The CineMaverick’s Fearless (and Belated!) Oscar Picks

Oscar-2013

Ah, the Oscars.  Even as they seem to lose relevancy with each passing year, I continue to indulge my morbid fascination with a ceremony that gives away ultimately meaningless statuettes.  Perhaps I’m fascinated by the range of choices the Academy makes every year—some more than deserved, some utterly baffling, some bold, and some reprehensibly safe.  In any case, I’ve decided to predict the minds of the Academy Elite.  As I haven’t seen all these films, I have picked my predictions for whom I think will win, and whom I would love to see win.  What film will I be adding to my still-in-progress Best Picture Countdown? Let’s get started, shall we?

 

Best Visual Effects

Life of Pi

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Prometheus

Marvel’s The Avengers

Snow White and the Huntsman

Will Win: Life of Pi.  I’m not sure if the Academy is a fan of 3-D, but the film looks stunning, and uses its effects in service to its storytelling.

Want to Win:  Prometheus.  I have my problems with the script, but the creature and technology effects were ghoulishly creative.

 

Best Sound Editing

Argo

Django Unchained

Life of Pi

Skyfall

Zero Dark Thirty

Will Win: Argo.  I see this as a consolation prize of sorts…since I don’t think this will win Best Picture.  Should be the first of two technical awards.

Want to Win: Zero Dark Thirty.  If nothing else for the use of sound in the raid on bin Laden’s compound.  Simply harrowing.

 

Best Sound Mixing

Argo

Les Miserables

Life of Pi

Lincoln

Skyfall

Will Win: Les Miserables.  As the only musical among the nominees, it should stand out as the most obvious choice for a category devoted to sound quality.

Want to Win: Skyfall.  It’s impressive when both the theme song and the sound of gunshots resonate with such grandness.

 

Best Production Design

Anna Karenina

The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey

Les Miserables

Life of Pi

Lincoln

Will Win: Lincoln.  A stellar recreation of Lincoln’s time and place, a huge boost for the film’s authenticity.

Want to Win: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.  I really wish Prometheus had been nominated, but Hobbit made Middle-Earth feel fresh after a near ten-year hiatus.

 

Best Original Song

“Before My Time” from Chasing Ice

“Everybody Needs a Best Friend” from Ted

“Pi’s Lullaby” from Life of Pi

“Skyfall” from Skyfall

“Suddenly” from Les Miserables

Will Win: “Skyfall.”  It’s that voice.  Hats off to you, Adele.

Want to Win: “Everybody Needs a Best Friend.”  Because it’s not the Academy’s thing at all, and it’s hilarious.

 

Best Score

Anna Karenina

Argo

Life of Pi

Lincoln

Skyfall

Will Win: Life of Pi.  It’s life-affirming and more than a little cloying, which sounds like right up the Academy’s alley.

Want to Win: Skyfall.  The score has a nice range of somber and pulse-pounding numbers.

 

Best Makeup/Hairstyling

Hitchcock

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Les Miserables

Will Win: Hitchcock.  They turned Hopkins into Hitchcock, for gosh sakes.

Want to Win: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.  It was a tough task to create unique looks for each dwarf, even if personality-wise they sorta bleed together.

 

Best Film Editing

Argo

Life of Pi

Lincoln

Silver Linings Playbook

Zero Dark Thirty

Will Win: Argo.  Thrillers tend to win in this category, and Affleck’s film had perhaps a stronger reception than Zero Dark Thirty.

Want to Win: Zero Dark Thirty.  The juxtapositions of brutal violence and office settings really creates a powerful effect.

 

Best Costume Design

Anna Karenina

Les Miserables

Lincoln

Mirror Mirror

Snow White and the Huntsman

Will Win: Les Miserables.  Period pieces rule the day in this category, and the film had a fairly broad wardrobe.

Want to Win: Lincoln.  Though not necessarily a flashy wardrobe, the film’s costumes looked like the real deal.

 

Cinematography

Life of Pi

Lincoln

Anna Karenina

Django Unchained

Skyfall

Will Win: Lincoln.  Janusz Kaminski impeccably captured the look of America in the mid-nineteenth century.

Want to Win: Skyfall.  My man Roger Deakins, in a career of exceptional work, has been denied for too long.

 

Best Foreign Language Film

Amour (Austria)

Kon-Tiki (Norway)

No (Chile)

A Royal Affair (Denmark)

War Witch (Canada)

Will Win: Amour.  Gee, let’s see…it’s the only nominee also nominated for Best Picture.  What do you think?

Want to Win: Kon-Tiki.  It’s based on a fascinating life and adventure, the kind of life that most aren’t even aware happened.

 

Best Animated Feature Film

Brave

ParaNorman

Wreck-It Ralph

Frankenweenie

The Pirates! Band of Misfits

Will Win: Brave.  It’s a safe choice for the Academy, and you know what?  It’s actually a good movie, even if it’s not Toy Story.

