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Wednesday, April 16, 2014



2012 Awards Season: Oscar Highlight: Best Picture

With our annual Oscar Prediction contest underway, now is the best time to look at the nominees and try and figure out who the favorites are and which films should just feel honored to be nominated. We wrap up our look at the prestigious categories with the most prestigious of them all: Best Picture. This year there were nine nominees, but not all of them really have a shot at winning. (One of the nominations generated more outrage than anything else.) Is there a favorite? And are there any that have a legitimate shot at the upset?

Best Picture

The Artist
Tomatometer Score: 97% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Ten
Golden Globe Nominations: Six
Golden Globe Wins: Three
Guild Nominations: Five
Guild Wins: Three
Notes: The Artist's chances at Oscar glory have continued to rise and now it appears to be the overwhelming favorite to win. In fact, despite the fact that there are nine contenders, I think The Artist has a greater than 90% chance of winning. I find this odd, as if you really look at it, it is just a well done romantic comedy about a guy losing his job because times are changing. If it weren't a silent movie, it would be rather forgettable.

The Descendants
Tomatometer Score: 89% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Five
Golden Globe Nominations: Five
Golden Globe Wins: Two
Guild Nominations: Five
Guild Wins: One
Notes: At one time, I thought The Descendants would be the big winner on Oscar night, but the odds of that shrunk dramatically before the Oscars nominations were even announced. Now it will be lucky to win more than one Oscar and Best Picture is probably a pipe dream.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Tomatometer Score: 46% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Two
Golden Globe Nominations: None
Golden Globe Wins: None
Guild Nominations: None
Guild Wins: None
Notes: I have a theory. Last year, the Oscar voters saw how badly the Golden Globes screwed up their Best Musical or Comedy category and how much publicity they got as a result, so they nominated this film for Best Picture to generate publicity from all of the people saying, 'What the hell were they thinking?' It's either that, or Oscar voters voted for it without seeing it. If this film wins, the Oscars will have done tremendous damage to their credibility.

The Help
Tomatometer Score: 76% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Four
Golden Globe Nominations: Five
Golden Globe Wins: One
Guild Nominations: Six
Guild Wins: Three
Notes: This film has amazing acting from its cast, but overall the film isn't that good, especially when compared to some of its fellow nominees. As a consolation prize, it will likely pick up a couple Oscars during the night.

Hugo
Tomatometer Score: 93% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Eleven
Golden Globe Nominations: Three
Golden Globe Wins: One
Guild Nominations: Three
Guild Wins: None
Notes: I personally think Hugo should win Best Picture, as well as Best Director, but it seems like a long shot for both. It did earn excellent reviews and did lead the way with total Oscar nominations, but it hasn't performed well with previous award voters, only winning one Golden Globe and finishing with no wins from the major guilds. On the other hand, it could win several Oscars in the technical categories.

Midnight in Paris
Tomatometer Score: 93% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Four
Golden Globe Nominations: Four
Golden Globe Wins: One
Guild Nominations: Four
Guild Wins: One
Notes: This film has earned a lot of praise, but mostly for the script. In fact, its two previous major wins have both gone to Woody Allen for the script and it is very likely it will win on Oscar night for Best Original Screenplay, but that's it.

Moneyball
Tomatometer Score: 94% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Six
Golden Globe Nominations: Four
Golden Globe Wins: None
Guild Nominations: Four
Guild Wins: None
Notes: Moneyball earned six Oscar nominations, but it is a long shot to win any of them. So far it has gone zero for eight in previous major award nominations and that streak will likely continue on Oscar night.

The Tree of Life
Tomatometer Score: 84% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Three
Golden Globe Nominations: None
Golden Globe Wins: None
Guild Nominations: None
Guild Wins: None
Notes: The Tree of Life was a bit of a surprise nominee for Best Picture, as it hadn't earned any previous major award nominations. It's a great movie and did really well at the box office, especially for a film that is so 'art house', but it opened earlier in the year and most of its fellow nominees earned better reviews, so it is a long shot to win.

War Horse
Tomatometer Score: 77% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Six
Golden Globe Nominations: Two
Golden Globe Wins: None
Guild Nominations: One
Guild Wins: None
Notes: This film was technically wonderful, which explains the large number of technical nominations it earned. However, the overall film tried way too hard to be Oscar bait, and that really hurt its overall reviews. Quite frankly, I can think of a dozen films that came out this year that deserved to be nominated ahead of this one.

Conclusion: I have two predictions to make. Firstly, The Artist will win for Best Picture. Secondly, a few years from now, people will look back at this win and ask, 'Really? Was The Artist really better than Hugo or The Descendants?' (This happens quite frequently. Crash vs. Brokeback Mountain and Shakespeare in Love vs. Saving Private Ryan are two relatively recent examples, but are far from the only ones of the past 15 years.) Don't get me wrong, it is a great movie, but not the Best Picture of the year.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2012-02-23

Movies 
 The Artist
 The Descendants
 Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
 The Help
 Hugo
 Midnight in Paris
 Moneyball
 The Tree of Life
 War Horse