EDITORIAL: Final 2011 Awards Tracker and 2012 Oscar reactions

FINAL UPDATE: February 27, 2012


I hope everyone enjoyed the 84th Academy Awards last night.  I know I did.  To close up this 2011-2012 awards season, I wanted to put a closing on the AWARDS TRACKER that I have been maintaining since November.  In doing this research over the last four months of who-or-what-has-won-what, I ended up correctly guessing 17 of the 24 winners from last night.  Between the Oscars and Saturday's Independent Spirit Awards, listed below are the final tallies of all movie awards for the year.  As you will see from the data, there were definitely a few upsets from last night's big show.  Here's my final analysis:

BEST PICTURE-- The Artist was the favorite going in and lived up to its reputation as the most-loved movie of last year.  I think, if anything, Hugo and The Descendants split the vote of alternatives.


9- The Descendants  (LAFCA, Satellite, FFCC, HFCS, SEFCA, DFWFCA, KCFCC, Globe, IFCA)

6- The Tree of Life  (Cannes, CFCA, TFCA, OFCS, SFCC, DFC)

2- Hugo (NBR, AFCA)

2- Drive  (UFCA, COFCA)

1- 5 others (Golden Bear, STLFC, NSFC, Sundance-tie)

BEST DIRECTOR-- Martin Scorsese might have been everyone's sentimental vote, but this was Hazanavicius's award all season.  The Artist was that dominant and Scorsese's win for The Departed was so recent.

14- Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist  (NYFCC, IFJA, DFCS, OFCC, PFCS, UFCA, STLFC, DFC, CC, LFCC, DGA, BAFTA, Spirit, Oscar)

9- Terrance Malick for The Tree of Life  (LAFCA, CFCA, TFCA, OFCS, SFCC, KCFCC, DFC, VFCC, NSFC)

7- Nicolas Winding Refn for Drive  (Cannes, Satellite, LVFCS, SDFCS, HFCS, AFCA, COFCA)

5- Martin Scorsese for Hugo  (BSFC, NBR, FFCC, WAFCA, Globe)

2- Alexander Payne for The Descendants  (DFWFCA, IFCA)

1- two others (Sundance, Cannes)  

BEST ACTOR-- Hollywood royalty lost to the foreigner and its not the first time.  The tide turned in Dujardin's favor after winning over his own peers at the Screen Actor's Guild (SAG) Awards.  The British Academy (BAFTA) and Spirit Awards put him a nose in front of Clooney.

10- George Clooney for The Descendants  (NBR, WAFCA, OFCC, HFF, SEFCA, DFWFCA, STLFC, KCFCC, CC, Globe)

9- Jean Dujardin for The Artist  (Cannes, LVFCS, PFCS, Globe, LFCC, SAG, BAFTA, Spirit, Oscar

6- Michael Fassbender for Shame  (LAFCA, FFCC, DFCS, HFCS, OFCS, VFCC)

6- Michael Shannon for Take Shelter  (NYFCC, SDFCS, CFCA, TFCA, AFCA, COFCA)

5- Brad Pitt for Moneyball  (BSFC, NYFCC, DFC, NSFC, IFCA)

1- Four others (UFCA, Satellite, SFCC, IFJA)

BEST ACTRESS-- Meryl's name being called brought the closest thing to a full-audience gasp all evening.  I think everyone in the building thought Viola Davis's momentum was going to prevail.  What people forget is that Michelle Williams has dominated this category all season, nearly doubling Streep in wins.

13- Michelle Williams for My Week with Marilyn  (BSFC, LVFCS, FFCC, WAFCA, CFCA, DFCS, OFCC, TFCA, HFF, UFCA, DFWFCA, Globe, Spirit)

7- Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady  (NYFCC, SEFCA, DFC, Globe, LFCC, BAFTA, Oscar)

5- Tilda Swinton for We Need to Talk About Kevin  (NBR, HFSC, AFCA, OFCS, SFCC)

4- Viola Davis for The Help  (Satellite, CC, IFCA, SAG)

4- Elizabeth Olsen for Martha Marcy May Marlene  (IFJA, PFCS, COFCA, VFCC)

3- Kirsten Dunst for Melancholia  (Cannes, KCFCC, NSFC)

1- Five others (STLFC, LFCC, LAFCA, SDFCS, Sundance) 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR-- With Albert Brooks not even nominated, this award for Plummer was never in doubt.  His late surge with Golden Globe, SAG, BAFTA, and Spirit Award wins more than secured it.

