By Greg Kiernan
Awards shows are fun but the Oscars are business.
Some consider the Oscars a self-congratulatory pat on the back by Hollywood. Others consider it glamorous and the most fabulous of all the award shows. As for me, I consider it the epitome of Hollywood politics (which is a good thing); everyone considers the Oscars the most prestigious of film awards because it says more about you and your work that any other award in Tinseltown. So it's not because of the statue that people get so excited about but rather it's because of the status.
This is why I'm excited about this year's Oscar night this up coming Sunday. It'll reveal George Clooney and Brad Pitt going toe-to-toe, three legendary directors compete for the same prize and it'll determine if Aaron Sorkin can win the best original screenplay Oscar two years in a row.
Having said all that, here are my predictions for the winners:
BEST PICTURE: The Artist
Sure "The Descendants" was a good movie, as was "Moneyball" and all the other nominees, but "The Artist" was a great movie. It's a new look at the art of cinematography at the dawn of sound, it has fresh faces acting in it and a good story behind it. It won the Golden Globe award for Best Picture as well as the BAFTA award for Best film. Not to mention if has ten Academy Award nominations, the most of any of the other films. It's clearly the favorite to win in this category.
BEST DIRECTOR: Martin Scorsese, "Hugo"
Looking at the nominees in this category one's jaw drops. We have not one, not two but three legendary directors listed here: Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, and Terrence Malick. Now wait, you might say, who is Terrence Malick? Terrence Malick is another director who had his start in the 1970s and whose work includes "Badlands" (a really sweet action movie with Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek) and "Days of Heaven." Then he did what no other director does; he dropped off the face of the planet and landed in France. He took a huge break from Hollywood and wrote "Q", a script about the origins of life on Earth. That script eventually became "Tree of Life" which is nominated for Best Picture. But let's face it - the only reason anyone cares about "Tree of Life" is because of this guy and that's hardly a reason to win. Martin Scorsese will win because he is Martin Scorsese, and he deserves more than one Best Director Oscar. Woody Allen is amazing but he never really much cared for the Oscars, and I think Hollywood would rather give it to Martin than the other two nominees.
BEST ACTOR: JEAN DUJARDIN, "THE ARTIST"
Same reason here as why "The Artist" will win Best Picture; it just seems like he's the favorite. George Clooney did a wonderful job, and again "The Descendants" was a good movie, but Mr. Clooney already has an Oscar and that tends to carry you a long way. Brad Pitt hasn't won yet, but while I personally loved "Moneyball" it's not the kind of film that wins Oscars. Plus Jean Dujardin won the Golden Globe and the Screen Actor Guild award for Best Actor. George and Brad did their thing and it was great, but it's going to Jean this year.
BEST ACTRESS: MERYL STREEP, "The Iron Lady"
This was a tough call, perhaps the toughest prediction to make this year. We have a couple of veterans, a first-time nominee and two actresses who have been gearing up to win finally; Viola Davis and Michelle Williams have both been nominated before and are looking to win for their first time. Rooney Mara has her first nomination this year and both Glenn Close and Meryl Streep have been nominated in the past. But there's the thing; Meryl Streep has been nominated for an Oscar seventeen times! And she's only won twice. And it's been almost thirty years since she last won. Don't get me wrong, Viola Davis did do an amazing job in "The Help" and she would certainly deserve to win if she did. But before they past over Meryl again and give the award to Viola, Hollywood should consider one thing; just a couple of years ago the woman who is generally considered the greatest living film actress lost her Oscar to the woman who was in "Speed 2." I rest my case.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: OCTAVIA SPENCER, "The Help"
Here is the perfect opportunity for Hollywood to award "The Help" with an Oscar while still giving Meryl her statue. Octavia was wonderful, and she emerges as another favorite to win. She has already won the Golden Globe, a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress and the Screen Actors Guild award. I'd be surprised if anyone else won and I'd be very surprised if it was Melissa McCarthy.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER, "Beginners"
So this actor played the dad who married Julie Andrews in "The Sound of Music." He was also the voice of the evil vilian Charlie Muntz in Disney-Pixar's "Up." He has the kind of rich, long career in film, theatre and television that most actors dream about, and now he has an Oscar nomination. Let's do a quick process of elimination: Jonah Hill as an Oscar winner? C'mon, no way! Should Nick Nolte get it? Things haven't been the same for him since that DUI. Kenneth Branagh wins the award? Been there, done that. Really the only competition is Max von Sydow (the priest from "The Exorcist") with his nod for his performance in "Extremely Close and Incredibly Loud." Now let's consider Mr. Plummer's role; he plays an aging father who realizes he's gay and comes out to his son. That definitely sounds like an Oscar-winning role to me.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: "The Artist"
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: "The Descendants"
I'm going to finish by quickly predicting the two awards for writing, and those are simply the two leading contenders for Best Picture. Sorry, Aaron Sorkin. I liked "The Social Network" and you deserved that award, but "Moneyball" will not get you a second win in a row even though I liked that movie even more. But please keep up the good work. We'll see if what I say is true this Sunday on Oscar night.
Until next time, see you in the movies!