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Oscar Predictions for 2012

Updated on February 13, 2013

Predicting the 2012 Oscar Race

This is an interesting year for the Oscars. In the Best Picture category, we have a silent movie (The Artist), an experimental/abstract film (The Tree of Life) and a movie starring a horse (War Horse). Any year when you have the likes of Spielberg, Scorsese and Woody Allen competing against each other, you know it’ll be interesting. This year, family films are heavily represented. If you look at the nine nominees, few of them have any adult subject matter or language. This may also be one of those years where the most nominated film (Hugo leads the pack with 11 nominations) comes out empty handed. Let’s take a look at the list…

*Best picture:

The Artist

The Descendants

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

The Help


Midnight in Paris


War Horse

Tree of Life

This is shaping up to be a two-horse race between The Artist and The Descendants, with Hugo running a distant third. While Hugo has the most nominations, it doesn’t have the buzz that the other two have, nor has it won the top spot on other awards shows (Like the Golden Globes, the National Board of Review, the LA Film Critic’s awards, etc.) so it seems a long shot to win. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was most likely nominated due to the subject matter (9-11) rather than its quality. (Important topics such as the Holocaust or 9-11 will never fail to get a nomination.) The Help had some early buzz but it’s lost its momentum and seems to have gotten lost in the crowd. Midnight in Paris is Woody Allen’s biggest hit ever but came out far too early in the season (films that are released before October almost never win) and it’s become overshadowed by more recent entries. Moneyball is also lacking buzz, mostly because sports movies don’t generally do that well at Oscar time. War Horse is a real dark horse in the race, suffering from advertising over-exposure and back-lash. Tree of Life never had a chance because it’s far too bizarre, abstract and experimental for most people.

And that brings us back to the Artist and the Descendants. The Artist gets points for originality, being a silent movie in 2011. And retro is in this year (Hugo, the Help, Midnight in Paris), so the Artist seems to be the film to beat. However, two things go against it. Firstly, comedies rarely ever win the big prize. The romantic comedy Shakespeare in Love (1998) was the last one, and before that Annie Hall (1977.) That’s two in 35 years. Not a great average. Secondly, relatively few people have seen the Artist since its mostly in limited release. (It’s been reported recently that many people have walked out on The Artist because they didn’t realize it was a silent film and so demanded their money back.) The academy likes it when lots of people have seen the film they choose. The Descendants also has the advantage of the Best Actor buzz for George Clooney. So its neck-and-neck to the finish line, but I think the superb quality, media buzz and originality of The Artist will edge out the Descendants.

My Pick: The Artist

(Possible spoiler: the Descendants.)

*Best Director:

Woody Allen “Midnight in Paris”

Michel Hazanavicius “The Artist

Terrance Malick “Tree of Life”

Alexander Payne “The Descendants”

Martin Scorsese “Hugo”

It’s generally a safe bet to figure that whatever wins best picture will also win best director. That’s what happens about 75%-80% of the time. And the Academy will surely want to reward director Michel Hazanavicius for his daring choice of making a silent film in 2011; Especially one as good as the Artist. Of course, the monkey wrench in the works could be Martin Scorsese who’s racked up a ton of other best director awards this year (The LA Film critics, a Golden Globe, National Board of Review) for Hugo. It’s logical to think that the most nominated film of the year may get at least one major award. It is the best reviewed film of the year. So it’s possible that Hugo may pull off an upset but I still say that the Artist has the momentum and it’ll take both best director and best picture.

My Choice: Michel Hazanavicius for the Artist.

(Possible spoiler: Martin Scorsese for Hugo.)

*Best Actor:

Demian Bichir “A Better Life”

George Clooney “The Descendants”

Jean Dujardin “The Artist”

Gary Oldman “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”

Brad Pitt “Moneyball”

I think this year the trophy is George Clooney’s to lose. He’s won the Golden Globe and all the buzz is surrounding him. Of course, Jean Dujardin also won a Golden Globe and is excellent in the Artist, but since the Descendants will likely suffer a double defeat in the top two categories, they can’t deny the film again, especially since Clooney has been the odds-on favorite for months.

My choice: George Clooney for The Descendants.

(Possible spoiler: Jean Dujardin for The Artist.)

