3rd annual Oscar Race Analysis

presented by j:

yes, it’s that time of the year again. that wonderful night that bears no weight or importance whatsoever upon the real world…the Oscars. okay, one exception: the documentaries.  some of which are even being referenced in Congress right now (The Invisible War).

2012 proved a great year for movies – in fact, one of the best i can recall in a long time. it’s also proved to be one of the most interesting and hard-to-predict Oscar years in my lifetime (circa 1985). anything could happen on February 24th. the world could end.

so continue (if you care enough) to read my Oscar picks. i wouldn’t wager any money on them. except Monopoly money (see: Federal Reserve).

Visual Effects

who’s nominated?
The Hobbit: An Unending Journey, Life of Pi, Marvel’s The Avengers, Prometheus, and Snow White and The Huntsman.

admittedly, i’ve only seen 2 of the above nominees, so, take with a large grain of salt…

who will win? Life of Pi. those animals looked legit.
who could win? The Hobbit, if the Academy decides excess is their thing.
who would i vote for? Life of Pi.

Sound Mixing

who’s nominated?
Argo, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Skyfall

this is a hard one to call.  the Academy loves action movies in this category, but they’ve been known to reward musicals in it as well.

who will win? Les Miz has a slight edge here.
who could win? Argo or Skyfall
who would i vote for? Les Miz. no one ever adapted a musical this way and it turned out better than it honestly should have with such an approach.

Sound Editing (yes, it’s different than Sound Mixing)

who’s nominated?
Argo, Django Unchained, Life of Pi, Skyfall, Zero Dark Thirty

who will win? Skyfall, because (a) action movies do well in this category, and (b) it’s nominated in both sound categories, which bodes well for it.
who could win? Life of Pi.
who would i vote for? Zero Dark Thirty.

Short Film – Live Action

who’s nominated?
Asad, Buzkashi Boys, Curfew, Death of a Shadow, Henry

believe it or not, but i’ve actually seen all of these. thanks, Angelika!

who will win? Curfew, simply because it had the most potential to be a full-length film, but was told really well in the short format.
who could win? Asad was really well done – add in the fact that the entire cast is made up of Somali refugees, and it could pull enough heartstrings to win.
who would i vote for?

Short Film – Animated

who’s nominated?
Adam and Dog, Fresh Guacamole, Head Over Heels, Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”, Paperman

thanks again to Angelika, i have seen all of these as well. great, creative crop of nominees.

who will win? Paperman, Paperman, Paperman…if you haven’t seen it…do.
who could win? the beautiful “Adam and Dog” if the Academy decides to go “indie.”
who would i vote for? Paperman.

Production Design

who’s nominated?
Anna Karenina, The Hobbit: An Unnecessary Journey, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln

formerly known as “Art Direction,” the change in name for this category was to include set designers and not just prop peeps.

who will win? i’d bet on Lincoln for creating a spot-on Civil War-era Washington D.C.
who could win? Les Miz or Life of Pi
who would i vote for? Lincoln

Makeup & Hairstyling

who’s nominated?
Hitchcock, The Hobbit: An Unimportant Journey, Les Miserables

who will win? Les Miserables – even if they didn’t age Hugh Jackman enough.
who could win? The Hobbit – for having lots of fake beards.
who would i vote for? Les Miserables, because i haven’t seen Hitchcock and disliked The Hobbit THAT much.

Documentary – Short

who’s nominated? (a bunch of movies you’ve never heard of)
Inocente, Kings Point, Mondays at Racine, Open Heart, Redemption

i haven’t been able to see any of these yet, so, again, big grain of salt.

who will win? Inocente seems to be favored here as the “most professional” of the nominees
who could win? Mondays at Racine seems to be a favorite as well.
who would i vote for? who can say?

Documentary – Feature Film

who’s nominated?
5 Broken Cameras, The Gatekeepers, How To Survive a Plague, The Invisible War,  Searching For Sugar Man

i’ve seen all but The Gatekeepers, which looks fascinating, but not like a winner.

who will win? Searching For Sugar Man.
who could win? How To Survive a Plague if the Academy decided to go more emotional. if they decide to go for the movie with the most potential for political impact, it could be The Invisible War.
who would i vote for? Searching For Sugar Man. see it.

Costume Design

who’s nominated?
Anna Karenina, Les Miserables, Lincoln, Mirror Mirror (aka: Julia Roberts Giving Up Entirely on Her Career), Bella Swan and the Thor

this one is actually fairly hard to call this year, but…

who will win? Anna Karenina looks like it has the “most” costumes of them all.
who could win? Lincoln or Les Miz.
who would i vote for? Lincoln. you can never have enough top hats in a movie. never.

Film Editing

who’s nominated?
Argo, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty

this is a more important category than it looks at first glance. it’s nearly impossible for a movie to win Best Picture without also being nominated for Film Editing.

who will win? Argo.
who could win? Lincoln or Life of Pi.
who would i vote for? Argo [edit] yourself.

Music – Original Score

who’s nominated?
Anna Karenina, Argo, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Skyfall

who will win? Life of Pi.
who could win? Skyfall – poor Thomas Newman’s been nominated 11 times and has yet to win. it took his uncle Randy 15 nominations to finally win, so maybe the Academy will throw him a bone.
who would i vote for? my favorite score of the year didn’t even make the cut, so i’d go with Argo.

