Alex’s Oscar Predictions: 2013

23 Feb

Academy AwardFor the past five months, the awards race has been in play. Now it all comes to an end. This Sunday night, the 85th Academy of Motion Pictures Awards, a.k.a. the Oscars, will wrap-up one of the most surprising and enjoyable years of film to date.

While a front-runner consensus has yet to be agreed upon in many categories, something uncharacteristic this close to awards night, the debates fervently rage on. Predictions change with each new development in the race and opinions rarely have held true for more than a few days at a time.

Below are the races that most people care about when they watch the Oscars: Best Picture, Best Animated Feature, Best Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress and Best Director. For each race, I have determined which film I predict will win, could win, should win, doesn’t even belong on the nominations list, and which film was snubbed (deserving of being nominated in the first place). The only categories that truly matter, however, are what will win and what could win.

The other three are there for your viewing pleasure and provide insight to my true feelings on the race without being restrained by predictions. Let me know in the comments what you think will win!

Best Picture nominees 2013

Best Picture nominees 2013

 

Best Picture:

Amour

Argo

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Django Unchained

Les Misérables

Life of Pi

Lincoln

Silver Linings Playbook

Zero Dark Thirty

 

Will Win – Argo

Could Win – Lincoln

Should Win – Argo

Doesn’t Belong – Les Misérables

Snubbed – Looper

 

This has been the race to follow for the past several months. There have been four separate frontrunners at one time or another. First it was “Argo,” then “Silver Linings Playbook,” then “Lincoln,” then “Les Misérables,” then “Lincoln” again. But now, after having won major precursor awards in the likes of the Golden Globes, BAFTAs (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) and Guild Awards (Screen Actors, Writers, Directors and Producers), it seems like “Argo” is an unstoppable force.

While “Argo” seems to be the clear favorite, the race is still close with the “Life of Pi”, “Lincoln” and “Silver Linings Playbook” which are all in a position to pull an upset. In the end, however, I firmly believe “Argo” deserves the award; an opinion that I’ve held since mid-October when the film premiered.

On the other hand “Les Misérables” was not a good movie and it did not deserve a nomination in this category. While I’m sure the film’s die-hard followers want to throw me in shackles for this act of treason, this is not the time or the place for me to rant about just how much was wrong with the second most disappointing movie of 2012 (the first was “The Dark Knight Rises”).

 

Animated Feature Film:

Brave

Frankenweenie

ParaNorman

The Pirates! Band of Misfits

Wreck-It Ralph

 

Will Win – Frankenweenie

Could Win – Brave

Should Win – Frankenweenie

Doesn’t Belong – The Pirates! Band of Misfits

Snubbed – Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted

 

Also without a clear frontrunner are the nominations for Best Animated Feature Film. A three-way tie has developed between “Frankenweenie”, “Wreck-It Ralph” and “Brave.” Despite a long illustrious career, Tim Burton’s films have yet to win an Oscar. However, Burton’s “Frankenweenie” may change all that.. Unfortunately, the Academy has a tendency to not recognize talent in the now and award further down the road in an almost insultingly apologetic manner. This happens more than you would believe, so hopefully the corrupt system works to “Frankenweenie’s” advantage since it is actually the best animated film and better than three of the Best Picture nominations above. However, “Brave” has the magical Pixar name to give it way more credit than it deserves and “Wreck-It Ralph,” while not bad, seems a safer choice than “Frankenweenie.”

 

Actor:

Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”

Hugh Jackman, “Les Misérables”

Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”

Denzel Washington, “Flight”

 

Will Win – Daniel Day-Lewis

Could Win – Hugh Jackman

Should Win – Bradley Cooper

Doesn’t Belong – Hugh Jackman

Snubbed – Jamie Foxx, “Django Unchained”

 

There isn’t a whole lot to say about the Best Actor category this year since Daniel Day-Lewis had it in the bag before the first trailer for “Lincoln” even came out. While probably the most locked-in race for the whole night, if an upset did occur it would come from the musically inclined Hugh Jackman. While neither Day-Lewis nor Jackman deserve the award, the Academy will award them for portraying the right characters in the right movies. The true acting talent that emerged this year was that of Bradley Cooper. The transition from the hot guy in “The Hangover” to Oscar-nominated bi-polar divorced man finding happiness in life is truly incredible. Alas, the Academy seems to think he is too young and undeserving of such prestige after one good dramatic role. Instead, the Academy is going to give the award to Day-Lewis for the third time, making him the man with the most Lead Actor Oscar trophies in history. That’s fair, right?

