Oscar Predictions: Round 2

Academy Award winner Ben Affleck directs Argo

Oscar predictions: round two. Let’s see what has happened since round one: Argo opened (it drew raves), Lincoln had a special sneak peek (it drew raves), Skyfall premiered (it drew raves), and the new trailer debuted for the insanely good-looking Kathryn Bigelow movie Zero Dark Thirty (it drew raves). Put another way, one movie continued its good run after the festival circuit, one movie showed that it’s as good on film as it is on paper, and one movie turned out significantly better than the last installment of its franchise. All three have found some detractors, but they seem to have found a solid fan base. Argo seems like the only real safe bet at this point. Most of the naysayers are Canadian (i.e.: not Oscar voters) and the film is performing well at the box office and is generally being received as a well-made crowd-pleaser. Argo is good, old-fashioned Hollywood and we know that Oscar loves that.

My thoughts on Lincoln haven’t changed much since round one, although I’ve added Tommy Lee Jones to the list since his performance seems to be the most widely appreciated part of the film, even amongst those who very less enthusiastic about Lincoln itself. (I struck out Dwight Henry.) I still haven’t put Spielberg on the Best Director list even though Lincoln seems like a safe bet for Best Picture. He’ll be there if Les Mis tanks, but I think that Ben Affleck is a pretty sure thing, and David O. Russell may be for Silver Linings Playbook. Likewise, I think that PTA and The Master have a very strong fan base: it might not be that big, but I assume there are enough number one votes to keep it going all year long, regardless of voters’ taste for carrots. On the other hand, there is nothing but a hunch and two-minutes-and-fifteen-seconds of marketing greatness to put Kathryn Bigelow in the fifth director’s seat. However, Bigelow has consistently shown that she has more balls than any man does in Hollywood; moreover, I think that a movie about the hunt for Bin Laden will resonate strongly this year as opposed to the days of yore in Lincoln. This year’s Oscar race could come down to drones versus horses and bayonets.
Zero Dark Thirty

Best Director is the one category I toiled with most. You’ll notice that my Best Picture predictions haven’t changed. I’m still skeptical on Skyfall as an Oscar nominee. I’m sure it will be great, but many critics called Casino Royale “the best Bond film ever” back in 2006 and it was shut out of the Oscars in a much weaker year. 2006, however, was when Best Picture remained firmly capped at five nominees. There’s also the observation that The Academy rarely warms to Bond film outside of the odd technical nomination—you’d have to look all the way back to Sheena Easton’s theme from 1981’s For Your Eyes Only to find a Bond nominee—but the franchise has rarely warranted anything worthy of an Oscar outside of technical work and songs. (I say this as a true fan of the series.) Skyfall, however, could land at least two nominations. One is the title song by Adele, which could work itself into the annual farce called Best Original Song. Secondly, the reviews for the film consistently single out Judi Dench’s performance as M and a recent article by The Telegraph notes that the producers of Skyfall will be campaigning for a nomination. Dench could be in the mix since Best Supporting Actress is easily the thinnest category this year, aside from Helen Hunt and Amy Adams, who seem like safe bets. Lastly, Dench also has fans from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which could add to her favour.
Judi Dench in Skyfall
Dench probably won’t land a nomination for Best Actress for Marigold, though, since the category has some strong leading ladies. I still find it crazy how many writers call this a weak field. The category is so competitive, actually, that I’ve been fretting over which of my TIFF favourites to dump for Quvenzhané Wallis. I still think that Hushpuppy will be relegated to awards for breakthrough/young performer, but she was apparently quite the charmer at the Hollywood Film Awards, so you never know if folks will let her move up from the kids’ table. I, however, think that another of this year’s breakthroughs will hold on in Hushpuppy’s stead. The response to Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s performance in Smashed has been strong despite the film’s somewhat disappointing box office, so I’ve kept the nominees as is. Emayatzi Cornealdi has gained more fans of Middle of Nowhere since the film’s festival run, but having seen Smashed and Middle of Nowhere back-to-back at TIFF, I just don’t see Winstead losing out to Cornealdi. Finally, I had placed Jessica Chastain as a predicted nominee for Zero Dark Thirty after this week’s “To Lead or Not to Lead” write-up, but it was then announced that she, too, has a lead role. I almost put her in the top five for Best Actress. Almost, so maybe next time.

For this time, however, there are a few changes. Nothing major, aside from some switches here and there. I removed Frances Ha from actress and screenplay since the film has noved to a 2013 release. I’ve also capped my alternates at five, but feel free to add some in the comments! The nominees from round one have been archived with the write-up that began the nominations. As I was then, I’m still holding out for Anna Karenina in hopes that enough intelligent people respond to the film. If they don’t we deserve all the crap Hollywood throws at us!

