21 February 2013

Can you beat my Oscar predictions?

LIVE UPDATE: I did not do too well....
I managed to correctly predict 5 of 18 categories.
Next year, please bet on who I do NOT choose.

It is Oscar time once more, or "Academy Awards" for the high-brow crowd. I always like to pick the winners. At least those I believe should win. Some years I don't care or I didn't see the films anyway. For 2012, however, I think I can get back in the game. 

Here are my picks, agree or disagree!

Argo   WINNER!!! (At least I got the big one!)
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

While I waffled between Argo and ZD30, I have to give it to Argo on the basis of its pacing and because ZD30 is too politically hot to pick as a winner. Les Miz was great but it can't beat something with historical pretentions like Argo. Speaking of historical pretentions, Lincoln won't win because it is too rewritten as a do-good story. Silver Linings may be a wonderful romantic comedy but that genre doesn't win Best Picture. I don't know why Django is on the list (too "pop") and I did not see Amour and Southern Wild so I cannot comment on them. Life of Pi never seemed to have much buzz; however, I can now be hopeful of a film being made of my novel Year of the Tiger--now that they worked out how to film a tiger.

ACTOR in a Leading Role
Bradley Cooper Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis Lincoln WINNER!!! (Yes, I needed this win, even though it was well-predicted by everyone.)
Hugh Jackman Les Misérables
Joaquin Phoenix The Master
Denzel Washington Flight

Daniel Day-Lewis, of course. Hugh Jackman was absolutely the heart and soul of Les Miz but the buzz for DDL can't be overcome. (Why is it always "foreigners" who play American icons?)

ACTRESS in a Leading Role
Jessica Chastain Zero Dark Thirty WINNER (You're still A-list in my book, Jess!)
Jennifer Lawrence Silver Linings Playbook WINNER
Emmanuelle Riva Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts The Impossible

Jessica Chastain, hands down--and it has nothing to do with my schoolboy crush. She carried that film; she portrayed a strong, independent woman and that is the theme this year. Jennifer Lawrence was intriguing but too much "herself" in the film; not much stretching. The other three films I did not see.

ACTOR in a Supporting Role
Alan Arkin Argo
Robert De Niro Silver Linings Playbook WINNER
Philip Seymour Hoffman The Master
Tommy Lee Jones Lincoln
Christoph Waltz Django Unchained WINNER

Give it to Robert DeNiro; he deserves it for this untypical role that he plays so realistically.

ACTRESS in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams The Master
Sally Field Lincoln WINNER
Anne Hathaway Les Misérables WINNER
Helen Hunt The Sessions
Jacki Weaver Silver Linings Playbook

I'd like to see Helen Hunt win it yet I doubt she will. They probably added her because she dared do nudity at age 49 (and looked so good doing so). Most likely Sally Field will win it. Anne Hathaway was so moving in her role yet her role only took a small portion of the whole Les Miz film.


(I did not see any of the nominated films, so I cannot comment.)

Anna Karenina Seamus McGarvey WINNER
Django Unchained Robert Richardson
Life of Pi Claudio Miranda WINNER
Lincoln Janusz Kaminski
Skyfall Roger Deakins

It has to be Anna Karenina. Besides all the lavish costumes the whole film was played out in various theaters and ballrooms, requiring hyper-rigorous set design, coordination, and cinematography! Life of Pi is a reasonable winner, given the necessary adaptations for filming that story. 

Anna Karenina Jacqueline Durran WINNER!!! --Finally I got a win!!!
Les Misérables Paco Delgado
Lincoln Joanna Johnston
Mirror Mirror Eiko Ishioka
Snow White and the Huntsman Colleen Atwood

Again, it must be Anna Karenina. However, Les Miz certainly had as much in the costume category. Lincoln: yes, the costumes may be authentic, but so dour who would vote for them?

Amour Michael Haneke
Beasts of the Southern Wild Benh Zeitlin
Life of Pi Ang Lee WINNER
Lincoln Steven Spielberg WINNER
Silver Linings Playbook David O. Russell

I look for a film where the director did something special to elevate the film above the usual. However, the Academy usually chooses someone who either has a great career (Spielberg) or is a bright newcomer. I would have chosen Ben Affleck or Katherine Bigelow if either were included (I'd go with Argo's Affleck for aesthetic reasons). Probably, Spielberg will get it.

