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      26.02.2012 16:16
      Very helpful
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      The Help will suprise a few!

      So, the 85th Oscars and no British films likely to win big this time around, traditional Hollywood nostalgia set to dominate tonight, The Help and The Artist on the front of the grid. During the week we learnt that the main reason why films like the Kings Speech do so well is that most of the Academy voters were around at the time of King George and no doubt went to the famed masked balls, 62 the average age of the people who decide what film wins the coveted golden statues in 2012. With 95% of them white and 75% of them male then The Help, about the racial lines of the Deep South in the bad old days, better start praying if it is to win. But The Help and The Artist, a silent movie about the glory years of Tinsel Town and the arrival of sound, fit that voter age demographic need for nostalgia, the only difference from their hayday in the movies that films are now talkies and the Mexicans and not Black Americans are their maids and gardeners in their dusty Hollywood Hills mansions. It could be close between these two for actor wards.

      Another angle to who may win is lobbying, Harvey Weinstein the king, why the Kings Speech did so well. Harvey began to perfect his art around the time of the dreadfully tedious English Patient and won for Shakespeare in Love after learning those lobbying lessons from that drab movie. He has been nominated for 8 Oscars for himself in various roles since 1997, as well as 2 of his movies as producer. What seems to happen now is the film studios decide which of their films to throw money at and lobby away during the awards season; The Golden Globes the ceremony the Academy voters look at to take their cue on who to vote for. The Academy voters are 'not obliged' to watch all the films on the short list and so freebies and parties to attend from film studio invites tends to push them into sheep like voting patterns. Weinstein has been plugging The Artist for along time now and even released trailers for it six months before it was finished.

      The populist move to have ten movies up for Best Picture is purely commercial to boost sales by including more mainstream titles, and as usual I haven't seen many of them due to late release to build the hype. The surprise absentees were 'Shame' and 'We Need to Talk about Kevin'. When Brad Pitt is in two of the top ten films you know they have 'dumbed' down the show yet again to pull an audience, genres like comedy and action movies included more this way, but the rather obscure French and joyous movie The Artist still the clear favorite. When a silent movie gets nominated for 'Best Sound' you know its going to clean up.

      Scorcese's Hugo, another nostalgic film about the movies, has one more nomination than The Artist with 11 but you just feel the rather silly Oscar for the Departed for Marty won't be repeated this time. Big hitter Stephen Spielberg is also on the list with the popcorn action film War Horse and Terrance Malik alongside for the pretentious Tree of Life and so an impressive front row of penguin suits for Sunday night.

      -Oscar nomination film tally-

      Hugo - 11
      The Artist - 10
      The Help - 6
      Moneyball - 6
      War Horse - 6
      The Descendants - 5
      The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - 4
      Midnight in Paris - 4

      ----BEST PICTURE NOMS---

      War Horse

      The Tree of Life

      The Artist

      Moneyball

      The Descendants

      Midnight in Paris

      The Help

      Hugo

      Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

      It would be nice if the film that took the most money at the box-office won but you suspect it will be the bookies favorite. I haven't seen it but I'm not going to disagree and so The Artist it is! The sentimental and critics splitter Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close looks the most out of place on the list, the Tom Hanks magic still clinging on in there.

      ***Winner***

      The Artist


      ---BEST DIRECTOR---

      Michel Hazanavicius - The Artist

      Alexander Payne - The Descendants

      Martin Scorsese - Hugo

      Woody Allen - Midnight in Paris

      Terrence Malick - The Tree of Life

      Another vicarious Oscar for Scorcese for the one he didn't get for Goodfellas would be nice to get his stats up to go with the one he didn't get for Raging Bull he got for The Departed, Hugo his 8th nomination. Best Picture generally wins the Best director award though so again it's Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist. The brilliant and subtitled Slumdog Millionaire swept the board so why not The Artist to clean up? Woody Allen famously doesn't show up for the Oscars and so expect a reciprocal snub. Midnight in Paris his best film for twenty years, so they say and a dam site better than the tedious Vicky, Christina Barcelona, we hope. The Descendants in the mix seems to be about getting Clooney his honoree Oscar.

      ***Winner***
      Michel Hazanavicius


      ---BEST ACTOR---

      Jean Dujardin - The Artist

      Demian Bichir - A Better Life

      Brad Pitt - Moneyball

      George Clooney - The Descendants

      Gary Oldman - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy



      Jean Dujardin for The Artist is a tighter favorite here and there is money for Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor, his first nomination after 29 years in the business, a dusty old British spy thriller the vehicle. To add glamour to proceedings a Brad Pitt or Clooney Oscar would be awards for previous works but the old farts in The Academy will go for the true thespians here.