Music – Original Song

who’s nominated?
“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.

who will win? the world’s hooked on Adele, so don’t be surprised when “Skyfall” wins.
who could win? “Everybody Needs a Best Friend” is a surprisingly good tune.
who would i vote for? “Everybody Needs a Best Friend”…haven’t seen Ted, but how can i say no to Norah Jones? especially after her dad passed away last year?


who’s nominated?
Anna Karenina, Django Unchained, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Skyfall

who will win? Life of Pi is the most obvious choice.
who could win? Skyfall…mostly because i don’t think the Academy can deny Roger Deakins much longer – the man is Hollywood’s best cinematographer working today.
who would i vote for? though i haven’t seen Skyfall, i’d probably vote for it just because i want Roger Deakins to win that much. of the films i’ve seen, i’d go with Pi.

Foreign Language Film

who’s nominated?
Amour, Kon-Tiki, No, A Royal Affair, War Witch

i’ve only seen Amour, but trust me, that’s all that matters this year – if a foreign film gets nominated for Best Picture, it’s GOING to win in this category. (see: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Life Is Beautiful)

who will win? Amour.
who could win? Amour.
who would i vote for? Amour.

Animated Feature Film

who’s nominated?
Brave, Frankenweenie, ParaNorman, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Wreck-It Ralph

i’ve only seen Brave and Wreck-It Ralph, so whatever.

who will win? Wreck-It Ralph – somehow a more Pixar-esque movie than the Pixar-produced movie in this category. and with both the PGA and Annie Awards victories, it looks good to win.
who could win? Brave. because it’s Pixar.
who would i vote for? Wreck-It Ralph.

Adapted Screenplay

who’s nominated?
Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook

this is a hard category to call this year…

who will win? Argo, if there’s really enough love for the movie.
who could win? Tony Kushner has received lots of praise for Lincoln, and David O. Russell’s penmanship is strong in Silver Linings.
who would i vote for? Silver Linings Playbook.

Original Screenplay

who’s nominated?
Amour, Django Unchained, Flight, Moonrise Kingdom, Zero Dark Thirty

also a hard category to call this year…

who will win? i feel more and more like Michael Hanake will win for penning Amour, which would be a surprise to most.
who could win? never count out Quentin Tarantino – and i wouldn’t be surprised by a win for Zero Dark Thirty or even Moonrise Kingdom – very strong category this year.
who would i vote for? Amour

Best Supporting Actress

who’s nominated?
Amy Adams in The Master, Sally Field in Lincoln, Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables, Helen Hunt in The Sessions, Jacki Weaver in Silver Linings Playbook

do we even need to talk about this?

who will win? Anne Hathaway…for making people cry during the trailer.
who could win? Sally Field, if the Academy feels like being really mean.
who would i vote for? Anne Hathaway.

Best Supporting Actor

who’s nominated?
Alan Arkin in Argo, Robert DeNiro in Silver Linings Playbook, Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master, Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln, Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained.

who will win? though i won’t be surprised with a Christoph Waltz win, i still think this one belongs to Tommy Lee. Jones.
who could win? Robert DeNiro’s excellent turn as a superstitious Eagles fan.
who would i vote for? Tommy Lee Jones.

Best Actress

who’s nominated?
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

i’ve seen all of these great performances except for Ms. Watts in The Impossible, but i have no doubt she’s a force to be reckoned with in that film.

who will win? most are calling this for “J. Law,” but i think Emmanuelle Riva is going to pull a “Marion Cotillard” this year.
who could win? Jennifer Lawrence.
who would i vote for? i loved Jennifer Lawrence, but i’d probably vote for Emmanuelle Riva.

Best Actor

who’s nominated?
Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook, Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln, Hugh Jackman in Les Miserables, Joaquin Phoenix in The Master, Denzel Washington in Flight

who will win? Daniel Day-Lewis, not that this should surprise anyone.
who could win? Hugh Jackman and Bradley Cooper have strong advocates in this field.
who would i vote for? Bradley Cooper – his performance isn’t as “showy” as some of the other roles in this category, and his part is a lot harder than it looks at first glance – playing mental illness believably yet lovably is a hard, hard thing to accomplish and he nailed it.

Best Director

who’s nominated? (not Ben Affleck)
Michael Haneke for Amour, Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild, Ang Lee for Life of Pi, Steven Spielberg for Lincoln, David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook

who will win? no one knows. with no Affleck or Bigelow to contend with here, it’s really anyone’s game. Spielberg might have the slight edge based on nothing more than Lincoln’s 12 nominations and name-recognition.
who could win? Ang Lee could sneak in here based on the love for Pi (mmm…pie), but i could see Russell being a surprise winner here because it’s his most personal film (his son struggles with bipolar disorder) and actors (who make up the largest chunk of the Academy) seem to have a huge respect for him.
who would i vote for? if the Academy allowed the write-in option like olden days, then i’d write in Affleck, otherwise, i’d check Russell’s box.

Best Picture

who’s nominated?
Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty

there’s not really a weak film in this lineup, which can’t be said of every year’s nominees…2012 was kind to movie fans.

who will win? Argo. with its “measly” 7 nominations and lack of Best Director nomination, it looks poised to pull off one of the greatest coups in Oscar history.
who could win? if Argo gets dealt the Apollo 13 card, the Academy could go with Lincoln – or it could prove really rebellious and go with Silver Linings Playbook should that film win in enough other categories like Screenplay and Actress.
who would i vote for? Silver Linings Playbook was easily my favorite movie of the year…but i’d be pleased with an Argo win.

so there you have it. i’m expecting an unconventional year with Argo taking the top prize. but this is one of the most wide-open Oscar fields i’ve ever seen, so the Academy may spread the love all over the place with lots of surprises. who knows? (see: Pricewaterhouse Coopers, not to be confused with Sterling Cooper Draper Price)

some more observant observer may notice that i am not predicting a single win for my favorite film of the year, Silver Linings Playbook. therefore, i hope to be very, very wrong with such predictions. but my favorite film of 2010 didn’t win anything either.

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