Oscar Watch: Predicting Academy Award Winners

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The Oscars are here and Movie Fanatic has seen all the films and Oscar Watch is ready to premiere our annual predictions! From the major awards to the smaller, lesser known categories, we have gone over the nominees with a fine tooth comb and predicted what we believe will happen when the cameras start rolling on host Billy Crystal and the 84th Annual Academy Awards on February 26.

The Help stars Emma Stone

Best Picture
The Artist
The Tree of Life
The Descendants
The Help
Midnight in Paris
War Horse
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Winner: The Artist
Why: It’s the favorite for a reason. The film is a love letter to Hollywood and the Academy adores that. There is no other film, other than Hugo, that can come close in that arena. Therefore, give it to The Artist.

Best Actor
George Clooney, The Descendants
Brad Pitt, Moneyball
Gary Oldman, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Demian Bichir, A Better Life
Jean Dujardin in The Artist

Winner: Jean Dujardin
Why: He won the award at the Cannes Film Festival and that momentum has not stopped, albeit for all that George Clooney will win buzz. The French actor carries the film without saying a word, and that is saying something about the power of his acting chops.

Best Actress
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn
Viola Davis, The Help
Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Winner: Viola Davis
Why: Although people would love to see Streep get her first award in 29 years, this is Davis and The Help’s year for acting. She gives a riveting performance in a powerful film. Where Streep’s performance was the only good thing about The Iron Lady.

Best Supporting Actor
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn
Nick Nolte, Warrior
Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Winner: Christopher Plummer
Why: The legend has never won one, and the fact that he turned in the best performance of his career doesn’t hurt things either.

Best Supporting Actress
Octavia Spencer, The Help
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Berenice Bejo, The Artist

Winner: Octavia Spencer
Why: Spencer stole every scene she was in throughout The Help, even from our predicted winner Davis. This category is already pre-ordained.

Octavia Spencer in The Help

Best Director
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life

Winner: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Why: Many times the Best Director and Best Picture share the same film. At this year’s Oscars, that will certainly be the case. It’s hard to imagine The Artist being such a fantastic film without the even-handed direction of Hazanavicius.

Best Adapted Screenplay
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Ides of March
The Descendants
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Winner: The Descendants
Why: Taking a beloved book and bringing it to the screen can be a thankless task. But Alexander Payne and his writing team did a stellar job of crafting their script for The Descendants. It captured everything the book had within its pages and, if possible, even more.

Best Original Screenplay
Midnight in Paris
The Artist
Margin Call
A Separation

Winner: Midnight in Paris
Why: Woody Allen wrote his best script in decades and achieved his highest box-office earner in his storied career. Look for the filmmaker to take this title -- the question is whether he will be there as he often skips the Academy Awards.

Best Foreign Film
A Separation
In Darkness
Monsieur Lazhar

Winner: A Separation
Why: The Iranian film has been sweeping this category all year and Oscar night will be no different. Also, given the simmering political situation between Iran and the West, look for the Academy to extend an olive branch in the form of a golden trophy.

Documentary Feature
Hell and Back Again
If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory

Winner: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Why: In a stellar year for documentaries, this one is hard to pick. Undefeated is about as powerful as a doc can be in its telling of the story of the Memphis high school football team’s true life triumphs. But, in this year of the “Memphis Three” finding justice, look for Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory to take the victory as Hollywood bigwigs circle the story to bring it to life in a narrative motion picture.

Film Editing
The Artist
The Descendants
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Winner: The Artist
Why: The Best Picture of the year was also the best edited. Bringing a silent movie to life is difficult enough, and with the stellar job the editors of The Artist achieved, it is part of the reason why the film is so well received.

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

Winner: The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom
Why: A powerful piece of work that is, in our opinion, going to upset the favorite, Saving Face.

Best Animated Film
A Cat in Paris
Chico and Rita
Kung Fu Panda 2
Puss in Boots

Winner: Rango
Why: Not only is it the Best Animated film, Rango is one of the best films of 2011.

Rango In The Desert

Best Cinematography
The Artist
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Tree of Life
War Horse

Winner: Hugo
Why: The Academy may be tempted to award The Tree of Life for its sweeping epic feel, but it’s hard to argue with the cinematography achieved by Martin Scorsese’s team with Hugo. A train station has never appeared so beautiful.

Best Art Direction
The Artist
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
War Horse

Winner: Hugo
Why: For the same reasons it will win cinematography: It is simply gorgeous.

Costume Design
The Artist
Jane Eyre

Winner: The Artist
Why: Normally this category goes to a period piece drama, and those are well represented this year. But, The Artist created the class and suaveness of 1920's Hollywood and for that… it will win.

Albert Nobbs
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
The Iron Lady

Winner: The Iron Lady
Why: This three-film category is a tough one to call. Each has its merits beyond compare. In the end, look for the makeup-aided physical transformation of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady to score an Oscar.

Best Score
The Adventures of Tintin
The Artist
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
War Horse

Winner: The Artist
Why: With as many nominations as The Artist has, it is awards such as this category that will push its victory total ever higher. The film relied solely on its score as there is no dialogue. No easy task for its composer and because of that fact, they will hoist the Oscar February 26 at the Kodak Theatre.

Best Song
Man or Muppet, The Muppets
Real in Rio, Rio

Winner: Man or Muppet, The Muppets
Why: Hard to beat a legend that is Sergio Mendes, but former Flight of the Conchords member Bret McKenzie (check out our exclusive interview) will win on this night. His Man or Muppet not only is a stellar song, but also serves as the pivot point for the entire film.
Fozzie, Kermit and Miss Piggy in The Muppets

Short Film (Animated)
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
La Luna
A Morning Stroll
Wild Life

Winner: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
Why: As a former Pixar worker, filmmaker William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg have created a gem and you know the Academy adores Pixar.

Short Film
The Shore
Time Freak
Tuba Atlantic

Winner: Raju
Why: International adoption is more prevalent than ever, and as the subject matter of Raju, it could not be more timely.

Sound Editing
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Transformers Dark of the Moon
War Horse

Winner: Hugo
Why: Powerful and sweeping sounds, both real and fantastical, inhabit Scorsese’s Hugo. Therefore, count this one for the story of the orphan living in a Paris train station.

Sound Mixing
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Transformers Dark of the Moon
War Horse

Winner: Hugo
Why: Same reasons as above.

Visual Effects
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Real Steel
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Transformers Dark of the Moon

Winner: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Why: The Academy has not given Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 much love, even though Warner Bros. pushed hard for the film to be considered for Best Picture. This will be the Academy’s way of awarding a stellar series.

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