The Oscars have a bad case of nostalgia.

Oscar season is upon us and people everywhere are literally imploding with a lack of anticipation.  You see this year the Oscars are pulling a “post-nipple-gate Super Bowl halftime show.”  After the infamous Janet Jackson breast exposure ‘incident’ the NFL was terrified of any halftime act that would appeal to anyone under the age of 55.

The man himself has returned.

So they shuffled out The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney and The Who to show us all that Rock and Roll never dies but ages rather slowly and awkwardly.  Oscar producers have similarly been spooked after attempting to liven up last year’s 3-hour bore-athon with the comic stylings of Anne Hathaway and James Franco (who I think we can all agree are known for their comedic chops.)

In response this year we get the triumphant return of Billy Crystal.  Mr. Crystal is charming, witty and will no doubt find the laughs but he is hardly relevant (his last live action film was ‘Analyze That’ in 2002.)  So the Oscars will reset, find the safe middle ground and in 7-years we can have Madonna hosting…bad British accent and all.


Should Win: Melissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids

This would be an inspired choice by the Academy but I can’t help but think this entire nomination was shoehorned in as a half-hearted attempt to convince the public that comedies ‘matter.’  It’s ok though; McCarthy’s performance is hysterical and will be remembered years after this category is long forgotten.

Will Win: Octavia Spencer – The Help

The Help is a wildly contrived; pandering movie based on a book Oprah will never convince me to read.  That said the combination of Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis actually makes the film watchable.  While I have no problem with either of them winning a statue for every film they appear in they both deserve better than this.


Should Win: Andy Serkis – Rise of the Planet of the Apes

I understand he’s not nominated for an Oscar but this is my soapbox.  I’m sure the Academy feels they would be making some sort of exception if they nominated Serkis but they can’t deny he infused Apes with the energy and momentum it sorely needed.  Add that he has created a whole new type of motion-captured performance and you have an actor that deserves this recognition.

Will Win: Christopher Plummer – Beginners

This is a prime opportunity for the Academy to reward Mr. Plummer with an award for his lifetime of achievements.  His wonderful portrayal of Hal Fields in Beginners is sure to snare him his first golden statue and leave him just a Grammy short of the infamous EGOT.


Should Win: Rooney Mara – The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Rooney Mara won acclaim in one of last year’s best films The Social Network, and she only had 10 minutes of screen time.  She embodies The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo andher performance lifts an otherwise mediocre crime drama to great dramatic heights.  It is a typical Oscar performance: Mara transforms and is masked in her appearance but the role is daring enough that she deserves credit for elevating such standard fare.

Will Win: Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady

This is the ultimate Oscar-bait performance…I won’t dignify the choice with a description.


Should Win: George Clooney – The Descendants

Mr. Clooney found a perfect vehicle for his massive stardom as land baron Matt King in The Descendants.  Director Alexander Payne trusted Clooney to display his real-life confidence in the role while still flexing his formidable dramatic chops.  The result is a classic Clooney role layered with the bite of Payne’s signature satirical style.  Is it Clooney’s best role? Probably not (my vote is for Jack Foley in Out of Sight), but with this year’s competition it couldn’t have been nominated at a better time.

Will Win: George Clooney – The Descendants


Should Win: The Tree of Life

That The Tree of Life was even nominated was a surprise given the film’s existential, fractured narrative is not exactly the Academy’s bag.  And although it may have just been a vanity selection to liven up this very weak crop of nominees it has been rumored as a dark horse contender.  It would however be an unprecedented move for the Academy to choose the year’s best (or at least most interesting) movie, which will no doubt ensure its defeat.

Will Win: The Artist

The Artist has been sweeping the awards circuit this year and will no doubt continue it’s run Sunday at the Kodak Theater.  The story of a love-struck silent film star at the turn of the talky-era is exactly the kind of glossy nostalgia piece that Hollywood loves to reward.  It’s not that the film is bad, quite the contrary, but it does feel like another case of missing the point.  As each awards season passes the Academy becomes more disconnected with the films that really matter leaving us with another year of decorated yet ultimately forgettable films.  Remember Shakespeare in Love? Me neither.