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FEINBERG FORECAST: Scott's Final Projections for the 84th Academy Awards

THR's awards analyst projects that 'The Artist' will win a field-leading seven Oscars, including best picture, best director and best actor.

"The Artist"
Peter Iovino/The Weinstein Co.

With just one week remaining until the 84th Academy Awards, I am now prepared to share my final projections for all 24 Oscar categories.

Among the events of the past week that were considered while compiling them: the 62nd Eddie Awards (February 18); the 48th Cinema Audio Society Awards (February 18); the 24th USC Scripter Awards (February 18); the 64th Writers Guild of America Awards (February 19); 59th Golden Reel Awards (February 19); and the plethora of for-your-consideration advertisements and talent-attended Q&As that studios have arranged early, often, and everywhere in the run-up to the February 21 deadline for Academy members to turn in their ballots.

PHOTOS: Academy Awards 2012 Nominees

Please note that contenders' names are followed, when appropriate, by acronyms of other major awards groups (a key appears at the bottom of this post) that have already named them winners (in orange) or nominees (in purple) -- and that some nominations are still pending (they appear in italics).

BEST PICTURE
1. The Artist (The Weinstein Company, 11/23, PG-13, trailer) PGA, DGA, BFCA, HFPA, BAFTA, NYFCC, ACE, SAG, ADG, ASC, CDG, FI
2. The Help (Disney, 8/12, PG-13, trailer) SAG, NBR, AFI, PGA, ADG, BFCA, HFPA, BAFTA, WGA, CDG
3. Hugo (Paramount, 11/23, PG, trailer) NBR, AFI, ADG, CAS, PGA, DGA, BFCA, HFPA, ACE, ASC, WGA, CDG
4. The Descendants (Fox Searchlight, 11/23, R, trailer) HFPA, AFI, LAFCA, WGA, ACE, USC, PGA, DGA, SAG, BFCA, BAFTA, ADG, IFP, CDG, FI
5. Midnight in Paris (Sony Pictures Classics, 5/20, PG-13, trailer) AFI, WGA, PGA, DGA, SAG, BFCA, HFPA, ACE
6. Moneyball (Columbia, 9/23, PG-13, trailer) AFI, PGA, BFCA, HFPA, WGA, ACE, CAS, USC
7. The Tree of Life (Fox Searchlight, 5/27, PG-13, trailer) AFI, ASC, IFP, BFCA
8. War Horse (Disney, 12/25, PG-13, trailer) PGA, BFCA, HFPA, ACE
9. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Warner Bros., 12/25, PG-13, trailer) BFCA, ADG

FEINBERG: Having claimed virtually every major precursor honor, including the two strongest best picture bellwethers -- the PGA Award (15 of its 22 winners repeated at the Oscars) and DGA Award (the film directed by 50 of its 63 winners repeated at the Oscars) -- this French-financed, Hollywood-shot, Harvey Weinstein-distributed love letter to the movies is poised to become the first silent film in 83 years and the first black-and-white film in 18 years to win the top Oscar. (My sense is that The Artist's primary challenger is not Hugo, which scored one more nomination than it did but was shut out of the acting categories, but rather The Help, which lacks noms for directing, screenplay, and film editing -- it has been 79 years since a film won best pic without those three -- but features a massive, diverse, Crash-like ensemble that is adored by actors, who constitute the largest branch of the Academy, and possesses the weight and gravitas that some feel the frontrunner lacks.)

BEST DIRECTOR
1. Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist) DGA, BFCA, BAFTA, NYFCC, HFPA, FI
2. Martin Scorsese (Hugo) HFPA, NBR, DGA, BFCA, BAFTA
3. Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life) LAFCA, NSFC
4. Alexander Payne (The Descendants) DGA, BFCA, HFPA, FI
5. Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris) DGA, HFPA

FEINBERG: Few outside of France had ever heard of this 44-year-old auteur before The Artist made a splash at Cannes in May, but the ballsy film has since won him widespread notice and, more importantly, the DGA Award, which has correctly predicted the best director Oscar 57 of the last 63 years. (If Scorsese hadn't won just six years ago and/or Malick hadn't made such a divisive film I'd give each of them a pretty decent shot, but that is not the case.)

