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Academy Award predictions: The Artist versus Hugo for Best Picture

Martin Scorsese’s Hugo is the main challenger to The Artist for the the Best Picture award at this year's Oscars.

Meryl Streep or Viola Davis? George Clooney or Jean Dujardin? The Artist or Hugo?

When you’re speculating on who will win the Oscars, I find it’s best not to over-think.

Yes, most of the voters are older, white men. Actors, by and large. Many already retired. Possibly conservative.

Yes, the Writers Guild said just days ago that the scripts for Midnight in Paris and The Descendants are the best.

Yes, The Artist won big at England’s BAFTA awards last week and many other competitions before that.

But bring in as many precedents and sociological insights as you’ve got and still nobody knows anything. It’s a guessing game. More often than not, the academy members just vote for the obvious choice.

Meryl Streep is one of those. She disappeared into the role of The Iron Lady and found some humanity down in there. And accolades everywhere, including London and Berlin just last week. I can’t see the momentum stopping now. 
She’s won twice, but that was long ago. Since then she’s lost

 14 times. Susan Lucci anyone?

Some think Viola Davis has now jumped into the lead. Maybe, but probably too late. Her colleague in The Help, Octavia Spencer, who played the other black maid, is a safer bet to take the supporting actress award.  



On the men’s side, Christopher Plummer has to win as best supporting actor, not only for his dignified late-out-of the-closet dad in Beginners but also his long career (some 54 years now) of acting in the movies.

As for best actor, I think the voters will recognize how much Jean Dujardin was able to communicate in The Artist without saying a word (well, there was one). George Clooney said less with more words in The Descendants.

As for screenplays, I agree with the Writers’ Guild (see above).

Rango must be named the best full-length animated film. It’s clever, cheeky, action-filled and the best western in years.

In the Foreign Language category, much as I’m rooting for Canada’s Monsieur Lazhar and for Poland and Canada’s In Darkness, Iran’s A Separation should win. A simple story of a divorce expands smoothly into an examination of an entire culture.

And then there’s the big one: Best Picture. I can’t choose between my favorite, The Artist, and Hugo, which has more nominations (and therefore possibly more friends). War Horse is a length and a half behind.

The voters might decide The Artist is an inspired idea but a rather easily-done movie, whereas Hugo is a work of art. They don’t seem to vote very often for pure entertainment alone. They may also reward Martin Scorsese for his masterful venture into 3-D.


There, see? I’m over-thinking again. It’s a virtual tie and I can’t decide.

I know. I’ll flip a coin. Just a second here.

(pause, drum roll) 

Oh wow! A major upset. Hugo for Best Picture. And its usual buddy, Achievement in Direction, goes to Scorsese.

Well, it could happen.

Enjoy Kermit and Miss Piggy. They’ll be among the presenters.

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