85th Annual Academy Awards

85th Annual Academy Awards

Actress:

Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”

Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour”

Quvenzhane Wallis, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

Naomi Watts, “The Impossible”

 

Will Win – Emmanuelle Riva

Could Win – Jennifer Lawrence

Should Win – Quvenzhane Wallis

Doesn’t Belong – Emmanuelle Riva

Snubbed – Marion Cotillard, “Rust and Bone”

 

This category brings up another issue with age that really irks me. Quvenzhane Wallis was 5 years old when she filmed “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and gave a truly incredible performance that literally brought me to tears. But she’s too young to deserve the Oscar and also the youngest actress to ever be nominated. Then, at the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got Emmanuelle Riva who is turning 86 on Sunday night. She may very well receive the best birthday present of her life! But realistically this is probably her last opportunity to win an Oscar after a long career, so why not give it to her right? While she gave a predominantly physical performance as a victim of Alzheimer’s and withering old age, the true acting award should go to either Quvenzhane or Jennifer Lawrence who is the popular choice to win right now. I’m going with Riva for the upset over the beloved Lawrence, so we will see if this gamble pays off!

 

Supporting Actor:

Alan Arkin, “Argo”

Robert De Niro, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”

Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”

Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained”

 

Will Win – Tommy Lee Jones

Could Win – Robert De Niro

Should Win – Philip Seymour Hoffman

Doesn’t Belong – Christoph Waltz

Snubbed – Dwight Henry, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

 

This race is unique in two ways: First is that all five of the nominees have already won an Oscar in the past. Furthermore, the winner of this race still remains uncertain. I believe Jones will take home the statue for a few reasons. First off, Hoffman and Waltz both considered running for Lead at the beginning of the race. Their parts in their respected films are too big for a supporting reward. On the flip side, Arkin wasn’t in the film enough to showcase his talents. When he was on he was great, but the movie had too much going on to give his character any more time. That leaves De Niro and Jones. Neither of them have gotten an award in over 20 years and De Niro hasn’t even been in a good movie in 10 years. In the Academy’s eyes, their time has come. Yet it would seem that Jones is playing the more likeable character in the more Academy-friendly movie, and is therefore more likely to win.

Best Picture nominees

Best Picture nominees

 

Supporting Actress:

Amy Adams, “The Master”

Sally Field, “Lincoln”

Anne Hathaway, “Les Misérables”

Helen Hunt, “The Sessions”

Jacki Weaver, “Silver Linings Playbook”

 

Will Win – Anne Hathaway

Could Win – Sally Field

Should Win – Helen Hunt

Doesn’t Belong – Jacki Weaver

Snubbed – Emily Blunt, “Looper”

 

Much like Best Actor with Daniel Day-Lewis, this category has been a lock ever since it was announced that Anne Hathaway would play Fantine in “Les Misérables.” The whole 10 or 15 minutes that she is on screen is straight-up Oscar bait, which doesn’t leave enough time for her to mess up and ruin the crowd-pleasing, fan favorite character. Her song, “I Dreamed a Dream” is nice but shouldn’t automatically buy her the award. As long as Anne Hathaway didn’t completely butcher the character, the original writing is powerful enough to evoke the gigantic emotional response. I’m not saying that she was bad; I am saying she should have had to work a little bit harder in the movie before they just started throwing awards at her blindly. That being said, there isn’t much of a competition here, as Hathaway is sure to win.

 

Directing:

Michael Haneke, “Amour”

Benh Zeitlin, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”

Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”

David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook”

 

Will Win – Ang Lee

Could Win – Steven Spielberg

Should Win – Benh Zeitlin

Doesn’t Belong – Michael Haneke

Snubbed – Ben Affleck, “Argo”

 

Saving the best for last are the nominations for Best Director. While this category is primarily narrowed down to Spielberg and Lee, it will continue to be hotly debated right up to the opening of the envelope. Since “Silver Linings Playbook” is the crowd-pleaser in this year’s race, some people still naively believe that David O. Russell has a chance. While he is more likely than Haneke and Zeitlin, O. Russell is at a distinct disadvantage for directing a comedy since that carries less credibility for such a prestigious award.

I think that out of Lee and Spielberg, Lee deserves the win. He directed the “unfilmable” novel “Life of Pi”, on a big water tank in front of a green screen, with a first time actor and a CGI tiger. Spielberg threw a bunch of really great actors in front of a camera and had them read from chapter 16 of their history textbooks. Whereas “Life of Pi” overcame difficult directing challenges and turned out to be one of the best films of the year. My prediction goes for Ang Lee.

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