Thursday, June 23, 2011

Updated Best Picture Prediction (Oscar 2011)

I'm taking this in categories this month, so that I don't burn out trying to compile everything at once.  Today we're going with Best Picture.

And my June predictions are as follows:

1)      The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
It may not seem like a conventional pick (a violent film filled with sex and gore) but            Fincher’s diabolical loss last year should light a fire under voters to right that massive wrong, and the source material here (in both written and cinematic form) have been gushed over by many.  Fincher is said to take this to another level (we all know that he can ‘go there’) and it’s been a long time since a truly gritty film won big at Oscars.  I go back and forth between my #1 and #2 this year, but with the release of that teaser trailer (delicious) and that pitch perfect tagline, I think this will be the one to watch out for this year.

2)      Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
It may seem like far too much of a sentimental reason, but 9/11 has a somber birthday this year and if the release is timed right it could make a huge dent because of that.  Also, Stephen Daldry has yet to miss with Oscar, and this source material is baity as hell (the book is brilliant).  With a slew of big names on board, I really think this could be the one to beat this year.

3)      The Ides of March
Clooney + Politics + Gosling snub last year + Buzz + Undeniably bait = Oscar nominations…

4)      J. Edgar
This is Clint Eastwood, and this is a biopic, and this is DiCaprio (who is poised to win Lead Actor this year) and this is a seriously baity project that is going to cross taboo lines with a predictably Eastwood touch that will certainly make those things more Academy friendly (since we all know that Eastwood always thinks of the Academy first) so I really can’t see how this one doesn’t make the final list.

5)      The Tree of Life
First peeks look stunning (as do all of Malick’s works) and the early buzz is that it is, well, buzz worthy.  I see this making a serious dent, and the star power behind it coupled with the rarity that we get to see Malick in action may warrant a ‘we missed you’ style reception considering that 1998 was the last time one of his films was in serious contention for anything.  Besides, Brad Pitt will be having one of those years that just warrants Academy attention.

6)      War Horse
I have less faith in this film than many others who consider it a lock for #1 placement.  It is Spielberg, I get that, and it is certainly going to be pretty, but early word I heard on the stage play was that it was oddly vacant and someone void of anything ‘real’.  My guess is that it makes it in on the showiness of the film and the prestige of the director, but I can’t see it being in the top five, especially when those other films seem to have so much more going for them.  To not predict it seems foolish, but I can’t see it garnering a win anywhere (but watch the film come out and blow me away and prove me DEAD wrong).

7)      Martha Marcy May Marlene
As we saw with last years ‘Winters Bone’, small independent films with strongly buzzed female leads can garner serious Oscar attention.  The talk surrounding this film (and Olsen) coming out of Sundance was huge (it already seems that Olsen is a lock in Lead Actress) so I can easily see this film making a considerable dent in three or four categories, including Best Picture. 

I mean, Cult + Showy Lead + Indie Cred = Oscar Love.

8)      The Descendants
I understand that the Academy and the world in general seems to adore George Clooney far more than I do, and Alexander Payne has a knack for this style of Dramedy, so I certainly can see the awards chances looming over this oddly dull and bland looking film; but I don’t see it as the threat many consider it.  Isn’t anyone else tired of George Clooney regurgitating the same middle aged hot man dealing with being a middle aged hot man?  I just don’t get it.  BUT…the premise is VERY promising.  At least it has me wanting to read the book.

9)      Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
I really loved ‘Let the Right One In’ and so did a lot of other people, and early word is that the script and the characters here are baity to the max; and I certainly think that Gary Oldman and his OVERDUE status is going to bolster attention for this film.  Right now it’s lower on the totem pole, but I certainly see it rising in the ranks as the season progresses.  I’m really excited about this one.

10)  The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
The name Spielberg means a lot, and consider the token ‘animated’ Best Picture slot may be lost by Pixar this year (are they really going to support Cars 2?) I think that this motion capture film looks prime to steal some votes.  The teaser released certainly wet my appetite, and I wasn’t even looking forward to this at first.  It sounds intriguing and it looks kind of amazing and while I don’t think it’ll make it UNLESS there are a full ten nominees this year, it certainly stands a better chance than any of the other ‘animated’ films.  The fact that it isn’t eligible in the Animated category considering that motion capture could really help as well (they can’t award it there).


