Tribune Critics Predict Oscar Wins

Michael Phillips, Nina Metz talked 2012 Academy Award nominations Wednesday in Highland Park.

The Chicago Tribune's film critics Michael Phillips and Nina Metz predicted big Oscar wins for "The Artist" and "Midnight In Paris" at the on Wednesday night.

The , which will be shown this Sunday evening, during an hourlong presentation that included film clips and questions from the audience. The event also included a red carpet entrance and chocolate Oscars given out to raffle winners.

"The two most nominated movies this year… are blatantly about the movies, the early decades of the industry," Phillips said, referring to "The Artist" and "Hugo," two of the nine Best Picture nominated films. Both movies are set in the early 20th century and include early filmmaking in their stories.

Phillips and Metz agreed that "The Artist" would win Best Picture, praising the silent, black and white film's ability to charm audiences.

"Silent film is the perfect medium for showing the human being as he or she changes their mind in close-up," Phillips said.

Many other Best Picture nominees all touch on the past, Phillips noted. "The Descendants," Alexander Payne's film about a father struggling with his daughters after an accident leaves his wife in a coma, "deals with the question of how you handle your ancestral legacy," according to Phillips. Likewise "Midnight In Paris," Woody Allen's film about a man who finds himself in 1920s Paris, is about "a guy who can't live in the present."

The critics expect Allen to have a good night on Sunday. They believe "Midnight in Paris" will win Best Original Screenplay.

"I think everyone's dying to give Woody Allen an Oscar," Metz said. "Everyone was so relieved to have a movie from him that they like."

Some in the audience weren't thrilled with the prediction. One woman said she disliked Allen's film.

"I don't know why, but I fell asleep," she said. "I went back to see it again, and I fell asleep."

About "The Tree of Life," Terrence Mallick's meandering, experimental film that was nominated for Best Picture, Phillips said he's never received more angry emails in his life. He gave the film a favorable review.

"I got emails saying I need $26 back from you," he said. "I need you to refund the tickets."

At one point the discussion turned to films snubbed by the Academy. Phillips said "Take Shelter" was overlooked. Dan Burns, a Highland Park resident, said the documentary "Bill Cunningham New York" was snubbed. Phillips had an admittedly cynical view on why this was the case: the movies didn't make enough money.

"You can't nominate what you haven't seen," Metz said in agreement.

Deerfield resident Constance Hall said after the discussion that she is rooting for "The Tree of Life." She called the event "a good overview" but was disappointed she didn't get more of the critics' opinions on the nominated films.

Burns said he was pleased with the event and commented on the good participation from the audience. He said he's rooting for "Hugo" to sweep, but appreciates the similarities between "Hugo" and "The Artist."

"'Hugo' was an American movie about French silent films," Burns said, "And 'The Artist' was a French movie about American silent films."

The Predictions

  • Best Picture: "The Artist"
  • Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius for "The Artist"
  • Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer
  • Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spenser
  • Best Actress: Viola Davis
  • Best Actor: Jean Dujardin for "The Artist" (Nina Metz says Gary Oldman for "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy")
  • Best Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin for "Moneyball"
  • Best Original Screenplay: Woody Allen for "Midnight in Paris"


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