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Final Oscar Predictions

This article has been cross-posted at Towleroad

Yesterday on Kathy Griffin's new show she began with an Oscar monologue and brought out a gold trunks-clad model with his hair cropped tight and his body sprayed gold. I'll let it slide that he wasn't actually bald but he stood with his legs spread far apart and his hands behind his back. 

Had he never seen an Oscar statue before?


As you may have guessed I hold the Oscars sacred. You might call it my religion. I've been watching them since I was a little kid and as an adult I have spend an inordinate amount of time obsessing over them and even made something of a career out of it. [A struggle!]  But never before in my life have I had such a hard time predicting the winners.

Oh sure, Argo will win Best Picture and Daniel Day-Lewis who many of us first fell in love with as a blonde gay punk working in that Beautiful Laundrette will win for becoming President Lincoln but elsewhere in Oscar's 24 Categories there's an awful lot of room for pundits to embarrass themselves this year!

Best Director, for one, is baffling. The tech prizes look like a very bloody battle between at least three pictures (Anna Karenina, Skyfall & Life of Pi). And so on. AFTER THE JUMP my Oscar predictions. If I get everything wrong please forget we ever spoke of this! 

Since so much of the traditional craft of cinematography has to do with lighting, it's odd that this category has of late become an extension of the visual effects category. Movies keep winning that look they were heavily created in post-production in the vfx bay… which is why I think Ang Lee's CG heavy spiritual parable about a boy and a Bengal tiger probably has this one wrapped up. And not just because it's bioluminescent moments are subliminal reminders of Avatar(which also won this statue). That will be a bitter defeat for fans of the legendary Roger Deakins who single handedly made this the Best Looking Bond ever (well, he and Daniel Craig's trainer). Deakins has been nominated ten times, he's hugely influential to the art of cinema, and he's never won that freaking statue. 

Will Win: Life of Pi
Might Win: Skyfall
Should Win: Anna Karenina or Skyfall

Production Designers are responsible for the entire look of a picture -- the color palette, the sets, the visual bric-a-brac. But this award also sometimes goes to heavy f/x pictures. Nevertheless since "Best" often means "Most" with Oscar, for better and worse, I think this time it's going to the movie with the Most Production Design of the Traditional Variety... albeit with a twist; Anna Karenina's sets transform as you watch them.

Will & Should Win: Anna Karenina
Might Win: Life of Pi

Oscar chose well in this category. Will they prefer the death fetish ensembles of Queen Ravenna in Snow White and the Huntsman, the period recreations of Lincoln, the theatrical flair of Les Misérables? None of the above. This is a contest between the gobsmackingly beautiful & sumptuous Anna Karenina and the swan song of Eiko Ishioka, one of the world's most innovative costume designers (she died a year ago) on that other Snow White picture Mirror Mirror

Will & Should Win: Anna Karenina
Might Win: Mirror Mirror
My Ballot 

I always pray that the Oscars won't become like the Emmys and reward the same things over and over again -- they're definitely in danger of that since the cinematic landscape is more cluttered with franchises and sequels than its ever been. Middle Earth might well win a third Makeup Oscar so is this prediction wishful thinking?

Will Win: Les Miserables
Might Win: The Hobbit
Should Win: Les Miserables 
My Ballot 

This category is always plagued with the "haven't seen it" factor which prevents most moviegoers from caring about it. The problem is that the rules don't require these candidates to open in the US during the film year so only Denmark's A Royal Affair (a strong costume drama with eerily resonant politics) and Austria's Amour (also nominated for Best Picture) have been widely seen. Chile's entry No starring everyone's favorite Mexican hottie Gael García Bernal (something of a mascot of this category) is a terrific movie that would make a totally worthy winner in most years (go see it!) but it's only just opened in theaters. Canada's child soldier drama War Witch and Norway's seafaring Kon-Tiki (drool-cup required if you're into hunky Scandinavian men) have yet to open.

Will & Should Win: Amour
Might Win: n/a
More on This Category | I talked about this category on CNN

When they snubbed Nicole Kidman's risky slutty genius in The Paperboy (you're only hurting yourself if you haven't seen her psychic blowjob routine) I lost interest in this category. Helen Hunt and Sally Field were both terrific in The Sessions and Lincoln respectively but the polarizing Anne Hathaway is sucking up all the oxygen in the room. Obviously I adore Anne Hathaway and "I Dreamed a Dream" absolutely killed me (in the good way) so haters can blow me… psychically.

Will & Should Win: Anne Hathaway
Might Win: Sally Field (only if voters hate Hathaway as much as the internet seems to. Although I maintain that a third win would do a lot of damage to Field's legacy. She suffered quite a lot of "you like me. you really really like me" backlash after her second Oscar.)
My Ballot 

I will need a moment of silent tears when this category is over. Frankly I think Argo gilds the lily way too much in its final moments with every SUSPENSE cliche in the book so I don't think it deserved the nomination much less a win. But unless they can be convinced otherwise, they like to pair this with their choice for Best Picture.

