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Sunday, February 24, 2013

My Official Oscar Picks and Analysis

No matter what people are telling you, don't believe the hype this was not a great year for film.  What it lacked in films worthy of being labeled excellent we were hit up with a multitude of good, very good and near misses releases.  The Best Picture category exemplifies this best, with only one film cracking the FilmSnork 9-star threshold.  Most nominees for best picture will, for numerous reasons, not earn repeat viewings... not a good sign. 

Below are my ratings for all nine nominees:
  • Silver Linings Playbook                 9.0
  • Django Unchained                        8.5
  • Amour                                         8.0
  • Life of Pi                                      8.0
  • Lincoln                                        7.5
  • Zero Dark Thirty                           7.5 
  • Argo                                           7.0
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild         6.5
  • Les Miserables                            5.5 

Read my full review for each film here.

Argo    WILL WIN
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Silver Linings PlayBook  SHOULD WIN
Zero Dark Thirty

With great sadness I make my first prediction.  Argo wins Best Picture.  There was a movement that gained great momentum after the suspicious snubbing of Ben Affleck for director (conspiracy theorists* believe this was done purposely to push the film the frontrunner slot to make amends for a director done "wrong.")  As some of you know, I liked this film - LIKED it, not much more than that.  It is full of moments that feel like typical Hollywood concoctions... it turns out all the moments in this story that we are told over and over  (to paraphrase) "is just so crazy that people will have a tough time believing it really happened," turn out to be bullshit.   They felt like it in the theater and turns out they are.  If I did not walk out thinking how Hollywood some of these moments felt, only to have it revealed they were just that I would not be so let down with the almost certain fact that Argo will take home the big trophy.  And before you go saying, you are just a hater, you obviously have an issue with Affleck.  WRONG.  I cheered on his comeback, I even saw Daredevil in the theater.  I loved Gone Baby Gone.  The Town was my drive-in movie of trip for that year.  I DO NOT hate Ben Affleck.  The movie just does not deserve the praise it has garnished.   Django would be my frontrunner if someone told QT to wrap it up earlier.  The winner should be either Amour or Silver Linings Playbook.... I'd even accept Lincoln.    If Argo does not win the big one, that news report about the seismic action in the NYC region should not alarm you, that will just be jumping out of my seat and hitting the ceiling out of joy that the universe set things right.

Best Supporting Actor:
Christoph Waltz, "Django Unchained"   SHOULD WIN
Philip Seymour Hoffman, "The Master"
Robert De Niro, "Silver Linings Playbook"
Alan Arkin, "Argo"
Tommy Lee Jones, "Lincoln" 

I am torn here, do I vote with my heart or with my head?  Christoph Waltz delivers one of my favorite and one of the best performances I can recall.  Out of all the candidates in all categories, he is the one I want most to win (I have others I want to see lose with more vigor, but I want him to win most.)  This is a pretty solid category - the only light work here goes to Arkin.  The reason I am most likely not picking Waltz is he is the most recent winner and I fear that will work against him.

Best Supporting Actress:
Sally Field, "Lincoln"
Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables"   WILL WIN
Jacki Weaver, "Silver Linings Playbook"
Helen Hunt, "The Sessions"   SHOULD WIN
Amy Adams, "The Master"

Who's not sick of watching Anne Hathaway overact, on-stage, while picking up a trophy?  No hands.  The only thing that will stop her from walking away with gold is that sentiment.  The long MIA Helen Hunt is my pick for most deserving and my dark horse for the night.  It would be great to see her take the trophy.  Another great field of candidates.

Best Director:
David O. Russell, "Silver Linings Playbook"
Ang Lee, "Life of Pi"
Steven Spielberg, "Lincoln"  WILL WIN
Michael Haneke, "Amour"   SHOULD WIN
Benh Zeitlin, "Beasts of the Southern Wild"

The bigger story about this category are the omissions more than the actual nominees.  Experts were shocked that Bigelow and Affleck did not make the list.  Not me, I would have omitted them as well and replaced Zeitlin with Tarantino.  It is a tough call, would like to see Haneke or Russell win.  I really think this is anybody's trophy to win.

