Better very very late than never – a last minute Oscar prediction tally, in a year where once again writing about movies has taken a back seat to work commitments. Have ponied up for a one month subscription to Fox Premium Movies since no free-to-air channel or basic cable channel (again!) are broadcasting the Awards live this year. It’s a clear sign that the Awards are becoming increasingly irrelevant to the typical viewer. Anyway. Like last year, I will not be predicting the documentary and short film categories since they are blind guesses (although I am definitely rooting for Paperman to win the Animated Short Film category, much as it pains me that The Simpsons will miss out because of this). This year is a particularly interesting one because there are no clear front runners for some of the major award categories, which makes for what hopefully would be a more fun viewing experience:
Best Motion Picture of the Year
Should win: Argo
Argo has become the lead contender in this race, judging from the lead up awards to the Oscars. Deservedly so, but it will face stiff competition from Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty, with Life of Pi and Silver Linings Playbook being potential outliers. Still, it does seem that while most of the other movies will gain some statuettes from other categories, Argo’s best chance lies in clinching Best Motion Picture (especially since Ben Affleck was unjustly snubbed from the Directing category).
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Should win: Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
Prediction: Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
It’s a really good performance and it will take a serious upset to deny Day-Lewis his third Best Actor nod. Honestly I feel it’s next to impossible.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Should win: Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
Prediction: Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
Jessica Chastain may have gotten a lot of buzz for Zero Dark Thirty but I felt Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook put forth the better performance. Plus, Chastain reminded me of Claire Danes in Homeland and I couldn’t have been the only one who felt that way. The only other contender would be Emmanuelle Riva in Amour, but the two young ladies probably still stand a better chance.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Should win: Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)
Prediction: Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)
An interesting category where all five nominees have won Oscars before – but my vote goes to Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln. Christoph Waltz has won for a similar role just three year prior so even though he’s also a frontrunner I foresee Tommy Lee Jones winning the nod here.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Should win: Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)
Prediction: Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)
This is another locked-in category. Personally I really disliked Les Miserables but there’s no denying that Anne Hathaway put forth a very powerful performance that has won awards left right and centre.
Best Achievement in Directing
Should win: Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)
Prediction: Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)
It’s a shame that both Kathryn Bigelow and Ben Affleck were snubbed in this category, but this does clear the way for Steven Spielberg. Potentially Ang Lee stands a chance to be the dark horse, but the subject matter and cachet attached to Lincoln is likely to swing votes its way.
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Should win: Moonrise Kingdom
Prediction: Zero Dark Thirty
Personally, Moonrise Kingdom told one of the best stories this past year on the silver screen, but the nod is likely to go to Zero Dark Thirty as a consolation prize, as is often the case for the two writing categories.
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
Should win: Life of Pi
Life of Pi was seen to be an unfilmable novel, but the end results proved that it could be a great film in the right hands. However, Argo is probably the more compelling story and is just as accomplished, which means it stands a higher chance to win here.
Best Achievement in Cinematography
Prediction: Claudio Miranda (Life of Pi)
Skyfall was one of the most handsome movies I’ve seen in 2012 (and is Deakin’s tenth nomination to boot), but the fact that Life of Pi was such a visually stunning movie and worked so well in 3D means Claudio Miranda has better odds here.
Best Achievement in Editing
It’s a toss-up between Argo and Zero Dark Thirty (though it seems kind of moot since both would honour William Goldenberg), but I will go with the masterfully edited Argo for my prediction.
Best Achievement in Art Direction
There’s two more years for The Hobbit to compete so I doubt it would win this year, especially since everything looked so visibly CGI-ed in the case of The Hobbit (and to a lesser extent, Life of Pi). Lincoln seems to be the safe choice here.
Best Achievement in Costume Design
Prediction: Anna Karenina
Sumptuous period costumes usually win in this category, and Anna Karenina is chock-full of such costumes. Was not too impressed by the two Snow White variants nominated, and of the three period films, Anna Karenina seems to be ahead.
Best Achievement in Makeup
Prediction: Les Miserables
I disagree with Hitchcock’s nomination here because the makeup was easily the weakest link in the film. Again, The Hobbit has another two years to be in contention, so by default we are left with Les Miserables. Much as I am loathe to say it, the production values in the movie musical were mostly top notch.
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
Prediction: Mychael Danna (Life of Pi)
It’s a tossup between Mycheal Danna’s world music influenced score for Life of Pi and the excellent old school-new school James Bond score that Thomas Newman created for Skyfall. I think Life of Pi edges ahead by a very small margin.
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
Prediction: Skyfall (Skyfall)
There’s almost no contention here – Adele has been winning numerous awards for Skyfall and it should be no different come Oscar night.
Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
Prediction: Les Miserables
I can’t envision how difficult it must have been to record the actors singing live during the shoot instead of lip syncing during post production, so this Oscar should deservedly go to the Les Miserables team.
Best Achievement in Sound Editing
The only “true” action movie in the mix is Skyfall, which means it should stand the highest chance of a win here.
Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Prediction: Life of Pi
Richard Parker is probably the best visual effect I’ve seen all year, and given the tiger’s persistence in more than half the movie, it’s nearly impossible to imagine even an effects-heavy movie like Marvel’s The Avengers trumping the film in this category.
Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
Prediction: Wreck-It Ralph
Brave is a “lesser Pixar” and Wreck-It Ralph is simply put the far more accessible animated feature.
Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Prediction: Amour (Austria)
This is such a lock – unless Amour wins the Best Picture nod, which will mean all bets are off (full disclosure: I’ve not seen any of the other films nominated here).