Sunday, February 26, 2012

And the Oscars Will (Should) Go To...

Perhaps I've already said -- er, written -- too much on the subject, so I'll try to keep my 2012 Oscar predictions short and sweet.

Best Actor
Who will win Jean Dujardin
Who should win Jean Dujardin
Why? I could easily see George Clooney and Brad Pitt swapping roles and still pulling off nominations. But who else of the five nominees could have done what Jean Dujardin did in The Artist, offering such detailed characterization, while uttering a mere two words of dialogue? It's an iconic performance and Dujardin completely owns the role, which is actually what iconic performances are all about.

Best Actress
Who will win Viola Davis
Who should win Michelle Williams
Why? By now, Davis's lock on this contest is part of her manifest destiny as a strong black actress living, working, and (as she is quick to point out) struggling in America. This moment is hers. But why Williams over Meryl Streep? In The Iron Lady, Streep gave us the celebrity version of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, not an actual human being. (Meanwhile, the current-day scenes were pure conjecture -- that old lady could have been anyone's dotty grandma.) In My Week with Marilyn, Williams gave us a real live woman, burdened by immense talent, beauty and insecurity, who just happened to be named Marilyn Monroe.

Best Supporting Actor
Who will win Christopher Plummer
Who should win Christopher Plummer
Why? I'll still stand and cheer if Kenneth Branagh's or Nick Nolte's names are called, but for Beginners' Plummer, this is more than a lifetime achievement award. It will be recognition of the artistry that went into creating such a positive, authentic portrait of man finally coming out at the end of the evening, without a hint of cliche or overt sentimentality.

Best Supporting Actress
Who will win Octavia Spencer
Who should win Octavia Spencer
Why? Nothing against Viola Davis, who turned in brilliant work, but The Help simply wouldn't have been the same without Spencer, balancing herself so nicely on that tightrope between comedy and drama, and her character's questionable baking habits.

Best Director
Who will win Michel Hazanavicius
Who should win Michel Hazanavicius
Why? For making me feel like maybe I was born at the wrong time. The Artist left me wishing it were 1929 again so that I could experience the silent-film era, in all its fading glory, firsthand.

Best Film
What will win The Artist
What should win The Artist
Why? Because it's the one nominee that I could watch over and over and over, and years from now, I still won't be sick of it.
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