FilmDrunk’s Guide to Oscar Season

The Oscars are a mere four months away, so of course that means it’s time to prognosticate. After a series of studio campaigns rife with glad-handing and handjobs, which films will The Academy choose to honor this year with a nomination? I have no f*cking clue considering that most of the current favorites aren’t available to screen yet for peons such as myself, but I sure as hell can analyze other people’s opinions to form my own.

Horse porn, 9/11, white people defying intolerance, and tinker tailors are just a few hot button subjects explored in this year’s likely Academy Awards contenders. There’s so much Oscarbaitin’ goin on you’ll need a wet towel to wipe off the praiseful pull-quotes flying at your face. Oscar loves nothing more than a hot load of 5 out of 5 stars. So allow me to officially kick off FilmDrunk’s 2012 Oscar coverage by breaking down which films I believe will get a nod next year.

War Horse

Show me a film about an animal that changes a child’s life and I’ll show you a happy Academy of Arts and Sciences. Now add that it’s directed by cinema wunderkind Steven Spielberg and I’ll show you spiteful fellow contenders. Oh, and it’s based on a novel that was also turned into an acclaimed stage play. This film got a nomination before the cameras even rolled.

War Horse tells the story of boy who goes off to France to rescue his horse from the trenches of World War I. Vince thinks that it looks like a horse porn, but I can only see that as a compliment. Never has a horse porn been produced with such quality and care. If all horse porns had the budget of a Spielberg film we might not be so quick to dismiss them. I mean, you might not be so quick to dismiss them. I’ve seen them all.

The Artist

Half of the Academy members have lost their hearing and are old enough to remember when blackface was charming, so a silent black and white film like The Artist might just be right up their alley. The film follows the rise and fall of a silent movie star played by French actor Jean Dujardin. Based on the synopsis, and the lack of CGI robots, it sounds like a snooze fest, but critics are loving the merde out of this film. At the Cannes Film Festival, they applauded it in several places, and not just because they were rubbing it in the Americans’ faces.

I have to say it’s refreshing to hear about a movie that relies on good old-fashioned storytelling to entertain.  Sure, no one will probably see it because it’s in a format that a lot of moviegoers won’t tolerate (why ain’t der words comin’ outta his mouth?!), but for the few who take on the challenge, it seems that they’ll be highly rewarded. Also, John Goodman and a Jack Russell Terrier are in it. Eeeeeee puppy!


I know Vince doesn’t want Moneyball anywhere on this list, but there’s no denying its warm reception from both audiences and critics alike. Brad Pitt gives a subtle yet effective performance as Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane, as does his hair. And here I thought he had to play a mental patient or a shriveled up old-man-baby to get recognition for his acting. [Why? Because he eats all the time and throws things? I GET IT, HE HAS QUIRKS. GUHHHHHH. -Vince]

Even if Moneyball does get a nomination for Best Picture, I don’t think it has a chance of winning. Baseball, or any sport for that matter, doesn’t really get the Academy in a gold statue-giving mood. They want to feel as if they are changing the world, even slightly, by bestowing the honor of Best Picture on a worthy candidate. It’s exactly the reason why racial intolerance has been eradicated since Crash won.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

It’s a Cold War spy story starring none other than Benedict Cumberbatch.  You don’t know who Benedict Cumberbatch is?  (*loosens glove finger-by-finger, gingerly slides it off hand, slaps you in the face*) You bluhy bugah.

Already a smash hit in the U.K., we’ll have to see how Americans react to so many British actors on screen at one time when Tinker Tailor hits theatres in the States. It’s already a shoo-in for the Best Wigs category. I’m sure Gary Oldman arrived on set with a chest of his own personal hairpieces, but the other actors don’t live their day-to-day lives as a chameleon. They require a trustworthy wig master.

The Help

Ooooooo, Lawdy! If there was ever a movie about white folks curin’ racism with folksiness than The Help is it. It has just the right amount of everything to delight Academy members, and Ron Howard wasn’t involved in any way. On second thought, that fire crotch daughter of his plays a major role, so maybe some Howardness rubbed off. You can’t escape his perfectly tailored heartwarming mediocrity!

