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Oscar Picks 2013

Posted on February 21, 2013 at 1:55 AM

Oscar Picks 2013

Oh yeah. The Academy Awards are coming up.

I'm not a huge fan of awards shows, but this is a dumb little blog by a movie fan, so I guess I'll give some opinions on the categories.

As I've already noted, I still think it's Lincoln's to lose across the board. Well, not entirely - Hathaway will probably win as will Argo for screenplay. Not because I think Lincoln was the best film, you can read my personal favorites here, but because it is categorically in-line with what Academy Voters will vote for.

But I've written a ton of blogs about that, as well as how dumb it is to complain about it. It is what it is, and as they say:

So here's the major categories, my thoughts and so on. I'll even write a bit about each nominee too because…well it's a slow day at work…but I want to make this worthwhile I guess.

Best Picture

What Will Probably Win: Lincoln.

What I'd Like to See Win: Argo. If anything to give the finger to the Academy for snubbing Ben Affleck. I wrote about that in another blog. What a joke…nominate nine films but leave the director category with only five. Who's running things over there? Certainly not the Count from Sesame Street.

The Others:

Amour - Best Picture has become more a nod of acceptance and appreciation when nominated than films that will actually win. A foreign film will never win Best Picture. This is Hollywood patting itself on the back and trying to be inclusive despite the long-shot. Plus...this is Hollywood. Do you really think they're going to give Best Picture to a film made in another country?  This was entirely to acknowledge Michael Haneke (as if getting a directing nomination wasn't enough.

Beasts of the Southern Wild - A personal favorite from this year. Boy is it up against some heavy-hitters, though. It's the indie-darling of 2012, like Winter's Bone and Little Miss Sunshine before it.

Django Unchained - Like Inception or other popular flicks, this one is nominated more because it's young and hip and all the kids like it. Still, it's my favorite film of 2013. It won't win, but I don't care.

Life of Pi - A longshot, but Ang Lee has a better chance winning for director than this does for picture.

Les Miserables - Too much of a mixed reaction of a film to win. Hell, arguably too mixed to even be nominated. But it's big and bloated and that's stuff the Academy likes. Plus, you got the Anne Hathaway moment, which is hard to argue against.

Silver Linings Playbook - Like Beasts, it's just up against some serious heavy-hitters. This film has really grown on me in a repeated viewing, though. I already liked it, but I might just love it now.

Zero Dark Thirty - The dark horse of the bunch, but not entirely likely. Still a solid contender but it's down to Lincoln and Argo I think.

Argo still might just pull it off, though.

Best Director

Who Will Probably Win: Spielberg. Like I said, I just feel that's the likely situation. The best picture winner usually gets the director win as well. Life of Pi isn't likely to win best picture, therefore I don't see Ang Lee likely to win here (though see below). And Affleck isn't nominated for Best Director, therefore I don't see Argo winning best picture.

I might be trying too hard to put logic in to this, though. This is the Academy we're talking about.

Who I'd Like to See Win: Ang Lee. Well, since Affleck isn't even nominated after winning his own share of awards already, I'd love to see Lee win just because he took what was essentially unfilmable and actually make a compelling, visually-stunning film to make it work. He's actually got a shot, too. There's good buzz following him right now.

The Others:

Michael Haneke - I don't even think Amour was one of Haneke's best films, to be honest. But the guy is well-respected and this is more to acknowledge him than anything, I think. Still…this should have been Affleck's spot.

Benh Zeitlin - Beasts of the Southern Wild - oh absolutely. Hell, I'd love to see the guy flat-out win. But that's not going to happen. A wonderfully directed film.

David O Russel - The movie's great, but is it Best Director great? Probably not. You need a good director to make a good movie, but this was a darling because of a great script more than anything (which he's nominated for anyways).

It's Ok, Ben...

But in the meantime...

Best Actor

Who Will Certainly Win: Daniel Day-Lewis. Like there's a chance he'll lose.

Who I'd Like to See Win: Nobody else. I actually think this is the weakest of all the categories, but is it because the other nominations aren't all that good or because Day-Lewis is just that great?

The Others:

Bradley Cooper - Kudos to the guy for getting a nod. He might just be an actor some day. That's not to insult the man, but if he can do more films like SLP, he's going to be more renowned than just "that guy from the The Hangover." Kind of like how Tom Hanks eventually became more than "that guy from Bosom Buddies."

