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

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).

Help-godless

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?

WHAT TO SEE THIS WEEKEND THAT YOU PROBABLY HAVEN'T YET…

  Bullhead-lead
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.

Comments

  1. jason says

    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.

  2. Chip says

    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.

  3. MarkUs says

    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.

  4. mikey1ca says

    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.

  5. says

    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.

  6. DJP says

    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!

  7. Zlick says

    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.

  8. stevenelliot says

    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.

  9. Graphicjack says

    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.

  10. Billy F. says

    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.

  11. Graphicjack says

    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.

  12. Dowager Countess says

    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.

  13. MarxNYC says

    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.

  14. IonCookies says

    “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!

  15. Michelle says

    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.

  16. TheSpy says

    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.

  17. El Cajon Fan says

    @ 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.

  18. LC-Atlanta says

    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!

  19. StellaJuior says

    Crash truly was an awful film that had nothing subtle in it and was rather generic. It winning Best Picture made many people turn against ‘The Oscars’ realizing it’s all about who you pay off, who you know, and politics. Crash was a pretencious film with rather amatuer acting. I do think this year The Artist is fabulous, as was Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen.

  20. StellaJuior says

    Totally agree, Little Kiwi. Whitney Houston was a true talent, but Elizabeth Taylor was a LEGEND. Not just in U.S…in the world. My grandmother in Bonaire cried for hours when Elizabeth Taylor died. My best friend in Canada said it was the end of an era (and it was)…Elizabeth Taylor deserves her own TRIBUTE at the Oscars.

  21. Georgiaguy says

    Sometimes the Oscar pick the best performances, but other times the awards do not hold up over time. The worst slight was when the expected “Brokeback Mountain” lost to “Crash.” Some surprises could happen Sunday night at the Oscar, when one of the awards goes to someone totally unexpected.

    The Oscars seem to gush over foreigners sometimes and I would be happy for George or Brad to win this year. That French guy will never be heard from again, but I remember Marion Cottilard surprised a few years back. She was great, but I was underwhelmed by “The Artist.”

    Meryl Streep deserves a win, but it should have been for “Julia and Julie.” A win by Viola Davis maybe for justice, like Halle Berry. It will save Viola from appearing in those Tyler Perry movies, like most black actresses.

  22. HouserIt says

    The Artist was fantastic. The two leads in it, Jean Dujardin and Beatrice Bejo are super stars throughout the world for their performances, and I’m glad America caught up. They were delightful in that film. George Clooney is over hyped in my opinion, and Brad Pitt is an absolutely terrible actor. The Descendents like most plain American films put me to sleep. The Artist was truly artistic, and creative and refined. I don’t think there’s any competition really. The Artist was movie magic for our family.

  23. J.T says

    GeorgiaGuy,
    The commercial for the new Tyler Perry film constantly playing on television is just so terrible. It’s laughable. We just sit and laugh at work when it comes on, and make fun of it. It not only makes you NOT want to see the film, it perfectly illustrates the lack of vision and allure of Tyler Perry films. His films are truly made for t.v Lifetime network movies, but not nearly as creative as those cheesefests.

  24. AngelEyez7 says

    The dog in The Artist (Uggie) and the dog in Beginners (Cosmo) both helped enhance two already amazing films. Both dogs actually gave a performance! and really made you realize that dogs truly have a heightened emotional conciousness. Loved both those films for different reasons, but one of them was the doggies.

  25. RobWest says

    I always look forward to the Oscar show, yes there are disappointments, but I still love it and the hoopla that goes with it. I wish there were more behind the scenes coverage.
    I make a day of it….

  26. Bobeau says

    Flying Books for Animated Short
    Hugo for Art
    Tree of Life for Cinematography
    Viola Davis period.

    Octavia Spencer is a wonderful woman and I am happy for her.

  27. Rick says

    “The Artist” is nothing but a bunch of fluff hiding behind the gimick of it being silent and black and white and….French. That it will win over “The Tree of Life”, which was the best American film of the last decade is a total travesty and just indicative of the shallowness and political shenanigans that drive the voting.

