Milla Jovovich and Tim Gunn: Academy Awards' Red Carpet
Ukrainian-born actress Milla Jovovich (on Dec. 17, 1975, in Kiev, at the time part of the Soviet Union) is pictured above while interviewed – or about to be interviewed – by TV reality show celebrity Tim Gunn upon her arrival at the 2012 Academy Awards on Feb. 26 in Hollywood.
Jovovich wasn't nominated for any Oscars this year (or any other year, for that matter), but she was a presenter at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Technical Awards ceremony held earlier this month.
Milla Jovovich movies
Although best known for playing the tough, slinkily dressed, machine-gun-toting heroine Alice in the lowbrow, videogameish Resident Evil movie franchise, Milla Jovovich has been featured in about 30 movies since her debut in Zalman King's overheated 1988 drama Two Moon Junction, starring Sherilyn Fenn and Richard Tyson.
Jovovich's movie credits include:
- The Three Musketeers (2011).
Dir.: Paul W.S. Anderson.
Cast: Matthew Macfadyen. Milla Jovovich (as Milady de Winter). Helen George. Luke Evans. Christian Oliver. Ray Stevenson. Til Schweiger. Orlando Bloom. Logan Lerman. Dexter Fletcher. Mads Mikkelsen. Christoph Waltz. Jane Perry. James Corden. Juno Temple.
- Faces in the Crowd (2011).
Dir.: Julien Magnat.
Cast: Milla Jovovich. Julian McMahon. David Atrakchi. Marianne Faithfull. Michael Shanks. Valentina Vargas.
- Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010).
Dir.: Paul W.S. Anderson.
Cast: Milla Jovovich. Wentworth Miller. Ali Larter. Kim Coates. Sienna Guillory. Shawn Roberts.
- Resident Evil: Extinction (2007).
Dir.: Russell Mulcahy.
Cast: Milla Jovovich. Oded Fehr. Ali Larter. Christopher Egan. Matthew Marsden. Iain Glen. Ashanti.
- Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004).
Dir.: Alexander Witt.
Cast: Milla Jovovich. Oded Fehr. Thomas Kretschmann. Jared Harris. Zack Ward. Iain Glen.
- Resident Evil (2002).
Dir.: Paul W.S. Anderson.
Cast: Milla Jovovich. Eric Mabius. Martin Crewes. James Purefoy. Colin Salmon. Michelle Rodriguez. Uncredited: Jason Isaacs.
- Chaplin (1992).
Dir.: Richard Attenborough.
Cast: Robert Downey Jr. (as Charles Chaplin). Diane Lane (as one of Chaplin's several wives, Paulette Goddard). Anthony Hopkins. Geraldine Chaplin (as Hannah Chaplin). Kevin Kline (as Douglas Fairbanks). Penelope Ann Miller (as Chaplin leading lady Edna Purviance). Maria Pitillo (as Mary Pickford). Milla Jovovich (as actress/Chaplin wife Mildred Harris). Dan Aykroyd (as Mack Sennett). Marisa Tomei (as Mabel Normand). Kevin Dunn (as J. Edgar Hoover). Deborah Moore (as Chaplin wife Lita Grey Chaplin). Paul Rhys (as Sydney Chaplin). John Thaw. Nancy Travis (as Joan Barry). Moira Kelly. Hugh Downer. Nicholas Gatt. Thomas Bradford. David Duchovny. James Woods. Heather McNair (as Marion Davies). Jack Ritschel (as William Randolph Hearst).
The Winter Queen, in which she is reportedly to star opposite Anton Yelchin, is currently in the pre-production stages.
Update: Directed by Michael Almereyda, The Winter Queen was eventually released as Cymbeline (2014). Also in the cast: Ethan Hawke, Ed Harris, Penn Badgley, Dakota Johnson, and John Leguizamo.
MTV Movie Award and Razzie nominations
Milla Jovovich has never been shortlisted for any major academy or guild or critics awards, but she has been nominated for an MTV Movie Award – in the Best Fight category for the 1997 sci-fier The Fifth Element (“fight between Milla Jovovich and aliens”) – and for two Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Awards: Best Actress for Resident Evil and Best Supporting Actress for The Fifth Element.
Besides, Jovovich has been in the running for three Razzie Awards in various categories for the following films: Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991), The Fifth Element, and Joan of Arc (1999).
Update: She also received a Worst Actress Razzie nomination for Resident Evil: Retribution (2012).
Tim Gunn movies
Tim Gunn is well known in some circles – among those who spend their free time watching TV reality shows – as the effete, eye-rolling “mentor” of aspiring costume designers in Project Runway. Gunn is also one of the show's producers.
On the big screen, he played himself in Michael Patrick King's Sex and the City 2 (2010), starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall, and last year he could be spotted in Raja Gosnell's The Smurfs, also featuring Neil Patrick Harris, Sofia Vergara, and Hank Azaria.
