My prediction on the 85th Annual Academy Awards

We have had some unexpected reversals during the Oscar season of this year. We thought “Argo” would be the Best Picture winner around last October, and then “Zero Dark Thirty” suddenly got a strong buzz in last December while “Lincoln” was steadily gaining its momentum. And then “Zero Dark Thirty” was suddenly attacked by the heavy criticisms on its depiction of enhanced interrogation technique, and, when the Oscar nominations were announced, “Lincoln” got 12 nominations including Best Picture and Best Director while, surprise, other strong contenders like “Argo”, “Zero Dark Thirty”, “Django Unchained”, and “Les Misérables were not nominated for Best Director. So it looked like “Lincoln” would be the winner for a while, but, what do you know, “Argo” stroke back with its unstoppable parade of victories at the major award ceremonies and it seems none of its rivals can stop it at this point.

But there is always the possibility of surprise at the ceremony, and the same thing can be said about the other several categories besides Best Picture. As I said before, my prediction will not be very correct, but it is always fun to talk about who will win or who should win before our fun is dissipated with the final result, so let’s have some fun when we are waiting for the ceremony, folks

Small_argo03Best Motion Picture of the Year
Amour (2012): Margaret Ménégoz, Stefan Arndt, Veit Heiduschka, Michael Katz
Argo (2012): Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck, George Clooney
Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012): Dan Janvey, Josh Penn, Michael Gottwald
Django Unchained (2012): Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin, Pilar Savone
Les Misérables (2012): Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, Cameron Mackintosh
Life of Pi (2012): Gil Netter, Ang Lee, David Womark
Lincoln (2012): Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy
Silver Linings Playbook (2012): Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen, Jonathan Gordon
Zero Dark Thirty (2012): Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow, Megan Ellison

So, will “Argo” be the first Best Picture winner not nominated for Best Director since “Driving Miss Daisy”(1989)? I think it will be because of its increasing buzz boosted by its relentless victories at Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice Award, SAG, PGA, DGA, WGA, and BAFTA. Although the director Ben Affleck is not nominated for Best Director, he is nominated as its producer, so the Academy members will reward him with Best Picture award instead. Besides, how can they miss the chance to award the movie about a successful secret operation using a fake Hollywood movie which was never shot at all? Although my pick is Michael Haneke’s “Amour”, a great film about one inevitable human condition we will all have to face in our life, I must say “Argo” is a first-class thriller which is fun, smart, and thrilling. I was constantly agitated while watching it, and I was also amused by how a movie can affect people even if it is a fake one. These props for that fake movie look as ridiculous as, say, “Flash Gordon”(1980), but their magic does work during an unlikely moment when Iranian revolutionaries are completely persuaded by them. It is not easy to resist an illusion called movie, you know.

Prediction: Argo
Preference: Amour

small_lincoln07-01Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln (2012)
Hugh Jackman for Les Misérables (2012)
Joaquin Phoenix for The Master (2012)
Denzel Washington for Flight (2012/I)

Bradley Cooper, Hugh Jackman, Joaquin Phoenix, and Denzel Washington all have taken backseat while Daniel Day-Lewis has remained as the dominating front-runner. In “Lincoln”, Day-Lewis remarkably embodies the 16th President of the United States, and the result is another tour-de-force performance in his career which certainly deserves his third Best Actor Oscar. If somebody else wins, it will definitely be the biggest upset at the ceremony.

Prediction: Daniel Day-Lewis
Preference: Daniel Day-Lewis

small_silverliningsplaybook02Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Emmanuelle Riva for Amour (2012)
Quvenzhané Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
Naomi Watts for The Impossible (2012)

All nominees in this category are very good. I am glad that they nominated Naomi Watts for her harrowing physical performance in “The Impossible”, and I will not complain at all if Quvenzhané Wallis becomes the youngest Best Actress winner or Emmanuelle Riva becomes the oldest Best Actress winner in the Oscar history. Jessica Chastain may win the award for her gritty performance in “Zero Darky Thirty”, but Best Actress award will go to Jennifer Lawrence, who surprised us again with her funny, spunky, and heartfelt performance in “Silver Linings Playbook”. But who knows? Maybe many Academy members want to give a surprise gift to Emmanuelle Riva, who will attend the Oscar ceremony on her birthday.