    As bad as “Crash” winning over “Brokeback Mountain,” if not worse.

  28. MichaelJ says

    Some random thoughts: There seems to be a consensus that “The Artist” will take Best Picture and its director and lead actor will also take home Oscars. The film is certainly creative and enjoyable, but it hardly deserves the award. I suspect that its popularity (and its awards) come from it basically being a “feel good” movie — a well-constructed one at that. IMHO, “Moneyball” is a far-more deserving picture. The outstanding actors nominated this year are Brad Pitt for that film and “Gary Oldman” in “Tinker, Tailor…”
    Viola Davis is emerging to be one of the greatest actress around, in film as well as on stage, and even if she weren’t snubbed for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for “Doubt,” she deserves the Oscar she is likely to get this year. Meryl Streep undeniably deserves a third award at some point but not this year. She probably would have had one by now if she appeared less in films like “The Iron Lady” and “Julia & Julie” that seem to be simply a showcase for her talent — movies that were good for reasons other than another wonderful performance by Streep.
    I don’t get why so many people were taken with “Beginnings,” and with Christoper Plummer’s performance, which is widely expected to win. The only nomination for Best Supporting Actor that I really enjoyed was Jonah Hill for “Moneyball.” The best supporting actress category, on the other hand, is full of wonderful performances. The favorite, Octavio Spencer, is certainly deserving of the Oscar, but so would Jessica Chastain, Melissa McCarthy, and Janet McTeer, each of whom stole scene after scene in their movies.
    I second Nathaniel Roger’s belief that “A Separation” from Iran is a “full-stop masterpiece,” deserving of the Best Original Screenplay award as well as the one for Best Foreign Language Film. “Footnote” from Israel is another great film which should have gotten a screenplay nomination in addition to its Best Foreign Film nod.
    I know it won’t win, but I would like “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” to get the Best Adapted Screenplay award. The complicated John LeCarre novel is not an easy one to adapt.
    “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory” is hardly a great movie, but it is very powerful documentary because it was made and captures in real time a dramatic turning point in the saga of the West Memphis 3. The previous two Paradise Lost films literally altered the fate of the three unjustly (IMHO) convicted young men, and it would be great if the Academy were to honor the work on all three films.
    I rarely think much about movies’ scores, but the one in “Tinker, Tailor…” was so creative and memorable. I hope it wins, but I suspect that the Academy will award some far more conventional music.
    Finally, I have a chubby (though not a raging hard-on) for Jason Segel so I hope “Man or Muppet” is chosen as the Best Song. That only two songs were nominated is a bit ridiculous.
    Yes, the Oscars are ridiculous and more often than not predictable, reflecting Hollywood’s desire to feel good about itself more than anything else. And often they are boring to watch. But sometimes the hosts jokes’ are funny, the stars beautifully dressed, the acceptance speeches moving and the candid reactions (such as Jack Nicholson announcing that “Crash” had been chosen Best Picture) telling or surprising, so we always have friends over to watch.

  29. TJ says

    KIWI: While I applaud your taste in legends (such good taste for a young whippersnapper!), I’m always uncomfortable at the applause when they do the in memorium segments. Must suck for those left behind when their loved ones get what gerenerously might described as a smattering.

  30. says

    RIGHT, TJ?!?!?

    LOL!

    onscreen is some vanguard who was a cinematographer or screenwriter from the 1950s, and everyone’s like GOLFCLAPPING because they’re not too sure who it is.

    and every year there’s the “controversy” of who they include or not. WHITNEY won’t be in it – she died this year, not last year.

    i remember being truly bummed when they didn’t include Zelda Rubinstein. i mean, she was TANGINA! she’s iconic!

    “this house is clean”
    well, thanks. but it’s not. there’s 20 more minutes of scariness left for this poor family and two sequels!

  31. TJ says

    KIWI – I am addressing the living?

    Yeah, the golf clap. Comes off as a form of “the clap.” So sad.

    Have you a favorite ET movie? Personally, although I thought she was brilliant in “who’s afraid VW?” my ultimate has to be, “A Place in the Sun.”

