Oscars 2012: and the winner is?

imageThe triumph of ‘The Artist’ is almost certain at the Academy Awards on Sunday night. Our film critics look at who else is in the running.

It’s hard to know what the oddest thing about the Academy Awards is this year: the fact that a silent, black-and-white French film is the likeliest big winner, or the fact that that win now seems boringly predictable. But that’s the magic of the Oscars: in just one night, it can transform a cinema fan’s passion for an under‑appreciated gem into shoulder‑shrugging, told-you-so indifference.

Of course, it’s not that bad. (Not quite.) The Artist ’s route from surprise Cannes hit to awards-season frontrunner isn’t just down to the machinations of its seasoned campaign manager, Harvey Weinstein: it’s also an incredibly charming, legitimately great piece of filmmaking, and will make a thoroughly deserving Best Picture winner. But the apparent lack of any potential for upset in any of the key categories has rather tempered the excitement.

Nevertheless, I’m still holding out for a disaster. Like all awards ceremonies, the Oscars is more fun when it gets things wrong, and while a sweep for The Artist alongside Best Actress wins for The Help and a raft of technical awards for Hugo would be a fair result, a heinous miscarriage of justice would be more entertaining. Thank goodness Drive probably won’t win Best Sound Editing; I can hardly wait for the invigorating rush of disappointment. RC

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