*indicates a film/performance I have not yet seen
bold indicates my pick
Best Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Bérénice Bejo - The Artist
Jessica Chastain - The Help
Janet McTeer - Albert Nobbs*
Octavia Spencer - The Help
Shailene Woodley - The Descendants
Logic: Going wild card right off the bat. The Descendants has a lot of support (5 nominations), and Wooldley is the breakout star of the film. The ladies from The Help could split (Spencer was great, but I don't see the film winning more than one award), McTeer doesn't have a realistic chance, and Bejo, a presumptive frontrunner (in the most-nominated film), lacks the pizzazz that the HFPA typically goes for. A sweep for The Artist wouldn't shock me though.
My Hypothetical Vote: Spencer. I thought she gave the best performance (with Woodley second).
Snubs: Chastain in Take Shelter or The Tree of Life, Melissa McCarthy - Bridesmaids, Kirsten Dunst - Melancholia, Kiera Knightley - A Dangerous Method
Best Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Kenneth Branagh - My Week with Marilyn
Albert Brooks - Drive
Jonah Hill - Moneyball
Viggo Mortensen - A Dangerous Method
Christopher Plummer - Beginners
Logic: Plummer is the clear frontrunner and likely Oscar winner, but a case could be made for any nominee besides Mortensen (great, but not up to his usual transformative standards). Brooks is a close second and a legitimate Oscar threat, but Drive clearly didn't resonate with the HFPA. Branagh is just the type of actor and performance that usually does well here. Hill is, I think, a real dark horse (especially if Moneyball picks up any other awards). Plummer seems overdue for some awards recognition though, and this should be his year.
My Hypothetical Vote: Brooks. Just so Drive could win something (and I think the performances are about equal).
Snubs: Corey Stoll - Midnight in Paris, Patton Oswalt - Young Adult
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Jodie Foster - Carnage
Charlize Theron - Young Adult
Kristen Wiig - Bridesmaids
Michelle Williams - My Week with Marilyn
Kate Winslet - Carnage
Logic: God bless the HFPA for actually recognizing comedic performances. And, yes, Williams was great as Monroe, but the movie wasn't a comedy (or a musical) -- more of a lightweight diversion. Not the stuff awards are made of. And since The Artist seems poised to win Best Comedy, this will be the voters' chance to reward the surprise hit of the summer, Bridesmaids. As for the others, Theron was very good (the movie, not so much), and Carnage was excellent but ultimately too small of a film to be a threat.
My Hypothetical Vote: Wiig. The Carnage ladies were second, but they split my hypothetical vote of one.
Best Performance by An Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Jean Dujardin - The Artist
Brendan Gleeson - The Guard
Joseph Gordon-Levitt - 50/50
Ryan Gosling - Crazy, Stupid, Love*
Owen Wilson - Midnight in Paris
Logic: HFPA + French dude. 'Nuff said. But I'll expound (as I'm wont to do). The Artist was the most nominated film and could very well walk away with the most awards. I don't think it was actually as good as that, but it does seem to be right up the HFPA's alley. And Dujardin is certainly deserving -- it's the showiest performance of the year (in a good way). Gleeson and JGL were both excellent, but they picked the wrong year. Gosling and Wilson are just here because they're famous.
My Hypothetical Vote: Gleeson. The most unique performance/character of all the nominees. Dude crushed it as well.
Snubs: Both John C. Reilly and, especially, Chrisoph Waltz for Carnage, Charlie Day - Horrible Bosses
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama
Glenn Close - Albert Nobbs*
Viola Davis - The Help
Rooney Mara - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo*
Meryl Streep - The Iron Lady*
Tilda Swinton - We Need to Talk About Kevin*
Logic: So yeah. I've only seen one of these performances. So this is purely based on what I've read. Mara and Swinton don't figure to be serious threats (I'm looking forward to both films though). Close and Streep are respected veterans and can't be dismissed (and I'm not necessarily looking forward to either film). I think Close especially has a good shot at an Oscar. But I'm going with Davis because a) the movie/subject matter is total awards bait, b) the movie had a lot of other nominations but might not win anywhere else, and c) she's actually quite good (although not as good as Spencer). So there.
My Hypothetical Vote: Davis. Only one I've seen.
Snubs: Saoirse Ronan - Hanna, Elizabeth Olsen - Martha Macy May Marlene
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
George Clooney - The Descendants
Leonardo DiCaprio - J. Edgar*
Michael Fassbender - Shame
Ryan Gosling - The Ides of March
Brad Pitt - Moneyball
Logic: He's George fucking Clooney, that's why. Pitt is a real challenger, but it's a baseball movie and it's the HFPA. His performance also didn't require as much range as Clooney's. Fassbender was actually probably better than both of them, and I thought his schlong could have snagged a Supporting nom. Gosling was nominated for the wrong movie (Drive, duh) and Leo is this year's "Makeup Is Not The Same As Acting" nomination (presumably, as I haven't seen it, nor was I particularly interested).
