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My 2012 Academy Awards Picks

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Oscar Night is my Super Bowl - I love everything from the fashions to the glitz to seeing those "Oscar Moments" - moments where someone unexpectedly wins, or someone has a beautiful speech, or there's a hilarious joke from the host.

The fact that Billy Crystal is back as host is just the icing on the cake.

I love filling out the ballots that Entertainment Weekly prints in its issue leading up to the Oscars, so without further ado, here are some of my picks for tonight. I'll be back tomorrow for a recap and see how well I did.

 

Best Picture Pick: The Artist

In a year where there wasn't a standout film a la Titanic, The Artist was a delightful nod to the past and featured the most charming leads: Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo. Had The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo been nominated, it might have been my sentimental, longshot pick. Then again, The Muppets probably should have taken it all, but it hasn't been recognized in any of the awards ceremonies.

Best Actor Pick: Jean Dujardin, The Artist

The man is a charmer and didn't say a word - all it took was that gorgeous smile, pencil-thin mustache, and tap dancing moves. A lot of people are giving the Oscar edge to George Clooney, but I wasn't wowed by The Descendants as much as I wanted to be. Plus, Jean Dujardin has picked up the Golden Globe, the SAG, and an Indie Spirit award for his work in the film. Let's make it a clean sweep - oui oui!

Best Actress Pick: Viola Davis, The Help

The Help was a film that made me laugh and made me cry - I laughed with my pick for Supporting Actress, Octavia Spencer, on screen - and I cried whenever I saw the pain in Viola Davis's eyes. It's unbelievable that this is her first leading role, but it certainly won't be her last. Meryl Streep is an unstoppable force, but I do hope that Viola's SAG win indicates that her peers want her to win Oscar.

Best Supporting Actor Pick: Christopher Plummer, Beginners

I haven't had the pleasure of seeing this film - darn the Lansing area for not keeping artsy films around for very long, if at all - but this category seems like a lock for Hollywood legend Christopher Plummer. His speeches, where he expresses his love and appreciation for his wife, has made my own heart flutter and swell. It's wonderful to see the acting community pay homage to a class act like Plummer, not as a "career" win, but for truly good work.

Best Supporting Actress Pick: Octavia Spencer, The Help

Minnie was a bright, hilarious spot in a film that was an emotional rollercoaster. Yet by the end of the film, one of her scenes also made me cry out of happiness. Octavia was perfect for the role, and her sweep of the awards shows thus far is an indication that the Academy is already engraving Octavia Spencer's name on her Oscar right now.

Writing (Original Screenplay): Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris

One of my favorite movies of the year, Midnight in Paris was a delight and complete surprise - I'm so glad that the secrets of this film weren't spoiled for us before we went to see it. The script was creative and playful, and had heart behind it. In another year, I could see Midnight in Paris being more of a contender for Best Picture, but unfortunately I think this is the only lock category for the film. Still, a must see for those who love history, love Paris, love whimsy, and love Owen Wilson.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay): Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, Moneyball

I love baseball, but math? Not so much. Leave it to Sorkin and Zaillian to take both subjects and turn the story of Moneyball into a riveting sports drama with elements of comedy. I really enjoyed this film and I enjoyed that quick, smart, witty dialogue that is a signature of Aaron Sorkin. The Descendants or The Ides of March are also big contenders in this category, but I'm putting my money on Moneyball.

Music (Original Song): Bret McKenzie, "Man or Muppet", The Muppets

I don't want to even get started about the fact that there are only two songs in this category, or the fact that "Life's a Happy Song" from The Muppets isn't nominated, but no matter. This one is the clear winner for me. I wish that they would be performing it during the Oscars, but a win for Bret McKenzie's hilarious tune "Man or Muppet" could be counted as a win for the entire movie's worth of delightful songs.

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