Tim Gunn and Milla Jovovich photo: Bryan Crowe / © A.M.P.A.S.
Peyman Moaadi (left), Asghar Farhadi (center)
Peyman Moaadi and Asghar Farhadi, respectively leading man and writer-director of the Iranian drama A Separation, are seen at the Governors Ball following the 2012 Academy Awards held at the Hollywood and Highland Center in Hollywood on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012. A Separation was the Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film and a nominee for Best Original Screenplay. In the latter category, A Separation lost to Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris. (Image: Matt Petit / © A.M.P.A.S.)
Besides Allen, Asghar Farhadi's competition for Best Original Screenplay consisted of Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist, J.C. Chandor for Margin Call, and Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo for Paul Feig's Bridesmaids. A Separation's Best Foreign Language Film competitors were Monsieur Lazhar (Canada), In Darkness (Poland), Footnote (Israel), and Bullhead (Belgium).
Jean Dujardin, Asghar Farhadi
Oscar winners Jean Dujardin and Asghar Farhadi attend the Governor's Ball following the 84th Annual Academy Awards Awards at the Hollywood and Highland Center in Hollywood on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012. Dujardin was the Best Actor winner for Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist. Farhadi's A Separation was the Best Foreign Language Film winner. Additionally, Farhadi was in the running in the Best Original Screenplay category. (Image: © A.M.P.A.S.)
Farhadi's competitors were Hazanavicius for The Artist, J.C. Chandor for Margin Call, Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo for Paul Feig's Bridesmaids, and the eventual winner, Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris.
Dujardin's Best Actor competition consisted of Demián Bichir for Chris Weitz's A Better Life, George Clooney for Alexander Payne's The Descendants, Brad Pitt for Bennett Miller's Moneyball, and Gary Oldman for Tomas Alfredson's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Dujardin was a first-time Oscar nominee. Prior to the Oscar, he was the Best Actor winner at the BAFTAs, the SAG Awards, and the Golden Globes (Best Actor in a Motion Picture Comedy/Musical).
Meryl Streep, Asghar Farhadi
Two-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep and Asghar Farhadi, director of the Oscar-nominated A Separation attend a reception for the Best Foreign Language Film nominees in the Grand Lobby of the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California, on Friday, Feb. 24, 2012. Streep is a Best Actress nominee for her performance as Margaret Thatcher in Phyllida Lloyd's The Iron Lady. Farhadi's A Separation is in the running for Best Foreign Language Film. Additionally, the Iranian drama was nominated for Best Original Screenplay. (Matt Petit / © A.M.P.A.S.)
Asghar Farhadi's competition for Best Original Screenplay are: Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris, Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist, J.C. Chandor for Margin Call, and Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo for Paul Feig's Bridesmaids.
Meryl Streep's competition for Best Actress consists of Rooney Mara for David Fincher's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Glenn Close for Rodrigo García's Albert Nobbs, Viola Davis for Tate Taylor's The Help, and Michelle Williams (as Marilyn Monroe) for Simon Curtis' My Week with Marilyn. Streep's two Oscar wins were as Best Supporting Actress for Robert Benton's Kramer vs. Kramer, opposite Dustin Hoffman, and Alan J. Pakula's Sophie's Choice, opposite Kevin Kline and Peter MacNicol.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt: Bare single leg results in headlines
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are seen as they arrive at the 2012 Academy Awards. Jolie's right leg, which can be glimpsed in the above photo, is now world-famous as it was featured prominently both on the Red Carpet and during the presentation of the Oscars for Best Screenplay.
The absent Woody Allen won in the Best Original Screenplay category for Midnight in Paris, starring Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, and Marion Cotillard, while Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash took home the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for The Descendants, a family comedy-drama toplining George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, and Judy Greer.
Angelina Jolie's bare leg, however, pretty much stole the winners' thunder.
Oscar winner, director
Known for her liberal views and humanitarian deeds, Angelina Jolie is the daughter of Best Actor Academy Award winner Jon Voight (Coming Home, 1978). Jolie herself was handed a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance in James Mangold's Girl Interrupted (1999), starring Winona Ryder.
Since then, she was shortlisted again – in the Best Actress category – for Clint Eastwood's Changeling (2008), as a woman who, despite pressure from the Los Angeles Police Department, refuses to accept a “replacement” for her missing child.
Jolie made her directorial debut in 2007, with the documentary A Place in Time. Her first narrative feature, In the Land of Blood and Honey was released late last year. Set during the Bosnia War, the film stars Zana Marjanovic and Goran Kostic.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt photo: Ivan Vejar / © A.M.P.A.S.
