Sonic Cinema

Sounds, Visions and Insights by Brian Skutle

Snooch to the Nooch!

Well, with the Oscars finally happening on Sunday, it’s now time for my final look at the nominees, and a look at my final predictions (all nominations listed in order of preference), and whether they’ve changed in the past month.

Before I get to the festivities, though, an update on where my Top 10 Best and Favorites for 2011 stand now.

Brian’s 10 Best Films of 2011
1. “Hugo” (Martin Scorsese)
2. “The Beaver” (Jodie Foster)
3. “The Symphony” (Michael LaPointe)
4. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” (David Yates)
5. “The Descendants” (Alexander Payne)
6. “Contagion” (Steven Soderbergh)
7. “Hanna” (Joe Wright)
8. “Midnight in Paris” (Woody Allen)
9. “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (Rupert Wyatt)
10. “Warrior” (Gavin O’Connor)

Brian’s 10 Favorite Films of 2011
1. “Hugo” (Martin Scorsese)
2. “The Adjustment Bureau” (George Nolfi)
3. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” (David Yates)
4. “Insidious” (James Wan)
5. “50/50” (Jonathan Levine)
6. “The Descendants” (Alexander Payne)
7. “The Adventures of Tintin” (Steven Spielberg)
8. “Super 8” (J.J. Abrams)
9. “Moneyball” (Bennett Miller)
10. “The Beaver” (Jodie Foster)

Viva la Resistance!

Brian Skutle
www.sonic-cinema.com
www.myspace.com/brianskutle
www.myspace.com/cinemanouveau

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

Brian’s Top Nine: “Hugo”; “The Beaver”; “The Symphony”; “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2”; “The Descendants”; “Contagion”; “Hanna”; “Midnight in Paris”; “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”

Brian’s Pick: “Hugo”

Oscar’s Pick: “The Artist”. Whether we like it or not, the Weinstein brothers will have their second consecutive Best Picture winner after “The King’s Speech.” Just accept it now. I have.

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

Brian’s Top Five: Martin Scorsese, “Hugo”; David Yates, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2”; Michael LaPointe, “The Symphony”; Steven Spielberg, “The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn” & “War Horse”; Steven Soderbergh, “Contagion”

Brian’s Pick: Martin Scorsese, “Hugo”

Oscar’s Pick: Martin Scorsese. No, I haven’t forgotten the fact that DGA winner Tom Hooper (“The King’s Speech”) beat out Golden Globe winner David Fincher (“The Social Network”) at the Oscars. But regardless of his loss at the DGA to “The Artist’s” Hazanavicius, I don’t see how the Academy could possibly pass up rewarding Scorsese, whose film nudged out “The Artist” with one more overall nomination, with his second Oscar in five years for a film so far removed from what he’s known for.

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

Brian’s Top Five: Mel Gibson, “The Beaver”; George Clooney, “The Descendants”; Joseph Gordon-Levitt, “50/50”; Robin Zamora, “The Symphony”; Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”

Brian’s Pick: George Clooney, “The Descendants”

Oscar’s Pick: Brad Pitt. While the smart money is on late-breaker Dujardin overcoming long-time leader Clooney, I can’t help but think that voters are going to go with Pitt here for three reasons: 1) He has two films in the Best Picture race, neither of which are going to win; 2) Dujardin and Clooney aren’t their respective films biggest chances to win; 3) I think after a few years of painful predictability in the acting races, voters will be looking to shake things up, and who better to do that with than a previously-nominated star who also stayed with his film through all manner of fits and starts. And finally, it really is the best damn performance of his career, and watching it again, it ALMOST overtook Clooney for me.

Best Actress
Viola Davis, “The Help”
Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”
Michelle Williams, “My Week With Marilyn”
Rooney Mara, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
Glen Close, “Albert Nobbs” (Haven’t Seen)

Brian’s Top Five: Viola Davis, “The Help”; Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”; Elizabeth Olsen, “Martha Marcy May Marlene”; Michelle Williams, “My Week With Marilyn”; Rooney Mara, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”

Brian’s Pick: Viola Davis, “The Help”

Oscar’s Pick: Viola Davis. Okay, I’ll be the first to admit that choosing potential upsets in Best Director and Best Actor, but NOT Best Actress (where Streep could win her third Oscar), is a bit crazy, but the respected Davis, for the highest-grossing Best Picture nominee, has this in the bag. Deservedly so.

Best Supporting Actor
Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”
Nick Nolte, “Warrior”
Jonah Hill, “Moneyball”
Kenneth Branagh, “My Week With Marylin”
Max Von Sydow, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”

Brian’s Top Five: Andy Serkis, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” & “The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn”; Ben Kingsley, “Hugo”; Christopher Plummer, “Beginners” & “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”; Nick Nolte, “Warrior”; Hunter McCracken, “The Tree of Life”

Brian’s Pick: Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”

Oscar’s Pick: Christopher Plummer. Though some thought he might find some competition from not just the equally-worthy Nolte, but also some deserving non-nominees, the 82-year-old Plummer, who has given several great performances just in the past few years alone, has found himself far ahead of the rest for his great and poignant performance.