BEST ACTOR
1. Jean Dujardin (The Artist) SAG, HFPA, BAFTA, BFCA, FI
2. George Clooney (The Descendants) BFCA, HFPA, NBR, SAG, BAFTA
3. Brad Pitt (Moneyball) NSFC, NYFCC, SAG, BFCA, HFPA, BAFTA
4. Gary Oldman (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy) BAFTA
5. Demian Bichir (A Better Life) SAG, FI

FEINBERG: The “Clooney of France” is in a tight race with George himself -- both won Globes -- but Dujardin won the SAG Award (the last seven winners of which repeated at the Oscars) and BAFTA Award (five of the last seven winners repeated at the Oscars), so I give him the edge. Only the fourth Frenchman ever nominated for this Oscar -- the others were Maurice Chevalier (twice), Charles Boyer, and Gerard Depardieu -- he would be the first to ever win it.

BEST ACTRESS
1. Viola Davis (The Help) SAG, BFCA, HFPA, BAFTA
2. Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady) HFPA, BAFTA, NYFCC, SAG, BFCA
3. Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn) HFPA, SAG, BFCA, BAFTA, FI
4. Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs) SAG, HFPA
5. Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) HFPA

FEINBERG: Expect Davis to hold off Streep because she has never previously won (Streep has twice, albeit not in 29 years), is up for a well-liked film (a best pic nom, unlike Streep’s), offers a chance to make history (she would be only the second black best actress winner), and has already beaten Streep on her home turf (with the critics and actors). The only other nominee with any hope of pulling off an upset is Williams, who is young, sexy, played a real person, and showed a lot of skin on screen and off, but hasn't campaigned nearly as aggressively as Davis or Streep.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
1. Christopher Plummer (Beginners) SAG, BFCA, HFPA, BAFTA, NBR, LAFCA, FI
2. Max von Sydow (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close)
3. Kenneth Branagh (My Week with Marilyn) SAG, BFCA, HFPA, BAFTA
4. Jonah Hill (Moneyball) SAG, HFPA, BAFTA
5. Nick Nolte (Warrior) SAG, BFCA

FEINBERG: It seems almost certain that the revered 82-year-old thespian, who has won every major precursor award, will cap his half-century screen career with his first Oscar (he has only been nominated once before)—that is, if he can hold off fellow Oscar-less octogenarian von Sydow. Either of them would become the oldest person to ever win an acting Oscar.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
1. Octavia Spencer (The Help) SAG, BFCA, HFPA, BAFTA
2. Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids) SAG, BFCA, BAFTA
3. Berenice Bejo (The Artist) SAG, BFCA, HFPA, BAFTA
4. Jessica Chastain (The Help) NSFC, NYFCC, LAFCA, SAG, BFCA, HFPA, BAFTA
5. Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs) SAG, HFPA, FI

FEINBERG: The character actress, who has swept the precursor awards (including the SAG Award, the winner of which has repeated at the Oscars eight of the last 10 years), seems to have enough momentum to manage a win despite having to compete with a costar -- prolific ingénue Chastain -- in the same category (just as Melissa Leo did last year).

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
1. Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash (The Descendants) WGA, USC, NBR, BFCA, HFPA, BAFTA, FI
2. Stan Chervin, Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian (Moneyball) BFCA, NYFCC, WGA, HFPA, BAFTA, USC
3. John Logan (Hugo) WGA, BFCA
4. Bridget O'Connor, Peter Straughan (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy) BAFTA, USC
5. George Clooney, Grant Heslov (The Ides of March) HFPA, BAFTA

FEINBERG: I think that the Academy will want to seize upon this category as the place to recognize the domestic dramedy that Payne (who won this category seven years ago for Sideways) and the team of Faxon and Rash adapted from Kaui Hart Hemmings’ novel.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
1. Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris) WGA, BFCA, HFPA, BAFTA
2. Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist) BAFTA, BFCA, HFPA, FI
3. Annie Mumolo, Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids) WGA, BAFTA
4. J.C. Chandor (Margin Call) FI
5. Asghar Farhadi (A Separation) LAFCA

FEINBERG: Similarly, I suspect that the Academy will employ this category as the place to reward Allen for his Paris-set fantasy -- which has grossed more than any of his previous films, and for which he has already extended his record for most screenplay Oscar noms (15) -- with his first Oscar in 24 years (and unprecedented third in this category).

