Final Predictions for the Winners of the 84th Academy Awards



The Artist

The Descendants

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

The Help*Alternate


Midnight in Paris


The Tree of Life

War Horse

–Pretty easily The Artist here. The Help seems to be very loved and The Descendents has gained some momentum, but neither are enough to take the top prize from the PGA, DGA, Globe, BFCA, BAFTA winner.


Demián Bichir…A Better Life

George Clooney….The Descendants

Jean Dujardin…The Artist

Gary Oldman….Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Brad Pitt…Moneyball

This is one of the most difficult predictions for me. Dujardin seems to be dominating the precursor scene, but it just feels like George Clooney’s year. Either could take it and it would not be surprising. I’m still on the fence. I think I’m gonna take the risk and predict Clooney. BUT, Dujardin has SAG, BAFTA, Globe, and the Weinsteins. This is Dujardin’s to lose, I can’t go against my gut or Dave Karger. I’m thinking Clooney wins this, but Dujardin is probably the better choice.


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

Another category that could go either way: Meryl Streep or Viola Davis. I’m fairly confident in my predicting Davis here. Critics Choice and SAG, plus her rigorous campaigning. I think Hollywood is rooting for her, so she’ll win here. Meryl does have Globe and BAFTA and it’s the closest she come to winning since 2002 for Adaptation. I’m interested to see how this plays out. Either way, a great actress will be rewarded.


Kenneth Branagh…My Week with Marilyn

Jonah Hill….Moneyball

Nick Nolte….Warrior

Christopher Plummer….Beginners

Max Von Sydow….Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Not much commentary necessary. This is Plummer’s.


Berenice Bejo…The Artist

Jessica Chastain…The Help

Melissa McCarthy…Bridesmaids

Janet McTeer…Albert Nobbs

Octavia Spencer….The Help

Similar situation to Supporting Actor. Spencer will win this with ease.


Woody Allen

Michel Hazanavicius

Terrence Malick

Alexander Payne

Martin Scorcese

After his DGA victory, Hazanavicius and The Artist win this also.


Woody Allen…Midnight in Paris

Michel Hazanavicius…The Artist

Asghar Farhadi…A Separation

Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo…Bridesmaids

JC Chandor…Margin Call

Plan on Woody Allen to win this one. If The Artist sweeps like some are expecting, then it will win here also. I just can’t bet against Woody. Ever.


Alexander Payne, Nat Faxton, Jim Rash…The Descendants

John Logan…Hugo

Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian, Stan Chervin…Moneyball

Bridget O’Connor, Peter Straughn…Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon….The Ides of March

This will be where The Descendants gets awarded. Sorkin and the Moneyball team would probably win had he not won last year. For some reason though, I feel like Hugo may upset here.

EDITING: The Artist

CINEMATOGRAPHY: The Tree of Life (or The Artist)

ART DIRECTION: Hugo (again, or The Artist if it dominates)


ORIGINAL SCORE: Bource…The Artist

FOREIGN LANGUAGE: A Separation is the obvious choice, but so was Pan’s Labyrinth. I’m predicting In Darkness


I’m gonna stop there. Some of these are probably wrong but we’ll see. My risky picks are Clooney>Dujardin and In Darkness > A Separation. 2011 was a great year for film. Can’t wait for new films and new contests all over again. Thanks for reading and enjoy the show tonight. Cheers!


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Final Predictions for the 84th Academy Awards

I can’t believe it’s finally time, but alas, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces their nominations on Tuesday morning.

Best Picture

“The Artist”

“The Descendants”

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”


“Midnight in Paris”

“The Help”


The Academy has made things exciting by announcing they will nominate between 5 and 10 nominees. I think they’ll go with 7.”The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is a quasi-risky pick but I can’t ignore the power of the WGA, DGA, and PGA.”Moneyball” might miss, but it’s been that film that just always been a filler nominee all season, so I don’t expect that to change. I wouldn’t be surprised if “Bridesmaids” or “The Tree of Life” got a nomination. “Bridesmaids” has the PGA and WGA nomination, and “The Tree of Life” seems to have a really large passionate following. “Drive” did well with critics so it could also show up.

