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2012 Academy Awards Nominations and Personal Picks

My favorites of the nominated films, directors and actors

The 2012 Oscar nominations were announced last week and I've started to make my personal picks. I have yet to see many of the featured movies so my decisions aren't as well-informed as they could (and should) be. But here are the list of major nominees and my choices for the ones that should win, but probably will not.

Best Picture

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

Terrence Malick's moving Tree of Life won't win, but it's a beautiful and powerful film. I liked the other nominees, but this is one of the few that I would like to see again and would list among one of the more visually stunning films I've seen. The other satisfactory win would be The Artist for its sheer visual appeal. But as for story, Moneyball moved well and featured great acting. I have yet to see Hugo, but I hear it's great. 

Best Actress

  • Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
  • Viola Davis, The Help
  • Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn
  • Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
  • Rooney Mara, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Wait! I cannot believe Tilda Swilton was not nominated. She was so amazing in We Need to Talk About Kevin that it's mindblowing that she would be ignored in this category. Viola Davis will probably win for her strong work in the okay The Help. I'm not sure why Rooney Mara was nominated for a fine but unoriginal performance. As for Meryl Streep and Glenn Close - both were probably great. But I'm leaning towards Close who went for the braver acting role and looks just fantastic as a man. 

Best Actor

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

Not in a million years, right? Brad Pitt winning an Oscar! But I think he did a great job. His performance was spot on and totally carried his film, of course with the help of the brilliant (yes, I'm using that word) Jonah Hill. Clooney is also a good choice. Oldman was fine but in a boring, misguided film. Dujardin was fine as well and would be my third choice.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Octavia Spencer, The Help
  • Bérénice Bejo, The Artist
  • Jessica Chastain, The Help
  • Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
  • Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs

This woman is hilarious. Just so, so funny. None of the others could make me laugh this much. And I'm kind of tired of the typical dramatic/romantic roles given to women, all of which are represented by the rest of the nominees. McCarthy won't win (Octavia Spencer probably will), but the woman deserves recognition for her rare skill.

Best Supporting Actor

  • Christopher Plummer, Beginners
  • Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
  • Nick Nolte, Warrior
  • Jonah Hill, Moneyball
  • Max Von Sydow, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Jonah Hill is also hilarious. He steals every scene he's in. He's proven he can do comedy to perfection and now he's shown he's got the dramatic skills as well. He's not going to win, but I want to give him my vote. Plummer was fantastic in his film, so he'd be my second choice and will very likely take the prize.

Best Director

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

I have here chosen Malick simply because he's done great work in the past and deserves recognition. However, I'm not sure his "directing" was the best of the bunch. Hazanavicius has some amazing moments in The Artist. And I have yet to see Hugo but, from what I hear, it's Scorsese's best in years. And great Scorsese is better than anything. So this is a very tentative choice. Once I see Hugo, all my picks will be more concrete.

Best Original Screenplay

  • Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
  • Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, Bridesmaids
  • J.C. Chandor, Margin Call
  • Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
  • Asgar Farhadi, A Separation

A Separation is hands down the best film of all the ones mentioned in these Oscar nominations. So, of course it deserves this award!

Best Adapted Sceenplay

  • Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, The Descendants
  • John Logan, Hugo
  • Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian, Moneyball
  • George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon, Ides of March
  • Peter Straughan and Bridget O'Connor, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy 

Cinematography

  • 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  

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