For our Moviegoers, Hollywood awards season is the most exciting time of the year. Upon the announcement of the nominees for the 84th Annual Academy Awards, the Moviegoers staff – Mack Bates, Kerry Birmingham and Joel Zawada – gathered to discuss this year’s batch of nominees, pick their favorites in the five major categories (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Actor in a Supporting Role and Best Actress in a Supporting Role) and predict who will walk away with Oscar gold.
Part One deals with the worst nominations of the year, and what was overlooked.
Part Two looks at the categories of Best Actor & Actress in a Supporting Role.
Part Three looks at the categories of Best Actor & Actress in a Leading Role.
Part Four looks at the categories of Best Director & Best Motion Picture.
Joel: Based on her Golden Globes performance and the Academy’s questionable history of rewarding people of color for reinforcing outdated stereotypes, I don’t see how Octavia Spencer can lose this.
Kerry: I see them giving it to Spencer, too. They’ll want to reward a crowd-pleaser like The Help, and the socially-conscious message appeals to Academy voters.
Mack: I have to agree, I can’t see how Spencer won’t take it home. The character actually exists because of her – the woman who wrote The Help is a close personal friend of Spencer’s, and credits her for the creation of the character.
Kerry: I didn’t know that.
Mack: Yep, she’s been friends with Kathryn Stockett for like 20 years.
Joel: Is that even really acting, then? At least Melissa McCarthy stole the show in Bridesmaids with a wicked sustained Guy Fieri impression.
Kerry: Does she pull off the frosted tips?
Joel: The director wouldn’t let her go that far.
Kerry: I’m a little shocked that McCarthy is the one from “Gilmore Girls” to get a movie career, but good for her: the nomination is its own reward here, and all she’s going to get.
Mack: McCarthy is quite memorable in Bridesmaids and definitely stole that show, but the competition this year is pretty stiff. In a lesser year, or if she were the only American nominee, a la Marissa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny, she might have had a legitimate chance. But if there is a surprise here, it’ll be her or Chastain.
Kerry: Chastain’s had a hell of a year.
Mack: She was nominated for the wrong performance in a year where she killed in five or six entirely different films and roles. She should’ve gotten a nomination for Take Shelter of Tree of Life.
Kerry: Berenice Bejo’s role in The Artist is actually a leading role, so her nomination here is purely a studio tactic — did they really think she couldn’t compete in the Leading Role category?
Joel: I think they knew that category was going to be especially tough this year, and slotted Bejo into the “young starlet” role that the Supporting Role category loves.
Kerry: So we’ll agree that Spencer has it.
Mack: It’s a lock in a year full of them.
Kerry: But where would your vote go? Chastain? Even for the wrong movie?
Joel: I’d go with Bejo, even though it was actually a Leading Role. She completely embodied the silent film style of acting while grounding her performance with true emotion. Not an easy task, especially since actors are used to relying on their voices so much.
Mack: The fact that she’s a lead may actually work in her favor. The Academy loves to place ingenues with leading lady screen time in the Supporting Role race: look at Jessica Lange in Tootsie, Geena Davis in the Accidental Tourist or Angelina Jolie in Girl, Interrupted.
Joel: I’ll be shocked if Spencer doesn’t win. So will she.
Mack: I can tell you who it won’t be: Kenneth Branagh, Max von Sydow or Jonah Hill. This is a horse race between Nolte and Plummer.
Kerry: I can’t believe ads will now be able to say “Oscar Nominee Jonah Hill.”
Mack: Soon to star in the big-screen version of 21 Jump Street!
Joel: The Academy loves rewarding older actors who embrace character roles in this category. I agree it’s between Nolte and Plummer, but think von Sydow might just get it as a thank you for being in so many better movies.
Kerry: von Sydow’s an icon, but he’s generally regarded as the best thing in a questionable movie.
Mack: I think Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close managing to pull off the nods it did is something of a fluke. I’ve heard more disparaging things about it than complimentary.
Kerry: I’m going to say Plummer. He’s well-loved, he’s good in everything, and giving Beginners some love would show the Academy hasn’t forgotten smaller films.
Mack: I think Nolte may be the spoiler here. People are still talking about how he was robbed for Prince of Tides and overlooked for his supporting role in Cape Fear. He also was passed over for Affliction while his co-star James Coburn won for Supporting Actor.
Kerry: They might do it just to see how kooky Nick Nolte’s acceptance speech gets.
Joel: If the Academy is voting with their emotions, it’s Plummer. His performance is feel-good, and will leave them with the most favorable impression.
Mack: The traction is squarely behind Plummer, an acting icon if there ever was one. And he was exceptional in Beginners.
Joel: And imagine how CHARMING Plummer’s speech would be.
Kerry: I dunno, I think not voting for Max von Sydow would be like the look your grandpa gives you when he catches you swearing.
Mack: Hey, I’d love to see von Sydow win as much as the next Flash Gordon fan, but…it’s Plummer’s.
Kerry: Picture Max Von Sydow’s sad, disappointed look, Mack.
Mack: Maybe if he attended the ceremony dressed up as Ming the Merciless, they’d say he won whether he actually did or not!
Joel: If Max von Sydow came to the Academy Awards dressed as Ming the Merciless, the AUDIENCE would be the winner.
Mack: So, we’re in agreement about this being Plummer’s, right?
Kerry: I think so. I would almost guilt-vote for von Sydow, but probably not.