Academy Awards, the highly esteemed nominees

By Brian Chidueme |Staff Writer|

Basketball has the NBA Finals. Football has the Super Bowl. In the world of filmmaking, the Academy Awards (aka the Oscars) are the major leagues.

This year, a collective of films from “The Descendants” to “Moneyball,” are competing to gain recognition, honor and legacy in these major leagues.

One may think that the Golden Globes should be in the same category because of how both awards ceremonies receive intensive coverage from news outlets around Hollywood and the rest of the world.

What puts the Golden Globes and Oscars in different leagues is that the Golden Globes is under the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (or HFPA). As British comic and host Ricky Gervais jokingly admitted in his opening monologue at its most recent incarnation, “The Golden Globes are just like the Oscars without all that esteem.”

That “esteem” comes in the form of the Academy itself, and the list of films competing for the chance to join the ranks of some of the greatest and most significant American films of all time, such as “Fargo,” “Forrest Gump,” “Titanic,” and “Saving Private Ryan.”

This means another year of surprises, another year of snubs, and another year of innovative actors, actresses, filmmakers and movies to emerge on top as the best of the best.

According to indieWIRE, only a select few films will emerge with honors from the Academy’s Big Five. The five consists of Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Adapted or Original Screenplay.

For Best Picture, silent-film homage “The Artist,” crowd-pleasers “The Help” and “The Descendants,” “Midnight in Paris” and “Hugo” are five popular predictions of which film will take home the pinnacle prize. There is a huge possibility that “The Descendants” will get snubbed and passed up by “The Artist” for Best Picture, but the big underdog could be either Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” or Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo.”

For Best Director, Michel Hazanavicius (“The Artist”), Martin Scorsese (“Hugo”), Terrence Malick (“The Tree of Life”), Alexander Payne (“The Descendants”) and David Fincher (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”) are five main possibilities for the prize. This could be the year Martin Scorsese adds another merit to his lengthy list of contributions to cinema, from “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull” to “The Departed.” Will Malick be able to pull off an upset?

For Best Actor, popular predictions include George Clooney (“The Descendants”), Brad Pitt (“Moneyball”), Leonardo Dicaprio (“J. Edgar”), Michael Fassbender (“Shame”), and Jean Dujardin (“The Artist”). This category just might be home to one of the biggest upsets in Oscar history, courtesy of Michael Fassbender’s critically-acclaimed performance as a sex-addict descending into hell.

For Best Actress, predictions include Viola Davis (“The Help”), Michelle Williams (“My Week With Marilyn”), Meryl  Streep (“The Iron Lady”), Tilda Swinton (“We Need to Talk About Kevin”) and Kirsten Dunst (“Melancholia”). While Michelle, Viola, and Tilda are three popular choices to snub Meryl in the wake of her recent Golden Globe win, Kirsten Dunst could be this category’s unexpected choice when her recent win at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival for Best Actress is factored in.

For Best Original/Adapted Screenplay, predictions are not limited to: Woody Allen (“Midnight in Paris”), Will Reiser (“50/50”), Aaron Sorkin and Steve Zaillian (“Moneyball”), John Logan (“Hugo”) and the writing trio of “The Descendants” (Nat Faxon, Alexander Payne, and Jim Rash). “Moneyball” could possibly be this year’s secondary runner next to “The Descendants.” Woody Allen could pull off an upset in this category, but those chances are slim.

This year’s Oscars could be one of the most surprising shows  in Academy history due to several great films competing for prestige in filmmaking’s major leagues.

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