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Oscars 2012: What My Nominations Ballot Would Look Like

I used to do this as one article, calling it “My Oscar Nominations and What I Think Will Be Nominated,” but I realized that was stupid. You can’t mix personal feelings and what you think is actually gonna happen. It’s like when you do football pools with friends — there’s a difference between wanting certain teams to beat other teams and then being able to go, “There’s no way that’s gonna happen.” You have to keep it separate.

So today, I’m going to tell you what I’d nominate, if I had a ballot (and could randomly vote for all the categories, since, as you should know, the way the Oscar nominations work is each branch votes on their particular area of expertise — the cinematographers vote for Best Cinematography, the writers Original and Adapted Screenplay and so on and so forth — and everyone gets to vote for Best Picture — and then that’s how the nominations are compiled. Then once there are nominees, everyone gets to vote on every category for the final ceremony). Mostly it’s just a mix of my favorite performances, films, directing jobs, scores, etc. of the year, mixed in a bit with the politicalness of it all. Since for some categories, I won’t really have five full nominees, so I’ll have to look a bit toward what’s in the conversation of being nominated and picking between those, or I’ll do what some people do and just blatantly vote for specific people the way the Globes nominate Meryl every year.

It’s completely subjective in every way and has nothing to do with anything except — this is what I liked. So I felt it best to separate it from where I try to be as objective and possible and guess what’s actually gonna happen. Since those are separate things entirely. So that’s tomorrow. Today — my shit.

So here’s what I’d put on my ballot if I had the ability to nominate stuff from every category:

Best Picture

All right. Not sure how to handle this one. They have that new system now. Which — here’s how that works:

Everyone in the Academy gets to vote for Best Picture. You get up to five choices. Your number one is really the one that counts. Since you need a certain percentage of #1 votes in order to get on. It’s like the Hall of Fame. If you don’t get a certain percentage of the votes, you’re out. It doesn’t matter how you did with #2 or #3 votes and such. I believe. Or maybe the others don’t count as much, but basically the #1 votes are what count.

So I’m wondering if I should do the five choices thing, or guess ten, or…

Actually, here’s what we’ll do. I’ll do both. I’ll put what I’d put on my ballot of five, and then, since this isn’t real, I’ll do the full ten thing, which I’ll get to in a second.

If I had a nominations ballot and could only nominate five movies for Best Picture, here’s what my ballot would look like:

1. Django Unchained

2. Les Misérables

3. Skyfall

4. Moonrise Kingdom

5. The Impossible

Not that this matters past the first one. I like that my nominees are basically my top five. I left off Looper in favor of The Impossible, in the perverse hopes that it could actually get on. So that would be my five.

The more fun way of doing this is to do it the way it actually turns out, which is — there’s a sliding scale of nominees, depending on the votes and stuff, it can be anywhere from 5-10 films. So what I’m gonna do is — I’m gonna list my top five (which are up there), and then I’m gonna do six to ten, in order. And however many Best Picture nominees there end up being, that’s where my list cuts off. If there are ten, then all of them are what I’d nominate. If they only nominate nine, like last year, then only the first nine are what I’d nominate. So that way I can gauge my personal list against the actual list (and they will actually be pretty close).

So here’s my Best Picture nominees list:

1. Django Unchained

2. Les Misérables

3. Skyfall

4. Moonrise Kingdom

5. The Impossible

6. Argo

7. Silver Linings Playbook

8. Looper

9. Lincoln

10. Killing Them Softly

Basically my top ten. I left off Dark Knight Rises, since I’m of the opinion — if you’re not gonna nominate the other one, don’t bother with this one. Let it be fully snubbed. Don’t give it the franchise nod. Like they wanted to do with Harry Potter. Just leave it off. Then, since the last few don’t really matter, I put on Killing Them Softly as a show of support for how much I love that movie. I know it’ll never happen in a million years, but at that point, I’m just saying what I really liked. I could have easily also put Cloud Atlas on there as well. But I didn’t. I like this list.

