Sunday, February 26, 2012

2012 Oscars: My Dream Winners

Over the past week, I've laid out in great detail the reasoning and rationale behind my predictions for tonight's 84th Annual Academy Awards. I've been following the race pretty much since turning off the TV after last year's ceremony, which means there's been a lot of pattern analyzing and guild watching and pundit reading. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the Oscar race and all of the insanity surrounding it, but sometimes it's fun to just go with your gut and dream big. Sure, the Academy will do what the Academy will do, but when it comes down to sitting on my couch tonight and watching it all go down, it's not the statistical favorites I'll be cheering for, it's the ones I truly love.

So although I stand behind the predictions I've meticulously worked on over the past few months, I figured I'd share some of my dream Oscar winners. The dark horses and upsets I would be more than happy to sacrifice a good Oscar pool score for. Because sometimes being wrong can feel so right...

Best Picture: The Help
I've already outlined why The Help has no chance of winning. It simply doesn't have enough nominations in the proper categories to push it through to victory. But wouldn't it just be amazing if, despite all the odds, the best of the Best Picture contenders came through? One of the most heartfelt, beautiful stories portrayed by the best ensemble cast of the year in a blockbuster movie that was beloved nationwide. Sounds like the best picture to me.

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Demián Bichir, A Better Life
The first time I mentioned A Better Life on this blog was almost a full year ago, and the movie still holds up as one of the best of the year, mostly thanks to the raw, heart-wrenching performance by Demián Bichir. If the Academy were to judge based solely on excellence in acting—and not based on which film has the most momentum—I truly believe Bichir would be accepting the Oscar tonight.

Best Writing (Original Screenplay): Bridesmaids (Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig)
Not only was Bridesmaids the funniest movie of the year, chock full of instantly classic quotes, catchphrases and scenes (some of which may or may not involve explosive diarrhea), but it also managed to portray female friendship in an honest and perfectly sweet way without going into typical rom com territory. The Academy tends to be afraid of rewarding comedy, but this would be the perfect opportunity to change that.

Best Art Direction: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Some movies cannot keep a consistent, let alone intriguing or beautiful, look and feel throughout the course of one 90-minute film, let alone across eight films over the course of a decade. The Harry Potter movies truly brought J. K. Rowling's world to exquisite life, and the final installment was no exception. From the battle at Hogwarts to the serene, white train station with Dumbledore, the art direction of Harry Potter was as much a part of the magic as any spell or dragon.

Best Sound Editing: Drive
It's a true shame that this exceptional, standout movie received only one nomination, though I'm sure films like Melancholia, Attack the Block and We Need to Talk About Kevin look upon Drive with great envy. With very little dialogue, the sounds of the film became characters all themselves; the roar of the engine, the squeal of the tires and, yes, the explosions of the guns brought the movie to life and deserve the Academy's recognition.

Best Visual Effects: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
The Best Visual Effects award and the Best Art Direction award typically go hand-in-hand, so Rise of the Planet of the Apes' chances are not looking good. My hope is that the Academy ignores tradition this year and recognizes what a remarkable technical feat was achieved with this film. Andy Serkis' transformation into Cesar the Ape was unbelievable and, unlike the effects in probable winner Hugo, absolutely essential to the success of the movie.

So there they are, the unlikely dark horses I will be keeping my fingers crossed and holding my breath for despite all good reason telling me not to tonight. This is the Oscars, after all, and if you can't cheer on your favorites against all odds, you might as well just turn on FOX.

ABC's Oscar coverage begins tonight with red carpet coverage at 7:00pm/EST. The ceremony begins at 8:30pm/EST.

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