Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Showdown: Oscars Edition

It’s Oscar night, baby! Super Bowl Sunday for the other (more interesting) half. So this week's Sunday Showdown is my Academy Award predictions.

For the first time since probably 1994 (that bloody showdown of a year between Shawshank Redemption and Pulp Fiction, but in which Forrest Gump actually won), I have seen all the Best Picture Nominations before the Oscars aired.  I have some bets going with some of my best movie buddies to see who can best predict the winners. Here are my predictions:

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

Who I think will win:  Lincoln.   Argo.   Lincoln
Who actually won: Argo

Commentary: Obviously, I’m torn. I liked Argo a lot. Truly. It is my personal favorite in terms of watchability, and entertainment value – plus a fabulous, incredible story. But I think there is a lot of hype around Argo only because Ben Affleck’s snub for Best Director. If Argo wins, I won’t be sad. But I think Lincoln will take home the top honor.

Beasts of the Southern Wild and Life of Pi I think both have a chance due to their fanciful nature and just excellent story-telling. But I don’t think it’s enough. Les Mis… well, the movie has the same problem the on-stage musical does: it drags terribly in the second half.

As for Inglorious Basterds: Slavery Edition, I mean, Django Unchained… not a chance. Zero Dark Thirty and Silver Linings Playbook were both good, but not great. Amour… [pause and hold 5,4,3,2,1]… no.

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

Who I think will win: Ang Lee
Who actually won: Ang Lee

What? I gave my Best Picture vote to Lincoln and don’t give the Director vote to Spielberg? Uh, yeah. Have you seen Life of Pi? It’s a-maz-ing. It has every film-making trick in the book, plus the book and the kitchen sink thrown in. I don’t think Pi will win best picture, but here’s the thing: without Daniel Day Lewis, I don’t think Lincoln would’ve had any chance at all.

And let’s face it, we all know who the big winner is here, no matter who takes home the statue: Ben Affleck. Being snubbed by the Academy may have been the best thing that has ever happened for his directing career.

So basically, I’m hedging my bets a little: If Argo does win Best Pic, then I definitely think Ang Lee will win, since Ben Affleck isn’t a possibility. If Lincoln wins then I think it’s a 50/50 chance between Spielberg and Ang Lee.

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

Who I think will win: Daniel Day Lewis 
Who actually won: Daniel Day Lewis (duh)

I didn’t get to see the Master or Flight – heard wonderful things about the acting in both. But seriously, Daniel Day Lewis in Lincoln was masterful.

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

Who I think will win: Emmanuelle Riva
Who actually won: Jennifer Lawrence

Who I really want to win: Quvenzhane Wallis.  That (6-year-old at the time) child was a force to be reckoned with in Beasts of the Southern Wild. Loved her.  But Riva was heartbreaking in Amour as a dying woman (although I didn’t like the movie itself, I can still appreciate her fabulous performance).

Everybody loves Jennifer Lawrence, and I do too, but I don’t think this is the win for her. Could be wrong. (Note: I was wrong)

There’s a lot of talk about Jessica Chastain, but she did absolutely nothing for me in Zero Dark Thirty. No growth in character, no maturing, no nothing. Her tears at the end didn’t even seem legit to me. And unfortunately, I didn’t get to see Naomi Watts in The Impossible.  

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

Who I think will win: Robert De Niro
Who actually won: Christoph Waltz

Tough call. All are previous Academy Award winners.  I wasn’t able to see The Master, but loved everybody in everything else.

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

Who I think will win: Anne Hathaway
Who actually won: Anne Hathaway

Why disagree with 99.9 of the known universe?

So we’ll see how my predictions hold up in just a few hours.  Update: Ended up being 3 for 6. Shoulda gone with Argo, darn it. 

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