February 23, 2013


The grand finale of Award Season 2012-13 is tomorrow night! Here’s look at nominees of the 85th annual Academy Awards, as I pick out the most likely winners, based on how the Academy works, as observed over the last decade or so.

Here is a poster for the 85th Academy Awards that I have made. 
I thought I’d share it with you.
For the first time in years, this year, I have managed to watch all the films that have been nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, as well as most of the films nominated in the other categories as well (except for animation, documentary, short film, documentary short, short animation and foreign language). Although, among the foreign language films, one can safely say that Amour will win, because it’s the only nominee nominated for Best Picture as well. The competition this year is fierce, and the race for the Oscars has been more exciting than it has been in recent years. There weren’t many surprises among the nominations this year, except for maybe a category or two. For instance, I guess there just wasn’t enough room in the directing category for all likely contenders this year. Therefore, unfortunately, people like Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty), Ben Affleck (Argo), Tom Hooper (Les Misérables) and Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained) were not nominated.

Usually, the directing nominees (five in number) divide the list of Best Picture nominees into those contenders more likely to win, and those that’ll have to make do with simply being nominated. For at least the last fifteen years, there hasn’t been even one Best Picture winner that hasn’t been nominated for directing as well. And from among the last fifteen Best Picture winners, eleven have also won the Oscar for directing. Moreover, the last time that a film won Best Picture without even being nominated for directing was back in 1990, when Driving Miss Daisy won. (Interestingly, that was also the year that Daniel Day-Lewis—the most likely best actor winner this year—won his first Academy Award for My Left Foot.) Now, twenty-three years later, there’s Argo, a definite frontrunner for Best Picture, which hasn’t been nominated for directing. So the question is: is it going to be that year, when a film beats the odds and becomes an exception to the general trend? I think it very well could! Argo won the Golden Globe for Best Picture – Drama, the Critics’ Choice and the BAFTA for Best Picture, the Screen Actors Guild for Best Ensemble, and the equivalent top prizes at all the other guild awards—Producers, Directors, Writers… Now that certainly does put Argo right ahead in the race for the big prize at the Oscars. Yet, one can’t be completely sure.

Lincoln, which was the frontrunner, and the one that everyone thought would win, before Argo swept all the other awards this season, could still win. It’s a powerful film about one of America’s most celebrated presidents, a film by Steven Spielberg, the film with the maximum number of nominations (twelve), and it’s the frontrunner that has been nominated for directing. And that shows that in many ways, the odds are still in its favor. And if the last three years offer any indication, it still will win. The Hurt Locker won in 2010, when everyone thought it would be Avatar. The King’s Speech won in 2011, when everyone thought it would be The Social Network. And in 2012, a major frontrunner—The Descendants was beaten by The Artist. Popular belief didn’t stand a chance. So this year, I’m still putting my money on Lincoln.

And here are all my predictions for Hollywood’s biggest night…

Best Picture
Most likely to win: Lincoln
Could win: Argo
Should win: Lincoln

Actor in a Leading Role
Daniel Day-Lewis was outstanding in every way and this is probably the easiest prediction this year. However, if it wasn’t for Day-Lewis’ portrayal of Lincoln being in the race, I’d have bet on Jackman, and he would deserve it.
Most likely to win: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Could win: Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables
Should win: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

Actress in a Leading Role
Jennifer Lawrence has emerged as a frontrunner over the award season, even stronger than another frontrunner Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty). However, Emanuelle Riva played the role of a paralyzed woman so convincingly that I’ll be surprised if she doesn’t win. And I hope she attends the Oscars tomorrow. It will be her eighty-sixth birthday!
Most likely to win: Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Could win: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Should win: Emmanuelle Riva, Amour

Actor in a Supporting Role
Here’s a category in which all the nominees have won before. I would say it’ll go to Christoph Waltz, but Tommy Lee Jones does stand a strong chance.
Most likely to win: Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Could win: Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Should win: Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

Actress in a Supporting Role
I was torn between Anne Hathaway and Sally Field, but ultimately, I decided that it should be Hathaway, and not just because she’s an award season favorite, like Daniel Day-Lewis, this year.
Most likely to win: Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
Could win: Sally Field, Lincoln
Should win: Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables

This is another predictable category, but Lincoln is the frontrunner and Spielberg, most deserving.
Most likely to win: Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Could win: Ang Lee, Life Of Pi
Should win: Steven Spielberg, Lincoln

Screenplay – Adapted Screenplay
I would be surprised if Lincoln doesn’t win this one as well, but I would be happy to see Silver Linings Playbook getting recognized for its brilliant writing.
Most likely to win: Tony Kushner, Lincoln
Could win: Chris Terrio, Argo
Should win: David O Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

Screenplay – Original Screenplay
I really want Django Unchained to win this one, and even though Amour was well written, I’d say that Django… would have been a more challenging screenplay to execute, and it was executed perfectly.
Most likely to win: Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
Could win: Michael Haneke, Amour
Should win: Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained

Film Editing
Argo’s thrill and excitement depended heavily on snappy and effective editing, and it achieved just the right cuts required, even though Zero Dark Thirty came close.
Most likely to win: Argo
Could win: Zero Dark Thirty
Should win: Argo

Sound Editing
I’m no expert, but with all the special effects that Life Of Pi was made of, the sound editing was outstanding and contributed towards everything coming across as real (as a real tiger).
Most likely to win: Life Of Pi
Could win: Skyfall
Should win: Life Of Pi

Sound Mixing
I’d say Life Of Pi would deserve this one too, but I hope Les Misérables gets it for its groundbreaking song recording, with fabulous results.
Most likely to win: Les Misérables
Could win: Life Of Pi
Should win: Les Misérables

Music – Original Score
This is a tough category. Life Of Pi won at the Golden Globes, but I think the Academy will go in a different direction. I hope Alexandre Desplat wins it for Argo. His soundtrack was so varied and exciting.
Most likely to win: Lincoln
Could win: Skyfall
Should win: Argo

Music – Original Song
It would be nice to see the delightful number, performed by Norah Jones, from Ted win; however, I think in this category, the Academy will agree with the HFPA and give it to ‘Skyfall’.
Most likely to win: ‘Skyfall’ from Skyfall
Could win: ‘Everybody Needs A Best Friend’ from Ted
Should win: ‘Skyfall’ from Skyfall

Again, a key element of Life Of Pi, which the cinematographers got just right. Lincoln comes very close.
Most likely to win: Life Of Pi
Could win: Lincoln
Should win: Life Of Pi

Visual Effects
It would be a huge shocker if Life Of Pi doesn’t win this one, considering how brilliant it was as a technical masterpiece of filmmaking.
Most likely to win: Life Of Pi
Could win: NA
Should win: Life Of Pi

Production Design
I think that Les Misérables should win this one, but Lincoln is a more likely contender. Life Of Pi is strong as well.
Most likely to win: Lincoln
Could win: Life Of Pi
Should win: Les Misérables

Costume Design
The costumes were probably the best thing about Anna Karenina, and it should win here for sure.
Most likely to win: Anna Karenina
Could win: Les Misérables
Should Win: Anna Karenina

Make-Up and Hairstyling
I would be happy to see Les Misérables win, especially because of Helena Bonham Carter and Hugh Jackman’s make-up and hair, but I think Hitchcock deserves it for how the make-up artists transformed Anthony Hopkins into Alfred Hitchcock.
Most likely to win: Les Misérables
Could win: The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey
Should Win: Hitchcock

So there you have it! I’m prepared for Hollywood’s biggest night with my personal ballot sheet, to tick off my correct predictions. Are you?

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