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Category: Glenn Whipp

Your Oscar ballot cheat sheet: We predict all the winners

February 26, 2012 | 10:00 am

Maybe you've been busy this week and haven't had time to burrow into our in-depth, category-by-category Oscar predictions, like those found here and here and over here. (Want more? Keep on ramblin' through 24 Frames ...) Or maybe you've just had a hectic year and haven't had a chance to catch all the nominees, but you'd still like to make a respectable showing in your Oscar pool. Dear reader, we're here to help. Just remember: These predictions are for entertainment purposes only. The Gold Standard assumes no liability for the loss of any money, particulary if those losses occur due to inaccuracies in those darn short film categories, which (c'mon!) are almost impossible to predict even if you've seen all the nominees. Good luck!

Picture: “The Artist”

Director: “The Artist,” Michel Hazanavicius

Lead actor: Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”

Lead actress: Viola Davis, “The Help”

Supporting actor: Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”

Supporting actress: Octavia Spencer, “The Help”

Adapted screenplay: “The Descendants,” Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash

Original screenplay: “Midnight in Paris,” Woody Allen

Animated film (feature): “Rango”

Documentary film (feature): “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory”

Foreign-language film: “A Separation”

Art direction: “Hugo,” production design: Dante Ferretti; set decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo

Cinematography: “The Tree of Life,” Emmanuel Lubezki

Costume design: “The Artist,” Mark Bridges

Film editing: “The Artist,” Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius

Makeup: “The Iron Lady,” Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

Original score: “The Artist,” Ludovic Bource

Original song: “Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets,” music and lyric by Bret McKenzie

Sound editing: “Hugo,” Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty

Sound mixing: “Hugo,” Tom Fleischman and John Midgley

Visual effects: “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White and Daniel Barrett

Animated short: “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore”

Documentary short: “Saving Face”

Live action short: “The Shore”

Films predicted to receive multiple Oscars:

“The Artist” -- 6
“Hugo” -- 3
“The Help” -- 2


Oscar predictions: First up, score and song

Oscar predictions: What's going to win the short film races?

Oscar predictions: Who will win editing and screenplay categories

Glenn Whipp writes the Gold Standard column for The Envelope.

Photo: With 11 Oscar nominations, "Hugo" will likely get just three wins. Credit: Jaap Buitendijk/Paramount Pictures.

Oscar predictions: 'The Artist' to take picture, director races

February 25, 2012 |  7:00 am

The Artist

The Envelope's Gold Standard columnist Glenn Whipp is sweeping through all 24 Oscar categories this week, predicting the winners. Check previous posts for tips on marking your Oscar pool ballots for the music categories; short films; sound races; animation, documentary and foreign films; visual crafts; and the screenplay and editing races.

Here, a look at the final two categories -- picture and director -- which will likely bring some serious noise for “The Artist.”


The nominees:

“The Artist”
“The Descendants”
“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”
“The Help”
“Midnight in Paris”
“The Tree of Life”
“War Horse”

And the winner is … “The Artist.” It became ridiculously popular to compare this year’s best picture race to the Republican presidential primary, casting “The Artist” as the middling Mitt Romney-like candidate that nobody particularly loves but who will somehow end up winning, much to the consternation of True Believers across the land.

The problem with this analogy is that while you might be hard-pressed to find a passionate Romney enthusiast outside his own immediate family, quite a few people truly love “The Artist,” among them folks who aren’t easily won over by nostalgia or charming trifles. The New York Film Critics Circle gave it best picture, as did numerous other critics groups. Those Cannes snobs nominated it for the Palme d’Or and gave the dog, Uggie, a special prize. Yes, the movie’s box-office has been slight, unless you consider that it’s a silent movie imported from France! Given those peculiarities, it has practically put up “Harry Potter” numbers.

The Producers Guild win all but sealed the deal. Back-to-back best picture winners for Harvey Weinstein. And he has Paul Thomas Anderson, David O. Russell and Quentin Tarantino lined up this coming fall. Let the backlash begin!

Unless … The backlash swings into action early. Then maybe enough voters thought that the pitch-perfect, contemporary family dynamics at the heart of “The Descendants” merited a win. Hey, it is the only nominee not set in the past.


