B’s Pre-nomination Oscar Predictions: Direction, Writing, Music, and More

When people think Oscars, they tend to think of the big awards to be Best Picture and Best Actor/Actress. But there is something called the “Big 5” at the Oscars: the combination of Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay (Original or Adapted). It’s a coveted feat, and while 40 different films have been nominated for each of the 5, only 3 (It Happened One Night, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and The Silence of the Lambs) have ever pulled off the five-fecta. While I have already given my predictions for the acting categories in a previous article, here I will give my predictions for each of the other major awards and all of the other film awards. (Note: I’m not making any predictions for Best Documentary-Short, Best Live Action-Short or Best Animated-Short).


Best Director
1. Michael Hazanavicius, The Artist
2. Alexander Payne, The Descendants
3. Martin Scorsese, Hugo
4. Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
5. David Fincher, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Directors Guild nominated these 5 guys as their best directors of the year, and I think that each of the 5 Best Director nominees at the Oscars will match up with the Directors Guild’s nominees. A lot of people see Spielberg taking the 5th spot, as War Horse is likely to be nominated for Best Picture, but I think Fincher will get the nod since the Academy will likely stiff him when it comes to a Best Picture nod. As for the winner, Scorsese took home the prize, surprisingly, at the Golden Globes for Hugo, but conventional wisdom says that one of the two “top dogs” from the Best Picture race will take this one home. If it’s between Hazanavicius and Payne, I’m giving it to Hazanavicius for his work on The Artist.


Best Original Screenplay
1. Midnight in Paris
2. The Artist
3. 50/50
4. Bridesmaids
5. A Separation

50/50, Bridesmaids, and Midnight in Paris were each nominated by the Writers Guild, and The Artist was nominated at the Golden Globes. Other potential nominees include: Win-Win, Young Adult, A Separation, and The Tree of Life. Out of those, I’m going with the foreign language film A Separation to pick up the 5th nomination, as the film has been highly praised for its realistic depiction of a tarnished relationship. Midnight in Paris took home the prize at the Globes, and I think it will do so here behind Woody Allen’s excellent screenplay.


Best Adapted Screenplay
1. Moneyball
2. The Descendants
3. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
4. The Help
5. Hugo

There are a lot of potential nomines in this category this year, with, besides the films mentioned above, War Horse The Ides of March, and Drive being strong contenders. Moneyball was penned by Steve Zaillian (Forrest Gump) and Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network), so I’m giving it the slight edge over The Descendants in this category.


Best Cinematography
1. The Tree of Life
2. War Horse
3. The Artist
4. Hugo
5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

This award is going to The Tree of Life. The fact that there are to be 4 other nominees is just to make people think that there is a chance of it going elsewhere. While War Horse, The Artist, and Hugo have all been praised for how well-shot they are, I don’t think they stand a chance, and neither does Dragon Tattoo. We could also be talking about Moneyball or The Ides of March here, which are each excellently shot as well, but I think that the five listed above are the likely nominations, with The Tree of Life walking away with the win.


Best Animated Feature
1. Rango
2. The Adventures of Tintin
3. Puss in Boots
4. Arthur Christmas
5. Cars 2

This field is a guessing game, as there was really no unanimously great animated films this year. Tintin took home the prize, in a bit of an upset, at the Globes last weekend, where I thought Rango had it in the bag. And Tintin scored again on Saturday night at the Producers Guild Awards. You could also throw Cars 2 (seriously), Kung-Fu Panda 2, Rio, and a few others (such as the foreign-made Wrinkles) into the mix here, and we aren’t even sure how many nominees there will be. With 18 contenders in the field, there can be up to 5 nominees, but there may also only be 3, so who knows; however, with the non-unanimous nature of things, I’d guess there will be 5. Puss in Boots and Arthur Christmas were both very well-received upon release. I’d also venture a guess that Cars 2 could receive a nomination here. Sadly, my favorite animated feature this year, Winnie the Pooh, is likely to be overlooked by the Academy. Rango and Tintin are the two frontrunners, and with Tintin‘s win at the Globes and the PGA Awards, its becoming more and more difficult to stick with Rango, but I am. For now.


Best Foreign Language Film
1. A Separation (Iran)
2. Monsieur Lazhar (Canada)
3. Pina (Germany)
4. Bullhead (Belgium)
5. In Darkness (Poland)

As I’ve mentioned in other posts as well as earlier in this one, A Separation is the clear favorite here, but that’s not to say there is no other competition. Pina, out of Germany, is a very (so I’m told) well-made and well-received foreign documentary, and I’ve heard great things about the other nominees I’ve listed. Not much commentary on this one though, as most of these have hardly seen the light of day around here (meaning I haven’t seen them), but my guess is that A Separation replicates its success at the Globes and goes home with the trophy.


Best Documentary Feature
1. Project Nim
2. Pina
3. We Were Here
4. Bill Cunningham New York
5. Paradise Lost 3

Ah, the documentary. People still watch these? Well, I guess so. I’ve heard great things about Project Nim and Pina, and the others are just 3 random guesses from some IMDb searches on the top documentaries of 2011. Senna appears to be another possibility as a nomination due to its popularity, but unfortunately it did not make the Academy’s shortlist. Unfortunately, I just don’t know the field well enough to really analyze it. Sorry for the lack of professionalism there. Project Nim should take this one though, from what I’ve heard.


Best Music (Original Score)
1. The Artist
2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
3. War Horse
4. Hugo
5. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

The Artist won Best Original Score at The Golden Globes, and I don’t know that the Academy would vote differently. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, scored by last year’s winners for The Social Network has an excellent soundtrack, but it isn’t used as well as it could have been in the film. Hugo and War Horse also have been talked about quite a bit for their music, as has Moneyball, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy‘s score is a supporting character in the film, as music generally tends to be in a spy-caper. But given that the music is so integral to The Artist, due to its silent nature, I think it will triumph here as well.


Best Original Song
1. “Lay Your Head Down”, Albert Nobbs
2. “Hello Hello”, Gnomeo & Juliet
3. “The Living Proof”, The Help
4. “Masterpiece”, W/E
5. “Life’s a Happy Song”, The Muppets

This one’s a crapshoot. To be honest, I have no idea how to guess this one. “Hello Hello”, “The Living Proof”, “Lay Your Head Down”, and “Masterpiece” were each nominated at the Globes, with “Masterpiece” winning. However, that seemed to be more a popularity contest than anything. I’m giving the last slot to “Life’s a Happy Song” from The Muppets, which was excellent by the way, because I absolutely loved it (excellent criteria, I know). However, the most meaningful song of all of these is “Lay Your Head Down” from Albert Nobbs, and that’s where I see the Oscar going. Also, “The Keeper” from Machine Gun Preacher is also a possible nominee here.


And there you have it, my nominees for the other major film and feature awards. We’ll see how well these stack up in a few days, but my confidence is pretty high in my picks for director and the screenplays (cinematography too), but not so much on the music categories and the documentary and foreign language film categories. Again, time will tell, with the announcement for nominations coming on January 24th.

Be sure to check out the rest of my predictions for all of the other categories, and stay tuned come announcement time, where we’ll let you know how these predictions stack up and who, in the end, earned nominations.


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