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The 2012 Golden Globes: What They Mean for Oscar

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What the Globes Mean for Oscar

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George Clooney in a scene from "The Descendants."

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We know the Hollywood Foreign Press Association doesn't think of itself as little more than an Academy Award opening act, but to the rest of the world, the biggest takeaway from the Golden Globes is a clearer sense of who is going to be battling it out for Oscar next month.

The official nominee announcement doesn't come down until January 24th, but judging by what happened at the Globes last night, this is our early stab at how we see the field coming together. And since we're throwing things at the gilded wall to see what sticks, we'll go ahead and make some wild winner predictions while we're at it.

And the nominees (and winners) of the 84th Annual Academy Awards might be...

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
George Clooney - "The Descendants"
Brad Pitt - "Moneyball"
Michael Fassbender - "Shame"
Jean Dujardin - "The Artist"
Ryan Gosling - "Drive"

Who Will Win: Jean Dujardin
Who Should Win: Michael Fassbender

The Academy will be looking to veer away from just copying the Globes as often as they can, and they'll do so by throwing a nod to Gosling not for "Ides of March" or "Crazy Stupid Love" but for the movie that had everyone talking in 2011. However, they won't be so maverick as to avoid making it the Year of "The Artist." Either way, the golden phallus should go to Fassbender, for what was by far the bravest and most affecting performance of the year.

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Christopher Plummer - "Beginners"
Kenneth Branagh - "My Week with Marilyn"
Albert Brooks - "Drive"
Jonah Hill - "Moneyball"
John Hawkes - "Martha Marcy May Marlene"

Who Will Win: Christopher Plummer
Who Should Win: Christopher Plummer

The man oozes charm, and both the Globes and the Academy love to honor classy Hollywood vets. Plummer has had a banner year, not just for his role in "Beginners" but he also sparkled with a smaller supporting turn in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." The Academy will thumb its nose at the HFPA and acknowledge John Hawkes for the totally ignored "Martha Marcy May Marlene."

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Meryl Streep - "The Iron Lady"
Michelle Williams - "My Week with Marilyn"
Charlize Theron - "Young Adult"
Glenn Close - "Albert Nobbs"
Viola Davis - "The Help"

Who Will Win: Meryl Streep
Who Should Win: Michelle Williams

In a battle of the biopics, Meryl has this so sewn up it's a non-question. That's a shame, because Williams charmed instead of barnstormed and wouldn't everyone feel better cheering the spirit of Marilyn Monroe than the spectre of Margaret Thatcher?

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Berenice Bejo - "The Artist"
Jessica Chastain - "The Help"
Octavia Spencer - "The Help"
Shailene Woodley - "The Descendants"
Marion Cotillard - "Midnight in Paris"

Who Will Win: Octavia Spencer
Who Should Win: Marion Cotillard

Nothing against Octavia - she is great in "The Help" and solidified her Oscar standing with a truly heartfelt and endearing acceptance speech at the Globes. However, we wouldn't mind seeing the Academy not only nominate the passed-over Cotillard but give her the statue for her standout performance in a movie loaded with them.

BEST DIRECTOR
George Clooney - "Ides of March"
Martin Scorsese - "Hugo"
Alexander Payne - "The Descendants"
Michel Hazanavicius - "The Artist"
Woody Allen - "Midnight in Paris"

Who Will Win: Michel Hazanavicius
Who Should Win: Michel Hazanavicius

We're fairly certain the Oscars will completely snub David Fincher and all of "Dragon Tattoo" and inexplicably fail to recognize "Moneyball's" Bennett Miller, so Hazanavicius has this one in the bag. Scorsese's Globe win for "Hugo" was a fluke, and Clooney is getting more love for his acting role in "Descendants" than for his political drama.

BEST PICTURE
"The Artist"
"The Descendants"
"The Help"
"War Horse"
"Moneyball"
"Ides of March"
"Hugo"
"Midnight in Paris"
"My Week with Marilyn"
"Beginners"

Who Will Win: "The Artist"
Who Should Win: "The Artist"

This is been a year of great performances but mediocre films, so even with 10 to choose from there aren't really any strong arguments Academy voters can make for not handing it over to the French silent film tribute.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
"The Adventures of Tintin"
"Rango"
"Cars 2"
"Puss in Boots"
"Arthur Christmas"

Who Will Win: "The Adventures of Tintin"
Who Should Win: "Rango"

Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson will finally win the Pixar Award for Best Pixar Movie (see what happens when you stupidly take cute, child-friendly characters and make them shoot at each other for no reason, guys?), but Gore Verbinski's criminally-underrated oddity "Rango" really was the best animated movie of the year. Hands down.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

"The Flowers of War" (China)
"In the Land of Blood and Honey" (United States)
"The Kid with a Bike" (Belgium)
"A Separation" (Iran)
"The Skin I Live In" (Spain)

Who Will Win: "A Separation"
Who Should Win: "A Separation"

Oh, like you really care that much.

BEST WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash - 'The Descendants"
Tate Taylor - "The Help"
Lee Hall, Richard Curtis - "War Horse"
Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin - "Moneyball"
Adrian Hodges - "My Week with Marilyn"

Who Will Win: "The Descendants"
Who Should Win: "Moneyball"

The Academy isn't about to let Team Clooney go home empty-handed, but the overly voice-over-reliant script isn't really the best choice. Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin took a dry, numbers-heavy baseball tome and turned it into a movie that could be enjoyed even by non-stat-nerds. That's impressive.

BEST WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)
Woody Allen - "Midnight in Paris"
Michel Hazanavicius - "The Artist"
Mike Mills - "Beginners"
Will Reiser - "50/50"
Abi Morgan - "The Iron Lady"

Who Will Win: "Midnight in Paris"
Who Should Win: "50/50"

Woody Allen's writing more than his directing is what motors "Midnight," and the Academy will follow the Globes' lead here. But Reiser's ability to turn his real-life experience battling cancer into a funny and touching movie deserves Oscar gold.
 

Anything to add, Peter Dinklage? 

 

 

The actual Academy Award nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, January 24th at 8:30 AM ET. The 84th Annual Academy Awards are handed out live Sunday, February 26th.

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