The day has come ladies and gentlemen, as thousands of celebrities and celebrity wranglers flock to Hollywood to toast each other’s greatness I will be braving the treacherous roads to Rockford (which is not so miserable, by the way) to engage in a knockdown, drag out fight to the death known in my family as the Oscar pool. If your family or friends are as serious as mine about the coveted recognition of guessing these awards correctly, well you shouldn’t follow my advice at all because I rarely ever win. But, if you’re bored and trying to kill time at work, read on. (And if you’re really serious about winning your own poll, just pay attention to the “will win” category.)
I’ve only gone into detail on the major awards because I just don’t have any strong opinions about who will win best costume design (Anna Karenina) or best foreign film (Amour). Nor do I have the time to explain the difference between sound mixing (Les Miserables) and sound editing (Argo). I haven’t seen any of the movies up for documentary (Searching for Sugar Man), animated film (Wreck-it-Ralph), or animated short (Paperman). Clearly everyone knows what will win best song (“Skyfall”) and best special effects (Life of Pi), so why bother discussing it. As for the rest of the awards, well, my family reads this blog and I can’t have them knowing all my picks.
Note: As always, when I say “will” I base it on the current buzz and my own observations of award habits and when I say “should” I base it on my own deeply biased and mostly wrong-headed opinions.
Argo Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained Les Miserables
Zero Dark Thirty Lincoln
Silver Linings Playbook Life of Pi
What Will Win: Argo
My personal favorite movie from this list is Silver Linings Playbook, but I’m not delusional that it will win. Argo, however, is a close number two and I am far more concerned with the message its winning will have than with the actual film itself being honored. I’ve been a fan of Ben Affleck’s directorial work from the beginning and it’s been disappointing to see him snubbed continuously, so Argo winning would be a clear message to those who still doubt him (*cough* the academy *cough*).
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Michael Haneke, Amour
David O. Russell , Silver Linings Playbook
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Who Should Win: Ben Affleck, but he’s not nominated.
Who Will Win: Steven Spielberg
Since all the usual predictive awards have been given to someone not even nominated, it’s tough to call who’ll take home the Oscar gold, but it’s pretty hard to argue that Steven Spielberg isn’t deserving of an Oscar.
Daniel Day Lewis, Lincoln
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Denzel Washington, Flight
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Who Should Win: Joaquin Phoenix
Who Will Win: Daniel Day Lewis
Anyone who doesn’t pick Daniel Day Lewis is just being difficult. He’s gonna win, just mark it down and take your free point. The Master contained the best performances of the year, in my humble opinion, but for whatever reason they’ve been largely ignored. It’s a shame.
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Naomi Watts, The Impossible
Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Who Will Win: Emmanuelle Riva
Right now popular vote is swinging towards JLaw, but I think logical thinking will win out with the Academy voters who will ultimately hand the prize to Riva. This is the one category in which my disclaimer above is the most relevant. If someone asked who is most deserving of recognition in acting excellence I would have to say Riva followed closely by Jessica Chastain and then Jennifer Lawrence. But, if someone asked me who you would most like to be best friends with and be able to call your best friend an Academy Award winning best friend, obviously I would say Jennifer Lawrence. Luckily no one is asking me these things so I can phrase my predictions any way I choose.
Best Supporting Actor
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Alan Arkin, Argo
Who Should Win: Philip Seymour Hoffman or Robert De Niro
Who Will Win: Tommy Lee Jones
Bobby and Tom and neck and neck in this one, and while I would love to see De Niro win and be rewarded for a return to form (and discourage him from more Focker sequels), I think a crazy wig is what will push this into Tommy’s corner. Academy voters just love when an actor gets ugly for a role. Obviously, Philip Seymour Hoffman is the true standout in this lineup, but why should that mean anything.
Best Supporting Actress
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Sally Field, Lincoln
Amy Adams, The Master
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Jackie Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook
Who Will Win: Anne Hathaway
People seem to be fighting between Sally Field and Anne Hathaway on this one. While Sally Field did a great job and made me reconsider a lot of my thoughts on Mary Todd Lincoln (not that I had a lot), popular vote is clearly swaying towards Ms. Hathaway. Ok, before I start this rant I have to make it clear; I like Anne Hathaway. I think she is very talented and, someday, deserving of an Oscar. However, this isn’t the time. Her character in Les Mis is on screen for all of about fifteen minutes and in that time, though no fault of her own, she loses her job, is forced onto the streets, has her hair, her teeth and her dignity ripped away from her, dies without getting to see her only daughter, oh, and also sings one of the most moving and recognizable songs in musical theater history. In short, Fantine is a pure, 100%, Oscar bait role and unless they cast Lindsey Lohan, whoever played her was gonna get a nomination. Yes, Anne did fine a job, but the role had a lot more to do with it than the performance. I will give her credit for working her promotional pole dance like a pro though. Girl wants it bad. Luckily she’ll probably get it because the actual best supporting performance of the year is in the red headed step child of this awards season; The Master. I would think it’s a conspiracy, but it’s not like the Church of Scientology has a reputation of stealthily destroying anything that doesn’t cast it in the most flattering of lights.
Best Original Screenplay
Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty
Michael, Haneke, Amour
Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
John Gatins, Flight
Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom
What Should Win: Zero Dark Thirty
What Will Win: Zero Dark Thirty
Back in 2009 Mark Boal and Quentin Tarantino faced off, Boal for The Hurt Locker and Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds. The prize was Tarantino’s to lose… and he did when Boal walked away with the statue. Oscar has a long history of attempting to right past wrongs and handing out deserved Oscars a year or two late. For this reason, and this reason alone, Tarantino might end up winning Sunday night, but it would be a shame because Django really wasn’t his writing at its best. Boal on the other hand managed to fit decades into a compact film with only minor pacing issues towards the end (understandable since the entire script had to be rewritten when history changed its ending). A small part of me does hold out hope, though, that Moonrise Kingdom will sneak in and steal it.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Chris Terrio, Argo
Tony Kushner, Lincoln
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
David Magee, Life of Pi
Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
What Should Win: Silver Linings Playbook
What Will Win: Argo
Argo can’t take home the customary top two prizes of picture and director and no picture can win best picture and nothing else. So screenplay will end up being the consolation prize to the detriment of Silver Linings Playbook.
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