Oscar winners: Surprises and sure things

Oscar-statuette

Image Credit: Albert Watson/OSCAR (r) STATUETTE © AMPAS (r)

We at EW managed a decent 18 for 24 in our Oscar predictions this year. But since I’m a glutton for punishment, instead of focusing on the categories we predicted correctly (including all three short-film prizes!), let’s look at the six we got wrong…and why.

Best Cinematography I thought The Tree of Life would take home this trophy for its stunningly gorgeous photography, with The Artist as a possible spoiler. Hugo was my third choice, and it won. Clearly overall support for the film helped Robert Richardson’s case, although the film does feature dazzling camerawork, particularly in the opening sequence.

Best Editing Thinking this prize would be part of an overall sweep, I predicted The Artist for the win. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was my third choice; though it’s the most dizzyingly cut film of the five, I thought it would prove too dark for the Academy.

Best Visual Effects It was a mistake to go with Rise of the Planet of the Apes when a film as beloved and prestigious as Hugo was also in the mix. I should have known Hugo would win more than three awards.

Best Documentary This was one of the toughest races to predict since there was no real frontrunner. Our thought process was that the more serious subject matter of Paradise Lost 3 would give it the edge, but you should never count out an inspiring sports story like Undefeated, especially when it has Harvey Weinstein in its corner.

Best Actor Jean Dujardin obviously had statistics on his side with his SAG and BAFTA wins. But I did hear from many voters who had opted for George Clooney. I should have remembered cases like The King’s Speech, Gladiator, and American Beauty where the same film won Best Picture and Best Actor.

Best Actress This was the only major award of the year that didn’t line up with its corresponding guild prize. Why? I can only surmise that the Academy’s older voters (as well as the East Coast and British contingencies) pushed Meryl Streep ahead of Viola Davis in what must have been a very close race. It’s also worth noting that there are still many people who view Davis’ role in The Help as supporting, while Streep dominated her film, appearing in nearly every scene.

Despite these six errors it was a pleasure covering the awards season this year. And I had a blast returning as the Academy’s red-carpet greeter and interviewing winners backstage for Oscar.com. I’m sure we’ll start up again before too long.

Dave on Twitter: @davekarger


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