Oscars turns 85! and there’s a big party!

Roll out the red carpet the most important little golden man approaches.  The day when I fume at the fact that Rajeev Masand gets to ask the most important questions to some of the most beautiful and talented women in the world – “who are you wearing!?” and he probably doesn’t know his Elli Saab from Lanvin! But besides the pageantry that is the pre-awards red-carpet the day is also special because the best in the business are awarded the honor by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts (dubbed the Oscars)

Love them or Hate them over 1 billion people tune in to watch the Oscars and despite the number holding steady and growing substantially there is much brouhaha being made about how Oscar Awards are losing audience and relevance.  And various arguments were made that a trilogy like Nolan’s Batman would’ve brought in the required audience had It been nominated and awarded a few statuettes. SURPRISE no nominations for The Dark Knight Rises this year! Zilch! But not to worry Snow White and the Huntsman has got 2 Nominations and it will bring in some of the twi-hards.

Now that I have that out of my system lets look at the nominations and I’ll share my thoughts and predictions on who should win and who might win and would love to hear your take on the same!

Best Supporting Actress
Sally Field (Lincoln)
Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)
Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook)
Helen Hunt (The Sessions)
Amy Adams (The Master)

For past several years this has been the most fiercely fought category with some standout performances which have actually stolen the show.  In my opinion Adams was amazing in The Master and showed brilliant range matching PSH step for step but this is a lock for Anne Hathaway. It is an Oscar moment waiting to happen – Hathaway’s mom played Fantine on Broadway and now she reprises the role on the silver screen and delivers one the most powerful performances singing through tears that breaks your heart.

Who Should Win: Anne Hathaway – the world might hate her over-eagerness but I love her!
Who will Win: Anne Hathaway – seriously watch her sing “I dreamed a dream”. You can pretty much walk out of the movie after that song.

Best Supporting Actor
Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained)
Phillip Seymour Hoffman (The Master)
Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook)
Alan Arkin (Argo)
Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)

A usually un-inspiring category has suddenly turned into the most talented one – PSH, De Niro (his best in years), Waltz and Tommy Lee Jones. All stellar in their own regard, and each of them delivering a performance which could easily win. A tough call

Who should Win: anyone but Alan Arkin
Who will Win: I’m tempted to say Tommy Lee Jones but with DDL it is easy to overlook Jones. And Waltz has been winning many leading up to this one. So I’m confused! But because I like Tarantino more than Spielberg I’m giving it to Waltz

Writing (Original Screenplay)
John Gatins (Flight)
Mark Boal (Zero Dark Thirty)
Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained)
Michael Haneke (Amour)
Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola (Moonrise Kingdom)

This took me by surprise – but I thought Zero Dark Thirty was Adapted from some Ex-Navy SEAL’s book.  But turns out Boal and Bigelow were working on the failed attempts at capturing Osama when the news broke that he was indeed killed and they realigned themselves and the outcome was Zero Dark Thirty. The only argument against ZD30 is Torture and Tarantino is the only real competition and his movies are more violent than both hurt locker and ZD30 put together.

Who Should Win: Mark Boal for Zero Dark Thirty
Who Will Win: Tarantino.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild)
Chris Terrio (Argo)
Tony Kushner (Lincoln)
David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook)
David Magee (Life of Pi)

Argo and Life of Pi are favorite movies of the year but they are not backed by Weinstein.  Kushner is a well-respected playwright. An interesting category, which might eventually have a say in which movie takes home the best picture nod.

Who Should Win: Chris Terrio for Argo. The arguments that the end was exaggerated should be silenced by the fact that the story is adapted for dramatic effect!
Who Will Win: Russell for Silver Linings Playbook – the material while wonderful didn’t seem like it would’ve been difficult to adapt.

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

Deakins was the only thing I liked about Skyfall – especially the last scene where the house is blown up and the fire reflects off the face of Craig. But Miranda cannot be denied this prize. He created one of the most visually stunning movies of the past decade (which includes Avatar).

Who Should Win: Claudio Miranda
Who Will Win: Claudio Miranda

Production Design
Anna Karenina
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Misérables
Life of Pi

This is generally the domain of period or fantasy flicks and this year is no different.  I think this would be tossup between 19th century France vs. 19th century America.