*Best Actress:

Glen Close “Albert Nobbs”

Viola Davis “the Help”

Rooney Mara “the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

Meryl Streep “the Iron Lady”

Michelle Williams “My Week with Marilyn”

Common sense would say not to bet against that nomination juggernaut Meryl Streep, who continues to rack up a record number of nominations. Her strong performance in the Iron Lady seems to back up that wisdom. However, although the formidable Ms. Streep is nominated almost every year, she rarely wins the big prize. She got a another Golden Globe this year and I think she’ll have to be content with that because the momentum is all on the side of Michelle Williams who seems poised to join the Oscar Winner Club this year. Viola Davis is also a very strong contender with a good shot at the prize, but the lack of media buzz for The Help will not help her. The academy loves to reward actors/actresses for playing real-life people, which brings us back to Williams and Streep (Playing Marilyn Monroe and Margaret Thatcher) but I think Williams has the edge because she surprised everyone this year with a career-best performance.

My Pick: Michelle Williams for My Week with Marilyn.

(Possible Spoiler: Meryl Streep for the Iron Lady.)

*Best Supporting Actor:

Kenneth Branagh “My week with Marilyn”

Jonah Hill “Moneyball”

Nick Nolte “the Warrior”

Christopher Plummer “the Beginners”

Max Von Sydow “Extremely Loud and Incredibly close”

This is a very strong category with four extremely talented, veteran actors—and Jonah Hill. (What’s wrong with this picture?) Branagh, Nolte, Plummer and Von Sydow are all acting heavyweights and any one of the four could deservedly win, but I think the legendary Mr. Plummer will edge out his rivals due to his performance in Beginners, helped by a second great supporting turn in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Also, the academy loves it when straight A-list actors play against type and portray gay men (Milk, Philadelphia) so look for the old pro to add one more jewel to his crown.

My Choice: Christopher Plummer in The Beginners.

(Possible spoiler: Max Von Sydow in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.)

*Best Supporting Actress:

Berenice Bejo “the Artist”

Jessica Chastain “the Help”

Melissa McCarthy “Bridesmaids”

Janet McTeer “Albert Nobbs”

Octavia Spencer “the Help

The talented cast of The Help is doubly represented here. This is often a bad sign, since people from the same film will split their votes. (Think of Caan, Duvall and Pacino all being nominated for The Godfather and then splitting the vote, so that they all lost to Joel Grey in Cabaret.) That opens the door for Berenice Bejo to ride the coattails of the Artist to a possible win. However, the Help is one of those films with important subject matter and I don’t think it’ll be completely ignored by the Oscar voters. That fact favors Chastain and Spencer, but I think Spencer had the stronger performance and will edge out both her co-star and Bejo.

My Choice: Octavia Spencer for The Help.

(Possible spoiler: Bernice Bejo for The Artist.)

*Best Original Screenplay:

Woody Allen “Midnight in Paris

JC Chandor “Margin Call”

Asghar Farhadi “A Separation”

Michel Hazanavicius “The Artist”

Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo “Bridesmaids”

After many years of mediocre work, the legendary Mr. Allen finally came to the party with a vengeance and wrote one of his cleverest scripts with Midnight in Paris. The film may only appeal to intellectual snobs, but that only makes it more appealing to the academy. The Best Screenplay awards are often given as consolation prizes to films that won’t win anything else they’re nominated for, and since it’s unlikely that Woody will win Best picture or Director, I think he’ll walk away with his first Oscar in many years.

My Choice: Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen.

(Possible spoiler: the Artist by Michel Hazanavicius)

*Best Adapted Screenplay:

Alexander Payne, Nat Faxton and Jim Rash “the Descendants

John Logan “Hugo”

George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Beau Willmon “the Ides of March”

Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian “Moneyball”

Bridget O’Conner and Peter Straughn “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”

I think this will be another case of a screenplay award being given as a consolation prize. The Descendants was an early favorite before the Artist stole its buzz and I think many people who vote for the Artist as Best Picture may feel sorry for the Descendants, even though Clooney is likely to take home a statue for it, and give it a Best Screenplay win. Of course, Moneyball could also get a consolation prize, too, but I’m betting on the Descendants.

My choice: The Descendants by Alexander Payne, Nat Faxton and Jim Rash.

(Possible Spoiler: Moneyball by Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian.)

*Best Animated Feature:

“A Cat in Paris"

“Chico and Rita”

“Kung Fu Panda 2”

“Puss in Boots”


Rango is far and away the best animated film of the year and, I think, could justifiably have been nominated for Best Picture. Rango is another film that came out way too early in the year; however, this film is of such incredible quality that I can’t imagine the competition besting it.

My Choice: Rango by a mile. No competition.

