2013 Oscar Nominations – Predictions

oscar-winners-2008

Forget Thanksgiving and Christmas, we are now officially in my favorite holiday season…Awards Season.  This Sunday are the Golden Globe Awards and you can click HERE for a full listing of nominees.   I enjoy the Golden Globes for what they are…the slightly tipsy foreign exchange student to the Oscars.  A few weeks later on January 27th the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards are given out and these are enjoyable because they are only given for performance categories and are voted on by the true peers of the nominees/winners.  That’s true somewhat for the Oscars but there’s something about the SAG Awards that make them feel like a valued win and not a popularity contest.  The day before the Oscars are the Spirit Awards given out to independent films from the past year.  If you’ve never watched these awards I highly encourage it…they are very much like the films they celebrate…independent and rough around the edges.

All of these are merely appetizers for the Academy Awards which will be given out on February 24, 2013.  Sure to be a lavish affair (even if they are being hosted by the mostly funny but ego-centric Seth McFarlane, Ted), I’ve yet to miss an Academy Awards telecast or the live announcement of the official nominees.

Before the nominations are announced at 7:38 am tomorrow morning, let me go out on a limb and give my predictions as to what is going to be up for major awards and who is going to wake up an Oscar nominee.

Best Picture

Ever since the field was changed from 5 nominees to a possible 10, this one is always hard to predict…so let me start with five nominees and then go up from there….

Lincoln
Zero Dark Thirty
Argo
Les
Misérables
Silver Linings Playbook

Life of Pi

Moonrise Kingdom

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Django Unchained

Amour

Close Calls – While The Master was a huge buzz film before it was released, its actual reception was so chilly I’m not sure it will earn a place on the list. 

If there’s any justice… Skyfall will be the first James Bond film to be nominated for Best Picture.  One of the best films of the year and most definitely the best Bond film ever produced, this was a full serving of entertainment with more to it than just cool cars and spy adventures.

Best Director

Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Ben Affleck, Argo
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Tom Hooper, Les Misérables

Close Calls – With The Life of Pi sitting just outside the top five Best Picture nominees, director Ang Lee may have a tough time locking down a nomination.

If there’s any justice… Actually, this list is pretty complete.

Best Actor

Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Denzel Washington, Flight
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook

Close Calls – Again, The Master is popping up as a close call…but potential Best Actor nominee Joaquin Phoenix is such a puzzle in and of himself, he may have hurt his chances at a nomination by starring in an equally puzzling film.

If there’s any justice… Poor Richard Gere…he just can’t catch a break.  Though he could possibly unseat Jackman, his work in Arbitage probably will go un-nominated.

Best Actress

Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone
Naomi Watts, The Impossible
Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Close Calls – Helen Mirren is also being mentioned in this category…and while she was wonderful in Hitchcock the film itself wasn’t well liked.  I think there are enough women who did great work in better films that should wind up with a nomination.

If there’s any justice… PLEASE let Quvenzhane Wallis be nominated!  If anyone should go from this list it’s Watts…I’ve heard her film is strong as is her performance but let’s have the youngest ever nominee (Wallis) up against the oldest ever nominee (Emmanuelle Riva, Amour)

Best Supporting Actor

Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Alan Arkin, Argo
Javier Bardem, Skyfall

Close Calls – Leonardo DiCaprio may miss the boat on this, his work in Django Unchained was better than his last five films but he’s in good company with his co-stars Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson…both of whom could wind up here.  Bardem might be the one to miss the mark if DiCaprio love fills the hearts of voters…but I wouldn’t count out Bardem’s recent surge of support.

If there’s any justice… Tom Cruise would get some love for putting it all out there in Rock of Ages.  Yes, the film was a total mess but his performance is still one of the most memorable (in a good way) for me at the end of the year.  It’s never going to happen but I had to go on record saying he deserves it.

Best Supporting Actress

Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Sally Field, Lincoln
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Amy Adams, The Master
Maggie Smith, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Close Calls – I haven’t seen The Paperboy but boy is Nicole Kidman getting surprising recognition for her steamy work.  Though it came and went pretty fast, Kidman may just pop up here, replacing Adams or Smith.

If there’s any justice… the Supporting categories are always where Oscar tends to throw a few nice curveballs so here’s hoping that Brit Kelly Reilly scores her first nomination for her haunting work alongside Denzel Washington in Flight.  Director Robert Zemeckis could have cast any Hollywood female for the role but he made a killer choice by going with Reilly.

