Sunday, February 24, 2013

85th Academy Awards Predictions

Oscar night is a little over 5 hours away, which means that next week, all the good movies will be out of theatres and we'll be getting nothing but shit from now until the end of November. 

Last year, I was 19 for 24, one shy of my all-time record. As always, my "should win" pick is who I would be casting my vote for. My "will win" pick is who is actually going to take home the hardware.

Best Picture
Should win: Argo
Will win: Argo

As usual, we trim the fat by taking out the ones that weren't nominated for Film Editing (Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, and Les Miserables) and we pick one from what's left.

Argo is the undisputed #1 on the awards circuit power rankings, after picking up the Globe as well as SAG, DGA, and PGA honours. And what can I say…I like a good underdog story. Not since Brokeback Mountain has a film won that much hardware and failed to win film's ultimate prize. But that year, the eventual winner Crash at least put up some kind of fight. Only concern (see below) is that Lincoln will have won two majors to Argo's one at this point in the show, so it's going to be interesting.

Should win: Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Will win: Steven Spielberg, Lincoln

This category is just fucked beyond all measure. DGA winner Ben Affleck is missing, as is Kathryn Bigelow, as is Paul Thomas Anderson. Spielberg wins and then loses Best Picture minutes later, much like the 1998 Shakespeare in Love vs. Saving Private Ryan fiasco. My vote is for the first-time shoestring budget guy whose lead character was five years old. If that's not achievement in directing, I don't know what is.

Actress in a Leading Role
Should win: Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Will win: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

Big toss-up here. It seems that Lawrence and Chastain split the categories between comedy and drama. Chastain has NBR and Critics Choice power, while Lawrence has the SAG, and each won a Globe. Much as I liked Zero Dark Thirty as a movie, I found Chastain's performance a little bit dull. And I kind of knew that Lawrence would win after watching her for one minute in Silver Linings. It's not enough these days to play a strong female lead; apparently, the character has to be a little bat-shit crazy as well. My vote is for Wallis just to see her on stage because she's quite a brat. But watch out for Emmanuelle Riva, who is quietly inching her way up to the top of the power rankings with a BAFTA win...

Actor in a Leading Role
Should win: Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Will win: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

It doesn't look like anyone can take DDL down. He's got the Globe, BAFTA, and SAG behind him. Jackman, Cooper, and Phoenix would all be deserving winners, but Denzel Washington though? Really? Anyone can get wasted and stumble around on-screen for 2 hours, and overperform it all to shit like he did. Joaquin Phoenix's odd, funny, disconcerting, and demented performance gets my vote. 

Writing - Adapted Screenplay
Should win: Chris Terrio, Argo
Will win: Chris Terrio, Argo

I love this category this year. I had a hard time picking just one. Argo has WGA muscle behind it, Silver Linings Playbook has the BAFTA and NBR, and Lincoln's got Critics Choice. The smart money is still onLincoln though, because it's written by Tony Kushner of Angels in America fame so the Academy might play favourites. I guess we'll see. The Writers Guild is usually pretty clever about who's going to win the Oscar though, so that's who I'm going with.

Writing - Original Screenplay
Should win: Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom
Will win: Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained

I know, right? Why would I vote against Tarantino when it looks like there's more than a sniff of a chance of him winning? I'm a sucker for Wes Anderson's writing, so what do you want me to say? Django wasn't even nominated by the Writers Guild which is a big red flag, so it's possible I'm going to get this one really wrong. I can't believe Flight is in here ahead of The Master. A lot of people are picking Zero Dark Thirty fresh off its WGA win, but Tarantino's backed by BAFTA, the Globes, and Critics Choice.

Actress in a Supporting Role
Should win: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Will win: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables

Anne Hathaway, don't you think? Yeah, there's not much of a conversation here...

Actor in a Supporting Role
Should win: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Will win: Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

I was actually surprised when the nominations came out, and Waltz was announced for his lazy retread of Hans Landa instead of DiCaprio. If we're going to see an upset, it's probably going to be here. Waltz has the Globe, BAFTA, and NBR, Jones has the SAG, and Hoffman has the Critics Choice and a pile of minor critics association awards. And Bobby Deniro could just come out of nowhere, who knows. But Waltz has won very recently and this award has tended to go to an elder statesman in the last little while.

Animated Feature Film
Should win: Wreck-It Ralph
Will win: Wreck-It Ralph

This is like "Sophie's Choice" for John Lasseter, especially since the race is really, really close this year.Brave has BAFTA and Globe weight behind it, but Ralph has the Critics' Choice, the PGA, the NBR, and the Annie. Wreck-It Ralph was like Toy Story for gamers, so it's possible that Walt Disney Animation Studios might have even out-Pixared their Emeryville cousins (this time.) After the disaster that wasCars 2, there was rampant speculation that Pixar had jumped the shark, so it would be nice to see them get back on the winner's podium. However, Rich Moore directed 71 episodes of Futurama (the bulk of the series) so I'm cheering for Ralph.

The rest:

Cinematography: Life of Pi
Costume Design: Anna Karenina
Documentary Feature: Searching for Sugar Man
Documentary Short: Open Heart
Film Editing: Argo
Foreign Language Film: Amour
Makeup and Hairstyling: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Music - Original Score: Life of Pi
Music Original Song: Skyfall
Production Design: Les Miserables
Short Film - Animated: Paperman
Short Film - Live Action: Curfew
Sound Editing: Zero Dark Thirty
Sound Mixing: Les Miserables
Visual Effects: Life of Pi