Here are my predictions as to who will win the major awards at this year's Academy Awards on February 24th.
Best Picture- “Argo”
Best Director- Steven Spielberg “Lincoln”
Best Actor- Daniel Day Lewis “Lincoln”
Best Actress- Jennifer Lawrence “Silver Linings Playbook”
Best Supporting Actor- Tommy Lee Jones “Lincoln”
Best Supporting Actress- Anne Hathaway “Les Miserables”
Possible upsets- “Lincoln” Best Picture, Quvenzhane Wallis, “Beasts of the Southern Wilds” Best Actress,
With this year's Academy Awards fast approaching, it is time for me to give my rundown of all the movies nominated for Best Picture and what I think their chances are of taking home the Oscar. All of the movies in this category were worthy of their nomination although only a few have a real chance of winning.
This was supposed to be the year for Steven Spielberg and his Civil War-era epic “Lincoln” starring Daniel Day Lewis in the title role. Lewis gives arguably the best performance of his career and he is the runaway favorite to win Best Actor, but he does such a great job that it seems to have overshadowed the rest of this incredible film. Most times the movie with most nominations takes home Best Picture honors and “Lincoln” leads all films with 12 nominations including Best Director for Spielberg and Best Editing for Michael Kahn, categories that usually indicate the winner. But the movie has no momentum going into this month's Oscar ceremony. In the past month it has lost top prize honors at the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Producers Guild Awards and Directors Guild Awards. So even though I thought this movie was a shoe-in for Best Picture, unless there is an upset, it looks like this film will be runner up to another movie.
That movie is the one with all the momentum, “Argo”. Set during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, the movie is directed by and starring Ben Affleck who is this year's biggest Oscar snub, failing to earn a Best Director nomination. At first I thought “Argo” won Best Picture (Drama) at the Golden Globe awards to make up for the fact that it was not going to win the Oscar and as sort of a consolation prize for Affleck. But since then the film won all the awards “Lincoln” lost- Screen Actors Guild, Producers Guild and Directors Guild Awards giving “Argo” all the momentum. The only movie to win all of those awards and then lose the Oscar for Best Picture lately is “Apollo 13” that lost the Oscar to “Braveheart”. If “Argo” wins Best Picture it will be the first film since “Driving Miss Daisy” to win the top honor without a nomination for Best Director. And it would also to be the first movie since “Chariots of Fire” to win Best Picture without being the even the top three in nominations- it is nominated for 7 awards and that makes it the 5th most nominated film of the year.
The only other movie that has even an outside chance of winning Best Picture is “Life of Pi” with 11 nominations- including Best Director for Ang Lee who is a previous winner for “Brokeback Mountain”. The movie is the most visually impressive of all those nominated and with the second highest number of nominations it still has a chance to be the sleeper winner. However this film, about a young man and his journey aboard a life raft with a Bengal tiger, has gotten no buzz louder than that of “Lincoln” or “Argo” so it will probably just take technical awards instead. Look for it to multiple Oscars though.
I thought “Zero Dark Thirty” looked more like a Best Picture than “Argo” did but it is considered by many to be controversial due to its depiction of the CIA torturing suspected terrorists in order to learn the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden. Katherine Bigelow joins Affleck as Oscar snubs also failing to pick up a Best Director nomination. The movie was powerful enough to be a Best Picture and it marks our recent history in a way the marks our time more than “Argo” does.
Quinton Tarantino directs the next nominated movie, “Django Unchained”. It is a cool movie, filled with all the great dialogue of a classic Tarantino film. But the depiction of slavery in the movie is thought by some to be not just controversial but offensive. Christoph Waltz, who won Best Supporting Actor for Tarantino's “Inglorious Bastards” is the best part of this movie as well. I am rooting for him to take home that same award this year but “Django” has virtually no chance of taking home Best Picture from all I've heard.
There was some talk that dark horse “Silver Linings Playbook” could surprise everyone and take home Best Picture. The movie is nominated for 8 Oscars including noms for Best Director David O'Russel, and all the acting categories which is rare. But the subject matter doesn't have the gravitas of the other contenders. This is the only movie that concerns itself with nothing more than relationships be they amongst family, friends or lovers. Kudos to Bradley Cooper who grabbed his first acting nomination for this film. Too bad he doesn't stand a chance against Lewis' “Lincoln”.
I'm also surprised that Tom Hooper's adaptation of “Les Miserables” is not more of a favorite for Best Picture. This musical was an epic masterpiece and the wall-to-wall singing including almost all of the movie's dialogue only adds to the emotional impact of the film. Anne Hathaway is the most probable Oscar winner from this film. Despite her only 10 minutes of screen time, Hathaway's performance is emotional and powerful makes her sure to win Best Supporting Actress. The lack of Oscar excitement for the film is probably due to the fact it is a remake of a Broadway musical of the same name, same is true of the music which is equally fantastic.
The last two movies have already won just by being nominated- “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and “Amour”. “Beasts of the Southern Wild” looks so low budget, like a documentary. It scored it's nomination on the back of the performance of newcomer Quvenzhane Wallis, who was 6 years old when she starred in this film and now the 9-year-old girl is the youngest person ever to be nominated for an Oscar. The other reason it is nominated is it's subject matter in that it is the first major motion picture to be about the affects of Hurricane Katrina.
“Amour” is sure to win Best Foreign Language Film and no movie ever wins both Best Foreign Language Film and Best Picture not to mention that not enough people, including myself, have seen it and it hasn't won any award this award season to give any indication it has any chance of winning Best Picture.