Hugh Jackman - Certainly a good performance by the man, he was born to play Valjean. But honestly, the more I think about Les Mis, the more I generally dislike it. I already wasn't a huge fan, but it's such a bloated, over-produced piece of filmmaking.

Joaquin Phoenix - I'm surprisied he was even nominated, to be honest. He's good in The Master, though.

Denzel Washington - Flight was a film that really came and went. I liked it, it was solid, and it's mainly because of Washington's performance.

Safe to say Daniel Day-Lewis is the best living actor in the world? Yeah...probably safe to say.

Best Actress

Who Will Probably Win: I…I don't know. Seriously, this one is a toss up.

Who I'd LIke to See Win: Quvenzhane Wallis. She's just amazing in Beasts of the Southern Wild. That film ends and begins with her.

The Others:

Jessica Chastain - She was great it in, but I don't think she really carried the movie all that much. It was more about a situation than anything and she just happens to be in some scenes. She ends it strongly, though.

Jennifer Lawrence - Like Cooper, she's one of the pillars of Silver Linings Playbook. I think she kind of wears out her welcome in the film, sometimes interesting but often times grating, but that's kind of her character I guess.

Naomi Watts - The Impossible is probably my most underrated movie of 2012, or up there at least. Seriously, it's a damn good film. Yeah, it's melodramatic and a bit sappy, but visually and emotionally it's there and a lot of it is because of Watts.

Emmanuell Riva - Another Amour nominee…and one I can actually get behind. I wouldn't be surprised if she won, but like I said I could see any of these women (and one adorable girl) winning.

If Emmanuell Riva was like this, she'd be the favorite.

Best Supporting Actor

Who Will Probably Win: Robert De Niro. Silver Linings Playbook is the best I've seen De Niro in years, and I think the Academy is going to notice that and give him the nod. There's just something very natural to his character.

Who I'd Like to See Win: Either De Niro or Christoph Waltz. I'm good for either of these guys winning, in a damn solid category this year. Waltz really crafted a great character in Django Unchained and commanded the screen just as much as he did in Inglourious Basterds. But the Academy may not give him another award for yet another Tarantino role pretty much written specifically for him.

The Others:

Alan Arkin - Still around and just great. But I'll be honest, if you want to talk about supporting actors in Argo, John Goodman should be nominated….for Flight.

Philip Seymour Hoffman - I felt Hoffman's character was so big in The Master, that he should be considered a lead.  He's great in it, and makes the movie worth seeing just for him. Still, unlikely to win.

Tommy Lee Jones - Ah, the dark horse. Jones was snubbed back in No Country for Old Men, so I've always felt he was overdue. Sure, he won back with The Fugitive, but he deserves another because he's generally awesome and generally Tommy Lee Jones. Plus, Lincoln has him really at his best. Ever scene he's in you pay attention to, even when he's opposite Day-Lewis.

Besides, Jones is probably over this award stuff anyways.

Best Supporting Actrees

Who Will Certainly Win: Anne Hathaway - the people love it. Just do a four-minute shot and sing an emotional song. She'll touch your heart, no doubt about it, but outside of those four minutes…

Who I'd Like to See Win: Eh, another bit of a weak one for the women category. Why is Jacki Weaver nominated? Anyways, I'd like to see Helen Hunt win for The Sessions.

The Others:

Amy Adams and Jacki Weaver - I need to be honest here, I barely remember either of these actresses in their respective movies. Why? Because they're barely in it. No wonder Hathaway is sweeping. Then again she was barely in the two and a half hours of Les Mis.

Sally Field - The only other legitimate contender. She's great in Lincoln. That scene with her and Day-Lewis arguing is powerful stuff.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Who Will Probably Win: Chris Terrior for Argo. Just feels right, but there's a chance with Lincoln coming up.

Who I'd Like to See Win: The same, actually. Argo is a hell of a script.

The Others:

Beasts of the Southern Wild - Zeitlin and Alibar weaved a powerful small movie. Great script that was incredibly well-executed.

Lincoln - Tony Kushner is a writer that commands respect. He gets to the heart of soul of everything he does, and Lincoln was no exception and the Academy probably knows that.

Life of Pi - really? Best screenplay? Sorry, but this was a film entirely on the shoulders of a visual experience. The script was the last thing that was important to it (and, to be honest, I didn't find all that good in the first place).

Silver Linings Playbook - Another decent contender here. It's a solid script. Though it may dive in to old tropes, they're effective tropes.