The nominees:

“The Artist,” Michel Hazanavicius
“The Descendants,” Alexander Payne
“Hugo,” Martin Scorsese
“Midnight in Paris,” Woody Allen
“The Tree of Life,” Terrence Malick

And the winner is … Since the Directors Guild winner has taken this Oscar 57 times in its 63-year history, relative newcomer Hazanavicius (he’s practically a toddler compared with most of the rest of this field) wins over the worthier likes of Scorsese and Malick. Too bad last year’s bridesmaid, David Fincher, won’t be at the bar to offer consolation.

Unless … Voters name “The Artist” best picture, but decide there’s room enough to honor that other nostalgic love letter to Hollywood’s past, "Hugo."


New York critics name 'The Artist' best film of the year

DGA names 'The Artist's' Michel Hazanavicius best director

Oscars 2012: Cheat Sheet | Key Scenes | Pundit's picks | Ballot

-- Glenn Whipp

Photo: Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo in "The Artist." Credit: Weinstein Co.

Oscar predictions: We call the four acting races

February 25, 2012 |  6:00 am

Jean Dujardin in The Artist

The Envelope's Gold Standard columnist Glenn Whipp is sweeping through all 24 Oscar categories this week, predicting the winners. Check previous posts for tips on marking your Oscar pool ballots for the music categories, short films, sound races, animation, documentary and foreign filmsvisual crafts and the screenplay and editing races.

Here, a look at the four acting categories.


The nominees:

Demian Bichir, “A Better Life”
George Clooney, “The Descendants”
Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”
Gary Oldman, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”

And the winner is … Dujardin. It’s not just because he won the SAG Award (and cried while accepting it!), though his victory there indicates the strength of his position. The actors branch makes up more than a fifth of the academy’s membership. The last seven SAG lead actor winners have gone on to win the Oscar. And beyond that, “The Artist” has found favor with other guilds, indicating a broad support for the film itself that gives Dujardin a leg up here.

As for Clooney, he delivered a moving, nuanced turn in “The Descendants” that may well rank as the best work of his career. The problem is, Brad Pitt did the same in “Moneyball.” Academy voters inclined to reward subtlety could go for Pitt, Clooney or even first-time nominee Gary Oldman. But Dujardin carries “The Artist” in a way that is unlike any of the other actors here. That distinctiveness, combined with the Academy’s nutty love for the movie, gives him the win.

Unless … Voters decide they’d rather hear Clooney’s self-deprecating humor than Dujardin’s thick accent from the podium, denying France its first-ever winner in this category.


The nominees:

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”

And the winner is … Davis. God knows, Harvey Weinstein and his minions went into  full-court press mode to get Streep her third Oscar, not to mention her first victory since “Sophie’s Choice.” Streep’s image has been so inescapable that it wouldn’t have been  surprising to walk into an Outback Steakhouse and find a menu touting Cast "Iron (Lady)" Skillet specials.

Will it work? Academy members still go the career-achievement route when voting (see Bullock, Sandra), just not as often as they used to. (To which we say: Hoo-ah!) Davis won SAG, a Streep-friendly group that has gone with her (“Doubt”) when the academy didn’t. Davis also stands as the only nominee whose film received a best picture nomination. And every time she speaks from the podium, she gives us all the more reason to celebrate both her and her work in the movie.

Mara’s courage and ferocity in “Dragon Tattoo” struck a chord with many voters. Williams arguably does more bringing Marilyn Monroe to life than Streep did with Thatcher. But as we’ve been saying all along: It’s Davis’ year.

Unless … Outback’s Thatcher Tri-Tip tastes better than it looks on the menu.


The nominees:

Kenneth Branagh, “My Week With Marilyn”
Jonah Hill, “Moneyball”
Nick Nolte, “Warrior”
Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”
Max von Sydow, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”

And the winner is … Plummer. Much has been made of the fact that both Plummer and von Sydow were born in 1929, as if that’s somehow going to split the octogenarian vote. Look at the AARP-sanctioned slate here. Hill’s the only nominee under 50, and he’s not going to win for a role that had him (quite skillfully, mind you) reacting and observing (with impeccable timing) more than stirring the waters. (Huh … maybe he should siphon more votes.)