Movie Review ~ Rust and Bone (De rouille et d’os)

rust_and_bone_ver3

The Facts:

Synopsis: Put in charge of his young son, Ali leaves Belgium for Antibes to live with his sister and her husband as a family. Ali’s bond with Stephanie, a killer whale trainer, grows deeper after Stephanie suffers a horrible accident.

Stars: Marion Cotillard, Matthias Schoenarts, Bouli Lanners, Celine Sallette, Corinne Masiero, Armand Verdure

Director: Jacques Audiard

Rated: R

Running Length: 120 minutes

Trailer Review: Here

TMMM Score: (6/10)

Review:  When Marion Cotillard won her much deserved Best Actress Oscar in 2008 for La vie en rose, her main competition was Julie Christie in Away From Her.  Christie was the favorite to win going into the evening with Cotillard a mini-upset – this was fine with me as I had long felt that Christie was more of a supporting actress to her co-star Gordon Pinsent who was the real star of the show.  The same thing has happened with Rust and Bone.  All the love is going toward Cotillard without mentioning the other half of the equation — Matthias Schoenarts.

There’s no doubt that the work Cotillard does in Rust and Bone is praise-worthy.  As Stéphanie, a whale trainer at a Sea World-esque amusement park in France, she has to learn how to move on and cope when a horrific accident forever changes her life.  Cotillard lays herself bare literally and figuratively, getting to the troubled heart at the center of this woman.  She avoids the cinematic stumbling block of becoming bitter…but rather plays her as simply broken.

On the other side of the coin, Schoenarts has just as much of a challenge playing Ali, a man moving through life in any way that pleases him.  He steals, he takes his family for granted, and he doesn’t have much of a moral compass when it comes to ethics or relationships.  This is a man that makes choices that have serious consequences, no matter if the choice was accidental or on purpose.

Though it’s acted with a fierce passion, my main problem with the script was that it never seemed to justify why things were happening to these people they way they were.  Everything about the film seem contrived to move the characters to a pre-destined spot without any real motivation – so you’re left feeling as manipulated as the actors on screen.

For example, Stéphanie and Ali meet when he is a bouncer at a nightclub.  She is involved in a fight that leaves her bloodied so he drives her home…I guess his shift was over.  On the way back he insults her but she still lets him come up to meet her live in boyfriend in an awkwardly constructed scene.  Later, after Stéphanie has her accident, she calls Ali out of the blue to meet up.  Why after all this time would she call him to seek out his company?  I get that he maybe made enough of an impression on her to keep him fresh in her mind but it still was a transition that was more for the benefit of the story than the characters.

Director Audiard also contributed to the script that was adapted from two short stories by Canadian writer Craig Davidson and he has trouble juggling a lot of thin subplots that never feel fully resolved.  There are numerous characters and situations that are introduced only to be forgotten and never touched upon again.  Ali has a five year old son he was recently put in charge of but we don’t even hear why this happened.  For a while, it looks like the father-son plot might take center stage but it quickly veers into a plot about Ali’s involvement with illegal surveillance of employees at local businesses.  That is also jettisoned for Ali’s side job of brutal street fighting for cash that he lets Stéphanie come along and watch.

If you notice above, many of the plot strands involve Ali which is why I’m still amazed that Schoenarts isn’t mentioned as a worthy award nominee along with Cotillard.  Like Cotillard, Schoenarts leaves it all on the field for us without ever sacrificing the brute man that he clearly is.  Neither character is one that changes their tune without suffering for it…but Schoenarts seems to work his angle better.

All signs point to Cotillard receiving a Best Actress nomination for her performance and at the end of the day that is OK.  She’s had a solid year between this and The Dark Knight Rises (she filmed both films at the same time!) and she’s one of the most interesting actresses working today.  I hope we see more from Schoenarts as well because he’s the true north of the picture…unwavering and bold.

The Silver Bullet ~ Rust & Bone (De rouille et d’os)

Synopsis: Put in charge of his young son, Ali leaves Belgium for Antibes to live with his sister and her husband as a family. Ali’s bond with Stephanie, a killer whale trainer, grows deeper after Stephanie suffers a horrible accident.

Release Date: November 23, 2012

Thoughts: From what I’m hearing, if anyone is going to give Jennifer Lawrence’s performance in Silver Linings Playbook a run for her money, it’s going to be Marion Cotillard in this French drama that is arriving on US shores with strong buzz.  I’m still of the mindset that Cotillard’s Oscar win for 2007’s La Vie en Rose was one of the most deserved Oscars given in the last decade so there’s little doubt her performance isn’t award-worthy.  I can’t help but think of Free Willy anytime I see a killer whale playing a factor in a movie, but I’ll try not to hold it against the film or Cotillard.