Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Reel Opinion: Oscar Picks, Episode II

Perhaps more than any other year, the competition in the 2011 Acting categories is tighter than a mosquito’s ass in a nose dive. Packed with old veterans and snappy newcomers, a good case can be made for nearly every person in the lot; making each category a two-or-three person race. In this second Episode of Oscar picks, this Blogger bravely forges into the mist with the full expectation of being embarrassed.

Ladies first…


Octavia Spencer is the heavy favorite here, having already won the Golden Globe, the SAG, the BAFTA, and Critics Choice award for her role in THE HELP. Her film is getting a lot of attention for its acting, which puts her co-star Jessica Chastain in the mix as well. If the voters split too close on these two ladies, that leaves the door open (a crack) for the lovely Berenice Bejo, who will be drawing attention because of her involvement in the hugely favored THE ARTIST. In the end, Spencer’s winning of the all the “pregame” awards is tough to dismiss. Winner: Octavia Spencer


While this Blogger is still head-over-heels in love with Michelle Williams’ breathtaking reincarnation of Marilyn Monroe, it seems that Meryl Streep and another actress from THE HELP, Viola Davis, are the favorites. Glenn Close’s gender-bending ALBERT NOBBS is too critically panned, and not much attention is being given to Rooney Mara’s bisexual punk-girl transformation (although there should be). It seems that Streep has been nominated every year since 1876, having won twice, but her film, THE IRON LADY, is not doing well with critics. Streep and Davis split the “pregame” awards, but Davis seems to be a darling in Hollywood right now. And her win would make her only the second African-American to win this category. Winner: Viola Davis


There is a very exaggerated Battle of the Old Farts in this category, as the media is eager to focus on the 80-something Christopher Plummer and the 80-something Max Von Sydow. Plummer is likely to run away with this one, having done well in the “pregame”, and Sydow’s film has been critically drubbed into the mud. The dark horse here is another Old Fart in the form of Nick Nolte, whose outstanding turn in WARRIOR nearly stole the show. Bringing up the rear is the young whipper-snapper Jonah Hill, whose performance in MONEYBALL, while very good, isn’t quite up to the Big Leagues just yet. Plummer may not get another chance at this, so they might as well award him while he’s still vertical. Winner: Christopher Plummer


This category is by far the most competitive. George Clooney and Jean Dujardin are the clear favorites; both actors have won Golden Globes, while Clooney went home with a Critics Choice and Dujardin won a SAG. If the voters split the vote too close, that could leave the door open (more than a crack) for Brad Pitt to sneak in. Clooney’s performance was an unexpected emotional showing, but has the slight disadvantage of having won before; just ask Meryl Streep how hard it is to win multiple Oscars. Dujardin’s performance in the lost-art of silent filmmaking in THE ARTIST involved a lot of physical work; having to tell his story in body language and facial expressions only. It is a performance resurrected out of the past that should be recognized. Winner: Jean Dujardin

What say you?

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