Best Director

Woody Allen…”Midnight in Paris”

David Fincher….”The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

Michel Hanazavicius…”The Artist”

Alexander Payne…”The Descendants”

Martin Scorcese….”Hugo”

I’m not gonna bet against the DGA. They pretty consistently match up and are usually the most accurate precursor. Though it’s possible Tate Taylor or Terrence Malick could get in over Fincher.

Best Actor

George Clooney…”The Descendants”

Leonardo DiCaprio…”J Edgar”

Jean Dujardin…”The Artist”

Michael Fassbender…”Shame”

Brad Pitt…”Moneyball”

This category has been pretty clear for a while. I think Fassbender has peaked at the right time and will have no trouble. Dicaprio could be snubbed in favor for Belchir, but I’m pretty sure these are your 5.

Best Actress

Glenn Close…”Albert Nobbs”

Viola Davis…”The Help”

Tilda Swinton…”We Need to Talk about Kevin”

Meryl Streep….”The Iron Lady”

Michelle Williams…”My Week with Marilyn”

It really kills me to not predict a Mara/Olsen/Theron upset over one of these ladies. But predicting anything other than this line-up seems like a bad idea. If “Dragon Tattoo” does well then Mara could slide in in favor of Close.

Best Supporting Actor

Christopher Plummer…”Beginners”

Albert Brooks…”Drive”

Kenneth Branagh…”My Week with Marilyn”

Jonah Hill…”Moneyball”

Nick Nolte…”Warrior”

Strong category in terms of quality. It’s been these five for awhile now. Despite showing major strength early on, Brooks could actually be SNUBBED in favor of Armie Hammer or Max Von Syndow

Best Supporting Actress

Berenice Bejo…”The Artist”

Jessica Chastain…”The Help”

Melissa McCarthy…”Bridesmaids”

Octavia Spencer…”The Help”

Shailene Woodley…”The Descendants”

I’m kind of already regretting putting Woodley instead of Janet McTeer. I think it’ll boil down to which film the Academy likes more, clearly “The Descendants.” I wouldn’t be surprised if the Oscars do a switch on Chastain and nominate her for “The Tree of Life” or “Take Shelter” instead; it seems like something they’d do. Spencer’s the frontrunner and McCarthy has been campaigning well and has done very well at some critics awards.

Best Original Screenplay

Woody Allen….”Midnight in Paris”

Michel Hazanavicius….”The Artist”

Mike Mills…”Beginners”

Will Reiser…”50/50″

Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo…”Bridesmaids”

I think Mills for “Beginners” is my biggest guess of the season. I think people are underestimating how loved the film is outside of Plummer. I could be wrong in not predicting McCarthy for “Win/Win” of Farhadi for “A Separation.”

Best Adapted Screenpaly

Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash…”The Descendants”

Steve Zaillian…”The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

Tate Taylor…”The Help”

John Logan…”Hugo”

Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian, Stan Chervin…”Moneyball”

Love this line-up. Seems pretty tight. Don’t think there’s really a spoiler. Maybe “Ides of March” or “War Horse”

Best Editing

The Artist

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo




Best Cinematography

Jeff Cronenweth…”The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

Emmanuel Lubezki…”Tree of Life”

Janusz Kaminski…”War Horse”

Bob Richardson…”Hugo”

Guillaume Schiffman…”The Artist”

I wouldn’t be surprised if “Drive” showed up here or “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.”

I’m gonna stop there. I hope I’m wrong and this year becomes mysterious. These are of a basic observation of the season thus far. Hoping for an Elizabeth Olsen upset in Actress. Looking forward to the surprises.

