I made a bold and risky Best Picture nominee prediction minutes before the nominees came out: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close for Best Picture. I was right. Unfortunately, only a handful of my Top 10 made the Best Picture ranks, but getting that prediction right makes my day.
With the exception of that and War Horse, the only surprise in Best Picture was reaching nine nominees with the new system. I knew there had to be a good reason for changing the rules and this is it. There must have been one or two films that barely got in when they changed to 10 nominees, so now only the ones with a significant amount of support will get in.
Best Picture Nominees:
- The Artist
- The Descendants
- Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
- The Help
- Midnight in Paris
- The Tree of Life
- War Horse
My pick: Midnight in Paris My prediction: Hugo
I made another bold choice a few days ago that people thought wouldn't pan out. That choice was Gary Oldman for Best Actor in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Nailed that one, too.
There was another surprise (and a very good one at that). A tiny little film called A Better Life got a wide-ish release over the summer. It was about a Mexican illegal immigrant trying to make a good life in America for his son. That actor, Demian Bichir, is now an Academy Award nominee for a very small film.
Best Actor Nominees:
- Demian Bichir, A Better Life
- George Clooney, The Descendants
- Jean Dujardin, The Artist
- Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
- Brad Pitt, Moneyball
My pick: Gary Oldman My prediction: Jean Dujardin
Best Actress has had a group of seven women circling five nominations for quite some time. It's only natural that Tilda Swinton and Charlize Theron were out. They had the two smallest releases (We Need to Talk About Kevin went with the qualifying run and maybe a weekend more; Young Adult went wide-ish but underwhelmed) in the most off-putting films. And yes, they're both more unnerving that the rape scenes in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Rooney Mara shouldn't be a surprise since Noomi Rapace got a lot of momentum for the same role when The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was a foreign language film.
Best Actress Nominees:
- Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
- Viola Davis, The Help
- Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
- Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
- Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn
My pick: write in ballot for Charlize Theron My prediction: Meryl Streep
The Supporting categories each had a big surprise. I can't think of one person who was predicting Max von Sydow would get in for his voluntarily mute grandfatherly figure in Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. Melissa McCarthy is a surprise because the Academy hasn't gone for that kind of performance in a long time.
Best Supporting Actor Nominees:
- Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn
- Jonah Hill, Moneyball
- Nick Nolte, Warrior
- Christopher Plummer, Beginners
- Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
My pick: Christopher Plummer My prediction: Christopher Plummer
Best Supporting Actress Nominees:
- Berenice Bejo, The Artist
- Jessica Chastain, The Help
- Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
- Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
- Octavia Spencer, The Help
My pick: Berenice Bejo My prediction: Janet McTeer (they'll want to reward Glenn Close's pet project and this is the category with the biggest chance for an upset)
Now for the other categories I mentioned yesterday.
Guess what? The Academy still doesn't care for motion capture work. The Adventures of TinTin did not get a Best Animated Feature nomination. That's not important right now.
What is important is what actually made it in the category. Rango and Kung Fu Panda 2 got in, which makes me happy about anything else that happened with the nominations. That's not an exaggeration. I loved those films.
Even more interesting is, as I was predicting elsewhere, the love for foreign language animation. A good chunk of the possible nominees did the one week and done release schedule in LA. They followed that up with heavy screener distribution. The victors are French film A Cat in Paris and Spanish musical film Chico & Rita.
Best Animated Feature Nominees:
My prediction: Rango, but I haven't seen three of the nominees.
Original Score is always one of my favorite categories. This year doesn't seem to be an exception. Ludovic Bource's playful score from The Artist makes the cut, as does Alberto Iglesias' precise doodles for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. John Williams scores two nominees for big sweeping orchestral scores and Howard Shore gets rewarded for his playful work in Hugo. I wouldn't have predicted most of these scores (it's hard to pick when no one is disqualified to narrow down the field (except for Hans Zimmer who went on the record saying he would not submit Rango for Oscar consideration) but I'm not upset with any of them. I wish they found room for Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, but that didn't get any of the technical nominations it deserved (seriously, nothing for that film's sound?).
Best Original Score Nominees:
- John Willams, The Adventures of TinTin
- Lodovic Bource, The Artist
- Howard Shore, Hugo
- Alberto Iglesias, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
- John Williams, War Horse
My choice: Alberto Iglesias My prediction: Ludovic Bource
- Corey Stoll couldn't ride a last minute surge for his Hemingway in Midnight in Paris to a nomination
- Young Adult, helmed by three previous nominees/winners, received no nominations
- Pixar is not nominated for the first time since the Academy Awards added Animated Feature and they had a film release
- The Girl with the Dragon Tatto gets five nominations, including Actress, but misses out on Best Picture to Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (two nominations), Midnight in Paris (three), The Tree of Life (three), and The Help (four)
The full list of nominees is here.
In conclusion, never bet against the horse film. Academy voters love horse films.
Thoughts? Love to hear them.