*Best original Score:

John Williams “the Adventures of Tintin”

Ludovic Bource “the Artist”

Howard Shore “Hugo”

Alberto Iglesias “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”

John Williams “War Horse”

John Williams is a sentimental favorite, being such an icon of cinematic musical compositions. (Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Superman: the Movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, to name a few of his best.) However, this year the pro-Williams vote will be split between The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse, so I think that will hurt his chances of winning. The momentum of the Artist will fill the gap, because the irony of a silent film winning Best Score is too good to pass up.

Winner: The Artist

Possible Spoiler: Either of John Williams’ scores…Tintin or War horse.

*Best Song:

“Man or Muppet?” (the Muppets)

“Real in Rio” (Rio)

Only two choice here , and did anyone actually see Rio? Since The Muppets was a hit, and a sentimental favorite of many, look for it to win.

My Choice: Man or Muppet? (The Muppets)

*Best Visual Effects:

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; part 2”


“Real Steel”

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

“Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon”

The incredible Motion-Capture effects from Rise of the Planet of the Apes were ground-breaking.

My choice: Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

(Possible spoiler: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; part 2.)

So there you have it. Those are my picks. You’ve heard my reasoning, so all that’s left is to wait and see what happens on Oscar night.



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    • Robwrite profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      UPDATE--My Overall Score: I got 9 out of 12 right. I did pretty good.


    • Robwrite profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Today's the day. Although I won't find out until tomorrow night because I don't actually watch the Oscar broadcast. I'll read the results in the paper tomorrow.


    • FloraBreenRobison profile image


      6 years ago

      Not long now to find out if you are right or wrong...

    • Robwrite profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi colin; Always a pleasure to hear from you, and you always have some kind words for me. Thank you.

      I still intend you join you on facebook. I haven't forgotten.

      Thanks and be well,




      Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by,


    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 

      6 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      Great Hub. I am so glad Epi posted this on Facebook.. so glad I caught it.

      voted way up


    • epigramman profile image


      6 years ago

      ...well I just called you a great hub personality, writer and film buff at my new FB group - LET'S JUST TALK MUSIC OR CINEMA ...... and I have posted this timely hub for Oscar weekend with a direct link back here .....please join us there if you can - would love to see you and thank you as always for your support of my writing as well - lake erie time 7:18pm

    • Robwrite profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi Bruce; You never know what can happen but I'm feeling good about my picks. I'm sticking by Michelle Williams despite the Vegas odds. It'll be interesting to see how it all plays out.


    • Cogerson profile image


      6 years ago from Virginia

      Hey Rob....I was checking out the latest odds according to Vegas....and The Artist for Best Picture and Best Director are almost sure things according to Vegas....while Clooney is a 1 to 1 favorite as Best Actor....the only close race seems to be Best Actress....Meryl Streep is 1 to 1 while Viola Davis is 6 to 5. It will get interesting....and the Oscars are only three weeks away.

    • Robwrite profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi Beth; I think Christopher Plummer has a great chance at winning. The man is a legend. As for "Tree of Life", it's probably too odd for most people.

      glad you enjoyed reading,


    • bethperry profile image

      Beth Perry 

      6 years ago from Tennesee

      Robwrite, I enjoyed reading your take on this. If I have any favorites it is Christopher Plummer for BSA simply because he's Christopher Plummer. For best Picture I'd like to see Tree of Life take it, though I highly doubt it has the political savvy behind it to actually win.

      Thanks for the Hub, really loved reading!

    • Robwrite profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi Xenolit; You should try to catch some of these films because most of them are pretty darn good. I'm betting that "the Artist" and George Clooney will have their moment. A lot of people here seem to think "Rio" will get best song over the "Muppets" so maybe I'll be wrong about that one. We'll see.

      Ro b

    • Xenonlit profile image


      6 years ago

      Great job. I haven't seen any of the films,but I always enjoy the Oscars. With Billy Crystal back, are you kidding?

      The other interesting part of the Oscars is that the public is kept out of the voting, thank God. For this reason, The Artist, Clooney is close to getting his Oscar moment. Rio over Muppets because of the game.

    • Robwrite profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi Aruni; You think "the Descendants" will take it? You may be right, but I'm still leaning toward "the Artist".

      Thanks for reading,


    • arunii profile image


      6 years ago from Delhi

      Descendants is just released in india as i was eagerly waiting for the release. I can bet without even watching that this will win the oscar sure !

