One of the major complaints about this year's Academy Awards race is that most of the winners feel decided already. Sure, "The Artist" is going to win Best Picture. Viola Davis probably already has Best Actress locked up. But the competition for Best Original Screenplay doesn't even feel like a competition at all. The Academy has already spoken, and they're going with an Oscar favorite.
What's really unfortunate here is not that the category is so predictable, but that the Academy didn't venture more into independent film to find their nominees. "A Separation" stands out as one of the more refreshing nominees, but as the obligatory "indie" nominee, "Margin Call" could easily be swapped out for the likes of Jeff Nichols' "Take Shelter" or Sean Durkin's "Martha Marcy May Marlene."
Of all the films nominated for original writing, here are our predictions for the category in 2012:
Who Will Win: Woody Allen for "Midnight in Paris." After 40-plus years of making movies, Allen delivered a film that went on to become his most financially successful ever. An achievement by a writer/director of his caliber will rarely go unrewarded at the Oscars, and deservedly so. "Midnight in Paris" is perfectly all right with being ridiculous, even going as far as to not explain the main character's time-traveling abilities. More importantly, the film was about something, the allure and emptiness of nostalgia, in a year that's been obsessed with traveling back in time emotionally. Even if the plot became repetitive at times, even the most cynical viewers had to find some joy in watching the like of Hemingway and the Fitzgeralds speaking words written by Allen.
Who Should Win: Asghar Farhadi for "A Separation." Anytime the Academy has an opportunity to do something utterly unexpected, that's where my heart will lie. A win for the Iranian film would not only buck old Academy stereotypes, but reward a truly deserving film. "A Separation" follows a married couple as they decided whether to stay in Iran and care for an ailing parent or leave to better the life of their young daughter. Launching from that already provocative starting point, the film goes unexpected places while keeping the audience's attention every step of the way.
The MTV Movies team has the 2012 Oscars covered! Stick with us for everything you need to know leading up to the awards show, and on Sunday, February 26, tune into MTV.com at 5:30 p.m. ET for our three-hour red-carpet live stream and updates on the night's big winners.