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I'm usually pretty disciplined about this, but with the Academy Awards only 11 hours away, I couldn't resist making two, well, eleventh-hour changes to my predictions -- both in the perennially tricky short categories.
I initially went with the flow in the Best Animated Short category, siding with most pundits with "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore" on the basis of its careful craft and worthy message, and trying to ignore my own reservations about the short's tweeness and relative overlength. (It's the "Hugo" of the animated short category for me: I feel guilty for not liking it more, but there's something about how very improving it is that keeps me at arm's length.)
Finally, however safe the choice seems, I just can't believe in it. So, with memories of 2009's hip, against-the-grain victory for "Logorama" on my mind, I'm switching my prediction to BAFTA and Sundance winner "A Morning Stroll." Not the best or most artful of the nominees, but the most amusingly singular -- and its triptych of animation techniques is a snazzy gimmick that I expect will tickle some voters.
Meanwhile, I hold out hope that the most visually rich and narratively rewarding of the nominees, Canadian gem "Wild Life," could somehow come up through the middle. It's a good category this year -- certainly much better than the dismal Live Action Short field, in which I've already had my say, and am sticking to it.
As if to balance my new anti-consensus prediction in the animated field, I'm switching to the majority pick in Best Documentary Short -- "Saving Face." Don't ask me why. I think too much about this nonsense as it is. Anyway, with those adjustments made, here's my FINAL final predictions list.
Finally, a couple of readers have asked me why I haven't posted a list of my "should win" picks. I guess I hadn't thought of it as I'd already made my preferences clear in the Oscar Guide entries I wrote, but here, gathered in one convenient place, are my personal favorites in each category. As you can see, I'm set to have a reasonably happy night.
Best Picture: "The Artist"
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist"
Best Actor: Jean Dujardin, "The Artist"
Best Actress: Viola Davis, "The Help"
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, "Beginners"
Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain, "The Help"
Best Original Screenplay: "A Separation"
Best Adapted Screenplay: "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"
Best Foreign Language Film: "A Separation"
Best Animated Feature: "Rango"
Best Documentary Feature: (abstain -- only four seen, though "Pina" is the best of those)
Best Art Direction: "Hugo"
Best Cinematography: "The Tree of Life"
Best Costume Design: "Jane Eyre"
Best Film Editing: "Moneyball"
Best Makeup: "The Iron Lady"
Best Original Score: "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"
Best Original Song: "Man or Muppet" from "The Muppets"
Best Sound Editing: "Drive"
Best Sound Mixing: "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"
Best Visual Effects: "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
Best Animated Short: "Wild Life"
Best Live Action Short: "Tuba Atlantic"
Best Documentary Short: (abstain -- not seen all nominees)
For more views on movies, awards season and other pursuits, follow @GuyLodge on Twitter.
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