Jim reacts to this years somewhat bizarre Oscar nominations

Oscar nominations and early, completely knee jerk predictions.

It’s finally here! The ultimate in dog and pony technology for your viewing pleasure.

This is one of those odd Oscar years where I am kind of at a coin flip over who will win, so that’s exciting, but other than that… not much. I mean, when Eddie Murphy was hosting I, at the very least, had a little bit of hope for something interesting or entertaining to come out of the show. But now we are back with Billy Crystal, which is fine. But like I’ve said many times before, him hosting is like “Two and A Half Men,” everyone’s mom finds it charming, but nobody my age really has an opinion.

So, here are my thoughts on nominations and my personal choices along with my predictions. Let me say up front, this is a TOUGH year to predict.

Best Motion Picture of the Year

Nominees:

The Artist (2011): Thomas Langmann

The Descendants (2011): Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011): Scott Rudin

The Help (2011): Brunson Green, Chris Columbus, Michael Barnathan

Hugo (2011/II): Graham King, Martin Scorsese

Midnight in Paris (2011): Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum

Moneyball (2011): Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz, Brad Pitt

The Tree of Life (2011): Nominees to be determined

War Horse (2011): Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy

This one is interesting. I am pleased at “Moneyball,” and “Tree of Life” being on the list, even though they won’t win. “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” … really? Really? What, was that Drew Barrymore movie with the whales not out in time?

In honesty this is a complete coin flip for me between “The Artist,” and “The Descendants.” I think that the Producers Guild Award is the real predictor, which pleases me, as it reinforces my choice.

Personal and Probable- “The Artist.”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Nominees:

Demián Bichir for A Better Life (2011)

George Clooney for The Descendants (2011)

Jean Dujardin for The Artist (2011)

Gary Oldman for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

Brad Pitt for Moneyball (2011)

No real surprises here. Another coin toss, but a harder one to call. Dujardin is my choice, but it is hard to discount Clooney because he is Clooney. I would be happy either way.

Officially too close to call.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Nominees:

Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs (2011)

Viola Davis for The Help (2011)

Rooney Mara for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady (2011)

Michelle Williams for My Week with Marilyn (2011)

You know, Meryl Streep hasn’t won an Oscar since 1983. I mean, yeah, she’s been nominated 12 times since then, but really, the poor lady just can’t catch a break. I can’t really make a personal pick here, as I have only seen “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,” which won’t win this. Maybe Viola Davis has a chance because “The Help” was such a big deal, but I don’t think she’ll take it.

Meryl Streep will finally be recognized for her acting.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Nominees:

Kenneth Branagh for My Week with Marilyn (2011)

Jonah Hill for Moneyball (2011)

Nick Nolte for Warrior (2011)

Christopher Plummer for Beginners (2010)

Max von Sydow for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011)

I would kick you in the stomach for a week straight for Nolte to win this. I honestly would. But he probably won’t. Also, Academy Award Nominee Jonah Hill… I did not see that coming. Branagh probably won’t take it, and I don’t see “Extremely Loud…” winning anything. So this is probably they year for Plummer.

Personal- Nolte

Probable- Plummer

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Nominees:

Bérénice Bejo for The Artist (2011)

Jessica Chastain for The Help (2011)

Melissa McCarthy for Bridesmaids (2011)

Janet McTeer for Albert Nobbs (2011)

Octavia Spencer for The Help (2011)

I would love to see Chastain take this if for no other reason than her work for the year has been so exceptional. I would also love to see Bejo take it, because she was incredible in “The Artist.” But I have a feeling this will be McCarthy or Spencer. Most likely Spencer because “The Help” is a little more of a prestige film. But it could go either way. Regardless, I’ve only seen one, so I can’t really say.

Best Achievement in Directing

Nominees:

Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris (2011)

Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist (2011)

Terrence Malick for The Tree of Life (2011)

Alexander Payne for The Descendants (2011)

Martin Scorsese for Hugo (2011/II)

This one is tough because… well, just look at it. Woody Allen is probably the weakest of the lot. Yes, Midnight in Paris is well received, but I just don’t see it taking this. Hazanavicius is a good bet, and my choice because of how well he pulled off the immensely difficult task of making a silent movie that plays to today’s audiences. Tree of Life is a contender, but it was so… I guess experimental is the word. But it is Malick, so there is that. Payne is a stone bad ass and will win a few of these before his career is done. And then there is Scosese who is, in case you did not know, Martin Scorsese and should have a shed made out of these things already. I honestly cannot say.

Officially too close to call.

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

Nominees:

The Artist (2011): Michel Hazanavicius

Bridesmaids (2011): Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo

Margin Call (2011): J.C. Chandor

Midnight in Paris (2011): Woody Allen

A Separation (2011): Asghar Farhadi

I have not seen enough of these to really say, but I would put it between “Bridesmaids” and “Midnight in Paris.” My choice is, of course, “The Artist.” But here you have an un-PC movie as the PC choice, and a script by Woody Allen. I honestly can’t say.

No idea.

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

Nominees:

The Descendants (2011): Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash

Hugo (2011/II): John Logan

The Ides of March (2011): George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon

Moneyball (2011): Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin, Stan Chervin

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011): Bridget O'Connor, Peter Straughan

I see this as being between “The Descendants” and “Moneyball,” but since Sorkin won last year for a far more popular film, I see this going to The Descendants.”

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

Nominees:

A Cat in Paris (2010)

Chico & Rita (2010)

Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)

Puss in Boots (2011)

Rango (2011)

WOW! So, “Kung Fu Panda 2,” but no “Tin Tin?” I don’t know what to say. I’ve seen none of these and cannot hazard a guess.

No comment.

