Words: Saam Das // Photo: deadline.com
I'm not especially fussed about any form of award in the subjective arena of the arts. Having said that, it's always pleasing when something you've supported is recognised. Tonight's 84th Academy Awards could do just that for more than a handful of films from the past year. Below, I'll run through the main categories - adding thoughts on who I think will win and who I'd rather win. Expect 'The Artist' to sweep the night.
First a quick note on some categories which I won't be going through otherwise - I would like to see the cinematography of 'The Tree Of Life' rewarded - despite my general ambivalence toward that film, a sound editing win for 'Drive' would be appropriate recognition for such a critically and commercially successful film, while Woody Allen winning best original screenplay for 'Midnight In Paris' would be quite lovely too.
Will win: 'The Artist'
Should win: 'Midnight In Paris'
Admittedly, I don't really think that the whimsically charming 'Midnight In Paris' is the most deserving film yet the nine strong nominee list has left me rather deflated with disappointment. The haunting 'Martha Marcy May Marlene' would have be my pick but it was sadly snubbed. Similarly, 'Drive' was somewhat inexplicably left out despite its popularity.
Will win: Michel Hazanavicius for 'The Artist'
Should win: Michel Hazanavicius for 'The Artist'
Another category full of nominees which fail to have truly inspired me in the course of the last year. Hazanavicius perhaps deserves the gong purely for doing something different and to a reasonable standard. As long as they don't give it to Terrence Malick for 'The Tree Of Life', I shall be pleased - the dinosaur scene should have disqualified him from the nominations, quite frankly.
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE:
Will win: Jean Dujardin for 'The Artist'
Should win: Gary Oldman for 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy'
Once again, I feel somewhat disingenuous suggesting that Gary Oldman should win when none of the nominees particularly wowed me. I'm not even sure why Brad Pitt is nominated. Oldman is my favourite actor of the bunch, although he would do enormously well to oust George Clooney and Dujardin in this category.
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE:
Will win: Meryl Streep for 'Iron Lady'
Should win: Michelle Williams for 'My Week With Marilyn'
Meryl Streep is a fabulous actress. Michelle Williams often matches her. Yet the latter is rarely recognised for her talents. This is the chance to right some wrongs, while still rewarding excellent performance. Viola Davis is a strong shout in this category for The Help also. But where is Elizabeth Olsen for 'Martha Marcy May Marlene'?
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:
Will win: Christopher Plummer for 'Beginners'
Should win: Nick Nolte for 'Warrior'
At 82 years old, Plummer's almost inevitable victory is a sign that consistency and perseverance will still be rewarded by the Academy. Nolte is no spring chicken but he delivered a fantastic performance in 'Warrior', an ideal foil for Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton.
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:
Will win: Octavia Spencer for 'The Help'
Should win: Melissa McCarthy for 'Bridesmaids'
I'm pretty certain that either Jessica Chastain or Octavia Spencer will win this category for their roles in 'The Help' but I'd like to think that Melissa McCarthy's film-stealing role in 'Bridesmaids' might pull off the shock. To be honest, a nomination is probably more than enough for McCarthy but seeing as Berenice Bejo is nominated while clearly being the lead actress in 'The Artist' shows these things are all a bit silly.
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM:
Will win: 'Chico & Rita'
Should win: 'Rango'
With Pixar's 'Cars 2' being something of a critical failure, this year's animated category is essentially wide open. I'm plumping for the arthouse-esque 'Chico & Rita' for the win, although the leftfield 'Rango' would be a more pleasing choice.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:
Who will win: 'A Separation'
Who I want to win: 'A Separation'
Unfortunately, I am yet to see any of the nominees in this year's foreign language category but FG writer Raman's extremely favourable review has swayed me. Having already won a Golden Globe, 'A Separation' seems to be on course for Oscar victory.
Find all the nominees and more details at the official Oscars website.