The list below were predictions, written in December 2011. The official nominations are now in. Nine of the 10 predictions are accurate.
10. Man or Muppet, Bret McKenzie, The Muppets: Oh, you have got to be kidding me with this, Academy? How do you not nominate this song while nominating two (2) insipid Diane Warren songs from the Justin Bieber movie and Footloose? What a wonderful opportunity to have the Muppets perform at the Oscars, and you pass it up? Why? Is it because you didn’t want Billy Crystal to get his ass handed to him by Miss Piggy? Or is it just because you hate Muppets? And that’s why you didn’t ask them to host the show. God, I’m so angry right now.
9. David Fincher, Best Director, The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo. Too dark? Too intense? Did it make you feel uncomfortable? And sad? Well, that was the goddamn point: Nobody does intensity better than David Fincher, and he killed it with what just happened to be a movie based on a very popular series of books. That didn’t bother you when you gave all those (undeserved) nominations to Peter Jackson and The Lord of the Rings so I don’t know why you got a bug up your ass about The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo.
8. Winnie the Pooh, Best Animated Feature. It wasn’t the biggest box-office draw of the year, but it was sweet, touching, and simple, a rare 2-D flick in a field dominated by CGI. I know you have a hard-on for Pixar, and most years, you should: But Cars 2 had no business beating out Winnie the Pooh. Cars 2 was loud, crass, and incoherent, more of a commercial for merchandise than an actual film, while Winnie the Pooh was an honest to God delight.
7. Michael Shannon, Take Shelter: I’m glad you decided not to nominate Leonardo DiCaprio for a fairly staid performance in J. Edgar, but while I thought Brad Pitt was phenomenal in Moneyball, it’s mostly because Brad Pitt is a phenomenal guy onscreen. He doesn’t need to act; he just needs to be himself. He makes enough money that he doesn’t really need the Oscar recognition, either. But Michael Shannon? Goddamn, that guy blew up the joint in Take Shelter. And he played kind of a crazy guy, which I thought that the Academy liked? No? You’d rather give another nomination to Brad Pitt for a “Brad Pitt” performance? All right. Suit yourself.
6. Bridesmaids: Another year, another great comedy shut out because the Academy had its sense of humor surgically removed after Annie Hall. That sucks, too, because while Bridesmaids wasn’t the most important movie of the year, it was one of the most entertaining. And there are ten slots, for God’s sake. And you only used nine this year.
5. Elizabeth Olsen, Best Actress, Martha Marcy May Marlene: The Academy decided to play it safe, as usual, in this category, and while I can’t argue with the nominations of Glen Close (Albert Nobbs), Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn), and Viola Davis (The Help), I feel like the Academy gave Meryl Streep the nomination for The Iron Lady because she’s Meryl Streep and Charlize Theron because she’s pretty (OK, fine. She was also very good in Young Adult but it wasn’t that demanding a role). Still, there has to be room for the most electrifying and stunning debut performance of the year. Don’t hold the fact that she’s an Olsen sister against Elizabeth.
4. Senna, Best Documentary: Maybe there’s a technical reason you didn’t nominate Senna (or even put it on your short list), but whatever that technical reason might have been, ignore it. The best documentary of the year cannot be ignored simply because you have some sort of bias against foreign-language car racing docs. Admit it: You didn’t even watch it. You heard what it was about and refused to watch the screener. It’s too bad, because Senna was both compelling and devastating, a great documentary about a great character that deserved not only a nomination but a win.
3. Jonsi, We Bought a Zoo, Best Original Score: I understand why you shut out We Bought a Zoo: It’s a great film, but there are no heavy-handed Oscar-baiting themes, like the holocaust or Helen Kellerism. Maybe it’s a little too nice for your taste. But there’s no excuse for ignoring Jonsi’s soaring and original score. If there were MVPs handed out for films, Jonsi’s score would win hands down. It transformed a good movie into a great, uplifting weeper. (On the other hand, nice job is recognizing Trent Reznor’s score for The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo).
2. Andy Serkis, Planet of the Apes, Best Supporting Actor: Despite the fact that Fox pushed for a nomination, you refused to listen because the idea of a motion-capture gorilla being nominated for an acting award was a little too progressive for you. That’s a shame, because Serkis killed it, and gave us one of the most memorable performances of the year as an Ape.
1. Drive, Best Movie: Oh, I see how you are, Academy. No love for Nicholas Winding Refn. Did Drive crawl under your skin and haunt you? Oh, you didn’t care for it when the Baby Gosling took a boot to that dude’s head and turned it into hamburger? Or was it the moodiness, the atmospherics, and the slow burn? I know how you feel about slow burns, Academy. You like feel good movies with simple moral messages, which is why you nominated The Help in 17,000 categories. Nice. Well, congratulations on failing to recognize the year’s most intense film. Assholes.