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. 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.

    Posted by: StellaJuior | Feb 25, 2012 12:35:19 AM


    personally, i just hope Elizabeth Taylor wins the In Memoriam "We loved you the most" Death-Applause-O-Meter

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 25, 2012 2:29:26 AM

  3. Totally agree, Little Kiwi. Whitney Houston was a true talent, but Elizabeth Taylor was a LEGEND. Not just 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.

    Posted by: StellaJuior | Feb 25, 2012 2:46:36 AM

  4. 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.

    Posted by: Georgiaguy | Feb 25, 2012 3:39:41 AM

  5. 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.

    Posted by: HouserIt | Feb 25, 2012 4:29:32 AM

  6. 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.

    Posted by: J.T | Feb 25, 2012 4:32:49 AM

  7. 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.

    Posted by: AngelEyez7 | Feb 25, 2012 4:37:18 AM

  8. "My Baby's Poop" was the best film of the year. The acting was way cinema verite and is being imitated everywhere.

    Posted by: uffda | Feb 25, 2012 6:48:07 AM

  9. well done!

    Posted by: | Feb 25, 2012 7:09:53 AM

  10. 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....

    Posted by: RobWest | Feb 25, 2012 8:03:11 AM

  11. 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.

    Posted by: Bobeau | Feb 25, 2012 8:56:29 AM

  12. "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.

    Posted by: Rick | Feb 25, 2012 11:15:17 AM

  13. I enjoyed reading your nice blog. I see you offer priceless info. Will definitely come back for more of this.

    Posted by: Thomas G | Feb 25, 2012 11:22:34 AM

  14. 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.

    Posted by: MichaelJ | Feb 25, 2012 12:05:31 PM

  15. 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.

    Posted by: TJ | Feb 25, 2012 2:17:06 PM

  16. RIGHT, TJ?!?!?


    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!

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 25, 2012 2:37:39 PM

  17. 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?

    Posted by: TJ | Feb 25, 2012 3:18:31 PM

  18. 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.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 25, 2012 3:32:53 PM

  19. 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.

    Posted by: uffda | Feb 25, 2012 3:54:06 PM

  20. Yawn. NOT WATCHING!

    Posted by: jamal49 | Feb 25, 2012 3:56:29 PM

  21. it will be soiled by billy crystal.
    good god he is fug from a 2 z.

    Posted by: chytnia | Feb 25, 2012 4:17:46 PM

  22. 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?"

    Posted by: TJ | Feb 25, 2012 4:42:50 PM

  23. 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.

    Posted by: Jerry6 | Feb 25, 2012 5:48:29 PM

  24. "The Artist " is charming and safe Oscar choice but I have a feeling that " The Help" may pull a "Crash".

    Posted by: jaragon | Feb 25, 2012 10:24:37 PM

  25. 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.

    Posted by: Kyle C. | Feb 26, 2012 7:24:19 AM

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