Nathaniel Rogers | Oscars

Movies: It's Oscar Weekend. Predictions. How Are You Celebrating?

The days of silent film stars (Jean Dujardin & Missi Pyle) are numbered in "The Artist"


GuestbloggerIt's Oscar Weekend!

 I apologize for my radio silence but I was sucked into a vortex of tears and trembling and I don't mean my annual Oscar weekend nervous breakdown. I was working on a project involving Oscar's acceptance speeches and I literally spent twelve hours watching them via Oscar's official YouTube channel. People are always complaining that the Oscars are too long but I say too short. Whenever I revisit a famous Oscar speech I become more perplexed that the producers are always pushing winners to keep it down to 45 seconds. I live for those hot mess speeches like Adrien Brody's in 2003 or Halle Berry's in 2002. Remember that? I mean she didn't even stop hyperventilating for a minute and a half. How much less memorable would Jeff Bridges speech have been in 2010 if they didn't let him have all this "groovy" memories and detours and how much duller would Sandra Bullock's speech have been had she had to cut out all the laugh lines and Meryl Streep kissing jokes and her anecdote about her boy craziness...

Sandra-speech"So, if I can take this moment to thank Helgeby for not letting me ride in cars with boys till i was 18 cuz she was right I would have done what she said i was going  to do."

My greatest impossible dream for Sunday is that Christopher Plummer will feel compelled to sing the entirety of The Sound of Music's  "Something Good" when he wins for Beginners. If he does we should all tear down our curtains and make playclothes in his honor.

I hope they let Viola Davis talk for 15 minutes when she wins Best Actress because she's divine. Yes, yes, the gays are supposed to want Meryl Streep to win every year -- sorry! -- but this year I'm all about Viola. She truly anchored The Help, saving it from its own worst impulses and making its best ones resonate. You could feel a lifetime of struggle in her posture and walk, habitually suppressed anger in her frowns; even her smiles and laughter had undertows like she knew they'd be gone the next instant or bring painful memories of her son back with them. People reflexively bad mouth the film -- sure, it's an easy target -- but that performance is just flawless. (If I ran the world Meryl would already have her three or four naked gold men so I owe her nothing)

What are my Predictions? AFTER THE JUMP...

If you're betting against The Artist on Sunday, you'll lose. Ignore the backlash especially when people call it a safe unadventurous choice. ("Yes, because comedies and black and white silent films win so often," he said sarcastically). This is a highly unusual year in that it seems like most of the best nominees in each category are going to win.

Best Picture
Will Win: The Artist
Spoiler: The Descendants and The Help are the only films with anything like spoiler heat but not enough of it.

Best Director
Will Win: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Spoiler: If Oscar gets cold feet about giving everything to the French on Sunday, this could go to an American legend Martin Scorsese (Hugo) or to Alexander Payne (The Descendants).


Best Actress
Will Win: Viola Davis, The Help
Spoiler: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady ... and it might happen since it's been 29 years. 

Best Actor
Will Win: Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Spoiler: George Clooney, The Descendants
Jean, George and Brad Pitt (Moneyball) were still campaigning hard right up into the finish and it feels like a squeaker. I'm rooting for Brad and Hollywood always roots for Clooney but Dujardin's extravagantly expressive face and dancing feet might prove irresistible.

Best Supporting Actor
Will Win: Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Spoiler: None. Plummer is so far out front I wouldn't be surprised if Hollywood can't remember who the other guys are.

Best Supporting Actress
Will Win: Octavia Spencer, The Help
Spoiler: None. She's been sweeping the precursors.

Who would you vote for?


Matthias Schoenaerts as a steroid addled man in "Bullhead"

If you haven't seen The Artist yet, you need to see what the fuss is about. Otherwise try and find Iran's A Separation which has been slowly trickling in to more cities. The family drama slash legal thriller is a full stop masterpiece and if it loses Best Foreign Film Sunday it'll be the night's most depressing moment. (It's also nominated for Best Screenplay but there's probably no stopping Woody Allen's amusing Midnight in Paris there.) A Separation has tough competition, though, from Poland's In Darkness, a Holocaust drama (and you know how much Oscar loves those) and maybe even from Belgium's Bullhead, a critically acclaimed crime drama about illegal growth hormones that has a lot of people talking. If you've seen all the Big Name players, you could also try a couple of the Best Documentary nominees: Hell and Back Again and If a Tree Falls are both streaming on Netflix.

If you've already seen all the nominees and have no time to see movies anyway because you're busy prepping for your massive Oscar party to shame all Oscar parties, well done!

Nathaniel Rogers would live in the movie theater but for the poor internet reception. He blogs daily at the Film Experience. Follow him on Twitter @nathanielr.

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  1. The Oscars is homophobic and so are the studio heads. I have no interest in watching homophobes.

    Note the relative absence of any movies that are even remotely about male homosexual relationships. There might be one or two trivial movies but none in the major league.