Plummer has never won, receiving his only other Oscar nomination two years ago for “The Last Station.” But those voting for him aren’t saluting his body of work. They’re lauding his beautiful turn in “Beginners,” an elegiac performance that particularly hits home with older academy members. After winning nearly every other trophy, Plummer will not be denied here.

Unless … That surprise best picture nomination for “Extremely Loud” portends another shocker with a win for Von Sydow.


The nominees:

Berenice Bejo, “The Artist”
Jessica Chastain, “The Help”
Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids”
Janet McTeer, “Albert Nobbs”
Octavia Spencer, “The Help”

And the winner is … Spencer. Here again, there’s the presence of another common competitor that, in theory, could dilute the vote. But because Spencer and her “Help” costar Chastain deliver very different turns playing dissimilar characters, the much-cited Costar Competition Conundrum shouldn’t put much of a ding in the likelihood that Spencer wins.

Unless … It’s a really big night for “The Artist,” in which case, Bejo will have the last wink.


Octavia Spencer: 'I'm done with bad parts'

Viola Davis' 'miraculous and amazing' career path

Christopher Plummer on his 'explosion' of great roles

Oscars 2012: Cheat Sheet | Key Scenes | Pundit's picks | Ballot

-- Glenn Whipp

Photo: Jean Dujardin in "The Artist." Credit: The Weinstein Co.

Buzzmeter panelists: 'Artist' is tops but how about acting?

February 24, 2012 |  6:26 pm

The Artist's Berenice Bejo with Uggie
At The Envelope's Gold Standard, we’d like to think we meet all your awards-season prognostication needs. We've predicted the winners of each of the 24 Oscar categories for you this week and have asked so little in return. But we’re not the jealous type either. We understand there are other voices out there and you may feel the need to play the field. (Though in our heart of hearts, we’d like to believe that you’ll eventually return and remain true to our own Oscar picks -- look for a complete list here on Sunday before the show.)

That commitment to diversity is why we have Buzzmeter, The Envelope's handy little compendium of six Oscar experts' picks for the top six Oscar categories. (Sorry, Mr. Sound Mixer, though the Gold Standard has plenty to say about you here.)

No surprise: Each of the Buzzmeter panelists has checked “The Artist” for best picture. Peter Travers from Rolling Stone believes academy voters will make room on their ballots to honor that other nostalgic love letter to Hollywood’s past and give Martin Scorsese the Oscar for director. All other panelists pick “The Artist” director Michel Hazanavicius to win.

Oscars 2012: Cheat Sheet | Key Scenes | Pundit's picks | Ballot

The lead actor race has prompted more division. Buzzmeter voters Travers, Entertainment Weekly’s Dave Karger, Indiewire’s Anne Thompson and USA Today film critic Claudia Puig are going with “The Descendants’” George Clooney, while Gold Derby founder Tom O’Neil and myself believe Jean Dujardin will win for “The Artist.”

The race appears so close, in fact, that Thompson says she has changed her mind “literally five times” since Monday. She’s now picking Clooney, though the Buzzmeter indicates her earlier vote for Dujardin.

There’s also a 4-2 split for lead actress with Travers and O’Neil calling the race for Meryl Streep and her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady,” with the four other panelists picking Viola Davis for “The Help.”

“Most Oscarologists are betting on Viola Davis because she won SAG, but most SAG voters didn’t see ‘Iron Lady.’ The DVD screener arrived in the mail long after most ballots were in,” O’Neil says. “However, Oscar voters have seen everything and must vote for the most dynamic screen performance in the late career of the greatest actress of our time.”

There’s less division in the supporting races, with “The Help’s” Octavia Spencer the unanimous pick for “The Help” and five of six panelists picking Christopher Plummer for “Beginners.” Only Puig disagrees, believing Max von Sydow will win for “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.” (To which, Claudia, we can only silently raise our notepad with the following message about your Oscar pool chances.)


