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Admittedly, I am not much when it comes to handicapping the Oscars, so let's get it out of the way while the fresh stench of the nominations waft through my nostrils. This way, when people ask, I will direct them to The Big Screen.

Here is a complete list of this year's nominees.

Best Picture: The Artist

Hugo would be my personal choice (DUH!), but it doesn't stand a chance against this year's odds on favorite to win.


Best Director: Terrence Malick

They finally gave it to Marty a few years ago for His worst film. Hugo is too good for them. Normally Best Picture and Best Director go hand in hand, but something tells me that they are finally going to give it to Malick for Badlands.

Best Actor: George Clooney

It's not a bad performance by any means, but Oscar-worthy? Then again, the Academy has been know to pull a PC switch, and if that's the case the award will go to the much more deserving Demian Bichir for A Better Life.

Best Actress: Viola Davis

I have yet to see Albert Nobbs. The poster art scares the crap out of me! At first I thought it was Glenn Close in The Marcel Marceau Story. By now, Meryl Streep has accumulated enough golden doorstops that I think the Academy will pass on her latex-laden, Rich Little-ish impression of Margaret Thatcher. While she has yet to win, the same applies to Michelle Williams interpretation of Marilyn. Oscar L-O-V-E-S message pictures and looking past the performances, neither The Iron Lady nor My Week With Marilyn has much to say. The Help, on the other hand, is an easy to swallow look back at race relations told from the point-of-view of revenge-seeking African American domestic slaves. How can it miss? Besides, Davis' performance is the only thing in the film worth looking at.

Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer

No Albert Brooks, eh? Putan disgrazzia! There are no "important" Holocaust pictures nominated this year, so there is an outside chance that Max Von Sydow could walk away with it, but don't count on it. Plummer is a terrific actor who has yet to stand in Oscar's spotlight. This is his year. I hope they play Edelweiss as he walks up to accept the award.

Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer

Guilt-ridden Academy voters are bound to find something profound in Spencer's performance as the maid with the "stoolproof" recipe for pies.

Best Original Screenplay: A Separation

They'd be crazy not to go with Margin Call, J.C. Chandor's brilliant script that tells you everything by telling you nothing. The Artist is a rehash of Hollywood chestnuts Singin' in the Rain and A Star is Born, and since it's already slated to win best picture, the voters will probably probably decide to spread the wealth. A Separation is definitely a message picture, but one that manages to smuggle in its caveats while still having a story to tell.

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Descendants

If they give it to Clooney's made-for-TV tale of politics, I'm going to pull a Travis Bickle and shoot my television. The Descendants is a story of betrayal and divorce, two topics Academy voters are fluent in.

Best Animated Feature: Who cares?


Best Foreign Language Film?

I've only seen one of the nominees, so it's anybody's guess.

Best Documentary Feature?

See above.

Best Cinematography: The Artist

It was shot in black-and-white. Out of some perverse sense of nostalgia, the Academy will choose The Artist over Robert Richardson's superior textured 3D imagery.

Best "Original" Score: Bernard Herrmann for The Artist

Best Original Song: Who cares?

Best Editing: Hugo

Go Thelma!

Mr. Lickona and I have done our part, and I for one do not want to waste anymore time talking about the Oscars until they air on February 26. I'll be blogging my heart out during the festivities, so by all means, stop in and tell me how much you enjoy the show.

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Danny Baldwin Jan. 24, 2012 @ 12:11 p.m.

Your anti-ARTIST bias is showing, sir. I'd love to see Malick and A SEPARATION win, but both of those categories will go to The Overrated One.


Colonna Jan. 24, 2012 @ 5:15 p.m.

If "The Artist" had come out about 20 or 25 years ago, it would have swept the boards completely. That's because the aging core of voters (the Lillian Gishs and Buddy Rogers) actually remember silent movies.

Smart film buffs know that "The Artist" is a Harvey Weinstein gimmick picture, no more, no less. And that's exactly why it's gonna win - no smart voters in Hollywood.

Looking forward to snickering at the gratuitous cutaways to S--tberg on Oscar night. Why so glum, Steve? Odds not in your favor? Awwww...

Holding out hope Marty gets a win for "Hugo" and not that Scrabble-word director for "The Artist".


denfrank Jan. 25, 2012 @ 9:09 a.m.

Just saw the Kraft Television Theater's adaptation of Polanski's Carnage with at least 3 if not 4 memorable performances for Best Acting. Jodie Foster was especially good. Denied, denied, denied, denied.


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