20- Christopher Plummer for Beginners   (NBR, LAFCA, IFJA, DFCS, TFCA, HFF, SEFCA, OFCS, DFWFCA, COFCA, KCFCC, DFC, CC, VFCC, Globe, IFCA, SAG, BAFTA, Spirit, Oscar)


1- Kenneth Branagh for My Week with Marilyn (LFCC)

1- Nick Nolte for Warrior  (SDFCS)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS-- I've argued this the entire Oscar race.  Chastain was nominated for the wrong film (The Tree of Life over The Help) and the best performance (Woodley) was snubbed.  The split vote for what Chastain performance and Woodley's absence cleared the way for the equally-deserving Octavia Spencer.

10- Jessica Chastain for The Tree of Life/Take Shelter/The Help  (NYFCC, LAFCA, Satellite, CFCA, TFCA, AFCA, OFCS, KCFCC, VFCC, NSFC)

8- Shailene Woodley for The Descendants (NBR, FFCC, SDFCS, HFSC, DFWFCA, COFCA, DFC, Spirit)

7- Octavia Spencer for The Help  (WAFCA, OFCSS, CC, Globe, SAG, BAFTA, Oscar)

4- Melissa McCarthy for Bridesmaids   (BSFC, NYFCC, LVFCS, IFCA)

2- Carey Mulligan for Shame  (DFCS, HFF)

2- Berenice Bejo for The Artist  (PFCS, STLFC)

1- Five others (LFCC, SFCC, IFJA, SEFCA, UFCA)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY-- When the Writer's Guild of America annointed Allen over Hazanavicius, even with all of The Artist momentum, I knew the awards-show-skipping New Yorker would be granted this excellent win.  My vote was still for Will Reiser's 50/50 which was snubbed entirely from nomination.

8- Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen  (SDFCS, SEFCA, AFCA, OFCS, CC, Globe, WGA, Oscar)

6- The Artist by Michel Hazanavicius  (CFCA, OFCC, PFCS. STLFC, VFCC, BAFTA) 

3- 50/50 by Will Reiser  (NBR, WAFCA, UFCA)

3- A Separation by Asghar Farhadi  (LAFCA, NSFC, LFCC)

1- Six others (COFCA, KCFCC, IFJA, Cannes, Satellite, SFCC)  

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY-- This looked for a while this awards season like the only award Moneyball had a legitimate chance to win.  Voters looking to spread the wealth probably were leaning to awarding The Descendants via George Clooney for Best Actor and screenplay to Moneyball, but Alexander Payne and his team's work on The Descendants was better and rewarded.  I think the fact that Sorkin just won last year for The Social Network could also have worked against Moneyball.

14- The Descendants by Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash  (NBR, Satellite, FFCC, WAFCA, IFJA, HFCS, SEFCA, UFCA, DFWFCA, STLFC, DFC, WGA, USC Scripter, Spirit, Oscar)

10- Moneyball by Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin  (BSFC, NYFCC, LVFCS, SDFCS, CFCA, DFCS, OFCC, TFCA, KCFCC, CC)

3- Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy  by Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan (OFCS, SFCC, BAFTA)

1- Three others  (COFCA, PFCS, AFCA)

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE-- Much like Plummer's win, Rango's  closest competition (The Adventures of Tintin) wasn't even nominated.  This was a no-doubter all season and all night.


7- The Adventures of Tintin  (NYFCC, FFCC, OFCC, TFCA, STLFC, Globe, PGA)

2- Arthur Christmas  (SDFCS, COFCA)

BEST DOCUMENTARY-- This field was unpredictably wide open.  Every single film above the eventual winner, Undefeated, on this list was not even nominated.  The only nominated film to have won any previous award in this category was Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory.

