The 84th Academy Awards: If I had been a voter

Once again today I’m going to be taking a look back at a recent Oscar lineup and explaining what my vote would have been in each of the big eight categories we all follow so intently each season. I previously mentioned that potentially I could do this once a week with previous Academy Award ceremonies, and while I’m going to be truing to do that, time will still tell. Again, if nothing else, this gives you an interesting look into my cinematic tastes. Over the course of the year you can sort of get a feel for what my current favorites are, but now we can look to the past a bit more.

Alright, here goes nothing:

Best Picture – Moneyball

The nominees here for this ceremony were The Artist, The Descendants, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, The Tree of Life, and War Horse. Obviously The Artist took it in real life, and Drive would have been my clear pick had it been nominated, but if I had been a voter my choice would have been between The Descendants, Midnight in Paris, and Moneyball. At the time, The Descendants would have been my pick, but now I think I lean towards Moneyball, so that would wind up getting my vote for Best Picture.

Best Director – Alexander Payne for The Descendants

I’d have voted for Nicolas Winding Refn here for Drive, but unsurprisingly he wasn’t nominated. The actual nominees were Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris, Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist, Terrence Malick for The Tree of Life, Alexander Payne for The Descendants, and Martin Scorsese for Hugo. Without Refn, I don’t have anyone I’m too wild about, but I think Payne might be the best of the bunch. The aforementioned Refn is easily my personal pick overall, but Payne is my choice of the actual nominees.

Best Actor – Brad Pitt for Moneyball

In a perfect world, I’d have seen either Michael Fassbender rewarded for Shame, Ryan Gosling in the lineup for Drive, Tom Hardy cited for Warrior, or Michael Parks in for Red State and subsequently any of them would have been my vote (likely Fassbender), but such is life. The actual nominees here though were Demián Bichir for A Better Life, George Clooney for The Descendants, Jean Dujardin for The Artist, Gary Oldman for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and Brad Pitt for Moneyball. The choice of these nominees for me was between Clooney and Pitt, with the latter ever so slightly winning out over the former.

Best Actress – Rooney Mara for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Without the chance to cite Charlize Theron for Young Adult here, my choices in this particularly category were limited to just Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs, Viola Davis for The Help, Rooney Mara for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady, and Michelle Williams for My Week with Marilyn. Williams was certainly a compelling enough second choice for me, but I have to go ahead and cite Mara as the one worth bestowing an Academy Award vote upon.

Best Supporting Actor – Christopher Plummer for Beginners

If I had a true say, the real Best Supporting Actor of this particular would have been John Goodman in Red State (or the aforementioned Parks, for that matter), but in lieu of that choice, I had to choose from the actual nominees of the category…Kenneth Branagh for My Week with Marilyn, Jonah Hill for Moneyball, Nick Nolte for Warrior, Christopher Plummer for Beginners, and Max von Sydow for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Hill or Nolte would have been my second choice, but I have to go with the masses here and cite Plummer’s hugely deserving performance for the win.

Best Supporting Actress – Melissa McCarthy for Bridesmaids

I’d have loved to have seen and voted for Carey Mulligan in either Drive or Shame, but she was sadly snubbed. The nominated women here were Bérénice Bejo for The Artist, Jessica Chastain for The Help, Melissa McCarthy for Bridesmaids, Janet McTeer for Albert Nobbs, and Octavia Spencer for The Help. The only one that frankly impressed me was McCarthy, so while I guess Bejo was my number two, it’s a clear vote for McCarthy here.

Best Adapted Screenplay – Moneyball

Give or take not being able to vote for Drive here, I don’t have a real glaring omission in the category. The nominees were The Descendants, Hugo, The Ides of March, Moneyball, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. The script for The Ides of March is a close runner up, but I’m going with Moneyball one more time and cite it right here.

Best Original Screenplay – Midnight in Paris

With plenty of snubbed scripts like the ones for 50/50, Bellflower, Red State, Shame, or Warrior that I would have voted for, these all seem a bit on the light side to me. Anyway, the nominees were The Artist, Bridesmaids, Margin Call, Midnight in Paris, and A Separation. I nearly went with Bridesmaids, but I’ll stick with the actual winner here and go with Allen’s Midnight in Paris screenplay.

Stay tuned, there will be another one of these in the next week or so!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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