Holy crap, it’s Oscar time again. It’s no earlier than last year, but it certainly feels that way.
Before the picks, my usual disclaimer:
I don’t care who should win, I only care who will win.
I also find that I have better picks when I don’t see the nominated movies. My personal opinion can cloud my judgement when choosing winners. Case in point, having seen Les Miserables this year, I don’t think it deserves a damn thing. It’s taking a great deal of willpower to get past that. Fortunately I also think Argo is the best movie of the year (of the ones I’ve seen) so I have no issues there.
And yes, I take these things seriously. I don’t watch sports, I watch movies. The Academy Awards are my Super Bowl.
Let’s get to the picks.
Best Picture: Argo
A total lock. Despite early buzz for less-worthy films, Argo has totally pulled ahead, thanks to wins at the Producer’s Guild, BAFTAs and other important shows. Also that Golden Globe, not that anyone cares.
Actor in a Leading Role: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
There’s a definite lack of buzz for this movie, and Daniel Day-Lewis already has two Oscars (for My Left Foot and There Will Be Blood) but he’s still the clear frontrunner in this category. He’s won every possible award this year. Bet against him at your own risk.
For the record, I think John Hawkes should win this for The Sessions. But of course, he wasn’t nominated.
Actress in a Leading Role: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Just a few weeks ago, I was still under the opinion that Jessica Chastain had this one wrapped up for Zero Dark Thirty. But Jennifer Lawrence is the clear frontrunner now.
Actor in a Supporting Role: Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
I’ll be honest here, I’m not thrilled with this pick. Tommy Lee Jones won the SAG, which pushed it over the edge…but this is such a weird list of nominees! Every person on here already has an Oscar. I could easily see Alan Arkin winning again. Jones is the frontrunner, and the safe bet, but for some reason I changed this to De Niro at the last second. It’s probably a mistake.
Actress in a Supporting Role: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Yeah, she’s gonna win. The painful direction didn’t do her any favors, but she basically spent all 20 minutes on screen crying, so yeah, let’s give her an Oscar. Personally I’d rather see Helen Hunt win for her brave performance in The Sessions. But then, that’s why I prefer not to see movies before I make my picks. it clouds my judgement.
Writing (Adapted Screenplay): Argo
This is going to go to either Argo or Lincoln. I’m going with Argo, on the strength of its momentum. I freely admit to having a strong personal bias against this movie though, so it’s entirely possible that it’s clouding my judgement.
Writing (Original Screenplay): Zero Dark Thirty
This is a tough category, since Amour wasn’t actually nominated for a WGA award (I don’t think it was eligible). It’s either going to go to Amour or Zero Dark Thirty. It’s a toss-up. I literally changed this one at the last second, so that should tell you how conflicted I am here.
Animated Feature Film: Wreck-It Ralph
Take that, Pixar! Okay, so Wreck-It Ralph is still Disney, which means Lassiter was behind it anyway. You know what I mean. I love Pixar, but Brave was a total mess. A movie that thought it could substitute slapstick and fart gags for a nonexistent story. So while I haven’t seen it (my daughter wouldn’t go!) Wreck-It Ralph is the clear winner this year based on other awards and general buzz.
Cinematography: Roger Deakins, Skyfall
I wasn’t totally sure of this, since having seen the movie (I really need to stop doing that) I wasn’t blown away by the visuals. But then I saw that Deakins has never won an Academy Award. Dude, WTF. He didn’t win for Shawshank, he didn’t win for Fargo, he didn’t win for The Man Who Wasn’t There. Give him one for Skyfall.
Costume Design: Jacqueline Durran, Anna Karenina
With this one I always go with the guild award. It usually lines up, although because they split between historical and fantasy, it can be a toss up sometimes. This year Anna Karenina won for historical, and Mirror, Mirror won for fantasy…I’m going with the former because it’s generally a more acclaimed film. Your mileage may vary.
Directing: Michael Haneke, Amour
What a dumb list of nominees. Where’s Ben Affleck’s nomination for Argo? Where’s Kathryn Bigalow for Zero Dark Thirty? Were Affleck listed here he would be the clear front runner, and practically guaranteed to win. He won the DGA award, and that almost always lines up perfectly with the Academy. But he’s not nominated! So who else do we have? Spielberg? He’s the safe bet. Go with him or possibly Ang Lee if you want to play it safe. I’m having a hard time with this one, since both of those two have Oscars already. I thought Beasts of the Southern Wild was a great movie, but Benh Zeitlin’s direction didn’t stand out to me. Plus it’s his first movie. He has a long career ahead of him. David O. Russell has been nominated before, and likely will again. I’m going with Michael Haneke for Amour. Why? Because I decided to live on the edge this year. In the absence of a nomination for a front runner, this category is wide open, and I’m gonna take a shot at a dark horse. Why not. If I lose my bet with my father, this is where it happens.
Documentary Feature: Searching for Sugar Man
Tough category, but this is the only one that actually played in real movie theaters, and it won the PGA and DGA awards.
Film Editing: William Goldenberg, Argo
It’s going to win Best Picture, it should win Best Director, and it will win Editing. The closest second would be Zero Dark Thirty, but hey! That’s also William Goldenberg. It’s entirely possible that voters will be split, and it will go to someone else…but I’m guessing Argo will win based on momentum from other awards.
Foreign Language Film: Amour
No contest here. Amour is nominated for five awards, and this is the one it has hands down.
Music (Original Score): Life of Pi, score by Mychael Danna
Seems to be the frontrunner based on other people’s picks. I have no opinion here either way.
Music (Original Song): “Skyfall” from Skyfall
Kind of a no-brainer, really. Adele will win.
Production Design: Anna Karenina
This is a total shot in the dark, and could easily go to any of the nominees. I’m afraid my personal bias towards Les Miserables is probably working against me here…Hooper’s direction never let us see the bloody sets, so I have no idea if it was well designed or not. Mostly I remember mud. Mud and the pores of every freaking actor.
So yes, I’m going with Anna Karenina. But I could definitely see this going to Life of Pi or Lincoln, or even The Hobbit, unpopular as it has been this awards season.
Visual Effects: Life of Pi
Life of Pie has been utterly racking up awards in the effects category this year, making it a clear frontrunner. Plus there’s the added drama that Rhythm and Hues, the company responsible for those effects, is currently in the process of a very nasty bankrupcy. I think it will win, and hopefully is enough to keep the company afloat.
So there you have it, my pics for this year. Should be fun! If you want to join me, I’ll be live-tweeting the craziness all night long @loonyboi.