The Oscars

The Academy Awards! At this point, every conceivable opinion you could have about the Oscars has become gauche. Whether you’re genuinely enthusiastic, profoundly bored, or searingly cynical, you’ve got a pretty lame outlook on the event. It’s not your fault, it’s just the hand we’re all dealt. I’ve found that two things help make the show palatable: beer and mockery. And predictions!

For the past 9 years (!?), I’ve been “liveblogging” the Oscars. When I started this practice, blogging was still mildly hip and cool. Now the concept of a “liveblog” is hoary and lame. As such, who the hell knows what I’m going to do tonight. I will certainly update this post throughout the show, but I probably won’t do so as often as I have in the past. Or maybe I’ll take to twitter, like any sane person would do. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens, won’t we? If you’re interested, previous installments are here: [2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004]

In accordance with tradition, I’ll lay out my predictions for major awards right now:

  • Best Picture: Argo. I’m as surprised about this as you are. Like everyone else, I thought this was going to be a Lincoln year. But Argo has a lot of momentum from other awards shows, it’s got an actor as a director (always popular with the actor-heavy Academy), and finally, it’s a movie about how awesome Hollywood is and how Hollywood saved the world or something. Oh sure, Affleck wasn’t nominated for director, and those two awards usually track together, but it doesn’t seem like that rule is as relevant now that the best picture category can feature up to 10 movies. It stands to reason that these awards will eventually split at some point. If I were voting, I’d pick Zero Dark Thirty or Django Unchained, but they almost certainly won’t win (because torture bad and Tarantino’s movie uses the N word a lot). Also, Kathryn Bigelow already got her Oscar just a couple years ago, and even though Zero Dark Thirty is drastically better than The Hurt Locker, no one will see the need to reward it. Les Miserables is a musical, a genre which rarely wins, plus it seems to have a mixed response anyway. Amour will take the Best Foreign Language Film award. Everyone will see the nomination itself as reward enough for Beasts of the Southern Wild. Life of Pi seems divisive. Silver Linings Playbook is a wildcard, but I don’t think it will win. In the end, I think it still comes down to Argo or Lincoln.
  • Best Director: Steven Spielberg for Lincoln. This is basically by process of elimination. Benh Zeitlin is out because he’s so young that just the nomination is reward enough (as mentioned above). Michael Haneke will be getting the Best Foreign Language Film award, so no need consider him. David O. Russell seems more likely to take a Screenwriting award (a typical compensation move). Ang Lee took a lot of chances, but such ambitions are rarely recognized. Spielberg brought a revered historical figure to life. Plus, slavery is, like, really bad. And Spielberg managed to say that without excessive use of the N word, so I guess that makes his movie more palatable. Or something. I would be genuinely surprised if Spielberg doesn’t win (and given these nominees, he would probably be my pick too).
  • Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook. Perhaps a consolation prize for this movie, but also a recognition for the rising star of Lawrence, who has paid her dues (already been nominated once) and I suspect many will be pleased at her Hunger Games stardom as well. Oh, and she was also pretty good in the movie. There’s always that. I’d give Jessica Chastain fair odds as well, but she plays a torturing torturer (who totally tortures people), so maybe that will hold back a few votes (she would probably take mine, though it’s close). Quvenzhane Wallis is the youngest actress to ever be nominated, but I think the pattern with this film is that the nomination is enough. Emmanuelle Riva is the oldest actress to ever be nominated and she’s a genuine legend… but only in France, which won’t play here. Naomi Watts is in the slot normally reserved for Meryl Streep, a charismatic actress that everyone likes all the time, but such nominations rarely win.
  • Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln. No contest here. Everyone else should feel honored to lose to Day-Lewis, whose performance is legitimately amazing (if I were voting, he’d be my pick).
  • Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway for Les Miserables. Really just based on people liking her. Perhaps as an apology for pairing her with James Franco as an Oscar host or something like that. I didn’t see Les Mis, but from everything I’ve heard, she was the best part and that I Dreamed a Dream thing is catchy too. The only other nominee I could see winning is Amy Adams, who is another popular actress who should be rewarded sometime, but I think The Master might be a little too cerebral for the Academy.
  • Best Supporting Actor: Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln. Because who the hell knows with this category? Everyone in the category has already won an Oscar, so no one really cares here. That being said, I think the other main contender will be Robert De Niro, because he hasn’t done anything worthwhile in a long, long time, and maybe the Academy wants to throw him a bone as encouragement. But he has to go up against Tommy Lee Jones, who fought to abolish slavery, so yeah, tough call. In all honesty, anyone could take this home.
  • Best Original Screenplay: Django Unchained. I know I’ve been down on this movie’s chances because of Tarantino’s usage of the N word, which theoretically should be most attributable to the script, but this is a really tough category to pick. Mark Boal’s script would have a better chance if it didn’t endorse torture (which it doesn’t, but that’s the perception). Amour will get the Best Foreign Language Oscar. I’m surprise Flight was even nominated. Moonrise Kingdom is actually an interesting Dark Horse nomination here, as maybe the Academy will seek to reward Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola because they snubbed them in all the other categories (seriously, what’s up with that?)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay: Silver Linings Playbook. Consolation prize for David O. Russell. On the other hand, if Argo has a good night, it could snap this one right up.
  • Editing: Argo. Even if it doesn’t take best picture, it will probably still rack up some of these technical awards.
  • Cinematography: Skyfall. Definitely not the conventional pick here (which is probably Life of Pi), but I’m pulling for a career consolation prize for Roger Deakins, who has been nominated 10 times without a win.
  • Visual Effects: Life of Pi. Though there’s also a strong contender in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, I’ll chalk some lost votes up to the whole 48fps thing.
  • Makeup: Les Miserables
  • Costumes: Les Miserables
  • Musical Score: Argo
  • Best Song: Skyfall. I never realized that this is actually Best Original Song, which explains why I Dreamed a Dream wasn’t nominated (it would have probably killed if it was). As it is, I’ll just go with Adele, as everyone seems to like her.
  • Best Animated Film: Frankenweenie. A tough category to pick this year. Normally you just look for the Pixar film, but Brave has not fared so well, and the category is actually pretty strong this year. I’m betting on Burton, but I wouldn’t be surprised if any of the other nominees won…
  • Best Foreign Language Film: Amour. Seems like a lock.
  • Best Documentary: Searching for Sugar Man. This is a notoriously difficult category to predict. Supposedly the rules for who can vote on this category were broadened this year, so that puts another spin on things. Still, Sugar Man has momentum, and it’s a feel-good doc, which sometimes wins out over more “important” docs….

So there are my picks. I’ll be back later tonight, though I think I’m going to be mostly just tweeting or something. Who knows? Will post an update here either way.

Update 7:30 pm: It looks like Twitter will work for this, so I’m just going to insert a twitter widget here. Feel free to leave a comment here or @ me on twitter…

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