Ever the risk taker when it comes to picking winners, especially when I know almost nothing about the picks, it is time for the 84th Academy Awards and once again I shall pick my winners without seeing a single nominated film. Lest you think this is a fruitless exercise on my part just remember last year I picked the top 12 winners of Oscars.
This time I should get back to earth so here are my favorites.
Best Picture - The Artist
As Michael Braithwaite recently wrote, "Silent films, like theater, require their audience members to suspend a sense of reality, investing instead in wonder, imagination, and sensory titillation. The greatest films of the silent era were able to transform the dart of an eye, the contortion of a dimple, or the mournful whine of a violin into entirely new vernaculars. It is no small thing to be able to communicate character complexity in a look or a gesture, or to inspire empathy through a series of comically ill-fated endeavors."
She, yes Michael is a she, described the situation as it was 84 long years ago when silent films were the only nominees in the first Oscars and this year The Artist is turning back the clock and should sweep the Academy awards.
Best Actor - Jean Dujardin in The Artist
See what I mean about the sweep. It would be the 1st Oscar for the French actor.
Best Actress - Viola Davis in The Help
Best Supporting Actor - Christopher Plummer in Beginners
Best Supporting Actress - Octavia Spencer in The Help
Best Visual Effects - Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Best Original Score - The Artist
In Hugo, Martin Scorsese has hired himself a bunch of A-plus-list artists and techies, and together they've crafted a deluxe, gargantuan train-set of a movie in which the director and his 3-D camera can whisk and whizz and zig and zag and show off all his expensive toys — and wax lyrical on the magic of movies.
The source is Brian Selznick's illustrated novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which takes place in 1930 and centers on an orphaned 12-year-old, played in the film by Asa Butterfield, who lives in a flat in the bowels of the
Hugo's drunken uncle, until he went missing, had the job of setting the station's clocks, so now the boy, to cover for the disappearance and stay out of the orphanage, does the job in secret, stealing through tunnels, up rickety ladders and over catwalks, careful to avoid Sasha Baron Cohen's stationmaster with his relish for orphan-catching.
For a while, Hugo's only company is a semi-complete automaton, a kind of primitive mechanical man that his late machinist dad (Jude Law, seen in flashback) discovered in a museum storage area. Hugo thinks the automaton holds the key to his future; alas, the key it doesn't hold is the one that would wind it up and set it in motion.
Best Costume Design - Hugo
Best Cinematography - Hugo
Best Original Screenplay - The Artist
Best Animated Feature - Rango
Best Director - Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
There you have it, the top 12 Oscar winners. The first films I intend to watch are Hugo and The War Horse.