Predictions: 85th Academy Awards

February 21, 2013

Here are my final predictions for the Academy Awards this Sunday:

85th-academy-awards

Best Picture

  • “Amour” Nominees to be determined
  • “Argo” Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck and George Clooney, Producers
  • “Beasts of the Southern Wild” Dan Janvey, Josh Penn and Michael Gottwald, Producers
  • “Django Unchained” Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin and Pilar Savone, Producers
  • “Les Misérables” Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward and Cameron Mackintosh, Producers
  • “Life of Pi” Gil Netter, Ang Lee and David Womark, Producers
  • “Lincoln” Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers
  • “Silver Linings Playbook” Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen and Jonathan Gordon, Producers
  • “Zero Dark Thirty” Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow and Megan Ellison, Producers

This is going to be a year to remember in Oscar history.I don’t feel like throwing the stats at you (because I’m tired from all my previous posts), but Argo is making history when it wins Best Picture. It’s a great story, especially for Ben Affleck. For those who don’t understand that there is a lot of campaigning during the awards season, everything fell into the right place to allow for Argo’s huge momentum swing. The hands down critics’ favorite movie of the year was Zero Dark Thirty, but we all know what bad publicity did for that film during awards season. And when the nominees were submitted before the guilds, leaving Affleck off of the Best Director category, well that’s the best thing that could’ve happened for Argo.

Prediction: Argo

Best Lead Actor

  • 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”

Some are saying Bradley Cooper has a legitimate shot at winning this. If that happens, then my faith will be completely lost because out of these 5 performances, Cooper is the one that doesn’t fit. But I guess that’s just my opinion. This award is going to DD-L and it will be his third Oscar award, making him the only actor in history with three Best Lead Actor awards. Man, this Oscars telecast is going to be historic!

Prediction: Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)

Best Lead Actress

  • 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”

While Jessica Chastain was great in Zero Dark Thirty (and the only nominee who is actually the sole main character in her movie), this category looks all but locked for the most popular actress in the world right now, Jennifer Lawrence. Though I’m hearing that quite a few voters are going for Emmanuelle Riva, so she’s on the alert for an upset possibility.

But when it comes down to it, Chastain’s performance was great but how many voters can really find an emotional connection to her Maya? And for Riva, it would be a great story for her to win on her birthday, but how many voters actually watched Amour (or even enjoyed it)? The same goes for Naomi Watts. Meanwhile, the gorgeous Jennifer Lawrence was the star in a very crowd-pleasing movie. Oh and btdubbs, Lawrence will become the third youngest winner in Oscar history for this category.

Prediction: Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)

Best Director

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

Here’s a tricky category. If Ben Affleck was nominated, he’d definitely win. But he’s not nominated. Common sense would point to a win for Steven Spielberg since Lincoln is dealing with great success across the board (12 nominations + highest gross of all Best Picture nominees). But then again, if Lincoln was REALLY being perceived so well in the Academy, then why is it losing everything? Aside from Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln has practically been shut out of the awards season. This makes me believe that Spielberg won’t win Best Director, because if he did then Lincoln should win Best Picture.

The same thing can be said about Ang Lee and Life of Pi. With a whopping 11 nominations, if Ang Lee were to really win Best Director, don’t you think Life of Pi would be a major player for Best Picture. And just like Lincoln, it’s not. I don’t believe they’ll win. Which leaves me to the Haneke vs. Russell debate (because frankly, Benh Zeitlin’s award is being nominated). David O. Russell and Silver Linings Playbook is very well-received in the Academy, enough so that I’ll consider him as the front-runner of this category (even though he’ll be the first director to win this award WITHOUT a DGA nominee. But heck, this is a history-breaking Oscar ceremony so let’s keep the ball rolling!). But I’m going to use my upset pick here and say Haneke will get the award.

Prediction: Michael Haneke (Amour)

Best Supporting Actor

  • 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”

This is another tricky category. Everyone here has won an Oscar before, so there’s none of that newcomer vs. veteran discussion. I think it’s going to come down to how much the Academy likes certain movies. If they absolutely love Argo that much, then Alan Arkin will win. Then again, there seems to be a lot of support for Silver Linings Playbook and they’re pushing for De Niro since he hasn’t won in 31 years. And then there’s Christoph Waltz, whom EVERYONE likes. Man, this is a tough one but I think they’ll actually reward the actor who gave the best performance.

