2013 Oscar Nominations and Predictions

For the five of you who don’t know, the 2012 Academy Award nominations were announced this morning. And everyone, within minutes, found something to complain about.

My take? Well, with one enormous lapse, this line up is among the best and most competitive in quite some time. Usually, it’s clear long before the show who is going to walk away with the trophy. But this time, I am honestly not sure how it will all turn out. Perhaps this means that the films are actually getting better. At least, I hope so.

In making my picks, I will only examine the big categories for now. Otherwise, we will be here forever

Best Picture

Amour (2012): To Be Determined

Zero Dark Thirty (2012): Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow, Megan Ellison

First, I still HATE the fact there are more than five nominees. I still don’t understand why this was even done – it seems like such a bizarre concession to those who complain AMPAS only pics films no one has ever seen. Of course, the whole point of the Oscars is to try to expose the works to people, no gratify popular demand. OK, OK, it’s actually to help some films get a blurb on their Blu Ray releases, but I like to think an Oscar win helps expose quality works to people.

Anyway, what will win Best Picture? Argo was my choice for best film of 2012, and I think that it has a great chance of actually winning the statuette. Lincoln is the only other big contender in this category.

Best Director

Michael Haneke for Amour (2012)

Ang Lee for Life of Pi (2012)

Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)

And here’s where the huge snubs are. Quentin Tarantino and Ben Affleck both deserved to be nominated in this category, but were shut out. I have not seen Zero Dark Thirty yet (I intend to this weekend) but Kathryn Bigelow would have been an inspired choice as well, considering the buzz she has received.  Heck, Paul Thomas Anderson is still waiting for his “We’re Sorry” Oscar. Where is his nomination? My normal pick would have been Affleck, but that’s apparently derailed.

Of the nominees, Spielberg will probably get it. Lincoln received the most nominations and a Spielberg win would be the safest choice. And his film was the best directed of the ones listed. But it’s too safe this year. Remember when people like David Lynch was the one receiving Best Director nominations? I miss those days.

Best Actor

Denzel Washington for Flight (2012/I)

Everyone seems to think Lewis is a shoo in. I am not so sure. He’s already won twice and there has never been an actor who has won three Best Actor statues. This fact may bias people against Lincoln. Sometimes, people get nervous when asked to make history. Yet if not Lewis, then whom?  I greatly admired Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in The Master. In fact, in a lot of ways, Phoenix’s performance was superior to Lewis’. He had to play a common man on a downward spiral, who was forced to go through as many internal emotions as Lewis was called upon to utilize in Lincoln. I truly feel Phoenix deserves the award. It will come down between him and Lewis.

Best Actress

Emmanuelle Riva for Amour (2012)

Naomi Watts for The Impossible (2012)

Jennifer Lawrence. Let’s move on.

Best Supporting Actor

Alan Arkin for Argo (2012)

Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained (2012)

Replace Waltz’s nomination with a nomination for Samuel L Jackson in the same film, and this would be a perfect representation of the deserving nominations from 2012. Tommy Lee Jones would be my pick for the win. He perfectly complemented Lewis’ performance and gave a performance of a lifetime. Plus, it was a Stevens scene, not a Lincoln scene, that was the best moment in Lincoln.

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams for The Master (2012)

Sally Field for Lincoln (2012)

Jacki Weaver for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Anne Hathaway. Hollywood likes her, and her performance was the most memorable of the film she starred in. The others were overwhelmed by the lead actors. Moving on.

Best Original Screenplay

Flight (2012/I): John Gatins

Zero Dark Thirty (2012): Mark Boal

To be perfectly honest, I am not familiar with some of the films in this category. I am surprised (and delighted) that Moonrise Kingdom got a nomination. But Wes Anderson’s films are the kinds that don’t win, for whatever reason. Ditto Tarantino’s, with the Pulp Fiction exception. I would say Zero Dark Thirty will win, but that’s a very tentative endorsement. I’ll explore that more after I have seen the film.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Argo (2012): Chris Terrio

Silver Linings Playbook (2012): David O. Russell

Lincoln. Kushner is already an established writer, which helps immensely in these categories. And his script has already won enough praise to win several Oscars. Argo’s strength was not in its writing, and it had the benefit of being based on a true story. Kushner’s script is what allowed Lincoln to come alive.

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