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Golden Globes Predictions


Bold-Predicted winner

Italic-Possible Spoiler



“The Descendants”

The Help”


“The Ides of March”


“War Horse”



“The Artist”


“Midnight in Paris”

“My Week With Marilyn”


Woody Allen (“Midnight in Paris”)

George Clooney (“The Ides of March”)

Michel Hazanavicius (“The Artist”)

Alexander Payne (“The Descendants”)

Martin Scorsese (“Hugo”)


George Clooney (“The Descendants”)

Leonardo Dicaprio (“J. Edgar”)

Michael Fassbender (“Shame”)

Ryan Gosling (“The Ides of March”)

Brad Pitt (“Moneyball”)


Glenn Close (“Albert Nobbs”)

Viola Davis (“The Help”)

Rooney Mara (“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”)

Meryl Streep (“The Iron Lady”)

Tilda Swinton (“We Need to Talk About Kevin”)


Jodie Foster (“Carnage”)

Charlize Theron (“Young Adult”)

Kristen Wiig (“Bridesmaids”)

Michelle Williams (“My Week With Marilyn”)

Kate Winslet (“Carnage”)


Jean Dujardin (“The Artist”)

Brendan Gleeson (“The Guard”)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“50/50”)

Ryan Gosling (“Crazy, Stupid, Love”)

Owen Wilson (“Midnight in Paris”)


Berenice Bejo (“The Artist”)

Jessica Chastain (“The Help”)

Janet McTeer (“Albert Nobbs”)

Octavia Spencer (“The Help”)

Shailene Woodley (“The Descendants”)


Kenneth Branagh (“My Week With Marilyn”)

Albert Brooks (“Drive”)

Jonah Hill (“Moneyball”)

Viggo Mortensen (“A Dangerous Method”)

Christopher Plummer (“Beginners”)


The Adventures of Tintin”

“Arthur Christmas”

“Cars 2”

“Puss in Boots”



“The Flowers Of War” (China)

“In The Land of Blood and Honey” (USA)

“The Kid With a Bike” (Belgium)

”A Separation” (Iran)

“The Skin I Live In” (Spain)


”The Artist”

“The Descendants”

“The Ides of March”

“Midnight in Paris”



Ludovic Bource, “The Artist”

Abel Korzeniowski, “W.E.”

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”

Howard Shore, “Hugo”

John Williams, “War Horse”


“Hello Hello,” “Gnomeo & Juliet” Music by Elton John, Lyrics by Bernie Taupin

“The Keeper,” “Machine Gun Preacher” Music & Lyrics by Chris Cornell

“Lay Your Head Down,” “Albert Nobbs” Music by Brian Byrne, Lyrics by Glenn Close

“The Living Proof,” “The Help” Music by Thomas Newman, Mary J. Blige and Harvey Mason, Jr.; Lyrics by Mary J. Blige, Harvey Mason, Jr. and Damon Thomas

“Masterpiece,” “W.E.” Music & Lyrics by Madonna, Julie Frost and Jimmy Harry



Laura Dern (“Enlightened”)

Zooey Deschanel (“New Girl”)

Tina Fey (“30 Rock”)

Laura Linney (“The Big C”)

Amy Poehler (“Parks and Recreation”)


Claire Danes (“Homeland”)

Mireille Enos (“The Killing”)

Julianna Margulies (“The Good Wife”)

Madeleine Stowe (“Revenge”)

Callie Thorne (“Necessary Roughness”)


Peter Dinklange (“Game of Thrones”)

Paul Giamatti (“Too Big to Fail”)

Guy Pearce (“Mildred Pierce”)

Tim Robbins (“Cinema Verite”)

Eric Stonestreet (“Modern Family”)


Jessica Lange (“American Horror Story”)

Kelly Macdonald (“Boardwalk Empire”)

Maggie Smith (“Downton Abbey (Masterpiece)”)

SofiaVegara (“Modern Family”)

Evan Rachel Wood (“Mildred Pierce”)


Alec Baldwin (“30 Rock”)

David Duchovny (“Californication”)

Johnny Galecki (“The Big Bang Theory”)

Thomas Jane (“Hung”)

Matt LeBlanc (“Episodes”)





“Modern Family”

“New Girl”


“American Horror Story”

“Boardwalk Empire”


“Game of Thrones”



“Cinema Verite”

“Downton Abbey”

“The Hour”

“Mildred Pierce”

“Too Big to Fail”

The TV nominations could be called a giant shot in the dark, but they aren’t my main focus. Original Song is difficult also. Globes love the celebrity so I’m expecting Mary J or Elton John to win this. Surprisingly, Screenplay is difficult this year, but I’m expecting the Globes to follow the BFCA and award Woody Allen for his clever “Midnight in Paris.” Don’t rule out “The Descendants” or “The Artist” here. Actress Drama is a race between Davis and Streep, neither would be a surprise. I think Clooney’s winning streak will continue, though the Globes could easily award Brad Pitt for his work in “Moneyball.” I’m one of the few out there predicting “The Help” over “The Descendants.” “The Help” is probably the eventual SAG ensemble winner, and is most likely winning at least one acting award (probably two); it’s a universally loved feel good movie.

