Friday, 22 February 2013

2013 Oscars: My Predictions, Predilections and Predicaments

It's pretty much Oscar weekend and I suppose I should really get my ass into gear and do at least a short post on my predictions. Somehow I don't feel as geared this year as I did in 2012. Oh well,  I will give it my best shot. One thing is certain though - this year has seen some of the most utterly bizarre nomination choices. I will touch on those too, after the jump.

Of course, I am not going to predict every single category. Instead of making a fool of myself, I will focus on those I know best.

Before I start, remember this very important statistic: Oscar voters are overwhelmingly male (77%), white (94%) and old (Oscar voters have a median age of 62, with people younger than 50 constituting just 14% of the membership). This, in my view, is the single most important guide to understanding some of the ridiculous shit we see at the Oscars each year. (Source: LA Times)

Best motion picture of the year

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

I have seen all the best picture nominees, and differ quite substantially from many commentators. First, I did not enjoy Amour at all (despite being a huge fan of writer-director Michael Haneke). It was not about love. It was about growing old, losing your dignity and dealing with it. Why the critics have so much love for this one, I will never know. Which brings me to Beasts of the Southern Wild. I saw it twice, and after the second viewing, realised that I actually hate the damn thing. A fantastical and emotionally powerful journey? Give me a fucking break. Who stuck those stupid little horns to the pigs? Let me stop here, since the real rage occurs at the best director category.

Django Unchained was by far the best picture of the year. It had everything. I also LOVED Zero Dark Thirty, and it is these two that for me rank far above the rest. Silver Linings comes next (wonderful movie with incredible performances), followed by Life of Pi and Argo neck in neck. Argo was a solid film, but nothing more than that. Lincoln and Les Mis fall into the "okay" category, and then of course there's the dregs. My honest opinion is that Lincoln and Les Mis got nominated because of their subject matter and impressive production, and not because they were great films to watch.

Will Win: Argo. I don't mind.
Should Win: Django Unchained.

In a nutshell, the nominees can be divided into three broad categories - the great movies, the good ones and the shitty ones.

Performance by an actor in a leading role

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

As usual, these guys were all great. However, I fail to understand why Jamie Foxx wasn't nominated for Django. His performance was a remarkably understated feat among all the wondrous chaos that is a Tarantino movie. I reckon he should have been there instead of Denzel, who just acted drunk as always.

Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis. When this man gets nominated, people should get out of the way!
Should Win: hmmm, DDL deserves it, but I wouldn't mind if Hugh Jackman get's the nod. It looked like he really worked hard in this performance.

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

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

No real comments here, other than the fact that this is a pretty strong field. Arkin was the highlight of Argo, De Niro came back into form in Silver Linings, PSH was as awesome as ever in The Master, TLJ gave one of his very best in Lincoln and Django Unchained was pretty much the Christoph Waltz show!

Will Win: I'm going out on a limb here and predicting Christoph Waltz for the win again. However, it could also go to TLJ or Robert De Niro.
Should Win: Christoph Waltz

Achievement in directing

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

Let 2013 go down as the biggest fuckup this category has ever seen. Excuse me, but where is Ben Affleck? Where is Quentin Tarantino? Where is Kathryn Bigelow? Where is Tom Hooper? They nominate Haneke for making a small movie about two old people, and that little twit Benh Zetlin for his home movie? How can those compare to the insane achievements of directing required to pull off epics like Argo, Django Unchained, Zero Dark Thirty and Les Miserables? It's awful, really. The horror. The horror. Oh, and Affleck has not only won pretty much EVERY other best director award this year, but Argo is going to win Best Picture too. Bad dog Academy, bad dog!

Will Win: uhm, who knows, since the three front runners are not nominated. Probably Spielberg.
Should Win: Affleck, Tarantino or Bigelow. But since the Academy fucked us all royally, I will go for Ang Lee.

Performance by an actress in a leading role

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

I haven't seen The Impossible, so I cannot comment on the great Naomi Watts in that one. And yes, Wallis was the highlight of Beasts, but a best actress nomination? Reaaaaally? This race is all about the new talent: Chastain v Lawrence. That is some serious talent, and I don't care who wins.

Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence is the favourite for her feisty turn in Silver Linings.
Should Win: Jennifer Lawrence. I wouldn't mind if Chastain wins. But if Riva wins for playing dead (pardon the unfortunate pun), I will hate Oscar forever. 

