Barnard College's Monthly Magazine
By Hannah Miller
It’s that time of year again, when movie buffs anticipate a much more cinematic (although perhaps equally brutal) Super Bowl: The Oscars. Here’s a quick guide to the nominees so that even if you were too steeped in studies to hit the theater last semester, you can still place a smart bet on who will take home a statue.
This year saw a lot of good-looking men in very interesting roles (though Michael Fassbender’s parts, I mean part, in Shame was not enough to garner him a nod). George Clooney and Brad Pitt are the category’s big names. Clooney was nominated for his portrayal of a dorky dad in The Descendants while Pitt worked a windbreaker in his Moneyball role as baseball manager, Billy Beane. The Oscar will most likely go to Clooney for his easy charm, but my personal choice is The Artist’s Jean Dujardin. In my opinion, the debonair French actor’s dancing beats Clooney running in flip-flops, perhaps one in a handful of surprisingly unsexy Clooney moments.
Best Supporting Actor
Though this category saw some surprises (who would’ve thought the chubby kid from Superbad would be getting an Oscar nod?), I think the runaway winner here is Christopher Plummer, who poignantly portrayed a septuagenarian coming out of the closet in Beginners. Plummer already cleaned up at the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Awards and proved that he can give a clever speech, so his acceptance at the Oscars should be a treat.
Though it seems like twenty films have been selected in this cat- egory due to the Academy’s 2009 decision to expand the number of Best Picture nominations, the award comes down to only two mov- ies. The category saw a wide range of films from tearjerkers such as Warhorse and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, children’s mov- ies such as Hugo, a few films no one really understoods like Tree of Life, and then there are the two standouts: The Descendants and The Artist. Although the The Descendants is a sweet story with standout performances from George Clooney and Shailene Woodley, I think that the film will ultimately lose out to The Artist, a movie that pays homage to silent film as well as to cinema itself. Despite the Avatar obsession two years prior, The Artist proves that all movies do not have to be modern to be great.
The Best Actress category has some stiff competition this year. Four of the five nominees underwent physical transformations for their roles and the fifth, Viola Davis, has already gathered a Critics’ Choice Award for The Help. Overall, the competition is probably be- tween Meryl Streep for her stirring portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady and Michelle Williams, who captured the emotion- al fragility of Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn. Taking the logistics into consideration, the critics will probably give it to Streep, who is long overdue for another little man.
Best Supporting Actress
This category holds the least surprise since The Help’s Octavia Spen- cer is a lock. Her portrayal of the tart-tongued Minnie Jackson, made Spencer, a previously unknown, the toast of Tinseltown. As good as Spencer was, however, my secret wish is for Melissa McCarthy to win for her hilarious role in Bridesmaids. If her acceptance speech is half as funny as her performance, it’ll bring down the house.
The two biggest names in the this category are Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen, but it’s possible neither of them will come away with the statue. Though Scorsese’s Hugo was enchanting and Allen’s Mid- night in Paris was intellectual and clever, the two frontrunners of the category seem to be The Artist’s Michel Hazanavicius and The Descendants’ Alexander Payne. I’m going to go with the director whose name is harder to pronounce on this one. Hazanavicius did a great job crafting a silent, black-and-white movie that appealed to all generations–even to those of us who came out of the womb with a computer mouse in our hand.