I’m also probably gonna have six the same as they do, which is pretty awesome, all things considered. We’ll get to which six (though it’s pretty obvious) tomorrow. Today’s about my opinions. Tomorrow’s about what’s most likely gonna actually happen.

Also, my vote is Django.

- – – – -

Best Director

Well damn… this is gonna be interesting. I never gave much thought to who I’d nominate here.

I guess it theoretically shouldn’t be much different than Best Picture. But me, being a fan of the Oscars, am gonna have to be influenced by that. So this might not (when we get to the actual list) line up exactly with my Best Picture list, but for the most part, I think they’ll work. But I haven’t thought about it before now, so the ellipsis is gonna represent my going in and figuring out who I’d nominate.

Okay, here’s my list:

Ben Affleck, Argo

Juan Antonio Bayona, The Impossible

Tom Hooper, Les Misérables

Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained

Joe Wright, Anna Karenina

I had to do it this way. I thought The Impossible was fucking riveting. I don’t care that I don’t know who this guy is (he directed The Orphanage), the job speaks for itself. And of all my talking about the brilliant directing of Anna Karenina – I felt I should. (Plus Wright was horribly snubbed for Atonement, so I stand by this.) The other three are likely to be nominated (Tarantino least so, but I think he’s got a pretty decent shot. Though I guess we’ll find out with those DGA nominations later.) My thing is — I’m focusing on the directing job. Sure, Lincoln was a great movie, but it’s not like the directing job blew you away. Same for David O. Russell. I understand they probably will be nominated (ditto Kathryn Bigelow), but the jobs themselves didn’t blow me away all that much. I only nominated which directing jobs I felt actually did something for me. To each his own.

Other people I considered but left off — Sam Mendes, obviously, for Skyfall, the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer for Cloud Atlas, Rian Johnson for Looper, Paul Thomas Anderson for The Master, and — that’s it, really. Bigelow, meh. Spielberg and Russell, no, just because I focused on the job more than the film. Ang Lee — meh. And Nolan was a no-go, since why would you, at this point?

I feel satisfied with this list. (Thinking about taking Affleck off, but I think he deserves it. So I’ll leave him.)

And my vote is Quentin. (And if Tom Hooper didn’t already have one of these, he might have been my vote.)

- – – – –  

Best Actor

Oh fuck… well this isn’t gonna be fun…

Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook

Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

Tom Holland, The Impossible

Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables

Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

Okay. That was after some doing. I kept Tom Holland here because it seems like he stands no shot at an actual nomination. I was gonna say they should do the Hailee Steinfeld thing and try to shoehorn him into Supporting, but honestly, both categories are so stacked this year, he’s fucked no matter where he goes. That said, I thought he gives a really powerful performance in that movie, and I didn’t want to throw on Denzel just to throw on Denzel. I thought Denzel was great, and I’ll be totally on board with his (probable) eventual nomination, but for my personal list — meh. Liked Richard Gere a lot, but he felt like he’d have more support in the acting community than someone like Tom Holland would (though, I don’t know… BAFTA…), and I wasn’t blown away by John Hawkes’s performance enough to vote for him the way everyone else is doing. I think that’s one of those, voting for the nature of the performance (and the actor) over the actual performance. I didn’t see all that much there to actually vote for him myself.

The one nominee I did leave off is Matt Damon for Promised Land. I thought he was terrific there, and no one is talking about it. So maybe I should go back and put him as #5, but I won’t, since it won’t matter anyway, since there are really only six people that can get on this, and we have #7 right there as well, waiting to jump up if someone falters. So it won’t matter at all. I doubt he’ll get it.

But — Day-Lewis… of course. Jackman was so fucking great (though the thing I worry about with him — since I thought for a minute he might be the only one with a legitimate chance to knock off Day-Lewis. Since, Bradley Cooper — not happening. For a win. Not happening — is that he’s not necessarily the lead of the movie. It’s very big and ensemble, and a lot of other people have decent sized parts in it. He doesn’t feel like the anchor of the movie the way Daniel Day-Lewis does. So that worries me. Though he was still incredible), so he’s definitely on. Cooper was awesome, and I fully support that nomination. Joaquin Phoenix to me — it’s gonna be a shame if and when they leave him off the Best Actor list this year (especially if they put Philip Seymour Hoffman on in Supporting. That, to me, is an all or nothing deal. You can’t have one without the other). And #5 is #5, as I’ve explained.