    Oh, and hey, anyone else, feel free to chime in. I’m sure all of the diva talk will make RICK’s skin crawl. Who wouldn’t want that?

  32. says

    well, as a child of the 80s my first introduction to Elizabeth Taylor was, alas, seeing her on the cover of every tabloid mag at the supermarket checkout line.
    hip replacement! illness! divorce! remarriage! scandal!

    seeing WAoVW in middle school blew my mind – i had no idea she was THE actress. same thing with Jane Fonda – my wee mind couldn’t believe “the workout lady” was legit legit legit in the acting field.

    growing up and learning about Liz’s humanitarian work from my mum and dad (two HUGE fans – mum adored her and she was my dad’s crush for eons) only improved her standing in my mind.

    fave Liz performance? suddenly, last summer. she’s DEVASTATING.

  33. uffda says

    Praise on, praise ON for Elizabeth…lines on the life of her: …”that one could wear such fame for such excess/It made me love her more not less…the fulminations creaming in her gown/ with roses mouthing deafly for some breath/the youngster in me dazzled masochistically/ she almost punished me to death…”

    I had not thought that she might gain more honors tonight, but of course she will. For me it will beggar everything else and be the only real reason I will watch. Just cancel the show and play Virgina Wolf, or anything, anything. Note the 1/4 million she raised for AIDS victims, and so much more. A Place In the Sun will always be hers.

  34. TJ says

    UFFDA – love thse lines. As for the figure you quoted, according to the AMFAR website, the recent NYC gala alone brought in $1.4 million. She directly and indirectly has been responsible for a lot of green going to charity.

    KIWI – devastating, yes! That scene where it all comes out – holy moly! Props to anyone who can be in a movie with Katherine Hepburn and inspire one to think, “Now, who else was in that?”

  35. Jerry6 says

    When “WE ALL” graduated from high school, some of us went off to collage, and others went to work. One Gal went to work for MGM in New York. A few days before “Oscar” came around that year, we were sitting around talking in one of our group’s TV room when Miss MGM came in and treated us with the list of winners. ALL of the winners. So much for the fake “surprise” and unprepared for acceptance speeches.

  36. Kyle C. says

    Just saw ‘The Artist’ today with a friend who had already seen it and raved about it. I went in a bit hesitant and walked out absolutely delighted. I’d say it was well worth the priase. The concept was original, but the execution was really top notch in that it paid tribute to that era, while not belittling the era. It really had humanity to it. The film was all about humanity, in my opinion. It made a believer out of me and yes, I think it absolutely deserves Best Picture. Loved the two lead actors as well as the amazing James Crowell.

  37. Michelle says

    “The Help” better NOT pull a “Crash” The Help was a weak, lazy film that had as much subtlety as Velveeta. The acting was good, the movie was ridiculous, long, with many scenes that seemed forced and as noted many times before…very -made for television-movie. The Help winning Best Picture would be the worst decision by Academy voters in history.

  38. TJ-ATL says

    Let’s just be honest and real here, The Help was one of the worst films of the year.

    The hoopla surrounding it is the touching back story of Viola Davis and her sentiments of the experiences of women of color from that era. The movie itself was God awful. The Artist was very enjoyable, entertaining and great at what it was (an entertaining, enjoyably, charming flick) The Help felt like a 1980 soap opera on an obscure channel. I object it even being nominated for Best Picture.

  39. topsyturvy says

    I LOVE Viola Davis but let’s get real. If you saw her performance in DOUBT then you saw her performance in THE HELP … and vice versa. Did anyone involved with ALBERT NOBBS really believe Close looked like a man … rather than an over-botoxed housewife? Why the need for all that? Close is a “handsome” woman. It’s not as if she has delicate features that needed to be sharpened so we’d believe she was a man. There was no make-up applied to McTeer and she was doing the same thing.

  40. jaragon says

    Isn’t it ironic that in 2011 a black actor is nominated for an Oscar for playing a MAID?! And really the Oscars should go back to limiting the Best Picture to no more than six movies.

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