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 -- Glenn Whipp

Photo: Berenice Bejo with Uggie in "The Artist." Credit: Peter Iovino/The Weinstein Co. 

Oscar predictions: Who will win editing and screenplay categories

February 24, 2012 | 11:08 am

Beau Bridges and George Clooney in The Descendants
The Envelope's Gold Standard columnist Glenn Whipp is sweeping through all 24 Oscar categories this week, predicting the winners. Check previous posts for tips on marking your Oscar pool ballots for the music categories, short films, sound races, animation, documentary and foreign films and the visual crafts races.

Here, a look at the two screenplay categories and film editing.


The nominees:

“The Descendants,” Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & 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 Soldier Spy,” Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan

And the winner is … Since Payne seems unlikely to win either picture or director, look for the academy rewarding him here for the wide spectrum of emotions and tones he so beautifully balanced in “The Descendants.”

Unless … Enough voters read Michael Lewis’ bestseller and remember how surprised they were when they found out somebody was going to try to make a movie out of “Moneyball.” Zaillian and Sorkin brought their usual sharp sense of craft to the project; more important, they realized Lewis’ book was less about stats than a flawed hero’s journey toward meaning and principle.


The nominees:

“The Artist,” Michel Hazanavicius
“Bridesmaids,” Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig
“Margin Call,” J.C. Chandor
“Midnight in Paris,” Woody Allen
“A Separation,” Asghar FarhadI

And the winner is … Woody. Twenty-three Oscar nominations, a.k.a. nearly halfway to John Williams Country. Allen hasn’t won since 1987 for “Hannah and Her Sisters,” but should easily prevail here for his biggest commercial hit and a movie academy members genuinely adore.

Unless … “The Artist” steamrolls the competition across the board, giving Hazanavicius wins here and for directing.


The nominees:

“The Artist,” Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius
“The Descendants,” Kevin Tent
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
“Hugo,” Thelma Schoonmaker
“Moneyball,” Christopher Tellefsen

And the winner is … “The Artist.” Because this award often goes to the movie that is the eventual best picture winner, its mid-ceremony presentation has been known to produce a brief feeling of possibility inside the theater. Take last year, when “The Social Network” took this Oscar. For a brief, shining moment (well … up until Tom Hooper won director over David Fincher), there existed a feeling that maybe all the Oscar pundits were wrong and that maybe, just maybe “The Social Network” would win best picture.

Admittedly, this is a roundabout way of warning you not to look for such a moment this year. The American Cinema Editors’ Eddie Awards, given in comedy and drama, almost always predict this category, and as much as we loved Tent’s subtle storytelling for “The Descendants,” this Oscar goes to the silent rhythms of “The Artist.”

Unless … ACE isn’t the place this year and academy favorite Schoonmaker wins her fourth Oscar.


Cheat Sheet | Key Scenes | Pundit's picks | Ballot

'The Descendants' wins USC Scripter Award for writing

Oscars 2012: 'Hugo' editor Thelma Schoonmaker on kids, dogs and 3-D

-- Glenn Whipp

Photo: Beau Bridges and George Clooney in Alexander Payne's "The Descendants." Credit: Merie Wallace/Fox Searchlight

Oscar predictions: Animation, foreign language and documentary

February 24, 2012 |  6:00 am

The Envelope's Gold Standard columnist Glenn Whipp is sweeping through all 24 Oscar categories this week, predicting the winners. Check previous posts for tips on marking your Oscar pool ballots for the music categories, short films, sound races and the visual crafts. Now
, predictions for the winners for animated feature and two categories in which academy members often defy conventional wisdom: foreign-language film and documentary.


The nominees:

“A Cat in Paris,” Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli
“Chico & Rita,” Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal
“Kung Fu Panda 2,” Jennifer Yuh Nelson
“Puss in Boots,” Chris Miller
“Rango,” Gore Verbinski

And the winner is … “Rango.” “Tintin” won the Producers Guild and Golden Globe awards, but the animation nominating committee fixed "Tintin's" motion-capture wagon but good, leaving it off the final ballot. So “Rango,” flaws and all, it is. And let’s hope for a better slate of nominees next year.