As for a vote — that’s tough. Do I want to go with the obvious? It’s either him or Hugh. And fuck it. Let’s go with Hugh. I like Hugh. But this seems like a landslide for Day-Lewis. I mean, how can it not be, at this point?

So this category felt pretty easy, and, while there were only like 7 or 8 choices, they all felt like a strong 7 or 8. Unlike…

Best Actress

Jesus. What the fuck do you do here? I went back and combed over every movie I’ve seen this year, looking for a female performance to nominate (not even vote for. Nominate), and I have to tell you — this year, it’s either gonna be Jennifer Lawrence or Jessica Chastain, with Naomi Watts as the potential (but very unlikely) spoiler, if they even nominate her. There’s nobody else. I barely came up with a fucking category for this one.

Here’s who I’d vote for:

Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty

Keira Knightley, Anna Karenina

Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

Naomi Watts, The Impossible

Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Smashed

These were really the only performances this year that I saw and could say, “Yeah… I’d nominate that.” And honestly, at least 30% of Keira’s has to do with her not being nominated for Atonement and the nature of the role. Otherwise — I didn’t think Marion Cotillard got enough screen time in her movie (they keep going back to the guy and his kickboxing and relegating her to a supporting part in the movie. Which — she kind of is. But I guess that’s the nature of the beast this year. Most of the probable nominees are basically supporting parts), Helen Mirren — please — Emannuelle Riva, meh (though in the realm of things, she was probably my #6), Quvenzhane Wallis — I just don’t see it at all — and Rachel Weisz I thought was okay. That’s your entire gamut of performances that are even in contention this year, and I found maybe four of them that I liked enough to want to vote for. And of all of those, the only one I’d even vote for is Jennifer Lawrence. I wish it wasn’t this way, but it is.

Somebody write some strong roles for woman in movies, would you, please?

(Also, how underrated is that Mary Elizabeth Winstead performance?)

Best Supporting Actor

There are a bunch of people I can pull from here. This is gonna be a tough one. I’m actually gonna throw a few curveballs at you on this one.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained

Hal Holbrook, Promised Land

Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

Ewan McGregor, The Impossible

Christopher Walken, A Late Quartet

By the way, have I mentioned how much I love The Impossible yet? (And I’m not usually a big Ewan McGregor fan, so that should tell you something about how much I liked his performance.)

Then, for the others — Holbrook, I loved him in Promised Land. He’s at that age where everything he says is just dripping with emotion. Plus he was strong in Lincoln too. Same for Walken. He was also terrific in Seven Psychopaths, but absolutely no one is talking about how fucking good he is in A Late Quartet. First off, watch that movie and tell me it’s not way more engaging than you think it’s going to be, and then watch his performance, specifically the monologue he has at the very end, and tell me that’s not Academy Award worthy. The great thing about it is, you get the full range of Walken performances in those two. in Seven Psychopaths, they’re playing to his most “Walken”-ness, and A Late Quartet – none of that. This is good Walken. I’m telling you. If you only know him from his recent days, watch this fucking movie. He’s so low-key in this that it’s ridiculous. He’s — perfect. Seriously. I wish he’d get nominated, because that’s one of the best supporting parts I’ve seen this year. Bar none.

Then — Tommy Lee Jones is Tommy Lee Jones, and while the performance is very one note, it almost steals the movie from Daniel Day-Lewis. So I totally support the nomination. And Leo — no joke — I read that script. His character was the least interesting one in it. What he brought to the table there, and how he played that character — he’s actually the person I’d vote for here. I hope he gets nominated so I can vote for him on my own personal ballot, because he’s so fucking good in that movie. That dinner scene — he instilled more fear in me than Christoph Waltz did in the opening scene of Inlgourious Basterds, which shouldn’t be the case, because between those two characters, Waltz was infinitely more dangerous. (Though that one could be argued, I guess.) Still — I fucking hope he, of all of these five, is the one to get it.

