An Analysis – Oscar Predictions

Well, what a weak year it has been. Not that there haven’t been movies and performances that I have liked, but nothing is easy to point to and say: “this is a great piece of cinema that deserve accolades and will be talked about years from now.” The Academy has done little to help here, with many random—and, in some cases, dismal—nomination choices. But still, they have to give these awards to someone. So, here are my guesses and personal choices for the Academy Awards.

Best Supporting Actress:

Bérénice Bejo, The Artist
Jessica Chastain,The Help
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer, The Help

Will win: Octavia Spencer

Should win: Bérénice Bejo

Ocativa Spencer

Analysis: Spencer has been sweeping most of the major critic awards, including the Broadcast Film Critics, The Golden Globes, the BAFTAs and the SAG awards. It would take a miracle for her to lose here.

Personal Bias: I could easily remove all but Bérénice Bejo from this line-up. I found all The Help acting to be very surface level with little depth, including Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain. Melissa McCarthy I found to be loud but not really interesting or that funny in Bridesmaids. Janet McTeer was fine in Albert Nobbs, but nothing earth-shattering. My dream line-up would be Bérénice Bejo in The Artist, Carey Mulligan in Shame, Jessica Chastain in The Tree of Life, Shailene Woodley in The Descendents, and Jessica Chastain in Take Shelter. At this point I would then reward Jessica Chastain for her beautiful and heartrending yet still strong-minded performance in Take Shelter.

But since that is not to be, I am going with Bérénice Bejo. Besides her being the only nominee I like, she brings grace and also comedic timing to her performance in The Artist. She is an emotional character with only her face to convey her feelings to us, while also making impressive use of her surroundings (and a brilliant scene with her using a coat rack).

Best Supporting Actor:

Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Nick Nolte, Warrior
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Will win: Christopher Plummer

Should win: Jonah Hill

Christopher Plummer

Analysis: Like Spencer, Plummer has been sweeping all the awards this year, including Broadcast Film Critics, The Golden Globes, the BAFTAs and the SAG awards. That, and he is a long-running, beloved actor who doesn’t have an Oscar—the Best Supporting Actor award has been a great place for these make-up Oscars.

Personal Bias: I am behind in this category more than the others; plus, the exclusion of Albert Brooks from Drive leaves me without a frontrunner. I haven’t seen Nick Nolte in Warrior or Max von Sydow in Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. Kenneth Branagh has some choice moments in My Week with Marilyn, but he did not stay with me as a performance. With Plummer, I was a bigger fan of the overall movie than I was of his performance, which I found unremarkable. Hill is my choice, more for default than anything else. He isn’t extraordinary, but he does what is required and keeps the whole of the movie ensemble going, supporting Brad Pitt throughout. Everything you need in a good supporting performance.


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Benjamin is a film connoisseur and Oscar watcher who lives in Minneapolis and, when not reviewing movies, works at the Hennepin County Library.

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