I actually enjoyed The Help, even though the entire time I was fully aware of the moral lessons I was being spoon-fed. There’s just something about those Southern accents coming out of the mouths of three hot women that melts away my better judgment. And I mean the three white women ONLY because they are closer to my age. It has nothing to do with the color of their skin. Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis run circles around them as far as the acting is concerned. Wait, no, I’m not saying that black people are better runners! Arrrgghhhh!

Midnight in Paris

I haven’t seen this film yet, even though it’s playing at the cheap theater by my place, but you can read Vince’s review here. He proclaims that it’s much more than “Borscht belt knee-slappers interspersed amongst the polysyllabic bloviating and romanticized notions of intellectual cocktail chatter.” My Woody, how you’ve evolved!

The Academy loves Allen (they kibitz and play shuffleboard together), and considering Midnight in Paris is supposed to be one of his best films in years, there’s a good chance it could get a nomination. Hell, with ten slots available, there’s a good chance Just Go With It could get a nomination. If that happens, please tell my wife I love her. I’m leaving this world and taking one of you with me.

If anyone deserves a nod, it’s Rachel McAdams…

For dat ass.

The Ides of March

Baby Goose. Clooney. Gravitas. After a couple of weeks in release, the Oscar heat on the political thriller The Ides of March is cooling, but never count out Clooney. The second you do that is the second he appears behind you armed with a magnetic smile and a witty anecdote. You’ll give him his nomination, Academy. Oh yes you will.

If the film doesn’t get a Best Picture nod, it’s very likely that its actors will see some recognition. Clooney, Baby Goose, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Evan Rachel Wood all deliver commanding performances. However, Baby Goose talks more than he stares in this film, so the voters could be conflicted. The dude is really good at staring.

The Descendants

Sheesh, leave some for the rest of ‘em, Clooney. The silver-haired fox could be doing battle with himself when the nominations are announced in January. The Descendants follows the story of a wealthy Hawaiian man who takes his daughters on a road trip to find the man his wife has been having an affair with, after a boating accident leaves her critically injured.

If it sounds very Alexander Payne-y, it’s because Alexander Payne directed it. And I mean that in the best way possible. I love the quirkiness of his films. He’s a master at examining the most depressing sh*t imaginable, yet somehow making you laugh at it. Supposedly The Descendants is no exception. It’s been getting some loud claps and cheers at both the Telluride and Toronto International Film Festival.


Hugo marks master filmmaker Martin Scorsese’s first foray into 3D. An unfinished version of the film recently screened at the New York Film Festival, and critics are using words like “enchanting” and “magical” to describe it. Hugo is about an orphan who lives in the walls of a Paris train station, always making sure that the clock is wound and on time. Sacha Baron Cohen plays the station’s mustached strict inspector who wants to get rid of the dirty bum child living his walls.

We’ll have to wait on more reviews to see if Hugo is Oscar material, but it sounds like Scorsese has packed the film with enough whimsical cinematic magic to melt the heart of even the curmudgeonliest Academy member. I just hope they don’t seat the film’s young star Asa Butterfield next to Benedict Cumberbatch. The universe couldn’t handle the arrangement.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Now here’s a film that no one knows anything about yet, even those credible film bloggers. I’m merely speculating, but the subject matter in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo might be too much for Academy members to handle. I have no doubt that it’s well written, acted, directed, shot, scored, and everything else, but it’s become known as the “rape movie.” And to top it all off, the girl who gets sexually assaulted has no eyebrows. What kind of sick bastard does that to a person with no eyebrows? Hopefully voters find this artsy rather than perverse.

As a side note, it must be extremely painful shooting a rape scene for David Fincher. The guy has his actors open and close a door 80 times until it looks perfect. Now imagine that door is a pair of legs. There better be commentary on the DVD from Rooney Mara’s vagina.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Hmmmm. Tom Hanks acting alongside a precocious child in a film centered around the devastation of 9/11 directed by a man who’s been nominated for all of his previous films and written by an Oscar-winning screenwriter. Strap on your Gatling guns, War Horse. Someone’s trying to take your Oscar.

The film deserves an Oscar simply for being so Oscar-y. The trailer even features U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name,” a song that so badly wants you to hug the wind. This awards season, expect to see Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close get the recognition that it demands. I guess now I can’t use the title for my script about Harvey Fierstein stubbing his toe in a packed subway car.