Will Win: Argo
Might Win: Life of Pi
Should Win: Zero Dark Thirty hands down
My Ballot 

A lot of people -- even crazed movie buffs -- don't understand the difference between these two categories. I shall try to explain in brief: Sound Editing is the creation of the aural elements and the special effects portion of the noise you hear. Sound Mix is how all the elements (dialogue, score, f/x, ambient sound, etcetera) blend together. Les Miz has had the noisiest campaign for Sound Mixing given all the hoopla about the live-singing and the orchestral ear pieces and then all the work they had to do in post to line everything up but here's something you should know: Greg P. Russell is one of the most nominated losers in Oscar history. He's up for Sound Mixing for the 16TH TIME for Skyfall. If Skyfall wins, expect that bearded man on stage to have a joygasm. 

Will Win: Life of Pi
Might Win: Skyfall
Should Win: Zero Dark Thirty
Will & Should Win: Les Misérables
Might & Should (Too) Win: Skyfall
My Ballot 

I haven't seen two of the nominees (5 Broken Cameras, The Gatekeepers) but I'm rooting hard for the very moving Plague, and not just because it's gay. It's also very well structured, balanced and smart. But Sugar Man, which I think is a lesser picture, has been winning lots and lots of awards and did well at the box office, too.

Will Win: Searching for Sugar Man
Might Win: How To Survive a Plague

This year's field  has been unusually combative since there's no frontrunner. The only film without a prayer of winning isThe Pirates! A Band of Misfits which was the only surprise nominee. My heart goes out to ParaNorman since it's an Honorary Gay movie but I don't think it'll manage a win opposite much larger films from major studios or famous directors.

Will Win: Wreck-It Ralph (Interview)
Might Win: Brave
Should Win: Frankenweenie? It's a toss up for me. (Believe it or not it'd be Tim Burton's first Oscar!)
My Ballot 

As much as everyone loved The Avengers last summer -- "we have a Hulk" -- this one is a no brainer. 

Will & Should Win: Life of Pi
Might Win: n/a
My Ballot 

Introducing the year's simultaneously Most Boring & Most Exciting contest. How is that even possible? Well, it's boring because there's no reason to really root hard for any of the men since all of them are previous Oscar winners (the only time in history that's happened in an acting category) and it's the most exciting because it's the only one five-wide race going. You can make a case for any of the five winning: Alan Arkin might win on the coattails of the Best Picture Argo; Robert De Niro might win for Silver Linings Playbook because his campaign was relentless and because he's finally trying to act again after years of phoning it in; Tommy Lee Jones might win because he's phenomenally effective in Lincoln; Christoph Waltz might win because he already won for this performance in Inglourious Basterds and he's the lead  -- seriously they might just as well have titled it Schultz Unchains Django; and Philip Seymour Hoffman might win for The Master simply because he's Philip Seymour Hoffman. My hope and prediction is that they'll all split the vote and we'll end up back where we started with the original frontrunner.

Will & Should Win: Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Might Win: ANYONE but I think Christoph Waltz has the best chance to undo Jones

My guess is the film with the most world-music sound takes it.

Will Win: Life of Pi
Might Win: Skyfall
Should Win: Anna Karenina
My Ballot 

Believe it or not no Bond film has ever won Best Song… and very few of them have been nominated! In fact Skyfallended a 30+ year drought of nominations for James Bond pictures. I only ask that she find a way to high-five Daniel Craig again when she wins the Oscar.

Will & Should Win: "Skyfall"
Might Win: n/a
My Ballot 

I'm desperately hoping that Tony Kushner wins for Lincoln because he's a genius. Somehow he made a complex totally involving movie about a bunch of old men in wigs arguing with each other for 2 ½ hours. Plus Lincoln has more jokes than Argo. It's true. Argo has just one but it fools you into thinking it has a lot of them by telling it so often.

Will Win: Argo
Might & Should Win: Lincoln

I'm taking a risk in my prediction here because I don't think Amour is going home with only one Oscar. Precursor Awards have favored Django Unchained and Zero Dark Thirty in this category but I'm guessing their heat has dissipated enough to give Michael Haneke a well deserved trophy for his incredibly moving drama about the end of life and longtime love.

Will Win: Amour
Might Win: Zero Dark Thirty
Should Win: Moonrise Kingdom
My Ballot 

This tends to be the area where I fail most dramatically at making correct predictions -- even in years where I catch all of the nominees -- but my guesses are Curfew, Innocente and Paperman respectively. Amir had much fuller thoughts on live action and animated shorts

Along with Supporting Actor this is the most difficult category to predict this year. The reason being that Ben Affleck, who I had predicted for the win before the nominations were announced, was a surprise omission. With Argo out of the mix anything could happen. In most situations this would be an easy get for Spielberg but the raves for Lincoln have been heavily focused on its screenplay and its actors rather than on its direction … and he's already won this prize twice which will give some voters pause. Ang Lee arguably has the toughest assignment and Life of Pi is a global hit. But will he really win a second Best Director Oscar for another film that won't win Best Picture (Brokeback Mountain *sob*). And one that never seemed to have "winning" heat? David O. Russell could surprise since Playbook had a really aggressive campaign. It would take a miracle -- and if we're ever going to get one wouldn't it be this year? -- but I'm rooting for one of the other two. 