Best Picture
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty
Alt: Amour, The Hobbit, The Sessions, Skyfall

Best Director
Ben Affleck, Argo
Paul Thomas Anderson, The Master
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
 Tom Hooper, Les Misérables
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
 Alt: Michael Haneke, Amour, Ang Lee, Life of Pi; Steven Spielberg, Lincoln

Best Actor
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Denzel Washington, Flight
Alt: Anthony Hopkins, Hitchcock; Bill Murray, Hyde Park on Hudson; Omar Sy, TheIntouchables

Best Actress
Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone
Keira Knightley, Anna Karenina
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Maggie Smith, Quartet
Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Smashed
Alt: Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty; Emayatzi Cornealdi, Middle of Nowhere, Ann Dowd, Compliance; Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Naomi Watts, The Impossible

Best Supporting Actor
Robert DeNiro, Silver Linings Playbook
Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Jude Law, Anna Karenina
Alt: Alan Arkin, Argo; Javier Bardem, Skyfall; Billy Connolly, Quartet; Dwight Henry, Beasts of the Southern Wild; Ezra Miller, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, The Master
Judi Dench, Skyfall,
 Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Alt: Helena Bonham Carter, Great Expectations, Pauline Collins Quartet; Ann Dowd, Compliance; Sally Field, Lincoln

Best Original Screenplay
Amour, Michael Haneke
Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino
The Master, Paul Thomas Anderson
Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola 
Zero Dark Thirty, Mark Boal
Alt: Looper, Rian Johnson; Middle of Nowhere, Ava DuVernay; This is 40, Judd Apatow

Best Adapted Screenplay
Anna Karenina, Tom Stoppard
Argo, Chris Terrio
Lincoln, Tony Kushner
Silver Linings Playbook, David O. Russell
Alt: Beasts of the Southern Wild, Benh Zeitlan & Lucy Alibar; Life of Pi, David Magee; The Sessions, Ben Lewis

Best Cinematography
Les Misérables, Danny Cohen
Life of Pi, Claudio Miranda
Lincoln, Janusz Kaminski
Zero Dark Thirty, Grieg Fraser
Alt: Anna Karenina, Seamus McGarvey, The Dark Knight Rises, Wally Pfister; The Master, Mihai Malaimare Jr.; Skyfall, Roger Deakins

Best Production Design
Anna Karenina, Sarah Greenwood
Les Misérables, Eve Stewart
Lincoln, Rick Carter
Moonrise Kingdom, Adam Stockhausen
Prometheus, Arthur Max
Alt: Django Unchained, The Hobbit, Great Expectations

Best Costumes
Anna Karenina, Jacqueline Durran
Django Unchained, Sharen Davis
Great Expectations, Beatrix Pasztor
Les Misérables, Paco Delgado
Lincoln, Joanna Johnston
Alt: Snow White and the Hunstman, The Hobbit,

Best Editing
Argo, William Goldenberg
Lincoln, Michael Kahn
Les Misérables, Chris Dickens
Silver Linings Playbook, Jay Cassidy
Skyfall, Stuart Baird
Alt: Beasts of the Southern Wild, Crockett Doob and Affonso Gonçalves; The Hunger Games, Stephen Mirrione, Juliette Welfling; Looper, Bob Ducsay; Zero Dark Thirty, William Goldenberg

Best Score
Anna Karenina, Dario Marianelli
The Dark Knight Rises, Hans Zimmer
Life of Pi, Mychael Danna
Lincoln, John Williams
Moonrise Kingdom, Alexandre Desplat
Alt: Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Master, Johnny Greenwood

Best Foreign Language Film
Amour – Austria
Blancanieves – Spain
Fill the Void - Israel
Lore – Australia
Rebelle – Canada
Alt: The Intouchables (France), Pieta (South Korea)

Best Documentary
The Act of Killing
Central Park Five
How to Survive a Plague
The Queen of Versailles
Alt: Detropia, Marley, Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God

Best Hair and Make-up
Cloud Atlas
The Hobbit

Best Visual Effects
Cloud Atlas
The Hobbit
Life of Pi
Alt: The Dark Knight Rises, The Impossible

Best Animated Feature
The Rabbi's Cat
 Rise of the Guardians
Alt: Le tableau

Best Song
Awaiting list

Best Animated Short
Awaiting shortlist

Best Live Action Short
Awaiting shortlist

Best Documentary Short
Are there any nominees you think could/should enter the race?