As you’re likely aware, the Oscar nominations were announced this week by the event’s host, Seth MacFairlane, and the lovely actress Emma Stone. As usual, the nominations brought a flurry of angry denouncements from people on Twitter, and elsewhere, about what film, actor or director got “snubbed” and how the Academy doesn’t know what it’s doing.
This kind of anger and confusion is to be expected and happens every year. After a few years of really caring a lot, I’ve pretty much given up being angry, outraged or disappointed by anything the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences says, does or thinks is worthy of consideration.
The opinion of that group just doesn’t matter all that much to me, except for my friends who are actually in the Academy. Their opinion means a great deal to me. You know who you are and I thank you.
Still, seeing as how they went to all the trouble of announcing nominations, I suppose I should comment on them and make a few predictions. So, with that in mind, let’s go through the major categories and I’ll tell you who I think should win and then who I predict will win.
Let’s play our game.
Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln
Hugh Jackman in Les Misérables
Joaquin Phoenix in The Master
Denzel Washington in Flight
I’m torn right off the bat. On the surface it seems Daniel Day-Lewis should have this one locked up. He basically channeled Lincoln in the movie and from the first moment he’s on screen, he owns. Still, people really seem to love Hugh Jackman (and you can’t blame them really) and he’s playing a pretty well known character in a pretty well known musical, so it could end up being him.
As for the rest of the nominees, as much as I love Denzel, this feels more like a courtesy nomination, so I don’t think it will be him. Joaquin Phoenix won’t get it either because he’s been better in other things. Plus, nobody is going to give props to a movie that basically rips Scientology a new one. Not in today’s Hollywood.
This brings me to Bradley Cooper. Not bad for a guy who played what my friends and I used to call “Casual Will” on Alias. Good for you Bradley, but this isn’t your year. This is also a courtesy nomination. Don’t worry, you’ll get ’em next time — or maybe the time after that.
Who should win? Hugh Jackman
Who will win? Daniel Day-Lewis
Best Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin in Argo
Robert De Niro in Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master
Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln
Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained
You may not have noticed, but every nominee in this category already has an Oscar. I think that’s kinda cool. It just shows that quality people seem to keep getting work, at least in this category.
Looking at the list I realize that each one of these actors was good enough in their respective movies to win. This is a hard one folks as I would really love to give them all a trophy. Sadly, this is Hollywood and you don’t get an award just for participating. So, with that in mind, here goes.
Who should win? Christoph Waltz
Who will win? Tommy Lee Jones
Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva in Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts in The Impossible
In my perfect world where I run things, the Oscar would go to Quvenzhané Wallis for her work in the amazing Beasts of the Southern Wild. Sadly, I don’t run things so I don’t think Ms. Wallis will be taking home a golden statue. The same goes for the two girls who seem to be in everything these days: Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain.
In some ways I feel like they’re kinda interchangeable, so for that reason I don’t think either will win. They did both deliver solid performances, with the edge probably going to Lawrence (for sure in the “showy role” department), but they will pretty much split the cute blonde vote, so that’s it for that. That’s also the problem with Naomi Watts, who pretty much always delivers a solid performance, and often much more.
However, I don’t think her being a cute blonde will hurt her this time. She’s got more going for her now. I think this is her year. So, with that in mind. . .
Who should win? Quvenzhané Wallis
Who will win? Naomi Watts
Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams in The Master
Sally Field in Lincoln
Anne Hathaway in Les Misérables
Helen Hunt in The Sessions
Jacki Weaver in Silver Linings Playbook
It’s nice to see Helen Hunt back, well, in the hunt. Sadly, I don’t think it will work for her this time. Although, this may be the compensation category for The Sessions, especially as the always excellent John Hawkes has again been overlooked. And I said I wasn’t going to get mad anymore. Well . . .
Sally Field already has an Oscar and, to be honest, I thought she was the weakest link in Lincoln. Sorry Sally, I just don’t really like you — at least not in this role. Amy Adams is adorable and quite good in The Master but again, there’s that same problem as with Joaquin Phoenix and she’s against better or more obvious people. So, no Oscar love for her.
