Oscar Countdown 2012

By Erik Waldman

Oscar Favorites:

I believe The Artist is going to take home at least four Oscars, including Best Picture, since it's won Best Picture at the BAFTAs, Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards and Producers Guild.

The Artist is a favourite for Best Director, Best Original Score and Best Actor in a Leading Role for Jean Dujardin. Best Supporting Actor is a lock for Christopher Plummer of Beginners and Best Supporting Actress is a lock for Octavia Spencer of the Help.

Best Actress in a Leading Role is the toughest choice. There may be an upset in this category. I believe the favourite is Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady, but Viola Davis has a shot after her Screen Actors Guild win.

Martin Scorsese's Hugo may take some technical categories, including Best Art Direction, while Harry Potter should take home its franchises first ever Oscar for Best Visual Effects.

The final category that may be a tough choice is Best Original Screenplay. The Artist should be a favourite, but Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris is a definite threat since it's his most original work in years. Midnight in Paris is not winning Best Picture, but the screenplay was too good to ignore with Allen's brilliant dialogue and unique storytelling skills. Anything can happen.

Misconceptions About Hollywood:

I did some research about the biggest myths and misconceptions in Hollywood films and it's mainly the fact that they avoid some realistic procedures in order to keep the film going.

One is that the Heimlich maneuver always save the day. Is that possible? Why does it always work? The chances are high that it does work, but Hollywood films make it look like the go-to way to get out of a choking or near death situation. An example is in Mission Impossible 3, the audience is supposed to believe that a small bomb went off in Ethan Hunt's head. His girlfriend performs the Heimlich maneuver to wake him up, and it works. Really?

Another misconception about Hollywood is that it is a liberal institution. Is that a possibility?  Does Hollywood allow celebrities to act as they choose. That's a definite no. Recently, comedian Sacha Baron Cohen asked the Academy producers if he could attend the awards on Sunday as his new character in the upcoming The Dictator. Cohen was not allowed to do this. He was not given the freedom to do this, because it would be extremely inappropriate for cable television. I don't believe they force people to think a certain way, even if they have the freedom to do what ever they want, sometimes.

Independent Films Cracking The Oscars:

The last few years, the Best Picture winner was a film that never encountered a wide release until after it won Best Picture. The Hurt Locker and The King's Speech were not successful in the box office at all, but they still managed to sweep the major categories at the Oscars.

After the Oscars, people decide to go see it. I saw the King's Speech before it won, but it took me a while to find it. I heard about the Artist, but could not find it in any local theatres. After I arrived in England, it was really well advertised and is playing in a few theatres.

After viewing the Oscar favorite, I hope the silent film wins every Oscar it's nominated for, because it will pull another independent film upset over the films that were a box office success.

What Can Independent Film Festivals, Such As Raindance And BIFA Do That Hollywood And The Oscars Cannot?:

Hollywood and the Oscars are a big deal, but they cannot show absolutely every film that many independent film festivals presented. Raindance had a better shot presenting the Artist, because it took Hollywood so long to present it in theatres.

Most importantly, Raindance and BIFA want to promote upcoming filmmakers. Hollywood wants experience. They want to help filmmakers find their big break or teach them important aspects of making a successful film. For Hollywood and the Oscars, it takes a while to work your way up to be successful in Hollywood, while you can be a beginner and learn how to make your own films in Raindance and BIFA.

Raindance and BIFA wants to give people a chance, while Hollywood and the Oscars only want to exploit people that are just beginning. Hollywood doesn't always give people a shot unless they have a lot of experience doing it.

Oscar Predictions:

Best Picture: The Artist (Produced by Thomas Langmann)
Best Actor: Jean Dujardin (The Artist)
Best Actress: Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady)
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer (Beginners)
Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer (The Help)
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist)
Best Original Screenplay: Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist)
Best Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash (The Descendants)
Best Animated Film: Rango (Directed by Gore Verbinski)
Best Foreign Language Film: A Separation (Directed by Asghar Farhadi)
Best Documentary Feature: Hell and Back Again (Directed by Danfung Dennis and Mike Lerner)
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki (Tree of Life)-He should have won in 2007 Oscars for Children of Men.
Best Art Direction: Dante Farretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo (Hugo)
Best Editing: Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)-Yes they won last year for the Social Network. That does not mean they don't deserve it for putting another Fincher film together with their amazing use of pacing.
Best Costume Design: Mark Bridges (The Artist)
Best Makeup: Mark Coulier, J. Roy Helland (The Iron Lady)
Best Original Score: Ludovic Bource (The Artist)
Best Original Song: Bret McKenzie (The Muppets-"Man or Muppet")-This won before it was nominated. I preferred "Life's a Happy Song" over this song, but the Muppets deserve something for their most recent film.
Best Sound Mixing: Tom Fleischman, John Midgley (Hugo)
Best Sound Editing: Philip Stockton, Eugene Gearty (Hugo)
Best Visual Effects: Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler, John Richardson (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2)-The Academy should give the film at least one Oscar for having eight films in 10 years! Give it something!

Those are the best predictions i can make. Also, these are my opinion. I believe these films will be successful on Oscar night. I'm not sure who's going to win, but I hope these film win what they truly deserve.
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About The Author

Erik Waldman My name is Erik Waldman. I am a Film/Media Arts major at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Currently, I am a junior studying abroad at Foundation International Education (FIE) in Kensington. On June 6th, 1991 I was born to Howard and Lisa Waldman in Abington, Pennsylvania. The first film I saw was The Lion King in 1994, and I have loved going to the movies ever since. Even though I was three years old, I remember having a great time watching the movie and enjoying the experience. I attended Holland Elementary, Holland Middle School and graduated from Council Rock High School South in 2009. During my senior year at high school I took a filmmaking class and immediately fell in love with making movies. I wrote and directed two short films and I created three short commercials for an assignment. Also during my senior year I participated with the school’s choir in a tour across England and I loved every minute of it. When it was time to apply for college, I wanted to go to a college that was close to home, because I love being close to my family. I wanted to major in filmmaking because I wanted to learn more about the process than I learned in one semester in high school. Temple University was my top choice because I am the fourth generation in my family to attend, the school is well known for its film program and it has a study abroad program. After two and half years attending Temple, I love the school and its film program, because the professors know exactly what they’re talking about and making the movies has been a blast. I’ve written and directed five short films since my freshman year at Temple and I absolutely love it. I applied for study abroad in London after my sophomore year ended because I wanted a new experience to cherish for the rest of my life and to return to England for the first time since my high school choir trip. I was happy to learn I was able to apply for an internship during my stay in England. I applied to Raindance Film Festival, because Raindance has an amazing history of screening famous directors’ films, such as those of my favourite filmmaker, Christopher Nolan, and they have film classes I would love to attend to learn something I have not yet learned at Temple. A film festival is a great place to start meeting people who in the film business and it’s an amazing experience to write about on a resume. Since January 5th, England has been fantastic. I’ve been exploring London a lot since my arrival and I’m picking up the culture a lot faster than I thought I would. I’ve walked around Hyde Park, Piccadilly Circus, Westminster, Bath, Stonehenge and more. I know there’s a lot more to look forward to, including a football match I’m attending on St. Patrick’s Day, Greenwich, the London Eye, my trip to Dublin, and possibly attending some concerts while I’m here. I feel very happy being in the United Kingdom and I can’t wait to see what else it has to offer. 

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