The Roundtable: Oscars’ in the Air
It’s time for a new regular feature on Filmophilia. The Roundtable brings you an ensemble of people who gather to give their view on a few vexing questions from the world of film, and bringing in writers from other interesting websites in the meantime. This time the Roundtable is populated by Aslaug Torfa & Sverrir Sigfusson from Filmophilia, Vignir Jon Vignisson from Icelandic film site Svarthofdi (the Icelandic name for Darth Vader), and the young but very smart George Roberson, who keeps his own, highly interesting film blog, called themovieblog8.
As the Academy Awards are descending upon us, it’s only fitting that this first installment should focus on the golden-headed bald guy.
With almost all the big award festivals in the bag, do you think The Artist (click for review) will sweep the Oscars, as predicted by many?
Sverrir Sigfusson, Filmophilia: Definitely, it has pretty much everything going for it and I don’t think things will be any different at the Oscars. It’s well deserved as it’s a fantastic film.
Aslaug Torfa, Filmophilia: Yes. I think it’s safe to say that The Artist has got this in the bag. The Academy loves films about Hollywood, especially ones that focus on the glamour of its “Golden Age”. And because The Artist is silent they don’t have to worry about the pesky foreign language issue.
George Roberson, themovieblog8: Definitely. I don’t think it’ll win the acting awards, but everything else (including Best Picture) is theirs. And I think Oscar is getting it right.
Vignir Jon Vignisson, Svarthofdi: It seems so. The Artist is a sure thing, the crowd-pleaser the Oscars need to shake up their image.
What film or performer could possibly snag a surprise Oscar?
Sverrir: Octavia Spencer has looked the clear favorite for Best Supporting Actress but I think Bérénice Bejo could steal it. That or if the Academy decides to go super crowd-pleasing and give Best Picture to The Help (review). They probably won’t and I hope they don’t.
Aslaug: Unfortunately, the Oscars have been really predictable in the last couple of years (apart from Crash besting Brokeback Mountain. That was surprisingly awful) But one can always hope that this year they’ll mix things up. The Tree of Life (review) winning Best Picture or Terrence Malick for Best Director would be a surprise. Although, the Academy does have a habit of rewarding a director’s body of work rather than the particular film they’re nominated for (see Martin Scorcese) and Malick has yet to win an Oscar.
George: I’d say that all the big categories have a clear-cut front-runner (or two, in the case of Best Actress) except Best Director. This is where Terrence Malick could claim his prize.
Vignir: Jean Dujardin is the most likely to take home the Oscar but Clooney is an Academy favorite.
What is the most undecided Oscar category for you?
George: Best Director or Best Actress.
Vignir: Best Supporting Actress is a category with strong nominations. Jessica Chastain, Bérénice Bejo and Octavia Spencer are all quite good with Bejo delivering the best performance, but the Oscar is likely to go to Spencer.
Sverrir: I think it’s more a case of one or the other in most categories, with The Artist holding the advantage in the relevant categories. If anything there aren’t necessarily any clear-cut favorites in the technical categories.
Aslaug: The Animated Feature category. It’s been an unusually lackluster year for Pixar who usually dominate this category, leaving it wide open for the more offbeat Rango or Chico & Rita to take home the prize.
What were the biggest snubs this year?
Aslaug: Oh my god, don’t even get me started! The Oscars get it wrong a lot of the time but I have rarely been as annoyed with the nominations as I have been this year. Where is Drive (review) and Nicolas Winding Refn? Shame (review) and Steve McQueen? Ryan Gosling and Michael Fassbender? Joseph-Gordon Levitt for 50/50 (review)? Carey Mulligan for Shame? The cast of Carnage? Kirsten Dunst and Lars Von Trier for Melancholia (review)? And what the hell is Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (trailer) doing there?
Sverrir: My love for Drive is well-documented, I think it absolutely deserved to get nods in Best Picture, Actor, Supporting Actor, Director and basically all the technical categories (save for visual effects). And Michael Fassbender should absolutely have gotten a nomination for his outstanding performance in Shame, a film totally overlooked by the Academy.
Vignir: Shame, Drive, The Skin I Live In (review)… the list is endless. I think the absence of nominations for Drive is rather disturbing. The Year of the Gosling didn‘t go as planned.
Is anyone a runaway winner in their category already?
George: There are plenty: The Artist for Best Picture, Christopher Plummer for Best Supporting Actor, Octavia Spencer for Best Supporting Actress, and Rango for Best Animated Feature.
Vignir: Rango in the animation category is a sure thing.
Sverrir: I think Christopher Plummer and Meryl Streep are basically shoo-ins for their awards.
What film with multiple nominations runs the biggest risk of going away empty-handed?
George: Right now, this problem is staring Moneyball (review) right in the face. The performances (Pitt, Hill) are expected to lose, and I don’t see them winning anything else.
Vignir: Hugo is the most likely. Strong movie but strangely marketed at kids rather than adults. Scorsese got his “complimentary” Oscar for The Departed so I don’t think we’ll see him snag the Oscar for Best Director.
Aslaug: I think that would be The Descendants (review). A film worthy of all its nominations (and could have done with one more, Best Supporting Actress for Shailene Woodley) but I’m afraid it’ll be run over by The Artist’s predicted sweep.
Sverrir: While Hugo (review) has the largest amount of nominations I think it’ll probably lose out on all the big ones with only possible technical glory awaiting it.
Who are you “rooting for”?
Vignir: I’m rooting for my man George Clooney for his performance in The Descendants. Masterful but subtle performance from an actor who has been climbing up the ladder the last years as a prominent director, screenwriter and humanitarian.
George: I am rooting for The Descendants’ screenplay. I just want to see Community cast member Jim Rash on stage at The Oscars.
Sverrir: The underdogs; Rooney Mara & Gary Oldman. Both fantastic performances in their own way and different from their norm. I’d also love for Hugo to take Best Picture but I won’t be disappointed when The Artist takes it.
Aslaug: If I ignore the Oscars’ predictability completely, I’d love to see Gary Oldman take home the bald guy. It’s a complete scandal that this amazing actor hasn’t won one yet and the Academy would do well to rectify that this year. Michelle Williams winning for her uncanny performance as Marilyn Monroe would also be sweet but I think she’s still got a couple more nominations to go before she gets the award. I’d also be delighted if Ryan Gosling and Sassy Fassy rushed the stage as last year’s Best Actress Natalie Portman is about to announce the Best Actor and ran away with both her and the Oscar. But maybe that particular fantasy belongs on a different kind of site. Erm…