The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Monday, January 14, 2013

My Oscar Predictions & Oscar Picks

Well, looks like that didn't take as long as I thought. I will bold what I think will win and italicize what I would vote for if I were a member of the Academy.

Best Motion Picture

Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

This is a category that I have given quite a bit of thought to, especially since I've seen several of these. I know my viewing of "Zero Dark Thirty" is just a few hours old, but were I a voting member of the academy, it would get my vote. I thought the film was a monumental achievement, and would likely be a stronger contender if not for a manufactured controversy against it. And while the Tarantino fan in me would love to award it to "Django Unchained" I am not sad at all that "Lincoln" will most likely walk away with the golden statue, as it was also an excellent movie.

Achievement in Directing

Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Michael Haneke, Amour
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln

Spielberg gets my vote here pretty much by default. Once again, I loved "Lincoln". I thought it was great. But I think it's an outrage that Kathryn Bigelow, Quentin Tarantino and yes, Ben Affleck were shut out here. This is the strongest telegraph of what will take home Best Picture.

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Denzel Washington, Flight
Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

No debate. Easily the best performance of the year. In fact, don't even bother. Hand Daniel Day-Lewis the statue now.

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Naomi Watts, The Impossible
Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild

This is, once again, no contest. I thought Chastain was perfect as "Maya." She delivered a strong performance and carried a very strong movie. My only outrage is that Marion Cotillard wasn't nominated for a heartbreaking performance in "Rust and Bone." But even if Marion were on the list, Ms. Chastain would still receive my vote.

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Alan Arkin, Argo
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

Tommy Lee Jones was terrific as Thaddeus Stevens, and I won't be sad if he most likely wins the statue. But I admit, I enjoyed Christoph Waltz as Dr. King Schultz in "Django Unchained" just a little bit more. However, despite saying that, I don't think Waltz is the one who should have been nominated. Leonardo DiCaprio as Calvin Candi was the one to nominate, I think.

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Amy Adams, The Master
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook
Sally Field, Lincoln

Do I need to say why?

Original Screenplay

Amour, Michael Haneke
Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino
Flight, John Gatins
Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola
Zero Dark Thirty, Mark Boal

I realize this seems like a contradiction but, even though I think "Zero Dark Thirty" is the movie of the year, I liked the script for "Django Unchained" just a little bit more. I am basing this on the fact that a Tarantino script is entertaining even without the movie. "Zero Dark Thirty" while having a great script as well wouldn't be nearly as great a read on its own.

Adapted Screenplay

Argo, Chris Terrio
Beasts of the Southern Wild, Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin
Life of Pi, David Magee
Lincoln, Tony Kushner
Silver Linings Playbook, David O. Russell

This one is easy. "Lincoln" had a great script and was adapted from a great book.

Original Score

Anna Karenina, Dario Marianelli
Argo, Alexandre Desplat
Life of Pi, Mychael Danna
Lincoln, John Williams
Skyfall, Thomas Newman

This year is totally "Lincoln's" to lose. But I find that the understated and even haunting score of "Zero Dark Thirty" is in my head, even at this moment. But, it wasn't nominated for this category.

Original Song

"Before My Time," J. Ralph; Chasing Ice
"Everybody Needs a Best Friend," Walter Murphy and Seth McFarlane; Ted
"Pi's Lullaby," Mychael Danna and Bombay Jayashri; Life of Pi
"Skyfall," Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth; Skyfall
"Suddenly," Claude-Michel Schönberg, Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boulil; Les Misérables

All I have to say is please, please, please don't give Seth McFarlane an Academy Award.

Achievement in Production Direction

Anna Karenina
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Misérables
Life of Pi

Once again, Middle Earth is real.

Achievement in Cinematography

Anna Karenina, Seamus McGarvey
Django Unchained, Robert Richardson
Life of Pi, Claudio Miranda
Lincoln, Janusz Kaminski
Skyfall, Roger Deakins

"Django" was easily the best looking movie of the year.

Achievement in Costume Design

Anna Karenina, Jacqueline Durran
Les Misérables, Paco Delgado
Lincoln, Joanna Johnston
Mirror Mirror, Eiko Ishioka
Snow White and the Huntsman, Colleen Atwood

Even in period, I never believed I was looking at costumes.

Achievement in Film Editing

Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Despite it's length, "Zero Dark Thirty" did not feel long, and I thought the editing was brilliant, especially during the raid.

Achievement in Makeup & Hairstyling

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Misérables

Do I really need to say it?

Achievement in Sound Editing

Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty

It'll be "Skyfall" because it's a favorite in these technical awards. It should be "Django"

Achievement in Sound Mixing

Les Misérables
Life of Pi

See above.

Achievement in Visual Effects

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Life of Pi
Marvel's The Avengers
Snow White and the Huntsman

Maybe I'm biased because I didn't watch the film in 48fps, but I thought "The Hobbit" looked breathtaking.


  1. Personally if it were up to me, I'd give the award of Best Son to Skyfall. Don't know about Les Miz but I dug Adele's Bond theme.

    Though Skyfall better win cinematography too. I hear Roger Deakins is very underrated and always gets snubbed.

  2. I really enjoyed reading this entry and I liked your bolded vs italicized predictions. I may even print this out and follow along if I watch the Oscars just for fun as I agree with your assessments, even though I haven't seen Lincoln or Zero Dark Thirty. I also wholeheartedly agree that Seth MacFarlane needs an Oscar to inflate his ego as must as the world needs another Expendables movie.

  3. Much as I liked the good effects in The Hobbit, I'd prefer to see The Avengers get the award because some of The Hobbit's CGI was just blatant, mostly with animals (everything else was as good as in LOTR), but I'd be fine with either of them winning.

  4. Are you going to do a post on the results?