Want to Win: ParaNorman.  It’s darker and edgier than Brave, and alternately surprises and delights with its sheer heart (and scares!).

 

Best Writing—Original Screenplay

Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola)

Amour (Michel Haneke)

Flight (John Gatins)

Zero Dark Thirty (Mark Boal)

Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino)

Will Win: Amour.  Yes, it’s not in English, but the film just has too much momentum, and it wouldn’t be the first time a foreign-language script has won this award.

Want to Win: Moonrise Kingdom.  The script by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola captured the tenderness and tragedy of both children and adults, while gently poking fun at its quirky characters.  I’d also love to see Mark Boal win for Zero Dark Thirty.

 

Best Writing—Adapted Screenplay

Lincoln (Tony Kushner)

Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell)

Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin, Lucy Alibar)

Argo (Chris Terrio)

Life of Pi (David Magee)

Will Win: Lincoln.  Kushner found the courage, passion, and humor in the enclosed rooms where politics happen.  And it’s ultimately a noble portrait of our sixteenth president.

Want to Win: Beasts of the Southern Wild.  My pick for the best script, period, of this year.  Based on a play, it resonates with tragedy, hope, and knowing irony.

 

Best Direction

Lincoln (Steven Spielberg)

Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell)

Life of Pi (Ang Lee)

Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin)

Amour (Michael Haneke)

Will Win: Steven Spielberg.  He’s won twice before, but not since 1999.  And he did make a film about Abraham Lincoln, after all.

Want to Win: Benh Zeitlin.  Yes, it’s his first feature, but Zeitlin showed the talent and skill of a filmmaker well beyond his years.  This kid’s going places, believe you me.

 

Best Supporting Actress

Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln, Lincoln

Jacki Weaver as Dolores Solitano, Silver Linings Playbook

Anne Hathaway as Fantine, Les Miserables

Helen Hunt as Cheryl Cohen-Greene, The Sessions

Amy Adams as Peggy Dodd, The Master

Will Win: Anne Hathaway.  She’s been getting raves for her performance, and she’s definitely paid her dues by now, with impressive turns in Rachel Getting Married and The Dark Knight Rises.

Want to Win: Sally Field.  One of the finest actresses working today, Field managed to hold her own against Daniel Day-Lewis, arguably the finest actor working today.  All while refusing to play Mary Todd as a caricature.

 

Best Supporting Actor

Robert De Niro as Pat Solitano, Sr., Silver Linings Playbook

Philip Seymour Hoffman as Lancaster Dodd, The Master

Alan Arkin as Lester Siegel, Argo

Christoph Waltz as Dr. King Schultz, Django Unchained

Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens, Lincoln

Will Win: Tommy Lee Jones.  Closest race of the night, but I think Jones will win for his curmudgeonly, insult-spewing Congressman with a heart of gold.

Want to Win: Philip Seymour Hoffman.  The guy managed to make us understand the inner turmoil of a snake-oil salesman.  That takes bravery and range as an actor.

 

Best Actress

Quvenzhane Wallis as Hushpuppy, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Emmanuelle Riva as Anne Laurent, Amour

Jessica Chastain as Maya, Zero Dark Thirty

Jennifer Lawrence as Tiffany Maxwell, Silver Linings Playbook

Naomi Watts as Maria Bennett, The Impossible

Will Win: Jessica Chastain.  It’s the kind of assertive female character that Chastain plays to the hilt.  Powerful, powerful work.

Want to Win: Jessica Chastain.  Wow, a match!  Seriously though, Chastain deserves to win for her committed, borderline-insane CIA agent.

 

Best Actor

Denzel Washington as William “Whip” Whitaker, Flight

Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Les Miserables

Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln

Joaquin Phoenix as Freddie Quell, The Master

Bradley Cooper as Pat Solitano, Jr., Silver Linings Playbook

Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis.  Best Lincoln.  Onscreen. Ever.  Expect collective gasps if Day-Lewis doesn’t win his third Oscar.

Want to Win: Joaquin Phoenix.  Yes, I know, sacrilege.  But seriously, Phoenix’s commitment to such a wounded, empty, passionate, conflicted man impressed me even more than Day-Lewis’s presidential efforts.

 

Best Picture

Lincoln

Amour

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Silver Linings Playbook

Argo

Zero Dark Thirty

Django Unchained

Life of Pi

Les Miserables

Will Win: Lincoln.  It’s a really good period piece about the accomplishment of a noble goal.  How could the Academy not go for it?

Want to Win: Beasts of the Southern Wild.  What a great film.  I haven’t seen such an impressive daughter-father relationship in…well, anything.  It’s s debut film that feels like a the work of a veteran.  Alas, I don’t run the Oscars.

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