Unless … the academy’s older-skewing membership boasts a proud Crazy Cat Lady contingent and the group coalesces behind a feline tale (say, “Puss in Boots” over “A Cat in Paris”).


The nominees:

“Bullhead” (Belgium)
“Footnote” (Israel)
“In Darkness” (Poland)
“Monsieur Lazhar” (Canada)
“A Separation” (Iran)

And the winner is … “A Separation.” Yes, we’re aware that critical acclaim sometimes means bupkis here. “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “White Ribbon,” “Waltz With Bashir” all lost to lesser films. Last year, the high-profile “Biutiful” had both Javier Bardem’s celebrated, Oscar-nominated acting and Julia Roberts, Sean Penn and a number of A-listers singing its praises. And then it lost to the middlebrow “A Better World.”

So why should this year be different? The fact that Asghar Faradi’s deeply involving  masterwork also received a screenplay nomination might be a good indicator of broad support. “A Separation” also won the Golden Globe and a number of critics prizes. And it’s the clear standout among the nominees.

Unless … many of the voters who love “A Separation” haven’t seen the other four nominated films in exhibition and thus, by academy rule, can’t cast a ballot here. That’s where spoilers come into play. Agnieszka Holland’s third Holocaust drama, “In Darkness,” fits the model and could well pull off an Oscar night upset that, given the category, wouldn’t really be all that shocking. Enraging, yes. But not shocking.


The nominees:

“Hell and Back Again,” Danfung Dennis and Mike Lerner
“If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front,” Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman
“Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory,” Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky
“Pina,” Wim Wenders and Gian-Piero Ringel
“Undefeated,” TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay and Rich Middlemas

And the winner is … With the West Memphis Three case fresh in voters’ minds (and fresh off another doc that premiered at Sundance), “Paradise Lost 3” could eke out a win, though it’s nowhere near as powerful as the trilogy’s first film, which, of course, wasn’t nominated in 1996.

Unless … academy members go with another topical, buzzed-about doc, the photojournalistic “Hell and Back Again,” which follows a Marine as he returns home from a harrowing tour of duty in Afghanistan.


Reluctantly, an Iranian director becomes a symbol

Rango wins the Annie Award for animated feature

Sundance 2011: At war and home in 'Hell and Back Again'

Oscars 2012: Cheat Sheet | Key Scenes | Pundit's picks | Ballot

— Glenn Whipp

Photo: Scene from "Rango." Photo credit: Industrial Light & Magic/Paramount Pictures.

Oscar predictions: Deciphering the visual crafts awards

February 23, 2012 | 12:53 pm

The Envelope's Gold Standard columnist Glenn Whipp predicts the Oscar winners in five visual crafts categories
The Envelope's Gold Standard columnist Glenn Whipp is sweeping through all 24 Oscar categories this week, predicting the winners. Take a look at the music categories, the short films and the sound races. Here, he looks at five crafts categories rewarding eye-pleasing work …


The nominees:

“The Artist,” Guillaume Schiffman
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” Jeff Cronenweth
“Hugo,” Robert Richardson
“The Tree of Life,” Emmanuel Lubezki
“War Horse,” Janusz Kaminski

And the winner is … “The Tree of Life.” Emmanuel Lubezki has won 43 awards during his career as one of the world’s great cinematographers. None of these trophies have come from the academy, despite four prior nominations. (We can still hear the weeping and gnashing of teeth that followed his 2007 loss for “Children of Men.”) Will voters right this wrong this year? Encouraging signs: a BAFTA win; a victory at the American Society of Cinematographers awards; scores of trophies from critics groups; universal acclaim for the emotionally resonant imagery he captured in “The Tree of Life.” Finally … a win for Chivo!

Unless … It’s 2007 all over again. Then look for Robert Richardson to win his third Oscar or, possibly, newcomer Schiffman to win his first.


