Thursday, February 21, 2013

Oscar Forecast: “Argo” with a Chance of the 16th President of the United States

UPDATED: Argo did it! It won best picture without that pesky directing nomination! It also took Best Adapted Screenplay and Editing. It was the lowest number of wins for a best picture winner since Crash won in 2006. Les Miserables also won 3 awards, but the big winner was Life of Pi which walked home with four trophies including that elusive directing award that had many pundits like me scratching their heads. The show was overall rather enjoyable and hysterically funny thanks to first time host Seth McFarlane. I did pretty good with my predictions missing in 6 categories: Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Production Design, Best Original Screenplay, Best Animated Feature, and Best Director. I've never fared so poorly with the major categories, but I got all the shorts correct. And what was with that Sound Editing tie, huh?? And why the hell did Brave win Best Animated Feature?, it was one of the weakest Pixar films ever nominated.

This has been a particularly successful year for Oscar nominated films. Six of the Best Picture nominees have made over $100 million at the box office: “Argo,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Lincoln,” “Django Unchained,” “Les Misérables,” and “Life of Pi.” “Zero Dark Thirty” is almost there with $88 million. Then there are the two little seen but well-liked contenders “Amour” and “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” This year, there is no excuse for any movie fan to complain about the Best Picture choices, because odds are you’ve seen at least one or two of them. Before nominations day this appeared to be a race between Lincoln and Argo. But then the unthinkable happened: Ben Affleck wasn’t nominated for Best Director, which statistically reduced the chances of his film taking the big prize. In modern times, only Driving Miss Daisy was able to win Best Picture without a Directing nomination. Surely if that old lady can do it, so can Argo right? In a mix of pure love for the movie and backlash, Argo managed to win nearly every award leading up to Oscar night including the Golden Globe, Critics Choice Award, BAFTA, SAG, DGA and PGA. At this point if Argo didn’t win it would be an upset ala “Crash” or “Shakespeare in Love.” But what movie could beat it? Well we’ll just have to wait and see. Many of the categories this year are equally as dicey to predict, but I’ve attempted to do it anyways. Without further ado, here are my fearless Oscar predictions...

Best Picture

Who Will Win: “Argo.” Sure it has the director snub working against it. But if Driving Miss Daisy can win Best Picture without a director nomination Argo can do it. Who would of thought “Lincoln” would turn out to be the underdog? The biggest surprise could surely be a surprise win by “Silver Linings Playbook” it’s unlikely but not altogether impossible.

Who Should Win: “Argo.” It’s one of my favorite films of the year and I love it’s 1970s Hollywood vibe. It would be a return to the grittier work the Academy had been honoring until The King’s Speech and The Artist came along.

Should Have Been Nominated: The Impossible

Best Director

Will Win: Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln.” I’m not very confident here. Traditionally the winner of the DGA award usually wins this, but Ben Affleck won and he’s not nominated, so it could easily go to anyone. Spielberg and Ang Lee have already won, so even David O. Russell has a shot, but I’m not sure the Academy, as much as they love the film, will see it as a stunning directorial achievement – unlike Lee’s film which is a technical wonder. Haneke and Zeitlin should be happy to be nominated.

Should Win: Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln.” Since Affleck isn’t even nominated, I’d at least vote for my favorite director even if Lincoln is not nearly one of my favorites of his. But it was his passion project.

Should Have Been Nominated: Ben Affleck, “Argo”

Best Actor

Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln.” Do the others even stand a chance? Day-Lewis is set to become the only guy to win 3 Best Actor Oscars ever. (A feat that should have already happened with Tom Hanks for “Cast Away”)

Should Win: Daniel Day-Lewis. “Lincoln” I can’t help the fact that he’s already won twice deter me from reconginzing just how great he was. But my other choice would be Bradley Cooper an actor who you never thought was as capable as what he accomplished in “Silver Linings Playbook.” But how can you even compare these two performances?

Should Have Been Nominated: Tom Holland, “The Impossible”

Best Actress

Will Win: Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour.” I really hope we’re not all being duped here by her recent surprise win at the BAFTAs. I know the Academy liked Amour enough to nominated for five Oscars? But do they REALLY like it? We’ll soon find out just how much. Personally, I find it hard to believe many members have seen it or even WANT to see it. Jennifer Lawrence is the other frontrunner and likely winner, but I wonder if they think she’s too young and will have other shots at the trophy. Riva is 85 and turns 86 on Oscar night. And let me just end with a but… only ONE performer has won the Oscar without at least being nominated for a SAG award: Marcia Gay Harden for “Pollock” which was a surprise win in and of itself. Just sayin’.

Should Win: Naomi Watts, “The Impossible.” Anyone who’s seen this tsunami drama will tell you how amazing Watts is in it, but unfortunately she’s largely absence for a lot of the film’s third act, which greatly hurts her chances. And with as film’s only nomination, what are odds she has a shot? Slim to none, in my opinion, but she deserves the gold.

Should Have Been Nominated: Helen Mirren, “Hitchcock”

Best Supporting Actor

Will Win: Robert De Niro, “Silver Linings Playbook.” A case could be made for all five men nominated. They’ve all won before. De Niro has gone the longest without a win and I think he gives enough a great performance (he even cries!) that it should win the Academy over more than the curmudgeony Jones and the great Waltz. Both of whom have a great chance at winning too  

Should Win: Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained.” I’m not a particular fan of any of the nominees (and I haven’t seen “The Master”) but I really, really enjoyed Waltz’s performance. It’s pretty similar to what he did in “Inglourious Basterds” thought which is why I’d feel kind of guilty checking his name off, but he’s probably my favorite performance in that film.

