Academy Awards Predictions 2013
Dive into the Academy Awards Oscar Pool! The water's full of stars!
February 24th is the night when the envelopes are opened and the "Oscar goes to..." the choice you've made in your local Oscar Pool. Hollywood ignores the box office for one night and bores us to tears with an evening of song, dance and speeches. Gambling against your friends and family to pick the most winners is the only real reason to sit through the tedious hours of the TV ceremony. So, once again this year, I am offering my "vast knowledge" of movies and Academy Awards historical trend analysis of previous upsets and slam dunks to help you take home some cash on Oscar night.
Battle of the Box Office Dogs
Once you realize that the Academy Awards is all about promoting movies that are not box office hits or mass (crass) commercial packages designed to extract money from your pocket,you are partially into thinking like an Oscar voter. These voters are insiders, desperate to keep their craft alive and support art and individual creative expression. So, you probably have not seen most of the nominated movies and performances. They are chosen and voted on by insiders supporting each other. They vote based on a whole gamut of reasons from personal to political to saving jobs. All the movies nominated are box office dogs. This is not a popularity contest, so leave your fan support outside when you draft your Oscar list of possible winners.
My Logical Prediction Strategy
My prediction strategy is simple, go with nominees with a track record (such as wins at other award ceremonies such as the Writers or Actors guilds, or the Golden Globes. Also look for sentimental favorites who have been overlooked in past years or have struggled for recognition or, best of all, overcome horrendous adversity to make it in Hollywood. These give hope to the Academy Award voters that they too may have their day in the spotlight. It makes everyone feel good when an underdog beats the odds. So, you can surf the web and see what everyone is predicting, or read my list which has a synthesis of all the "intelligence" currently out there, sifted through my lens of practical experience and then enjoy the show. It is fun to predict the future, even as we all know, it is impossible.
Argo Should Take Best Picture
The Creative Categories: My Academy Awards Predictions
Best Picture is Argo, because it won the Golden Globes and it is a great, true story about Hollywood coming to the rescue of hostages in Iran. With eight other nominees, the vote get split and watered down so the winner sometimes is not the overwhelming favorite but the one that offends the least and pleases the most. How else could you explain the win last year for The Artist? Again, I think we'll see Hollywood rewarding itself. So, Argo is the favorite, even though Ben Affleck is not in the hunt for Best Director.
Best Director usually goes together with Best Picture but not this year. Lincoln was a favorite before Argo won the Globes, so Steven Spielberg should grab the votes than normally follow the Best Picture pick.
Best Actor is a lock for Daniel Day-Lewis and his moving, uncanny portrait of President Lincoln, and he won the Golden Globes award.
Best Actress is a bit more of a contest but Jennifer Lawrence won the Globes and should take home and Oscar for her performance in Silver Linings Playbook.
More Creative Categories
Screenplays fall into two categories, Original and Adapted from some other medium. Original Screenplay is a close race between Mark Boal for Zero Dark Thirty and Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained. One is political and one is controversial, but Quentin has won before so go with the past winner. For Adapted Screenplay, Argo's Chris Terrio should win for making this material into a movie at all.
Score and Song are a mixed bag this year, with the Bond song, Skyfall and Adele isthe favorite of practically everyone - this is not a tough competition as movie songs are universally terrible. Best score is a place where Life of Pi should be rewarded again like at the Globes, along with the CGI tiger in the technical category.
Best Animated Feature is Tim Burton's Frankenweenie in a slow year for this blatantly commercial category, although Brave won at the Globes and could be the winner. No one other than Oscar pool players really cares about this category anyway. Chose your own favorite and move on.
Best Foreign Language Film will go to the French Film Amour, about a couple in their eighties - the average age of the majority of Academy Awards voters.
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Guessing the Geeks
The Rest of the Oscar Nominees
The remaining 14 categories are for the arts and crafts portion of movies, lighting and editing and getting recognition for starting small, as in short films or supporting roles to the lead actors. Everyone has to start somewhere and learn a trade, so we need these categories to maintain a healthy movie industry, but do they make great TV watching? Nope. Who really cares who wins art direction? Or sound mixing? Just other craftsmen in the biz, but we also can up our Oscar pool performance by "guessing the geeks" preferences.
Best Support for the Stars
Supporting Actor has two nominees from the same movie, Django Unchained so they will probably cancel each other out and let Tommy Lee Jones in for his role in Lincoln.
Supporting Actress belongs to Anne Hathaway for Les Miserables, and for being so brave in hosting the Oscars last year and surviving with her dignity intact.
Films Nobody Sees
Documentaries are tough to call, as they reflect our social condition and mood, but the favorite seems to be Searching For Sugar Man, about a musician who got screwed over and yet remained famous in foreign countries while he toiled away in America in low-level jobs. It is the kind of story Hollywood sees and loves and hopes and identifies in their own careers.
Short films are totally obscure films no one sees and, unless you catch a trailer or two, you have no way of evaluating except from research, recommendations or films with kids in them. Let me save you lots of internet searches and say the favorites are Adam and Dog, Open Heart and Curfew for Animated, Documentary and Live Action Shorts respectively.
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Lincoln will take home some Oscar gold, but which ones?
Rewarding the Craft of Filmmaking
Finally, we have the true crafts of film, from lighting and editing to sound and make-up. .
Here is the list and probable winners (from my own personal tastes mixed with general consensus of critics):
Production Design: Les Miserables
Cinematography: Life of Pi
Costume Design: Anna Karenina
Editing: Argo (can't have a thriller without editing)
Make-up: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (no one in the movie has a face without make-up)
Sound Editing: Zero Dark Thirty
Sound Mixing: Les Miserables (for all the live singing on set)
VIsual Effects: Life of Pi (the tiger (spoiler) wasn't real, you know).
Good Night and Good Luck
So, as you watch the 85th Academy Awards, ignore your box office favorites to root for the most obscure movies of the year, I hope you edge out your best friend, parents and older sister and your very competitive grandma for the Oscar pool money.