**UPDATE: I have bolded the predictions that were correct.
Hi world, I’ve been in Australia without proper internet access until now. Never mind, here are my Academy Awards predictions! And not a minute too soon, on the eve of the 85th Academy Awards show.
I’ve a fairly solid track record for predicting Oscar winners, even if it’s not always how I want things to go. I recognized this pseudo-talent when I predicted Crash to win Best Picture over Brokeback Mountain in 2005. Of course, I have been wrong from time to time. The difference with this year’s awards is that I’VE SEEN ALL OF THE BEST PICTURE FILMS!
Palme D’or winner at Cannes and likely winner for Best Foreign Language Film, Amour chronicles the sad but sweet aftermath of a Parisian woman’s stroke. Amour surpassed my teary-eyed expectations, largely thanks to a strong lead in Emmanuelle Riva, and although a slow moving film I enjoyed it immensely. Riva has a shot at Best actress if Jennifer Lawrence gets snubbed, which is unlikely given her awards run this season. But Amour has no shot, whatsoever, at Best Picture.
Loved it, loved it. Ben Affleck’s directorial and starring talent shine through in Argo, which embellishes on a cooperative rescue effort during the Iranian Hostage Crisis. Although based on a true story, Affleck has admitted to using some “artistic license” to portray how six American diplomats managed to escape Iran under the guise of a faked movie production scheme. Argo has been this awards season darling, and is easily my prediction for Best Picture. Look out for wins in Editing and Adapted Screenplay.
Beasts of the Southern Wild**
When I saw and reviewed BOTSW in the New Zealand International Film Festival back in July, I knew I’d found a truly special film. No need to rehash what was in the review, but I will say that Beasts is my honest pick for Best Picture even though it stands virtually no chance of winning. Quvenzhané Wallis is equally unlikely to win Best Actress, but the nominations recognition are still a victory for this remarkable film.
Again, seen and reviewed this one already. And although I thoroughly love Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained is simply not a Best Picture effort. Q was slightly robbed of a Best Director nomination, although another Original Screenplay statuette may be on the cards. Christopher Waltz has a shot at adding a second Supporting Actor statuette under Tarantino’s guide, but Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln will be hard to beat. This Supporting Actor group will be a tighter race than the rest, Waltz might just pull it off.
One of many emotional powerhouse films this year, the film adaptation of Les Mis had most theater buffs spewing with joy. Others were just spewing. Although the depressing Les Mis is a perfectly well-made and well-acted film, I didn’t particularly enjoy it. Anne Hathaway is all anyone can talk about this awards season, for better or worse, and she’s poised to take home the Supporting Actress award. A Best Picture win is pretty unlikely, but this may be the dark horse. Hugh Jackman would be tops if not for Daniel Day-Lewis, also watch for probable wins in Sound Mixing and Costume Design.
Life of Pi
Ang Lee’s adaptation of the novel by the same name has been heralded along the same lines as Beasts, with wider commercial flair and a total of 11 nominations. For me, however, Life of Pi was one of those movies that suffered from its own hype. Pi simply couldn’t live up to the expectations I had for it. Visually stunning and well-acted, Life of Pi is due for a Special Effects win at the very least and likely wins in Cinematography and Original Score.
Deemed “The whitest movie about slavery ever!”, Spielberg’s Lincoln falls into the same category as Les Mis: perfectly well-made, splendidly acted, but downright boring. A collection of conversations and anecdotal stories from Lincoln, played masterfully by Daniel Day-Lewis, puts this biopic on top with Pi at 11 nominations in total. Although a possible Best Picture winner, Lincoln is unlikely to best Argo. Look out for Day-Lewis to add a third Best Actor statuette to his mantle.
Silver Linings Playbook
One of this year’s more powerful films, Silver Linings couldn’t have come at a more relevant time [as the mental health debate finally gains traction in the U.S]. On-screen chemistry between Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence is electrifying, and Robert DeNiro shines as the film’s patriarch. Although an unlikely Best Picture contender, Lawrence is poised for a Best Actress win and DeNiro has a slight chance to take home a little golden man as well. Jacki Weaver and Bradley Cooper, though I love them, are out.
Zero Dark Thirty
Katheryn Bigelow’s sophomore effort about the assassination of Osama Bin Laden plays a modern war epic tune similar to Hurt Locker, but with a girl-power rhythm [à la Zero’s ball-busting lead Jessica Chastain]. At two and a half hours this film is quite the commitment, and boy does it drag. The exciting climax saved Zero from total displeasure, and Chastain is excellent to watch albeit for 2.5 hours. As covert operation movies go, Argo is the better film. Chastain has a chance at Best Actress, but not likely. Editing was a strong point, and Zero may just nab a Sound Editing win as well.
Best Director: Steven Spielberg is likely, but with Tarantino and Affleck snubbed for this award, I’m not really rooting for anyone.
Best Animated Feature: Wreck-It Ralph, though Brave may take the cake.
Best Original Song: Skyfall, hands down, no doubt.
Best Makeup: The Hobbit. Give one to Middle Earth.