Prediction: Jennifer Lawrence
Preference: Emmanuelle Riva

small_lincoln02Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Alan Arkin for Argo (2012)
Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master (2012)
Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln (2012)
Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained (2012)

All Nominees previously won at least one Oscar. I’m sure nobody will look particularly disappointed when the winner is announced, and that makes the prediction a little harder than before in this category. First, there is virtually no possibility for Alan Arkin, although he is fun to watch in “Argo”. Second, Philip Seymour Hoffman has been praised for his performance, but “The Master” is not loved enough for his win. Third, although I love Christoph Waltz’s performance in “Django Unchained”, Waltz already won the award and that was only 3 years ago. So, I conclude Tommy Lee Jones will win the award for his wonderful supporting performance in “Lincoln” – but don’t be surprised if Robert De Niro wins his third Oscar for his good comedy performance in “Silver Linings Playbook”.

Prediction: Tommy Lee Jones
Preference: Christoph Waltz



small_lesmiserables02Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams for The Master (2012)
Sally Field for Lincoln (2012)
Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables (2012)
Helen Hunt for The Sessions (2012)
Jacki Weaver for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Yes, we all know Anne Hathaway will win an Oscar in the end. Her performance in “Les Misérables” is good in spite of her rather limited role, but I think the other performances are more interesting. Jacki Weaver is less notable than her co-performers in “Silver Linings Playbook”, but her ‘normal’ performance works as an effective background acting for the other colorful ones. Amy Adams is impressive in “The Master” as a devoted wife who may be the power behind her husband, and Sally Field is also excellent in her scenes with Daniel Day-Lewis in “Lincoln”. And there is Helen Hunt, who gives a warm, sensitive performance as a sex surrogate who touchingly interacts with John Hawkes’ disabled character in “The Sessions”(2012).

Prediction: Anne Hathaway
Preference: Helen Hunt

small_lifeofpi01Best Achievement in Directing
Michael Haneke for Amour (2012)
Ang Lee for Life of Pi (2012)
David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Steven Spielberg for Lincoln (2012)
Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)

In case of Michael Haneke, Ben Zeitlin, and Daivd O. Russell, the nomination itself is reward. Ang Lee, whose magnificent achievement in “Life of Pi” richly deserves the nomination, has a little chance. Therefore, Steven Spielberg will get his third Best Director Oscar for “Lincoln”, which is one of his best films.

Prediction: Steven Spielberg
Preference: Ang Lee

small_amour01Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Amour (2012): Michael Haneke
Django Unchained (2012): Quentin Tarantino
Flight (2012/I): John Gatins
Moonrise Kingdom (2012): Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola
Zero Dark Thirty (2012): Mark Boal

While Quentin Tarantino has some chance to win, I do not think the voters love “Django Unchained” that much considering its controversial subject. “Moonrise Kingdom” is charming, but, like “Flight”, its chance is pretty low. Although Mark Boal recently won WGA award for his compelling screenplay for “Zero Dark Thirty”, the movie is not exactly popular because of its recent controversy, so I think the award will go to Michael Haneke for his simple but powerful human drama in “Amour”.

Prediction: Amour
Preference: Amour

argo07Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
Argo (2012): Chris Terrio
Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012): Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin
Life of Pi (2012): David Magee
Lincoln (2012): Tony Kushner
Silver Linings Playbook (2012): David O. Russell

Tony Kushner’s eloquent screenplay for “Lincoln” has been the front runner in this category for a while, but the buzz for Chris Terrio’s entertaining screenplay for “Argo” is increasing at this moment.

Prediction: Argo
Preference: Lincoln

wreckitralph01Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
Brave (2012): Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman
Frankenweenie (2012): Tim Burton
ParaNorman (2012): Sam Fell, Chris Butler
The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012): Peter Lord
Wreck-It Ralph (2012): Rich Moore

As reflected by the nominees, 2012 was not a particularly good year for animated feature film, but all of them are enjoyable to watch at least. I guess “Wreck-It Ralph” will win the award, but watch out for “Brave”, which is as good as “Wreck-It-Ralph” and other nominees.

Prediction: Wreck-It-Ralph
Preference: ParaNorman

small_amour02Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Amour (2012)(Austria)
War Witch (2012)(Canada)
No (2012/I)(Chile)
A Royal Affair (2012)(Denmark)
Kon-Tiki (2012)(Norway)

Seriously, we do not need even a second to guess the winner.