Now, as for the omissions — I love Alan Arkin, but he didn’t really do anything special in Argo. Mostly he did what the script gave him and was himself. Which will likely land him a nomination, and I’ll probably be okay with that (depending on how the rest of the category goes). Javier Bardem — I… I don’t see it. But I support it in the sense of, “Let a Bond villain get nominated.” I love Skyfall to pieces, so why wouldn’t I be okay with it? But personally, as a Bond fan and as someone who tries to be as objective as possible about things — I don’t see what was particularly worthy of a Best Supporting Actor nomination about that performance. Plus, the man has already won for playing an evil dude. I bought that character much more than I bought this one. (Not that I didn’t buy this one, I’m just saying — you kind of have to compare the two, if he’s gonna get nominated for the two.) So I’m not opposed to it. I just can’t vote for it myself. I can’t. I just don’t see it. And I love this franchise. Then De Niro — I liked him, but I still felt De Niro in that performance. It wasn’t quirk free, the way Walken’s performance was. I don’t care if he gets nominated, I just — I didn’t see much OCD in that performance. They’re talking about how he showed OCD, but trust me — my entire family is OCD. That’s not OCD. That’s a guy turning the remotes one way and having to hold onto a lucky handkerchief. And he asks about why one of his envelopes got out of place. That’s not real OCD. That’s movie OCD. Swing by my house if you want to see real OCD. And my uncle who starts cleaning his floor while the guests are still there, who has to repaint his entire house every three months, who, if his Christmas lights are not put up at 6 am the day after Thanksgiving, the entire week is ruined. THAT’S OCD. So no De Niro, because I felt other performances were way more impressive. Then — John Goodman. Great in Argo and especially great in Flight – but basically he was just John Goodman to me. Doing what he always does. And I’m cool with that, if they want to nominate him. But they’ve never nominated him before, and it’s not like the roles he had were all that much. (You’re gonna nominate him for this and not Barton Fink?) Flight, he got to have some fun in the third act, but otherwise — not substantial enough, especially considering his competition. I’d actually vote Arkin over him in that respect. And the last person who’s hovering around contention is McConaughey. Who is interesting. He was in Magic Mike, and was terrific. He was in Killer Joe, and was terrific. And he was also in Bernie and The Paperboy, which, the former was whatever (he’s not really in it all that much) and the latter he’s just sort of there. Either way — he’s got a very impressive resume for the year. What I actually see most likely happening with him is, he doesn’t get anything this year, but this works in his favor next year, where he has a (probably. Or possibly) juicy supporting role in The Wolf of Wall Street, and he’s in The Dallas Buyers Club, where he plays a guy with AIDS. So assuming those performances are worth the salt, I’m seeing something happening real soon in the future for him, and then this year he banks up all his good will. Because he’s been really solid for the last few years and not many people have been talking about it. He was good in The Lincoln Lawyer, and he was so great in Tropic Thunder, and got next to no credit for that one, either. I think good things are coming his way, as long as he keeps it up with the good choices in material.

I already said my vote here is Leo.

Best Supporting Actress

This one was a little bit easier for me than Best Actress. Since I had a few that I knew I wanted to nominate, so it felt like an easier task, even though there are a lot less choices that I felt comfortable with.

