Oscar nominations will be revealed Tuesday January 24th. As we get closer, the Grouches will be sharing some thoughts, hopes, and predictions.  Here are some of our biggest wishes.  Except for Brian and Adam, who both suck. [edit: Brian’s thoughts are now below.  He no longer sucks.]

John: 

Oddly enough, I feel like I’m most invested in the Original Song category this year. As the season progresses and it appears some of my favorites won’t be getting the attention I think they deserve (I’m not masochistic enough to live or die with Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’s Best Picture chances), I come back to this category that no one ever seems to really know and therefore everything is in play. There are several contenders I think are terrific and I really hope one of them lands a nomination.

My number one choice is “Shelter” from Take Shelter. It turns out director Jeff Nichols’s brother is Ben Nichols, lead singer for alt-country band Lucero. I’ve been a fan of the band and Nichols’s gravelly voice for some time so his contribution to Take Shelter is a real treat. It plays over the end credits, but it captures the atmosphere of the film’s chilling conclusion very well. I know songs that play over the credits tend to be at a disadvantage, but some are just perfect for a fade to black; to roll over you while you let the film sink in. This soulful tune is exactly that.

The Muppets submitted three original songs this year. They’ve been the talk of the category and if at least one doesn’t land a nomination there will be no justice. Plus it increases the odds of some killer Muppet action in the Oscar telecast.

My favorite of the three is “Pictures in My Head,” a downbeat tune Kermit sings remembering his estranged friends. As a long-time Muppet fan it had quite the impact on me and the theater suddenly got a little dusty during the song. It also has some terrific lyrics. I love the sentiment of “If we could do it all again/ Just another chance to entertain/ Would anybody watch or even care?/ Or did something break we can’t repair?” That’s how you humanize your puppets!

Everyone seems to love “Man or a Muppet,” which is a fantastic scene but the other option, “Life’s a Happy Song” is a better song. Just very catchy and fun.

Finally, I’d love to see something for The National’s “Think You Can Wait” from Win Win. I really like the band and this is a nice song from them and another one of those good final credits films. The National has had a nice year in film with two older songs used to wonderful effect in Warrior.

Jared:

I suppose it is a little late to wish for better movies?  One reason I’ve always enjoyed the Oscars is rooting for movies and performances I love.  But this year, the only Oscar movie I’ve really loved is The Artist, which doesn’t exactly need my help.  DiCaprio already has three nominations to his name, so sure, it’d be great for Oldman to get one.  But I don’t particularly enjoy advocating Oscar noms for career work, a malady plaguing the Academy enough as it is.  Similarly, it’d be neat for Patton Oswalt to get a nomination.

So I’m rooting for chaos.  I want my predictions to be wildly inaccurate.  The Academy bumping Bejo up to lead, where she belongs.  Or, if Bejo gets to be supporting, so does Rooney Mara.  Meryl Streep missing a nomination, likely because everyone assumed everyone else voted for her.  Jessica Chastain getting two nominations.  Judy Greer sneaking in and getting one.  People realizing The Muppets should get a screenplay nomination.  Mission Impossible getting a a best picture nomination would probably better reflect people’s true thoughts and would bring the system to its knees.  Only five films receiving best picture nominations, causing the Academy to change the system again.  Since I don’t seem to have much of a vested interest here, I want to laugh when I hear the names called Tuesday morning.

And finally, having just seen 50/50, pretty sure I’m rooting for it to receive a screenplay nomination.

Brian:

Well it only took me to two days before the nominations announcement to find something I could truly fill this space with. I absolutely loved50/50 and I don’t think I’ve cried that much in a movie in years. And it didn’t even have a father/son plotline! Granted — like most movies this year it wasn’t perfect and in most other years would have a problem cracking my top 5, but well, as Jared said, 2011 was a terrible year for movies. I’m going to be pulling for Joseph Gordon-Levitt to get a best actor nomination (not even close to happening) and for it to get a screenplay nomination (though Will Reiser’s development of Bryce Dallas Howard’s harpy girlfriend was woefully unfair and borderline sexist).

On top of that? My other final wish is to see Bill Cunningham: New York get recognized with a Best Documentary nomination. Some writers scratched their heads over BC:NY making the shortlist over Page One, the New York Times documentary, but they mistook high production value for a smooth narrative. Director Richard Press masterfully crafted his profile of the Times’ enigmatic fashion and society photographer while leaving the unnamed tension of — Why isn’t he married? Does he have a personal life? Is he gay? — left unresolved into the very end. It’s really well done and that is really the only thing I have left to fist pump over for tomorrow morning.

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