Jacki Weaver is my favorite here. Too bad she’s up against Anne Hathaway who sings, acts and cries her way through Les Misérables in an Oscar-baiting performance if I’ve ever seen one. And I’ve seen a few.
Who should win? Jacki Weaver
Who will win? Anne Hathaway
Best Adapted Screenplay
Argo Screenplay by Chris Terrio
Beasts of the Southern Wild Screenplay by Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin
Life of Pi Screenplay by David Magee
Lincoln Screenplay by Tony Kushner
Silver Linings Playbook Screenplay by David O. Russell
This one is pretty easy. Look at the list and tell me which movie was made from a novel that everyone in Hollywood was convinced was unfilmable. Figured it out yet? Yeah, it’s the one about the kid and the tiger in the boat. Sorry for the rest of you, you did some good work here. Next time.
Who should win? Life of Pi
Who will win? Life of Pi
Best Original Screenplay
Amour Written by Michael Haneke
Django Unchained Written by Quentin Tarantino
Flight Written by John Gatins
Moonrise Kingdom Written by Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola
Zero Dark Thirty Written by Mark Boal
As I fancy myself somewhat of writer, this is one category I take very seriously. Fortunately, like adapted screenplay, this category is also pretty easy to figure out.
Quentin Tarantino wasn’t nominated for best director, and he isn’t listed as one of the nominated producers for that award, so this will be the award the Academy uses to compensate him and so they can show how “hip” and “cool” they are.
Fortunately, the script also happens to be a great one. In fact, it’s probably in my top five of the year. I’m also a fan of Mark Boal’s work on Zero Dark Thirty , really liked most of Moonrise Kingdom and thought Amour was terrific. However . . .
Who should win? Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained
Who will win? Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained
Amour Michael Haneke
Beasts of the Southern Wild Benh Zeitlin
Life of Pi Ang Lee
Lincoln Steven Spielberg
Silver Linings Playbook David O. Russell
Like the last two categories, this one is also pretty easy to figure out. It’s down to the two guys who made the epic spectacle movies. I’m talking about, of course, Ang Lee and Steven Spielberg.
Sure, I would love to see Benh Zeitlin win this one, but that won’t happen. He needs to start practicing his “It’s just a thrill to be nominated” speech. Don’t worry, this will do more for his career than you think and he’ll go on making films.
Don’t be surprised to see him back nominated in this category again soon. Also, don’t count out underdog David O. Russell in this category. He did direct his two lead actors and guided their performances to Oscar nominations this year. That means something and is the reason he’s on this list.
However, I doubt he’ll get it. Besides, it would be pretty dumb to bet against Spielberg, especially when he’s made an epic period drama. And my Mom didn’t raise any dummies, so . . .
Who should win? Benh Zeitlin
Who will win? Steven Spielberg
Amour Nominees to be determined
Argo Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck and George Clooney, Producers
Beasts of the Southern Wild Dan Janvey, Josh Penn and Michael Gottwald, Producers
Django Unchained Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin and Pilar Savone, Producers
Les Misérables Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward and Cameron Mackintosh, Producers
Life of Pi Gil Netter, Ang Lee and David Womark, Producers
Lincoln Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers
Silver Linings Playbook Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen and Jonathan Gordon, Producers
Zero Dark Thirty Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow and Megan Ellison, Producers
I like that the Academy has expanded this category to include more films. That, at least, is one decision of theirs I can get behind. Of course, that could also make it more difficult to pick a Best Picture.
Not this time, though. Even though the list is quite good, with all of these films being worthy of nomination, as I said before, you shouldn’t go against Steven Spielberg and his epic period drama. Lincoln is the one to beat here.
Who should win? Beasts of the Southern Wild
Who will win? Lincoln
And that’s the game. Check back on Oscar night, which is Sunday, February 24th, to see how I did.