We’re proud to present our annual picks for who will win, who should win among the nominees and who really should win among all the movies that were overlooked. This year’s contributors are film editor Michael Dunaway and film critics Caitlin Colford, Annlee Ellingson, Sean Gandert, David Greenberg, Jeremy Matthews, Braxton Pope and David Roark.
Foreign Language Film
“In Darkness” Poland
“Monsieur Lazhar” Canada
“A Separation” Iran
Who Will Win: “Monsieur Lazhar” Canada
Who Should Win: “A Separation” Iran
Who Really Should Win: “A Separation” Iran
Sean Gandert: The Academy forgot how to do this award correctly more than 40 years ago, and while this year’s nominees aren’t nearly as dire as they’ve been for the last few years, the choices are still mostly baffling. The exclusion of Certified Copy, Abbas Kiarostami’s best movie in over a decade, is a disappointment. There are many other great omissions, but that’s perhaps the most noteworthy.
Jeremy Matthews: Betting on the widely seen, widely loved critical favorite has proved wrong-headed in recent years (see Pan’s Labyrinth, The White Ribbon). A Separation is utterly brilliant, but it requires a certain cerebral approach that doesn’t suit the voters in this category. “Monsieur Lazhar,” on the other hand, isn’t anywhere near as good, but features fantastically emotional performances from its child actors. Bet on that emotion.
David Roark: A Separation lives up to all the hype surrounding it, with a profound story and script. Attack the Block should have at the very least been nominated. It was the best alien-invasion movie of the year.
“Albert Nobbs” Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng
“The Iron Lady” Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland
Who Will Win: Coulier/Helland for The Iron Lady
Who Should Win: Henriques/Funk/Toussieng for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Jeremy Matthews: The structure of The Iron Lady makes no sense, but it does create prominent screen-time for Old Margaret Thatcher. That screen time will likely carry it past the more deserving Harry Potter team.
David Roark: Albert Nobbs is the only film nominated to have something of a value behind all that makeup.
Music (Original Score)
“The Adventures of Tintin” John Williams
“The Artist” Ludovic Bource
“Hugo” Howard Shore
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” Alberto Iglesias
“War Horse” John Williams
Who Will Win: Bource for The Artist
Who Should Win: Shore for Hugo
Sean Gandert: John Williams’ double-nomination will split the vote for him, especially because neither movie is one of his better efforts. The Artist really calls attention to its music, so expect that to grab the Academy’s attention. However, Hugo features the most magical score on the category, not to mention one that does everything a score should do, being unobtrusive and adding to the picture as a whole.
Jeremy Matthews: Kim Novak’s protest about the recycled Vertigo score aside, Ludovic Bource looks a lock to win this one, as his music stands alone for the majority of The Artist’s of the soundtrack, linking the audience to the film in a rare manner for modern cinema.
David Roark: The Artist will probably win, but why? What’s really exceptional about its score? John Williams is the greatest film composer of our time, and War Horse and Tintin are just two more films in his canon that prove why.
Music (Original Song)
“Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets” Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
“Real in Rio” from “Rio” Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown Lyric by Siedah Garrett
Who Will Win: McKenzie for “Man or Muppet”
Who Should Win: McKenzie for “Man or Muppet”
Sean Gandert: Seriously, “Man or Muppet” is the only real contender in this anemic category. The next three best songs from the movie could also wipe the floor with “Real in Rio” or anything else written this year for a film.
David Greenberg: how cool would it be to see 1/2 of Flight of the Conchords get an Oscar?
Braxton Pope: The academy will feel that foam and felt puppets are beneath them.
Jeremy Matthews: Apparently only one nominee scored high enough to qualify, and the second made it in by default, so it’d look like a contest. I’d be willing to bet that “Man or Muppet” was the high-scorer.
David Roark: Rio has no right to be nominated for an Oscar in any category.
Short Film (Animated)
“Dimanche/Sunday” Patrick Doyon
“The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg
“La Luna” Enrico Casarosa
“A Morning Stroll” Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe
“Wild Life” Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby
Who Will Win: Joyce/Oldenburg for The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
Who Should Win: Forbis/Tilby for Wild Life
Jeremy Matthews: In a year in which silent-film nostalgia rules, you have to suspect that The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, with its lovable Buster Keaton lookalike hero, will reign over the animated shorts. The moody western Wild Life is marvelous, but its painted, textured landscapes and oblique storytelling don’t suit the Academy. Pixar hasn’t won for 11 years, but its charming La Luna has a chance.
Short Film (Live Action)
“Pentecost” Peter McDonald and Eimear O’Kane
“Raju” Max Zähle and Stefan Gieren
“The Shore” Terry George and Oorlagh George
“Time Freak” Andrew Bowler and Gigi Causey
“Tuba Atlantic” Hallvar Witzø
Who Will Win: Witzo for Tuba Atlantic
Who Should Win: Witzo for Tuba Atlantic
Jeremy Matthews: The quirky, Norwegian charm of Tuba Atlantic will edge out The Shore despite the charming but meandering Irish drama’s recognizable faces. That is, of course, assuming this category doesn’t go to young American city-dwelling hipsters for the third year in a row. If it does, “Time Freak” will win.