BEST PICTURE: The Artist is a lock, because audiences are crazy for this film’s simulation of nostalgia. (It has all the blissful reverie with half the calories, and unlike those other terrible foreign films you don’t have to read any subtitles!) The Descendants will get in, ditto Hugo and Moneyball. I’m sure about those four. Midnight In Paris probably gets in because it’s Woody Allen’s first actual entertaining film in god knows how long. The Oscars have a lengthy track record of confusing “long and pretentious” with “good” so I figure The Tree of Life makes it into this category. That’s six. Let’s round it out with Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and The Help, which people like for reasons which are sadly not a mystery. I really don’t think there’ll be enough films getting votes to have ten BP nominees this year. Unless the Academy really loved fucking War Horse more than anybody else who saw it who wasn’t a film critic (seriously, I have never seen such a divide between critical opinion and popular opinion as with respect to War Horse. ATTENTION CRITICS: Armond White fucking loved stupid old War Horse. This should have been a big old hint.)
RESULTS: The Artist, The Descendants, Moneyball, Hugo, Midnight In Paris, The Tree of Life, The Help, War Horse and Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close? The FUCK? Jesus Christ, Academy, that movie was shit and people did not like it and critics mostly didn’t either. I don’t get you, Academy.
BEST DIRECTOR: Whoever directed The Artist, because it is so precious and it is such an achievement! Alexander Payne for The Descendants, because it is honestly good and Payne deserves a nomination. Woody Allen, because it’s been a while since he got a nomination and the Academy is mostly made of old people who want things to be like they were when they were kids. Martin Scorcese for Hugo, so he can do what he typically does: not win. (And unlike many Scorcese nominations, this time the not-winning will be richly deserved. Hugo isn’t bad, but it sure isn’t the achievement people are making it out to be.) And probably Terrance Malick for The Tree of Life, because wank wank wank wank wank wank wank. David Fincher deserves a nomination for Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, but that shit is not gonna happen, I don’t think.
RESULTS: The Artist guy, Payne, Allen, Scorcese, Malick. This one was easy to predict. At a certain point you get cynical and, as a result, correct about things Oscar.
BEST ACTOR: Clooney for The Descendants and Pitt for Moneyball are both locks, because they are Hollywood royalty and both nominations would be deserved. Jean Dujardin for The Artist, which I am reliably informed will make you believe in miracles again and also cure gout. Michael Fassbender for Shame in the “this is very serious and we must nominate somebody in this movie for being fierce and honest and reminding us that going to the movies should be like going to the dentist” category. That leaves one slot, and it could go to Leo for J. Edgar despite the fact that the movie was terrible and everyone agreed it was terrible, mostly because Clint Eastwood commands that kind of loyalty amongst the people who vote for awards. (Hey, remember how a perfectly average film like Invictus got multiple acting nominations?) However, I’ll bet on a longshot: Brendan Gleeson for The Guard. Because why not. (Gary Oldman for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is also quite possible and more plausible than Gleeson, really, but fuck it.)
RESULTS: Clooney, Dujardin, Pitt, Oldman, and Demian Bichir from A Better Life, which trends off the SAGs. No Fassbender? Huh. I guess 2012 is a feely-goody year for Oscar.
BEST ACTRESS: Viola Davis for The Help, because racism is bad. Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady, because everybody loves Meryl Streep (and not undeservedly), even when she is in a bad movie, and isn’t it time she had another Oscar already, even if we all missed like four or five much better oportunities to give her one (I’m looking at you, LAST YEAR WHEN SANDRA BULLOCK WON). Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs, because she dressed up like a man in a very unconvincing and boring movie, and that must have been a lot of work. Tilda Swinton for We Need To Talk About Kevin because she is this year’s female entry in the Michael Fassbender category mentioned above. Again, one slot left, and it’ll go to a young actress because look at all these acclaimed older actresses, what good are they? So either Michelle Williams for My Week With Marilyn (which is a bad movie, but Michelle Williams has been in so many good ones that she deserves a pass) or Rooney Mara for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, but if I had to pick I’d go with Williams because Hollywood isn’t ready for edgy movies about girls with nose rings and stuff in the Academy Awards.
RESULTS: Close, Streep, Williams, Mara, Davis. My comment about Swinton being this year’s lady Fassbender was correct, but in the wrong way.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christopher Plummer for Beginners is a lock and should win because he is old and has had a damn brilliant career, and I am rooting for my fellow Torontonian. Kenneth Branagh is widely considered to be a lock for My Week With Marilyn, as is Albert Brooks for Drive, and can you believe none of these guys has ever won an Oscar? That is crazy. Let’s see, who else? Jonah Hill for Moneyball? Could happen. And I’m gonna go into left field and predict that Ryan Gosling gets a nom here for Crazy Stupid Love, because Ryan Gosling had an incredible year but he’s not going to win anything.
RESULTS: Plummer, Branagh, Hill, Nick Nolte for Warrior (which was a good performance in a good movie, but come on) and Max von Sydow for Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close, and all nominations of this sort should from now on be referred to as Ghost. As in “I can’t believe they nominated the shitty 9/11 movie for Best Picture, that’s so Ghost.“
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Whatsername who was in The Artist and OH GOD do I ever hate that movie so much. I want to punch everybody involved in the making of The Artist in the face. I am owed that, dammit. Also Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer for The Help, because racism is bad. Shailene Woodley has some mojo for The Descendants, so why not. Finally, let’s finish with Janet McTeer in Albert Nobbs, who is getting a lot of praise for dressing up like a man in a boring, boring movie.
RESULTS: Berenice Bejo for The Artist, McTeer, Chastain, Spencer, and Melissa McCarthy for Bridesmaids, which almost but not quite makes up for all of the other shitty nominations this year.
THE ACTUAL BEST FILMS OF 2011 WERE, IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER: The Muppets, 50/50, Win-Win, A Better Life, Attack the Block, Crazy Stupid Love, The Guard, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Fright Night, Moneyball, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Captain America: The First Avenger, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Young Adult.
NUMBER OF NOMINATIONS IN THE “BIG SIX” CATEGORIES THOSE FILMS WILL GET: Not a lot of them