11)  The Artist
12)  Moneyball
13)  Carnage
14)  Super 8
15)  A Dangerous Method
16)  Contagion
17)  We Bought a Zoo
18)  The Open Road
19)  Rampart
20)  Melancholia

So, I extended my predictions out to twenty this month just to cover a few more bases.  It seems like the same films are being toted around by everyone claiming to ‘foretell the future’, well…except some who dare to think outside the box.  I am not one who dares to venture that far (although many may claim that placing Melancholia in the top twenty is just plain stupid).  This new rule passed by the Academy is making predictions a tad more difficult.  I’ve decided to predict a full list of ten, although I suspect it’ll probably be more like seven or eight.  I’ve ranked them this month because of the new change, so that I can gauge my accuracy (if there are only seven then hopefully they will be the top seven on my list). 

So, what’s changed from April?

Well, for starters, I saw Super 8.  I really liked it, but I wanted to love it, and the cardboard cutout characters (adult characters) and the lazy haphazard ending really makes me iffy about its chances anywhere outside of the technicals.  I mean, in April I was pretty confident that it was going to be nominated inside the top ten and I had it ranked pretty high on that list (true Inception style) but overall, Inception is a far better and more cohesive film.  Super 8 has a great nostalgic feel and the child actors are AMAZING (Elle Fanning is just AMAZING in everything she does and an early contender for the Fisti this year) but it just falls to hell in the final act.

Still…sound, visual effects, production design even…I think it’ll be up there.

I also happened to catch the trailer for ‘A Dangerous Method’.  I am still highly confident in a Viggo Mortensen nomination in Supporting Actor and possibly a win (he looks SUPERB in the trailer) but the overall feel I get from the film is that it will be wildly uneven and in the same vein as most of Cronenberg’s work; Academy UN-friendly.  That, and Keira Knightley looks atrocious. 

I was so confident in that pick, but as of now I have it dropped into the fourteenth position, not third (like I had it in April).

Cannes is over and the buzz around The Artist continues to grow.  I feel iffy predicting it in Best Picture only because it’s a silent film and I just feel like the Academy won’t hop all over an artsy film so gallantly.  They will either love it and shower it with accolades or it’ll appear in two or three categories where the branches themselves favor outside picks (Director, Screenplay, Score).  Also, Melancholia won a big award and got lathered up in controversy with all of von Trier’s Nazi talk (such a true auteur that one is).  I don’t know…I hear all sorts of mixed things about this.  I really think that the fact that this is ‘light’ von Trier (supposedly it is his most accessible work) and Darren Aranofsky kind of opened a strange door last year with the whole Black Swan sensation, it could factor into the Oscar race, and while Best Picture may be a stretch (thus the #20 placement), I really think that it could rack up two or three nominations, including a big one for its star if people remember her big Cannes win and the fact that she’s young, hot and been working her ass off since the early 90’s.

Oh, and I have kind of zero faith in The Help outside of a nomination for Viola Davis (and maybe even a win).  I saw the trailer, and it looks way too light.  It really is going to go one of two ways; it’ll either be this year’s Blind Side or this year’s The Secret Life of Bees.  Either way the NAACP is going to eat it the hell up, but my bet is that it fairs on The Blind Side of things and garners an acting nomination.  The reason I say acting and not Best Picture and Acting is that this new rule kind of negates that Blind Side slot.  There is no way that you can convince me that The Blind Side would have been nominated in 09 had this rule been in effect.  It didn’t garner 5% of the #1 placements…we all know that film was #10.  I can’t see a film like The Help getting that many #1 placements, unless the trailer is really misleading.  Viola Davis looks sublime though (I love that woman) and she seems to understand a balance between the dramatic and the comedic.

I’m iffy on some films that so many seem to be confident in (The Descendants looks rather bland and Moneyball looks too commercial) but I understand their chances are higher than my personal opinion; especially considering the ‘names’ involved.

I still think that ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’, ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’, ‘J. Edgar’ and ‘The Ides of March’ will be this year’s BIGGEST PLAYERS and they will slaughter come nomination morning.  Maybe it’s too much bait and too obvious but I don’t see how they can miss.

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