The 85th Academy Awards is just around the corner and here in Singapore all but two of the Best Pictures nominees - "Beasts of The Southern Wild" and "Django Unchained" - have been screened. I have watched a lot of movies over the past few months, and other than the aforementioned two pictures, I had watched all the other nominees. Same goes for the Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Director races. As we all know, the eventual winners get the their little gold man because of a multitude of reasons and not only because they are the BEST of their category. Politics, goodwill, marketing and gossip all play a part. For folks who follow this blog, it is no secret that I am not a fan of "Argo". Nothing against Ben Affleck, but I sincerely do not understand why "Argo" (and Affleck) is sweeping all the precursory awards. "Amour" is my favourite show of the year and if I have my way it would win everything it is nominated for. A bonus will be if Whedon's "The Avengers" get its sole award too! With all that out of the way, below is my list of who I think should win, and my predictions on who will win, the Big 8 awards and my personal 3 favourite categories of Best Animated Film, Best Cinematography and Best Original Score, come Oscar night.
*Winners are highlighted in red. 6/11 predictions correct...damn, that's bad.
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Who Should Win: Amour or Zero Dark Thirty
Who Will Win: Argo
Argo's win here will be inevitable given its sweep, but its lost will be greatly appreciated (even if to Lincoln).
Michael Haneke, Amour
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Who Should Win: Michael Haneke
Who Will Win: Steven Spielberg
In another world, Kathryn Bigelow should have been nominated for Zero Dark Thirty and win the award. In her absence, Haneke would be a befitting recipient, but alas, Amour is a little watched foreign language film. It will be a fight between Spielberg's historical behemoth and Lee's gorgeous CGI epic.
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Denzel Washington, Flight
Who Should Win: Daniel Day-Lewis or Joaquin Phoenix
Who Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis
This is almost a lock for Day-Lewis amazing performance, although Phoenix was equally impressive in the underwatched The Master.
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts, The Impossible
Who Should Win: Emmanuelle Riva or Jessica Chastain
Who Will Win: Emmanuelle Riva
Riva is simply amazing in Amour, but if the Amour curse strikes, then I'd rather hope Chastain gets the award for a strong portrayal of an equally strong character. Unfortunately, as much as I think Lawrence is a gifted artiste, her role is Silver Linings Playbook lacked complexity and layers. But she has the goodwill factor going on for her. Going out on a limb, I predict the Oscar will go to Riva in respect for her work and her age.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Alan Arkin, Argo
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Who Should Win: Tommy Lee Jones or Philip Seymour Hoffman
Who Will Win: Tommy Lee Jones
This is a close fight here. De Niro has the sympathetic vote and he may actually win it, but Jones was really outstanding in Lincoln. Hoffman is really more a co-lead than supporting actor and he may suffer for that. Arkin (and Goodman) was the best thing in Argo, but the others are too strong.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams. The Master
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hatheway, Les Miserables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Jackie Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook
Who Should Win: Anne Hatheway or Sally Field
Who Will Win: Anne Hatheway
This is another lock-in. Hatheway simply got the award just for her heartbreaking scene of "I Dreamed a Dream". However, Sally Field was consistent throughout the whole duration of Lincoln compared to Hatheway's rather short appearance as Fantine. But duration as never stopped anybody from winning. Poor Adams, always a bridesmaid.
BEST WRITING - ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Amour, Michael Haneke
Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino
Flight, John Gatins
Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola
Zero Dark Thirty, Mark Boal
Who Should Win: Michael Haneke or Wes Anderson/Roman Coppola or Mark Boal
Who Will Win: Mark Boal
Amour might actually win this as a consolation price (other than Best Foreign Film). Moonrise Kingdom was a really sweet, and smart, movie about young love but its quirkiness is also its downfall. Zero Dark Thirty was well written and narratively strong, but its controversy regarding torture is an opportunity for Amour to win this award.
BEST WRITING - ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Argo, Chris Terrio
Beasts of the Southern Wild, Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin
Life of Pi, David Magee
Lincoln, Tony Kushner
Silver Linings Playbook, David O. Russell
Who Should Win: David Magee or Tony Kushner
Who Will Win: Chris Terrio
The Argo effect. If Magee or Kushner wins this, the other's respective director will win the BEST DIRECTOR, and Argo wins Best Picture. If Argo wins this, there is a small chance that it will lose the big award. Argo has a great story but the way it was written was tacky and unnecessarily dramatic. Cloud Atlas should have been at least nominated here.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Who Should Win: ParaNorman
Who Will Win: Wreck-It Ralph
ParaNorman was smart, funny, touching and sincere, but adult-skewing. Wreck-It Ralph appealed to everybody and was entertaining too. Rise of The Guardians should have at least gotten a nomination. Its failure is a puzzle.
Anna Karenina, Seamus McGarvey
Django Unchained, Robert Richardson
Life of Pi, Claudio Miranda
Lincoln, Janusz Kamiński
Skyfall, Roger Deakins
Who Should Win: Roger Deakins
Who Will Win: Claudio Miranda
Deakins' name is not on the ballot so voters may just see Skyfall and give it a pass. On the other hand, Miranda has been sweeping the awards. Kamiński's work was also gorgeous in Lincoln.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Anna Karenina, Dario Marianelli
Argo, Alexandre Desplat
Life of Pi, Mychael Danna
Lincoln, John Williams
Skyfall, Thomas Newman
Who Should Win: Alexandre Desplat
Who Will Win: Mychael Danna
Desplat should win because I think he has done marvelous work throughout the year. His best score this year was actually for Rise of The Guardians, but his work for Zero Dark Thirty and Rust and Bone were also brilliant. His score for Argo was actually rather underwhelming compared to the others. Newman and Williams did not perform as well this year. Although Danna might actually sneak in a win since his score for Life of Pi was actually better than Desplat's Argo. (*note: Skyfall's "Skyfall" should surely win BEST SONG)