    • Robwrite profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi Jewels; I really enjoyed the "Descendants" too, and if not for "the Artist" I think it would be the likely winner. George Clooney is excellent in this, although I think his best-ever performance was in "Up in the Air".

      Glad you liked the film. It was a nice change of pace from the norm.


    • Jewels profile image


      6 years ago from Australia

      I just got back from watching the Descendants. Great film in that it was so true to life. No hollywood b**ls**t and it's the best acting by George I've seen to date.

    • Robwrite profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi Bruce; I'm not too surprised to hear that "Hugo" is making a late comeback, but the fact that it has yet to win any other Best Picture awards in other contests is a bad sign. The comeback may be a good sign for Scorsese to win the Best Director statue. If "the Descendants" is losing its momentum, that favors "the Artist".

      As for "Rio" I'm surprised that it made as much as it did, since it came and went with zero fanfare, but then again, it was released in 3-D and in many theaters 3D films charge more than 2D (In NY a 3D film at an IMAX theater is four dollars more than a 2D) so that could explain why it made so much. 'The Muppets' wasn't in 3D. 'Rio' still might win, though. We'll see what happens on Oscar night.

      Always good to hear from you and thanks for the kind words.


    • Cogerson profile image


      6 years ago from Virginia

      Nice picks Rob...I think I agree with almost all of your picks....although I would say that Hugo is now picking up some serious momentum with all of those nominations. I have read some recent articles on the matter and some other experts are saying The Descendants(Only 5 nominations will hurt) is losing steam...leaving The Artist and Hugo to battle it out....which I think The Artist will eventually win I agree with your pick just not the number 2 movie.

      As for Rio vs Muppets in the song category....I think way more people saw Rio than Muppets....Rio's box office was 144 million(18th best total of the year) to The Muppets 86 million(31st best total of the year). Plus my 5 year old and 2 year old can actually sing Real In I will go against you in that one category.

      Great job....and I think I will forgo doing a prediction hub and just link this hub to my Oscar I could not do it any better than this one....voted up and awesome.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 

      6 years ago

      Oh okay. I gotcha. Sorry, I misunderstood ya there. Well I can't comment on "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close", as I have yet to see it. However, it should be interesting to see how this plays out. I'll be sure to link this hub to my own predictions once I publish it. Unfortunately, it might be a while though, but i'll let you know once it's up. lol.

    • Robwrite profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi again steven; I agree that "Rio" wasn't well advertised, which is why I say it was obscure, meaning 'Relatively unknown. Not Famous.' I wasn't commenting on the quality.

      As for "Rango" I would have preferred it as a Best Picture nominee over "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close", even if it did spoil the Best Animated feature category.


    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 

      6 years ago

      Obscure film? Have you even seen it? No, if it would've gotten better advertising, then I think the movie would've been a bigger hit.

      As for "Kung Fu Panda 2", I don't think I said anything about it not being good, as I only said that "Rio" was better than it. If you want my honest opinion of "Kung Fu Panda 2", I thought it was a good family film. However, I doubt seriously it has any legitimate shot at winning "Best animated feature." as far as "rango" could've been nominated for "best picture", i'm actually glad the oscars DID NOT nominate it for best picture.

      Not because it wouldn't have deserved it, but because it would've just given away who's going to win "best animated feature." not that we don't already know who'll win, but still. one of the biggest gripes that i had about the last two academy award ceremonies is that by virtue of them nominating one "token" animated movie, it automatically gives away who the Oscar is going to give the award for "best animated feature" right off the bat. meaning that it's highly unlikely if an animated film is nominated for both "best picture" and "best animated feature", while the others aren't, then gee...I wonder who'll win the "Best animated feature." I don't know about you, but I put my money on the movie that's nominated in both those categories. Don't you agree? ;)

      Point being, it's stupid and ridiculous. Therefore, I'm glad that "Rango" wasn't nominated for "Best Picture" as it would've been like the Oscars saying, "Hey we're just going to give the "Best Animated Feature" to Rango this year, as all the other films are only nominated for prestige reasons." Not saying that's the case, but that's how it would've came off. Don't get me wrong, I agree with a lot of people that "Rango" was the best animated film of last year, but nominating a "token" animated film like they did the last two years was just plain wrong on the Academies' part.

    • Robwrite profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi Steven; "Rio" suffers from being a rather obscure film, not having been too successful or well advertised, and that will hurt its chances against "the Muppets". "Kung Fu Panda 2" was OK but no match for the wonderful "Rango".