Best Actor nominee
Up above is another shot of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt on the Academy Awards' Red Carpet. Pitt was a Best Actor nominee for Bennett Miller's baseball drama Moneyball, which was also nominated in the Best Picture category. He lost to Jean Dujardin for his performance as a fading silent film star à la John Gilbert in Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist, which also won the Best Picture Oscar.
In addition to Dujardin, Pitt's Best Actor competition consisted of:
- George Clooney for Alexander Payne's The Descendants.
- Demián Bichir for Chris Weitz's A Better Life.
- Gary Oldman for Tomas Alfredson's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
Also in the Moneyball cast are Robin Wright and Best Supporting Actor nominee Jonah Hill. Hill lost the Oscar to veteran Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music, The Silent Partner), who plays Ewan McGregor's gay father in Mike Mills' Beginners.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt photo: Ivan Vejar / © A.M.P.A.S.
Tom Cruise, Colin Firth
Tom Cruise and Colin Firth are seen backstage at the 2012 Academy Awards ceremony held at the Hollywood and Highland Center on February 26. Cruise presented the Best Picture Oscar to Michel Hazanavicius' silent movie The Artist. Firth presented the Best Actress Oscar to Meryl Streep for her performance as British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in Phyllida Lloyd's The Iron Lady. (Image: Todd Wawrychuk / © A.M.P.A.S.)
Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol was a major box office hit and received mostly positive notices; even so, the actioner failed to be shortlisted in any Oscar category. Cruise, who turns 50 next July, will next be seen in Adam Shankman's Rock of Ages, which also features Malin Akerman, Bryan Cranston, Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner Catherine Zeta-Jones (Chicago), Alec Baldwin, Julianne Hough, Paul Giamatti, Russell Brand, Will Forte, and Diego Boneta.
Rock of Ages will be followed by Christopher McQuarrie's One Shot (addendum: retitled Jack Reacher), to come out on Dec. 21. The crime drama also features Rosamund Pike, Jai Courtney, Richard Jenkins, Robert Duvall, and Werner Herzog. Additionally, Joseph Kosinski's Oblivion is scheduled to open on April 26, 2013. In addition to Cruise, the sci-fier features Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Olga Kurylenko, Melissa Leo, Andrea Riseborough, and Morgan Freeman.
Colin Firth, 52 next September, will next be seen in Dante Ariola's Arthur Newman, Golf Pro, opposite Emily Blunt and Anne Heche. Firth also has Michael Hoffman's Gambit lined up. Written by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Gambit features Cameron Diaz, Cloris Leachman, Stanley Tucci, Alan Rickman, and Doctor Zhivago's Tom Courtenay. Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine co-starred in the 1966 original directed by The Poseidon Adventure's Ronald Neame.
Carlos Saldanha's Rio
Composer Sergio Mendes is still hoping Oscarcast producers Don Mischer and Brian Grazer will have a last-minute change of heart and include the year's two Best Original Song nominees in their show.
“[It's] such a lively song,” Mendes told AP about “Real in Rio” from Carlos Saldanha's animated feature Rio. “You've seen the movie, you've heard the song, it's a perfect thing to do live but … it's really up to the television producers. I was just hoping until, you know, till today, I'm still hoping. But I don't think it's gonna happen. Listen, you can't have everything. … I'll be there anyway.”
Mendes, 71, shared his “Real in Rio” nomination with Carlinhos Brown and Siedah Garrett. In Rio's English-language version, “Real in Rio” is performed by several voice-cast members, including Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg, in addition to The Rio Singers. The song's only competitor is Bret McKenzie's “Man or Muppet” from James Bobin's The Muppets.
Producers of the Oscar ceremony haven't always included live performances of the nominated songs in the show. Two years ago, for instance, the songs were shown in brief clips. At other times, there were Best Original Song medleys.
Sergio Mendes is a first-time Academy Award nominee. (As per the IMDb, his only previous movie credit as composer was “Watch What Happens,” from Dillon Petrillo's 2008 drama Hearsay.) But back at the 1968 Oscar ceremony, Mendes and Brazil '66 did perform Burt Bacharach and Hal David's Oscar-nominated “The Look of Love” from the James Bond spoof Casino Royale. (Dusty Springfield sings “The Look of Love” in the movie.)
Mike Myers, Kevin Kline
In the Funny or Die-produced video (please scroll down for a snippet) for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Kevin Kline takes lessons from Mike Myers on how to hold and handle Oscar statuette. At the 1989 Academy Awards ceremony, Sean Connery handed Kline the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance (as one of the leads, really) in Charles Crichton's comedy A Fish Called Wanda.
Kline plays himself in the video: an Oscar winner who needs a “refresher course” on how to take proper care of his statuette. Myers plays the (nearly) bald Sir Cecil Worthington, whose British accent comes and goes depending on the word or his intonation. Despite appearances to the contrary, in the above picture Myers is not about to eat the Oscar statuette.