The nominees:

“The Artist,” production design: Laurence Bennett; set decoration: Robert Gould
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 2,” production design: Stuart Craig; set decoration: Stephenie McMillan
“Hugo,” production design: Dante Ferretti; set decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
“Midnight in Paris,” production design: Anne Seibel; set decoration: Hélène Dubreuil
“War Horse,” production design: Rick Carter; set decoration: Lee Sandales

And the winner is … “Hugo.” It’s not really fair, is it, pitting the whimsical design of “Midnight in Paris” against the insanely detailed Parisian train station in “Hugo,” a world unto itself, a universe that certainly didn’t need those 3-D glasses to make it come alive. This is “Hugo’s” surest path to a win, which would be the third Oscar for the husband-and-wife team of Ferretti and Lo Schiavo.

Unless … “The Artist” wins everything.


The nominees:

“Anonymous,” Lisy Christl
“The Artist,” Mark Bridges
“Hugo,” Sandy Powell
“Jane Eyre,” Michael O’Connor
“W.E.,” Arianne Phillips

And the winner is … “The Artist.” Those “W.E.” and “Anonymous” screeners remain at the bottom of the stack. “Jane Eyre”? Eh. Not exactly eye-popping. So it’s between the tuxedos and flapper chic of “The Artist” and all those fun silent-movie costumes and period Parisians in “Hugo.” We bet voters go for the glamour.

Unless … Powell (might we say deservedly?) wins her fourth Oscar.


The nominees:

“Albert Nobbs,” Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 2,” Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight and Lisa Tomblin
“The Iron Lady,” Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

And the winner is … “The Iron Lady.” It's the first-ever nomination for “Potter,” so the academy clearly isn’t all that taken with the fluffiness of Hagrid’s beard. “Nobbs” makeup is as understated as Close’s performance, and we know by now how that registers with voters. Basically, the “Iron Lady” team won this Oscar the moment Meryl Streep came on the screen wearing old-age makeup and dentures.

Unless … The “Potter” people suddenly discover a spell to win the series its first Oscar.


The nominees:

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 2,” Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler and John Richardson
“Hugo,” Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossmann and Alex Henning
“Real Steel,” Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Dan Taylor and Swen Gillberg
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White and Daniel Barrett
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew Butler and John Frazier

And the winner is … “Apes.” If you’re not an academy member, you’re thinking this is a no-brainer. One problem: Since this category came into existence in 1977, a best picture nominee has never lost to a movie that wasn’t nominated for best picture. And guess what movie wasn’t nominated? So how does “Apes” win? Even voters who wouldn’t be caught within a 10-mile radius of a theater playing “Transformers” or “Real Steel” know the intricacies and brilliance of WETA’s work on “Apes,” thanks to Fox’s sustained campaign for Andy Serkis in the supporting actor category. All the attention didn’t secure Serkis a nomination, but it did place the movie in the minds of genre-averse academy members.

Unless … History’s drumbeat continues unabated. Then score another win for “Hugo.”


Emmanuel Lubezki wins top cinematographers honor

"Rise of the Planet of the Apes": An Oscar push for Andy Serkis

"Hugo," "Harry Potter," "Dragon Tattoo" win big at Art Directors awards

-- Glenn Whipp

Photo: Sean Penn in "The Tree of Life." Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Oscar predictions: Wall of sound edition

February 23, 2012 |  6:00 am

Asa Butterfield and Sacha Baron Cohen in Hugo
The Envelope's Gold Standard columnist Glenn Whipp is sweeping through all 24 Oscar categories this week, predicting the winners. Here he peeks behind the wall of sound …

First, a few relevant facts:

(1) Even though its clang-clang-clang-went-the-robots sound design arguably ranks as the year’s best work, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” will not win either category. Too many voters simply pale at the mere notion of “the Academy Award-winning ‘Transformers’” to ever check off a box next to its title.

(2) Those “Drive” die-hards hoping its lone nomination will translate into a win? Not going to happen. “Bird” is the only movie in the past quarter-century to pull off that trick here, and Ryan Gosling doesn’t sound like Charlie Parker.

(3) War movies often win. Sports movies don’t, unless it’s “Grand Prix.”