Amy Adams, The Master

Judi Dench, Skyfall

Ann Dowd, Compliance

Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables

Maggie Smith, Quartet

All right, so maybe it wasn’t that easy. I actually really only had Hathaway (who I’m telling you right now is pretty much the only person I can vote for in this category) and Dowd. Dench I’m putting on because why the fuck not, I had no one else. And I love Judi. Maggie Smith I’m putting because I loved Quartet and I’d rather see them nominate her for that than The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (which is also the most likely film they’d nominate Judi for as well, if they nominate either of them). Though, if any supporting performance from Quartet should be nominated (since Maggie is technically lead), it’s Pauline Collins. Amy Adams I put on because at least I loved that film. I felt her character was woefully underdeveloped and she spent too much of the film just sort of sitting there, smiling and supporting her husband. I thought they were going in a complete Lady Macbeth direction with her character, and I was expecting it to be her pulling the strings of Hoffman. But once that possibility was out, she just sort of sat there and said, “I don’t like Joaquin Phoenix” over and over. But I love Amy Adams, so I figure why the fuck not? Though I probably should put on Helen Hunt in The Sessions. But to me, that’s kind of a package deal with Hawkes, and if I’m not nominating Hawkes, it doesn’t make much sense to nominate Hunt as well. (It’s really stupid logic, I know, but I’m weird like that. Hunt did give the better performance than Adams. But it’s not like my ballot is gonna be the actual ballot anyway, so just leave me to my weird shit. That’s why it’s my ballot.)

As for the people who I didn’t put on — I haven’t really seen what all the fuss is about with Sally Field in Lincoln. And I saw Nicole Kidman in The Paperboy a couple of days ago. It’s — I thought the performance would be flashier. I mean, she pees on Zac Efron, for christ’s sake. But — I thought she’d command a lot more of the screen than she does. I was hoping she’d be my #5, especially with the Globe and SAG nods. But I didn’t really see it. (Keep in mind, I’m talking about what I’d nominate, not what I think will be there/what I’d like to SEE there.) And then there’s Kelly Reilly in Flight, which… almost, but not really. Even in this year. After that, there’s no one left. Then you’re just pulling people from shit that’ll never happen. Like Emily Blunt in Looper. Which I’d only want to do because I liked the movie. Unless I’m forgetting someone, there really weren’t any solid female supporting performances here worth voting for, even ones that’ll never happen. (And as much as I want to say Kerry Washington… I can’t. She had almost no screen time in that movie. And that was my favorite movie of the year, too. I still won’t nominate her.) Some people want to say Jennifer Ehle in Zero Dark Thirty. I mean… if you want to. I wouldn’t do it on my list, but to each his own. Otherwise I got nothing. I was kind of hoping Jacki Weaver would have more to do in Silver Linings, so I could nominate her as a bonus for her Animal Kingdom nomination. But she didn’t. And everything else would be stretching for stuff from movies I liked but performances that weren’t really good enough to be nominated.

So I really don’t have anything for this one. Let’s just give it to Anne Hathaway already and move on.

Best Original Screenplay

Oh this is fun.

Arbitrage

Django Unchained

Flight

Looper

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Tough calls here. I liked a lot of scripts. I thought these were the ones that did the best job, narratively and such, presenting their films. I loved Bachelorette, but I probably wouldn’t nominate it. The Impossible felt more about the directing job than the writing job, but I bet if I read a screenplay, I might be all for it. (I’m almost positive that counts as original, since the idea was based on something that actually happened, but I don’t think it was based on any sort of prior material. Kind of like Milk. Though, outside of the premise thing. It’s based on real shit, but it’s an original screenplay.) The Master also feels a little weird for me, plus I wanted to show Arbitrage some love. Moonrise Kingdom – while I’m totally on board with a (probable) nomination there, I just didn’t want to go with the obvious when I know it’s gonna be nominated. I wanted to get Seeking a Friend on there and show some love for that. The Sessions – I get it, but, meh. Felt a little too indie for me. Which may only make sense to me, but whatever. Wouldn’t nominate it on my personal list. Seven Psychopaths was close, but it felt too much like Martin McDonaugh playing around to me than an actual great script. Like In Bruges was. That felt like it was about something, and had the fun bits. This just felt like all fun. So, close, but I put on Arbitrage instead. Then, Wreck-It Ralph – I almost threw in a vote for that, but it’s so hard for me to know what to do with Disney scripts, since you know like fifteen people worked on them, and the animators had a lot of say in story, and ad-libs in the booth get worked in — it’s a bit too murky for me to figure out what to do, there. But I’d be totally on board with a nomination (which won’t happen). That was one of the most original concepts I saw this year. Then, the last two — Zero Dark Thirty – I wasn’t as engaged as I was with The Hurt Locker, and it’s way too long. If I were to nominate it, I’d only be nominating it because that’s what you’re supposed to do with it. I didn’t think the script was particularly amazing, plus it turned the quest to find Osama Bin Laden into one woman’s personal mission that nobody else gave a fuck about (essentially). So I don’t see it, but to each his own.

