I share a character trait with my brother; we both like writing things people don't read. So in that tradition we decided to team up and each write out our Oscar Predictions without the other one knowing what they would be. So here are our predictions, which are surprisingly close, meaning bet the complete opposite way.
Matthew's Prediction: "The Artist"
Nobody seems to know why "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" was nominated. When we look back on the films with best picture nods this year and say "wait how was such and such not even nominated; I have a feeling that film will be "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" for many people.
"The Artist" is something Academy voters will eat up. It is about the early history of film itself, and it takes a risk (being mostly silent and all) that pays off. I think in this category and others they will reward the risk, as well as the pat on the back to themselves.
Who should win: "The Tree of Life"
"...the mind races backward; past becomes present, present becomes past. This is what it means to be conscious, to be alive. This is what it means to be aware of one's own mortality. These are the sensations that movies should provoke. This is the sort of reflection that movies should inspire. This is the achievement of "Tree of Life." It is an original, beautiful, unique movie by a defiantly individual director." Matt Zoller Seitz & Serena Bramble (1)
Jonathan's Prediction: "The Artist"
Unfortunately at this point in time, I have only seen two of the Best Picture noms, and that was "Moneyball" & "Midnight in Paris." MB was a good movie, but I don't see it as 'best picture' quality, so it is out in my mind. "Midnight in Paris" was decent, and a cool concept of a movie, but I had a few issues with it and thought it had some weak spots.
Based on what I know about it as a movie, and based on what I know about its competition, I am choosing "The Artist" as the winner of this award.
Actor in a Leading Role
Matthew's Prediction: Jean Dujardin in "The Artist"
This is actually a pretty wide open race. Pitt has won awards for the whole of his year which included "The Tree of Life." Clooney might still offically be the front runner, but I think there will be at least a minor upset if he is still considered the favorite by the show. I think people wanna hear Dujardin give a speech.
Who should win: Gary Oldman There is no actor better than Gary Oldman. His George Smiley says almost as little as Dujardin. I think some people look at Dujardin (who is great) as acting while maybe Oldman as not. Thats of course a mistake. The fact that this is Oldman's very first Oscar nomination also shows that these things at the end of the day, don't always accuretly reflect the best.
"Projecting a face so passive it could almost be labeled a mask, Oldman allows a glimpse into Smiley’s inner life through his aqueous eyes, which betray volatility more in line with the rest of the actor’s notable roles." Tony Dayoub
Jonathan's Prediction: George Clooney in "The Descendents"
Best Actor is a bit of a crap shoot. There is a lot of good talent in this category. I really like Jean Dujardin for this award. Plus, I love saying his name. Du-Jar-din! Brad Pitt was good in "Moneyball," but I'm not convinced he was "Best Actor" good. Anywho...I think the smart money is on Clooney. Clooney is a great actor, but let's be honest, he is probably going to get a plethora of votes just based on his name.
Actor in a Supporting Role
Matthew's Prediction: Christopher Plummer in "Beginners"
Surprised Albert Brooks did not get nominated for "Drive." Plummer will win for his career as well as a great performance. Maybe they will show Julie Andrews, his Sound Of Music co-star, in the crowd.
Jonathan's Prediction: Christopher Plummer in "Beginners"
While Best Supporting Actress was the most up in the air, Best Supporting Actor is pretty open and shut in my opinion. Christopher Plummer takes home the Oscar. If anyone were to pull out an upset it would be Max Von Sydow (also a great name) with his role in "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close." Regardless, I think Plummer will take home the win.
Actress in a Leading Role
Matthew's Prediction: Viola Davis in "The Help"
Meryl Streep seemed a shoe-in except for the fact nobody really liked the rest of the film outside of her performance. Will she win simply because she is due to again? If acting is only mimicry, then Rich Little is due his lifetime achievement award.
Michelle Williams has a good chance but I think it will go to Viola Davis. I think there might be just enough of a backlash about Streep being overdue and deserving to win for that alone. She is nominated almost every year. She will get another soon enough.