BEST ANIMATED FILM (FEATURE)
1. Rango (Paramount, 3/4, PG, trailer) IAFA, BAFTA, NBR, LAFCA, VES, ACE, PGA, HFPA, BFCA, MPSE
2. Puss in Boots (DreamWorks, 11/4, PG, trailer) IAFA, PGA, BFCA, HFPA, VES, ACE, MPSE
3. Kung Fu Panda 2 (DreamWorks, 5/26, PG, trailer) IAFA, PGA, BFCA, VES, MPSE
4. Chico & Rita (GKIDS, 2/10, NR, trailer) IAFA
5. A Cat in Paris (GKIDS, NR, NR, trailer) IAFA

FEINBERG: The path looks clear for Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp’s post-Pirates reunion, a 2D film based on original material (in an era of animation dominated by 3D sequels) that has grossed nearly $250 million and won every major award for which it was eligible (except the PGA and Golden Globe awards, which went to The Adventures of Tintin, a film that is not Oscar-nominated.)

BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM (FEATURE)
1. If a Tree Falls (Oscilloscope, 6/22, TBA, trailer) WGA
2. Undefeated (The Weinstein Company, 2/10, TBA, TBA) BFCA
3. Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (HBO Documentary Films, TBA, TBA, trailer) NBR, DGA
4. Pina (Sundance Selects, 12/23, TBA, trailer) WGA
5. Hell and Back Again (Docurama Films, 10/5, TBA, trailer) FI, IFP

FEINBERG: This wide-open race could be won by a doc that helped to get a man off of death row, an inspirational sports doc, a 3D dance doc, or a doc that follows a U.S. soldier during and after his stint in Afghanistan, but I think it will go to Marshall Curry’s polished, even-handed look at “eco-terrorism,” a subject of the same social scope and significance as most previous winners.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
1. A Separation (Iran) BFCA, HFPA, NBR, NYFCC, BAFTA, FI
2. In Darkness (Poland) BFCA
3. Monsieur Lazhar (Canada)
4. Footnote (Israel)
5. Bullhead (Belgium)

FEINBERG: It's hard to bet against a Holocaust drama (In Darkness), but virtually every precursor group has aligned itself behind Asghar Farhadi’s stirring Farsi-language drama about the consequences of people failing to communicate with each other, and so, too, has the Academy, which also nominated it for best original screenplay. Just the second Iranian film nominated in this category, it would be first to win.

BEST ART DIRECTION
1. Hugo (Dante Ferretti, Francesca Lo Schiavo) ADG, BFCA, BAFTA, LAFCA
2. The Artist (Laurence Bennett) ADG, BFCA, BAFTA
3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Stuart Craig) ADG, BFCA, BAFTA
4. War Horse (Rick Carter) BFCA, BAFTA
5. Midnight in Paris (Anne Seibel)

FEINBERG: When it comes to this category the Academy has always gravitated toward period pieces and/or fantasy worlds, and this nominee -- from the husband-and-wife team who have worked on eight of Martin Scorsese's last nine narrative films and won this category twice already, for The Aviator (2004) and Sweeney Todd (2007) -- offers them both.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
1. The Artist (Guillaume Schiffman) BAFTA, ASC, BFCA, FI
2. The Tree of Life (Emmanuel Lubezki) ASC, BFCA, NYFCC, LAFCA
3. Hugo (Robert Richardson) ASC, BFCA, BAFTA
4. War Horse (Janusz Kaminski) BFCA, BAFTA
5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Jeff Cronenweth) ASC, BAFTA

FEINBERG: The Oscars for best picture and best cinematography have gone to the same film only 27 times in the 83-year history of the Oscars (and only twice in the last 13 years), but I suspect that Schiffman’s beautiful black-and-white work will be seen as too distinct and beautiful to ignore. (It's true that Lubezki’s lensing certainly has its champions, including people who like nothing else about his film, but it's also true, as my fellow blogger Kris Tapley recently noted, that you have to go back 62 years to find the last film that won this category without being nominated in any other below-the-line race.)