Django is the vote. (Hey, remember when they didn’t give it to him for Basterds? Let’s hope they fucking rectify that this year. I can understand them going for Hurt Locker there, but this year, there’s no excuse.)

And now for Adapted…

Best Adapted Screenplay

Harder, because there’s a lot of tough competition here, but I’ll do my best…

Argo

Cloud Atlas

Lincoln

Promised Land

Silver Linings Playbook

Could I vote for Les Misérables? Does that count as a true screenplay? I’d totally vote for that if it was a legitimate contender. I think it might be. I’ll know tomorrow. Otherwise, Argo was brilliant, and should be there, and will. Same for Lincoln and Silver Linings. The other two — whatever. Promised Land was a real no-brainer for me. I loved it. But I’d put on Les Mis in a second if that’s a legitimate call. And Cloud Atlas – that was a tough thing to do, and they did it. So I’m putting it there. Life of Pi – whatever. The only other one I considered (and it’s not even Skyfall, I’ll have you know) was Quartet. Otherwise, I’m cool with my nominees. (Almost put on Killing Them Softly too, but there wasn’t any room.)

The vote, though — that’s tough. It’s a three-way tie between Argo, Lincoln and Silver Linings. I lean toward Russell on the, “You’ve never really gotten your due and I love your movie” aspect, but I lean toward Argo on the “concept, execution and how good it would look as a winner” aspect, and also there’s the fact that Lincoln, on a clear writing aspect is probably your easy winner. So I don’t know what to do. I’m going to abstain — courteously — on a vote until I have a final category (since you know all three are gonna be in it). I need more time. (Somewhere I hear Mr. Lincoln saying to me, “NOW! Now! Now!”)

Best Editing

See, now this is the shit I never gave much thought to. But it’ll (hopefully) be pretty easy to figure out.

Argo

Django Unchained

The Impossible

Les Misérables

Skyall

I mostly pulled those out of my ass. Editing is the hardest of all the categories, since, basically, in order to get a Best Picture win, you need to be nominated for Editing. So a lot of deserving editing jobs are gonna be ignored this year because shit like Lincoln is gonna get nominated. Which is why I put on Les Mis (and also because most of my other choices were ones I wasn’t 100% on board with for editing), despite the editing being a little fast for me at times. This is just a hard category to pick, since it always ends up being the Best Picture frontrunners. So you’re gonna see this category be Argo, Lincoln, Silver Linings and probably Zero Dark Thirty and then one other movie. Maybe Django, maybe not. It’s not about the actual editing, it’s about what’s gonna win. The fucking Descendants got nominated in this category last year over Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (and even Mission: Impossible). All bets are off with this one.

My vote is probably The Impossible. To give it something. Though honestly, give me any one of those and I’m cool. (Though I guess Skyfall is the one I should have there.)

Best Cinematography

This one is easier, since it’s not so tied to other categories. I can just pick out what I thought were the most gorgeously shot films of the year.

Anna Karenina

Django Unchained

Les Misérables

The Master

Skyfall

Major props to Lincoln, as well. I just felt some of the images in The Master were more vivid. This is gonna be a tough category, and something’s gonna be left off. (So help me, Academy, if it’s Roger Deakins again, I swear to god…) And The Impossible, again, was also right there for me. But it was a tough year.

I left off Dark Knight Rises because of the competition. Argo – meh, for cinematography. Life of Pi seemed mostly CG to me, but it’ll probably get on. (I cannot say the same about The Hobbit.) Moonrise kind of looked like it was shot in Instagram. Cloud Atlas — there was no room. Zero Dark Thirty – what cinematography? It’s the fucking desert or a torture facility. I’m gonna nominate them for night vision?