    Posted by: jason | Feb 24, 2012 5:55:04 PM

  2. I really don't enjoy anything about the Oscars, so it has been years since I've watched. So to answer your headline, I'm not celebrating at all. It would give me a headache to watch any of it.

    Posted by: Chip | Feb 24, 2012 6:10:27 PM

  3. Meryl Streep winning wouldn't be a spoiler, she's expected to win. And she deserves it after sitting a record-breaking number of times while someone else's name is called.

    Posted by: MarkUs | Feb 24, 2012 6:26:49 PM

  4. I love the Oscar even after that timeless classic "Crash" beat "Brokeback Mountain" is hard to take them seriously.

    Posted by: jaragon | Feb 24, 2012 6:36:05 PM

  5. Uh, jason, in case you haven't noticed, Christopher Plummer is about to win Best Supporting Actor for playing a late-blooming gay man. Rooney Mara is nominated for best actress for playing a bisexual, and Glenn Close and Janet McTeer are nominated for gender-bending roles. It's hard to argue that Weekend was somehow snubbed -- it's a small film barely anyone saw with no major stars. Were there any other high profile films about gay men last year? The gay community barely supports the films that do cover our lives. How can we expect Hollywood to make them.

    Posted by: mikey1ca | Feb 24, 2012 6:56:09 PM

  6. These award shows are boring and the winners are often dubious. I'm not celebrating anything aside from having good health and a decent job.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Feb 24, 2012 6:59:17 PM

  7. My sister throws an Oscar party every year and I'll probably still go, because it's my sister. That said, I'm not going to lie; I'm pissed about the nominations this year (Extremely Loud and War Horse over 50/50 or Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? Seriously?) -- and some of the winners from recent years.

    The way the Oscars are designed, they award those who have the best behind-the-scenes mojo in politicking for their movie, rather than the actual best movies. Cases in point: King's Speech over Social Network or Black Swan, or Crash over Brokeback.

    Crash very infamously spent millions to buy every single Oscar voter (and there are thousands of them) DVD's of the film... before the film was even out on DVD, if memory serves. There's also parties and all kinds of behind the scenes pressure and, like with the DVDs, what amounts to bribery.

    And who can forget the travesty that was Felicity Huffman not winning for Transamerica? That was one of the best performances *ever* and she still couldn't get it. If ever there was any doubt about the Oscars eschewing films out of fears of homophobia, that's it -- even more so than Brokeback's snub.

    Between Brokeback and Transamerica's snubs, 2006 was a travesty at the Oscars for their respect of gay rights. They were terrified of having an all-GLBT night for the big awards, between Brokeback, Felicity and Philip Seymour Hoffman, so they gave Hoffman the token award and then decided they were done with it.

    So, yeah, between their past practices and current nominations, I'm not excited at all.

    I guess I can be happy though if Christopher Plumber somehow manages to circumvent the homophobia and win for The Beginners. Plumber's long been one of my favorite actors and it would be a great story for someone his age to win. So it's possible.

    I'm also rooting for Meryl Streep. She should have won for The Devil Wears Prada (I didn't think so at the time, but I watch her in that movie now and think I must have been nuts back then), and then she should have won for Julia and Julia.

    I don't know how many more times the Oscars can justify snubbing the greatest actress of our time, and possibly ever, so maybe they'll "correct" those mistakes by giving her the award this year, even if her movie is not as good as her past few.

    They've been known to make those corrections in the past, like when they gave Denzel Washington the award a year after they should have (giving him the Oscar for Training Day when he should have won it for The Hurricane). We'll see.

    Posted by: Ryan | Feb 24, 2012 7:01:50 PM

  8. Nathaniel Rogers, you are a terrific writer! The line about ripping down the curtains to make playclothes made me laugh out loud. Love, love, love your blog. Have a great Oscar weekend!

    Posted by: DJP | Feb 24, 2012 7:13:35 PM

  9. I just don't get it about The Artist. It was a really good movie - but Best Picture? Sheesh, must be a weak year. Just because there are no silent black & whites made nowadays is no reason for everyone to fall all over themselves about this one. It's a charmer, but really all about that gimmick.

    Of the two salutes to the silent era, Hugo is the far better film (imo).

    To each their own, of course. And I can't even remember when the actual best picture of any year won the Best Picture Oscar, so who really cares?

    But of course I'll be watching. Um, I'm gay. Pulease.

    Posted by: Zlick | Feb 24, 2012 7:21:29 PM

  10. the Husband and I are going to a house in the hollywood hills....friends of ours. Theyre throwing an oscars party. Just a sit down and watch the tube and have a few cocktails kinda party not a REAL one. LOL. It is the 'hills' tho and they do happen to live across the street from gustavo dudamel. I hate all awards shows. Youll find me at the food troff.