Best Supporting Actress
Octavia Spencer, “The Help”
Jessica Chastain, “The Help”
Bérénice Bejo, “The Artist”
Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids”
Janet McTeer, “Albert Nobbs” (Haven’t Seen)

Brian’s Top Five: Carey Mulligan, “Shame”; Anjelica Huston, “50/50”; Octavia Spencer, “The Help”; Marion Cottilard, “Midnight in Paris”; Jessica Chastain, “The Help” & “The Tree of Life”

Brian’s Pick: Octavia Spencer, “The Help”

Oscar’s Pick: Octavia Spencer. The one, genuine lock among the four acting categories. Spencer was wonderful and moving, chalking up a second acting win for “The Help.”

Best Original Screenplay
“Midnight in Paris” (Woody Allen)
“A Separation” (Asghar Farhadi)
“The Artist” (Michel Hazanavicius)
“Margin Call” (J.C. Chandor)
“Bridesmaids” (Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig)

Brian’s Top Five: Kyle Killen, “The Beaver”; Will Reiser, “50/50”; Mike Mills, “Beginners”; Michael LaPointe, “The Symphony”; Gavin O’Connor, Anthony Tambakis & Cliff Dorfman, “Warrior”

Brian’s Pick: “Midnight in Paris” (Woody Allen)

Oscar’s Pick: “Midnight in Paris”. A clean sweep could mean “The Artist,” and “Bridesmaids” could surprise with a shout-out to the only blockbuster in the bunch, but I’d be shocked if Allen didn’t win his third writing Oscar for his best film in years.

Best Adapted Screenplay
“The Descendants” (Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash)
“Hugo” (John Logan)
“Moneyball” (Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin, Stan Chervin)
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” (Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan)
“The Ides of March” (George Clooney, Grant Heslov,
Beau Willimon)

Brian’s Top Five: Steve Kloves, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2”; Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon & Jim Rash, “The Descendants”; Amanda Silver & Rick Jaffa, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”; John Logan, “Hugo”; Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright & Joe Cornish, “The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn”

Brian’s Pick: “The Descendants” (Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash)

Oscar’s Pick: “The Descendants”. Though there isn’t a ringer in the bunch, can I tell you how frustrating the Writer’s Branch was this year when it came to dissing escapism? Grrr…no matter. If “Hugo” pulls off a big upset in the top category, it might also win here, but the smart money is on “The Descendants,” which was a heartbreaking and humorous look at life at a crossroads.

Best Original Score
“The Adventures of Tintin” (John Williams)
“Hugo” (Howard Shore)
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” (Alberto Iglesias)
“The Artist” (Ludovic Bource)
“War Horse” (John Williams)

Brian’s Top Five: The Chemical Brothers, “Hanna”; Rob Simon, “The Symphony”; John Williams, “The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn” & “War Horse”; Cliff Martinez, “Drive”; Michael Giacchino, “Super 8”

Brian’s Pick: “The Adventures of Tintin” (John Williams)

Oscar’s Pick: “The Artist”. There isn’t a score nominated this year that didn’t contribute something tremendous to the film it was written for, but since Bource’s score for “The Artist” is all one hears on the soundtrack through much of the film, look for the foreign composer to be out the rest of the field, all of whom have at least been nominated before.

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

Brian’s Top Five: “So Long” from “Winnie the Pooh” (Zooey Deschanel & M. Ward); “Pictures in My Head” from “The Muppets” (Jeannie Lurie, Aris Archontis, Chen Neeman); “Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets” (Bret McKenzie); “The Star Spangled Man” from “Captain America: The First Avenger” (Alan Menken & David Zippel); “The Backson Song” from “Winnie the Pooh” (Robert Lopez & Kristen Anderson-Lopez)

Brian’s Pick: “Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets” (Bret McKenzie)

Oscar’s Pick: “Man or Muppet”. With any luck, this time next year, this category will be overhauled…or eliminated completely. What a pathetic display by the Music Branch.

Best Animated Feature
“Rango”
“Kung Fu Panda 2”
“Puss in Boots”
“A Cat in Paris” (Haven’t Seen)
“Chico & Rita” (Haven’t Seen)

Brian’s Top Five: “Rango”; “Winnie the Pooh”; “The Adventures of Tintin”; “Kung Fu Panda 2”; “Arthur Christmas”

Brian’s Pick: “Rango”

Oscar’s Pick: “Rango”. I suppose I can see one of the two indie surprises winning, but I’d be surprised if “Rango” didn’t run away with it.

Best Foreign Language Film
“A Separation” (Iran)
“Bullhead” (Belgium) (Haven’t Seen)
“Footnote” (Israel) (Haven’t Seen)
“In Darkness” (Poland) (Haven’t Seen)
“Monsieur Lazhar” (Canada) (Haven’t Seen)

Brian’s Top Three: “A Separation”; “I Saw the Devil”; “13 Assassins”

Brian’s Pick: “A Separation” (It’s hard to go with anything else when you’ve only seen one of the nominees.)

