Ah, The Oscars are here once again. Most of the film admirers of the world start swooning, handing out their two cents on who should win and who will win. “Which film truly DESERVES to win?” is a common question asked during this time. I, automatically assuming that anyone who clicked the link to this cares about the topic, am pleased to offer you my predictions of which films will win which categories and why. The films in bold are the ones I believe will win. The films underlined are the ones that I believe should win. Before each segment, I will explain why.
Best Picture every year is either the simplest or hardest category to predict. This year is odd because I do not know which it is. On one hand, Argo has won Best Picture at most of the award shows this year, which is a pretty big signifier that it will win Best Picture at the Oscars. However, as many have pointed out, the last time a film has won Best Picture without being nominated for Best Direction was in 1990 with the film Driving Miss Daisy. That was only the third time in Oscar history that has happened. Plus, the Academy may have some backlash towards Argo for winning all of the awards at other, ‘lesser’, award shows.
Despite this, I believe Argo is going to win. This is hard for me to write for multiple reasons: 1) I really, really disliked the film for various reasons that I am not going to get into now, because it is irrelevant, and 2) I only have it winning two other awards on Sunday. I do not understand how a film could be considered ‘best of a year’ if it does not win any specific categories (except for Sound Editing and general Editing). But I digress. It will win, that is almost set in stone. Sigh.
Now on to what I WANT to win: Silver Linings Playbook and DJANGOOOOOOO Unchained. Silver Linings Playbook is a phenomenal comedy-drama that really works well despite its clichés. The acting, from Bradley Cooper to Jennifer Lawrence to Robert De Niro to an underrated Chris Tucker, is stellar. David O. Russell’s tight direction allows his fantastic screenplay work. This amazing work of art deserves to go home with SEVERAL golden carrots, and if my Argo prediction is wrong, then it will!
Django Unchained is directed and written by my favorite working director, Quentin Tarantino. This one of my favorites by him, second only to Kill Bill. This was also my favorite 2012 film. Because I have a tendency to write/talk far too much about this film, I will stop here. It won’t win for many reasons, mostly being released too late in the year, no director nomination, and because I do not think that the Academy will give a Best Picture award to a Weinstein film by Tarantino quite yet.
- Amour – Margaret Menegoz, Stefan Arndt, Veit Heiduschka, and Michael Katz
- Argo – Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck, and George Clooney
- Beasts of the Southern Wild – Dan Janvey, Josh Penn, and Michael Gottwald
- Django Unchained – Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin, and Pilar Savone
- Les Misérables – Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, and Cameron Mackintosh
- Life of Pi – Gil Netter, Ang Lee, and David Womark
- Lincoln – Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy
- Silver Linings Playbook – Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen, and Jonathan Gordon
- Zero Dark Thirty – Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow, and Megan Ellison
Best Director is an interesting category this year, in my opinion. I did not expect Haneke or Zeitlin to receive a nomination over Ben Affleck or Kathryn Bigelow, both of whom I had thought were leading the whole race. Alas, neither got a nod (unfortunately in Bigelow’s case), so that makes this all the more interesting. Who I think will win is not Steven Spielberg, like practically every other predictor. I could most definitely be wrong, but I have a feeling that Lincoln will win exactly one award this year, and that is Daniel Day-Lewis’s to win. Why is this?
Silver Linings Playbook. I believe it is the second film in the running here, behind Argo, which is not in the running. That gives it to David O. Russell, who I also believe deserves it. I would not be too surprised by Ang Lee, Michael Haneke, or Steven Spielberg winning, but I do not see any of that happening.
- Michael Haneke – Amour
- Ang Lee – Life of Pi
- David O. Russell – Silver Linings Playbook
- Steven Spielberg – Lincoln
- Benh Zeitlin – Beasts of the Southern Wild
Best Actor is a uniquely uninteresting field this year. Is there any question in anyone’s mind that Daniel Day-Lewis wins for his portrayal of the United States’ 16th president? I thought not. While I have not exactly been fanboying over the film, he did do a remarkable job, which was not to be unexpected. Joaquin Phoenix also did a fantastic job as a drunk with PTSD who becomes BFFLs with the leader of a cult, but he badmouthed the Academy, and the Academy doesn’t like that.
