Three Oscar Races: Who Will Win?
With Oscar nominations officially out on the street, the floodgates have opened for speculation of all caliber on the subject. Logically, as the resident movie nerd here at WPTS, I feel obligated to throw my two cents (“sense”, “too-sense”, oh whatever) into the ring. With a system as radically politicized as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who can really resist? 2012 was such a great year in the world of film that I feel any awards show this year is going to have a difficult time giving everyone their due acknowledgement. Taking that into account, I’ll try to mention some performances and such here that the Academy may have overlooked. I’ll quickly gloss over the three most publicized awards of the ceremony…
…starting with the race for Best Picture:
• Beasts of the Southern Wild
• Silver Linings Playbook
• Les Miserables
• Life of Pi
• Django Unchained
• Zero Dark Thirty
More or less, this selection is about what I expected. There are, perhaps, a few films I would like to have seen present in this category, but as far as Academy standards go, this is…well…pretty much standard. It’s a change of normal pace to have a foreign film like Amour nominated for Best Picture. Likewise for such an independent film like Beasts of the Southern Wild. As far as the other seven dramas go, no real surprises. A nomination for a genre film like Looper or Skyfall would have been cool, but rarely does something like that happen.
I’m going to take a gamble here and say that Silver Linings Playbook goes home with the trophy. Playbook is one of those movies where you become totally invested in the characters and story – something that might reward it in the Best Adapted Screenplay category as well. I’d like to go with Lincoln, but (as stated in my review) beyond the great acting performances in the film; I don’t think it lives up to the hype. There’s always a chance that an underdog like Argo, Django Unchained (my personal favorite film of the year [Editor’s note: although our news director disagrees strongly]), or even Zero Dark Thirty could spoil; but older Academy voters are more inclined to vote for a “safe” film.
On to Best Actor:
• Daniel Day Lewis, Lincoln
• Denzel Washington, Flight
• Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
• Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
• Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Basically a direct translation of the Best Picture race; the only additions here are Denzel Washington and Joaquin Phoenix. I would have liked to see a nomination for Jaime Foxx for his titular performance in Django, or perhaps even a nod to John Hawkes in The Sessions. However, the category is only five nominees long, so obviously there’s going to be concessions. Even with all five nominees giving strong performances in their respective films, I see the competition coming down to two names: Bradley Cooper and Daniel Day-Lewis.
• Naomi Watts, The Impossible
• Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
• Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
• Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
• Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
The Best Actress category this year boasts some interesting landmarks: both the oldest actress ever (Emmanuelle Riva, 85) and the youngest actress ever (Quvenzhané Wallis, 9) are nominated for awards. As good as her piece may have been, I don’t think I’m totally convinced that Quvenzhané Wallis deserves a nomination at such a young age. It would have been nice to see her slot go to a more seasoned actress (maybe Emma Watson for the locally-filmed Perks of Being a Wallflower?).
With striking performances by the females here, it’s difficult to come up with a clear frontrunner. Of late, Jessica Chastain has been garnering praise for her portrayal of a terrorist-hunting CIA analyst in Zero Dark Thirty. Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss Everdeen to most) has also been getting some attention for her role in Silver Linings Playbook as a widow with PTSD. The category appears to be a showdown between those two young actresses, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see another candidate step up and grab a statue.
Admittedly, these are only three categories of the entire awards. The film industry’s biggest night of the year is sure to be full of surprises and upsets as usual. You can catch the ceremony itself when it hits televisions on February 24th.