Oscar’s Pick: “A Separation”. An upset is always possible (namely, from the Holocaust drama, “In Darkness”), but look for the Iranian film to continue it’s winning streak.

Best Documentary Feature
“Hell and Back Again”
“If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front”
“Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory” (Haven’t Seen)
“Pina” (Haven’t Seen)
“Undefeated” (Haven’t Seen)

Brian’s Top Five: “Into the Abyss: A Tale of Death, a Tale of Life”; “Hell and Back Again”; “Tabloid”; “Viva! Saint Agrippina”; “If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front”

Brian’s Pick: “Hell and Back Again”

Oscar’s Pick: “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory”. I really wish I was able to see this landmark film before it wins on Sunday. I guess I’ll have to wait for DVD/Blu-Ray.

Best Visual Effects
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
“Hugo”
“Real Steel”

Brian’s Top Five: “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”; “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2”; “X-Men: First Class”; “Thor”; “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”

Brian’s Pick: “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”

Oscar’s Pick: “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Best Picture nominee, “Hugo,” wins here, nor would I be shocked to see a decade of Oscar snubbery come to an end for “Harry Potter,” but I really don’t see the Academy as a whole not honoring the remarkable work WETA did on “Apes.”

Best Sound Mixing
“War Horse”
“Hugo”
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
“Moneyball”

Brian’s Top Five: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2”; “Insidious”; “The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn”; “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”; “War Horse”

Brian’s Pick: “War Horse”

Oscar’s Pick: “Hugo”. I would love to be a fly on the wall as the Sound Branch of the Academy watches films for this and the below category. I really don’t get some of their choices. But if it means an Oscar for “Hugo,” you won’t hear me complaining.

Best Sound Editing
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“Drive”
“War Horse”
“Hugo”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”

Brian’s Top Five: “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”; “Insidious”; “The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn”; “The Artist”; “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”

Brian’s Pick: “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”

Oscar’s Pick: “Hugo”. “War Horse” could gallop by, but “Hugo” is the greater, across-the-board achievement.

Best Cinematography
“Hugo”
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“The Tree of Life”
“The Artist”
“War Horse”

Brian’s Top Five: “Hugo”; “Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol”; “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”; “Super 8”; “Insidious”

Brian’s Pick: “Hugo”

Oscar’s Pick: “The Tree of Life”. As remarkably acclaimed the cinematography in a Terrence Malick film ALWAYS is, would you believe the only time one of Malick’s films has won the Oscar was for 1978’s “Days of Heaven.” That dry streak ends this year, with the strikingly beautiful “Tree of Life.” Let’s face it: the cinematography is the only thing about this movie people agree on, whether they love it or hate it.

Best Film Editing
“The Artist”
“Hugo”
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“The Descendants”
“Moneyball”

Brian’s Top Five: “Hanna”; “The Artist”; “Hugo”; “Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol”; “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2”

Brian’s Pick: “The Artist”

Oscar’s Pick: “The Artist”. Fun fact– if a Best Picture nominee isn’t nominated here, don’t look for it to win the big prize. How messed up is that? I can see where that logic comes from, though, and look for “The Artist” to win this award by a narrow margin over “Hugo.”

Best Art Direction
“Hugo”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2”
“The Artist”
“War Horse”
“Midnight in Paris”

Brian’s Top Five: “Hugo”; “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2”; “The Artist”; “Jane Eyre”; “War Horse”

Brian’s Pick: “Hugo

Oscar’s Pick: “Hugo”. Look for the opulent, complex set design of the Parisian train station in “Hugo” to be one of the few head-to-head wins it has over “The Artist” on Oscar night.

Best Makeup
“The Iron Lady”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2”
“Albert Nobbs” (Haven’t Seen)

Brian’s Top Three: “The Iron Lady”; “Insidious”; “X-Men: First Class”

Brian’s Pick: “The Iron Lady”

Oscar’s Pick: “The Iron Lady”. Though I still think there’s a real chance for “Harry Potter” here, the makeup in “Lady” was among the best I’ve seen in years. It’ll win.

Best Costume Design
“Hugo”
“Jane Eyre”
“The Artist”
“Anonymous”
“W.E.” (Haven’t Seen)

Brian’s Top Five: “Hugo”; “Jane Eyre”; “Captain America: The First Avenger”; “X-Men: First Class”; “Thor”

Brian’s Pick: “Hugo”

Oscar’s Pick: “Hugo”. “Jane Eyre” or “The Artist” could still sneak in, but I’d expect another win for Scorsese’s opulent masterpiece.

Here are the three awards those most devoted to movies care about. I haven’t seen many of these, so all these are just guesses.

Best Short Film- Live Action
“Pentecost”
“Raju”
“The Shore”
“Time Freak”
“Tuba Atlantic”

Oscar’s Pick: “Raju”

Best Short Film- Animated
“Dimanche/Sunday”
“The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore”
“La Luna”
“A Morning Stroll”
“Wild Life”

Oscar’s Pick: “La Luna”

Best Documentary Short Subject
“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”

Oscar’s Pick: “Incident in New Baghdad”

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