Academy Awards – 2/24/13

oscars-2013

Best Picture
Argo  – WINNER!
Django Unchained
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
Amour
 Lincoln
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty
Beasts of the Southern Wild

Pre-Oscar Thoughts: Though Argo is on the minds/lips/hearts of many, could it fall victim to all of the accolades it was receiving right around the time that the industry had to sit down and really consider what they were voting for?   Hollywood LOVES to pat itself on the back so a film about how Tinsel Town was a part of an international rescue might be too juicy to not crown the winner.  Still, never underestimate a powerful president biopic…

Post-Oscar Thoughts: Coming soon!

Actor in a Leading Role
Bradley Cooper –  Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis –   Lincoln – WINNER!
Hugh Jackman –  Les Miserables
Joaquin Phoenix –  The Master
Denzel Washington –  Flight

Pre-Oscar Thoughts: I hope the other four men in this category are dressed comfortably in suits that look good sitting down because the only one of them making a speech tonight will be Daniel Day-Lewis.  And rightfully so.

Post-Oscar Thoughts: Coming soon!

Actress in a Leading Role
Jessica Chastain –  Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence –  Silver Linings Playbook  – WINNER!
Emmanuelle Riva –  Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis –  Beasts of Southern Wild
Naomi Watts –  The Impossible

Pre-Oscar Thoughts: Man, this is a tough one.  Popular logic says the Oscar will be going to Jennifer Lawrence but Emmanuelle Riva has gained a lot of ground in the past few weeks.  Both give memorable performances and while I’d be the most happy if Riva took home the prize, I’m thinking Lawrence will be the one accepting the award when all is said and done.

Post-Oscar Thoughts: Coming soon!

Actor in a Supporting Role
Alan Arkin –  Argo
Robert De Niro –  Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman –  The Master
Tommy Lee Jones –   Lincoln
Christoph Waltz –  Django Unchained  – WINNER!

Pre-Oscar Thoughts: All previous Oscar winners, you can eliminate Arkin and Hoffman right away. Arkin was solid in Argo but it’s not an Oscar winning role and though Hoffman had a career-high performance in The Master it’s not going to happen this year.  The problem with Waltz is that, as good as he is, he should have been nominated for Best Actor as he most certainly is.  So do you give the award to De Niro for finally coming out of his decade long mediocre work haze or should it go to Jones for another grumpy gus performance.  Bet on Jones but hope for De Niro who earned it.

Post-Oscar Thoughts: Coming soon!

Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams –  The Master
Sally Field –   Lincoln
Anne Hathaway –  Les Miserables  – WINNER!
Helen Hunt –  The Sessions
Jackie Weaver –  Silver Linings Playbook

Pre-Oscar Thoughts: I would love it if Sally Field was a surprise upset here for her rock solid work in Lincoln but the sure money is on Hathaway to walk away with the prize.   While Hathaway would certainly earn the award, I’d rather she win it and not be allowed to make a speech…because based on her acceptance speeches so far she’s going to come off like a mix of the comic strip character Cathy and Taylor Swift.

Post-Oscar Thoughts: Coming soon!

Animated Feature Film
Brave   – WINNER!
Frankenweenie 
ParaNorman
The Pirates! Band of Misfits 
Wreck-It Ralph

Pre-Oscar Thoughts: The good bet is for Wreck-It Ralph to be the victor but I’m crossing my fingers that Frankenweenie, with it’s nice send-up of B-Movie Hollywood films and striking imagery, will be an upset.  It’s Tim Burton’s best film in years and while Ralph was entertaining with a good message, I responded more to the tale about the boy and his resurrected pooch.

Post-Oscar Thoughts: Coming soon!

Directing
Amour  – Michael Haneke
Beasts of the Southern Wild  – Benh Zeitlin
Life of Pi – Ang Lee  – WINNER!
Lincoln – Steven Spielberg
Silver Linings Playbook  – David O. Russell

 Pre-Oscar Thoughts: Without Ben Affleck in this mix, this becomes a slightly more open race.  While Spielberg has the edge, Lee may have been able to sway the tide a bit to get votes his way.  Russell is liked by the indie circuit but his hot-headed ways and well-documented onset squabbles in his early films may still be a hindrance for the Oscars.  Haneke could upset here as well if the Academy responds as well to Amour as other ceremonies have.