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

Nominees:

Bullhead (2011): Michael R. Roskam(Belgium)

Footnote (2011): Joseph Cedar(Israel)

In Darkness (2011): Agnieszka Holland(Poland)

Monsieur Lazhar (2011): Philippe Falardeau(Canada)

A Separation (2011): Asghar Farhadi(Iran)

The only one of these I’ve heard of is “A Separation,” and people seem to love it. So I think that will win.

Best Achievement in Cinematography

Nominees:

The Artist (2011): Guillaume Schiffman

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011): Jeff Cronenweth

Hugo (2011/II): Robert Richardson

The Tree of Life (2011): Emmanuel Lubezki

War Horse (2011): Janusz Kaminski

Say what you will about “Tree of Life,” everything else looks like it was filmed through dirty water by comparison. It is the most strikingly beautiful thing I’ve seen in years.

Personal and Probable- “Tree of Life”

Best Achievement in Editing

Nominees:

The Artist (2011): Anne-Sophie Bion, Michel Hazanavicius

The Descendants (2011): Kevin Tent

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011): Angus Wall, Kirk Baxter

Hugo (2011/II): Thelma Schoonmaker

Moneyball (2011): Christopher Tellefsen

The only one of these that I think really stands out is “Moneyball.” The editing is so exact and such an integral part of how this movie plays out that I think it has a lock.

Personal and Probable- “Moneyball”

Best Achievement in Art Direction

Nominees:

The Artist (2011): Laurence Bennett, Gregory S. Hooper

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011): Stuart Craig, Stephenie McMillan

Hugo (2011/II): Dante Ferretti, Francesca Lo Schiavo

Midnight in Paris (2011): Anne Seibel, Hélène Dubreuil

War Horse (2011): Rick Carter, Lee Sandales

No “Tree of Life?” Ok then. “Hugo” is the only one of these that really stands out in this category, so I’m going with that.

Best Achievement in Costume Design

Nominees:

Anonymous (2011/I): Lisy Christl

The Artist (2011): Mark Bridges

Hugo (2011/II): Sandy Powell

Jane Eyre (2011): Michael O'Connor

W.E. (2011): Arianne Phillips

I really don’t know or particularly care.

Best Achievement in Makeup

Nominees:

Albert Nobbs (2011)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)

The Iron Lady (2011)

Again… don’t really care.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score

Nominees:

The Adventures of Tintin (2011): John Williams

The Artist (2011): Ludovic Bource

Hugo (2011/II): Howard Shore

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011): Alberto Iglesias

War Horse (2011): John Williams

So, “Tin Tin” finally gets one! Well done! But, this will go to “The Artist.” The music is an actual character in it.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song

Nominees:

The Muppets (2011): Bret McKenzie("Man or Muppet")

Rio (2011): Sergio Mendes, Carlinhos Brown, Siedah Garrett("Real in Rio")

What? Really? Two songs? Two? There are 10 movies up for best picture, but only 2 songs? TWO? This is kind of funny. But more importantly, I think “Flight of the Conchords,” needs an Oscar winner, so I’m going with “The Muppets.”

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

Nominees:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011): David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce, Bo Persson

Hugo (2011/II): Tom Fleischman, John Midgley

Moneyball (2011): Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, David Giammarco, Ed Novick

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011): Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush, Peter J. Devlin

War Horse (2011): Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson, Stuart Wilson

Moneyball. It’s the only one of these where the do anything new or original with sound.

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

Nominees:

Drive (2011): Lon Bender, Victor Ray Ennis

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011): Ren Klyce

Hugo (2011/II): Philip Stockton, Eugene Gearty

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011): Ethan Van der Ryn, Erik Aadahl

War Horse (2011): Richard Hymns, Gary Rydstrom

Drive. You try editing all those car sounds.

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

Nominees:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011): Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler, John Richardson

Hugo (2011/II): Robert Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossmann, Alex Henning

Real Steel (2011): Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Danny Gordon Taylor, Swen Gillberg

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011): Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White, Daniel Barrett

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011): Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew E. Butler, John Frazier

I see Rise of the Planet of the Apes taking this. The visuals are so striking and so vital to the story. It’s too well done not to win.

Best Documentary, Features

Nominees:

Hell and Back Again (2011): Danfung Dennis, Mike Lerner

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (2011): Marshall Curry, Sam Cullman

Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (2011): Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky

Pina (2011): Wim Wenders, Gian-Piero Ringel

Undefeated (2011): Daniel Lindsay, T.J. Martin, Rich Middlemas

Paradise Lost will finally win one. This is well deserved.

Best Documentary, Short Subjects

Nominees:

The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement (2011): Robin Fryday, Gail Dolgin

God Is the Bigger Elvis: Rebecca Cammisa, Julie Anderson

Incident in New Baghdad (2011): James Spione

Saving Face (2011/II): Daniel Junge, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom (2011): Lucy Walker, Kira Carstensen

No clue at this point.

Best Short Film, Animated

Nominees:

Dimanche (2011): Patrick Doyon

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (2011): William Joyce, Brandon Oldenburg

La Luna (2011): Enrico Casarosa

A Morning Stroll (2011): Grant Orchard, Sue Goffe

Wild Life (2011): Amanda Forbis, Wendy Tilby

No clue at this point.

Best Short Film, Live Action

Nominees:

Pentecost (2011): Peter McDonald

Raju (2011): Max Zähle, Stefan Gieren

The Shore: Terry George

Time Freak (2011): Andrew Bowler, Gigi Causey

Tuba Atlantic (2010): Hallvar Witzø

No clue at this point.

So….

This is kind of a bizarre year. A few fairly major surprises this time around. I am honestly at a loss.

Well, now it’s time for your feedback. Have at it.



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