In eight decades or so, this Kline-Myers video will be as enjoyable as, say, Jackie Cooper's Christmas Party or The Stolen Jools. For now, it's not what I'd call funny – though some will be surprised at an Academy-sponsored video featuring the following line: “[Hold the Oscar statuette] below the knees! Oscar does like a banana split. But not with crushed nuts.”
* The Artist - Thomas Langmann.
The Descendants - Jim Burke, Jim Taylor & Alexander Payne.
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close - Scott Rudin.
The Help - Brunson Green, Chris Columbus & Michael Barnathan.
Hugo - Graham King & Martin Scorsese.
Midnight in Paris - Letty Aronson & Stephen Tenenbaum.
Moneyball - Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz & Brad Pitt.
The Tree of Life - Dede Gardner, Sarah Green, Grant Hill & Bill Pohlad.
War Horse - Steven Spielberg & Kathleen Kennedy.
Best Foreign Language Film
* A Separation (Iran) - Asghar Farhadi.
Bullhead (Belgium) - Michaël R. Roskam.
Footnote (Israel) - Joseph Cedar.
In Darkness (Poland) - Agnieszka Holland.
Monsieur Lazhar (Canada) - Philippe Falardeau.
* Michel Hazanavicius - The Artist.
Alexander Payne - The Descendants.
Martin Scorsese - Hugo.
Woody Allen - Midnight in Paris.
Terrence Malick - The Tree of Life.
* Meryl Streep - The Iron Lady as Margaret Thatcher.
Glenn Close - Albert Nobbs as Albert Nobbs.
Viola Davis - The Help as Aibileen Clark.
Rooney Mara - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as Lisbeth Salander.
Michelle Williams - My Week with Marilyn as Marilyn Monroe.
* Jean Dujardin - The Artist as George Valentin.
Demián Bichir - A Better Life as Carlos Galindo.
George Clooney - The Descendants as Matthew “Matt” King.
Gary Oldman - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as George Smiley.
Brad Pitt - Moneyball as Billy Beane.
Best Supporting Actor
* Christopher Plummer - Beginners as Hal Fields.
Kenneth Branagh - My Week with Marilyn as Laurence Olivier.
Jonah Hill - Moneyball as Peter Brand.
Nick Nolte - Warrior as Paddy Conlon.
Max von Sydow - Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close as The Renter.
Best Supporting Actress
* Octavia Spencer - The Help as Minny Jackson.
Bérénice Bejo - The Artist as Peppy Miller.
Jessica Chastain - The Help as Celia Foote.
Melissa McCarthy - Bridesmaids as Megan Price.
Janet McTeer - Albert Nobbs as Hubert Page.
Best Original Screenplay
* Midnight in Paris - Woody Allen.
The Artist - Michel Hazanavicius.
Bridesmaids - Kristen Wiig & Annie Mumolo.
Margin Call - J.C. Chandor.
A Separation - Asghar Farhadi.
Best Adapted Screenplay
* The Descendants - Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon & Jim Rash from The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings.
Hugo - John Logan from The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick.
The Ides of March - George Clooney, Grant Heslov & Beau Willimon from Farragut North by Beau Willimon.
Moneyball - Screenplay by Steven Zaillian & Aaron Sorkin; Story by Stan Chervin from Moneyball by Michael Lewis.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - Bridget O'Connor & Peter Straughan from Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John le Carré.
Best Animated Feature
* Rango - Gore Verbinski.
A Cat in Paris - Alain Gagnol & Jean-Loup Felicioli.
Chico and Rita - Fernando Trueba & Javier Mariscal.
Kung Fu Panda 2 - Jennifer Yuh Nelson.
Puss in Boots - Chris Miller.
Best Documentary - Feature
* Undefeated - TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay & Richard Middlemas.
Hell and Back Again - Danfung Dennis & Mike Lerner.
If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front - Marshall Curry & Sam Cullman.
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory - Joe Berlinger & Bruce Sinofsky.
Pina - Wim Wenders & Gian-Piero Ringel.
* Hugo - Robert Richardson.
The Artist - Guillaume Schiffman.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - Jeff Cronenweth.
The Tree of Life - Emmanuel Lubezki.
War Horse - Janusz Kami?ski.
Best Film Editing
* The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Angus Wall & Kirk Baxter.
The Artist - Anne-Sophie Bion & Michel Hazanavicius.
The Descendants - Kevin Tent.
Hugo - Thelma Schoonmaker.
Moneyball - Christopher Tellefsen.
Best Original Score
* The Artist - Ludovic Bource.
The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn - John Williams.
Hugo - Howard Shore.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - Alberto Iglesias.
War Horse - John Williams.
Best Original Song
* “Man or Muppet” from The Muppets - Bret McKenzie.