So, with those things in mind …


The nominees:

“Drive,” Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” Ren Klyce
“Hugo,” Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl
“War Horse,” Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom

And the winner is … “Hugo.” “War Horse” and “Dragon Tattoo” didn’t rate highly enough to earn nominations with the Cinema Audio Society, the sound professionals’ guild. CAS has been handing out awards for 18 years, and if you didn’t score a CAS nom, you didn’t win the Oscar. Simple. Factor in “Hugo’s” ubiquitous presence in the below-the-line categories and you have the likely winner.

Unless … voters’ inclination to equate cannon fire and ricocheting bullets with Oscar gold holds true and the “War Horse” team of Hymns and Rydstrom adds more trophies to already crowded mantels.


The nominees:

“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Bo Persson
“Hugo,” Tom Fleischman and John Midgley
“Moneyball,” Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, David Giammarco and Ed Novick
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Peter J. Devlin
“War Horse,” Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson and Stuart Wilson

And the winner is … The reflexive pick would again be “Hugo,” though the same movie has swept the sound categories just four times in the last decade. “Hugo” is actually strongest here since the mix category tends to reward prestige pics while editing digs the boom-boom-boom. If you’re determined to hedge your bets (we’re not), split your vote and pick “War Horse” over in sound editing.

Unless … Rydstrom will need another mantel entirely.


Oscar predictions: First up, score and song

'Hugo' wins tops honors at Cinema Audio Society

Oscar predictions: What's going to win the short film races?

— Glenn Whipp 

Photo: Asa Butterfield and Sacha Baron Cohen in Martin Scorsese's "Hugo." Credit: Jaap Buitendijk/Paramount Pictures.

Oscar predictions: What's going to win the short film races?

February 22, 2012 |  4:30 pm

The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore
The Envelope's Gold Standard columnist Glenn Whipp is sweeping through all 24 Oscar categories this week, predicting the winners. Here he tiptoes through the minefield that is the three divisions of short films.


The nominees:

“The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement”
“God Is the Bigger Elvis”
“Incident in New Baghdad”
“Saving Face”
“The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom”

And the winner is … “Saving Face.” The HBO-backed short follows the work of plastic surgeon Muhammad Jawad as he performs reconstructive surgery on Pakistani women who have had acid thrown on their faces, usually by their husbands, often without consequence. It’s shocking and quite moving. And it’s about a subject -- disfigurement -- that academy members have often rewarded in this category.

Unless … Voters go with the equally moving survivors’ tale “The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom.” Or perhaps “God Is Bigger Than Elvis,” the story of Dolores Hart, who walked away from Hollywood to become a Benedictine nun shortly after making a movie with Elvis Presley, might intrigue, though we’d guess her particular journey doesn’t exactly resonate with the academy crowd.


The nominees:

“The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore”
“La Luna”
“A Morning Stroll”
“Wild Life”

And the winner is … “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.” It’s about reading and storytelling. In a nostalgia-fueled Oscar year, it pays tribute to Buster Keaton and “The Wizard of Oz.” It uses a natural disaster (Hurricane Katrina) as a plot device. And it’s silent. What more do you need?

Unless … Voters decide they can’t go a year without giving Pixar an award and give the Oscar to the charming “La Luna.” Inventive BAFTA winner “Morning Stroll” is also definitely in the mix.


The nominees:

“The Shore”
“Time Freak”
“Tuba Atlantic”

And the winner is … “The Shore.” Oscar nominee Terry George (“Hotel Rwanda”) did a marvelous job directing this emotional story of an Irish man reuniting with the “blood brother” he left behind when he came to America during The Troubles. George’s pedigree and the presence of actors Ciaran Hinds and Kerry Condon make “The Shore” the showiest entry and the most obvious pick.

Unless … As is often the case in this category, the most obvious choice isn’t the choice at all and another tale of estrangement, “Tuba Atlantic,” wins for the way it adeptly blends wry humor and sentiment in its tale of a dying Norwegian man looking to blow up a few seagulls and reconnect with his brother in his final days.


Oscar predictions: First up, score and song

Oscars 2012: Shorts categories have multiple Irish, Canadian noms

Oscar shorts: 'Morris Lessmore' has hybrid animation, iPad app

-- Glenn Whipp

Image: "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore." Credit: Moonbot Studios

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.


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