Predicting the 2013 Oscars

Aren: Another Oscar season and another chance for Hollywood to give itself a collective pat on the back. However silly and ultimately meaningless the Oscars are, they’re always fun. Yes, the choice of winners usually ends up being disappointing and the winner of Best Picture rarely ends up being the best film of the year, but the Oscars rarely pick a bad film for Best Picture, in my honest opinion. Regarding this year’s stock of nominees, particularly the Best Picture nominees, I don’t have too many complaints. Most of the nominees are simply fantastic. Four of them showed up on my Top 10 list (Django Unchained, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, and Zero Dark Thirty). Most of the rest of them were in my honourable mentions. Perhaps most interesting in the Best Picture category is that a foreign language film has finally broken free of the Foreign Language Film ghetto and snuck into the top nine. Does Amour have a chance at winning? I don’t think so, but it’s neat to see it counted alongside Argo and Lincoln.

There are a few notable snubs that I feel must be mentioned. First of all, the complete omission of The Dark Knight Rises is idiotic beyond all measure. I wasn’t expecting it to be nominated for Best Picture, but it’s snubs in the technical categories like Sound Mixing, Sound Editing and Production Design are insane. When The Dark Knight garnered eight nominations and won two, how did its sequel garner none? Even Batman Forever had more nominations than this one.

As well, the Academy missed a major opportunity not nominating Skyfall for Best Picture. Most everyone, critics and audiences, considered it worthy of a nomination. It was a major box office draw. It was the best received blockbuster of the year and on the 50th anniversary of James Bond on the big screen, it would’ve been fitting to finally honour the franchise with a nomination. And there’s also the fact that it was the best film of the year, but I won’t harp on this too long.

The dominant conversation regarding the Oscars has been the oddness of Argo’s nearly unstoppable emergence as frontrunner after having picked up the Golden Globe, SAG,  PGA, WGA, and DGA awards. Most writing in the past few weeks has seemed merely a countdown till the imminent crowning of Ben Affleck. Argo seemed out of contention on nomination day when he was bizarrely left off the field of Directorial contenders in favor of Michael Haneke and Benh Zeitlin, but it seems that this snubbing of Affleck has only improved his chances of winning Best Picture.

Early on, this year seemed like it was going to be unpredictable. Anything could happen, apparently. Argo was the underdog and had the early buzz. Silver Linings Playbook charmed the pants off of countless voters and audiences. Lincoln had gravitas and importance. Life of Pi had ferocious defenders of its beauty. Zero Dark Thirty was the critical favourite. Even Les Misérables left audiences and Oscar voters in tears. Early in the season, any of these films seemed like a conceivable winner. Now, this doesn’t seem to be the case.

Let’s hope, though, that come the 2013 Oscar ceremony Sunday night (hosted by Seth Macfarlane), the Academy can throw a few curveballs. Nothing is more boring than a predictable telecast.

Anders: A couple of short comments before we begin. Like Aren, I have no real complaints with this year’s crop of Best Picture nominees. I liked all of them and thought they each had their merits. The snubs that struck me the most were Moonrise Kingdom and The Master, but Django Unchained is my favourite and it is nominated. That doesn’t happen every year.

The biggest surprise for me is how many categories I would end up giving to Life of Pi, a film that I caught after putting together my Top Ten. I expect it to win a fair amount, but not to take home Best Picture. Strangely, I feel that is about right. For a film as technically accomplished, with a warm aesthetic, and good performances, I don’t love it the way I do Django Unchained.

Argo still 2

BEST PICTURE Amour Argo Beasts of the Southern Wild Django Unchained Les Misérables Life of Pi Lincoln Silver Linings Playbook Zero Dark Thirty

Aren: A month and a half ago I would’ve said Lincoln or Life of Pi, but after all its awards season wins, I gotta go with the stats and say it’s Argo for the win. I’d love to see Django Unchained win, though. QT needs a Best Picture win. Will Win: Argo Should Win: Django Unchained

Anders: I agree with Aren. The award is Argo’s to lose at this point. I think Lincoln has a good shot as well. Though as a dark horse don’t count out Silver Linings Playbook and Harvey Weinstein. Django Unchained topped my personal favourites, so it’s obviously my pick. Will Win: Argo Should Win: Django Unchained

Anton: My money is on Argo, but Lincoln is probably my top film of the year. TIFF will have done it again! Will Win: Argo Should Win: Lincoln

