Oscar Nominees: Thoughts and Predictions

The Academy Awards are just around the river bend, so this morning Seth McFarlane and Emma Stone announced the nominees in their behalf. For a surprisingly good year in film, there are surprisingly good nominations. A full list can be found here. Let’s start off big and then go down.

Like last year, there are nine Best Picture nominees including:

Amour

Argo

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Django Unchained

Les Miserables

Life of Pi

Lincoln

Silver Linings Playbook

Zero Dark Thirty

Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln

Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln

Initially, my gut reaction is Zero Dark Thirty, but I hear through the grapevine that there is controversy surrounding the content and truth around the depictions in the finding and killing of Osama Bin Laden. And I’m turned off that Kathryn Bigelow didn’t get nominated for her directing for the film. So, if not Zero Dark Thirty, then what? I’m going to have to go for Lincoln or Les Miserables with an advantage for Lincoln. Because Tom Hooper (director of Les Miserables) got his gold with The King’s Speech two years ago, I don’t see him getting it again this early. Not saying it’s out of the realm of reality, but it’s just less likely. Also, Steven Speilberg is a seasoned veteran; his films Saving Private Ryan got nominated for Best Picture and he received Best Director, and Schindler’s List won Best Picture along with Spielberg winning Best Director for it. I think that the Academy is award his in depth take on history and give award Lincoln. After all, it is in the lead with 12 noms already.

This ties tightly in with Best Director. As I hinted at before, I think Spielberg is a sure thing in here, even though I think Benh Zeitlin deserves more recognition for his authentic and real camera work in Beasts of the Southern Wild. But my favorite has to be Ang Lee for being able to tell such an amazing survival and spiritual tale in Life of Pi.

Acting! This will be fun. For Best Actor in a Leading Role: I have only seen Lincoln and Silver Linings Playbook, but I’m pretty sure this award is going to Day-Lewis as well. I’m sure all the other actors did stellar jobs in their respective roles, but Day-Lewis did encapsulating work with his mannerisms and voice that brought Lincoln into a three-dimensional historical character. It will be his third win with his wins for There Will Be Blood and My Left Foot.

In the Best Actress in a Leading Role we already have records being broken: the youngest and the oldest actress to be nominated: Emmanuelle Riva for Amour (the oldest woman ever nominated) and Quvenzhane Wallis for  Beasts of the Southern Wild (the youngest). Okay, I’m going to have to go with Jessica Chastain. The Academy has a tendency to always have their “golden girl” moment. They had it with Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side, Natalie Portman for Black Swan, and Meryl Streep for the Iron Lady. I haven’t seen Zero Dark Thirty yet, but that’s my pick. Either Chastain or Lawrence, who I’d like to win. She was insanely excellent in Silver Linings Playbook.

For the Best Actor in a Leading Role it’s a toss-up, I’m pretty stumped. For all these gentlemen, it’ll be their second time winning it. I loved Robert De Niro in Silver Linings Playbook, but I can only recall one scene where true emotion flowed. Tommy Lee Jones didn’t put out anything that new or interesting in Lincoln, and Alan Arkin in Argo was funny but nothing stood out enough, and Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained (who I adore as an actor) played a nicer version of Inglourious Basterds’ General Hans Landa. The only person I haven’t seen perform is Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master. So, my pick goes to Hoffman since I’ve heard such great things about what he did in that movie.

For Best Actress in a Supporting Role I think Jacki Weaver for her performance in Silver Linings Playbook. She had to play a mother and wife caught between her bipolar son and superstitious husband. A role which she nailed without hitch. And because I don’t think any of the other actresses are very likely to get it.

There’s a strong turn-out for the Best Animated Film, but I think Brave and The Pirates! Band of Misfits are out of the running. It’s the year of stop-motion which takes my favorite, Wreck It Ralph, out of the running. I think ParaNorman will get this one because they are the company that gave us Coraline, and I don’t think Frankenweenie had too much artistic merit to it. But then again, I haven’t seen it, so what do I know?

To cap off my explanation picks, I’ll go into the Best Adapted and Original Screenplay. For Best Adapted, I’ll go with Lincoln, just because I think that’s what the Academy will cater to: historical and accurate portrayals. My favorite: Life of Pi. My favorite category is Best Original Screenplay because I feel the best film comes straight from imagination and blank sheet of paper. My prediction is Flight because it comes from real world events with the writer John Gatins. I would rather see Django Unchained get the gold for having the gall to take on such subject matter as slavery in the south. Or Moonrise Kingdom, that was good too.

Other picks that I won’t dive into:

Cinematography:  Life of Pi (prediction and favorite)

Costume Design: Anna Karenina (prediction)

Editing: Zero Dark Thirty (prediction), Life of Pi (favorite)

Makeup and Hairstyling: Hitchcock (prediction and favorite)

Original Score: Lincoln (prediction), Life of Pi (favorite)

Original Song: Skyfall by Adele (prediction and favorite)

Production and Design: Anna Karenina (prediction), Life of Pi (favorite)

Sound Editing: Skyfall (prediction), Django Unchained (favorite)

Sound Mixing: Skyfall (prediction), Life of Pi (favorite)

Visual Effects: Life of Pi (prediction and favorite)

That’s it! Looking forward to the big night to see how wrong I really am!

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