My Hypothetical Vote: Fassbender. It's a flawed movie, certainly, but nobody portrayed a flawed character better than Fassbender this year.
Snubs: Ryan Gosling - Drive, Michael Shannon - Take Shelter, Gary Oldman - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Best Screenplay - Motion Picture
Michel Hazanavicius - The Artist
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash - The Descendants
George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon - The Ides of March
Woody Allen - Midnight in Paris
Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin, Stan Cherwin - Moneyball
Logic: Talk about a loaded category. The only one that would surprise me with a win is The Ides of March, which wouldn't be here without Clooney's name attached (and probably shouldn't be anyway). I think Moneyball goes away without a trophy, although Zaillian and Sorkin's names certainly gives one pause. Believe me, I know a lot more goes into a screenplay than dialogue, but I can't see The Artist winning (especially as the story was largely derivative). I really think The Descendants has a great shot, but this has the makings of a "spread the wealth" night, so Woody Allen takes this in a mild upset (great script though).
My Hypothetical Vote: Allen. Although it would be great to see Dean Pelton from Community give an acceptance speech.
Snubs: Hossein Amini - Drive, Mike Mills - Beginners, Roman Polanski and Yasmina Reza - Carnage, Annie Mumulo and Kristen Wiig - Bridesmaids, Will Reiser - 50/50
Best Director - Motion Picture
Woody Allen - Midnight in Paris
George Clooney - The Ides of March
Michel Hazanavicius - The Artist
Alexander Payne - The Descendants
Martin Scorsese - Hugo
Logic: Man, this is one tough three-horse race to handicap. Allen and Clooney don't figure to be in it, but I could see the trophy going to any of the other three. Despite a lack of support in any other category, I think Hugo has a real shot at the two major awards. I'm not sure if I've ever seen such a charming love letter to cinema -- and I'm not sure if I've ever described a Scorsese movie as "charming" before either. I would probably put Payne in 3rd place at this point, but he's definitely not out of the running. In the end though, I think the voters go with Hazanavicius for the boldness of making a more-or-less silent film in this century.
My Hypothetical Vote: Hazanavicius. The movie was clearly very meticulously made, and both Payne and Scorsese have better directing jobs on their résumés.
Snubs: Nicolas Winding Refn - Drive, Steven Soderbergh - Contagion, Pedro Almodóvar - The Skin I Live In
Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Midnight in Paris
My Week with Marilyn
Logic: I previsioned it. But seriously, I don't see it going down any other way. Bridesmaids is the only serious challenger (maaaybe Midnight in Paris), but the HFPA usually goes with movies that will also likely be nominated for Oscars in this category (and The Artist is probably the current Best Picture favorite). Both 50/50 and Midnight in Paris are deserving nominees but aren't heavyweights here, and I can't for the life of my figure out why My Week with Marilyn is nominated here. It's gotta be The Artist here.
My Hypothetical Vote: Midnight in Paris. Probably top-5 of the year for me. A whimsical meditation on nostalgia that overcomes its excess of Wilson.
Snubs: Beginners, Carnage
Best Motion Picture - Drama
The Ides of March
Logic: While I would love to see Hugo pull off the upset (and I think it can), The Descendants has too many nominations in other categories to not win. Although it is the HFPA and they don't play by the normal rules, I can't see a movie with no acting (Hugo, War Horse), writing (same two, plus The Help), or directing (The Help and Moneyball again, plus War Horse -- how did that one sneak in, by the way?) nominations winning. Interesting that The Ides of March is the only other film with nominations in all three categories. But I think it's too indelibly American to win. On the other hand, The Descendants' story is pretty universal. That, combined with Clooney's star power and the previously mentioned other nominations, puts it over the top.
My Hypothetical Vote: Hugo. I was surprised by how taken I was with the movie. It hit all the right notes -- pitch-perfect.
Snubs: Drive (obviously), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Melancholia
TV Awards: I don't pay nearly as much attention to the TV awards, so I'll abstain from guessing. I'll just say that I hope Game of Thrones wins everything and that Glee loses everything. Get on that, HFPA.
That's my fiftieth of a dollar, and I'm sticking to it. Caveat: All picks subject to change. Eagerly awaiting the show -- can't wait to see Gervais in action again. Oscar nominations are just around the corner, and I'll post my best movies list after I see the last few awards contenders. Until then...