Film Reviews

From the left: Director Alexander Payne, actor Jean Dujardin, actress Jessica Chastain. “I’d like to thank everyone who believed in me, starting the day I was born...”

The Oscar Follies

It’s always politics at the Academy Awards

Here it comes, lumbering toward us in a few days… The octogenarian Oscars, replete with a resurrected host Billy Crystal, nine Best Picture noms, only two nominated songs, be-gowned starlets and the usual promise that the whole thing will be shorter this year–two hours-ish, they say. What? No 3-D?! All dolled-up like a Madame in her whorehouse parlor, this Grand Dame of award shows–a live presentation done by people accustomed to working on film–squinting at the teleprompters and presenters paired up with people they don’t know.

Our predictions: Crystal, after a nine-year absence, will be at the top of his game: There’s a lot to satirize this time around, a year in which (1) Performances were a lot better than the films they graced, and (2) You will swear you’ll never watch this overdressed show again…but you will. (It’s as hopelessly American as the Super Bowl.)

In terms of fashion, Nicole Kidman, as usual, will be the best dressed. Julianne Moore will be the second-best dressed, but Bérénice Bejo (The Artist) will nonetheless steal the show.

And the Oscar Goes To…

Best Film

Will Win: The Artist

Should Win: The Descendants

Dark Horse: Hugo

Note: Oscar voters, some of whom actually see the movies, are trying harder to be “family-oriented.”

Best Actress

Will Win: Viola Davis

Should Win: Meryl Streep

Note: A backlash against Streep seems to be evolving.

Best Actor

Will Win: Jean Dujardin

Should Win: George Clooney

Note: At this writing (Feb. 17), The Artist is peaking.

Cinematography

Will Win: Hugo

Should Win: The Tree of Life

Best Director

Will Win: Martin Scorsese

Should Win: Alexander Payne

Note: Age before Beauty.

Original Screenplay

Will Win: Bridesmaids

Should Win: Margin Call

Dark Horse: Midnight in Paris

Note: The closest race this year–go figure.

Adapted Screenplay

Will Win: Moneyball

Should Win: The Descendants

Supporting Actor

Will Win: Christopher Plummer

Should Win: Christopher Plummer

Dark Horse: Nick Nolte

Note: Hollywood might be in the mood to forgive Nolte for his sins.

Supporting Actress

Will Win: Jessica Chastain

Should Win: Melissa McCarthy

Note: Chastain was in five good movies this year.

Best Documentary: Pina; Best Foreign Language Feature: A Separation; Best Make-up: The Iron Lady; Best Film Editing: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Summing It Up: This will be the year for unfathomable upsets, reversals and obscure winners.

The Weekly Awards: Best Tuxedo goes to Ryan Gosling’s. Best Song will be “Man or Muppet.” Most Cleavage found in Katy Perry. Most Noted Absentee will (probably) be Woody Allen. Most Dubious Best Pic nominee is Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. Best Salesmanship to Clooney in his Clark Gable mode.