“Real in Rio” from Rio - Sergio Mendes, Carlinhos Brown & Siedah Garrett.
Best Art Direction
* Hugo - Dante Ferretti & Francesca Lo Schiavo.
The Artist - Laurence Bennett & Robert Gould.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 - Stuart Craig & Stephenie McMillan.
Midnight in Paris - Anne Seibel & Hélène Dubreuil.
War Horse - Rick Carter & Lee Sandales.
Best Costume Design
* The Artist - Mark Bridges.
Anonymous - Lisy Christl.
Hugo - Sandy Powell.
Jane Eyre - Michael O'Connor.
W.E. - Arianne Phillips.
Best Visual Effects
* Hugo - Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossmann & Alex Henning.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 - Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler & John Richardson.
Real Steel - Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Danny Gordon Taylor & Swen Gillberg.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes - Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White & Daniel Barrett.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon - Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew E. Butler & John Frazier.
Best Sound Editing
* Hugo - Philip Stockton & Eugene Gearty
Drive - Lon Bender & Victor Ray Ennis.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Ren Klyce.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon - Ethan Van der Ryn & Erik Aadahl.
War Horse - Richard Hymns & Gary Rydstrom.
Best Sound Mixing
* Hugo - Tom Fleischman & John Midgley.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce & Bo Persson.
Moneyball - Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, David Giammarco & Ed Novick.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon - Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush & Peter J. Devlin.
War Horse - Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson & Stuart Wilson.
* The Iron Lady - Mark Coulier & J. Roy Helland.
Albert Nobbs - Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnson & Matthew W. Mungle.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 - Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight & Lisa Tomblin.
Best Documentary - Short Subject
* Saving Face - Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy & Daniel Junge.
The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement - Robin Fryday & Gail Dolgin.
God Is the Bigger Elvis - Rebecca Cammisa & Julie Anderson.
Incident in New Baghdad - James Spione.
The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom - Lucy Walker & Kira Carstensen.
Best Live Action Short Film
* The Shore - Terry George & Oorlagh George.
Pentecost - Peter McDonald & Eimear O'Kane.
Raju - Max Zähle & Stefan Gieren.
Time Freak - Andrew Bowler & Gigi Causey.
Tuba Atlantic - Hallvar Witzø (nomination later revoked)*.
* Update: After learning that Tuba Atlantic had been shown on Norwegian television in 2010, in July 2012 the Academy officially revoked the Best Live Action Short Film nomination for Hallvar Witzø's film.
Best Animated Short Film
* The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore - William Joyce & Brandon Oldenburg.
Dimanche - Patrick Doyon.
La Luna - Enrico Casarosa.
A Morning Stroll - Grant Orchard & Sue Goffe.
Wild Life - Amanda Forbis & Wendy Tilby.
James Earl Jones - “For his legacy of consistent excellence and uncommon versatility.”
Dick Smith - “For his unparalleled mastery of texture, shade, form and illusion.”
Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award
Oscar 2012 winners: Our predictions
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Here are our last-minute Oscar 2012 predictions in all categories. Warning: We've been wrong before and we'll probably be wrong again here and there (and possibly elsewhere) this year as well. But no harm in trying to play the role of movie-award clairvoyant. (See further below Oscar Predictions 2012 List.)
For Best Picture, our choice (and just about everybody else's) is Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist. The Golden Globe (Comedy/Musical), BAFTA, and César winner should also win for Best Director (Hazanavicius), Best Actor (Jean Dujardin), Best Cinematography (Guillaume Schiffman), Best Film Editing (Hazanavicius, Anne-Sophie Bion), and Best Original Score (Ludovic Bource, the man who really upset Kim Novak a while back). If Dujardin does indeed win, he'll be the first Frenchman ever to take home an Academy Award.
Possible upsets: George Clooney, formerly a favorite, would now be a Best Actor upset for his performance in The Descendants. Martin Scorsese would be a major upset as Best Director for Hugo, which, along with The Descendants, would be major Best Picture upsets. Tate Taylor's The Help would be an all but unheard of upset for Best Picture, as it lacks Film Editing, Screenplay, and Director nominations. Emmanuel Lubezki's cinematography for Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life is the runner-up – or possible winner? – in that category.
The Best Supporting Actor statuette already has Christopher Plummer's name on it, we're pretty sure. The only possible (monumental) upset would be a win by Kenneth Branagh as Laurence Olivier in My Week with Marilyn, a The Weinstein Company release. But even Harvey Weinstein may find that Simon Curtis' little-seen movie doesn't have much of a chance with Academy members. Lauren Bacall's surprising 1997 Oscar defeat – when Juliette Binoche won for the Weinstein/Miramax release The English Patient – could be explained by the popularity of Binoche's movie, which also won Best Picture of the year (not to mention the leading-lady size of Binoche's “supporting” role).