      "Rise of the planet of the Apes" has got to be the film to beat for FX. I agree that "Hugo" was visually excellent but as you say, this is the last 'Potter' film and some people will want to award it something. Also, for sheer volume of effects-per-hour, 'Potter' outdoes most other films this year.

      'Hugo' might get some kind of award for Set Design or something like that.

      Thanks for the contribution to my hub,


    • Robwrite profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi Marie; If seeing "the Artist" makes you want to seek out the classic silent films then the director has done a great job. "Hugo" has that same effect.

      Thanks for reading,


    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 

      6 years ago

      I saw "Rio", and I would boldly say it's better than "Kung Fu Panda 2" if you ask me. However, I think the film itself suffered from lack of advertising, as it definitely was one of the better animated features of last year.

      As for the visual effects category, I agree that "rise of the planet of the apes" could be the front runner, but "hugo" is the only film in that category that can upset it. No offense to the new "harry potter" film, but all the special effects you've seen in that movie isn't that much different than any of the other cgi we've seen in the last few potter films, so if it does win, it'll only be because of it's popularity as a franchise, and due to the fact that the oscars will want to give it an award for it being the last movie within the said franchise.

      Other than that, I guess we'll have to wait and see. Good job putting this together.

    • Marie-Grace profile image


      6 years ago from Travelling, Always

      I love that a silent film has been made in the modern era of such quality that it's actually raking in the awards! Makes me want to see some of the original silent films, as well.

    • Robwrite profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi Flora; The academy awards is as much about industry politics as it is about quality. They tend to nominate good films (for the most part)but who wins is often determined by several variables aside from quality.

      I think all the Best Picture nominess deserve to be there this year except "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" which is only included because it's a 9-11 film.

      I think we'll have a few first time winners this year. Michelle Williams, Octavia Spencer and the director of "the Artist" all have good shots at winning. Of course, perrentials like Meryl Streep and Christopher Plummer are making their presense known.

      It's been a good year for Oscar calibre films and I'll be satisfied with which whoever wins (Unless it's Jonah Hill or "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close")

      Thanks for stopping by, Flora,


    • FloraBreenRobison profile image


      6 years ago

      Somehow I am often low in in percentage of my predictions. as such, I stopped trying to predict anything. Beyond knowing that voters will often give awards to old people for what is more a reference to their body of work than the specific film, I am rarely correct.

      Certainly, it is my *wish* that everything/everyone nominated deserves to be nominated and if that is correct, I would like the academy to seriously consider those artists who have not yet won an Oscar in the categories where there is at least one (as yet) non-winner.

      If the academy only ever considered the quality of the specific film nominated, that would be different. But we know that is not the case. Therefore...let them share the wealth, so to speak?

    • Robwrite profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi Jools: "Hugo" is a nomination-getter no doubt, but I doubt its going to be a win-getter. The "help" is bound to win something, probably a Supporting Actress win. (If the split vote doesn't kill the chance.)

      I was scratching my head about Jonah Hill being in the same category as Nolte, Branagh, Plummer and Von Sydow. If he actually wins, I will bang my head against the wall several times.

      Thanks for reading,


    • Robwrite profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi Alecia; I don't know what more surprising. That "Hugo" got so many nominations or that it probably won't win any of them. It's a good movie but its seen as Kids stuff and never got any Best Picture buzz. "Descendants" is a very good film. It's not Clooney's career best ("Up in the Air" was) but it's good enough to win the prize this year, unless "the artist" steals it away.

      Now we just have to wait for Oscar night. Thanks for reading,


    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools Hogg 

      6 years ago from North-East UK

      Rob, nice hub. I was quite shocked about Hugo getting so many votes mainly because it's hardly been mentioned over here. I hope The Help wins some prizes and I really liked Moneyball but didin't think Brad or Jonah were really standout performances.

      Time will tell.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I was surprised that Hugo got so many nominations with such a lack of buzz. I agree about Extremely Loud..., if it wasn't for the subject matter it would have been DOA. I really want to see the Descendants because of how it's been lauded and I've always wanted to see George Clooney as a dad.

      Jonah Hill threw me for a loop as well. But Moneyball in general is the antithesis of the conventional sports movie, it's inspirational with no real happy ending.

      I'm definitely interested to see how this turns out.

    • Robwrite profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Thanks. Glad you liked it.


    • dilipchandra12 profile image

      Dilip Chandra 

      6 years ago from India

      Good hub rob :)


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