Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Oscars 2013: The Pre-Oscar Post



Four weeks ago when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced their 2013 award nominees, I joined many of my colleagues in declaring effective victory for Steven Spielberg's Lincoln. The Spielberg-helmed biopic's major competitors, Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty and Ben Affleck's Argo had received soul-crushing directorial snubs that seemed to all but wipe the path clean for Honest Abe to casually walk up the carpet and accept the statuette.

Oh, what a difference a month makes.

Since nomination day, Affleck and Argo have scooped up the top prize from essentially every. other. award. out. there. building behemoth momentum going into Oscar Sunday next week and in the process going from Oscar underdog to near sure-fire frontrunner.

The last time a movie won Best Picture without being nominated for Best Director was Driving Miss Daisy in 1990 and the feat has only been accomplished three times total in the Oscars 85-year-history. But as anyone who's ever lost big on roulette will tell you, past spins have nothing to do with where the ball will stop next (a lesson I learned the hard way during spring break '11).

Having said that, the last thing I want to do is go from saying "Lincoln's a sure thing" to "Argo's a sure thing" when truly, anything can happen. For all we know, Django Unchained will end up winning. Hint: Django Unchained will NOT win, it's a sure thing, although in a perfect world Leo DiCaprio would've been nominated for supporting. It just shows you how competitive that category is this year.

I would imagine there's lots of Academy voters who don't like being told what they're going to do and could vote against Argo to spite the prognosticators. Also, the Academy tends to skew older than some of the other statue-giving organizations (I'm still a little peeved that The King's Speech beat The Social Network two years ago) which would play more into the hand of Lincoln than the movie Daredevil made.

As for the other categories. Daniel Day-Lewis and Anne Hathaway have pretty much been scorched-earthing the awards season and I see little chance of an upset in either category. Lead actress and supporting actor are quite competitive this year, with close races between Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence in one and a three-way struggle between De Niro, Arkin and Jones in the other. For my part, I think De Niro's turn in Silver Linings is the best we've seen from the veteran actor in years, whereas Jones' performance, while awesome, was pretty much just playing a grumpier version of himself. Plus, Men In Black III was atrocious, and some price must be paid (if you have a minute, read this great post by EW's Darren Franich on how pretty much nothing in that movie makes sense).

So, here's my picks for next week's ceremony. I should note, however, that historically I have not been very good at selecting winners because I tend to vote with my heart (who SHOULD win) and not with my head (who WILL win).

Best Picture: Lincoln

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis

Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence

Best Supporting Actor: Robert De Niro. No, wait, Tommy Lee Jones. Wait...dang this one is hard. De Niro, final answer.

Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway

Best Director: Steven Spielberg

Best Original Screenplay: Moonrise Kingdom (It'll probably go to Amour, but a boy can dream).

Best Adapted Screenplay: Silver Linings Playbook

Best Animated Feature: Wreck-It Ralph (Pixar is usually as close to a sure thing as you can get, but a lot of people hated Brave).

Best Original Song: "Skyfall" Natch.

And...no one cares about the rest.

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