The 2013 Oscars: My Predictions
Hello all, and welcome to the first of a series of hubs I am posting with reference to this evening's Oscar telecast, honoring the putative best films of the year 2012. I do apologize for the severely late start to this series, but hopefully many of you will still find tonight's topic to be of interest--namely, what films will win the coveted prizes this year. First, a disclaimer: I have yet to see No and Kon Tiki (both up for Best Foreign Language Film), The Gatekeepers (up for Documentary Feature), and Chasing Ice (up for Original Song). Also, I have only seen three of the nominees for Animated Short, and none of the nominated films in the other two short film categories. That said, I've still seen a LOT of nominated films. And so, without further adieu, here are the films that will win this year.
BEST PICTURE: Argo
This category is not a lock; Lincoln or Life of Pi could be dark horse contenders. However, the huge outcry of affection for Argo following Ben Affleck's OBVIOUS snub in the Best Director category, and the slight backlash against Lincoln that is partly a result of this make Affleck's film the frontrunner in a race I'd like to see go to Silver Linings Playbook.
BEST DIRECTOR: Ang Lee, Life of Pi
This category is actually VERY hard to call, and I confess Steven Spielberg could easily be the spoiler here. However, I do feel that Spielberg suffered more from Affleck's snub, and the fact that Lee's work has been more universally praised (Spielberg was snubbed himself at the BAFTAs) gives him the edge for his second win.
BEST ACTOR: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
The only real lock in this race.
BEST ACTRESS: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
This race is hard to call, and Emannuelle Riva has a definite shot at receiving the ultimate birthday present by becoming the oldest woman ever to win Best Actress at the Oscars--her incredible work in Amour actually edges Lawrence's in my opinion. However, I LOVE Jennifer Lawrence, and am deeply impressed by her as an actress; naturally, I want her to win. Also, history and statistics are on her side. Though actresses have one for French-speaking roles before (Marion Cotillard did so just about five years ago), Playbook made the very RARE feat of garnering nods in all four acting categories, the first film to do so since 1981's Reds. Of the dozen or so films that have done this, only the first (My Man Godfrey) went home empty-handed, and only one other (I believe it was Sunset Boulevard) got no acting wins. EVERY SINGLE ONE that won for acting had a win for either the lead or support actress, while only four wins went to the men (two each for lead and support). So, if history is any indication, Lawrence will win the night.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Robert DeNiro, Silver Linings Playbook
This category is very hard to call; it seems to come down to Robert DeNiro vs. Tommy Lee Jones, with Philip Seymour Hoffman as the most likely spoiler. In the end, I give to DeNiro for two reasons chief of all. One, see the above. The statistics quoted for Jennifer Lawrence tell me that DeNiro is clearly the second most likely win for this movie, and the overall positive buzz for the film plus Lawrence's probable win gives him the tiniest edge over Jones. Two, he's Robert Freakin' DeNiro, and this one of the best roles he's had since Raging Bull.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Hathaway almost has this one in a lock, though her brief performance is yet another argument for splitting the acting categories into three levels (Lead, Supporting, Bit Role/ Cameo). Sally Field COULD be a spoiler for Lincoln, but expect Hathaway to win.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Django Unchained
I LOVED Moonrise Kingdom's quirky script, but in the end I see this being the Academy's nod to Quentin Tarantino's delightfully depraved "Southern."
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Silver Linings Playbook
This is another category that's really tough to call. Argo and Life of Pi are contenders, and Lincoln strikes me as the most likely spoiler. Even Beasts of the Southern Wild is in the game, as this could be its token win. In the end, though, I think Playbook's success will be partially credited to its script.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: Wreck-It Ralph
It's funny that, in a year where Pixar Studios blatantly rolled out an Oscar-bait movie, they would have SERIOUS competition from a pair of freakin' Disney films, but honestly Brave is the spoiler here, rather than the frontrunner. Even the Aardman Studios film is left behind. No, this year the race is between Frankenweenie and Wreck-It Ralph, and I think the latter will win, if only since it has picked up more awards and since I liked it more.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FEATURE: Amour
As noted above, I am still two movies down in this category. However, I can still safely say that Amour is going to win AT LEAST ONE Oscar, and this is clearly the safe bet.
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: Searching for Sugar Man
The four films I have seen in this category are all excellent films, and it's hard to really choose a favorite here. That said, Sugar Man is the closest to a feel-good film the category has to offer, and the music is awesome. My friend and I who watched this film were both immediately inspired to get Rodriguez's albums (though my inspiration has been temporarily delayed due to lack of funds); a documentary that inspires action can truly be said to be great. That said, the fact that The Invisible War has apparently inspired action at the national level makes it a serious contender.
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Life of Pi
All of these films were gorgeusly shot, and Anna Karenina and Skyfall were particularly impressive. However, I was most impressed by Pi, whose artistic and technical accomplishments portend a modest sweep of the "minor" categories.
BEST COSTUME DESIGN: Anna Karenina
Historically, the winner of this award is often shut out of the other categories come Oscar night, which argues heavily against Lincoln and Les Miserables. That said, I still think Lincoln is the best spoiler here; I do think, however, that the ornate beauty of Anna Karenina will win at least one award, and this is its best shot.
BEST FILM EDITING: Life of Pi
I'm really not certain how to call this category; I'm giving it to Life of Pi as part of a "minor" category sweep.
BEST MAKEUP: Les Miserables
The least deserving of the three(?!?!?) nominees in this category is also the one that is fated to win.
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: Lincoln
As one who frequents some of the locations used in this film, and who yet had trouble spotting them in the finished product, I can attest that the Lincoln filmmakers did their job well. All of these films are contenders, but I think it'll be Lincoln in the end.
BEST SOUND EDITING: Skyfall
I am not a sound engineer, but to my tin ear all of these films SOUNDED great. I give it to Skyfall as a companion to the probable Original Song win.
BEST SOUND MIXING: Les Miserables
Even I know that live singing in a movie requires far more attention to sound than most films. This award is going to Les Miserables.
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: Life of Pi
As this was the ONLY nomination for The Avengers(?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!), I wanted to give that film the nod. In the end, however, it will go to Life of Pi.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: Argo
This was a tough call, and truth be told I almost gave it to Mychael Danna's lovely score for Life of Pi. However, Alexandre Desplat is WAY overdue for Oscar glory (at least, I THINK he hasn't won one, and I know heis often overlooked). Also, Argo will win at least one award besides Best Picture--I think this is the most likely.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG: "Skyfall," Skyfall
Adele's Bond tune will win the category that showed the biggest and most egregious snub against both The Avengers and The Hunger Games. "Suddenly," from Les Miserables, is the only remotely likely spoiler.
BEST ANIMATED SHORT: Paperman
Who knew Dispey Studios could still produce a truly awesome short film. While Paperman's chances are reduced by its studio backing, it has a FAR better shot than the other two nominated shorts I've seen, Fresh Guacamole and Maggie Simpson in 'The Longest Daycare'. Adam and Dog could be a spoiler, from what I hear.
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT: Inocente
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT: Curfew
I loved Ghost of Old Highways, but since it's not nominated, I'll give this to Curfew.
So, there you have it. I hope any of you reading this before the big show tonight find this a useful tool for making some last-minute bets with your friends, and that those of you reading it after find this at least an interesting take on the yearly tradition of playing chances with the Oscars. I have several other topics related to 2012's movies, and this Oscar race, and I intend to roll these out over the next couple weeks. Hope you enjoyed tonight's topic, and do feel free to come back for more.