Post-Oscar Thoughts: Coming soon!

Writing – Original Screenplay
Amour  – Michael Haneke
Django Unchained  – Quentin Tarantino  – WINNER!
Flight  – John Gatins
Moonrise Kingdom  – Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola
Zero Dark Thirty  – Mark Boal

Pre-Oscar Thoughts: Flight is out.  Amour is out as well since it’s the performances, not the script, sell the film.  That leaves us with the fun fantasy of Anderson/Coppola’s script, but failing to receive a nomination for Best Picture isn’t good news.  I’m leaning toward Boal’s ferociously researched script for Zero Dark Thirty with Tarantino poised to pull an upset (but with Django Unchained going on fifteen minutes too long it may not happen)

Post-Oscar Thoughts: Coming soon!

Writing – Adapted Screenplay
Argo  – Chris Terrio  – WINNER!
Beasts of the Southern Wild  – Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin
Life of Pi – David Magee
Lincoln – Tony Kushner
Silver Linings Playbook  – David O. Russell

Pre-Oscar Thoughts: This is another one that comes down to two choices: Terrio’s script for Argo and Kushner’s speech-y script for Lincoln.  Though Kushner’s script is typically tight, I give the edge to Terrio for providing a dynamic framework for its director and stars to flourish within.

Post-Oscar Thoughts: Coming soon!

Music – Original Song
Before My Time  from  Chasing Ice,  music and lyrics by J. Ralph
Everybody Needs a Best Friend  from  Ted,  music by Walter Murphy, lyrics by Seth MacFarlane
Pi’s Lullaby  from  Life of Pi,  music by Mychael Danna, lyrics by Bombay Jayashri
Skyfall  from  Skyfall,  music and lyrics by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth  – WINNER!
Suddenly  from  Les Miserables,  music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil

Pre-Oscar Thoughts: The new song for Les Miserables was forgettable, which is too bad because it’s the closest nominee that could touch Adele’s instant classic which works as both a Bond theme and a haunting ballad to be covered in years to come.  Adele should end the night with another well deserved award for her mantle.

Post-Oscar Thoughts: Coming soon!

Foreign Language Film
Amour  (Austria)  – WINNER!
Kon-Tiki  (Norway)
No  (Chile)
A Royal Affair  (Denmark)
War Witch  (Canada)

Pre-Oscar Thoughts: No contest here.  It’s Amour all the way.  (A note to add that I’m very annoyed with myself for passing up chances to see at least two of the other nominees so I could at least speak to the strength of the others…ah well…)

Post-Oscar Thoughts: Coming soon!

Cinematography
Anna Karenina 
Django Unchained
Life of Pi  – WINNER!
Lincoln
Skyfall

Pre-Oscar Thoughts: I’d love it if Roger Deakins would get the award for his full-throttle work on Skyfall but the Oscar really should go to Claudia Miranda for Life of Pi‘s dazzling 3D cinematography.  Miranda’s job was mighty and he rose to the occasion with excellent results.

Post-Oscar Thoughts: Coming soon!

Costume Design
Anna Karenina   – WINNER!
Les Miserables
Lincoln 
Mirror Mirror
Snow White and the Huntsman

Pre-Oscar Thoughts: Jacqueline Durran’s sumptuous design for Anna Karenina should earn her an Oscar, though the late Eiko Ishioka’s costumes for Mirror, Mirror were far and above the best thing about that film.

Post-Oscar Thoughts: Coming soon!

Documentary – Feature
5 Broken Cameras
The Gatekeepers
How to Survive a Plague
The Invisible War
Searching for Sugar Man  – WINNER!

Pre-Oscar Thoughts: I’m not a huge fan of the most likely winner (Searching for Sugar Man), finding it a manipulative Hollywood-ized version of a documentary.  It’s central subject is interesting enough to get the votes but I would rather they go with the dynamite 5 Broken Cameras or the moving The Invisible War.