That’s what I got for now. Check back later on in the week for a post-Globe analysis. Cheers!

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Final Critics Choice Predictions

The Artist

Michel Hazanavicius

Lead Actor:
Brad Pitt (and/or  George Clooney)

Lead Actress:
Meryl Streep

Supporting Actor:
Christopher Plummer

Supporting Actress:
Jessica Chastain

Original Screenplay:
The Artist

Adapted Screenplay:

Best Actress is hard here. It could easily go to Williams or Davis. I think Streep’s got it. Brad Pitt could and probably will win here or tie with Clooney.

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An Analysis on Best Picture

I was just making out my predictions, and I don’t remember a year that was so open! Especially on my best picture list. This makes prognosticators jobs all the more interesting. I’m trying to decide on my Best Picture predictions. In my opinion, there are 5 locks

The Artist 
War Horse 
The Descendants 
The Help 

Hugo is also very likely to be nominated, though it seems the support has died down in recent weeks, but the Scorcese factor will probably take it all the way to a nomination, and is a pretty universally well-liked film. So:

The Artist 
War Horse 
The Descendants 
The Help 

Midnight in Paris has had a critical resurgence towards nomination time (as most Allen Oscar caliber films tend to do). Loved by the Globes and SAG, and now after today’s PGA inclusion, it seems that we have our seventh nominee:

The Artist 
War Horse 
The Descendants 
The Help 
Midnight in Paris 

I think that critics support seems to be split between Drive and The Tree of Life. I don’t know if it’s the best move to predict both to make it in. But it seems both were ignored by PGA, which is never a good sign. Surprisingly, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo did make it in. I would suggest that the guilds are backing TGWTDT, but it received 0 SAG nomination. The lack of box office glory, plus the sour attitudes the cast is giving off in promotion, may hinder it’s ability to score the nom. Tree of Life is more of the Academy’s style, but I could even see some of the older members responding well to Drive also. In the end, I think Tree of Life is the most likely to make it in. It has a strong director and a cast that will feature two probable nominees (albeit from different films), but with no SAG or Globe love, it’s difficult to get the industry’s grasp on it. What does this mean?

The Artist 
War Horse 
The Descendants 
The Help 
Midnight in Paris 
The Tree of Life 

Then there’s Bridesmaids. A little raunchy girl-power comedy that has been showing up week after week at critics awards and scored big nominations at the Golden Globes, SAG, and PGA; all but cementing it as a Best Picture contender.

Final Predictions 

The Artist 

War Horse 

The Descendants 

The Help 



Midnight in Paris 

The Tree of Life


I’m also holding out for a random and undeserved inclusion, like My Week with Marilyn or The Iron Lady. Not predicting it, but won’t rule it out as a possibility.

I love this year’s race!

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“The Descendants”

It wasn’t much more than seven years ago when Alexander Payne blew audiences away with his masterpiece “Sideways.” His witty, yet heartbreaking story, coupled with sharp and intricate dialogue won Payne the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

George Clooney in "The Descendants"

Now, Payne returns in top form with his adaptation of Kaui Hart Hemmings’ “The Descendants.” Payne has joined Nate Faxon and Jim Rash in this adaptation of the 2007 novel. The script isn’t perfect, but the actors do the best they can to elevate the material as much as possible.

“The Descendants” follows Matt King, a man whose wife has suffered from a boating accident and is in a coma from which she won’t wake up. King has to cope with being the “back-up parent” to his two daughters, played by Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller. Amidst the grief, Matt learns that his wife has been having an illicit affair. The family makes the journey across the islands of Hawaii to find out who this other man is, and create a unique bond along the way.