Who Should Win: Lincoln
Who Will Win:  Lincoln

Film Editing
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

This also acts as a windsock for the final award and in that respect I think the editing should be a toss-up between Argo and Zero Dark Thirty.  Argo’s pacing was brilliant and the entertainment was edge of the seat. Supported by a brilliant script and screenplay ZD30 summarized the 10 year search in a compact and intense thriller.

Who Should Win: Argo
Who Will Win: Argo

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

I’m a huge Desplat and Newman fan and I loved Danna’s score for Life of Pi. Williams and Spielberg is a lethal combination most times.

Who Should Win: Mychael Danna
Who Will Win: It will be close but Thomas Newman might snag it.

Music (Original Song)
“Before My Time” from Chasing Ice
“Pi’s Lullaby” from Life of Pi
“Suddenly” from Les Miserables
“Everybody Needs a Best Friend” from Ted
“Skyfall” from Skyfall

My patriotic leanings (and love for Zara Zara ) aside I don’t think Bombay Jayashree is going to win. The reason is simple. ADELE ! I cannot wait for her to perform Skyfall live and then to gush over like an over grown school girl about how she won in front of all these famous people. I love her and each time I watch her I get the “one-of-us” feeling even though her talent is definitely not “one-of-us”.

Who Should Win: Adele
Who Will Win: Adele

Animated Feature Film
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Wreck-It Ralph

One of my favorite genres of movies! And despite pixar presence I don’t think Brave is going to win this one. Franekweenie saw the return of burton to his dark twisted humorous best. But Wreck-It Ralph should have this locked down. Brilliant from animation stand-point , a story that was entertaining and intelligent and Disney needs a win! Come on Disney!

Who Should Win: Wreck-It Ralph
Who Will Win: Wreck-It Ralph

Time for the big guns to roll out!  These are the four of the most coveted trophies being handed out.

Best Actress
Naomi Watts (The Impossible)
Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)
Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
Emmanuelle Riva (Amour)
Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild)

Naomi Watts shouldn’t even be on that list. I think Amour will take home the Best Foreign Language film easily. And the BAFTA outcome not withstanding I don’t think Riva will win this one. This is a 2 horse race between Chastain and Lawrence. I loved Lawrence and I think she is the future of Hollywood. She also has Harvey “The Hammer” Weinstein in her corner.  But Zero Dark Thirty was all about Jessica Chastain. If she is denied the honor then it is a shame. She was stellar! And to go from best sup as the bubbly blonde from The Help last year to ZD30’s Maya shows range that JLaw hasn’t shown yet.

Who Should Win: Jessica Chastain
Who Will Win: Jessica Chastain

Best Actor
Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
Denzel Washington (Flight)
Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables)
Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook)
Joaquin Phoenix (The Master)

When there is a Daniel Day Lewis movie coming out there shouldn’t even be nominations. He is quite simply one of the greatest living actors who goes to legendary lengths to get into the characters he portrays. His performance as Abraham Lincoln has everything the Academy loves, political biography, racial issues, foreign actor, and Daniel Day Lewis.  The others are remarkable performances in their own right but they are not Daniel Day Lewis.

Who Should Win: Daniel Day Lewis
Who Will Win: Daniel Day Lewis

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

Enough noise has already been made about Ben Affleck not being nominated and it is all justified. His was one of the best movies of the year and for him to not be nominated is nothing short of a crime. Of the ones nominated I’d happily let Lee have his second win for one of the most beautiful films of this year, that too a story which was proclaimed to be unfilmable.

Who Should Win: Ben Affleck.  Of the nominated it should be Ang Lee.
Who Will Win: David O Russell or Steven Spielberg.

Best Picture
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
Django Unchained

Notable absentees: The Dark Knight Rises. LOTR:ROTK was buried under awards for the end of the trilogy and while it was great and I don’t hate the fact that it won what it won I am miffed at the constant snub that Nolan gets for his work. And in my perfect utopian world Ben Affleck would go up on stage and announce “Oscars F*@K yourself”. But I doubt that it will happen.

My top five
Life of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty
Silver Linings Playbook
Django Unchained

Who Should Win: Argo
Who Will Win: Argo

So there you have It –my predictions for the big categories – there are costumes, make up , sound mixing/editing  which while add to the final tally don’t interest me too much. I’ll be cheering and hollering like a lunatic and probably weeping with joy when ADELE performs (Oscar brings out the drama in me – more than usual) so let me know what you thought of the year 2012 at the movies!  Personally while there were some highlights I found the overall year a little underwhelming with a lot of the most anticipated movies not living up to the expectations.  Here is a momentous 2013!