    Posted by: stevenelliot | Feb 24, 2012 7:49:41 PM

  11. "If I ran the world Meryl would already have her three or four naked gold men"

    And she'd have some Oscars too! *rimshot*


    Posted by: InscrutableTed | Feb 24, 2012 7:58:36 PM

  12. Actually, I think Glenn Close should win for Best Actress. Meryl SUCKED in Iron Lady... I didn't buy her as Thatcher at all. Close's performance in Albert Nobbs was subtle and quiet, which is probably why she's not a front runner, but I thought her performance was magical. I haven't seen The Help, so I can't comment on Davis' performance, but I'm sure she was good as I thought she was the best thing in Doubt and she should have won Supporting Actress for that role, which brought me to tears.

    Posted by: Graphicjack | Feb 24, 2012 8:37:27 PM

  13. a note about a mention later in the article - Hell and Back Again is a truly stunning documentary... Had the opportunity of seeing a screening last year. Moving, disturbing, and makes you wish you could do something.

    Posted by: Billy F. | Feb 24, 2012 8:38:20 PM

  14. And Glenn Close, it should also be noted, has been snubbed big time by Oscar in the past... She's still won nothing, but can anyone deny her brilliance in Dangerous Liaisons, World According to Garp and Fatal Attraction. Those performances are still standouts today long after the awards were given to other women. For her individual performance for this film AND for a career-long snub that deserves to be rectified, Close is by far the most deserving woman in this category.

    Posted by: Graphicjack | Feb 24, 2012 8:41:34 PM

  15. I will not be ignored Oscar! quoth Ms. Close

    Posted by: David B. | Feb 24, 2012 9:10:52 PM

  16. Men in black are said to have the best non-Hollywood Oscar parties, and I'm not referring to the FBI. Of course what would one expect from those who claim the ability to turn mere wafers into flesh and all without the company of women.

    Posted by: Dowager Countess | Feb 24, 2012 10:00:24 PM

  17. Viola Davis would have been a better Thatcher.

    Posted by: Bobeau | Feb 24, 2012 10:04:56 PM

  18. The Artist was a STUNNINGLY beautiful film. It was truly emotional without TRYING hard to be. It was one of the films that had the most impact on me, and I walked away being absolutely delighted.

    Posted by: MarxNYC | Feb 24, 2012 11:07:10 PM

  19. "The Artist" is the kind of film Hollywood would (should) churn out if Hollywood has true talent. It was simplistic, yet everything cinema should be. The experience. Not just overpaid actors going through the motions or graphics and digital high-tech mumbo jumbo...those things have made movies devoid of personality. I felt "The Artist" truly had personality. Something I very rarely experience in the movies any more.

    I hope it sweeps big!

    Posted by: IonCookies | Feb 24, 2012 11:09:29 PM

  20. Beginners and The Artist were the two films that really were spectacular in my book. Both told a coming of age story and relied on character development, ACTING, and the heart of the story. Christopher Plumber should easily win for Best Supporting actor playing an elderly gay man, and the lead actor in The Artist should easily beat the overrated George Clooney and Brad Pit. That French actor could act his pants off. Loved both films.
    Other than those two, I was 'meh' on all the others. Meryl Streep, however, is a flawless actress who understands her craft.

    Posted by: Michelle | Feb 24, 2012 11:17:37 PM

  21. The Help is the most hyped and over rated film I've ever seen. And many folks thought so too. It was a made for T.V style film that is being hyped for a political message of sorts. The acting was good, the movie was terrible, contrived, forced and silly. Just as bad as 'The Blind Side' which was another 'token' film, mainly to please conservative types. Silly fluff on both accounts. Sorry, but that's the truth.

    Posted by: TheSpy | Feb 24, 2012 11:20:38 PM

  22. @ The Spy: THANK YOU! 'The Help' was a ridiculous, cheesy, forced flick that made our entire family dislike it. It tried too hard, and I felt it dragged to long without any authenticity or *natural* charm. Give it the one award it deserves for acting, and be done with mentioning the film in any award show, considering how corny the film played out.

    Posted by: El Cajon Fan | Feb 24, 2012 11:24:44 PM

  23. I agree with others that The Artist was truly a lovely, lovely film that stood in a league of it's own this year. It made you appreciate what movies and starlets were back then. The class, glamour and elegance of it all- which are all sorely missing in both the films and film "stars" of today. I have it easily winning Best Picture.

    Michelle Williams however gave the best performance by a female lead this year, and one of the most riveting ever. She should win this award, but I doubt she will, given how it's playing out. Williams didn't play Marilyn Monroe...she truly became Monroe!

    Posted by: LC-Atlanta | Feb 24, 2012 11:28:17 PM

  24. What DJP said. About Nathaniel Rogers. Totally.

    Posted by: Leroy Laflamme | Feb 24, 2012 11:35:14 PM

  25. The Oscars jumped the shark ages ago--even before the exceedingly heavy-handed 'Crash' beat the infinitely more deserving 'Brokeback Mountain'.

    Posted by: peterparker | Feb 25, 2012 12:20:33 AM

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