Will Win: Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Might Win: Ang Lee, Life of Pi or David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Should Win: Michael Haneke, Amour or Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild
My Ballot  | Second Thoughts on this prediction !

This one is locked up but can we take a moment to appreciate how spectacular the whole field is: Bradley Cooper really anchors Silver Linings Playbook and makes you feel for a character that is, as written, not all that sympathetic; Hugh Jackman is the nicest guy in Hollywood and, like Hathaway, just rips your heart out in his first big solo  ("Soliloquy"); Denzel Washington reminds us why he became such a mammoth star in Flight; Joaquin Phoenix is visceral and confusing and mesmerizing as a veteran with a bad case of undiagnosed PTS syndrome and alcoholism in The Master; And then there's Daniel Day Lewis who well… you know.

Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis
Might Win: n/a

A lot of pundits have jumped on the Amour train here, Oscar night being Emmanuelle Riva's 86th Birthday which would make her the oldest acting winner of all time, but I'm not buying it. It's a brave indelible performance but I just don't think it's in Oscar's character to reward a foreign language performance by an actress that isn't an international sex symbol (check out your history: that's the only way they go there). And, besides, the heavily male skewing membership of the Academy tends to use this category not to reward long careers but to crown their "it" girl of the moment. Which means it's basically Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty vs. Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook (with a side of Global Hunger Games Fame)

Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Might & Should Win: Emmanuelle Riva, Amour

This was once a suspenseful category until Oscar snubbed Ben Affleck in Best Director and then suddenly the media and the industry had an inexplicable pity party for one of the most handsome, most successful, and already Oscar'ed men in the business (Affleck won Best Screenplay in 1997 for Good Will Hunting) and Argo just roared to awards life. Plus a vote for Argo is a vote for Hollywood since the movie hinges on the film industry being heroic and helping with a hostage rescue.

Will Win: Argo
Might Win: Lincoln
Should Win: Beasts of the Southern Wild or Amour
My Ballot 

And how festive is your Oscar party going to be this year?

P.S. I should note as finale that I realize that my predictions here are on the conservative side, which is not totally like me. We shall see soon enough whether the longer phase two meant more upheaval after time to consider or if it meants so many factions that the original leaders still ended up winning by default. I'm totally excited to find out. For once on Oscar night I'll be biting my nails at nearly envelope opened.

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Reader Comments (55)

"Lincoln has more jokes than Argo. It's true. Argo has just one but it fools you into thinking it has a lot of them by telling it so often."

I'm not crazy about either film, but you're totally right there (and I never even found that one joke to be all that).

February 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJan

Such a hard year to predict , I can see a scenario where Riva and Lawrence split the vote and there is a surprise winner

February 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRami

I had actually had Michael Haneke chosen for Best Director, which is super risky, but I think I'm gonna switch back to Spielberg. Although it could also be Ang Lee ... then at the same time, maybe they want to reward David O. Russel - they really loved SLP. Idk. That category is a mess. So I guess I'll just stick with Haneke, why not.

And since I was gonna change Director to Haneke, I was gonna give Amour screenplay instead of Django, but now I'll keep Django? Idk. Now I have no idea what to do lol.

February 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

Rooting for:
Jessica Chastain
Michael Haneke for Director
anything other than Argo for Best Picture. just anything. surprise me. Argo is just so...meeeh and I'd prefer something I hate winning rather than something that I feel meh about, if that makes any sense.

February 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRenton

Ok, ok ... here's what I'll go with:

Picture: Argo
Director: Spielberg
Actor: DDL
Actress: Riva (I'm thinking Lawrence is gonna actually take it, but this is a mix of wishful thinking and prediction)
Supp Actor: TLJ
Supp Actress: Anne Hathaway
O Screenplay: Amour
A screenplay: Argo
Animated: Frankenweenie
Foreign: Amour
Song: Skyfall

February 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

We are predicting the same winners in the "main" categories. I'm always excited at the possible surprises but usually they never happen. When in doubt go to the safe choice, it's usually right. BUT I would love to see a SLP sweep or even an Amour sweep.

February 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

Emmanuelle Riva is getting a LOT Of votes from voters according to Goldderby insiders. How can you not vote for her- shes leagues above the rest of the competition. Voters dont always vote for sex symbols- Meryl Streep and Helen Mirren are recent examples. Jennifer Lawrence is only 22 and frankly, she's not that impressive in the movie and comes off sloppy and over reaching. Plus her recent BAFTA behavior with Russell was downright shameful. Riva is in a good position to win- and she won the BAFTA. 5 nods for Amour including Picture and Director means voters have watched the film. Don't underestimate her.