The Best Supporting Actress Oscar already has Octavia Spencer's name on it, we're sure. Can't think of anyone else causing an upset in that category, unless the Academy loves The Artist so much, but so much that they hand it to Bérénice Bejo. That's not at all likely, though.
And finally, we believe that Meryl Streep will take home her third Oscar despite having lost the SAG Award to The Help's Viola Davis. This will probably be a tight race, so that a Davis win should not be considered an upset.
Daniel Radcliffe, Ralph Fiennes in David Yates' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
The Best Foreign Film Language winner is always a puzzle, as only a small percentage of Academy voters cast ballots in that category. That leaves room for some surprising – sometimes downright bizarre – choices. Asghar Farhadi's A Separation has been winning awards just about everywhere (though it lost the BAFTA to Pedro Almodóvar's The Skin I Live In). We're tempted to have it as our pick as well, but we're going out on a limb by selecting Philippe Falardeau's more sentimental Monsieur Lazhar from Canada. We'll see.
Best Adapted Screenplay will definitely go to Alexander Payne, Jim Rash, and Nat Faxon for The Descendants. We believe the Best Original Screenplay will go to Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris, though a Michel Hazanavicius win for The Artist should come as no surprise.
For Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design: Martin Scorsese's Hugo – Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo for Art Direction; Sandy Powell for Costume Design. The Artist is the runner-up and possible winner in either category – or even both of them.
Gore Verbinski's Rango, a box office hit featuring the voice of Johnny Depp, is the probable Best Animated Feature winner. The Best Original Song is a toss-up: we're betting on “Real in Rio” (Sergio Mendes, Carlinhos Brown, Siedah Garrett) from Carlos Saldanha's animated feature Rio, though The Muppets' “Man or Muppet” is just as likely to win.
For Best Make-Up we're betting on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight, Lisa Tomblin), which was ignored in all the “major” categories despite a number of enthusiastic reviews. Deathly Hallows 2 should also win for Best Visual Effects (Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler, John Richardson).
For Best Sound Mixing we're going for the loudest movie: Michael Bay's Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush, Peter J. Devlin). For Best Sound Editing we're going for Steven Spielberg's War Horse (Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson, Stuart Wilson), the winner of the Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Award.
There's no clear favorite among the Best Documentary Feature nominees, as critics' fave The Interrupters wasn't shortlisted. We're picking the most controversial one: Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky's Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory.
For Best Documentary Short, we're going for Lucy Walker and Kira Carstensen's The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom. However, a God Is the Bigger Elvis win shouldn't bee too surprising, especially considering that the movie is about actress-turned-nun Dolores Hart (Lonelyhearts, Where the Boys Are) – and Mother Dolores is an Academy member.
For Best Animated Short: Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe's A Morning Stroll. For Live Action Short: The Shore, featuring Ciarán Hinds, and directed by Hotel Rwanda's Academy Award nominee Terry George. Oorlagh George produced.
Daniel Radcliffe / Ralph Fiennes / Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 photo: Jaap Buitendijk / Warner Bros.
Jean Dujardin / The Artist photo: The Weinstein Company.
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Best Picture: The Artist.
Best Foreign Language Film: Monsieur Lazhar (Canada), directed by Philippe Falardeau.
Best Dir.: Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist.
Best Actor: Jean Dujardin for The Artist.
Best Actress: Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady.
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer for Beginners.
Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer for The Help.
Best Original Screenplay Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris.
Best Adapted Screenplay Alexander Payne, Jim Rash, and Nat Faxon for The Descendants.
Best Animated Feature: Rango directed by Gore Verbinski.
Best Cinematography: Guillaume Schiffman for The Artist.
Best Film Editing: Michel Hazanavicius, Anne-Sophie Bion for The Artist.
Best Original Score: Ludovic Bource for The Artist.
Best Original Song: “Real in Rio” by Sergio Mendes, Carlinhos Brown, and Siedah Garrett, from Rio.
Best Art Direction: Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo for Hugo.
Best Costume Design: Sandy Powell for Hugo.
Best Visual Effects: Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler, John Richardson for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.
Best Sound Mixing: Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush, Peter J. Devlin for Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
Best Sound Editing: Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson, Stuart Wilson for War Horse.
Best Make-Up: Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight, Lisa Tomblin for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.
Best Documentary Feature: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory directed by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky.
Best Documentary Short: The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom directec by Lucy Walker.
Best Animated Short: A Morning Stroll directed by Grant Orchard.
Best Live Action Short: The Shore directed by Terry George.
Jean Dujardin / The Artist photo: The Weinstein Company.
Our prediction for the Best Picture Academy Award: Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist. Why The Artist?
