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Oscars 2012: One Movie Critic Weighs In

  • Jeffrey Huston Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
  • 2012 2 Feb
  • COMMENTS
Oscars 2012: One Movie Critic Weighs In

Predicting who is going to win the Oscars is always a favorite pastime for film fans, yet while most simply focus on the major categories there are some truly geeky cinephiles out there that like to take a shot at all twenty-four. I'm one of those geeks. I follow each Oscar season very closely, seeing most nominees, and following trade reports about how each race and every contender is sizing up.

So here they are: my predictions across the entire ballot for the 2012 Academy Awards. Hopefully this can help serve as a crib sheet for your own Oscar predictions, particularly in the more obscure categories.

In each category I list all of the nominees, then who I think WILL WIN (not necessarily who I want to, but who I'm predicting), and end with UPSET POTENTIAL and designations of "Strong", "Possible", "Weak", and "None" (with reasoning for each, and the nominees that may play spoiler).

 



BEST PICTURE

The Artist
The Descendants
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
The Help
Hugo
Midnight in Paris
Moneyball
The Tree of Life
War Horse

WILL WIN: The Artist
oscar.go.com/nominees/best-picture/the-artist

UPSET POTENTIAL: Weak, but if there is one it’ll be Scorsese’s Hugo which leads all films with 11 nominations.  (The Artist is second in nominations with 10.)


BEST DIRECTOR

Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Martin Scorsese, Hugo

WILL WIN: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
oscar.go.com/nominees/directing/the-artist

UPSET POTENTIAL: Weak. Scorsese’s the only competition, and that's faint.


BEST ACTOR

Demián Bichir, A Better Life
George Clooney, The Descendants
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Gary Oldman, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Brad Pitt, Moneyball

WILL WIN: Jean Dujardin, The Artist
oscar.go.com/nominees/actor-in-a-leading-role/jean-dujardin

UPSET POTENTIAL: Strong. Clooney could easily take this, but Dujardin’s recent Screen Actors Guild win gives him the advantage.


BEST ACTRESS

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

WILL WIN: Viola Davis, The Help
oscar.go.com/nominees/actress-in-a-leading-role/viola-davis

UPSET POTENTIAL: Possible, but unlikely. Streep would be a surprise, but not a shocker.


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Nick Nolte, Warrior
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Max Von Sydow, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

WILL WIN: Christopher Plummer, Beginners
oscar.go.com/nominees/actor-in-a-supporting-role/christopher-plummer

UPSET POTENTIAL: None. This is Von Trapp's . . . er, Plummer’s.


BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Bérénice Bejo, The Artist
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer, The Help

WILL WIN: Octavia Spencer, The Help
oscar.go.com/nominees/actress-in-a-supporting-role/octavia-spencer

UPSET POTENTIAL: Weak, but Bejo could benefit from love for The Artist.


BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
J.C. Chandor, Margin Call
Asghar Farhadi, A Separation
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, Bridesmaids

WILL WIN: Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
oscar.go.com/nominees/writing-original-screenplay/midnight-in-paris

UPSET POTENTIAL: Strong. The Artist is a real contender here, but voters will likely go with the revered Allen. They love him, plus they’ll give Hazanavicius his Oscar in the Director category.


BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Alexander Payne, Nat Faxton and Jim Rash, The Descendants
John Logan, Hugo
George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon, The Ides of March
Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian, Moneyball
Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughn, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

WILL WIN: John Logan, Hugo
oscar.go.com/nominees/writing-adapted-screenplay/hugo

UPSET POTENTIAL: Strong. The Academy loves Alexander Payne; his screenplays are always nominated, and he’s also won. But this is an easy category to give Hugo some love.


BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

A Cat in Paris
Chico & Rita
Kung Fu Panda 2
Puss in Boots
Rango

WILL WIN: Rango
oscar.go.com/nominees/animated-feature-film/rango

UPSET POTENTIAL: None. This may be the surest thing of the night.


BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Bullhead (Belgium)
Footnote (Israel)
In Darkness (Poland)
Monsieur Lazhar (Canada)
A Separation (Iran)

WILL WIN: A Separation (Iran)
oscar.go.com/nominees/foreign-language-film/iran-a-separation

UPSET POTENTIAL: Weak. In Darkness is a possible, but there’s universal acclaim for the Iranian domestic drama A Separation.


ORIGINAL SCORE

The Adventures of Tintin, John Williams
The Artist, Ludovic Bource
Hugo, Howard Shore
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Alberto Iglesias
War Horse, John Williams

WILL WIN: The Artist, Ludovic Bource
oscar.go.com/nominees/music-original-score/the-artist

UPSET POTENTIAL: Weak. It’s hard seeing this go any other way.


BEST ORIGINAL SONG

"Man or Muppet," The Muppets; Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
"Real in Rio," Rio; Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, Lyric by Siedah Garrett

WILL WIN: "Man or Muppet," The Muppets; Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
oscar.go.com/nominees/music-original-song/the-muppets

UPSET POTENTIAL: None. And correction—THIS is the surest thing of the night.


BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN ART DIRECTION

The Artist
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Hugo
Midnight in Paris
War Horse

WILL WIN: Hugo
oscar.go.com/nominees/art-direction/hugo

UPSET POTENTIAL: Possible. A very competitive field, but Hugo is visually stunning. Still, The Artist could pull this out.


BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY

The Artist
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Hugo
The Tree of Life
War Horse

WILL WIN: The Artist
oscar.go.com/nominees/cinematography/the-artist

UPSET POTENTIAL: Strong. The Tree of Life should really win this and will no doubt get a lot of votes.  But love for The Artist will put it over the top here, likely in a squeaker (though we’ll never truly know).


BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN

Anonymous
The Artist
Hugo
Jane Eyre
W.E.

WILL WIN: The Artist
oscar.go.com/nominees/costume-design/the-artist

UPSET POTENTIAL: Possible. Costume dramas like Anonymous, Jane Eyre and Hugo almost exclusively win this category, but again—too much love for The Artist this year, and those other three will likely split votes. But if one pulls it out, it’ll be Hugo.


BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Hell and Back Again
If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Pina
Undefeated

WILL WIN: Pina
oscar.go.com/nominees/documentary-feature/pina

UPSET POTENTIAL: Weak. Critics have been in awe of Pina’s 3D visualization of the Art of Dance, but if there is an upset it’ll be Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory.


BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM EDITING

The Artist
The Descendants
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Hugo
Moneyball

WILL WIN: The Artist
oscar.go.com/nominees/film-editing/the-artist

UPSET POTENTIAL: Possible. The Editors Guild gave their Comedy/Musical award to The Artist and dramatic award to The Descendants. The Artist gets the edge in this showdown.


BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP

Albert Nobbs
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
The Iron Lady

WILL WIN: The Iron Lady
oscar.go.com/nominees/makeup/the-iron-lady

UPSET POTENTIAL: Weak. That Albert Nobbs makeup wasn’t fooling anybody, and despite the excellence of HP8 the visual transformation of Streep to Thatcher really was eerie, almost clone-like.


BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

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

WILL WIN: Saving Face
oscar.go.com/nominees/documentary-short-subject/saving-face

UPSET POTENTIAL: Strong. The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom is an artful elegy of the Japan tsunami disaster, but Saving Face—about helping Pakistani women who’ve been disfigured by men having thrown acid on their faces—is the more intimate and has the emotional pull of injustice and unnecessary man-made tragedy.


BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM

Dimanche/Sunday
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
La Luna
A Morning Stroll
Wild Life

WILL WIN: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
oscar.go.com/nominees/short-film-animated/the-fantastic-flying-books-of-mr-morris-lessmore

UPSET POTENTIAL: Strong. Three very good films here. Pixar’s creative and charming La Luna could actually benefit from the studio not having an Animated Feature nominee (they haven’t won Short since the Feature category was created), and Wild Life is an evocative different kind of “Western” from Canada, but The Fantastic Flying . . . is pure magic (and from an ex-Pixar artist); it really should be developed into a feature.


BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM

Pentecost
Raju
The Shore
Time Freak
Tuba Atlantic

WILL WIN: Tuba Atlantic
oscar.go.com/nominees/short-film-live-action/tuba-atlantic

UPSET POTENTIAL: Strong. The Shore is by Terry George, who’s written many respected features (Hotel Rwanda, In the Name of the Father), and the story is conventional in an easy-to-like kind of way, plus he’s actually campaigned for this on the Oscar circuit. Raju is a moving story about child kidnapping (and well made), but Tuba Atlantic plays at the same heartstrings of late-in-life regrets as The Shore does, but with a more creative conceit at its core.


 

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING

Drive
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Hugo
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
War Horse

WILL WIN: Hugo
oscar.go.com/nominees/sound-editing/hugo

UPSET POTENTIAL: Weak. These awards go to either respected summer blockbusters or the big budget prestige pic with a lot of nominations. It’s the latter this year, and that’s Hugo. War Horse could surprise, though, as it’s a prestige pic with war sequences.


BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Hugo
Moneyball
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
War Horse

WILL WIN: Hugo
oscar.go.com/nominees/sound-mixing/hugo

UPSET POTENTIAL: Weak. Ditto above.


BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Hugo
Real Steel
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Transformers: Dark of the Moon

WILL WIN: Hugo
oscar.go.com/nominees/visual-effects/hugo

UPSET POTENTIAL: Possible, as all the contenders are strong. But Hugo is still probably the most respected film of the bunch, and its 3D has been praised as the best ever.

***

If my predictions hold true, the night's big winners will be:

The Artist – 7
Hugo – 5


Jeffrey Huston is Lead Creative at Steelehouse Productions, a film and video production company in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He also regularly reviews films for the Movies channel at Crosswalk.com.