- Bradley Cooper – Silver Linings Playbook
- Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln
- Hugh Jackman – Les Misérables
- Joaquin Phoenix – The Master
- Denzel Washington – Flight
Best Actress has been an odd field as 2012 progressed… Back at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, people proclaimed that Quvenzhané Wallis would crush it at the Oscars as the youngest winner in its history. Then again, they also thought John Hawkes would win for The Sessions. That probably won’t happen.
At the Toronto International Film Festival, where Silver Linings Playbook premiered, people thought that Jennifer Lawrence would win. While I agree, when the film was released to the general public at first, her buzz died down. When Zero Dark Thirty was being screened to private audiences, people thought the same thing about Jessica Chastain. Then, a showdown seemed to begin between her and Jennifer Lawrence, whose buzz increased as the Weinsteins released the film to a larger audience. Things seemed pretty dead even for awhile.
What happened then? Jennifer Lawrence dominated, taking home the Golden Globe and SAG awards. Everyone expected the same for the BAFTAs, but then an Emmanuelle Riva victory came out of the blue. I am ignoring that, though, as the SAG is more accurate of a predictor than the BAFTAs for the acting categories. Plus, I liked J-Law more.
- Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty
- Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook
- Emmanuelle Riva – Amour
- Quvenzhané Wallis – Beasts of the Southern Wild
- Naomi Watts – The Impossible
Best Supporting Actor is easily the toughest section to predict this year, all the contestants being fantastic in their respective films (with the lone exception of Alan Arkin, who definitely did not deserve a nomination over Leonardo DiCaprio). Robert De Niro plays a father with OCD and who has an obsession with football, specifically the Eagles. Philip Seymour Hoffman plays a cult leader who tries to help a troubled soul. Tommy Lee Jones just really doesn’t like slavery.
All of them were great in their respective goals, but what Christoph Waltz does goes beyond any of them. He does not merely enter the role he was given, he creates a presence unlike any other in any of the films released. He makes the film as fantastic as it truly is. The potential spoiler here is Robert De Niro, who does truly do a fantastic job with the film. He might win because Waltz recently won for Inglourious Basterds, and some thought that the character he played in it was similar to his in Django Unchained. I personally disagree, but I don’t get a vote for a reason.
- Alan Arkin – Argo
- Robert De Niro – Silver Linings Playbook
- Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Master
- Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln
- Christoph Waltz – Django Unchained
Best Supporting Actress would be an interesting category if Anne Hathaway wasn’t in it. She dominated it in Les Misérables, and every agrees with that assessment. She is going home with an award no matter what. Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet.
- Amy Adams – The Master
- Sally Field – Lincoln
- Anne Hathaway – Les Misérables
- Helen Hunt – The Sessions
- Jacki Weaver – Silver Linings Playbook
Best Writing – Original Screenplay is a fun one, the films nominated were all ones that I liked for various reasons, some more than others. For Flight and Moonrise Kingdom, the nomination is the award. I liked both of those films quite a bit, Moonrise Kingdom especially, but for some reason the Academy is not a really huge Wes Anderson fan. Meh.
Django Unchained will win because the zany Tarantino antics appealed to many, winning the BAFTA and Golden Globe. Although Amour and Zero Dark Thirty are in the running here, Mark Boal won just three years ago for The Hurt Locker, and rarely do foreign films win screenplay awards.
- Amour – Michael Haneke
- Django Unchained – Quentin Tarantino
- Flight – John Gatins
- Moonrise Kingdom – Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola
- Zero Dark Thirty – Mark Boal
Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay is not a fun one, me having disliked most of the nominated films. Beasts of the Southern Wild was okay, but it was far too out there for the Academy, so it will not win. Argo’s screenplay was not interesting in almost any way, I don’t even understand why it was nominated. Life of Pi might win because the source material was considered ‘unfilmable,’ but it was not the best by any means. Lincoln has the potential to win, being historical, which the Academy likes.