Post-Oscar Thoughts: Coming soon!

Documentary – Short
Inocente  – WINNER!
Kings Point
Mondays at Racine
Open Heart
Redemption

Pre-Oscar Thoughts: All five are interesting nominees and even if the odds-on favorite Inocente wasn’t on the top of my list, it’s another award that is given more for its fascinating subject than the overall film itself.  I was very moved by Open Heart, Kings Point, and Mondays at Racine…only Redemption doesn’t quite rise to the quality of the other four.

Post-Oscar Thoughts: Coming soon!

Film Editing
Argo   – WINNER!
Life of Pi
Lincoln 
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Pre-Oscar Thoughts: William Goldenberg’s work at keeping Argo tightly wound should earn him an Oscar.

Post-Oscar Thoughts: Coming soon!

Makeup And Hairstyling
Hitchcock 
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Miserables  – WINNER!

Pre-Oscar Thoughts: Leave Hitchcock out of the mix, just because the work was subpar compared with the other two (Anthony Hopkins looked like a bratwurst with eyes rather than the Master of Suspense).  It’s a toss-up between the immersive work of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and the epic storytelling of Les Miserables…but Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell  should not only hear the people sing but receive their votes as well.

Post-Oscar Thoughts: Coming soon!

Music – Original Score
Anna Karenina 
Argo 
Life of Pi  – WINNER!
Lincoln 
Skyfall

Pre-Oscar Thoughts: Here we have the work of many talented composers, but it’s going to be a piece of cake (or Pi) to give the award to Mychael Danna for his hypnotic and diverse score.  Runner-up would be Thomas Newman for giving James Bond a renewed life, musically at least.

Post-Oscar Thoughts: Coming soon!

Production Design
Anna Karenina 
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
Lincoln  – WINNER!

Pre-Oscar Thoughts: I loved the detailed work in Anna Karenina and could easily see the production team taking this prize…but the sheer size of the Les Miserables locations could push that team to victory for their richly realized vision of France before, during, and after a revolution.

Post-Oscar Thoughts: Coming soon!

Short Film – Animated
Adam and Dog
Fresh Guacamole
Head over Heels
Maggie Simpson in ‘The Longest Daycare’
Paperman  – WINNER!

Pre-Oscar Thoughts: Everyone loves Paperman and with good cause.  It’s a sweetly winning tale that’s romantic and funny.  Still, these awards are not the popularity contest the bigger categories are so watch for the exquisitely simple Adam and Dog (made by a Disney designer on his off days) to have the Oscar delivered.

Post-Oscar Thoughts: Coming soon!

Short Film – Live Action
Asad
Buzkashi Boys
Curfew  – WINNER!
Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)
Henry

Pre-Oscar Thoughts: This category is a wealth of riches with all five nominees being strong contenders.  I loved Curfew and am rooting for it but could see the darkly cinematic fable Death of a Shadow besting it.  Don’t rule out Henry either, especially if people couldn’t vote for Amour in other categories they may give their vote to the similarly themed short instead.

Post-Oscar Thoughts: Coming soon!

Sound Editing
Argo 
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Skyfall   – WINNER!
Zero Dark Thirty  – WINNER!

Pre-Oscar Thoughts: This may end up the only Oscar that Zero Dark Thirty takes home tonight…unless Skyfall gets in an upset.

Post-Oscar Thoughts: Coming soon!

Sound Mixing
Argo 
Les Miserables  – WINNER!
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Skyfall

Pre-Oscar Thoughts: Mixing the live-singing of Les Miserables should rightfully win Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes and Oscar…but again don’t rule out Skyfall…this and Sound Editing are often won in tandem.

Post-Oscar Thoughts: Coming soon!

Visual Effects
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 
Life of Pi  – WINNER!
Marvel’s The Avengers
Prometheus 
Snow White and the Huntsman

Pre-Oscar Thoughts: The visual effects in Life of Pi were jaw-dropping and award-winning.  Easy choice.

Post-Oscar Thoughts: Coming soon!

 

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