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

Amy Adams in “The Master”
Sally Field in “Lincoln”
Anne Hathaway in “Les Misérables”
Helen Hunt in “The Sessions”
Jacki Weaver in “Silver Linings Playbook”

Anne Hathaway was so good in Les Mis, it is worth sitting through the entire 10 hour movie just to see her 5 minutes of screen time. 

Will Win: Anne Hathaway.
Should Win: Anne Hathaway.

Best animated feature film of the year

“Brave” Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman
“Frankenweenie” Tim Burton
“ParaNorman” Sam Fell and Chris Butler
“The Pirates! Band of Misfits” Peter Lord
“Wreck-It Ralph” Rich Moore

I'm not a huge fan of animated movies, and have only seen two of the nominees: Brave and 
Wreck-It-Ralph. The former was kak, the latter great. I vote Ralph!

Will Win: Wreck-It-Ralph
Should Win: Wreck-It-Ralph

Adapted screenplay

“Argo” Screenplay by Chris Terrio
“Beasts of the Southern Wild” Screenplay by Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin
“Life of Pi” Screenplay by David Magee
“Lincoln” Screenplay by Tony Kushner
“Silver Linings Playbook” Screenplay by David O. Russell

I reckon Argo is a safe-ish bet here. Can't really comment.

Will Win: Argo
Should Win: Argo

Original screenplay

“Amour” Written by Michael Haneke
“Django Unchained” Written by Quentin Tarantino
“Flight” Written by John Gatins
“Moonrise Kingdom” Written by Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola
“Zero Dark Thirty” Written by Mark Boal

This is the more exciting of the writing categories. By far the best screenplay of the year is Tarantino's masterpiece Django Unchained. If it loses, not even the statistic printed in bold above would explain things.

Will Win: Django Unchained.
Should Win: Django Unchained.

Achievement in cinematography

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

Once again, an incredibly strong category. It's almost impossible to choose.

Will Win: “Life of Pi” Claudio Miranda
Should Win: “Skyfall” Roger Deakins (the man has been nominated a million times and has never won!)

Achievement in film editing

“Argo” William Goldenberg
“Life of Pi” Tim Squyres
“Lincoln” Michael Kahn
“Silver Linings Playbook” Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers
“Zero Dark Thirty” Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg

Those in the know are backing Argo here, and I can't really argue. Especially since Goldenberg is nominated twice - the other one for the even better edited Zero Dark Thirty. So as long as he wins, I am happy.

Will Win: “Argo” William Goldenberg
Should Win: “Zero Dark Thirty” Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg

The Rest...

I don't have much to say about the remaining categories, except that Searching For Sugar Man will probably win for Best Documentary Feature, as it deserves to. In the other categories, I have underlined the movies I think will win, but I really have no idea...

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

Achievement in makeup and hairstyling

Howard Berger, Peter Montagna and Martin Samuel
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane
“Les Misérables”
Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

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

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

“Before My Time” from “Chasing Ice”
Music and Lyric by J. Ralph
“Everybody Needs A Best Friend” from “Ted”
Music by Walter Murphy; Lyric by Seth MacFarlane
“Pi’s Lullaby” from “Life of Pi”
Music by Mychael Danna; Lyric by Bombay Jayashri
“Skyfall” from “Skyfall”
Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
“Suddenly” from “Les Misérables”
Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg; Lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil

Achievement in production design

“Anna Karenina”
Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
Production Design: Dan Hennah; Set Decoration: Ra Vincent and Simon Bright
“Les Misérables”
Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Anna Lynch-Robinson
“Life of Pi”
Production Design: David Gropman; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Jim Erickson

Achievement in sound editing

“Argo” Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn
“Django Unchained” Wylie Stateman
“Life of Pi” Eugene Gearty and Philip Stockton
“Skyfall” Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers
“Zero Dark Thirty” Paul N.J. Ottosson

Achievement in sound mixing

John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Jose Antonio Garcia
“Les Misérables”
Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes
“Life of Pi”
Ron Bartlett, D.M. Hemphill and Drew Kunin
Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Ronald Judkins
Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell and Stuart Wilson

Achievement in visual effects

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and R. Christopher White
“Life of Pi”
Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott
“Marvel’s The Avengers”
Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams and Dan Sudick
Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley and Martin Hill
“Snow White and the Huntsman”
Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Philip Brennan, Neil Corbould and Michael Dawson

And that's that. You may have noticed I left out some of the minor categories. For obvious reasons.

Do you agree with my views? Enjoy the Oscars, and try not to be too disappointed, as you will inevitably be. Just remember the statistic printed in red bold text above. It will not fail you!

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