Argo William Goldenberg WINNER!!! --I got another win!!! 
Life of Pi Tim Squyres
Lincoln Michael Kahn
Silver Linings Playbook Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers
Zero Dark Thirty Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg

I look for a film where the editing plays a significant role in the storytelling; hence, a film with less action will involve less of the "cool" editing we come to expect of action films. Argo has that feature (to create tension) and to a slightly lesser extent so does ZD30.  I liked both films very much although I saw Argo first and immediately felt it had Oscar all over it. I'm going with Argo but would be just as happy if ZD30 got that recognition.

MUSIC Original Score
Anna Karenina Dario Marianelli WINNER
Argo Alexandre Desplat
Life of Pi Mychael Danna WINNER
Lincoln John Williams
Skyfall Thomas Newman

I have always been a film music junkie, so these categories matter to me. The music must be unique to the film and carry its story musically, regardless whether it has a memorable tune or musical motif. The only film where the music played such a significant role was Anna Karenina, in my opinion. In the other films, the music was good but utilitarian.

MUSIC Original Song
"Before My Time" from Chasing Ice Music and Lyric by J. Ralph 
"Everybody Needs A Best Friend" from Ted Music by Walter Murphy; Lyric by Seth MacFarlane
"Pi's Lullaby" from Life of Pi Music by Mychael Danna; Lyric by Bombay Jayashri
"Skyfall" from Skyfall Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth WINNER!!! (I got it!!!)
"Suddenly" from Les Misérables Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg; Lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil

This category is purely for a song, often completely separate from the film it is heard in, so it's just the opinion of music lovers, not so much film buffs. I liked the Skyfall theme song and given Adele's dramatic rise, I expect her to win it.

Anna Karenina - WINNER
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Lincoln WINNER

SOUND EDITING (not sound mixing)
Argo Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn
Django Unchained Wylie Stateman
Life of Pi Eugene Gearty and Philip Stockton
Skyfall Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers WINNER by TIE!
Zero Dark Thirty Paul N.J. Ottosson WINNER WINNER by TIE! (still counts for my totals)

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey WINNER
Life of Pi WINNER
Marvel's The Avengers
Snow White and the Huntsman

CGI always wins: The Hobbit will probably win, more out of nostalgia for Tolkien. Prometheus could win by an alien nose, unless the Academy opposes "monster" movies.

WRITING Adapted Screenplay
Argo Written by Chris Terrio WINNER!!! (I got another one!)
Beasts of the Southern Wild Screenplay by Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin
Life of Pi Written by David Magee
Lincoln Written by Tony Kushner
Silver Linings Playbook Written by David O. Russell

I've been interested in writing for film for a long time and have 5 screenplays completed (one was optioned years ago). Nothing happens without the writer! I'm going to go with Argo again, although if the Academy goes sentimental, Silver Linings could win it, being made from a popular book.

WRITING Original Screenplay
Amour Written by Michael Haneke
Django Unchained Written by Quentin Tarantino WINNER (What the.........?)
Flight Written by John Gatins
Moonrise Kingdom Written by Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola
Zero Dark Thirty Written by Mark Boal WINNER

The writing is everything, especially if the story first appears already in script form. That's a masterful accomplishment, in my opinion. Translating it to the screen completes the author's vision. I have to give it to ZD30. As much journalism, reporting and researching, and putting together everything that happened in the real narrative took as much effort as telling the story of all the research and putting everything together to complete the mission as told in the film. That has to be worth an Oscar.

Regardless of how much I win in bets, I love [most] films and will always cheer for those in the industry who give their all for their audiences yet remain humbled by their  good fortune, being blessed with the ability to entertain the rest of us.

(C) Copyright 2010-2013 by Stephen M. Swartz. All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog, whether text or image, may be used without me giving you written permission, except for brief excerpts that are accompanied by a link to this entire blog. Violators shall be written into novels as characters who are killed off. Serious violators shall be identified and dealt with according to the laws of the United States of America.

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