There is something special about the Academy Awards. The glitz and glamour of the event, along with the history of the medium, make each Oscar ceremony stand out. For the first time since I started following the award circuit in 2009, I was able to see all the Best Picture nominees before the big day. And for the first time I reviewed the films on this site and can now make sound predictions. Read on to see who I think will take home Oscar tonight.
Best Supporting Actress
Nominees: Jackie Weaver Silver Linnings Playbook. Anne Hathaway Les Miserables, Helen Hunt The Sessions, Sally Field Lincoln, Amy Adams The Master.
Winner: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables.
I’ll start with an easy one, Anne Hathaway’s stole the show in Les Miserables and will easily win this award. Her rendition of I Dreamed a Dream, in one long take with real tears, won over everyone, including me. The other performances were all good (although I haven’t seen The Sessions), but Sally Field is the only contender to Hathaway. This race isn’t all that close.
Nominees: Phillip Seymour-Hoffman The Master, Robert De Niro Silver Linnings Playbook, Christoph Waltz Django Unchained, Alan Arkin Argo, Tommy Lee Jones Lincoln.
Winner: Chrisoph Waltz, Django Unchained
This is the hardest category to pick, only because every nominee has won an Oscar before and they all were stars in very different roles. But I am choosing Waltz because I feel his role was the most difficult and entertaining. As a German bounty hunter in Django Unchained, Waltz’s quick tongue brought Quentin Tarantino’s work to life. He was always the smartest man in the room and his deadpan humour stole the show.
I really didn’t like Hoffman in The Master, mostly because I couldn’t buy how persuasive and crazy his character was. If any of the others win instead of Waltz, I’ll be happy though. They all were both funny and dramatic at the right times, which is what actors in this category need to do.
Winner: Jennifer Lawerence, Silver Linnings Playbook.
I loved Silver Linnings Playbook (it’s the only Best Picture nominee I’ve seen twice) and a big reason for that is Lawerence’s performance. Watching her character open up from a troubled widow to a confident dancer is amazing. At only 22 years of age, Lawerence dominates the screen, even with veteran actors like Jackie Weaver and Robert De Niro there too. This is already Lawerence’s second nomination and after her win here, we should expect even more amazing things from her in the years to come.
Riva and Wallis are interesting nominees as they are the oldest and youngest (85 and nine respectively) nominees in the history of the category. I didn’t see The Impossible so I can’t pick Watts. And Chastain has a very good chance of winning. Her turn in Zero Dark Thirty was very special, but the movie’s torture controversy will likely cost her the prize.
Nominees: Daniel Day-Lewis Lincoln, Bradley Cooper Silver Linnings Playbook, Hugh Jackman Les Miserables, Denzel Washington Flight, Joaquin Phoenix The Master.
This is another category that is pretty easy to pick. Day-Lewis was completely absorbed in the role of the famous president and he gives the Academy the perfect opportunity to give a president portrayal the top prize. This will be Day-Lewis’s third win, a record, and it is becoming a no contest whenever he is nominated.
Which is really too bad for the other four. I haven’t seen Flight, but people seem to think Washington has the next best chance of winning. Cooper’s performance was amazing as a man with bi-polar and was extra special coming from someone known for the Hangover series. Jackman and Phoenix were also stars but neither were anywhere near as good as Day-Lewis.
Nominees: Steven Spielberg Lincoln, Michael Haneke Amour, Benh Zeitlin Beasts of the Southern Wild, Ang Lee Life of Pi, David O. Russell Silver Linnings Playbook.
Winner: Steven Spielberg Lincoln
Spielberg may be known for his blockbusters, but Lincoln is a special movie. Besides the ending (which I complained about in my review) Spielberg has collected an amazing cast and told a story about a very different political landscape. Even though I am Canadian, American politics and the election were big stories in 2012 here too. And Spielberg captures that spirit in his movie while telling the story of the ending of the Civil War and the abolishing of slavery, all through dialogue. Unlike his other films, there is almost no action, with the whole thing playing out like a stage play. The words carry the characters and the story and Spielberg captures it all perfectly.
This is one of the more controversial categories this year and part of the reason why having so many Best Picture nominees is a bad idea. Four directors (Tom Hooper, Kathryn Bigelow, Quentin Tarantino and Ben Affleck) all have movies nominated for Best Picture and don’t have nominations for best director. The bigger problem is I would have picked any of the four to win, especially Affleck.
Out of the other four actually nominated, Lee has a good chance of winning because his film was so artistic. But then again, so was James Cameron’s Avatar but that didn’t result in a win. Russell has a better chance at winning for his funny script while Haneke and Zeitlin directed movies that I liked but had a very small audience.
Nominees: Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Silver Linnings Playbook, Les Miserables, Zero Dark Thirty, Argo, Life of Pi, Lincoln
For the first time since 1989’s Driving Miss Daisy, a film that won’t win Best Director is going to win Best Picture. After Skyfall (whose snub is a story on its own) Argo was my second favourite movie of 2012 and my favourite of the nominees. It has everything I like about movies (action, comedy, a great script and an interesting plot) and also has everything the Academy likes (Alan Arkin, it’s about movies and America is the hero). When Affleck was snubbed for Best Director, the ensuing controversy caused every other award show to give Argo the top prize. And considering most of those people (the Screen Actors, Directors and Producers guilds) are also members of the Academy, their votes are likely to continue right to the top prize.
But what makes 2012 special, as I said at the beginning, is how many good movies there were. Any of the nominees were good enough to win and were favoured to win at one point or another. Argo only pulled away once it started winning every top prize leading up to the Oscars.
Zero Dark Thirty is another great war movie, but controversy about torture angered some people. Life of Pi was an artistic masterpiece, Amour was a simple movie about love set almost entirely in one apartment. Beasts of the Southern Wild was an Indie filmmakers first feature and starred a young child whose career is just starting. Django Unchained and Les Miserables were both period pieces interposed with unique and creative elements. Sliver Linnings Playbook drew attention to mental health issues in a very funny but touching way. And Lincoln told the story of a president struggling with power just as the current president starts his second term. Any of these movies could win the top prize and even when only one is crowned, 2012 will be remembered for all the amazing movies it produced.
The Oscars air at 8:30 pm EST on ABC and CTV with host Seth MacFarlane and a huge group of presenters and performers.