But I believe David O. Russell’s lauded script for Silver Linings Playbook is the one that will win this year, being strong all around as well as better than the actual book (in my opinion, at least). Plus, I love any script that has a character throw a Hemingway book out the window. That’s real entertainment there, folks.
- Argo – Chris Terrio from The Master of Disguise by Antonio J. Mendez & The Great Escape by Joshuah Bearman
- Beasts of the Southern Wild – Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin from Juicy and Delicious by Lucy Alibar
- Life of Pi – David Magee from Life of Pi by Yann Martel
- Lincoln – Tony Kushner from Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
- Silver Linings Playbook – David O. Russell from The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
Best Animated Feature is a category I have hated since the ridiculousness of The Fantastic Mr. Fox not winning in 2009. I am just assuming the film I liked the least (the film I hated, actually) is the one that will win. Yay, Brave….
- 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
Best Foreign Language Film is absurdly simple to predict. I have only seen one of these films, Amour, but since it was also nominated for Best Picture among other awards, I have to assume it will win Best Foreign Language Film.
- Amour (Austria)
- Kon-Tiki (Norway)
- No (Chile)
- A Royal Affair (Denmark)
- War Witch (Canada)
Best Documentary – Feature would be hard for me… I am new to documentary watching… Recently I watched three of the nominees on Netflix (5 Broken Cameras, How to Survive a Plague, and The Invisible War) and I saw Searching for Sugar Man a few months ago in the theaters. Fortunately, Searching for Sugar Man, the lone happy film in this category and the one I liked the most, has won at most of the other award shows, so I am guessing it will win here too.
- 5 Broken Cameras – Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi
- The Gatekeepers – Dror Moreh, Philippa Kowarsky, and Estelle Fialon
- How to Survive a Plague – David France and Howard Gertler
- The Invisible War – Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering
- Searching for Sugar Man – Malik Bendjelloul and Simon Chinn
Best Documentary – Short Subject is the only one that I couldn’t have less of an opinion on, not having seen any of these. Sorry. Just guessing an Inocente win because it was the first one I typed up. I want Open Heart to win because it sounds nice, assuming it’s not about the surgery.
- 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
Best Live Action Short Film — All but Buzkashi Boys were fantastic in this category. Curfew was the one I absolutely adored, though. It is a dark comedy about a suicidal 20-something that has to watch over his niece. Shawn Christensen is supposedly working on a script for a feature length version of it, and I welcome this with open arms. I hope this guy gets a lot of work in the future, seeming to be naturally talented in the ways of filmmaking. I look forward to whatever he does next! I think it will win because it has won 99% of the award shows it has been nominated at.
Death of a Shadow, a film made with a Guillermo Del Toro mixed with Terry Gilliam vibe, is the potential spoiler here. It is about a dead man who has to capture death on a photographer in order to get a second chance at life. It too is great.
- 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
Best Animated Short Film — I enjoyed each of these in different ways, some more, some less. I expected to like The Longest Daycare the least, but it was actually pretty funny. Probably because nobody talked. However, it was essentially a condensed Simpsons episode, so that won’t win. Adam and Dog might win, but I thought it was overlong and overly drawn out.
Fresh Guacamole was pretty cool, being an interesting way of making some guac. Heads over Heels is about a married couple with an odd problem, and an even odder (yet sweet) solution. Paperman played in front of Wreck-it Ralph, and I enjoyed it quite a bit, the most probably. An incredibly cute Disney short about a guy trying to draw the attention of a girl he saw at a train station. Being mostly black and white, aside from a few things, it was pretty stylistic in a good way.
- Adam and Dog – Minkyu Lee
- Fresh Guacamole – PES
- Head over Heels – Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly
- The Longest Daycare – David Silverman
- Paperman – John Kahrs
Best Original Score is a category I am pissed at this year, because Cloud Atlas and Beasts of the Southern Wild were not nominated, and both most definitely deserved it. Fortunately Anna Karenina was nominated, having a score that was deeply emotional, even if was not quite as great as the other two…
Typically, this award goes to a Best Picture nominee, and since Argo’s won’t win due to not being very good, I believe Life of Pi’s will. John Williams’ score for Lincoln might upset due to him being John Williams, but I don’t see that happening.
