They’re heeeeere. Well, almost here. The Oscars are on Sunday. It’s a big night in the Hammerle house. The kids go to bed at, oh, 6:30. Pizza is ordered. Drinks are had. Facebook and Twitter are up in full force. We used to do an Oscar pool back in college but it’s been abandoned over the years for two basic reasons: (1) most people haven’t seen all the movies nominated; and (2) they didn’t want to lose to me. I’ll admit that for a couple of years there the Oscar pool basically functioned as a “give your money to John” pool.
That’s not to say I’m an expert at predicting the Oscars. Far from it. Amazingly, seeing every movie does not give you any greater insight into who will win. BUT. Watching the Awards every year, keeping abreast of the various Guild award winners in the weeks leading up to Oscar night, and reading movie websites certainly does help. I typically manage to get about 18 right out of 24. Some years it’s more (I think I got 20 once), and some less (never less than 15), but 18 is usually the number.
So with that behind us, let’s get to the good stuff. Here are my last-minute Oscar predictions in every category. Feel free to borrow some knowledge and impress your friends. Note: most friends do not find Oscar prognosticating all that impressive.
BEST PICTURE: Argo. When the nominations were first announced, I thought Lincoln would be the de facto winner since Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow weren’t nominated for Best Director. But, as it turns out, Affleck getting snubbed was the best thing to happen to Argo. Now, everyone’s voting for it because they see injustice and a wrong must be righted. Given that fact, and all of the Guild awards it has racked up in the past few weeks, Argo could buck the trend and be the first Best Picture winner since 1989’s Driving Miss Daisy to not have its director nominated.
BEST DIRECTOR: Ben Affleck. Wait, what? Okay, if you can’t write in Affleck, this category is a toss-up. Your guess is as good as mine. I’m always partial to Steven Spielberg and this could be a very nice consolation prize since Lincoln probably won’t win Best Picture. And yet, everything I’ve been reading of late suggests that voters are really taken with Ang Lee’s ability to pull off what was deemed an unfilmmable book with Life of Pi. So, against my better judgment, I’m picking Ang Lee.
BEST ACTOR: Daniel Day-Lewis. C’mon. If DDL is coming out with a movie the same year as you, any outside shot you had at a Best Actor trophy just vanished. All the man does is win. And, you know what? He deserves it. He is our greatest living actor. He nails Lincoln. He’s humble and charming in awards speeches. A true class act. This is a strong category (I loved Joaquin Phoenix in The Master), but DDL has turned it into a blow-out.
BEST ACTRESS: At first, it seemed like this was Jessica Chastain’s to lose. Well, she lost it. I’m going with the beloved Jennifer Lawrence in the equally beloved (and bona fide blockbuster, having recently passed $100 million at the box office) Silver Linings Playbook. Having said that, don’t be surprised if Amour’s 85 year-old Emmanuelle Riva pulls a come-from-behind upset on Sunday.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Any of the actors in this category could win, but it seems to be winding down to a two-man race between Silver Lining Playbook’s Robert De Niro and Lincoln’s Tommy Lee Jones. Sorry, Tommy, you may be even more grumpy on Sunday than you were at the Golden Globes. I’m betting the Academy rewards Robert De Niro for his first good performance in what seems like an eternity, and in at least a decade.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: One of the easiest calls of the night. The minute she finished singing, “I Dreamed a Dream,” she won the Oscar. Just crown Anne Hathaway already.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: This one’s tough. It’s a three-way race between Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained, and Amour. Zero Dark Thirty just won the Writer’s Guild award, but enthusiasm for that movie seems to have chilled. Still, Mark Boal’s ability to condense a decade’s worth of material into a taut 2.5 hour movie is impressive. I bet against Boal back in 2009, picking Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds screenplay over The Hurt Locker. I won’t get burned again. Zero Dark Thirty for the win.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Because Argo can’t win director, it needs a few more wins to accompany its Best Picture trophy. You can’t have a Best Picture winner that only wins one award. Thus, expect Chris Terrio’s Argo script to beat out the heavy favorite: Lincoln’s Tony Kushner.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: Hmm. Frankenweenie or Wreck-It-Ralph? I’m going with the more artful, stop-motion animated, black-and-white gem from Tim Burton. So, yeah, Frankenweenie.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: Amour will not win Best Picture, but the fact that it’s nominated for that category means that it will win here.
BEST FILM EDITING: This category usually lines up with Best Picture. Usually. But, again, we’ve got to give Argo at least 4 awards on Sunday if it’s going to win Best Picture. Here’s No. 3.
BEST COSTUME DESIGN: This is one of the easier categories to predict, regardless of whether you’ve seen the movie. Big and splashy usually win. Period pieces have a strong chokehold on this category. Based only on past winners, logic dictates that Anna Karenina will pull this one off.
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: Another strong category where anybody could win, but from DDL on down to every last bit of detail in the background, I completely bought the historical accuracy of Lincoln.
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: I’m trying my best to be impartial here, and pick objectively, but for this category, screw it! I’m voting with my heart, and my heart belongs 100% to Roger Deakins and his work in Skyfall. He’s never won before, and I am continually blown away by the look of that film.
BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING: Well, The Hobbit sure had a lot of makeup so based on quantity alone…
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: No other effect this year was as special as Richard Parker, the tiger in Life of Pi.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: I like Thomas Newman’s Skyfall score, but I don’t think it will win. A lot of the music in this category isn’t that memorable. If Beasts of the Southern Wild were nominated here, it probably would have won. Instead, expect Mychael Danna’s Life of Pi score to take home the gold.
BEST SONG: After Anne Hathaway, this is the second easiest to predict. There is no way Adele does not win this one for her Skyfall opening credits theme. Yay, Skyfall!
BEST SOUND MIXING: The flawless layering of on-set vocals with orchestration added in post is striking enough for Les Miserables to win this one.
BEST SOUND EDITING: Because I believe Argo needs to win 4 awards if it’s going to win Best Picture, here is No. 4.
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: For the first time ever, I’ve made a point of watching all of the nominees for Best Documentary. I’m a little disappointed that great films like The Imposter and The Queen of Versailles didn’t make the cut. But you know what did? One of my favorite movies of last year, documentary or otherwise – Searching for Sugar Man. I have to pick it. So good.
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT: Oh boy. No idea. This is like playing Russian Roulette. Spin the wheel and it lands on… Open Heart.
BEST ANIMATED SHORT: I did see 2 out of the 5 here. Maggie Simpson won’t win, but I was charmed by Disney’s Paperman, a cute, cool mix of hand-drawn and CGI animation.
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT: Again, no idea. Spin the wheel and it lands on… Curfew.
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