Picks and predictions for the 2012 Academy Awards

By Columbus Alive
From the February 23, 2012 edition

Ah, the Oscars! The glitz! The glam! The Hollywood politics!

The most deserving movies and performances don’t always win, but we’ll run through which nominees you can bank on for your office Oscar pool, a potential spoiler to upset the favorite … and who really should earn the little bald man.

BEST PICTURE

“The Artist”

“The Descendants”

“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”

“The Help”

“Hugo”

“Midnight in Paris”

“Moneyball”

“The Tree of Life”

“War Horse”

Will win: “The Artist” is a celebration of Hollywood. And Hollywood loves celebrating itself.

Spoiler alert: “The Descendants”

Should win: “Tree of Life” ranked highest from this list on my Top 10, but many found it baffling and/or boring.

BEST DIRECTOR

Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”

Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”

Terrence Malick, “The Tree of Life”

Alexander Payne, “The Descendants”

Martin Scorsese, “Hugo”

Will win: It’s rare that the Picture and Director categories split, but I think Martin Scorsese may eke this one out. It’s not often the man makes a family film.

Spoiler alert: Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”

Should win: Terrence Malick’s “Tree of Life” is a masterwork from a great director … who has never won an Oscar.

BEST ACTOR

Demian Bichir, “A Better Life”

George Clooney, “The Descendants”

Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”

Gary Oldman, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”

Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”

Will win: Jean Dujardin should be preparing his charming speech now.

Spoiler alert: George Clooney, “The Descendants”

Should win: Dujardin is the MVP of “The Artist” … he says a lot without saying a word. Well, one word.

BEST ACTRESS

Glenn Close, “Albert Nobbs”

Viola Davis, “The Help”

Rooney Mara, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”

Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”

Michelle Williams, “My Week With Marilyn”

Will win: Viola Davis wins the battle of great performances in not-great movies for “The Help”

Spoiler alert: Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”

Should win: Won’t happen, but I’d love to see Rooney Mara’s dark turn in “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” get its due.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Kenneth Branagh, “My Week With Marilyn”

Jonah Hill, “Moneyball”

Nick Nolte, “Warrior”

Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”

Max von Sydow, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”

Will win: Christopher Plummer as a dying, recently-out gay dad in “Beginners” is another lock.

Spoiler alert: Max von Sydow, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”

Should win: Plummer deserves this one, and hopefully this means more people will actually get to see just how damn great “Beginners” is.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Berenice Bejo, “The Artist”

Jessica Chastain, “The Help”

Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids”

Janet McTeer, “Albert Nobbs”

Octavia Spencer, “The Help”

Will win: Octavia Spencer has already racked up most of the other awards for “The Help.” Status quo for Oscar night.

Spoiler alert: Berenice Bejo, “The Artist”

Should win: If Academy voters could ever appreciate a straight-up comedic performance for once, Melissa McCarthy would win for “Bridesmaids.”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

“Midnight in Paris”

“Margin Call”

“A Separation”

“The Artist”

“Bridesmaids”

Will win: “Midnight in Paris” was Woody Allen’s funniest, most charming work in years. And he hasn’t been on the podium in a while.

Spoiler alert: “The Artist”

Should win: Allen’s time-trippy plot device was perfectly executed. His Ernest Hemingway was especially brilliant.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

“The Descendants”

“Hugo”

“The Ides of March”

“Moneyball”

“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”

Will win: “The Descendants” is getting all the love, even though I felt it was a bit too unfocused. That’s what you get adapting from a novel, though.

Spoiler alert: “Moneyball”

Should win: Aaron Sorkin punched up “Moneyball” and made baseball statistics as enthralling as he did the nerd-life in “The Social Network” a year ago.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

“A Cat In Paris”

“Chico & Rita”

“Kung Fu Panda 2”

“Puss in Boots”

“Rango”

Will win: It’s a rare year that there’s no Pixar frontrunner in this category. “Rango” will take advantage.

Spoiler alert: “Chico & Rita”

Should win: I was a big fan of “Rango” … it out-Pixared Pixar this year.

BEST FOREIGN FILM

“Bullhead,” Belgium

“Footnote,” Israel

“In Darkness,” Poland

“Monsieur Lazhar,” Canada

“A Separation,” Iran

Will win: “A Separation,” Iran

Spoiler alert: “In Darkness,” Poland

Should win: “A Separation,” Iran

BEST ART DIRECTION

“The Artist”

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2”

“Hugo”

“Midnight in Paris”

“War Horse”

Will win: “Hugo”

Spoiler alert: “The Artist”

Should win: “Hugo”

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

“Anonymous”

“The Artist”

“Hugo”

“Jane Eyre”

“W.E.”

Will win: “Jane Eyre”

Spoiler alert: “Hugo”

Should win: “The Artist”

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

“Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets”

“Real in Rio” from “Rio”

Will win: “Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets”

Spoiler alert: Umm …“Real in Rio” from “Rio”

Should win: “Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets”

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

“The Adventures of Tintin”

“The Artist”

“Hugo”

“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”

“War Horse”

Will win: “The Artist”

Spoiler alert: “War Horse”

Should win: “The Artist”

BEST DOCUMENTARY

“Hell and Back Again”

“If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front”

“Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory”

“Pina”

“Undefeated”

Will win: “Pina”

Spoiler alert: “Undefeated”

Should win: “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory”

BEST FILM EDITING

“The Artist”

“The Descendants”

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

“Hugo”

“Moneyball”

Will win: “The Artist”

Spoiler alert: “Hugo”

Should win: “The Artist”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

“The Artist”

“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”

“Hugo”

“The Tree of Life”

“War Horse”

Will win: “The Tree of Life”

Spoiler alert: “The Artist”

Should win: “The Tree of Life”

BEST MAKEUP

“Albert Nobbs”

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2”

“The Iron Lady”

Will win: “The Iron Lady”

Spoiler alert: “Albert Nobbs”

Should win: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2”

BEST SOUND EDITING

“Drive”

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

“Hugo”

“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”

“War Horse”

Will win: “Hugo”

Spoiler alert: “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

Should win: “Drive”

BEST SOUND MIXING

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

“Hugo”

“Moneyball”

“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”

“War Horse”

Will win: “Hugo”

Spoiler alert: “War Horse”

Should win: “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2”

“Hugo”

“Real Steel”

“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”

“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”

Will win: “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”

Spoiler alert: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2”

Should win: “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”

BEST DOCUMENTARY (SHORT)

“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”

Will win: “Incident in New Baghdad”

Spoiler alert: “The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement”

Should win: “The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom”

BEST SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)

“Dimanche/Sunday”

“The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore”

“La Luna”

“A Morning Stroll”

“Wild Life”

Will win: “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore”

Spoiler alert: “Dimanche/Sunday”

Should win: “A Morning Stroll”

BEST SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)

“Pentecost”

“Raju”

“The Shore”

“Time Freak”

“Tuba Atlantic”

Will win: “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore”

Spoiler alert: “Dimanche/Sunday”

Should win: “A Morning Stroll”