Stephen Simon Handicaps The Oscars (Part 2)

January 27, 2012


  • “The Artist” Guillaume Schiffman
  • “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” Jeff Cronenweth
  • “Hugo” Robert Richardson
  • “The Tree of Life” Emmanuel Lubezki
  • “War Horse” Janusz Kaminski

While the film itself  may be too polarizing for many of my Academy brethren, the cinematography in “The Tree of Life” is so breathtaking that it deserves to win this category easily. Whether it does or not, it should.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

  • “The Descendants” Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
  • “Hugo” Screenplay by John Logan
  • “The Ides of March” Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon
  • “Moneyball” Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin; Story by Stan Chervin
  • “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” Screenplay by Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan

My 28 years as an Academy voter makes me think that Messrs. Payne, Nixon, and Rash will win for “The Descendants”.  Mr. Payne is particularly and deservedly respected in the Actor’s Branch, which has by the far the most voting members of any Academy Branch. In addition, “The Artist” will almost certainly win Best Picture and Best Director so this and the Actor Oscar for George Clooney will be the only ways that the Academy as a whole can honor Mr. Payne and his film.


  • “The Artist” Michel Hazanavicius
  • “The Descendants” Alexander Payne
  • “Hugo” Martin Scorsese
  • “Midnight in Paris” Woody Allen
  • “The Tree of Life” Terrence Malick

I loved all five of these films. My strong sense is that Mr. Hazanavicius will win because “The Artist” is a wonderful, ingenious film that will almost certainly win Best Picture and these two awards almost always go in tandem. That being said, my choice would be Mr. Malick.  While “The Artist” does have historical antecedents, I’ve never seen anything remotely like “The Tree of Life”. As audacious as “The Artist” is, “The Tree of Life” is, to me, one of the great achievements in film history.

Writing (Original Screenplay)

  • “The Artist” Written by Michel Hazanavicius
  • “Bridesmaids” Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig
  • “Margin Call” Written by J.C. Chandor
  • “Midnight in Paris” Written by Woody Allen
  • “A Separation” Written by Asghar Farhadi

I’d be very surprised if anyone other than Mr. Hazanavicius wins. If there was a big upset here it might be “The Separation” but I think that Mr. Hazanavicius is going to hit the  trifecta: writing, directing, and picture.

Best Picture

  • “The Artist” Thomas Langmann, Producer
  • “The Descendants” Jim Burke, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, Producers
  • “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” Scott Rudin, Producer
  • “The Help” Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan, Producers
  • “Hugo” Graham King and Martin Scorsese, Producers
  • “Midnight in Paris” Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum, Producers
  • “Moneyball” Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt, Producers
  • “The Tree of Life” Nominees to be determined
  • “War HorseSteven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers

6 of these films were on my own nomination list this year. The fact that there are 9 nominees is very interesting because in this year’s nominating procedure at least 250 Academy voters had to list a film as their first choice for it to receive a nomination. That means at least 2250 of the 6000 Academy voters voted for different first choices. Does that mean a chance for a surprise? Answer: no! While “The Tree of Life” is still my personal favorite film of 2011,  “The Artist” (which I also loved) is the overwhelming favorite here and it’s hard for me to imagine any other film winning.

Oh, and one other category:


It will be so good to see you back where you belong, Billy Crystal!!


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Judy Cochrane January 27, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Hi Simon,
Hope you are feeling well. I agree with you on Best Picture to The Artist. It is so unique and moving and was a real treat for me to have a similar experience at a movie as my parents and grandparents did when they were young. Cheers, Judy


Stephen Simon January 27, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Thanks for your comment and your support, Judy, I’m feeling better than i have in about 30 years!…..


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