Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Oscar Predix 12: Director/Screnplay predix

Continuing with the Oscar predictions, we move on to more prominent craft categories: namely writing and directing.

Best Original Screenplay
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids
J.C. Chandor, Margin Call
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Asghar Farhadi, A Separation

Will/Should Win: Midnight in Paris.

This is a race between the favorite The Artist and Woody Allen's biggest hit in years. I could see it going to The Artist if the Academy wants to reward the ingenuity of the idea - but then again, the idea of the movie is that its beauty lies in the visuals and not so much in the words. Words, however, are a large part of the beauty of Midnight in Paris, and if it doesn't win this, it gets nothing.The film's hefty fanbase will see that doesn't happen.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Alexander Payne, Jim Rash, and Nat Faxon, The Descendants
John Logan, Hugo
George Clooney, Grant Heslov, and Beau Willimon, The Ides of March
Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian, Moneyball
Peter Straughan and Bridget O’Connor, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Will/Should win: The Descendants

This race is between my pick for the best film of the year, The Descendants, and Moneyball, in which two of Hollywood's top writers took a very technical book and turned it into a very human story. However, The Descendants will win for one very simple reason: it's the emotional knockout of the bunch. Voters vote with their hearts, and that's all over The Descendants

Best Director
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris 
Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life
Will win: Hazanavicus
Should win: Scoresese

This race is between the greatest living American director (Marty) and the very clever newcomer (Michel), both of whom wrote impassioned love letters to the movies themselves. It is entirely possible that they might reward Hazanavicus for his writing and give this one to Scorsese, not only for producing one of his most uplifting movies, but for being one of the few directors to show that 3D can be a vital and beautiful storytelling tool.

That said, Scorsese won fairly recently for The Departed. And Havanavicius just won the DGA award, which is a pretty strong indicator. Some people may see this as a repeat of 2003, when an auteur (Roman Polanksi) beat out a promising newcomer (Rob Marshall, who has not lived up to that promise since). The major difference? Polanski didn't have an Oscar already.

I liked the way the site In Contention put it: 'As much as people like to make parallels with the 2002 Rob Marshall/Roman Polanski situation that vaguely make sense on paper, this isn't looking like much of a race. Michel Hazanavicius has the DGA, the BAFTA, the BFCA Award and even some major critics' prizes. Martin Scorsese has a Golden Globe. Do the math. "The Artist" is too well-loved -- and too much a product of directorial ingenuity -- not to win here."

Besides, if my prediction is correct, that makes me look wise. If my prediction is wrong, my favorite director gets the prize. Either way, I win! 

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