Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Oscar prediction, best picture

OK, time for the a best-picture prediction. I hated the Academy's switch to a 10-nominee format, and I'm no more fond of its variable approach: no more than 10 pictures, no less than five. The proliferation of nominees shows just how desperate the Academy is to expand interest in its golden moment. It can't have been lost on those who make the Academy's rules that many of the movies that find their way onto Oscar's short list aren't exactly blockbusters. Of this year's nominees, the closest we get to movies that feel as if they're aiming at head-nodding, mass approval are The Help and War Horse. It's difficult to believe that Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close -- which scored an embarrassing 46 on Rotten Tomatoes -- is even on the list. And although Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life stands as an impressive and singular work, I doubt whether it ranks among the top three vote-getters on Oscar's list.

Best picture, the nominees:
The Artist
The Descendants
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
The Help
Midnight in Paris
The Tree of Life
War Horse

I'm predicting a win for The Artist with a fallback to The Descendants. I read somewhere that a campaign had been launched to encourage voters to think about which of Oscar's nominees someone might want to watch years down the road. Voters who think that way may be pushed toward The Descendants as a more durable picture than The Artist, which has a high "delight" factor, but which, by its very nature (silent and black and white) seems a bit of a novelty. It's also possible that The Help will exert its appeal and win, especially if this proves to be a year of excessive vote-splitting. For all that, The Artist seems primed to take home the Oscar.

One more time. I won't be able to say this after today, so ....
Join me, Denver Post Film Critic Lisa Kennedy, Starz Denver Film Festival Director Britta Erickson and Oscar maven Bob Becker at 7:30 p.m. tonight -- that's Wed., Feb. 22 -- at the FilmCenter/Colfax, 2510 E. Colfax Ave. for a pre-Oscar Cinema Salon. The atmosphere will be informal and the talk will be lively.

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