Saturday, February 23, 2013

Oscar Predictions: Argo Triumphant

The Oscars are tomorrow night and I'm very excited. This is the first time in years I've seen all nine of the nominated Best Pictures (thanks to Amazon Prime for Beasts of the Southern Wild), all but one of the acting nominees (sorry, Naomi Watts), four of the five feature documentaries (thanks Netflix), all of the animated and live-action shorts. So here are my predictions and I hope to clean up at a friends' Oscar party.

Picture: Argo

I still don't get why this well-made, but conventional thriller is the expected winner. Is it the backlash against the Affleck snub? Is Lincoln too talky? Probably a combination. This is an action-oriented, feel-good picture that gets your heart racing. It certainly did mine in the closing sequence which departed from the truth significantly, I hear. I understand the disguised diplomats just sailed through the airport in Iran without a hitch, but that would have made for a boring ending.

Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

There has been some movement among Oscar pundits that Emmanuelle Riva might be a surprise winner if Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence split the vote, but Lawrence will probably edge it out since she gets to cry and is American. Chastain had only that one tear at the end.

Supporting Actor: Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables

Director: Steve Spielberg, Lincoln

Spielberg will probably be furious that his third directing Oscar was won by default because Affleck was overlooked.

Adapted Screenplay: Argo

I really want it to be Tony Kushner for Lincoln, but I have a bad feeling the Argo faction is going to want to give this category to them so it won't be the only Best Picture winner to lose in every other major category.

Original Screenplay: Django Unchained

This is a tough one because the front runners are both potentially dangerous for Hollywood--Zero Dark Thirty for torture and Django for excessive violence. But I think violence will win over torture and it is an amazing piece of work, See my earlier blogpost on Django and the American Culture of Violence.

Animated Feature: Wreck-It Ralph.

Brave won the Golden Globe, Frankenweenie got most of the critics' awards, and one the buzz is for Wreck-It Ralph, maybe because it opened the most recently.

Foreign-Language Feature: Amour

Cinematography: Life of Pi

Film Editing: Argo

Original Score: Life of Pi

Original Song: Skyfall

Documentary Feature: Searching for Sugarman

I have a funny feeling about this one. Sugarman is the film everyone is talking about thanks to a 60 Minutes piece on the subject--an obscure musician living in poverty in Detroit becomes a celebrity in South Africa through his records--and it's the favorite to win. But I think The Gatekeepers, a shattering, very straightforward doc on the heads of Shin Bat, the Israeli intelligence agency, might edge past and win. I base this on past similar winners such as The Fog of War defeating flashier nominees. But I'll still go with Sugarman.

Art Direction: Anna Karenina

Costume Design: Anna Karenina

Makeup: The Hobbit

Sound Editing: Argo

Sound Mixing: Les Miserables

Visual Effects: Life of Pi

Animated Short: Paperman

My personal favorite is Head Over Heels, but this Disney black and white charmer is more conventional.

Documentary Short: Open Heart

This one is about Sudanese children getting heart surgery. That trumps senior citizens in Florida (Kings Point), poor people collecting cans in NYC (Redemption), women with cancer at a beauty salon (Mondays at Racine's), and a young homeless girl trying to be an artist (Innocente).

Live-Action Short: Curfew

I liked Buzkashi Boys best, but Curfew is cuter.

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