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Oscar predictions: First up, score and song

February 22, 2012 |  2:13 pm

Jason Segel and Walter in The Muppet Movie
The screeners have been scattered. The receptions are over. No more Qs to ask. No more A's to be given. The ballots are in, and now, for the lucky Oscar nominees, all that’s left to do is work on those (ahem) 30-second speeches and/or the feigned looks of utter joy that will alight when someone else’s name is read.

Capping off our coverage of the Academy Awards races, The Envelope's Gold Standard will take one last sweep through all 24 Oscar categories in posts throughout the week, making our final predictions before disappearing into the breaking dawn, free, finally, to watch the likes of “Ghost Rider” without having to worry out another way to consider the merits (or lack thereof) of “The Artist.”

And, since there’s a song in our hearts, let’s start the predictions with the two music categories …


The nominees:

“The Adventures of Tintin,” John Williams
“The Artist,” Ludovic Bource
“Hugo,” Howard Shore
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” Alberto Iglesias
“War Horse,” John Williams

And the winner is …: “The Artist.” It’s the score that voters most remember, the music that carried and conveyed the emotions in the film that will likely be this year’s best picture winner. It’s grand and gorgeous, stately and sly, celebrating both Hollywood’s past and the composer’s native land. Yes, there’s that inclusion of Bernard Hermann’s “Vertigo” score, an act that could be viewed either as a homage or, in Kim Novak’s words, a “violation.” But the minor flap over the issue also helped focus the conversation on the 80 minutes of original, wide-ranging music that Bource composed for the film.

Unless …: Up is down, black is white, dogs and cats living together … mass hysteria hits and “Hugo”-mania sweeps the academy, resulting in a best picture win, a near below-the-line sweep and an Oscar for Shore’s lilting score.


The nominees:

“Man or Muppet” (Bret McKenzie for “The Muppets”)
“Real in Rio” (Sergio Mendes, Carlinhos Brown, Siedah Garrett for “Rio”)

And the winner is … “Man or Muppet.” The music branch’s stringent eligibility requirements have resulted in this sad, cupboard-is-bare pair of nominees, neither of which will be performed during the ceremony, probably out of sheer embarrassment over the category’s meagerness. On the face of it, this should be a slam dunk. You vote for the song from the beloved franchise revival, a movie that featured not just the nominated “Man or Muppet” but also two other worthy numbers (“Life’s a Happy Song,” “Pictures in My Head”) that would have made for a fun, tedium-breaking medley during the show.

And while we believe our foam-based friends will pull off the win, the age of the average academy member is … what was it … 112?, so that may mean there is more nostalgia among voters for Sergio Mendes (“Mas Que Nada,” baby!) than we thought. Still, we'll be surprised if “Real in Rio,” a song we defy anyone to sing to us, wins Mendes his first Academy Award.


'The Muppets:' Can the felt-y and wide-eyed find hipness?

Oscars: Best original song field has 39 contenders

— Glenn Whipp

Whipp writes the Gold Standard awards column for The Envelope.

Photo: Jason Segel stars in "The Muppets." Credit: Scott Garfield/Disney.