Prediction: Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)

Best Supporting Actress

  • 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”

Some will make an argument for Sally Field, but I don’t see that happening.

Prediction: Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables)

Best 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

At first, it looked like Mark Boal was on his way to another Oscar for his screenplay, but Zero Dark Thirty hit a wave of bad publicity practically ruining it. So we have Haneke vs. Tarantino, and Tarantino can’t walk away without an Oscar, right?

Prediction: Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained)

Best 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

Another toss up here between Chris Terrio and Tony Kushner. Does the Academy love Argo that much, or just Ben Affleck? We’ll find out soon.

Prediction: Chris Terrio (Argo)

Best Animated Feature

  • “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

Prediction: Wreck-It Ralph

Best Cinematography

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

Will this be the year that Roger Deakins finally wins the Oscar? You have to feel for the guy, but nonetheless year after year he does great work. But how do you contend with the cinematography in Life of Pi?

Prediction: Claudio Miranda (Life of Pi)

Best 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

This is a packed category. I’d like to imagine that if there were only five Best Picture nominees, these would be the five films. But I feel the Argo train will take this one.

Prediction: William Goldenberg (Argo)

Best Foreign Language Film

  • “Amour” Austria
  • “Kon-Tiki” Norway
  • “No” Chile
  • “A Royal Affair” Denmark
  • “War Witch” Canada

Prediction: Amour

Best Costume Design

  • “Anna Karenina” Jacqueline Durran
  • “Les Misérables” Paco Delgado
  • “Lincoln” Joanna Johnston
  • “Mirror Mirror” Eiko Ishioka
  • “Snow White and the Huntsman” Colleen Atwood

Prediction: Jacqueline Durran (Anna Karenina)

Best Documentary

  • “5 Broken Cameras”, Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi
  • “The Gatekeepers”, Nominees to be determined
  • “How to Survive a Plague”, Nominees to be determined
  • “The Invisible War”, Nominees to be determined
  • “Searching for Sugar Man”, Nominees to be determined

Prediction: Searching for Sugar Man

Best Documentary, Short Subject

  • “Inocente” Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine
  • “Kings Point” Sari Gilman and Jedd Wider
  • “Mondays at Racine” Cynthia Wade and Robin Honan
  • “Open Heart” Kief Davidson and Cori Shepherd Stern
  • “Redemption” Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill

Prediction: Inocente

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

  • “Hitchcock” 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

Prediction: Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey)

Best Original Score

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

Prediction: Mychael Danna (Life of Pi)

Best 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

Prediction: Skyfall

Best 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
  • “Lincoln” Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Jim Erickson

Prediction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer (Anna Karenina)

Best Animated, Short

  • “Adam and Dog” Minkyu Lee
  • “Fresh Guacamole” PES
  • “Head over Heels” Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly
  • “Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”” David Silverman
  • “Paperman” John Kahrs

Prediction: Paperman

Best Live Action, Short

  • “Asad” Bryan Buckley and Mino Jarjoura
  • “Buzkashi Boys” Sam French and Ariel Nasr
  • “Curfew” Shawn Christensen
  • “Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)” Tom Van Avermaet and Ellen De Waele
  • “Henry” Yan England

Prediction: Death of a Shadow

Best 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

Prediction: Eugene Gearty and Philip Stockton (Life of Pi)

Best Sound Mixing

  • “Argo” 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
  • “Lincoln” Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Ronald Judkins
  • “Skyfall” Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell and Stuart Wilson

Prediction: Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes (Les Misérables)

Best 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
  • “Prometheus” Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley and Martin Hill
  • “Snow White and the Huntsman” Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Philip Brennan, Neil Corbould and Michael Dawson

Prediction: Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott (Life of Pi)

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The 85th Annual Academy Awards Nominations

January 10, 2013

oscar-statues

So the Oscar nominations were just announced by Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone, and needless to say there were plenty of surprises. This was one great year of film and many of the categories were crowded so everyone knew there were going to be snubs, but damn, I’m still shocked at how the Academy voted here. I can’t go on without first commenting on probably the most important and the most crowded category: Best Director.

