I’ve watch some of the performances and films in the big categories, two-thirds of the shorts, and quite a few in the more technical categories.
I’ve made my predictions. Have you? I’ll likely be tweeting during the broadcast if your interested in my opinions of what actually happens. Congratulations to all who’ve been nominated and all who will win. Happy Oscars!
Best Picture – Argo
I actually think its a toss-up between Argo and Lincoln. Lincoln seemed like a shoe-in, but with all the wins Argo has had at other ceremonies the tide may have shifted. Additionally, with Ben Affleck not getting the nod for Directoring, this may be where the Academy over compensates.
Director – Life of Pi, Ang Lee
I think it would have gone to Ben Affleck had he been nominated. I’m still confused as to why he wasn’t, but with him not in the race I think the award goes to Ang Lee for Life of Pi. Spielberg’s Lincoln is a favorite of the Academy, but he’s got two Oscars already and I’m not sure Lincoln is another example of his strongest work. Admittedly I haven’t seen it and I think when I do I will think it’s a fantastic movie. But, Life of Pi is pretty amazing and would have been very difficult to direct.
Leading Actor – Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
As I’ve said, I haven’t seen it but no one seems to come out of that movie without raving about his portrayal of the great President Abraham Lincoln. Bradley Cooper was fantastic in Silver Linings Playbook, but I still don’t think he can beat Mr. Day-Lewis.
Leading Actress – Jennifer Lawrence
Personally, I don’t think Jennifer Lawrence is the strongest in this category. She was great, but I don’t think its an Oscar-worthy great. I haven’t seen Amour, but from what I’ve heard about the film I think Emmanuelle Riva probably deserves an Oscar though it’d be a surprise if she actually wins it. Jessica Chastain probably would have been a lock if not for the continued controversy surrounding Zero Dark Thirty. I haven’t seen Beasts of the Southern Wild, but I think the Academy generally considers the nomination for the young actors to be prize enough – meaning Quvenzhane Wallis is another longshot. And nobody seems to be saying much of anything about The Impossible.
Supporting Actor – Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
The performances in this category are varied – Alan Arkin being Alan Arkin-esque and Christoph Waltz as a moral inverse of his role in Inglorious Bastards (so I’ve heard anyway). From what I’ve heard of The Master, I think Philip Seymour Hoffman’s performance would be something to witness. But I think Robert De Niro has the edge from the Academy voters. And he does a good job portraying some of the mental illness that dominates the Silver Linings Playbook.
Supporting Actress – Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
I’ve only seen Jacki Weaver’s performance in Solver Linings Playbook and it is definitely not strong enough for the win. I think this category could conceivably go to Sally Field or Anne Hathaway. I’ve heard good things about Amy Adams performance, but I think the Academy may be waiting to see her as Janis Joplin. I think Hathaway has the momentum and the most challenging performance in the category.
Animated Feature – Wreck It-Ralph
I love the animated features and was thrilled when the category was added to the awards. I still think Animated Features have gotten the shaft over time and some could easily have won Best Picture. I never got a chance to watch ParaNorman or The Pirates! Band of Misfits though I heard great things about both. I loved Brave (redheads are one of my favorites) and Frankenweenie (Tim Burton’s wackiness always entertains me). But Wreck-It Ralph has so much going for it. The references to old games appeals to so many people. And the overall heart of the movie makes it a winner.
Cinematography – Life of Pi
As noted before, I haven’t seen Lincoln or Django Unchained. That said, I don’t think either could really compete with the remaining three films in this category – Skyfall, Life of Pi, and Anna Karenina. I loved the visuals of Skyfall when I first saw it but thought Anna Karenina and Life of Pi could surpass it. I watched both films for the first time yesterday. Prior to watching the films I would have guessed Anna Karenina. And while it is a beautiful film, and very creative, I don’t think it can top Life of Pi. Life of Pi is absolutely stunning from start to end.
Production Design – Anna Karenina
The challenges associated with the creative direction and rotating set-like staging for Anna Karenina give this film the edge in my opinion.
Costume Design – Les Miserables
I loved the costumes in Anna Karenina, but I think the Les Miserables costumes (from what I’ve seen anyway) have more variation and more quality on the whole (as opposed to just on the women’s amazing costumes).
Film Editing – Life of Pi
I cannot begin to imagine the challenges of editing this movie to create the believable interactions between all the creatures and elements in the Life of Pi.
Visual Effects – ???
This is a tough category for me to choose. I think Life of Pi may have the edge based on past Academy votes, but The Hobbit could edge it out. The Academy doesn’t generally award the science fiction and fantasy movies except in technical categories like effects. And there is no doubt that The Hobbit had some great visual effects. But, The Avengers did too. If you’ve watched any of the ILM youtube videos about the effects you know what I’m talking about.
Original Song – Skyfall from Skyfall
I think this is another lock where no one else comes close. Frankly, I was disappointed in the collection of songs that were nominated. There were some very strong songs from other films that would have been better placed on this list (Karen O’s Strange Love from Frankenweenie for one). Even so, no one can beat Adele and Skyfall here.
Original Score – Anna Karenina
I’ve seen four of the five and enjoyed the score for all of those films (Life of Pi, Anna Karenina, Argo, and Skyfall) which makes it difficult for me to choose. I’m going to go with Anna Karenina because throughout the film it is integral to the storytelling – about as close you can get to being a musical without actually being a musical.
Adapted Screenplay – Argo
This is another tough category for me to call. I’ve seen three of the five and all were very well done. I haven’t read the original material on which Argo and Silver Linings Playbook were based, so I really can’t comment on the accuracy of the adaptation. This could be a way for the Academy to acknowledge Beast of the Southern Wild without the Best Picture win, but its unlikely. I think Argo has the edge just because of the momentum it has coming into the Awards.
Original Screenplay – Django Unchained
I like Quentin Tarantino and feel like he gets overlooked a lot in major categories. Moonrise Kingdom was also quite original and would be another could win in my eyes. I think the controversy surrounding Zero Dark Thirty may hamper Mark Boal’s chances, but we’ll see.
Foreign Language Film – Amour
Amour won’t win Best Picture, which means its practically a guarantee in Foreign Film category.
Documentary Feature – ???
I have no idea what to pick for this. I haven’t seen or read anything about any of the nominees.
Animated Short Film – Paperman
Please see my post about the animated shorts.
Live Action Short Film – Buzkashi Boys
Please see my post about the live action shorts.
I’m missing a view categories, but this post is probably longer than you wanted to read already without adding the sound mixing and editing, make-up and documentary short categories which I don’t have a lot to say about.