9- Cave of Forgotten Dreams  (NBR, LAFCA, WAFCA, OFCS, DFWFCA, COFCA, KCFCC, VFCC, NSFC)


6- Senna  (Satellite, AFCA, UFCA, Sundance, LFCC, BAFTA)

3- Page One: Inside the New York Times (OFCC, PFCS, DFC)

2- Tabloid  (DFCS, SFCC)

1- Undefeated (Oscar)

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM-- In continuing the trend of clearing competition, The Skin I Live In was not nominated, making the guaranteed win for Iran's A Separation all but certain.  This was another no-doubter.

15- A Separation  (NBR, NYFCC, CFC, SEFCA, OFCS, UFCA, DFWFCA, KCFCC, DFC, CC, VFCC, Globe, LFCC, Spirit, Oscar)


2- Mysteries of Lisbon  (Satellite, TFCA)

2- 13 Assassins (LVFCS, STLFC)


BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY-- For a so-called expert like me, this very first award of the night was the biggest upset.  At no point during this awards season did Hugo ever register a win for cinematography.  As you can tell by the tally, this was dominated by Lubezski outstanding work in The Tree of Life (the one good thing about the film).  The Academy voters outnumbered the category's own experts from the American Cinematographer's Guild that awarded The Tree of Life.  If anyone was supposed to upset Lubezski, it was supposed to be Schiffman for The Artist.

18- Emmanuel Lubezski for The Tree of Life  (BSFC, NYFCC, LAFCA, LVFCS, FFCC, SDFCS, WAFCA, CFCA, HFCS, PFCS, AFCA, OFCS, SFCC, DFWFCA, COFCA, STLFC, CC, NSFC, American Cinematographers Guild)

2- Guillaume Schiffman for The Artist   (BAFTA, Spirit)

2- Janusz Kaminski for War Horse  (Satellite, CC)

1- Robert Richardson for Hugo (Oscar)

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN/ART DIRECTION-- Add this to the list of no-doubters.  Hugo was the most technically well made movie of the year.  It swept and deserved categories just like this.  That train station and the recreated silent films were simply amazing sets.

9- Hugo  (LAFCA, FFCC, SDFCS, WAFCA, PFCS, CC, Art Director Guild, BAFTA, Oscar)

2- The Artist  (Satellite, LVFCS)

1- Three others (LFCC, Art Director Guild- tie)

BEST COSTUME DESIGN-- For all of those prognosticators that said "always vote for the period piece" (i.e. Jane Eyre), I knew better after seeing The Artist dominate this field.  This is a category where I proudly outguessed the other experts, thanks to data.

5- The Artist  (LVFCS, PFCS, CC, BAFTA, Oscar)

1- Water for Elephants  (Satellite)

BEST MAKEUP-- Though The Iron Lady was even in awards with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, their Oscar win was a minor upset.  Though Streep's transformation into Margaret Thatcher was astounding, the sheer volume of amazing creation in Harry Potter deserved this win.  Harry Potter was completely shut out at the Oscars and infrequently nominated to begin with.

2- The Iron Lady  (BAFTA, Oscar)

1- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (CC)

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS-- Even with Hugo being the best technically-crafted film of the year, it's win here was another minor surprise.  Many people, including myself, had the outstanding performance-capture work in Rise of the Planet of the Apes above Hugo.  In fact, Hugo was probably ranked last among the other nominees (including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and Real Steel) in terms of scope of visual effects.  It goes to show that the subtle stuff is sometimes greatly appreciated.

3- Rise of the Planet of the Apes  (LVFCS, FFCC, CC)

3- Hugo  (Satellite, PFCS, Oscar)

2- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2  (STLFC, BAFTA) 

BEST SOUND-- An easy Hugo win for its technical superiority.  Harry Potter is a valid contender and argument.

2- Hugo  (BAFTA, Oscar)  

1- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (CC)

BEST SOUND EFFECTS (EDITING AND MIXING)-- Drive was decent and legitimate competition, but, like everything else, was no match for Hugo's skill and craftsmanship.

1- Hugo (Oscar)

1- Drive (Satellite)

BEST FILM EDITING-- This category was an absolute toss-up with a wild spread of other winners.  Normally, this category matches the Best Picture winner, so to see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo upsetting The Artist was a minor surprise.

2- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (CC, Oscar) 

1- Eight others (ACE Eddie, PFCS, LVFCS, BSFC, Satellite, SDFCS, OFCS, BAFTA)

BEST MUSICAL SCORE-- This was, yet again, another no-doubter.  The all-music ambiance Bource required to give an essentially silent film was outstanding and the most deserving winner in this category.  As a movie geek and movie music geek, I loved this moment during the show.  On Bource's trip to the podium after hearing his name called, he stopped dead in his tracks in the aisle to thank and acknowledge the legend and the master, John Williams, his fellow and double nominee (The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse) who was nominated for his 46th and 47th time.  Great moment!

13- Ludovic Bource for The Artist   (BSFC, NYFCC, LVFCS, WAFCA, IFJA, HFCS, PFCS, STLFC, DFC, CC, Globe, BAFTA, Oscar)

2- Cliff Martinez for Drive (BSFC, CFCA)

2- The Chemical Brothers for Hanna (LAFCA, COFCA)

1- Three others (Satellite, SDFCS, AFCA) 

BEST ORIGINAL SONG-- This category was really made pathetic last night for several reasons.  One, they only had two nominees (Rio and The Muppets) instead of the five (The Help, Albert Nobbs, and the Golden Globe winner W.E.) that should have been there.  And two, they didn't let anyone perform their songs.  If you can make time for a completely unrelated show from Cirque de Soleil, then you can make time for some rumba from Sergio Mendes and fun stage performing from The Muppets and Jason Segel.  Add to that fact that you could have had Mary J. Blige, Best Actress nominee Glenn Close, and Madonna performing too.

3- "Life's a Happy Song" from The Muppets (HFCS, CC) 

2- "Man or Muppet" from The Muppets  (LVFCS, Oscar)

1- "Masterpiece" from W.E. (Globe)

1- "Lay Your Head Down" from Albert Nobbs (Satellite)


The National Board of Review's Top 10 Films of 2011:  (in alphabetical order): The Artist, The Descendants, Drive, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, The Ides of March, J. Edgar, The Tree of Life, War Horse

.The National Board of Review's Top 10 Independent Films of 2011:  (in alphabetical order): 50/50, Another Earth, Beginners, A Better Life, Cedar Rapids, Margin Call, Shame, Take Shelter, We Need To Talk About Kevin, Win Win

The National Board of Review's Top 5 Documentaries of 2011:  (in alphabetical order): Born to be Wild, Buck, George Harrison: Living in the Material World, Project Nim, Senna

The National Board of Review's Top 5 Foreign Language Films of 2011:  (in alphabetical order): 13 Assassins, Elite Squad: The Enemy Within, Footnote, Le Havre, Point Blank

The New York Film Critics Circle's Top 10 of 2011: (in alphabetical order): The Artist, The Descendants, Drive, The Help, Hugo, Melancholia, Midnight in Paris, Take Shelter, The Tree of Life, War Horse

American Film Institutue's Top 10 of 2011:  (in alphabetical order): BridesmaidsThe Descendants, The Girl with the Dragon TattooThe HelpHugoJ. EdgarMidnight in ParisMoneyballThe Tree of Life, War Horse (with special awards for The Artist  and the entire Harry Potter series)

Roger Eberts Top 20 Films of 2011:  (link)  TOP TEN: 1.  A Separation, 2. Shame, 3. The Tree of ife, . Hugo, 5. Take Shelter, 6. Kinyarwanda, 7. Drive, 8. Midnight in Paris, 9. Le Havre, 10. The Artist.  NEXT TEN: 11. Melancholia, 12. Terri, 13. The Descendants, 14. Margaret, 15. Martha Marcy ay Marlene, 16. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, 17. Trust, 18. Life, Above All, 19. The Mill and the Cross, 20. Another Earth

Time Magazine's Top 10 Films of 2011 by Richard Corliss: (link)  1. The Artist, 2. Hugo, 3. Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame, 4. The Tree of Life, 5. War Horse, 6. Super 8, 7. Cave of Forgotten Dreams, 8. Rise of the Planet of the Apes, 9. Rango, 10. Fast Five

Rolling Stone's 10 Best Movies of 2011 by Peter Travers: (link)  1. Drive, 2. The Artist, 3. The Descendants, 4. Moneyball, 5. Midnight in Paris, 6. Hugo, 7. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, 8. Margin all, 9. The Tree of Life, 10. (tie) The HelpWar Horse, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2