Best Actor:
Daniel Day Lewis, "Lincoln"   WILL WINSHOULD WIN
Denzel Washington, "Flight"
Hugh Jackman, "Les Miserables"
Bradley Cooper, "Silver Linings Playbook"
Joaquin Phoenix, "The Master"

Cooper had his breath through performance,  Washington his best in years, but Daniel Day Lewis will win.  Enough said. 

Best Actress:
Naomi Watts, "The Impossible"
Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty"
Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook"   WILL WIN, SHOULD WIN
Emmanuelle Riva, "Amour"  
Quvenzhané Wallis, "Beasts of the Southern Wild"

I would be happy with several of these nominees winning.  Lawrence for me was the most present and made me take notice.  Watts and Riva are deserving as well it is just that most their performances were in hospital beds... more fitting for a Supporting nod.

Best Original Screenplay:
"Zero Dark Thirty"
"Django Unchained"   WILL WIN, SHOULD WIN
"Moonrise Kingdom"

A great category.  Moonrise Kingdom is one film I expected to see with numerous nominations including best picture, instead this is its soul nomination.  I think QT walks with this one for the lines he delivered for Mr. Waltz alone. 

Best Adapted Screenplay:
"Silver Linings Playbook"  SHOULD WIN
"Argo"   WILL WIN
"Life of Pi"
"Beasts of the Southern Wild"

I think the Ben Affleck was not nominated so let's vote Argo train will make a stop in this category as well.  The two most impressive screenplays for me were SLP and Lincoln.  I hope I am wrong on my prediction. 

Best Animated Feature:
"The Pirates! Band of Misfits"
"Wreck-It Ralph"   WILL WIN

Best Foreign Feature:
"Amour"  WILL WIN
"A Royal Affair"
"War Witch"

Best Visual Effects:
"Life of Pi"   WILL WIN
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"
"The Avengers"
"Snow White and the Huntsman"

Best Cinematography:
"Anna Karenina"
"Django Unchained"
 "Life of Pi"   WILL WIN

Best Costume Design:
"Anna Karenina"   WILL WIN
"Les Miserables"
"Mirror Mirror"
"Snow White and the Huntsman"

Best Documentary Feature:
"Searching for Sugar Man"   WILL WIN
"How to Survive a Plague"
"The Gatekeepers"
"5 Broken Cameras"
"The Invisible War"

Best Documentary Short:
"Open Heart"  WILL WIN
"Kings Point"
"Mondays at Racine"
"Snow White and the Huntsman"

Best Film Editing:
"Silver Linings Playbook"
"Life of Pi"
"Argo"  WILL WIN
"Zero Dark Thirty"

Best Makeup and Hairstyling:
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"   WILL WIN
"Les Miserables"

Best Music (Original Score):
"Anna Karenina"  
"Life of Pi"  WILL WIN

Best Music (Original Song):
"Before My Time" from "Chasing Ice"
"Everybody Needs A Best Friend" from "Ted"
"Pi's Lullaby" from "Life of Pi"
"Skyfall" from "Skyfall"   WILL WIN
"Suddenly" from "Les Misérables"

Best Production Design:
"Anna Karenina"
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"
"Les Misérables"   WILL WIN
"Life of Pi"

Best Short Film, Animated:
"Adam and Dog"
"Fresh Guacamole"
"Head over Heels"
"Maggie Simpson in 'The Longest Daycare'"
"Paperman"  WILL WIN

Paperman if only because my girls thought the stars looked like Mommy and Daddy.

Best Short Film, Live Action:
"Buzkashi Boys"
"Curfew"  WILL WIN
"Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)"

Best Sound Editing:
"Django Unchained"
"Life of Pi"
"Zero Dark Thirty"  WILL WIN

Best Sound Mixing:
"Les Misérables"   WILL WIN
"Life of Pi"

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