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Leigh Paatsch’s Os­car pre­dic­tions

A silent French film made in black and white and a kitchen- ta­ble tale of civil rights are tipped to take the lion’s share of awards at this year’s Os­cars, writes Leigh Paatsch

BEST PER­FOR­MANCE BY AN AC­TOR IN A LEAD­ING ROLE

Demian Bichir in A Bet­ter Life Ge­orge Clooney in The De­scen­dants Jean Du­jardin in The Artist Gary Old­man in Tinker Tai­lor Sol­dier Spy Brad Pitt in Money­ball

Fo­cus on what to tweet af­ter­wards: If there was an Os­car for Best at Stand­ing Per­fectly Still and Let­ting Ev­ery­one Else Act, then Old­man would win by light years ( un­less he was up against Ryan Gosling for

Drive ). No truth to ru­mours that the mega- ob­scure Bichir was hos­pi­talised af­ter pinch­ing him­self for two days straight when nom­i­na­tions came out.

De­serves to win, but won’t: Back in Oc­to­ber, Clooney was mod­estly telling ev­ery­one The De­scen­dants would make a clean sweep of the Os­cars. Must have missed a screen­ing of The Artist when he was in Cannes. Bit of a shame Clooney will miss out here, as this is his finest lead per­for­mance of a very con­sis­tent ca­reer. Ditto Le Pitto, the most un­der- rated ma­jor star of the mod­ern age.

And the win­ner is . . . Jean Du­jardin ( pic­tured). Some might ar­gue the ab­sence of sound meant the charis­matic French star only had half the job to do. That’s to­tal tosh. What he brought to le tableau was a con­trolled dis­play of over­act­ing – al­ways charm­ing but never over­bear­ing.

BEST PER­FOR­MANCE BY AN AC­TOR IN A SUP­PORT­ING ROLE

Jonah Hill in Money­ball Ken­neth Branagh in My Week With

Marilyn

Max von Sy­dow in Ex­tremely Loud and In­cred­i­bly Close

Nick Nolte in War­rior Christopher Plummer in Be­gin­ners

Check for af­ter- par­ties on Google Maps: Hill’s ( pic­tured) vic­tory is that Academy vot­ers recog­nised the fi­nesse of his fine­lyp­itched work in

Money­ball. Though no chance of win­ning, this well- earned nom will steer some qual­ity work his way in fu­ture. It is baf­fling that the veteran von Sy­dow made the field at all. Be­ing such a gent, he won’t mind a jot at be­ing trumped by an­other old- timer.

De­serves to win, but won’t: Branagh has more than a hope than many might sus­pect. Ev­ery­one else is here for un­der­stated work of a de­cid­edly se­ri­ous bent. Ken’s sly im­per­son­ation of Sir Lau­rence Olivier at his vain­glo­ri­ous worst is fun, fun, fun. Nolte’s griz­zly al­co­holic dad was the hun­gover heart and soul of

War­rior, a movie many mis­read as a

re- telling of Rocky.

And the win­ner is . . . Christopher Plummer. I know, they al­ways hand this straight to the old codger if one hap­pens to be in the line- up. How­ever, those who have seen the low- key in­die

drama Be­gin­ners will know that Plummer’s poignant take on a man com­ing out of the closet as can­cer comes a- call­ing was mag­nif­i­cent.

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