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AS I mentioned a few weeks back, it's difficult for me to place much stock in what the Oscars determine to be the best films of any year.
But now that the ceremony is here, it's equally difficult not to get caught up in the fervour.
In this blog I'm gonna take a glance at the major categories and make my personal selections among the nominees.
Actor in a Leading Role
- Demián Bichir in A Better Life
- George Clooney in The Descendants
- Jean Dujardin in The Artist
- Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
- Brad Pitt in Moneyball
Who will probably win: Jean Dujardin, although a late surge by Clooney isn't out of the question.
Who should win: Dujardin. This is one area where all the love for The Artist feels completely appropriate. Dujardin did amazing things in this movie that alone transcended the perceived gimmickry of the project, and should be recognised for it.
Actress in a Leading Role
- Glenn Close in Albert Nobbs
- Viola Davis in The Help
- Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
- Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady
- Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn
Who will probably win: Viola Davis.
Who should win: Michelle Williams performance in My Week With Marilyn impressed me greatly, but it deserved a better delivery vehicle than the film that surrounded it.
Actor in a Supporting Role
- Kenneth Branagh in My Week with Marilyn
- Jonah Hill in Moneyball
- Nick Nolte in Warrior
- Christopher Plummer in Beginners
- Max von Sydow in Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Who will probably win: Beyond his pretty secure front-runner status, Plummer has that whole, 'he-deserves-it-for-his-career' thing going on.
Who should win: A unexiting field. Write-in nominee: Andy Serkis for Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
Actress in a Supporting Role
- Bérénice Bejo in The Artist
- Jessica Chastain in The Help
- Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids
- Janet McTeer in Albert Nobbs
- Octavia Spencer in The Help
Who will probably win: It's difficult not to root for likely victor Octavia Spencer, who toiled for years in tiny character roles and has seen her career take a Cinderella-like leap with this film...
Who should win: ...but I also really want to see Melissa McCarthy win an Oscar. Go Sookie!
Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
- The Descendants Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
- Hugo Screenplay by John Logan
- The Ides of March Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon
- Moneyball Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin; Story by Stan Chervin
- Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Screenplay by Bridget O'Connor & Peter Straughan
Who will probably win: The Descendants screenwriters.
Who should win: A very strong field this year in what is traditionally a conciliatory prize for not getting Best Picture. The Ides of March, Moneyball and Tinker Tailor all had very strong screenplays, but it'll be worth The Descendants winning just to see perenial TV guest stars Faxon and Rash up on the podium.
Writing (Original Screenplay)
- The Artist Written by Michel Hazanavicius
- Bridesmaids Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig
- Margin Call Written by JC Chandor
- Midnight in Paris Written by Woody Allen
- A Separation Written by Asghar Farhadi
Who will probably win: Woody Allen. Is it wrong that The Artist gets discounted because there's no dialogue?
Who should win: It will be an enormous thrill if Woody wins (and is there to receive it), but I would also be very happy if the Bridesmaids writers won.
- The Artist - Michel Hazanavicius
- The Descendants - Alexander Payne
- Hugo - Martin Scorsese
- Midnight in Paris - Woody Allen
- The Tree of Life - Terrence Malick
Who will probably win: It's all but a lock for Hazanavicius.
Who should win: Terrence Malick should be rewarded for the boldness of The Tree of Life.
- The Artist - Thomas Langmann, Producer
- The Descendants - Jim Burke, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, Producers
- Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close - Scott Rudin, Producer
- The Help - Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan, Producers
- Hugo - Graham King and Martin Scorsese, Producers
- Midnight in Paris - Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum, Producers
- Moneyball - Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt, Producers
- The Tree of Life - Sarah Green, Bill Pohlad, Dede Gardner and Grant Hill, Producers
- War Horse - Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers
Who will probably win: The Artist.
Who should win: The Artist is an achievement for sure, but to me, The Tree of Life felt like it was really pushing cinema forward.
Also on my Oscar wishlist: The presence of a streaker during the ceremony. Forget Sacha Baron Cohen, a streaker is what the show needs to shake things up.
This is due to happen again. This needs to happen.
The Oscars Academy Awards will broadcast on digital channel Go! at 7.30pm.
To see live red carpet coverage, visit NZ Herald