‘The Artist,’ ‘Descendants’ and ‘War Horse’: Oscar’s Best Picture Race is Close, but the Films Don’t Blow Me Away


2012 Oscar PredictionsI’ve watched The Artist twice. I liked it the first time and maybe even liked it a little more the second time, but neither instance blew me away.

I’ve watched War Horse twice and as anyone that has read my review already knows, I wasn’t impressed.

I’ve only seen The Descendants once and I will watch it again, maybe even tonight, and while I liked it the first time I saw it, I can’t say it’s a film I actually have any real desire to return to.

These three films appear to be the lead contenders for Oscar’s Best Picture race if you were to begin handicapping. Personally, I think The Help is rising in the ranks as well, but I would never go so far as to call it a front-runner (even though I currently have it ranked over War Horse) as its performance at the Screen Actors Guild Awards will do more to determine where it stands than anything else.

However, whether it’s three films or four, none of them are likely to make my personal top ten list. And of the four I really only think The Artist will be remembered and talked about for years to come, and in large part due to the fact it’s a black-and-white silent film, a fact I believe plays a much larger role in the appreciation it has received than its actual quality.

So what gives? Am I the only one that looks elsewhere when considering the best films of 2011 and finds other choices to fill my list? Are these four films the movies that come to your mind first when compiling the “best” of the year?

I’m still sorting through what will become my top ten films of 2011, and The Descendants may in fact end up on that list after I watch it a second time. But I find it quite amazing that at this moment, when I look at the four films likely competing for this year’s Best Picture I don’t really have a single one I can root for and only one I would even care to root against.

Here, again, are my current predictions for Best Picture nominations and yes, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close remains despite its current 55% “Top Critics” rating at RottenTomatoes. Will it become the worst reviewed film to ever be nominated for Best Picture or will the tide begin to turn once the rest of the country’s critics begin weighing in? It’s tough to say, but I’m not counting it out yet, though it most certainly is down.

  1. The Descendants (dir. Alexander Payne)
  2. The Artist (dir. Michel Hazanavicius)
  3. The Help (dir. Tate Taylor)
  4. War Horse (dir. Steven Spielberg)
  5. Moneyball (dir. Bennett Miller)
  6. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (dir. Stephen Daldry)
  7. Hugo (dir. Martin Scorsese)
  8. Midnight in Paris (dir. Woody Allen)

You can see my full list of Best Picture predictions right here, and outside of what you see above at this moment I think The Tree of Life is the only other film seriously competing for a nomination and I don’t see the field being larger than eight and if it worms back down to nine that is where Extremely Loud may most likely falter.