10 Days of Oscar – The Winners

Well we have finally come to it, Oscar Sunday! Here are my final picks in the major categories. The Best Actress category was especially strong this year. Any other year and Meryl Streep or Michelle Williams would be a shoe-in for the winner. I also found that the Best Original Screenplay category was also very strong this year, proof that Hollywood hasn’t completely run out of  original ideas. It hasn’t been the strongest year in movies but there were still some unforgettable movie moments throughout the year. It was a year in which we looked back to the golden years of Hollywood (The Artist, Hugo, My Week with Marilyn, even Midnight in Paris in a way) and found a new appreciation for the history of the movies.

Thanks to everyone who has followed this blog in the last 2 weeks. Have a great Oscar Sunday with friends, family, food and film!

Best Cinematography

  • The Tree of Life

Best Score

  • Hugo
Art Direction
  • Hugo

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Hugo
Best Original Screenplay
  • Midnight in Paris
Best Supporting Actor
  • Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Best Supporting Actress
  • Octavia Spencer, The Help

Best Actor

  • Michael Fassbender, Shame
Best Actress
  • Viola Davis, The Help

Best Director

  • Martin Scorsese, Hugo

Best Picture (in order of preference)

10. Drive

9. Moneyball

8. Midnight in Paris

7. The Descendants

6. War Horse

5. Young Adult

4. The Tree of Life

3. The Help

2. The Artist

1. Hugo

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10 Days of Oscar – My Nominees

If I could vote for the Academy Awards here are what I would’ve nominated in some of the most important categories. Check back tomorrow to see the winners!

Best Cinematography

  • The Tree of Life
  • Melancholia
  • Hugo
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • War Horse

Best Score

  • Hugo
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Shame
  • War Horse
  • The Artist
Art Direction
  • Hugo
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
  • War Horse
  • The Artist
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Hugo
  • Moneyball
  • Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • War Horse
  • The Help
Best Original Screenplay
  • Bridesmaids
  • Midnight in Paris
  • Young Adult
  • The Artist
  • Beginners
Best Supporting Actor
  • Keneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
  • Alan Rickman, Harry Potter
  • Patton Oswalt, Young Adult
  • Brad Pitt, Tree of Life
  • Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Best Supporting Actress
  • Jessica Chastain, The Help
  • Berenice Bejo, The Artist
  • Octavia Spencer, The Help
  • Shailene Woodley, The Descendants
  • Carey Mulligan, Shame

Best Actor

  • Jean Dujardin, The Artist
  • Brad Pitt, Moneyball
  • George Clooney, The Descendants
  • Michael Fassbender, Shame
  • Ewan McGregor, Beginners

Best Actress

  • Viola Davis, The Help
  • Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn
  • Charlize Theron, Young Adult
  • Rooney Mara, Dragon Tattoo
  • Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

Best Director

  • Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life
  • Martin Scorsese, Hugo
  • Michael Hazanavicius, The Artist
  • Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
  • Jason Reitman, Young Adult

Best Picture

The Tree of Life

The Help

Hugo

The Artist

Young Adult

War Horse

Moneyball

Drive

The Descendants

Midnight in Paris

 

*Let me explain: You might be surprised to find Drive on my list of Best Picture nominees after the mixed review of the movie I wrote after my initial viewing. I recently re-watched the film, knowing exactly what to expect and this time I was able to really appreciate the simple brilliance of the movie.

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10 Days of Oscar – The Best of the Losers

No matter what happens Sunday night, all of the Academy Award nominees should remember that some of the greatest artists in cinema never ever won an Oscar. Sure, everyone wants a shiny gold statue but what’s more important is the impact you make on the audience and the legacy you leave behind. Here are some of the best people to have never won an Oscar.

James Dean

Cary Grant

Peter O’Toole

Richard Burton

Fred Astaire

Angela Lansbury

Marilyn Monroe

Charlie Chaplin

Greta Garbo

Annette Bening

Johnny Depp

Albert Finney

Sergio Leone

Stanley Kubrick

Alfred Hitchcock

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10 Days of Oscar – Howard Shore

Howard Shore makes beautiful music. This year he is nominated for his enchanting work on Hugo. He is probably best known for his work on The Lord of the Rings trilogy for which he won 2 Academy Awards. His scores are characters unto themselves, indeed it is hard to imagine Lord of the Rings or Hugo being quite as rich without Shore’s superlative musical talents. Here are some examples of his work:

The Silence of the Lambs

Se7en

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

The Departed

The Aviator

Eastern Promises

Doubt

Hugo

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10 Days of Oscar – Viola Davis

In a business where the younger you are and the whiter you are can make the difference between you booking a role and not booking a role, its uplifting to see Viola Davis hitting her stride, at the age of 46 no less. Viola Davis is a serious actor and this year she receives her second Oscar nomination for her brilliantly realistic portrayal of Aibileen, a maid in 1960s Mississippi. Viola gives Aibileen a strength and subtlety few other actresses could have pulled off. If the white men in suits who run Hollywood want to accurately portray the diversity of humanity and the human experience they need to take a better look at Viola because there are so many more actors of color out there who are hungry for good, meaty roles that don’t just propagate decades-old stereotypes that have their roots in minstrel shows. I think Viola is an inspiration to actors everywhere.

Here are a couple of clips from The Help:

A nice interview:

Her SAG acceptance speech:

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10 Days of Oscar – Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams makes a strong impact in whatever role she takes on. In all of her performances she brings a quiet intensity that nearly burns through the screen and through your heart. This year she is nominated for her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn. She was previously nominated for her performances in Brokeback Mountain and Blue Valentine. I think we are seeing just the beginning of a very successful career. Here are some of her best moments on film:

Warning: If you have not seen the films, the clips do contain spoilers.

Brokeback Mountain

Wendy and Lucy

Shutter Island 

Blue Valentine 

My Week With Marilyn

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10 Days of Oscar – Brad Pitt

Movie stars don’t really get any bigger than Brad Pitt. Not only is he incredibly famous and 1/2 of the two-headed fame monster known as Brangelina, he is also considered by many to be the pinnacle of handsomeness. Perhaps that is why Pitt has had such a hard time being recognized seriously. I, for one, have always thought that he’s been an underrated actor. This year he receives his third Oscar nomination for his performance in Moneyball. Though I enjoyed his performance in Moneyball I don’t think that its the best of his career so I’ve compiled this list of scenes from his best movies. Enjoy! Warning: Some clips contain major spoilers.

True Romance 

Se7en

Twelve Monkeys 

Fight Club

Snatch 

Babel 

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford 

Burn After Reading 

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button 

Inglourious Basterds 

The Tree of Life


And here’s this gem of an outtake from Moneyball:

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