February 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJason Travis

I don't get much love for Spielberg this year at all. So it has to be Lee or Russell. All I know is, Ang Lee should make a film with Kate Winslet, Meryl Streep, or Naomi Watts next. And add Colin Firth, too. He needs a lot of actors in his next film.

February 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGabriel Oak

Jason -- it would just be so groundbreaking. Literally they never do this. Every single foreign language winner was an international sex symbol at the peak of her beauty. And only one 80something woman has ever won and she was an American stage legend in the best picture winner. I would love to believe it but it feels like pundits being bored with the expected winners... at least partially. TRUST ME I HOPE I'M WRONG.

February 22, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I personally don't think a third Oscar, however unlikely, for Sally Field would lead to much backlash. She's been as equally talked about (i.e. her fighting for Mary, the multiple auditions, the weight gain, etc) as Anne has and I haven't heard/read a bad word about the former, whereas the Anne backlash started the second she got her hand on that Golden Globe, if not earlier. In many ways, Anne is the new Sally, at least in terms of public opinion; let's be honest, two, three years ago, it wouldn't have been hard to imagine Anne giving that "You like me!" speech, although it's clear now that she knows better. On the other hand, Sally is honestly at that point in her career where she's consistently the most respected actor in the room, during group interviews, roundtables, and whatnot. If she won, she would DEFINITELY get a standing o. I think the Oscar is likely Anne's, but if it ends up going to Sally, then it'd be the first loss, that I can remember, solely caused by voters' total distaste for a performer's public persona.

February 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew

Thoughts on a few points:

- I completely agree with you regarding jokes in Lincoln. I’d even go further and claim that it has the funniest screenplay among all Best Picture nominees, maybe except Django depending on your sense of humor. During Silver Linings Playbook which is supposed to be the only comedy in the bunch, I only laughed once in the first dinner scene when they sort of bonded over anti-depressants. After that point the film never tickled my funny bone one single time.

- Although I agree that the Supporting Actor race is somewhat boring I’m not sure that’s actually because every nominee is a former winner. For argument’s sake let’s say this unlikely feat repeats next year and the Best Actress lineup shapes up to be Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett and Emma Thompson. Can anybody think that this would be a boring category? Of course we haven’t seen the actual performances yet but names alone make a quite exciting quintet. I think the boringness of the Supporting Actor category this year comes more from the fact that at least a dozen of quality performances from never nominated (and mostly much younger) actors were passed on in favor of this respectable but unsurprising slate of nominees.

- And my predictions which differ from your “Will Win”s:
Director: Russell
Supporting Actor: Waltz
Original Screenplay: Django
Production Design: Life of Pi
Sound Editing: Argo
Animated Feature: Brave

So I'm in agreement with you in 15 categories excluding the shorts.

- As for whom I’m rooting for, at the start of the season I was rooting for Hathaway only. Now that it seems a done deal I don’t feel that much invested emotionally but I guess I could freak out if she loses somehow. I’d love Haneke to win either Directing or Screenplay but honestly I can’t see that. So the only one I’m truly, madly, deeply rooting for is of course the sublime Emmanuelle Riva. Maybe fear of jinxing it, I don’t know but somehow I can’t predict her victory over Lawrence. Still I wish she goes full Brody (whom I couldn’t find the courage to predict as well) by adding an Oscar to her Bafta and César.

February 22, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterhcu

I honestly don't think the lazy comparisons between Hans Landa and King Schultz are very fair towards Christoph Watz, besides being articulate bi-lingual Germans there really isn't anywhere near as much similarity as most of the blogo-sphere is perpetuating. That being said, I'm rooting for anyone but Alan Arkin to take the supporting actor category even if that means rewarding Waltz for his wonderful performance regardless of it being a lead role. The best turn here is hands down hoffman for his work in The Master, who also is getting unfair treatment by those who keep insisting ut's a lead role when it isn't by a mile. If you trhink anyone but Phoenix is the lead in that film missed the point entirely.

February 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWes Freeman

I don't know why but I have a weird feeling about some races...

I feel like Brave is going to end up with the Oscar. Wreck-It Ralph skews VERY young and Pixar is always a safe choice. Plus: it isn't Cars and Wreck-it Ralph is not Shrek, box-office and popularity-wise.

Jones for Supporting Actor seems like a wise choice, but who has enthusiasm to vote for Tommy Lee? I can totally feel people going nostalgic for DeNiro, yet I don't know why I see Waltz winning.

It's Coronel Landa-redux, but it's an effective performance in a movie that overperformed with Oscar (never though it'd get 5 nominations). In relation to this: as much as I'd like to predict AMOUR, I feel Tarantino follows Woody in winning a prize no one is particularly excited about. This makes two Oscars for Django.