LINCOLN

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

Aren: Daniel Day-Lewis’s performance was fantastic and instantly iconic. Now when we think of Abraham Lincoln, we’ll always hear Day-Lewis’s soft drawl in our heads. I believe both Day-Lewis and Phoenix deserve it, as they both turn in, arguably, some of the most fascinating performances of all time, but I feel like the Academy would be missing an opportunity not rewarding Day-Lewis’s iconic portrait. Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln Should Win: Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln

Anders: These are all fine performances, but I think the academy is going to make history and award Daniel Day-Lewis his third Best Actor statue for his excellent turn as President Lincoln. For me no male performer was more fascinating this year than Joaquin Phoenix in PTA’s The Master. Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln Should Win: Joaquin Phoenix for The Master

Anton: Day-Lewis will win. The Academy will crown him the greatest actor of our time, and he will go on to form a triumvirate with Brando and Olivier. Who should win? It’s hard to say who’s more fun to impersonate: Day-Lewis’s Lincoln or Joaquin Phoenix’s Freddie Quell? Seriously, I think I need to rewatch The Master, because I want to go with Phoenix. Day-Lewis is so perfect, but Phoenix is so bizarre. Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln Should Win: Joaquin Phoenix for The Master

Jennifer Lawrence 1

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

Aren: Haven’t seen Watts. I think that Riva has a chance of winning because she’s such a veteran and she may not be around for many more years, but I think that Lawrence’s charm will pull her through. Hers is a fantastic performance, charming and sexy and fragile and insanely charismatic. Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook Should Win: Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook

Anders: The only performance I haven’t seen is Naomi Watts. I’m going to surprise some by not choosing Emmanuelle Riva’s moving performance and say I believe that Jennifer Lawrence not only will win, but deserves it. Her performance in Silver Linings Playbook enraptured me. It’s a star making role and more challenging than she makes it look. Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook Should Win: Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook

Anton: Jennifer Lawrence has all the momentum at this point, but I’d prefer the brooding gal. Even though Chastain’s Maya is a composite character, she is integral to Zero Dark Thirty. I actually can’t imagine the film without her. Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook Should Win: Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty

Silver Linings Playbook Bob De Niro

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

Aren: Who cares who wins this one? They all already have an Oscar. I think that this one is between De Niro and Jones. Will Jones’s grouchiness ultimately kill his chances? Maybe, but he’s got the SAG award so I’m going with him. I loved Waltz’s performance, but it’s really a co-lead, so if I had to pick, I’d go with Hoffman. Will Win: Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln Should Win: Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master

Anders: Five previous winners, five fine performances. Can I say I’d be happy with any of them except Arkin, whose role in Argo I feel is too slight? Jones is great in Lincoln as the fiery moral centre; Hoffman is great in a less flashy role; nice to see De Niro doing good work again; but, I’m going with Waltz. Though he won just a short time ago, he is just so good in Django Unchained. Will Win: Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook Should Win: Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained

Anton: De Niro will likely be rewarded for finally making a good movie again. It was a pleasure to see him in fine form, but I would rather acknowledge the supporting cast of Lincoln. Even though Day-Lewis is great, Lincoln is not a one-man show. Will Win: Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook Should Win: Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln

Les Miserables Anne Hathaway

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS Amy Adams for The Master Sally Field for Lincoln Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables Helen Hunt for The Sessions Jacki Weaver for Silver Linings Playbook

Aren: Anne Hathaway is a lock. Bet on it, people! I loved her in Les Misérables and The Dark Knight Rises, so I would be pleased to see her win. But part of me wants Amy Adams to win, because she’s just darn near perfect, and her character in The Master is deceptively complex. Will Win: Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables Should Win: Amy Adams for The Master

Anders: Anne Hathaway will win, and none of the other performances that I saw (didn’t see Hunt in The Sessions) had the same power, and she has a strong turn in The Dark Knight Rises to cement it. Though Amy Adams is good in a challenging role (seems strange to me that The Master managed three acting noms and no Best Picture nom). Will Win: Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables Should Win: Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables (and The Dark Knight Rises)

Anton: The fact that I even remember Sally Field’s Mary Todd Lincoln next to Day-Lewis is saying something. Anne Hathaway has already cleared off a space on her mantel though. Will Win: Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables Should Win: Sally Field for Lincoln

Steven Spielberg Lincoln

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

Aren: Tricky category here, as the obvious choice (Ben Affleck) isn’t even nominated! I think it’s between Spielberg and Lee, with Haneke as a possible spoiler, but I’d ultimately bet on Spielberg winning as the Academy would love to reward Lincoln while giving the top prize to Argo. Personally, I’d love to see David O. Russell win as he’s one of the most delightfully manic directors working today, who can make a comedy packed full of depth in a way that I thought only classic masters could manage. Will Win: Steven Spielberg for Lincoln Should Win: David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook

Anders: With the presumed Best Picture director out, I imagine Spielberg will pick up his third Best Director statue. I would award one of the Andersons (Wes and Paul Thomas) or QT, but since they’re not nominated I think Ang Lee’s work on Life of Pi is pretty special. Don’t count him out. Will Win: Steven Spielberg for Lincoln Should Win: Ang Lee for Life of Pi

Anton: Spielberg hasn’t won since 1999. I think this award is his. I also want him to get it, since people have been saying he’s lost it since Temple of Doom. And I have to hand it to him, the greatest director of action has put together one of the best talkies in memory. By the way, why was Benh Zeitlin nominated? Will Win: Steven Spielberg for Lincoln Should Win: Steven Spielberg for Lincoln

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY Amour by Michael Haneke Django Unchained by Quentin Tarantino Flight by John Gatins Moonrise Kingdom by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola Zero Dark Thirty by Mark Boal

Aren: QT and Mark Boal faced down each other back in 2009, and that time Mark Boal came out victorious. Unfortunately for Boal, I think the controversy of Zero Dark Thirty will sink it this time leading to Quentin Tarantino’s second Original Screenplay Oscar, which would be my pick as well. Will Win: Django Unchained by Quentin Tarantino Should Win: Django Unchained by Quentin Tarantino

Anders: Like Aren, I see this as Boal vs. QT. I actually think Boal will get this as the token award for a critical favourite, even though I think Django is easily the most original and well written film of the year. Will Win: Zero Dark Thirty by Mark Boal Should Win: Django Unchained by Quentin Tarantino

Anton: I shamefacedly confess I still haven’t seen Django. Okay, okay, you can take my badge and gun. I think QT will win though. Both Django and Zero Dark have experienced controversy, but QT never wavered about his stance. Boal had been too unclear, or at least portrayed that way in the media (am I portraying him that way?). That said, since I haven’t seen Django, I think Boal should win, for putting together the headlines I’ve been reading for the past decade into a riveting, harrowing narrative. Will Win: Django Unchained by Quentin Tarantino Should Win: Zero Dark Thirty by Mark Boal

 

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY Argo by Chris Terrio Beasts of the Southern Wild by Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin Life of Pi by David Magee Lincoln by Tony Kushner Silver Linings Playbook by David O. Russell

Aren: Chris Terrio will ride the Argo wave to victory. Otherwise, it’d be Tony Kushner for the win for his immense amount of research for Lincoln. I’d go with David O. Russell, who wrote a script equally funny, moving, romantic, and frustrating. Will Win: Argo by Chris Terrio Should Win: Silver Linings Playbook by David O. Russell

Anders: I see this as a battle between what I think are the Best Picture frontrunners, Lincoln and Argo, but I imagine Argo will take the prize. While I haven’t read the book, I think David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook is a screenplay that is a gift to actors. Plus, it manages humour and warmth. Though a shout out to David Magee’s Life of Pi adaptation, which negotiates tricky source material well. Will Win: Argo by Chris Terrio Should Win: Silver Linings Playbook by David O. Russell

Anton: For some reason, Chris Terrio will win this, even though I think Argo is more of a director’s picture than a writer’s. I actually have qualms with Argo’s screenplay (more Canada, please). I think Lincoln was the most well crafted piece of writing on the screen this year. Will Win: Argo by Chris Terrio Should Win: Lincoln by Tony Kushner

 

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM Brave Frankenweenie ParaNorman The Pirates! Band of Misfits Wreck-It Ralph

Aren: Going off the awards season so far, I’d say Wreck-It Ralph has the best chance, though I haven’t actually seen it. But I love ParaNorman and would love for it to win. Will Win: Wreck-It Ralph Should Win: ParaNorman

Anders: I’ve only seen one of these, and I thought Brave was far better than some give it credit for. But I think people will give it to the other Disney release. Will Win: Wreck-It Ralph Should Win: Brave

Anton: Um, so I haven’t seen any of these. What? Will Win: Wreck-It Ralph

 

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM Amour Kon-Tiki No Rebelle A Royal Affair

Aren: Amour is the only one I’ve seen, but it’s nominated for Best Picture, so.... Will Win: Amour Should Win: Amour

Anders: As the only Foreign Language film with nominations in other categories, I think Amour is pretty close to a lock. Though remember what happened to Pan’s Labyrinth in 2007? Will Win: Amour Should Win: Amour

