In one week's time, it will all be over. The 84th Academy Awards will be a memory and anyone with a vested interest in the award season will breathe a sigh of relief. Somehow, the 2011-12 awards season seems poised to exceed its predecessor as the most boring, predictable and unrepresentative in recent memory.
Will be there any good news? Sure. If all goes as planned, Christopher Plummer could finally take home an Oscar in a rare feat where a "career win" is also well deserved; "A Separation" could be the most deserving best foreign-language Oscar winner in a good half decade (at least). That dude from "Flight of the Conchords" could take a golden boy home for one of the many great songs from "The Muppets," even if it comes as a result of the weirdest, smallest nominee batch ever. And depending on where you stand on the love/hate scale for Michel Hazanavicius's "The Artist," you could have plenty to smile about.
But for the viewers: Is there any suspense to be had? In a couple of categories, maybe. Best actor is the most high-profile horse race (Clooney, Dujardin and Pitt are all genuine possibilities), and more below-the-line categories like best documentary, best original screenplay, best cinematography and best costume design are all question marks. But that's likely not enough to rouse even the most excitable Oscar geek.
In the end, though, the show will belong to "The Artist," with "Hugo" reaping multiple technical and artistic nods. By the count of these predictions — which admittedly play it very safe (though considering this awards season, why shouldn't they?) — "The Artist" takes five, "Hugo" takes four. The only other multiple winner in this scenario is "The Help," which seems poised to win two acting statuettes.
Beyond them? Singular wins for "Beginners," "Midnight in Paris," "The Descendants," "Rango," "A Separation," "Undefeated," "Jane Eyre," "The Iron Lady," "The Muppets" and "Rise of the Planet of the Apes." That those 13 films could come to historically represent 2011 as a year in cinema is a considerable shame.
Who knows; maybe Melissa McCarthy will beat out the more favored scatologically tinged performance of Octavia Spencer in the best supporting actress category. Maybe Terrence Malick will take best director (even though he clearly won't be there to accept it). Maybe an unprecedented tie will find BFFs George Clooney and Brad Pitt on stage at the same time, where they'll profess their undying love for one another and make out while holding their matching little naked men. Maybe hell will freeze over.
Below is a quick and easy cheat sheet for those willing to trust Indiewire for their Oscar pools. Check out all the nominees and further commentary with regard to the predictions on our Oscar predictions chart.
Best Adapted Screenplay:
Who Will Win: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rush, "The Descendants"
Who Could Win: Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin & Stan Chervin, "Moneyball"
Who Should Win: Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin & Stan Chervin, "Moneyball"
Best Art Direction:
Who Will Win: Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo, "Hugo"
Who Could Win: Laurence Bennett and Robert Gould, "The Artist"
Who Should Win: Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo, "Hugo"
Best Sound Mixing:
Who Will Win: Tom Fleischman and John Midgley, "Hugo"
Who Could Win: Gary Rydstorm, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson and Stuart Wilson, "War Horse"
Who Should Win: David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Bo Persson, "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo"
Best Visual Effects:
Who Will Win: Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White and Daniel Barrett, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
Who Could Win: TIm Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler and John Richardson, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2"
Who Should Win: Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White and Daniel Barrett, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
Who Will Win: Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland, "The Iron Lady"
Who Could Win: Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight and Lisa Tomblin, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2"
Who Should Win: Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight and Lisa Tomblin, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2"
Best Animated Short:
Who Will Win: "The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore"
Who Could Win: "La Luna"
Who Should Win: "Wild Life"