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
1. The Artist (Mark Bridges) BAFTA, BFCA, CDG
2. Hugo (Sandy Powell) BFCA, BAFTA, CDG
3. Jane Eyre (Michael O'Connor) BFCA, BAFTA, CDG
4. W.E (Arianne Phillips) CDG
5. Anonymous (Lisy Christl)

FEINBERG: The same film often wins best art direction and best costume design, and since I think that Hugo will take the former I'm very tempted to pick it for the latter, too. (Plus Powell is already a three-time winner!) But the Academy almost always rewards films dominated by chic rather than unstylish outfits, which is why I think they'll side with The Arist's 1920s glamour -- even if it is seen only in black-and-white -- over Hugo's train station attire.

BEST FILM EDITING
1. The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius, Anne-Sophie Bion) ACE, BFCA, BAFTA
2. Hugo (Thelam Schoonmaker) ACE, BAFTA, BFCA
3. The Descendants (Kevin Tent) ACE
4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall) BFCA, ACE
5. Moneyball (Christopher Tellefson) ACE

FEINBERG: ACE, the editors' guild, gives out two best editing awards, one for drama and one for musical or comedy. One of ACE's two winners has won this category's Oscar in 19 of the last 20 years. In 18 of those 19 cases it was the ACE drama winner -- Chicago (2002) was the one exception. I think that The Artist, another ACE musical or comedy winner that is a best picture frontrunner, will follow suit.

BEST MAKEUP
1. The Iron Lady (Marese Langan, Mark Coulier, J. Roy Helland) BAFTA, BFCA
2. Albert Nobbs (Matthew W. Mungle, Lynn Johnston, Martial Corneville) BFCA
3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight) BFCA, BAFTA

FEINBERG: Over the 30 years in which this category has existed its winner has always been either a best picture nominee or, in the absence of one in the category, the nominee that sounds like it would have been the toughest makeup job (i.e. The Wolfman). There's no best pic nominee this year, and no prior Potter installment won (or was even nominated), so it's likely a toss-up between the aging job (Iron Lady) and the sex-change ( Nobbs). I'm going with the former, which has a higher-profile because of Streep.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
1. The Artist (Ludovic Bource) BFCA, HFPA, BAFTA
2. Hugo (Howard Shore) BFCA, HFPA, BAFTA
3. War Horse (John Williams) BFCA, HFPA, BAFTA
4. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Alberto Iglesias) BAFTA
5. The Adventures of Tintin (John Williams)

FEINBERG: Though this category has been carried by the film that went on to win best picture only twice in the 12 years since the Academy reverted back to having just one category for musical scores, I think this year will provide a third instance, since Bource's score, as his film’s only audible element, is all the more noticeable and integral to its success. (Kim Novak won't be happy, but so it goes.)

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
1. "Real in Rio" (Sergio Mendes, Carlinhos Brown, Siedah Garrett for Rio)
2. "Man or Muppet" (Bret McKenzie for The Muppets)

FEINBERG: With only two nominees this category could really go either way, but I give a slight edge to "Real in Rio" (co-writer Mendes is a beloved international artist, and the title sounds more exotic and legitimate to voters who haven't seen either entry) over "Man or Muppet" (some Academy members have vocally endorsed it, but others feel it is beneath them to vote for a song from The Muppets).

BEST SOUND EDITING
1. Hugo (Eugene Gearty, Philip Stockton) MPSE, BAFTA
2. War Horse (Richard Hymns, Gary Rydstrom) MPSE, BAFTA
3. Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Erik Aadahl, Ethan Van der Ryn) MPSE
4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Ren Klyce) MPSE
5. Drive (Lon Bender, Victor Ray Ennis) MPSE

FEINBERG: Over the past 20 years the Oscars for best sound editing and best sound mixing have gone to the same film 10 times, including each of the last two years. Because I'm fairly confident that Hugo will win best sound mixing (see below for my reasoning) -- and because it also won a major MPSE award (this category's last 14 winners were all at least nominated for one, and many won) -- that's my pick here, too.