Anton: Ils adorent Amour. Will Win: Amour Should Win: Amour

 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY Anna Karenina Django Unchained Life of Pi Lincoln Skyfall

Aren: Life of Pi is beautiful, but for pure craftwork and haunting beauty Skyfall is the better shot film. Life of Pi will win though, because the Academy goes with prettiest film, not the best shot one. Will Win: Life of Pi Should Win: Skyfall

Anders: Loved the cinematography in Life of Pi, and I imagine most of the academy will agree. The memorable images can’t have been easy to produce and propel the story. Still I’d be happy with seeing Roger Deakin’s finally pick up an award for the most striking-looking Bond film of them all. Will Win: Life of Pi Should Win: Life of Pi

Anton: Because everyone says it’s so pretty. Will Win: Life of Pi Should Win: Skyfall

 

BEST EDITING Argo Life of Pi Lincoln Silver Linings Playbook Zero Dark Thirty

Aren: Those final twenty minutes of Argo are very intense, entirely due to the editing, so it will win for that. Zero Dark Thirty, however, has so much material, I think it was an editorial triumph to trim it down and make it digestible and understandable in such entertaining ways. Will Win: Argo Should Win: Zero Dark Thirty

Anders: While I can see why Argo has its supporters, Lincoln’s editing adds to the drama of back-room debates and vote counting in congress and does so successfully. Will Win: Argo Should Win: Lincoln

Anton: Zero Dark Thirty is so well assembled, but Argo has this for the opening attack on the embassy. Will Win: Argo Should Win: Zero Dark Thirty

 

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN Anna Karenina The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Les Misérables Life of Pi Lincoln

Aren: Haven’t seen Anna Karenina, but it looks gorgeous and I assume that’s all that matters in this category. Lincoln, however, seems like it was made in the period it’s set in, which is a triumph. Will Win: Anna Karenina Should Win: Lincoln

Anders: Though I haven’t seen it, Joe Wright’s conceit of designing his Tolstoy adaptation with stage elements might do the trick. I think imagining Middle-Earth is much more difficult. Will Win: Anna Karenina Should Win: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Anton: Lincoln looked so authentic, but, again, Life of Pi is so gorgeous. Will Win: Life of Pi Should Win: Lincoln

 

BEST COSTUME DESIGN Anna Karenina Les Misérables Lincoln Mirror Mirror Snow White and the Huntsman

Aren: Again, Anna Karenina just seems like the obvious choice. Again, Lincoln’s attention to period detail deserves reward. Will Win: Anna Karenina Should Win: Lincoln

Anders: Two Snow White films and three period pieces? The costumes can’t just look pretty, but help fill in the actors’ performances. This is just a guess. I figure any of the three period pieces could take it, but Anna Karenina is the most flashy. Will Win: Anna Karenina Should Win: Les Misérables

Anton: Every year I hope that they don’t just pick the movie with the most elaborate dresses, but they always do. Will Win: Anna Karenina Should Win: Lincoln

 

BEST MAKEUP Hitchcock The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Les Misérables

Aren: The Hobbit has the most obvious makeup work, which really transforms the actors. However, Les Misérables did a great job aging Hugh Jackman and making Anne Hathaway look sickly, so I’d give it to that film if I could. Will Win: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Should Win: Les Misérables

Anders: While I praised the world-creating in The Hobbit, some of the dwarf make-up was a bit much. Like Aren I thought Les Misérables had unobtrusive, but essential make-up work, and suppose the Academy could lean the same way. Will Win: Les Misérables Should Win: Les Misérables

Anton: The sickly poor will beat the dwarves. Will Win: Les Misérables Should Win: Les Misérables

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE Anna Karenina Argo Life of Pi Lincoln Skyfall

Aren: The Life of Pi score seems to have struck a strong chord with audiences, so it’ll win. But Thomas Newman is one of the great underrated composers and his work on Skyfall is fabulous. Will Win: Life of Pi Should Win: Skyfall

Anders: I can’t say any of these scores that I’ve heard has me wanting to listen to it again as much as Jonny Greenwood’s snubbed score for The Master, but both Skyfall and Life of Pi I thought had effective scores. Will Win: Life of Pi Should Win: Life of Pi

Anton: John Williams doesn’t have any room left in his closet, so hopefully Skyfall will take this. Will Win: Life of Pi Should Win: Skyfall

 

