I remember watching the Oscars back when Johnny Carson hosted. This was before I knew the whole thing was bullshit; I would get all excited when those envelopes were opened, and even when stupid Paul Williams showed up singing a song.
Even though the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences usually doesn’t get it right with the awards, I still look forward to the show, especially when that idiot Billy Crystal isn’t hosting it. This year, the host will be Seth MacFarlane. Should be interesting, and perhaps delightfully profane.
Here are the nominees, along with my predictions. Drink chocolate milk every time I get one right, and regular milk when I get one wrong. (I don’t endorse alcohol-drinking games.)
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty
Let’s immediately eliminate Amour, Beasts, Django and Life of Pi. None of these films have a chance.
Zero Dark Thirty had the momentum going into awards season, but that momentum has shifted significantly, probably thanks to stupid Ed Asner and his lame comments. (Go to Hell, Lou Grant!) A few months ago, I would’ve thought Les Mis (my personal favorite of the bunch) had a good shot, but I think it’s going to get beat, because everybody hates Russell Crowe.
That leaves Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook and Argo. Admittedly, I would’ve gone with Lincoln or Silver Linings a recently as a month ago, but with the Directors Guild, Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globes all giving awards to Argo, I’m thinking it’s Argo for the win.
Snubs: This is a pretty good crop of nominees. Since there’s room for 10, a nom for The Impossible would’ve been nice, or perhaps Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom.
Should win: Les Misérables.
Will Win: Argo.
Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook)
Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
Hugh Jackman (Les Misérables)
Joaquin Phoenix (The Master)
Denzel Washington (Flight)
Washington and Phoenix have no chance, and I ain’t talking football. This is a race between Cooper, Jackman and Day-Lewis. Cooper was brilliant, but my vote would go to Jackman’s incredibly durable, tear-jerking performance in Les Mis. However, I think Day-Lewis will nail down his third Oscar for his Honest Abe. I didn’t like Lincoln, but I must acknowledge he was wonderful in the movie.
Snubs: When I picked my five favorite actors at the end of 2012, four out of the five nominated were on my list, with the exception of Denzel Washington. I would’ve liked to see Liam Neeson in that slot for The Grey, a performance that didn’t get the accolades it deserved.
Should Win: Jackman.
Will Win: Day-Lewis.
Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)
Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
Emmanuelle Riva (Amour)
Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild)
Naomi Watts (The Impossible)
Dammit, when is Naomi Watts going to win an Oscar? It’s not going to be this year, but it damn well should be. Her performance in The Impossible, a movie many have not seen, is jaw-dropping.
Even though she is the clear winner in my eyes, all of the performances nominated are deserving. Wallis is miraculous in Beasts; Riva is devastatingly good in Amour; and Chastain is a solid anchor in Zero. Lawrence is terrific in Silver Linings—and I believe she will win the Oscar. She has the momentum now. I would’ve never picked her a couple of months ago, but after the Globes and SAG awards, it looks like it is all hers.
However, don’t underestimate the age factor. Riva, 85, could sweep in and upset.
Snubs: Once again, another well-done category, with four of the five matching my Best Actress list. I loved Wallis, but I would’ve nominated Mary Elizabeth Winstead in her place for Smashed.
Should Win: Watts.
Will Win: Lawrence.
Best Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin (Argo)
Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master)
Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)
Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained)
Enough people dislike Django to disqualify Waltz, and the same goes for Hoffman in The Master. Arkin is fun in Argo, but his performance was not Oscar-worthy.
De Niro was back in fine form for Playbook, and I think he’s the most deserving of those nominated. But Jones keeps racking up awards for his dull turn in the dull Lincoln. Nothing he does in the film is different from what he did in The Fugitive. (It’s basically Tommy Lee Jones starring as Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln.)
Ah, screw it, I’m predicting a De Niro upset.
Snubs: Sam Rockwell was extraordinary in Seven Psychopaths, as was Edward Norton in Moonrise Kingdom.
Should and will win: De Niro.
Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams (The Master)
Sally Field (Lincoln)
Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables)
Helen Hunt (The Sessions)
Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook)
Anne Hathaway is going to win, and she deserves it. There’s no reason to discuss any further.
Michael Haneke (Amour)
Ang Lee (Life of Pi)
David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook)
Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)
Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild)
Well, if Argo is going to win Best Picture, and Ben Affleck didn’t get a director’s nomination, what in the heck happens here?
Steven Spielberg wins his third Best Director Oscar, that’s what. While I love Spielberg, I think Lincoln is a rare misstep for my hero. Of this group, I would have to say Ang Lee is the most deserving. But it’s Spielberg all the way.
Snubs: Affleck, Tom Hooper for Les Mis and Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty are all surprising omissions—especially Bigelow and Hooper; both directors outdid their previous Oscar-winning efforts. How Les Mis got snubbed here is beyond me. The cast sang live, for Christ’s sake.
Should Win: Lee.
Will Win: Spielberg.
Best Animated Film
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
This is a tough one. While I found Brave to be quite charming, a lot of folks found the whole “mom turns into a bear” thing stupid. I don’t think Pirates stands a chance, although it deserved the nomination. Wreck-It Ralph is my least-favorite in this bunch, and I suspect it will be least-favorite among voters, too.
I’m thinking Brave will continue a long legacy of Pixar victories, although my personal favorite in this bunch is ParaNorman. ParaNorman was innovative, creative and slightly demented, a true standout.
Snubs: Nothing really got snubbed here, unless you inexplicably worship Hotel Transylvania.
Should Win: ParaNorman.
Will Win: Brave.
Best Original Screenplay: Zero Dark Thirty
Best Adapted Screenplay: Argo
Best Cinematography: Life of Pi
Best Costume Design: Lincoln
Best Production Design: Les Misérables
Best Sound Mixing: Les Misérables
Best Editing: Zero Dark Thirty
Best Sound Editing: Zero Dark Thirty
Best Visual Effects: Life of Pi
Best Makeup: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Best Original Song: “Skyfall,” Skyfall
Best Score: Argo
Best Short Film, Animated: Paperman
Best Short Film, Live Action: Asad
Best Documentary (Short): Redemption
Best Documentary (Feature): How to Survive a Plague
Best Foreign Language Film: Amour