I get that people see in this a 2002 Pedro Almodovar flashback but his competition was far weaker in buzz and he won the BAFTA and lost the Spanish Foreign FIlm nomination. Haneke will win Best Foreign Film AND he lost the BAFTA to Tarantino, which is an American filmmaker lacking in European sensibility. Another thing: in 2010, Tarantino lost the BAFTA to Mark Boal.

February 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJorge Rodrigues

I can also totally see Silver Linings Playbook collecting trophies for Adapted Screenplay and Director.

I know the 'David O. Russell' narrative never quite happened but aside from Affleck no one won other awards and if Argo is not as strong as we'd believe it to be, couldn't O Russell (as Lee and Spielberg have already won and Haneke and Zeitlin don't seem to be threatening) get the Director trophy and also the Adapted Screenplay trophy?

Also, if LIFE OF PI had showed a sign of actually wanting to be in the race I feel ANG LEE would win his 2nd Oscar (if Lee did as much campaigning as the Silver Linings or Lincoln camp or the Anne Hathaway camp, telling how hard and personal the movie was for him to make and the various struggles to film it) at ease...

But we have a race. And those 8 Oscar noms for Silver Linings spell trouble for me. While I so badly want to predict Riva, I think J-Law wrapped the race the minute the movie won Toronto. Those rave reviews sealed the 'bonafide contender' thing which i think is SUPER EXTRAORDINARY for such a bland, inoffensive movie (I get why people admire it but still when was the last time a comedy managed to get that much Oscar - and buzz - attention?) and then Chastain never really surfaced as a true contender (the critics tried hard to create a two-way race but that never happened), Riva lost momentum by being ignored by every precursor save for BAFTA and no other big names came to wrestle.

Jennifer Lawrence, like Gwyneth Paltrow or Reese Witherspoon, will win in a weak year for this category.

February 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJorge Rodrigues

Nat, you're being really unfair to the Argo script. It has plenty of other jokes. Here are some that come to mind.

John Chambers: [to Tony Mendez] You need somebody who's a somebody to put their name on it. Somebody respectable. With credits. Who you can trust with classified information. Who will produce a fake movie. For free. (this one's funnier with John Goodman's delivery)

John Chambers: [after hearing of the plan to get the hostages out] So you want to come to Hollywood, act like a big shot...
Tony Mendez: Yeah.
John Chambers: ...without actually doing anything?
Tony Mendez: Yeah.
John Chambers: [smiles] You'll fit right in!

Jack O'Donnell: Carter said you were a great American.
Tony Mendez: A great American what?
Jack O'Donnell: He didn't say.

Jack O'Donnell: Brace yourself; it's like talking to those two old fucks from The Muppets.

Tony Mendez: You really know Warren Beatty?
Lester Siegel: Yes, I do. I took a leak next to him at a Golden Globes party once.

Yes, I laughed more at the Lincoln script, but Argo had some really funny lines throughout. And, since when Best Adapted Screenplay about who has the best jokes?
Also, I just re-watched Django Unchained, and Christoph Waltz is NOT a lead. Watch it again and you'll see how Waltz is never on-screen without Jamie Foxx. Also, the murder of the Brittle brothers, that is all Django (Schultz only gets the last guy) and the whole story is about Django's quest with Dr. Schultz as an enabler and sidekick. He's also the highlight of the film is you ask me.
I do agree with a lot of what you say, but there was so much snark in these two that I felt I needed to defend them. Also, I'm not sure the Ben Affleck snub was the only reason Argo became a frontrunner. Maybe it helped, but the movie had been in the conversation way before the snub (and even if Ben Affleck had been nominated, I think it still would have become the frontrunner, because it's the one most Academy members can agree on (I don't think it's the best film, but it's also the only one that doesn't inspire passionte hate).

February 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRichter Scale

I can live with Riva winning as a Chastain and ZD30 fan. Let the suffering role win, please! I like Jennifer Lawrence but Harvey Weinstein adds a bad metallic aftertaste to what he touches in the thick of awards season.

Rooting for:
Haneke for Director
Kushner for Screenplay
Boal for Screenplay
ParaNorman for Animated Feature
How to Survive a Plague or The Invisible War for documentary
Roger Deakins for Cinematography
Tichenor and Goldenberg for Editing
Ottosson for Sound Editing
Tommy Lee Jones or Phillip Seymour Hoffman for Supporting Actor

My actual predictions and who I am rooting for are very, very different.

February 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

I hope "Argo" wins best screenplay.

February 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

Please, Please, PLEASE let Tony Kushner win! I've managed to come to terms with the idea of Lincoln not taking Best Picture (which would be downright odd, even in this year, if it manages Actor, Supporting Actor, Director, and hopefully Screenplay) and (the solid, if unspectacular IMO) <I>Argo taking Picture, but I'll never understand how the Adapted Screenplay isn't an absolute slam dunk for Kushner. To this day, I am beyond shocked at how much I love and was moved by Lincoln. In a year of some really great work, the "bait" emerged head and shoulders above the rest for me, and I think Kushner's contribution is beyond invaluable to the success of that film.