Should Have Been Nominated: Leonardo DiCaprio, “Django Unchained”

Best Supporting Actress

Will Win: Anne Hathaway, “Les Misérables.” She’s been the frontrunner for a long time, not necessarily the lock that Day-Lewis is, but my jaw would drop to the floor if she lost.

Should Win: Anne Hathaway, “Les Misérables.” As someone who didn’t particularly love this film, I’m the first to admit she was the best thing about it. I missed her when she was gone, that is a great supporting performance.

Should Have Been Nominated: Judi Dench, “Skyfall”

Best Adapted Screenplay   
Will Win: “Argo.” If you asked me a month ago what film would win this award I’d say “Lincoln” without hesitation. But now that Argo is poised to take the top prize, it’s got to take a few others with it. Here looks like its best chance to walk away with at least three Oscars on Sunday night.

Best Original Screenplay  
Will Win: “Amour.” I believe this to be a race between “Amour” and “Django Unchained.” I wonder whether the Academy will find Quentin Tarantino’s script a little too harsh for their personal tastes. If he couldn’t win for “Inglourious Basterds” it makes me wonder how he could win here… though he has an extremely good shot now that Zero Dark Thirty appears to be a has been in all the categories it’s nominated for. Yet, I’m also weary thinking whether “Amour” could actually win three Oscars…

Best Animated Feature Film  
Will Win: “Wreck It-Ralph.” This is the rare year that the Pixar film isn’t the frontrunner in this category. “Brave” could win, but there are more liked films amongst the nominees. “Wreck It-Ralph” is just as good as any Pixar film, I’m willing to bet some Academy members think it is a Pixar movie.

Best Cinematography  
Will Win: “Life of Pi.” The Academy has shown an openness to embracing 3D films and films with lots of CGI. And this one is certainly beautiful. If Avatar could win this award, Life of Pi certainly can too. My inner voice says that the long overdue Roger Deakins would win for his great work on “Skyfall,” but then I remember that the cinematographers’ names aren’t on the actual voting ballot.

Best Costume Design  
Will Win: “Anna Karenina.” I’m not sure how much the Academy loves this movie, (it did pick up four nominations) but even though it’s not a British period piece (it’s a Russian period piece), I think the costumes are lavish enough to take the prize.

Best Documentary - Feature  
Will Win: “Searching for Sugar Man.” I’ve yet to see any of the nominees, but this one has the most buzz.

Best Documentary - Short Subject  
Will Win: Inocente.”

Best Film Editing  
Will Win: “Argo.” If Argo doesn’t win this, there’s no way it’s winning Best Picture at the end of the evening.

Best Foreign Language Film  
Will Win: “Amour.” It has five nominations. I can’t imagine another film taking this.

Best Makeup & Hairstyling
Will Win:
Les Misérables.” My brain tells me that a win for “The Hobbit” makes more sense, since it contains “more” makeup, but I’m going with the only Best Picture nominee of the group. It features war wounds, aging of characters, making pretty people look ugly, and period hairstyles. We’ll see what happens…

Best Original Score  
Will Win: “Life of Pi.” I’m glad Thomas Newman was recognized, but his “Skyfall” score wasn’t a particular favorite of mine. John Williams hasn’t won since “Schindler’s List,” so it’s possible since his film is also a Best Picture nominee. “Argo” could win only if it gets caught up in a sweep.
Best Original Song  
Will Win: “Skyfall.” One of the few sure things of the evening, surprisingly this would be the first win for a Bond song.
Best Production Design  
Will Win: “Anna Karenina.” It should be noted this category was changed from “Best Art Direction.” I’m not particularly confident here, as “Les Misérables” could easily take this. I think the unique style of the film will help it prevail.

Best Short Film – Animated
Will Win:
“Paperman.” Disney hasn’t had a winner in this category since 1969, which seems odd to me, but this has easily been one of the most talked about –and widely seen - animated shorts in some time. But how could would it be if The Simpsons short won?

Best Short Film – Live Action
Will Win:

Best Sound Editing  
Will Win: “Skyfall.” I’ve been debating between “Skyfall” and “Life of Pi,” which could easily take this, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the Academy will check off more than Best Song for this movie. If a Bourne movie could win this, there’s no reason to think a Bond movie couldn’t.

Best Sound Mixing  
Will Win: “Les Misérables.” The Academy loves a big loud musical in this category and Les Misérables is no exception. The fact that the singing was done live on set, as opposed to mixed in later, has certainly helped create strong buzz surrounding the film. Of course, as many people as there are who liked that approach, there are just as many who found that to be a poor decision. “Life of Pi” or “Skyfall” could easily take both sound awards, since they are the “loudest” films. But certainly don’t count out “Argo” who could pick up either of these awards as part of a sweep ala “The Hurt Locker.”

Best Visual Effects
Will Win: “Life of Pi.” I learned the hard way last year that you don’t bet against a Best Picture nominee in this category. And it’s the only one. And most importantly, it deserves to win.


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