Best Director:

  • Michael Hanake (Amour)
  • Ang Lee (Life of Pi)
  • David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook)
  • Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)
  • Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild)

Just WOW. I doubt ANYONE had these five nominees predicted for this category, because it excludes two huge names that were practically considered locks for Best Director. These include Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty and Ben Affleck for Argo. Both of those two films have been all the talk leading up to these nominations and have been the movies that have been said are serious threats to Lincoln for Best Picture. Well, not anymore! The Best Director category has always been a great precursor to what film is going to win Best Picture. If that remains true, then there is no doubt in my mind that Lincoln is the front-runner and will most likely win both Best Director for Steven Spielberg and Best Picture. Although, there is the outside chance that Best Director and Best Picture will split.

To me, the biggest surprise was Benh Zeitlin receiving a nomination for Beasts of the Southern Wild, a small independent gem that I had just “sneaking in” for Best Picture. But with this nomination, Beasts of the Southern Wild bumps itself up to an actual potential upset candidate. The same goes for Silver Linings Playbook and Amour, two films that I really didn’t think would crack the Best Director category. With all of these surprises, that simply means directors got snubbed including Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained), Tom Hooper (Les Miserables), and Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master).

So what does this mean? Well, while I’m glad Ang Lee and the others got their recognition, all of this really just proves how Lincoln is going to sweep this year’s Oscars. Hey, can’t say I didn’t tell you so months ago.

Best Picture:

  • Amour
  • Argo
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Django Unchained
  • Les Miserables
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • Zero Dark Thirty

Since the rule change, it’s kind of exciting to try and predict how many films are going to be nominated for Best Picture. This year, there was a consensus that nine films would receive nominations and that was right. The only real surprise out of the nine films was Amour receiving a nomination, but then again now since Haneke and Riva in the mix, it’s a serious contender. But overall, this is a very good group of films nominated and you can’t say otherwise.

Best Actor:

  • Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook)
  • Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
  • Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables)
  • Joaquin Phoenix (The Master)
  • Denzel Washington (Flight)

No big surprises here, although after what Joaquin Phoenix said I was a bit worried that would affect his chances to get nominated. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t think Bradley Cooper’s performance in Silver Linings Playbook was that great, but Silver Linings Playbook is obviously loved by the Academy, so his nomination makes sense. Unfortunately this leaves out John Hawkes who gave a challenging and spectacular performance in The Sessions.

Best Actress:

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

There were really no surprises here, although I did predict Marion Cotillard to get a nomination for Rust and Bone. Just a note: Emmanuelle Riva is the oldest Best Actress nomination at 85 years old and Quvenzhane Wallis is the youngest at 9 years old (she was 6 years old when she shot the film). Incredible!

Best Supporting Actor:

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

Damn! I almost had one category predicted correctly! Instead of Christoph Waltz I included Javier Bardem (Skyfall). Like Emma Stone said after she announced the nominations, all of these actors have won an Oscar before.

Best Supporting Actress:

  • Amy Adams (The Master)
  • Sally Field (Lincoln)
  • Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)
  • Helen Hunt (The Sessions)
  • Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook)

Only one minor surprise here and that was Jacki Weaver’s nomination.

Best Original Screenplay:

  • Michael Haneke (Amour)
  • Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained)
  • John Gatins (Flight)
  • Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola (Moonrise Kingdom)
  • Mark Boal (Zero Dark Thirty)

Once again I was 4/5 with my predictions. I thought Rian Johnson was going to get in for his screenplay for Looper, but John Gatins got in instead. I have no problem with that because Flight was a better film that Looper. Just looking at these nominees and you get a lot of screenwriting heavyweights.

Best Adapted Screenplay:

  • Chris Terrio (Argo)
  • Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild)
  • David Magee (Life of Pi)
  • Tony Kushner (Lincoln)
  • David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook)

There’s no surprise here since all of these films are contenders for Best Picture. I was hoping that Stephen Chbosky was going to receive a nomination for The Perks of Being a Wallflower, but that was more hopeful than anything.

I’m just going to list the rest of the nominees. Once again, the Best Director category really shines a light to how the Oscars could potentially have a Lincoln sweep. With 12 total nominations, it’s hard to imagine Lincoln walking away with anything less than 7 awards.