February 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVal

E-M-M-A-N-U-E-L-L-E!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (not the porn movie!)

February 22, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersteans

Interesting to note that when/if Daniel Day-Lewis and/or Tommy Lee Jones and/or Sally Field win, they will be the first actors from a Spielberg film to win an Oscar.

My predictions are similar to yours, but I think PSH will get Supporting Actor.

Seems like "Argo" will get just three, Best Picture, Screenplay and Editing... just like "Crash"...!

February 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMovie Dearest

Riva and PSH so deserve to win for their outstanding performances.

February 22, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz

Are you finishing the film bitch awards before Oscar night??

February 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

Nathaniel, do you think there's any chance that Zero Dark Thirty could surprise and win Actress, Screenplay and Editing? I know alot of people think Argo has it sewn up(see what I did there?) for editing since it is probably going to win best picture, but then last year Dragon Tattoo surprised and won editing instead of The Artist.

February 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

Griffin's show is 50 shades of straight-up terrible.

February 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

I hope Hoffman wins best supporting actor, but he feels like the only one of the five who really doesn't stand much of a chance of winning.

Hope you'll forgive a shameless plug, but I wrote up my predictions here: https://eventsoccur.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/oscar-picks-2013/

February 23, 2013 | Unregistered Commentereventsoccur

Oscar Predictions: UR DOING IT WRONG!

Just kidding. I just had to say that.

I agree with you on all but:
-Original Screenplay... I'm torn but think liberal Hollywood will rally around ZDT
-Animated Feature... sense winds for Brave)
-Doc Short... Mondays at Racine is heartfelt and thorough-- just to gloat a little, my favorite has won the past two years (I probably just doomed myself)
-Director... Suuuper torn on this one but think I'm going with Ang Lee; and possibly
-Live-Action Short... I can't decide between Curfew (light-hearted compared to most of the others, in English) or Buzkashi Boys (the longest one and the one with the best crafts, both of which seem to help films win this category)

February 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

I was not impressed at all by Jennifer Lawrence's work in Silver Linings Playbook, and think she gave the weakest performance out of all the nominated actresses; I'm rooting for Jessica Chastain although Emmanuelle Riva winning would be pretty damn exciting.

February 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMDA

And I'd also like to add that I'm rooting hardest for Philip Seymour Hoffman; in my opinion, he's the best actor working today and would love for him to be recognized for his amazing work in The Master.

February 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMDA

Adam, I so hope this happens. And if ZD30 wins BP that would make my night.

February 23, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

I am keeping realistic and thinking ZD30 has a good chance at getting shut-out (I'm at a **soft** 60% chance of that happening) so I can be pleasantly surprised if it wins or just the downright bitter person this Oscar season has made me. I think it still has a good shot at Screenplay (which I think it does win from an objective point of view as I think the Academy will be cold toward Django and honoring Haneke for foreign language film is enough for them, even if he should win director) and Sound Editing with a slight chance at Editing.

February 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

CMG, we are both fierce ZD30 partisans. I believe we both feel that it should win all it's nommed for. But if it loses Editing, that's just fucking STUPID.

February 23, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

I usually make conservative predictions, but the only time I ever won an Oscar pool was the year I predicted Eminem for Best Original Song, Almodóvar for Best Original Screenplay and Polanski for Best Director (and even then I didn't get Best Actor right because I thought it would be good ol' Jack again).

So I eventually got the guts to go 'Amour' all the way, predicting wins not only for Foreign Language Film, but also for Screenplay, Actress and (yes) Director. And I do hope I can say 'told you so' to anyone when it happens this way...

February 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMrW

I have so many questions about Oscar night but the biggest overriding one is how LINCOLN will do. It led the nominations with a whopping 12 but only one, for DDL, seems a sure thing. (I'm personally only predicting that one...)

Will it win:

2 Oscars: DDL & Director?
3: DDL, Director & Tommy Lee?
4: DDL, Director, Tommy Lee & Production Design?
5: DDL, Director, Tommy Lee, Production Design & Screenplay?
6: DDL, Director, Tommy Lee, Production Design, Screenplay & Score?
7: DDL, Director, Tommy Lee, Production Design, Screenplay, Score & Sally?

I'm assuming it doesn't really have a chance for Picture, Editing, Cinematography, Costume Design or Sound Mixing.

You can do this for every film obviously but I think so many of the "uncertainties" in this season's races are about this big elephant in the room -- why does this super prestigey film with the most nominations seem like it might go home with the absolute fewest awards? What does the Academy really think about it?