BEST ORIGINAL SONG “Before My Time” from Chasing Ice “Everybody Needs a Friend” from Ted “Pi’s Lullaby” from Life of Pi “Skyfall” from Skyfall “Suddenly” from Les Misérables

Aren: Adele cannot lose awards. And for good reason. This song is one of the best. Will Win: “Skyfall” from Skyfall Should Win: “Skyfall” from Skyfall

Anders: Adele should and will win because she didn’t just write some song for a movie, she created one of the hits of this past winter and fit right into the Bond aesthetic as well. Will Win: “Skyfall” from Skyfall Should Win: “Skyfall” from Skyfall

Anton: Because Daniel Craig said he cried the first time he heard it (seriously, that’s what I heard on the radio). Will Win: “Skyfall” from Skyfall Should Win: “Skyfall” from Skyfall

 

BEST SOUND MIXING Argo Les Misérables Life of Pi Lincoln Skyfall

Aren: Les Misérables recorded the actors singing “live,” which is a feat of sound mixing. It deserves to win, and will. Will Win: Les Misérables Should Win: Les Misérables

Anders: Les Misérables’s gambit of recording the singing in camera was experimental and worked to the film’s advantage. It’s technically and narratively good work and should be recognized. Will Win: Les Misérables Should Win: Les Misérables

Anton: I concur. Will Win: Les Misérables Should Win: Les Misérables

 

BEST SOUND EDITING Argo Django Unchained Life of Pi Skyfall Zero Dark Thirty

Aren: Zero Dark Thirty has some impressive sound work, so it will pick up its sole award here. Skyfall, however, has some tricky sound work, especially as it uses sound effects as a pseudo-score for Javier Bardem’s Silva. Will Win: Zero Dark Thirty Should Win: Skyfall

Anders: Films with intense battle scenes usually do well here, so I think Zero Dark Thirty probably will take it. Though since Sound Editing is suppose to reward the design and capture of sound for a film I think the animal effects and sea soundscape of Life of Pi are more impressive. Will Win: Zero Dark Thirty Should Win: Life of Pi

Anton: For the sound of the choppers during the night raid on Bin Laden’s residence. Will Win: Zero Dark Thirty Should Win: Zero Dark Thirty

 

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

Aren: I think Prometheus looks pretty fantastic, as does The Hobbit, but the tiger in Life of Pi looks real and wasn’t. It’ll win. Will Win: Life of Pi Should Win: Life of Pi

Anders: I’ve praised Prometheus here and would be happy to see it win, since it is some of the best science fiction work in ages. But as Aren says, Richard Parker is one of the best CGI creations since Gollum (who by the way was great in The Hobbit). Will Win: Life of Pi Should Win: Life of Pi

Anton: Sure, the tiger was pretty believable, but so was the emergency C-section. Will Win: Life of Pi Should Win: Prometheus

 

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

Aren: Haven’t seen any of the nominees, unfortunately, but Sugar Man seems to be a winner with audiences. Will Win: Searching for Sugar Man

Anders: I haven’t seen any of these either, but I’m curious to see The Gatekeepers. Like Aren though, I’ve heard Searching for Sugar Man is hit. Will Win: Searching for Sugar Man

Anton: I haven’t caught up with these, but, um, seriously, the Three Brothers love movies about . . . real stuff. Will Win: Searching for Sugar Man (Seriously, we post about Hot Docs every year.)

 

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT Inocente Kings Point Mondays at Racine Open Heart Redemption

Aren: Pure guesswork. Will Win: Open Heart

Anders: More guesswork. The cancer stories of Mondays at Racine could be a draw for voters. Will Win: Mondays at Racine

Anton: Moe. Will Win: Open Heart

 

BEST ANIMATED SHORT Adam and Dog Fresh Guacamole Head Over Heels Paperman The Simpsons: The Longest Daycare

Aren: Paperman was charming, and so it’ll win. Will Win: Paperman

Anders: I’ve seen all of these online except The Simpsons one. While I expect “Paperman” will take it, “Adam and Dog” is a fantastic short film: beautiful and thought provoking. Will Win: Paperman Should Win: Adam and Dog

Anton: (Sing it with me.) The  . . . Will Win: Simpsons! (The Longest Daycare)

 

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT Asad Buzkashi Boys Curfew Death of a Shadow Henry

Aren: Pure guesswork, again. Will Win: Curfew

Anders: Haven’t seen any of them, so I’m going off descriptions of the subject matter. Will Win: Death of a Shadow

Anton: Meany. Will Win: Buzkashi Boys

What are your picks for the 2013 Oscars? What are your predictions? What craziness would you like to see happen on Sunday night?