Oscar 2012: Final Predictions Part One
By Tom Houseman
February 9, 2012
I've been studying the Oscars assiduously since 2002. Every year I try to see every movie nominated for every Oscar, and this year, in the major categories, the only nominated flicks I've missed are Albert Nobbs and W.E. I keep track of every precursor, looking back at their histories to see how closely they align with Oscar and in what ways they diverge. I read as many different analyses of the nominees and likely winners as I can, scouring the Internet for an assessment that either corroborates or dissents from my own suspicions. I am, to put it bluntly, obsessed.
Last year I went to an Oscar party with a bunch of friends, some movie nerds like me, others who were only interested in seeing the pretty dresses and getting drunk with company for a change. I carefully filled out my ballot, second guessing myself at every turn, but sticking with my gut for the most part. It was an average year for me, as I got 16 categories right (I typically get between 14 and 17, depending on how many awards are given to The Bourne Ultimatum). My downfall was in the short film categories, where I went zero for three (I really hate the short film categories). Despite several missed categories, I won the party's Oscar pool, and still have the plastic crown to prove it.
I only barely won, as the guy who came in second got 15 categories right, including a handful that I got wrong. He was a British guy who was couch surfing with a friend of mine and happened to show up at the party. He didn't know anything about the Oscars. He had seen only one of the ten Best Picture nominees (Inception) and hadn't heard of Winter's Bone before that night. Had I asked him what he thought of Tom Hooper's DGA win, he wouldn't have understood the majority of the question. Mostly he just guessed, and despite that he almost beat me. It is as if Roger Federer had played a grueling five-set tennis match, which he just barely won in a tie-breaker, against a three-legged golden retriever puppy.
Now that I have made it abundantly clear just how little you should trust my analysis, or, for that matter, anyone else's, here is my breakdown of every Oscar category this year, and who I think is most likely to win.
Best Visual Effects
There are some very heavy hitters in this category, and while there is one film that has been long looked on as the frontrunner, we might be in for a surprise. Rise of the Planet of the Apes got a lot of attention when it was first released, partially because everyone was surprised by how good it was, but partially because of the extraordinary visual effects. It's been the favorite in this category since its release, but is it the kind of film that the Academy likes to reward? The Academy likes big, bombastic visual effects, as evidenced by recent wins for Inception, Avatar, and The Golden Compass. The apes in rise aren't like King Kong, which might work against it.