Heading into Oscar night, a collection of safe nominations and clear favorites has led to a distinct lack of drama. For the past few months, no other film has led the awards conversation quite like "The Artist." An unlikely favorite, yes, but Michel Hazanavicius' ode to the silent-film era moved to the front sometime before the Golden Globes and stayed there.
In the days leading up to the ceremony, the biggest questions aren't who will win, but whether there will be any major surprises at all. Most Oscar analysts have locked their picks in by now, and the apparent answer is a resounding "probably not."
Is "The Artist" unstoppable? Who would we like to see win? Here are our picks for Best Picture:
Who Will Win: "The Artist." After stealing the early lead as favorite from "The Descendants," nothing has stood in the way of "The Artist." Even the most British movie of all time, "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," couldn't beat the silent film at its own awards show, the BAFTAs. Oscar gold for Hazanavicius' feel-good love letter to cinema is essentially a foregone conclusion at this juncture. If you're looking for an Oscar-night surprise, look elsewhere.
Who Should Win: "The Tree of Life." Terrence Malick's all-encompassing look at life on this little blue ball is not only the most ambitious film of the nine nominees, but the only one that took any risks at all. Yes, "The Artist" goes without sound for most of its runtime, but the silence rarely goes any deeper than gimmick and relies on an already-established style of filmmaking. Malick, instead, went in an entirely different direction and made a movie on his terms, using his own unique sensibilities. Complaints about pretension are valid and should be acknowledged, but when the rest of the field plays out like safe bets, you have to respect that Malick is swinging for the fences.
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 head to Next Movie for a printable Oscar ballot. On Sunday, tune into MTV.com at 5 p.m. ET for our two-and-a-half-hour red-carpet live stream and updates on the night's big winners. To join the live conversation, tweet @MTVNews with the hashtag #Oscars.