Also, why in the name of FUCK was Skyfall’s nominated?!?
- Anna Karenina – Dario Marianelli
- Argo – Alexandre Desplat
- Life of Pi – Mychael Danna
- Lincoln – John Williams
- Skyfall – Thomas Newman
Best Original Song — One word: SKYFALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!
- “Before My Time” from Chasing Ice – J. Ralph
- “Everybody Needs a Best Friend” from Ted – Walter Murphy and Seth MacFarlane
- “Pi’s Lullaby” from Life of Pi – Mychael Danna and Bombay Jayashri
- “Skyfall” from Skyfall – Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
- “Suddenly” from Les Misérables – Claude-Michel Schönberg, Herbert Kretzmer, and Alain Boublil
Best Sound Editing is the only other award I believe Argo will win. It was pretty damn good, allowing dialogue to be heard, adding ambient noise when needed, having action not be muffled by stupidity. I personally believe Zero Dark Thirty did this better, but it won’t win anything unfortunately.
Skyfall might be an upset here, some films winning this category instead of being nominated for Best Picture, as a consolation prize of sorts.
- 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
Best Sound Mixing is an award going to Les Misérables, no question in my mind. Its inventive use of recording songs on the spot was fantastic and effective.
- 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
Best Production Design is going to Anna Karenina, I believe. I personally loved most of the film, so it might just be my hopes and dreams here, but I don’t think so. The whole film is set on a stage, beautifully done. It has one of the most amazing ‘set changes’ I have ever seen in anything. It is truly great. Lincoln or Les Misérables might win because the Academy likes period fi- Wait, Anna Karenina is a period film, I am safe here!
- Anna Karenina – Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Dan Hennah, Ra Vincent, and Simon Bright
- Les Misérables – Eve Stewart and Anna Lynch-Robinson
- Life of Pi – David Gropman and Anna Pinnock
- Lincoln – Rick Carter and Jim Erickson
Best Cinematography — One of the many technical awards going to Life of Pi here, like Hugo last year. It does have some truly, truly beautiful shots, but I preferred Django Unchained’s spectacularly done cinematography throughout. I definitely would not mind Anna Karenina winning here either, as it has what may come to be my favorite shot of all time within its first fifteen minutes.
- Anna Karenina – Seamus McGarvey
- Django Unchained – Robert Richardson
- Life of Pi – Claudio Miranda
- Lincoln – Janusz Kamiński
- Skyfall – Roger Deakins
Best Makeup and Hairstyling — The Hobbit might have won if a period film was not nominated.
- 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
Best Costume Design — I know I have said multiple times that period films have a tendency of winning awards like these, but Mirror, Mirror’s was so extravagant that I think it could win! I would not might Les Misérables or Anna Karenina winning this one, being great in a different way. Both of those, as well as Lincoln might win due to being period films.
- Anna Karenina – Jacqueline Durran
- Les Misérables – Paco Delgado
- Lincoln – Joanna Johnston
- Mirror Mirror – Eiko Ishioka
- Snow White and the Huntsman – Colleen Atwood
Best Film Editing will be given out to Argo, one of the three that it will win. It is well done, not hazardous editing during the action scenes, allowing the audience to know exactly what is going on, making things tense during that last thirty minutes. Personally I felt that Zero Dark Thirty did the tense thing better through the whole film, but it received too much negative attention due to the torture scenes, screwing up its chances. Silver Linings Playbook did a phenomenal job, subtle but excellent, keeping the film from Pat’s point of view the whole time, showing his perceptions on things as they occurred. It had a very underrated editing job on it, but won’t probably receive the attention it deserves.
- 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
Best Visual Effects will go to Life of Pi because it did do a great job with FX, and also because it is an Oscar nominee. Usually if there is a film up for Best Picture also up for this category, it wins it.
- 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
So, these are my picks. Agree with my choices? Why or why not? Thanks for reading this massive article!