It’s time for Oscar…Oscar, Oscar!
Are you excited, kids? You should be, because this year’s Academy Awards appear to be WIDE open (well, except for Best Actor, because Daniel Day-Lewis doesn’t come to lose). Which means…anything can happen!
Part of the reason there aren’t any clear cut favorites is because a couple big names have been snubbed. Two of the heavy favorites for Best Picture, “Argo” and “Zero Dark Thirty,” didn’t have their respective directors nominated for their award. I don’t have many complaints about who was selected for Best Director, but more on that later.
The fact is, it’s difficult to predict an award show when the people doing the nominating are handicapping the categories. For instance, Joaquin Phoenix turned in a phenomenal performance for “The Master,” but since that film was excluded from Best Picture, it’s unlikely anyone voting will consider more than whatever scene Phoenix’s people submitted to the Academy. Since I’m getting all my gripes out about this already, I’ll just add in that I would have probably dumped “Silver Linings Playbook” or “Life of Pi” for “The Master,” even though I enjoyed both of those movies. “The Master” wasn’t the best effort of Paul Thomas Anderson (still somehow an underrated director), but it’s still somewhat puzzling to me how it got three acting noms and not one for Best Picture.
Now that we’ve got that covered, let’s get to some predictions, shall we? I’m just going to do a grab bag of some categories, even though I know you’re DYING to hear what my prediction for Best Short Documentary is…
Best Animated Feature Film
- Brave (2012): Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman
- Frankenweenie (2012): Tim Burton
- ParaNorman (2012): Sam Fell, Chris Butler
- The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012): Peter Lord
- Wreck-It Ralph (2012): Rich Moore
Pretty weak year for animated films. I admittedly haven’t yet seen “ParaNorman,” but I heard good things. Nothing to the extent of ‘outstanding’ or ‘amazing’ that I heard from people on “Wall-E” and “Up.” Of all these films that I did see, I enjoyed “Wreck-It Ralph” the most for its originality. Maybe I’m just a sucker for video games, though.
Who should win: “Wreck-It Ralph”
Who will win: “Brave”
Best Adapted Screenplay
- Argo (2012): Chris Terrio
- Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012): Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin
- Life of Pi (2012): David Magee
- Lincoln (2012): Tony Kushner
- Silver Linings Playbook (2012): David O. Russell
There’s a lot of strong candidates here, and I thought they all did a phenomenal job making these films pretty unique. I was actually surprised to find “Beast of the Southern Wild” in this category, having thought that was an original film. Kushner managed to create a full 2-hour affair out of one small part of the original “Lincoln” work, and Magee was able to help Ang Lee make ‘the unmakeable film’. Hollywood is normally a sucker for movies based on true stories, which would have helped Lincoln, it doesn’t quite have the emotional ride that “Argo” has.
Who should win: “Life of Pi”
Who will win: “Argo”
Best Original Screenplay
- Amour (2012): Michael Haneke
- Django Unchained (2012): Quentin Tarantino
- Flight (2012/I): John Gatins
- Moonrise Kingdom (2012): Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola
- Zero Dark Thirty (2012): Mark Boal
I lied, I’m not done griping yet. Before I get going though, I feel like I should give you some background. I’m not a fan of Wes Anderson. Some people really love his movies, but I am not one of those people. His humor is dry even by British standards, and his movies can get so stale that I can’t help but just turn them off from sheer boredom.
That said, I actually really enjoyed “Moonrise Kingdom,” and I was pretty bummed to see it get no love at the Oscars this year. It’s not the best of all these screenplays, but it warrants mentioning that it’s a film you should definitely seek out on your own time.
Who should win: “Django Unchained”
Who will win: “Zero Dark Thirty” (for the last ten minutes)
Best Supporting Actress
- Amy Adams for The Master (2012)
- Sally Field for Lincoln (2012)
- Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables (2012)
- Helen Hunt for The Sessions (2012)
- Jacki Weaver for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Amy Adams is delightful. She really is. Every movie I see her in, I fall in love with her more and more. She’s not just attractive or charming, she’s a pretty dang good actress to boot. This is her 4th Oscar nom since 2006, which is especially good for someone not named Meryl Streep. The funny thing is, she’s been around for a while, and people are just starting to notice her now. Don’t expect her to disappear either: she’s going to be ‘Lois Lane’ in the “Man of Steel,” which comes out later this year.
Anne Hathaway also had a big year, though, and she’s won a lot of people over with her performances in “Les Mis” and “The Dark Knight Rises.” No complaints here when she brings home the gold.
