Sarah, let's go bottom to top in order of important and start with Visual Effects. The candidates for this category are:
- "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2"
- "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
- "Real Steel"
- "Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
Who ya got, and why?
Sarah: This could be a tough one, considering all the special effects kinda are the same for these movies. I will have to say that it will go to “Harry Potter 7.2.” I think it will go to them because it is the last one. It will be kind of a 'reward as a whole' Oscar. And out of all the eight “Potter” films, this one did have the best special effects, especially (*big spoiler for those of you living under a rock for the past decade*) when Voldemort dies.
What do you think?
A: At first glance I would lean towards agreeing with you, but there's a part of me that nagging away saying, "But NONE of the 'Harry Potter' films have won ANY Oscars before, will they really change that just to give a collective award for Visual Effects?" And to that end I say they won't, and I'm giving the edge to "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" for their fantastic use of motion capture technology.
The new way they're doing motion capture for movies like "Apes" and "Avatar" is pretty impressive, and actually blows the motion capture they did for the "Lord of the Rings" films out of the water. And I think they win for that.
S: I think you're intentionally trying to pick a fight with me about the “Lord of the Rings” jab...but...I will let it go this time, because you just can't appreciated the awesomeness that is those movies (didn't win 11 Oscars for nuthin!) But anyway...
We move on to Best Cinematography:
- "The Artist"
- "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"
- "The Tree of Life"
- "War Horse"
Oooo this is a tough one!
A: Let me just say real quick that I'm not trying to pick a "LotR" fight, just that the technology is better now than it was a decade ago. ;)
As for cinematography, I do think this is a tough one. We've seen four of the five films and they all look great (obviously), and I'm tempted to go with "Hugo" because I've heard how great the 3D in it was and how that's a testament not to Martin Scorsese but to Robert Richardson for his cinematography job.
But I'm going to go with "The Tree of Life" because, while all the films are gorgeous, I thought "The Tree of Life" was the most unique and it just perfectly set me in the world that director Terrance Malick and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki were going for.
S: Hm, those weren't the two that I would go with. I do think that "The Tree of Life" will take this award home because, like "The Artist," it specializes in one main thing. For "The Artist," it's the music, for "The Tree of Life," it was all about the scenery. But I will have to say that I wish it would go to "War Horse." While that movie was not one of my favorites for the year, I will say that the shots in it were amazing! There are a couple of scenes in that movie that literally made me catch my breath. Cheesy, I know, but not since Joe Wright's "Pride and Prejudice" has a movie been that beautifully shot.
A: It's such a tough category this year that I would not be surprised if you're right. And I know which scenes you're talking about, so yeah, those could probably win it alone for "War Horse."
Ok, let's move on to Best Actress! We've talked before about how tough this category could be, and by looking at the nominees, it's not hard to see why:
- Viola Davis, “The Help”
- Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”
- Michelle Williams, “My Week With Marilyn”
- Rooney Mara, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
- Glenn Close, “Albert Nobbs”
Who ya got, and why?
S: It is and isn't a tough category. I really think that it is between Streep and Davis. And I really think, after seeing "The Help" for the second time, Viola will win. She just does such a good job! I know that doesn't sound very "movie educated" but it's the best way I can describe it. She truly embodies a woman of that era and brings to light something that still goes on today.
While all of these women were amazing in their respective roles, I think Davis will walk away with the little man.
A: I completely agree with you. Davis' performance is so understated that it's like she's not even acting. And while sometimes that could be taken as a negative, like "Oh, that's Johnny Depp just playing Johnny Depp again," that isn't the case here. She's phenomenal, she’s effortless, it was like she was meant for the role, and absolutely deserves the award.
The other reason I think she'll win it over Streep is because, looking back on the two films, I barely even remember Streep's performance. That's not an Oscar-winning turn if I can't remember it! And even when I can think of her job, I think "That's Meryl Streep playing Margaret Thatcher, not Margaret Thatcher as played by Meryl Streep." There's a difference and she's had much better roles than this one, so I think a lot of voters will vote for Davis because of that thinking.
S: Ok then, let's move on to Best Actor:
- Damian Bichir, “A Better Life”
- George Clooney, “The Descendents”
- Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”
- Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”
- Gary Oldman, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
While I think that George Clooney should win for his heartfelt performance in our 50th state, I believe the award will go to Dujardin.. He really did have to do a lot of acting to make his character come to life on the screen.
A: Aw man, I was hoping you would go with Clooney because I wanted to be different than you again. Alas, I too think Jujardin will walk away with the statue for Best Actor. We said it before in our review for "The Artist" that he's phenomenal in his facial expressions, his body movements...he's just the perfect guy for a silent film star whose fame is fading. Voters will chew that stuff up.
I do like Clooney's performance, and in any other year he would have won, but in light of the study revealed by the Los Angeles Times this week about the demographics of the Academy voters, I think he's S.O.L. (The article can be found here, and states that of the 5,765 voters in the Academy, 94% are Caucasian, 77% male, and the median age of voters is 62. Methinks that feeds right in to the "nostalgia" talk "The Artist" has been getting.)
S: Oh yea, nostalgia will win over. And I'm sorry to disappoint you with not differing. Maybe with the Best Picture pick. But you will all have to wait for that until tomorrow!
A: I look forward to it!
Tomorrow's Post: We will have our third and final installment of our Oscar analysis and predictions. We'll breakdown Best Original/Adapted Screenplay, Best Directing and Best Picture. Then we'll include a list of ALL of our picks for reference on Sunday!