Otherwise, that’s pretty much everything. I love my list. I hope that’s the actual list.

Skyfall is the vote. Just fucking give one to Deakins already, motherfuckers.

Best Original Score

Oh, this is tough. I haven’t finished listening to the scores yet. Do I have five yet that I’d nominate?

I can’t nominate Les Mis, can I?

Anna Karenina

Cloud Atlas

Life of Pi

Skyfall

Wreck-It Ralph

That’s five. I also have really loved Brave, but one animated is more than enough for me. The Master and Dark Knight Rises were right there for me, but I decided to show Life of Pi some love, since that was the most likely one to get on, and because I thought that was the actual best part of the movie, the score. Otherwise — I hope Cloud Atlas gets on. That was my favorite score of the year, next to Skyfall. And Anna Karenina was just fucking beautiful to listen to. So I’m rooting for those most of all.

The vote is Cloud Atlas.

But seriously, can I actually vote for Les Mis? (And I’m only half serious about that.)

Best Original Song

I’ll first link you to this, which is the article I wrote up with links to all the songs I could find (which were all but like, six, or something. And the ones I couldn’t find didn’t matter at all). And my favorites really haven’t changed much since then. Maybe slightly, since I’ve seen some of them in context, but still — mostly the same.

Here’s what I’d nominate:

“Touch the Sky,” from Brave

“Ancora Qui,” from Django Unchained

“Who Did That To You?” from Django Unchained

“Still Alive,” from Paul Williams Still Alive

“Skyfall,” from Skyfall

I left off “Freedom,” from Django because I wanted to get Ennio Morricone another nomination. (And because I also think “Still Alive” is one of the best written songs of the year. I also left off “Suddenly” from Les Mis because it’s a mortal lock to be nominated and I don’t really care all that much for it. I’d rather try to get some Django songs on there. Aside from “Suddenly” and “Freedom,” “Everybody Needs a Best Friend” from Ted was also one I sadly couldn’t vote for because of space issues. And then “Learn Me Right” from Brave and “Strange Love” from Frankenweenie – I liked you, but there were too many ahead of you for me to consider you seriously for the nomination.

Now, I’m glad the music branch does things better now, so hopefully things will end up better. (Now there have to be five nominees and they’re just gonna vote for five and the five with the most votes get on. Which is a much better system. At least now well know their shitty choices are the result of poor taste, and not politicking.) Still — those are my votes.

The vote is “Skyfall.” Come on, now.

Best Animated Feature

Brave

Frankenweenie

From Up on Poppy Hill

Rise of the Guardians

Wreck-It Ralph

Those are the ones I’ve seen and liked. I haven’t seen A Liar’s Autobiography, nor have I seen The Painting or The Rabbi’s Cat. But I will, at some point, probably. Since I don’t really care all that much about Frankenweenie. I’d rather nominate one of the two I haven’t seen on animation alone (specifically The Rabbi’s Cat). But that felt unethical, to nominate something before seeing it. (Too much like something the Academy would do.) So I’ll leave Frankenweenie for now.

Pretty much this is gonna be your category, with probably ParaNorman in place of Poppy Hill.

The vote is Wreck-It Ralph.

Best Production Design

Oh fuck. This is tough. By the way, if you noticed, the new name of this category is Best PRODUCTION DESIGN now, since it’s more appropriate than Art Direction, even though Art Direction is a title I like a lot, just out of familiarity.

What do I do here… well, actually, this will probably be pretty easy, if I thought about it.

Anna Karenina

Django Unchained

Les Misérables

Lincoln

Skyfall

This was easy, and it could have been a lot harder. I’m gonna go through the ones I didn’t vote for and see if I should have.

