A past Oscar nominee who has appeared in both dramas and comedies
It's ridiculous having 9 or 10 nominees. That's too many movies for anyone to have to watch. Anyway, I hated Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. It was maudlin and sentimental, and the whole movie hinged on a child actor who seemed like he was out of a sitcom. War Horse was the kind of movie that used to win Oscars an old-fashioned sweeping epic. Hugo was a children's film and children's films shouldn't win Best Picture. Midnight in Paris was sort of a soufflé: enjoyable but very slight. The Help was a beautiful movie. Great attention to detail. It was sentimental without being overwrought, but a little cutesy in spots. The Tree of Life was really interesting but a little too artsy and esoteric. The Descendants was another beautiful film, melancholy and odd, but a little sitcommy in places. The Artist was amazing, but I felt like it was an aberration. I don't think it represents Hollywood in the 21st century. I mean, a Best Picture should have sound. So I'm going to vote for Moneyball. A brilliant film, really smartly written, but it didn't condescend to the audience.
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
I love Martin Scorsese, but I'm voting for Michel Hazanavicius. He created a wonderful fantasy and pulled off the near-impossible.
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
George Clooney turns in quietly beautiful performances year after year. He makes it look easy. And I loved Brad Pitt's performance. Very wistful and full of melancholy. But I'm voting for Jean Dujardin. He has this quiet dignity when everything falls apart. He has these little gestures with his hands. You could see the sense of loss. It was the quintessential film performance it's all about his face.
Viola Davis, The Help
Every performance in this category is amazing. Glenn Close I totally believed her as a man. Rooney Mara had this quiet intensity and rage. But she's young and seemed kind of arrogant in interviews, and it really does matter how you campaign for an Oscar. I love Michelle Williams, but the performance was a little labored and self-conscious. Meryl Streep gave a lovely, nuanced, heartbreaking performance, but she gets nominated every year. But Viola Davis in The Help was such a revelation. She anchored that movie. You were never aware that she was acting there were no actor calisthenics. That's who I'm voting for.
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
He brought out the humor in the character without going broad. It was a lovely characterization.
Octavia Spencer, The Help
Her performance was so wonderfully grounded and quirky and ferocious. She's this amazing actress I'd never really seen before, and she was holding her own among such amazing actors.