Everyone is saying it is a very hotly contested, and open, Oscar race this year. There are no shoo-ins (aside from Best Actor), and the Best Film category – arguably the most important to the industry as a whole – is wide open. Incidentally, it is also the first year that I have any chance whatsoever of beating my sister in our annual family Oscar sweepstake – as she is off on maternity leave from her job as a film critic. So, forget how seriously Spielberg and Chastain may be taking this – I am on a whole OTHER LEVEL 😉 That said, here I go, laying on the line my predictions of who should win and who will win – in the main categories I care about.
Best Animated Film: Should win & will win – Brave: Loved this wee film about a bonnie Scottish lass who would much rather fight dragons and ride around the countryside on her horse than play nice and embroider cushions like her mum. The relationship between mother and daughter was something I had never before seen in an animated feature – and the voice talent (Kelly Macdonald, Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly) was simply brilliant. Deserves the golden man for sure.
Best Supporting Actor: Should win & will win – Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln): in a film full of famous faces, Tommy Lee Jones really did stand out here, as the Congressman with a personal connection to the 13th Amendment, and a desire to see it pass no matter what he had to do in the process. Although he was inscrutably ‘Tommy Lee Jones’ in the process – in every movie I see him in I expect him to instruct a group of people to ‘search every out house, hen house, dog house’ etc to find The Fugitive – he was also an incredibly strong and impressive and human character. And I think the Academy will reward him.
Best Supporting Actress: Should win & will win – Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables): not only is she riding a great wave of awards ceremony wins leading up to this, but she is also deserving of the statue. She had a small, but pivotal, role in Les Mis, and her scenes – especially the close up scene of her singing ‘I dreamed a dream’ – were for me some of the most moving in the film (and a film I didn’t particularly like at that). Love her or hate her (and there are many in both camps) it can’t be said that Anne isn’t a versatile, brave and incredibly talented actress. And Oscar winner this year I comfortably predict.
Best Actor: Should win & will win – Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln): I think there will be a massive, audible in-take of breath on the night if anyone other than Daniel’s name is read out for Best Actor. He has a lock on it. And not just because he is doing many of the things one should do when vying for Oscar love, namely a) play a famous American b) be directed by one of the best American directors currently working and c) have a physical transformation to play the role. Beyond all that, DDL is simply fantastic in this role – and for me lifted it from something ok to something very very good. Lincoln without Day Lewis would be a very different film. Just give the man the Oscar already.
Best Actress (ok – this is where it gets really interesting): Should win: Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty): as discussed here Jessica put in a restrained but powerhouse performance in this film, and managed to enthral the audience over a very long running time. She didn’t have tantrums or breakdowns, but she did convey emotion in incredibly subtle ways. However, as sad and unjust as it may be, I think the torture controversy will cost her with the very conservative Academy vote here. Will win: Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook): as I said in my review earlier this week, Jennifer was VERY GOOD in this film, as a young widow trying to recover from the death of her husband. She wasn’t the best in the category, but I think she will beat out her competition – in part due to the fact she wasn’t rewarded for the thoroughly excellent Winter’s Bone two years ago. Let’s just hope her dress stays in one piece this time around…
Best Director: (this is where I start getting grumpy…) Should win (but isn’t even nominated): Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty): I have raved already about what a great film I think Zero Dark Thirty is, and what a brilliant and restrained job Kathryn Bigelow did with a complex and controversial story. Her talents have been recognised before by the Academy – she was the first female director ever to win three years ago for The Hurt Locker – and I think this is a superior film to that. But, she isn’t even nominated. I will stop there or I will turn into a mini version of The Hulk and start smashing things… Will win: Steven Spielberg (Lincoln): as main rivals Bigelow and Argo’s Ben Affleck aren’t nominated, Steven has a clear shot at the prize, and he is not without merit. Lincoln is a good film and Spielberg managed to tell the story without adding too many ‘Spielbergisms’ into it. But as I have said, it was a good film, not a GREAT film. But hey, the man is legend so I won’t begrudge him (too much).
Best Film: (this is by far the toughest category to pick…) Should win: Zero Dark Thirty: this is a tough call, as I really really enjoyed Argo as well – and to be honest I can imagine Argo will be the film I am more likely to re-watch quite a few times. But, as a film-making accomplishment, I can’t go past Zero Dark Thirty here. It has stayed with me for a week after seeing the film, and will remain for much longer. I also think it will be looked back on and appreciated for years to come. But, it won’t win because of the torture issue. If it does win despite that, I will give up M&Ms for a year – that is how confident I am the Academy will go conservative on this one. Will win: Argo: if you had asked me a few weeks back I would have said Lincoln – and that is still in with a solid chance (especially as the Oscars are always unpredictable). But Argo has received a number of awards in the past few weeks – and so has Affleck. The fact that Affleck doesn’t have a directing Oscar works against him statistically (I think only 3 films have won in the past 60 or so years where the Director wasn’t also nominated), but I think it might work in his favour in a way – as people who are upset he didn’t get the directing nod will try and make up for it by voting for Argo as Best Film. And it is a very good, very funny, very entertaining film. I loved it. And will be very pleased if it gets the gong.
So there you go! My picks for Oscars 2013. The awards air here Feb 25th kiwi time, and I will be watching closely to see whether my picks turn out to be right. In the meantime, who do you think will pick up the wee golden men??? Comments on the back of an envelope (or more conveniently, in the box below ;-)).
Up next: well I guess I have to find some more substantial topics to blog about now! Hmmm…