Clooney carries the film with grace and a quiet pain. His character’s journey is unique and Clooney handles every difficult emotion, from sadness to anger to anxiety, with ease. The most compelling aspect of the story is Matt’s relationship with his oldest daughter Alexandra (Woodley). Woodley handles the role far beyond her experience. The most touching and powerful scene in the film is when Matt informs Alexandra of their mother’s condition, while Alex is taking a dip in the family pool. The scene exemplifies everything Payne is trying to convey: heartbreak, the strain of a relationship, and Alex’s quiet pain.

However, there is a bit of an identity crisis. If Payne and company had stuck to the more dramatic elements of the script as opposed to forced moments of comedic relief, the film’s message would had been more effective; particularly out of place moments are a line from Miller’s character during an intense moment between Clooney and Woodley, where she yells “you got served” and the entire character of Sid (Nick Krause). Sid acted as a companion for the family during the entire film, and, more times than not, distracted from the heart of the story. His inclusion, and his relationship to Alexandra, is still a mystery to me. The story did not need to be funny, and the moments where it tried came off as awkward and unnatural. Also a subplot involving real-estate ends up playing second fiddle to the core conflict.

Payne’s films often leave  audiences with much to discuss and a better understanding of the human condition. Payne’s subtle and effective direction, coupled with the powerhouse performances from Clooney and Woodley, make “The Descendants” one of the year’s most precious gems.

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May I Kill Him?-A Review of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander-Photo Credit: Sony

“She’s different” says Stieg Larsson of his mysterious and stalwart heroine Lisbeth Salander in his wildly successful “Millennium” trilogy. Larsson’s words helped his readers capture the essence of Salander and set a near insurmountable challenge for the young actress who would have to play her in a movie one day. The ominous task of lifting Salander’s wild spirit off the pages was put in the hands of well-respected director David Fincher and newcomer Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

The story follows Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig), an investigate journalist recently found guilty in a libel case against the very wealthy industrialist Hans-Erik Wennerström. Blomkvist is chosen to investigate the disappearance of a wealthy Swedish patriarch’s grandniece Harriet, in exchange for incriminating evidence against Wennerström. Blomkvist is joined by the damaged and mysterious Lisbeth Salander (Mara) and the two begin a tumultuous and dangerous investigation.

From the moment Mara is on screen, you’re addicted to her. The way Fincher shot her first scene makes you feel the anticipation and hype surrounding her. Mara’s ghostly make-up and cold eyes intrigue you from the moment you lay your eyes on her. You begin to wonder what her story is, why and when did her she get her piercings and the large dragon tattoo wrapping around her left shoulder.

As the story begins to unfold, the sexual tension between Salander and Bloomkvist increases. The chemistry between Craig and Mara is electrifying and when the two are in a scene together, it’s though you can almost see the sex, and-dare I say-love between them. The two characters not only have an intense chemistry but also a palpable compatibility rarely seen on film. It’s as though neither would be complete without the other.

The glue that holds the film together is the staggering and brave performance from Rooney Mara. From the first moment she is onscreen to the heartbreaking look on her face in the closing shot, she is astonishing. Mara adds layers to Salander that aren’t easily detected in Larsson’s novels. In addition to perfectly portraying the tough as nails attitude, Mara also adds an intriguing layer or heartbreak and quiet sadness that makes you wonder-what has happened to this girl? Mara, pardon the cliché, literally disappears into the role and embodies every little aspect of Salander-a truly magnificent performance.

Craig leads the film more than adequately. His role is meant to be a much more subtle character than Mara’s and has a much lighter tone overall, which leads to the perfect mesh of the two. “Tattoo” is also rich with successful supporting performances from Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgaard, Robin Wright, and Joely Richardson.

The film’s success can also be attributed to the stunning direction from David Fincher. Beginning with the lavish opening sequence, you truly feel Fincher’s passion in every scene. Fincher’s direction is beautifully accompanied by the haunting score of Trent Renzor and Atticus Ross, which acts as an adhesive for a near perfect film.

Upon leaving the theatre, you may not feel the initial impact of this masterpiece. But as you continue your day you’ll begin to feel Lisbeth Salander is with you, like a friend of yours. Once she gets in, you won’t be able to get the girl with the dragon tattoo out our your head

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