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The Dissenter’s Oscar Picks

(photo: Dave_B_ )

Over at La Figa, Firedoglake‘s politics, entertainment and pop culture blog, Lisa Derrick will be live blogging the Oscars, including the Red Carpet special. Derrick put up a post yesterday on what she thinks we have to look forward to during the Oscars, hinted at the fact that the “French,” through The Artist, could sweep the Oscars and she highlighted the “heavyweight” battle in Best Director category.

So, why is the guy that writes about WikiLeaks, drones, the Occupy movement, torture, etc, doing a post on his Oscar picks?

I graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a Film/Video degree. I enjoy writing about film. I especially enjoy writing about films that help call attention to important political or social issues in society (see my review of Rampart starring Woody Harrelson, which I just posted this weekend).

I won’t claim to be a professional movie critic, but I do like to use film to interrogate the world and I also appreciate directors/producers/screenwriters, etc, that dare to interrogate the world or provoke thought in society through film. Plus, I really just like movies, and I have seen many of the films up for awards tonight.

I think the buzz surrounding The Artist and actresses in The Help is probably a good indication that they will do really well. But, what kind of surprises will there be, if any?

Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer will probably win Actress and Supporting Actress awards. They both deserve it, but I think if any upsets happen it could be from Michelle Williams. I also think it would be great to see Melissa McCarthy take home the award for Supporting Actress.

Gary Oldman is why you watch Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. I would like to see Oldman win here but Jean Dujardin will probably take the award. And, Christopher Plummer looks like a lock, but given the fact that I still remain surprised at how many nominations Moneyball received, I think it would be great to see Jonah Hill take home the award for Supporting Actor.

As for documentaries, Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory will take home the award. The film is the culmination of a series of films on a tragic story of injustice that had the effect of actually freeing the subjects of the film, the West Memphis 3. And, the short documentary will probably go to Saving Face, a film about a “British-Pakistani plastic surgeon works to help women who have been injured in acid attacks, while his patients struggle to come to terms with the aftermath of their disfigurement.” But, I would like to see Incident in New Baghdad, about soldier Ethan McCord who can be seen saving two wounded in children in the “Collateral Murder” video released by WikiLeaks, take the award.

The animated short should go to The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. Here is the trailer for this fun short.

A Separation by Ashgar Farhadi is a captivating and dark drama mystery that tells the story of an Iranian man and his wife who split. The man hires a caregiver for his father, who has Alzheimer’s. The caregiver’s faith makes it difficult for the woman to give the man’s father the care he needs. One day, an incident happens and the caregiver falls down the stairs (or so she claims) and then the woman, who was apparently pregnant, tries to have the man convicted of manslaughter for giving her a miscarriage when she fell down the stairs. It’s a powerful film and, as the drums of war against Iran continue to beat, I expect Farhadi to remind us all of how good the Iranian people are when he accepts the award, because they are good people and because the people in this film are the characters who would be the most impacted if the country was bombed.

When I think about The Descendants, I think it would win a lot more awards tonight if it did not have to beat The Artist. Nonetheless, Alexander Payne should take home an award for adapted screenplay.

Woody Allen is my pick for original screenplay but I don’t think he will win the Oscar for Best Director. Director of The Artist, Michel Hazanavicius, should walk away with the award, along with a Best Picture award.

If you need a way to measure how good my picks might be, I have seen 21 of the films on Martin Scorsese’s list of 85 films you have to see to know anything about film. It’s a fantastic comprehensive list for anyone who doesn’t just like film but also is into the history of cinema. (And Lisa Derrick highlighted it in her post last night.)

I did like The Artist. From caleb36 here at FDL, this is, in my opinion, one of the best descriptions of why the film is so wonderful:

It is a charming and profound look at old Hollywood through French eyes. The onset of sound in the middle of the movie is a metaphor for the traumatic changes induced by the emergence of our contemporary world just about at the time the silent film period was ending.

Below are my picks. And, in case you are interested, here is my list of top films from 2011 that I put up at the end of last year.



Best Supporting Actor:

Will Win: Christopher Plummer (Beginners)

Should Win: Jonah Hill (Moneyball)

Best Actress:

Will Win: Viola Davis (The Help)

Should Win: Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn)

Best Supporting Actress:

Will Win: Octavia Spencer (The Help)

Should Win: Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids)

Best Animated Feature:

Will Win: Rango

Should Win: Chico & Rita

Best Art Direction:

Will Win: Hugo

Should Win: Hugo

Best Cinematography

Will Win: Tree of Life

Should Win: Tree of Life

Best Costume Design

Will Win: W.E.

Should Win: Hugo

Best Documentary Feature

Will Win: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory

Should Win: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory

Best Documentary Short

Will Win: Saving Face

Should Win: Incident in New Baghdad

Best Film Editing

Will Win: The Artist

Should Win: The Descendants

Best Foreign Language:

Will Win: A Separation

Should Win: A Separation

Best Makeup:

Will Win: The Iron Lady

Should Win: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Best Original Score:

Will Win: The Artist

Should Win: The Artist

Best Original Song:

Will Win: “Man or Muppet” (The Muppets)

Should Win: “Man or Muppet” (The Muppets)

Best Animated Short Film:

Will Win: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Best Live Action Short Film:

Will Win: The Shore

Best Sound Editing

Will Win: War Horse

Should Win: Hugo

Best Sound Mixing

Will Win: War Horse

Should Win: Hugo

Best Visual Effects

Will Win: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Should Win: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Best Adapted Screenplay

Will Win: The Descendants

Should Win: The Descendants

Best Original Screenplay

Will Win: Midnight in Paris

Should Win: Midnight in Paris

Best Actor

Will Win: Jean Dujardin (The Artist)

Should Win: Gary Oldman (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy)

Best Director:

Will Win: Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist)

Should Win: Alexander Payne (The Descendants)

Best Picture:

Will Win: The Artist

Should Win: The Descendants

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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."