If Davis wins, look for Hollywood to pat themselves on the back for being so color blind. The same Hollywood that rejected Eddie Murphy's original concept of an all black cast for "Tower Heist" and refused to finance the George Lucas produced "Red Tails" because it did have a nearly all black cast.
Jonathan's Prediction: Viola Davis in "The Help"
If I were betting money, I would probably put it on Streep to take Best Actress. The woman is an award winning machine and the Susan Lucci of the Oscars, having been nominated more than anyone else, but only winning a couple of times. The thing is, I don't like Meryl Streep. That's right, I said it. Also, I want Viola Davis to win one over her, therefore, I am going with the next best choice, Viola Davis, in "The Help." This should be a mild upset, but not an overly shocking one.
Actress in a Supporting Role
Matthew's Prediction: Octavia Soencer in "The Help"
These are the categories where there is usually an upset. I can see almost any of them winning, but I will stick with Spencer.
Jonathan's Prediction: Octavia Spencer in "The Help"
I could see this award going a number of different ways. It is the most up in the air award category in my opinion. I would love to see Melissa McCarthy win it, but I doubt she will, nor am I sure she should. I am going to go out on a limb and say that Octavia Spencer is going to get the win on this one. If my picks for Actress & Supporting Actress do come true, it will be Oscar history. Never have two black women won both awards in the same year. In fact, only one black woman has ever won Best Actress (Halle Berry in Monster's Ball) and only four have ever won Supporting Actress, but thankfully, times, they are a changing, and I think these two ladies will indeed make history by taking home the trophies.
Matthew's Prediction: Guillaume Schiffman for "The Artist"
Part of me thinks "Hugo" will win because its better 3D than most films in a format that is already faltering a bit (once again). "The Tree of Life" has its best chance in this category but I think people will be blinded by the black and white, "The Artist."
Jonathan's Prediction: Robert Richardson for "HUGO"
From what I have seen of all these movies, I would have to say that "Hugo" is most likely to win this award. As long as it goes to a film that actually practices good Cinematography and not special effects, I am happy. I have not seen Hugo yet, but I have seen multiple trailers and it looks spectacular.
Matthew's Prediction: Michel Hazanavicius for "The Artist"
I think "The Artist" will win Best Picture, and usually, but not always Best Picture gets Best Director.
Jonathan's Prediction: Michel Hazanavicius for "The Artist"
I think Best Picture and Best Director almost go hand-in-hand. Again, my smart money is on Hazanavicius for The Artist, although I would be happy if Scorsese won. I could see it, but if I had to choose a winner, I would go with Haz.
Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Matthew's Prediction: Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash for "The Descendants"
Jonathan's Prediction: Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash for "The Descendants"
I think "The Descendants" will win. I think "Moneyball" would also be a good choice, and TTSS should possibly take the award over Clooney's movie, but I am putting my money on "The Descendants."
Writing (Original Screenplay)
Matthew's Prediction: Woody Allen for "Midnight in Paris"
This seems to be Woody Allen's most well received film in some time. I think they want to gove him the award even though he won't likely show up. One way to keep ratings high though: Have him win and let Mia Farrow except for him. Then watch the ever soft spoken Mia smash the Oscar to pieces.
Jonathan's Prediction: Woody Allen for "Midnight in Paris"
"Midnight in Paris" is my pick based on its uniqueness. This movie was not what I was expecting, but that is not to say that is a bad thing. Woody Allen's unusual Romantic Sci-Fi Comedy is the very definition of "original", thus they win the award.
Best Animated Feature
Matthew's Prediction: "Rango"
The only real reason I think this will win is because it was kind of the anti-children's animated film. It was in many ways not for children, but of course parents dragged their kids to see it simply because it was animated. I think The Academy might enjoy that.
Jonathan's Prediction: "Rango"
I have not seen these animated pictures.I dunno. For whatever reason, when I look into my crystal ball on this one, I see Rango winning. People love Johnny Depp, so yeah...Rango.
(1) Pressplay Should Win Best Picture, The Tree of Life
(2) http://blogs.indiewire.com/pressplay/tony-dayoub-the-mackintosh-man-the-many-faces-of-george-smiley February 16, 2012 the many faces of george smiley