I think I’ve only seen one movie up for an Academy Award this year (“Midnight in Paris”) but my friend Cheryl is my go-to gal when it comes to all things about movies and books. I knew she was a school librarian but had no idea why she was such a movie fan until she sent me her latest post.
Turns out Cheryl’s grandfather, aunt and dad did all the shooting for the actors in Annie Oakley with Barbara Stanwyck in 1935. They also worked as sharpshooters in the Howard Hughes’ 1930s film Hell’s Angels. Every since the age of 8, Cheryl has never missed an Academy Awards show. Fun food, engaging conversation, breath holding and finger crossing was the way Cheryl describes Oscar nights in her home.
She continues this tradition Sunday with her sister and her daughter Amy, as well as Amy’s best friend Tyler, food, drinks and Oscar ballots. Each win, she says, is worth 10 cents. (Not much, but it’s the win that’s important, right Cheryl?). Of course, the girls all love the pre-Oscar shows so they can rate the dresses and jewelry.
If you are like me and haven’t seen many of these movies, Cheryl gives us a little insight with her picks for Oscar night.
AND THE OSCAR GOES TO ….. by Cheryl Phillips
Best Supporting Actress: OCTAVIA SPENCER – The Help
Here are the other nominees: Bérénice Bejo – The Artist, Jessica Chastain – The Help, Melissa McCarthy -Bridesmaids, Janet McTeer – Albert Nobbs
Last fall I wrote a review of The Help on this blog and predicted Jessica Chastain would be nominated for her role as Celia Foote. Chastain was nominated and she did an amazing job of portraying Celia, but neither Chastain nor any of the others will beat out Octavia Spencer as Minnie in The Help. She has won the Golden Globe, the Critics Choice, the BAFTA (British Academy Award), and her peers gave her the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) award. Iʼm feeling pretty confident in predicting a win for Octavia in the Supporting category.
Best Support Actor: CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER – Beginners
The other nominees are Kenneth Branagh – My Week With Marilyn, Jonah Hill – Moneyball,
Nick Nolte – Warrior,
Max Von Sydow – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. (I will never understand how Jonah Hill got on this list and Ewan MacGregor in Beginners and Albert Brooks in Drive are not.)
Anyway, again all but the above mentioned did a great acting job in their respective films – Kenneth Branagh as Sir Laurence Olivier did an amazing job, as did Max Von Sydow in Extremely Loud….his body language was absolute perfection, but it is Christopher Plummer as a 75-year-old widower who comes out of the closet to his son that will take this award. Over the years Plummer has given us so many great performances and there is no doubt his peers will want to honor him. Since Beginners was a small independent film that was out last summer and, of course, did not play in Santa Clarita, thought you might like to see a bit of his acting before the awards Sunday night.
Best Actress: VIOLA DAVIS – The Help
Both the Best Actress and Supporting Actress nominees gave us stunning performances this year. Last week I saw Meryl Streep in Iron Lady and, as always, she never lets me down. Her depiction of Margaret Thatcher in appearance, speech and demeanor was flawless. She captures the aging process and respectfully deals with Thatcher’s dementia with dignity. But it is Viola Davis as Abilene in The Help that’s my prediction for the win in the Best Actress category. Davis didn’t have any news footage to review, speeches to listen to, or people to interview to prepare for her fictitious character. She only had her mom, who was a real maid in the pre-Civil Rights era South. Her mother’s painful memories and feelings of oppression are very real to this day, and she has yet to see her daughter’s portrayal of a maid in the early 1960s. Maybe that’s why I believed Abilene. I felt her silently swallow her pain each day. In her eyes I saw her sadness and loss, her love and tenderness. She was the quiet part of the movie with all the noisy Southern girls going on and on and on. She made the movie better. I hope she wins. (cinderellie side note: loved Davis in Doubt).
Best Actor: JEAN DUJARDIN – The Artist
This will be one of the more exciting calls of the night. The other nominees in this category are: George Clooney – The Descendants, Brad Pitt – Moneyball, Demian Bichir – A Better Life, and Gary Oldman – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
So far Clooney and Dujardin have split the awards. Clooney took the Critics Choice award and Dujardin has won the BAFTA and the SAG award. They both received a Best Actor Golden Globe for Musical and Drama. There is word out that Brad Pitt could be a possible spoiler in this category, so this will be the envelope to watch. Iʼm going to go with Jean Dujardin only because his peers gave him the SAG and they will be the ones voting here. Or maybe, George. I do love George………………….
BEST MOVIE: To Be Announced – There are a lot of nominees.
So here’s a head start via Cheryl. You still have time to run out and catch one of these performances. It always makes Oscar night more fun when you know what movie they are talking about.