February 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

Jorge I think Tarantino is very embraced in Europe as an American director, people here really love his work

February 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRami

I just want someone other than anne winning supporting actress,sometimes a persona can put you off someone like leo in 2010,it's the falseness and i do like anne in les mis.

February 23, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermark

I'm rooting for Michael Haneke for everything, specially best director. We all know he's really THE best.

February 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Mareko -- agreed.

BVR -- i am making an effort. 3...2...1...

Matthew -- as to your final line about voters distaste for an actors public persona... i just think that's a false projection from the internet on to Hollywood. I don't know any movie people who loathe anne hathaway but a lot of anonymous people on the internet do. (Different communities). What's happening to Anne right now strikes me as somewhat similar to what happened with Nicole Kidman and Kirsten Dunst at some point during the Aughts. Suddenly no one ever had kind words for them and just unleashed vitriol. It's a weird internet phenom, the dogpiling on brilliant actresses whose public persona is tricky in some way. But usually the internet recovers a few years later and it's safe to love the actress again without the haters filling up the comment section.

February 23, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I should add that this even happened to meryl streep... albeit before the internet so it didn't feel as pronounced but the media was very "over" her in 1988-1991ish. Lots of snark. The media got over it and then it was uncool to NOT love her again.

February 23, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I find it interesting what you had to say about the Academy and foreign language Best Actress winners, but I can only recall two - Sophia Loren and Marion Cotillard, so that's not a lot of data to be working with.

February 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoe U.K.

I kepy getting a hunch (based almost entirely on wishful thinking) that Haneke will pull an upset in the Director rather than Screenplay category. If it were purely the directors' branch voting, I think that would be a distinct possibility.

But then all those anonymous ballots kept leaking and revealing the majority of voters as insipid. I don't remember any of them selecting Haneke. So Spielberg or Lee it is, I suppose.

February 23, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergoran

well if you include supporting actress there's also PENELOPE CRUZ. it's not a lot of data true, but that's also kind of the point. They just almost never recognize foreign language roles.

February 23, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

No fault here with your conservative choices because it is that kind of year. I am torn in every category. But after seeing all the films, I am satisfied with crowning Argo a winner, and not just because of the Affleck snub, but because its an overall satisfying package (am I the only one who got temprarily sleepy in the middle of Lincoln?) With Affleck absent, please give Best Director to Ang Lee. He had the toughest challenge, and that movie could have easily been a yawnfest, and it is not, because of him. For actress, I wish wish wish that Watts had better odds because she is brilliant, but i will applaud for JLaw because she owned the screen every time she was on it. What a future in film she has! Actor is DDL because he is the strongest in an amazing field. I loved les Mis but am kind of over the hathaway thing, but then i think about that scene again and i get it. I will feel better about Hathaway if the deserving Hunt wins the IFC. Christoph Waltz is the best thing about Django, but its a lead role. Id be happy with DeNiro - so good to see him act again rather than self-parodize, or Philip seymour Hoffman - truly a Master class. I guess we'll see very soon!

February 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBill Mc

For some reason I' predicting a big night for "Silver Linings Playbook", not only because it has The Weinstein Company behind, but also because from all the Best Picture nominees it is the one I most enjoyed rewatching (excluding "Beasts") and I believe I'm not alone in this world and some Oscar voters may feel the same way. "Argo" directing snub must be taken in consideration, no matter how it did between precursors and "Lincoln" Oscar campaign is like "you're trying to hard". So, here are my predictions:

BEST PICTURE: "Silver Linings Playbook"
BEST DIRECTOR: Ang Lee for "Life of Pi"

BEST ACTOR: Daniel Day-Lewis for "Lincoln" (shame Meryl Streep took decades in order to win her third Oscar while everybody's going crazy about Day-Lewis when the nominees shortlist features equally Oscar-deserving performances from my point of view. I would love to see Jackman winning this one, you can't even imagine)

BEST ACTRESS: Jennifer Lawrence for "Silver Linings Playbook"

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Robert De Niro for "Silver Linings Playbook" (because it is his comeback and I'm predicting the Academy going crazy for the "feel-good" SLP)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Anne Hathaway for "Les Misérables

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: "Zero Dark Thirty" (no matter what, it is one of the most important/remarkable movies of the year and it won the Writers Guild, but we also have "Amour" and "Django Unchained" between the nominees...)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: "Silver Linings Playbook" (I was pretty surprised when I read it won the BAFTA and since doing this movie was a personal journey to David O. Russell, I can see the AMPAS feeling some empathy for how he connected with this story)


BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: "Life of Pi" (or will the Academy fall into a "Skyfall" wave? 007's cinematography is gorgeous)


BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: "Life of Pi" (please, don't let "Argo" win this one! PLEASE!)

BEST FOREIGN PICTURE: "Amour" (it's in the bag!)