No, not because of some sociohistorical/psychological significance that various pundits have ascribed to the Hazanavicius' movie and its effect on members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. That's not only total b.s., but a blatant misreading of both the (brilliant) film itself and of the Hollywood period it represents. Not to mention the fact that The Artist isn't even an American production, but a French (or Franco-Belgian) effort that was a hit in Cannes long before it arrived at these shores.
The Artist is the top contender for the Best Picture Academy Award because, its SAG Award defeat notwithstanding, it's a feel-good (feel-great, some might say) movie, it's technically impeccable, and it's an upbeat portrayal of moviemaking and moviemakers. Ah, and it's a Harvey Weinstein release in North America. That always helps. (Suffice to remember The King's Speech and Shakespeare in Love.)
Additionally, The Artist has already won both the Producers Guild and the Directors Guild awards. Since the PGA Awards were instituted in 1990 (the DGA Awards have been around since the late '40s), only three DGA/PGA winners have failed to win the Best Picture Oscar: Ron Howard's Apollo 13 (1995), Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan (1998), and Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain. The Best Picture Oscar winners in those years were, respectively, Mel Gibson's Braveheart, John Madden's Shakespeare in Love (a Miramax/Harvey Weinstein release), and Paul Haggis' Crash.
Wrapping this up: Director-writer Hazanavicius has been adroitly selling his movie, emphasizing that The Artist is a heartfelt homage to American cinema. In other words, Hazanavicius and producer Thomas Langmann may be French outsiders, but their movie isn't. To the contrary, their offering is the only 2012 Best Picture nominee fully shot in the Los Angeles area. In no small amount due to Harvey Weinstein's ardent, huh, prayers, we believe the Hollywood film industry gods will smile upon Hazanavicius' offering.
Jean Dujardin, Uggie the dog/The Artist pic: The Weinstein Company.
Asa Butterfield, Jude Law in Martin Scorsese's Hugo
In early 1996, the Best Picture win of Mel Gibson's Braveheart wasn't a surprise, as the Producers Guild/Directors Guild award winner Apollo 13 had failed to be shortlisted in the Academy Awards' Best Director category. In fact, Ron Howard's DGA win – much like Steven Spielberg's for The Color Purple a decade earlier – could be seen as a message to the Academy: highly commercial, crowd-pleasing filmmakers are people, too.
On the other hand, considering that both Steven Spielberg and Ang Lee were Best Director Oscar winners for, respectively, Saving Private Ryan (1998) and Brokeback Mountain (2005), the Shakespeare in Love and Crash Best Picture victories turned out to be major upsets.
This year, the two movies that could theoretically lead to such an upset are Martin Scorsese's Hugo and Alexander Payne's The Descendants. Hugo would be banking chiefly on Scorsese's prestige, as the film hasn't been all that lucky with the guilds this awards season, and, relative to its cost (as high as $170 million), it has been a major box office disappointment. The Descendants, for its part, has already won a Writers Guild Award (Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist screenplay was ineligible) and was a surprise winner of the ACE Eddie Award for Best Edited Motion Picture - Drama. (The Artist won in the comedy/musical category.)
An unheard-of upset would be Tate Taylor's socially conscious SAG Award winner The Help winning Best Picture. No movie has won the Best Picture Oscar without a matching Best Director, Best Film Editing, and/or Best Screenplay (Original or Adapted) nomination since Edmund Goulding's Grand Hotel for the period 1931-32. Now, it should be noted that whereas eight movies were up for the Best Picture Academy Award that year, only three directors were nominated, and only seven movies were shortlisted in the writing categories. No movie was nominated for Best Film Editing, as that category was instituted only in 1934. (We should also add that voting procedures were quite different back then as well.)
Besides Grand Hotel, only two other movies have won the Best Picture Academy Award without a matching Best Director nomination: William A. Wellman's Wings in the awards' first year, 1927-28, and Bruce Beresford's Driving Miss Daisy for the year 1989. Beresford's socially conscious comedy-drama, however, also won the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar and was nominated for Best Film Editing.
An ensemble piece with a Message, The Help is clearly well-liked among actors: in addition to its Best Cast SAG Award victory, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, and Jessica Chastain were all nominated for Oscars. Yet, the film doesn't seem to have that many enthusiastic fans in the Academy's other branches, as it wasn't nominated in any other non-acting category apart from Best Picture. In fact, considering its blatant lack of support elsewhere, here's wondering if The Help would have made the Best Picture cut had the Academy kept its pre-2009 five-film limit.
The Artist, Hugo, The Descendants, and The Help's Best Picture competitors are Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, Steven Spielberg's War Horse, Stephen Daldry's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life, and Bennett Miller's Moneyball.
Asa Butterfield/Jude Law/Hugo photo: Jaap Buitendijk / GK Films.