Argo – meh. Sets weren’t that standout. It doesn’t need this. Beasts of the Southern Wild – it would need crazy support to get on. But even more so — wouldn’t voting for it here be voting for Hurricane Katrina? Cloud Atlas – meh. Good, but, don’t need to vote for it. Space is tight as it is. Dark Knight Rises – nah. Too strong a year. Ditto The Hobbit. Most of that was CG anyway. The Impossible almost made it on for me. But I left it off in favor of Lincoln, which was much more showy in its sets. Then — Life of Pi – it’s a fucking raft. Looper – nah. The Master – that was one that just missed for me too. Sets didn’t feel as important to the movie, though, as much as in the other ones (and as in There Will Blood). Moonrise Kingdom – not enough sets for me. Wes Anderson movies typically feel like one step above high school plays to me, sets-wise. (Which is funny, since… Rushmore.) And Zero Dark Thirty – the desert, and torture rooms. And generic government offices. No way.

So I like my choices.

The vote is — oh, shit. Either Anna Karenina or Les Mis. Probably Anna Karenina because they had to set that shit up so he could direct inside a theater. But it’s close.

Best Costumes

Anna Karenina

Django Unchained

Les Misérables

Lincoln

Mirror Mirror

Forgot about that last one, didn’t you? There’s always one of those that gets on. Something like Farewell, My Queen. They love them some Victorian shit. Or Tim Burton shit. Dark Shadows and such. But, for me — Anna Karenina, no brainer. And Mirror Mirror really impressed me. Lincoln, of course. Django had very memorable costumes too. And then Les Mis is another no-brainer. Thought about Cloud Atlas, but went for Mirror Mirror instead. And I also considered Argo, but nothing really jumped out for me there. That’s more one for the costume people, who know their shit. It’s hard for me as a layman to really pick contemporary (even contemporary-ish) shit, like Silver Linings Playbook. Though I did kind of want to vote for SkyfallThe Master was a possibility, as was Hyde Park on HudsonThe Hobbit, I didn’t bother with. Same for Hitchcock. I like my choices.

The vote is… Anna Karenina. They ignored the green dress, how about the red one?

Best Makeup

Well this is easy. There’s a shortlist for this. I’m just gonna pick my three and tell you the others on the shortlist. (Remember, only three get nominated here.)

Hitchcock

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Les Misérables

The other four on the shortlist are Lincoln, Looper, Men in Black 3 and Snow White and the Huntsman. I just picked the best films with the best makeup jobs. Theoretically, Men in Black 3 probably should be on there, since Les Mis didn’t do all that much, makeup-wise, but I have a hard time thinking it’s not gonna be nominated in every category in which it’s eligible. (Though it won’t get two acting nominations…. you know what I mean. Tech-wise.) Honestly, who cares about this one?

Best Visual Effects

This has a shortlist too.

Cloud Atlas

The Dark Knight Rises

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Life of Pi

Skyfall

The rest of the shortlist is The Amazing Spider-Man, John Carter, The Avengers, Prometheus and Snow White and the Huntsman. Almost voted for Prometheus instead of The Hobbit, but, I love Middle Earth. So — I had to vote for that. Otherwise — those are my choices.

Best Sound Mixing

The Dark Knight Rises

Django Unchained

Les Misérables

Skyfall

Wreck-It Ralph

If I remember correctly, Sound Editing is the dialogue and shit, and the actual sounds you put into the film, the sound effects and everything, and Sound Mixing is how everything sounds together. So let’s go with these five. I’m not gonna list everything else with a shot, since — why bother?

Best Sound Editing

Uhh… same five? Probably, right? Why waste time? Actually, wait, one change…

The Dark Knight Rises

Django Unchained

Les Misérables

Looper

Skyfall

- – – – -

All right, so I won’t be doing every category. I haven’t seen any documentaries, short or feature, and I haven’t seen any shorts. And I haven’t finished watching the foreign language films, so I’ll wait on those. I’ll just guess what I think will be nominated on those. And Sound Editing and Sound Mixing I really don’t care enough about to vote for.

So that’s everything. Now, tomorrow, I do pretty much the flip side of this, and guess what I think is going to be nominated in these categories.

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