BEST SOUND EDITING: "Skyfall" (but I think "Zero Dark Thirty" totally deserves this one)
BEST SOUND MIXING: "Les Misérables"
BEST MAKEUP & HAIR: "Les Misérables" (Les Miz will win because there's "Hair" written in this category's name)

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: "Brave" (the Golden Globe + the BAFTA + Pixar name, no matter what it is simply very likely to happen)
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: "Searching for Sugar Man"

February 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEd

I am rooting for
Life of Pi

February 23, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

I think TLJ is overrated as hell in Lincoln, I can't believe he's the frontrunner. This should be Hoffman's victory all the way.

February 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMovieFan

Ed, those are truly bold predictions. only 1 oscar for ARGO?

February 23, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I'm one of those Anne Hathaway "haters". Except I don't really hate her. I quite like her actually. I think she was fantastic in Rachel Getting Married and in general I think she's very fresh, commited and funny. But I'm not sure why the whole backlash thing is inexplicable. It's very obvious why people don't like her as much anymore.
1. The movie she keeps winning for is hated by some (including me) and that is not working in her favor.
2. She made a horrible mistake by not appearing genuine when she was receving awards. She looks and sounds like she's dying for that award (all actors love winning awards but the best of them manage to keep it cool or if they can't break out in genuine emotion). She should take lessons from Chastain about this.
3. and most importantly That " weapon against self-doubt" line is the biggest mistake I've seen anyone do while on stage receiving an award this year. How can anyone characterize this as anything but pretentious and arrogant. The golden globe is not a weapon against self doubt! The oscar is not a weapon against self doubt. They're honors. You are happy you get them. You don't rub it in everyone's face that now you know you are a really good actress with no need to doubt yourself because you have a golden globe!!! And add to that, the speech contained the 2nd most horrible mistake done by an actor on stage this year. "This is really happening"... What do you mean this is really happening? Everyone knows you're winning all the awards. It's no surprise to anyone and no one believes it's a surprise for you. It's like DDL saying " this is really happening".

In summary, I don't think the internet hates Hatthaway for the same reason it hated Kidman and Dunst (Kidman was because she was ubiquitous yet appeared cold and distant and Dunst because she just didn't seem interested) at all. I think the internet hates because she is making every possible faux-pas possible after winning these awards. I worry she has the same fate as Hilary Swank post-2nd oscar ahead of her ...

February 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTony

I'll be bold enough to say that I think Bradley Cooper in Zero Linings Playbook should win Best Actor far more adventurous and engaging work than DDL in Lincoln. Anyone could have played Lincoln and gotten awards attention; not anyone could have played Pat and created such a believable character.

I have big issues with Silver Linings Playbook, but the acting is not the problem in the film (that would be the screenplay, what with its manic pixie dream girl female lead who we only know is depressed because she says it, not because of a single thing she does in the entire film). It's insanity, I know, but I honestly wouldn't mind if Silver Linings Playbook swept the acting categories.

Cooper is the only performer from the film I would honestly give the award to, but Jennifer Lawrence (let's call it a victory for a year of excellent performances rather than a victory for doing her best to salvage a really poorly written character), Robert DeNiro, and Jackie Weaver (!) are excellent as well. Weaver especially impresses with that opening scene and the slow realization that her son hasn't gotten better and has been lying to her for months.

February 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

Tony -- different strokes. Everything about Anne Hathaway strikes me as genuine, including her 'omg i'm winning awards. i can't believe it. you love me you really love me' shtick. It's just that that kind of theatrical who-me star earnestness is poisonous in our snark-fillled age where we are supposed to be above this kind of LOVE ME heart-on-sleeve behavior.

I once attended a Liza Minnelli concert in the 90s and she received llike 4 standing ovations and each time she acted like it was the first time she'd ever seen a crowd freak out for her and it was SO performed but also weirdly genuine in its gargantuan charisma need... and i feel like Hathaway has this kind of thing too. some people call if false or disingenuous. I call it theatrical and oddly endearing.

February 23, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Nathaniel, I have the feeling that if the Academy members go for Silver Linings Playbook, they'll go all the way for it and this year's Oscar nominations were full of surprises (Jackie Weaver was like this year's Maggie Gyllenhaal and SLP managed to get a Best Editing nod between amazing editing works like Zero Dark Thirty's or Argo's).
With the Best Director snub, Argo best Oscar hopes live on Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Editing. Since I'm predicting SLP for Best Picture because it is nominated for all the major categories, audiences loved this one, critics also loved this one and it only missed a Best Film BAFTA nod between all the major awards. For Best Adapted Screenplay I believe David O. Russell will take the Oscar home, because I don't feel he'll win Best Director, he won the BAFTA of Best Adapted Screenplay (what a huge surprise for me!) and there's this genius campaign move: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmLYmBn_4kg (3:35!!!)

This way, Best Editing is what's left for Argo in order to do not go home empty handed according to my predictions. Argo has a shot in Best Score, but I don't want to believe it may happen, because I'm totally in love with Life of Pi's score.

February 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEd

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