Best Animated Feature:

  • Brave
  • Frankenweenie
  • ParaNorman
  • The Pirates! Band of Misfits
  • Wreck-It Ralph

Best Foreign Language Film

  • Amour (Austria)
  • War Witch (Canada)
  • No (Chile)
  • A Royal Affair (Denmark)
  • Kon-Tiki (Norway)

Best Achievement in Cinematography:

  • Seamus McGarvey (Anna Karenina)
  • Robert Richardson (Django Unchained)
  • Claudio Miranda (Life of Pi)
  • Janusz Kaminski (Lincoln)
  • Roger Deakins (Skyfall)

Best Achievement in Editing

  • William Goldenberg (Argo)
  • Tim Squyres (Life of Pi)
  • Michael Kahn (Lincoln)
  • Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers (Silvers Linings Playbook)
  • William Goldenberg, Dylan Tichenor (Zero Dark Thirty)

Best Achievement in Production Design

  • Anna Karenina
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • Les Misérables
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln

Best Achievement in Costume Design

  • Anna Karenina
  • Les Misérables
  • Lincoln
  • Mirror Mirror
  • Snow White and the Huntsman

Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling

  • Hitchcock
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • Les Misérables

Best Original Score

  • Anna Karenina
  • Argo
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Skyfall

Best Original Song

  • “Before My Time” (Chasing Ice)
  • “Suddenly” (Les Misérables)
  • “Pi’s Lullaby” (Life of Pi)
  • “Skyfall: (Skyfall)
  • “Everybody Needs a Best Friend” (Ted)

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

  • Argo
  • Les Misérables
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Skyfall

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

  • Argo
  • Django Unchained
  • Life of Pi
  • Skyfall
  • Zero Dark Thirty

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

  • The Avengers
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • Life of Pi
  • Prometheus
  • Snow White and the Huntsman

Best Documentary, Features

  • 5 Broken Cameras
  • The Gatekeepers
  • How to Survive a Plague
  • The Invisible War
  • Searching for Sugar Man

Best Documentary, Short Subject

  • Inocente
  • Kings Point
  • Mondays at Racine
  • Open Heart
  • Redemption

Best Short Film, Animated

  • Adam and Dog
  • Fresh Guacamole
  • Head Over Heels
  • Paperman
  • The Simpsons: The Longest Daycare

Best Short Film, Live Action

  • Asad
  • Buzkashi Boys
  • Curfew
  • Death of a Shadow
  • Henry

Early Oscar Chatter

September 18, 2012

It’s the middle of September and in the movie world that means that the chatter for awards season is slowly getting louder. From a whisper to a polite noise, word-of-mouth is beginning to make its way around the entertainment world and through the blogosphere. I’m no different. Every single day we get closer to The Oscars, I get more and more excited. While this summer contained plenty of summer hits and blockbusters, only a few indie films stood out that can really be considered Oscar-worthy. Those films include Moonrise Kingdom and Beasts of the Southern Wild. There is also The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan’s conclusion to the darker Batman-trilogy and one that has really set the bar high for future superhero films. While many considered it a snub for The Dark Knight to be left off the list of nominees, there’s a chance for The Academy to make it up to Nolan, but will they bite?

Two films that are making a big splash in the early awards season are The Master and Silver Linings Playbook. Both films are directed by talented individuals who are no strangers to The Academy Awards, and both are on completely different sides of the movie spectrum. The Master is Paul Thomas Anderson’s follow-up to There Will Be Blood and has been praised by critics even though a handful cannot explain exactly what the movie is about. Meanwhile, Silver Linings Playbook stars two very hot actors, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. But even though the film won the people’s choice award at Toronto, the fact it’s a dramatic comedy will hurt its chance as being a serious contender for Best Picture.

There are plenty of strong films that will end the year of 2012 and will most definitely result in an intriguing Academy Awards. Right now, everything is still up in the air. There are a handful of movies everyone expects to be in the running for Best Picture and there will certainly be some surprises. For now, here is my early overview of how I see things playing out.

Front-runners:
– Lincoln
– Argo
– The Master
– Les Miserables
– Silver Linings Playbook
– Django Unchained
– Beasts of the Southern Wild
– Anna Karenina

Second Tier:
– Amour
– Moonrise Kingdom
– Zero Dark Thirty
– Life of Pi
– Flight
– The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
– The Impossible


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