Again...Life of Pi? Really? Am I missing something in this screenplay?

Best Original Screenplay

Who Will Win: Amour by Michael Haneke. It's been on all at the top lists, and it's a film that speaks to those that are voting for these things.

Who I'd Like to See Win:  (tie) Moonrise Kingdom - Wes Anderson and Romon Coppola just made such an endearing, sweet little movie.  The other here is Tarantino for Django Unchained, which is the exact opposite from what I said above. It doesn't speak to those voting at all, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't love to see it win. One of QT's best screenplays…and to think he actually cut it down.

The Others:

Zero Dark Thirty. What counts as "original" and "adapted" these days? I mean, this is based on true events…from various interviews, articles and so forth. Either way, I guess it doesn't matter. It's a solid nomination because it keeps a very complex situation pretty clearly defined.

Flight - Ok…why not? I liked Flight well enough, but I wasn't amazed by the script.

Probably too many N-bombs for Django to win...makes old white people uncomfortable.

Best Animated Feature

What Will Win: Toss Up. Seriously, there's a case made for every single nominee here. However, Wreck-it Ralph did win the PGA and Annies, so that one might be the favorite at this point. I watched it again recently, far better the second time around.

What I'd Like to See Win: Frankenweenie was my favorite animated film. It was fun and fresh and unique, plus it had so many horror-movie nods I couldn't help but love it.

The Others:

ParaNorman - a strong contender, but I wasn't blown away by the film. It's visually and technically amazing, but the script is dull.

Brave - Pixar has to be nominated, even when they make a lesser of a movie.  Brave was a bit of a mess, though let's not forget it also won the BAFTA and the Golden Globe, so it's probably up there with Ralph in terms of winning potential and momentum.

Pirates: Band of Misfits - It doesn't have a chance, but it's so underrated. Keep in mind, it is very, very British in its comedic sensibilities, so it isn't going to appeal to a lot of folks. I've grown to really like it.

I think we'll end it there. I haven't seen all the foreign films and stuff like Costumes (Anna Karenina will likely win) Cinematography (Life of Pi will likely win) and Visual Effects (probably Life of Pi again) so isn't enough to go in to detail over.

But hey...congrats to all you folks.

And remember, whatever wins or doesn't win, it doesn't really matter. For example, this article from Time:

10 Controversial Best Picture Races

It's a look at the major battles in Oscar history, and where the films that won are often forgotten while the runners-up tend to be more loved (Saving Private Ryan losing to Shakespeare in Love, Kane losing How Green Was My Valley etc..), or major years like 1968 where there's no clear winner (some say that for this year, I still feel the Academy will lean towards Lincoln) or just tough-to-call years like 1995 with Pulp Fiction and Forrest Gump (no mention of Shawshank, surprisingly, but I think that one's grown in hindsight than at that particular time). If you know even the slightest about film, you probably know most of these. If not, it's a good piece of history to go through.

Of course, there's still the famous Crash v. Brokeback Mountain debate. Brokeback is the better film. No question. But is it so surprising that Crash won over it? Neither were "favored" and this brief article kind of shows the line of thinking on how movies are viewed dependent on region - it's not black and white. What I will say is, living in LA and in the industry at the time, it was strange. Everybody liked Brokeback Mountain…but nobody would sit there and say they liked Brokeback Mountain. Despite the love by critics, you have to remember who's voting for these awards. When Crash won the SAG, it halted any momentum Brokeback had. It wasn't a "surprise" but by design on part of the marketing gurus trying to win Crash the award. It was a toss up after that win. If you don't realize that, then you don't understand the workings of this industry. It's why movies like The English Patient and The King's Speech and The Artist win. All good movies, but movies nobody really went to see and are often forgotten about just after their win, but they are movies the demographic that's voting absolutely love.

That's why I still think Lincoln will win. They might give directing to Ang Lee, though. A repeat of Brokeback Mountain where he also won but the film didn't win Best Picture…strange coincidence, but that's so rare with the Oscars. I would love to see Argo win, though, but even if it doesn't, that doesn't suddenly make Argo a "bad" film, now does it? Great films are always going to be great and time often determines what is truly appreciated Nobody is going to wave a wand and suddenly make you forget about some great film. If that were the case I would have forgotten about a majority of great films (like every Alfred Hitchcock movie except the dull Rebecca or every Stanley Kubrick movie or On the Waterfront or To Kill a Mockinbird or Krull...)


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