      ***Winner***
      Jean Dujardin


      ---BEST ACTRESS---

      Glenn Close - Albert Nobbs

      Viola Davis - The Help

      Rooney Mara - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

      Meryl Streep - The Iron Lady

      Michelle Williams - My Week With Marilyn

      Everyone is still going with 17 times nominee and three times winner in the prestigious Meryl Streep for her impression of Mrs Thatcher. One-in-five Oscar winners for Best Actor have been playing real people. But Viola Davies is coming up fast on the rails for The Help and a more politically correct Hollywood could steel the chance for a black winner, if just to get one more black voter in the Academy, the demographic currently 2%. With Obama in the Whitehouse in election year and Hollywood Democrats to a man and always on the begging bowl for funding then why not Viola? The bookies do make her favorite in the last few days. Michelle Williams, also parodying a huge name in my Week with Marilyn, won't win. I know nothing of Glen Close in Albert Nopps.

      ***The Winner***

      Viola Davies

      ---BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR---

      Kenneth Branagh - My Week With Marilyn

      Jonah Hill - Moneyball

      Nick Nolte - Warrior

      Christopher Plummer - Beginners

      Max von Sydow - Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close


      Chris Plummer and Max Von Sydow are octogenarians and so representative of the voters. I'm sure a record will be broken if they win. Jessica Tandy was the oldest ever winner at 80 for Driving Miss Daisy. A Nick Nolte Oscar would be as shocking as Nick cage winning one! Johan Hill for the much liked Money Ball would be sweet. He has certainly lost a lot of weight to squeeze into his DJ. Kenneth Branagh for My Week with Marilyn won't win as he is more of a director these days. Tricky to choose this one so I will go for the oldies.

      ***Winner***

      Christopher Plummer


      ---BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS---

      Berenice Bejo - The Artist

      Jessica Chastain - The Help

      Melissa McCarthy - Bridesmaids

      Janet McTeer - Albert Nobbs

      Octavia Spencer - The Help

      The Help's Octavia Spencer\ Jessica Chastain or The Artist's Octavia Spencer will win here with Melissa McCarthy chick flick turn in The Bridesmaid a commercial pick. British actress Janet Mcteer makes up the numbers, her first Oscar nod since Tumbleweed. Interestingly, single parents or prostitute rolls have a 1-in-4 chance of winning the two female actor categories. It has to The Help and Octavia. The book is a lovely read and America needs to apologize for its past by recognizing the struggle in the movies.

      ***Winner***

      Octavia Spencer


      ---BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM--

      Bullhead - Belgium

      Footnote - Israel

      In Darkness - Poland

      Monsieur Lazhar - Canada

      A Separation - Iran


      An eclectic mix here folks. Only one winner of Israel V Iran in Hollywood? Not for me.


      ***Winner***

      A Separation



      ---BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY---

      The Artist - Michel Hazanavicius

      Bridesmaids - Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig

      Margin Call - JC Chandor

      Midnight in Paris - Woody Allen

      A Separation - Asghar Farhadi

      A Fourth Oscar for Woody Allen from his 19 nominations so far? I hope so! Nice to see a foreign movie in the mainstream categories so A Separation could win two Oscars tonight.


      ***Winner***

      Woody Allen


      ---BEST ANIMATION---

      A Cat in Paris

      Chico and Rita

      Kung Fu Panda 2

      Puss in Boots

      Rango

      Obviously an animal has won most of these Oscars, the most idiotic category at the Oscars.


      ***Winner***

      Rango


      ---BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY---

      The Descendants - Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash

      Hugo - John Logan

      The Ides of March - George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon

      Moneyball - Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin. Story by Stan Chervin.

      Tinker Tailor Solider Spy - Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan


      Could the Brits get on the board with Tinker Taylor? Na! The Descendants is clear favorite.


      ***The Winner***

      The Descendants


      ---BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE---

      Hell and Back Again

      If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front

      Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory

      Pina

      Undefeated

      No Senna, which raised a lot of eyebrows, nor Closer to the Edge, the brilliant film about the TT Races, my eyebrow raised. Not seen any of the above but looking forward to as you can beat a good doco.

      ***Winner***

      Pina


      And yes, Madonna's dreadful film did get nominated, the appropriately named 'WE' up for Best Make Up....

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