In the Oscar 2012 Best Actor category, Gary Oldman, Demián Bichir, and Brad Pitt are dark horses for, respectively, their performances in Tomas Alfredson's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Chris Weitz's A Better Life, and Bennett Miller's Moneyball. That leaves George Clooney, who plays a befuddled father in Alexander Payne's The Descendants, and Jean Dujardin, who plays a mix of Douglas Fairbanks, John Gilbert, and A Star Is Born's Fredric March in Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist.
This awards season, Clooney has been the U.S. critics' favorite, and would've been the favorite for the Academy Awards as well if it weren't for Dujardin's SAG Award victory. Though not exactly a total shock, the outcome was unexpected because Clooney was technically the sentimental favorite – he has never won a Best Actor SAG Award. Then enter Dujardin, a star in France but all but unknown in the United States, to claim the trophy as his own.
So, at this stage, if George Clooney takes home this year's Best Actor Oscar, that will be an upset. We're betting on Jean Dujardin to become the first Frenchman to win an Oscar in the acting categories.
Note: In case our Oscar 2012 predictions are accurate, the Best Picture (The Artist), Best Actress (Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady), and Best Actor Academy Awards will all go to The Weinstein Company releases.
Jean Dujardin/The Artist pic: The Weinstein Company.
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
The 2012 Best Actress Oscar will go to one of two nominees: Meryl Streep, for her portrayal of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in Phyllida Lloyd's The Iron Lady, or Viola Davis, for her portrayal of a dignified nanny in Tate Taylor's comedy-drama The Help. We've narrowed the race down to Streep and Davis not because their performances are superior to those of the other nominees, but simply because sentiment is on their side.
If Viola Davis wins, she'll be the first black woman to take home a Best Actress Academy Award since Halle Berry (who's actually part-black) won for Marc Forster's Monster's Ball ten years ago. If Meryl Streep wins, that'll mark her first Oscar victory since she won for Alan J. Pakula's Sophie's Choice 29 years ago.
Between that early 1983 Oscar ceremony and now, Streep has received thirteen other Oscar nods, losing twelve times. To put things in perspective: throughout Katharine Hepburn's five-decade career, the former Oscar record-holder in the acting categories received 12 nominations, winning four times. Additionally, Harvey Weinstein's The Weinstein Company is making sure that Academy voters realize that Streep is due for her third Oscar.
As a result of all of the above, we're betting on Meryl Streep getting more sentimental votes than Viola Davis.
Streep and Davis' competitors are Rooney Mara for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Michelle Williams (as Marilyn Monroe) for My Week with Marilyn, and Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs. Close, by the way, will have to wait for her seventh nomination to get the Academy's sentimental vote.
Meryl Streep/The Iron Lady photo: Alex Bailey / Pathe Productions Ltd / The Weinstein Company.
Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, The Help
Barring a miracle, the 2012 Best Supporting Actress will go to Octavia Spencer in Tate Taylor's The Help. Spencer has won several critics' awards, was the SAG Award winner (and came up with an “inspirational” speech, that's always a major plus), and took home a Golden Globe as well.
Now, if instead of Spencer's The Help co-star Viola Davis the Academy chooses The Iron Lady's Meryl Streep for Best Actress, some will surely accuse voters of being racist for throwing a supporting category bone at a black performer while bypassing the lead actress for the more important award. But that would be sheer nonsense. Spencer will win the Oscar because she has a showy role and awards-season momentum going for her. That's it.
Albert Nobbs' Janet McTeer, The Help's Jessica Chastain, The Artist's Bérénice Bejo, and Bridesmaids' Melissa McCarthy don't stand a chance. Barring a miracle, that is.
The Help picture: Dale Robinette / DreamWorks / Disney Enterprises.
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
As in the case of The Help's Octavia Spencer, only an Act of Zeus will prevent Christopher Plummer from taking home the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance as Ewan McGregor's gay father in Mike Mills' real-life-inspired Beginners. Plummer has won numerous critics awards (his chief competitor among US critics, Drive's Albert Brooks, wasn't even nominated), the Golden Globe, and the SAG Award. The 82-year-old Plummer also has prestige – more than five decades in the business. Plummer's Best Supporting Actor Oscar will thus be his Career Achievement Award.
Max von Sydow, however, should be getting his Honorary Award in the very near future, I hope. This year, the six-decade film veteran will have to content himself with his somewhat surprising nod for Stephen Daldry's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. The other three Best Supporting Actor contenders with (for all purposes) no chance of winning are Kenneth Branagh for his Laurence Olivier in Simon Curtis' My Week with Marilyn, Jonah Hill for supporting Brad Pitt in Bennett Miller's Moneyball, and Nick Nolte for his alcoholic former boxer in Gavin O'Connor's Warrior.
Christopher Plummer/Beginners photo: Andrew Tepper / Focus Features.
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (A.M.P.A.S.) website.