve got Daldry next in line. His film is opening VERY late in the year, which was probably the reason for its absence from the Globes, and still I think that his chances are not gone. Oscar loves a story and what a think it would be for him to get a fourth consecutive Oscar nod here. The film is a classic Oscar tale, and other than Scorsese, Harris and Payne I’d say that the race is open for two spots. Miller got in for similarly unobtrusive work in 2005 for Capote, but remember how dry a year that was? There are so many contenders that could make it in over him, and I want to predict Daldry over him, but I shall stick with him for now because at least Moneyball has been screened and fêted by critics and audiences. I can’t say the same for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

For the moment I think all bets are off until the DGA shows up and tells it what and who.


MY GUESS: The Artist; The Descendants; Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close; The Help; Hugo; Moneyball

THEN AGAIN, PERHAPS: Midnight in Paris; War Horse

MORE POSSIBILITIES: The Ides of March; Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; Bridesmaids; The Tree of Life

I’ve chosen six, and I’m even thinking it could be five because I really won’t be surprised if it’s a short list of nominees here. We’re all essentially agreed that The Descendants, The Artist and Hugo have it. But, what from there? I’m still reticent about the inclusion of The Help, sure it got love from the SAG and the Globes but that doesn’t mean anything and if they want to honour its acting they don’t need to honour it here and for all the goodwill I don’t think it’s that assured. Moneyball is probably more assured of a chance, even though I’m not completely certain about that one either – but it’s been critically acclaimed, and though love for it seems something of a slow burn its fan seem loyal. So, think of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close as my WTF pick. I just don’t want to give up on that one because I think it could very well end up turning up.

If it doesn’t, I expect Midnight in Paris and War horse to be the ones that make it in…in that order. Sorry, despite the Golden Globe nod I’m just not buying the War Horse support. And, it’s not like it’s a Munich situation with history and erudition on its side. It’s why I’ve got Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close in my predictions and not War Horse. Between the two sweeping perspectives of tragedies, I have more faith in the latter.

You’d notice I don’t put much faith in Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in either of the two categories, with the three last minute releases - Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, War Horse - it’s the one which needed the precursors love the most. It’s not tailor made for Oscar, and if voters were looking for what was fêted earlier in the year and decided to jump on the bandwagon it would have been better off, I think. I could be wrong, but we shall see…and the choices for winners is still something premature, but make of them what you will.
Coming Soon: Supporting Actor / Previously: Visual Effects, Cinematography, Editing
Is my on-and-off confidence in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close extremely unlikely and incredibly dumb? Is Moneyball really going to make it in both categories? Is Malick even IN the race? What horses are you betting on?


Castor said...

I personally don't think Moneyball was a good movie enough to warrant Oscar consideration in any category, let alone Best Picture. I do think the Academy will only nominate 6 or 7 movies and I certainly hope something like Midnight in Paris and/or the Tree of Life to be in that final group.

Amir said...

I'm right there with you on Malick. I feel like the directors will understand how ambitious his project was and reward him just for that whereas the academy as a whole might feel the film is too distant to connect with. Even if there's more than 6 nominees (I'm predicting 8, I'll have my predictions up in a couple of days, he could still be a lone director nominee like your two examples.

As for Best Picture, I don't think The Descendants can win. Aside from the fact that I personally didn't like the film AT ALL, I think it's too slight. Then again some people think The Artist is a trifle so ...