BEST SOUND MIXING
1. Hugo (Tom Fleischman, John Midgley) CAS, BAFTA
2. War Horse (Tom Johnson, Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom, Stuart Wilson) BAFTA
3. Moneyball (Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, David Giammarco, Ed Novick) CAS
4. Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Peter J. Devlin, Jeffrey J. Haboush, Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers)
5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce, Bo Persson)

FEINBERG: Most voters have no clue how to judge this category. A few best picture nominees are usually nominated -- this year Hugo, Moneyball, and War Horse -- and they tend to vote for the one they liked most. Moreover, over the 18 years in which CAS, the sound mixers' guild, has handed out its award, no film that wasn't at least nominated for it has ever won the Oscar. That further narrows the field to Hugo and Moneyball. The former is louder and more liked -- and, like this category's last four winners, it also won the best sound BAFTA Award -- so look for it prevail.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
1. Hugo (Robert Legato, Edson Williams, Ben Grossman, Alex Henning) BFCA, BAFTA
2. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Daniel Barrett, Dan Lemmon, Joe Letteri, R. Christopher White) VES, BFCA, BAFTA
3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Tim Burke, Greg Butler, John Richardson, David Vickery) BAFTA, BFCA, VES
4. Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Scott Benza, Matthew Butler, Scott Farrar, John Frazier) VES
5. Real Steel (Swen Gillberg, Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Dan Taylor)

FEINBERG: The folks from the New Zealand-based WETA shop probably deserve to win for Rise, but the reality is that most Academy members know very little about visual effects and simply vote for the film they liked the most. Indeed, since this category was streamlined in 1977, no nominee that was also nominated for best picture has ever lost to a nominee that was not -- hence, my pick of Hugo.

BEST ANIMATED SHORT
1. A Morning Stroll BAFTA
2. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
3. La Luna
4. Dimanche
5. Wild Life

FEINBERG: It is not the most beautifully animated of the lot, but it does provide the most amusing and effective critique of society (as opposed to just a whimsical fantasy), and I suspect that that -- along with its pitch-perfect finish -- will put it over the top.

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
1. God Is Bigger Than Elvis
2. The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom
3. Saving Face
4. Incident in New Baghdad
5. The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement

FEINBERG: People who make movies, above all others, will be struck by the amazing story of Dolores Hart, a fast-rising Hollywood actress of the 1960s who walked away from stardom and an engagement to be married to become a nun -- and who possesses an unmistakable star-quality to this day.

BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT
1. Pentecost
2. Raju
3. The Shore
4. Tuba Atlantic
5. Time Freak

FEINBERG: Four of this category's last five winners have been comedies, and I suspect the trend to continue with this Irish film, which revolves around a sympathetic youngster as he suffers under -- and ultimately rebels against -- his domineering father and church.

* * *

ACRONYM KEY

ACE = 62nd Eddie Awards (February 18, 2012)

AFI = 12th AFI Awards (January 13, 2012)

ADG = 16th Art Directors Guild Awards (February 4, 2012)

ASC = 26th American Society of Cinematographers Awards (February 12, 2012)

BAFTA = 65th British Academy Film Awards (February 12, 2012)

BFCA = 17th Critics' Choice Awards (January 12, 2012)

CAS = 48th Cinema Audio Society Awards (February 18, 2012)

CDG = 14th Costume Design Guild Awards (February 21, 2012)

DGA = 64th Directors Guild of America Awards (January 28, 2012)

FI = 27th Independent Spirit Awards (February 25, 2012)

HFPA = 69th Golden Globe Awards (January 15, 2012)

IAFA = 39th Annie Awards (February 4, 2012)

IFP = 21st Gotham Independent Film Awards (November 28, 2011)

LAFCA = 37th Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards (January 13, 2012)

MPSE = 59th Golden Reel Awards (February 19, 2012)

NBR = 83rd National Board of Review Awards (January 10, 2012)

NSFC = 46th National Society of Film Critics Awards (January 7, 2012)

NYFCC = 77th New York Film Critics Circle Awards (January 9, 2012)

PGA = 23rd Producers Guild of America Awards (January 21, 2012)

SAG = 18th Screen Actors Guild Awards (January 29, 2012)

USC = 24th USC Scripter Awards (February 18, 2012)

VES = 10th Visual Effects Society Awards (February 7, 2012)

WGA = 64th Writers Guild of America Awards (February 19, 2012)