Who should win: Amy Adams
Who will win: Anne Hathaway
Best Supporting Actor
- Alan Arkin for Argo (2012)
- Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
- Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master (2012)
- Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln (2012)
- Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained (2012)
One word for this category – stacked. It usually is anyway, but holy cow what a list this year. De Niro and Jones carry a lot of klout on their own, but Arkin has always been underrated, Hoffman is good in just about everything he does, and Waltz has really burst onto the scene. This list doesn’t even include DiCaprio, who got left off because Waltz was nominated and he’s not nice to the press.
Really tough pick here, and even though Waltz won the Golden Globe (commonly considered the best predictor for the Oscars), I’ve got a hunch this one’s going to Tommy Lee.
Who should win: Tommy Lee Jones
Who will win: Tommy Lee Jones
- Michael Haneke for Amour (2012)
- Ang Lee for Life of Pi (2012)
- David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
- Steven Spielberg for Lincoln (2012)
- Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
I’ll reiterate this here: I have no issue with the people who made this list. I thought the newcomers like Haneke and Zeitlin did very nice jobs with their respective films. But the omission of both Ben Affleck (Argo) and Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) is embarrassing. With apologies to David O. Russell, one of those two deserved to be on this list over him. My guess is that the Academy knew they’d vote for one of those two films for Best Picture, so they figured they’d give someone else a shot here. Screw that. There’s no consolation prizes here. If you want to be the best, beat the best.
For those who did make it…I really jumped on board the Ang Lee train after seeing “Life of Pi.” Another enjoyable film that won’t get much love, and a real treat to see in the theater. Hard to beat ole Stevey though in a movie as epic as “Lincoln.”
Who should win: Ben Affleck or Kathryn Bigelow
Who will win: Steven Spielberg
- Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
- Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
- Emmanuelle Riva for Amour (2012)
- Quvenzhané Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
- Naomi Watts for The Impossible (2012)
I admit that I feel like I’ve been second guessing myself a little here. I thought Jessica Chastain would be a shoo-in for this award, and so far it’s proven right at the other shows. I just don’t know, though. Jennifer Lawrence has gained some steam behind her, and it wouldn’t be the first time we see an actor from a foreign film swoop in and snag a big award (Emmanuelle Riva really breaks your heart in “Amour,” just a phenomenal job). I’m sticking with my guns, but cautiously…
Who should win: Jessica Chastain
Who will win: Jessica Chastain
- Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
- Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln (2012)
- Hugh Jackman for Les Misérables (2012)
- Joaquin Phoenix for The Master (2012)
- Denzel Washington for Flight (2012/I)
Did I even need to post the nominations here? We all know who’s going to win. He always wins. He’s the Harlem Globetrotters of acting awards. Just look at this face. He’s in the zone, AND he’s the president.
I imagine that one of these years, he’s just going to get up on the stage and totally rub one of his wins in his opponents’ faces like he does here.
Who should win: Doesn’t matter
Who will win: Daniel Day-Lewis
Best Foreign Language Film Best Picture
- Amour (2012): Margaret Ménégoz, Stefan Arndt, Veit Heiduschka, Michael Katz
- Argo (2012): Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck, George Clooney
- Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012): Dan Janvey, Josh Penn, Michael Gottwald
- Django Unchained (2012): Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin, Pilar Savone
- Les Misérables (2012): Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, Cameron Mackintosh
- Life of Pi (2012): Gil Netter, Ang Lee, David Womark
- Lincoln (2012): Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy
- Silver Linings Playbook (2012): Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen, Jonathan Gordon
- Zero Dark Thirty (2012): Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow, Megan Ellison
Ha! I totally got you, didn’t I? Not that I’d even need to predict Best Foreign Language film when one of the nominees is also in this category. (Spoiler alert: “Amour” is going to win that category running away.)
As for Best Picture, I had to give this one a lot of thought. I had it as a three horse race probably about a month ago, between “Argo,” “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Lincoln.” Then the award shows starting coming around, and then the big snubfest in the Best Director category happened, and it seemed like everyone felt bad for poor Ben. And really, before that, “Argo” seemed like it was going to fade a little.
But now? I don’t think so. A vote for “Lincoln” is just too predictable for Hollywood to make a reality. Not that is has no shot, but I think “Lincoln” has gone from a favorite down to a dark horse over the past couple months. “Argo” has been taking home the big awards at the other shows, and I’d be hard pressed to bet against it here. The word is out, and I think Affleck is looking in the face a complete comeback here. (Seriously, who doesn’t love a comeback story?)
It all makes too much sense right now for the actor/writer/director, and with all due respect to the shocker drama that is “Zero Dark Thirty,” I don’t think anybody stands in his way here.
Who should win: “Argo”
Who will win: “Argo”
The Oscars start at 7 pm this Sunday on ABC. I’ll probably be live tweeting them (like every other major event), so follow along with me here if you’d like: https://twitter.com/TStads20
Have a Happy Oscar Sunday, everyone!