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Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
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My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Tuesday, January 17

Academy Awards

Now that the Golden Globes is in the past, it’s time to pick the Oscars. I know, I know, it's way too early to be hazarding guesses, and I still have quite a few of the movies up for consideration yet to see, but I can make some predictions based on what I’ve seen and what I’ve heard about the others.

Of those up for best picture, I want to eliminate The Tree of Life because it was just too unsatisfyingly confusing; The Help because it was just too Disneyish; Hugo because it was too 3-D-ish; and Midnight in Paris because, although it was very good, it was still too light in the loafers. I haven’t yet seen War Horse, but I don’t think it will win simply because films about horses just don’t ever win. That leaves me with The Descendants and The Artist. I had been saying all along I thought Clooney and this movie would be the winners. But now after seeing The Artist I’m no longer so sure. It’s going to be one or the other, and of the two I’m betting on The Artist.

Of those up for Best Actor, I’m eliminating Leonardo DiCaprio in J. Edgar simply because he never should have been cast as Hoover in the first place; Brad Pitt in Moneyball because although it was a great role, the movie itself was too uninspiring to carry him there; Michael Fassbender in Shame only because this is one of those I haven’t seen and most of the critics think he’s in over his head. Again, that leaves George Clooney in Descendants and Jean Dujardin in The Artist. This one will be close, but Clooney will outsmile the Frenchman for the Oscar.

Maybe the best and closest race will be for Best Actress (I wonder how much longer we’ll retain this division between men and women. Seems kind of sexist to me. Why not simply Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor regardless of sexual persuasion?) I’m eliminating Tilda Swinton in We Need to Talk About Kevin simply because she’s too gauntly ugly. The other four are all nearly equal. I love Michelle Williams for what she’s done in the past and I can bet her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe must have been sensational. But she won’t win. And Glenn Close is a close second to Maryl Streep as our premier female actress. I haven’t seen her as the odd little man in Albert Nobbs but I’m sure it’s interestingly strange. But she won’t win. And Viola Davis in The Help was quietly, exhaustedly great, but the movie was too thin for her to win. I guess that leaves me with Meryl Streep, the iron Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.

For Best Supporting Actor, I don’t have a clue, since I haven’t seen Kenneth Branagh in My Week with Marilyn, or Albert Brooks in Drive, or Christopher Plummer in Beginners, or Mark Von Sydow in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. That leaves Jonah Hill in Moneyball, but he won’t win simply because of his inconsequential fat man comic roles in the past. So I’ll guess at Christopher Plummer.

For Best Supporting Actress, I’m eliminating both Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer because of the lightweightedness of their film The Help; eliminating Melissa McCarthy because of the lightweightedness of Bridesmaids. I haven’t yet seen Janet McTeer in Albert Nobbs, so I can’t say much about her. But I can say something about Bérénice Bejo from The Artist: She was wonderful, and will win this Oscar.

I can never figure out who a best director will be. I’d like to see Clooney win it for Ides of March, but he won’t. I’d like to see Woody Allen win it for Midnight in Paris, but he won’t. Nor will Terrence Malick for Tree of Life, nor Alexander Payne for The Descendants, nor Tate Taylor for The Help. That leaves Steven Spielberg for War Horse, Michael Hazanaviclus for The Artist, and Martin Scorsese for Hugo. I’d love to see Hazanaviclus win it for The Artist, for its radical shift in expectations, but he won’t win. Of the other two, I’m guessing that Scorsese will win it over Spielberg, but either could win it just on the basis of their past performances


Picture—The Artist (The Descendants my alternate)

Actor—Clooney (Jean Dujardin my alternate)

Actress—Streep (Michelle Williams my alternate)

Supporting Actor—Plummer (Max von Sydow my alternate)

Supporting Actress—Bejo

Director—Scorsese (Steven Spielberg my alternate)

There, now just watch me fall on my face.

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