Prediction: Amour
Preference: Amour

small_lifeofpi03Best Achievement in Cinematography
Anna Karenina (2012/I): Seamus McGarvey
Django Unchained (2012): Robert Richardson
Life of Pi (2012): Claudio Miranda
Lincoln (2012): Janusz Kaminski
Skyfall (2012): Roger Deakins

It looks like Claudio Miranda will receive the award for his gorgeous work in “Life of Pi”, but it is also possible that Roger Deakins will finally get his first Oscar for his superlative work in “Skyfall”.

Prediction: Life of Pi
Preference: Skyfall

argo06Best Achievement in Editing
Argo (2012): William Goldenberg
Life of Pi (2012): Tim Squyres
Lincoln (2012): Michael Kahn
Silver Linings Playbook (2012): Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers
Zero Dark Thirty (2012): William Goldenberg, Dylan Tichenor

Even though I knew how it would end, the climax sequence in “Argo” was a heart-pounding moment to watch, and the editing was one of the crucial elements behind its suspense. Because it is almost certain that it will win Best Picture Oscar, “Argo” will also win in this category, too.

Prediction: Argo
Preference: Argo

Best Achievement in Production Design
Anna Karenina (2012/I): Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012): Dan Hennah, Ra Vincent, Simon Bright
Les Misérables (2012): Eve Stewart, Anna Lynch-Robinson
Life of Pi (2012): David Gropman, Anna Pinnock
Lincoln (2012): Rick Carter, Jim Erickson

Among the nominees, “Anna Karenina” is the classiest one.

Prediction: Anna Karenina
Preference: Life of Pi

small_annakarenina03Best Achievement in Costume Design
Anna Karenina (2012/I): Jacqueline Durran
Les Misérables (2012): Paco Delgado
Lincoln (2012): Joanna Johnston
Mirror Mirror (2012/I): Eiko Ishioka
Snow White and the Huntsman (2012): Colleen Atwood

Again, “Anna Karenina” is the most sumptuous one among the nominees. The voters usually love something old and European in case of this category.

Prediction: Anna Karenina
Preference: Anna Karenina

Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling
Hitchcock (2012): Howard Berger, Peter Montagna, Martin Samuel
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey(2012): Peter King, Rick Findlater, Tami Lane
Les Misérables (2012): Lisa Westcott, Julie Dartnell

Yes, it is the familiar makeups we have seen before, but they did a good job in “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” none the less.

Prediction: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Preference: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

small_lifeofpi04Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
Anna Karenina (2012/I): Dario Marianelli
Argo (2012): Alexandre Desplat
Life of Pi (2012): Mychael Danna
Lincoln (2012): John Williams
Skyfall (2012): Thomas Newman

It will be nice to see John Williams getting the sixth Oscar. It will also be good to see Alexandre Desplat or Thomas Newman receiving overdue recognition. However, the award will go to Mychael Danna’s beautifully intelligent score for “Life of Pi”, which works marvelously with many fantastic visual moments on the screen.

Prediction: Life of Pi
Preference: Life of Pi

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
Chasing Ice (2012): J. Ralph(“Before My Time”)
Les Misérables (2012): Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg, Herbert Kretzmer(“Suddenly”)
Life of Pi (2012): Mychael Danna, Bombay Jayshree(“Pi’s Lullaby”)
Skyfall (2012): Adele, Paul Epworth(“Skyfall”)
Ted (2012): Walter Murphy, Seth MacFarlane(“Everybody Needs a Best Friend”)

“Skyfall” is one of the best songs written for James Bond movies, and there is no doubt about its win at the ceremony.

Prediction: Skyfall
Preference: Skyfall

small_lesmiserables05Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
Argo (2012): John T. Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, José Antonio García
Les Misérables (2012): Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson, Simon Hayes
Life of Pi (2012): Ron Bartlett, Doug Hemphill, Drew Kunin
Lincoln (2012): Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom, Ron Judkins
Skyfall (2012): Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell, Stuart Wilson

As far as I have heard from others, “Les Misérables” is the front runner in this category, so…

Prediction: Les Misérables
Preference: Life of Pi

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
Argo (2012): Erik Aadahl, Ethan Van der Ryn
Django Unchained (2012): Wylie Stateman
Life of Pi (2012): Eugene Gearty, Philip Stockton
Skyfall (2012): Per Hallberg, Karen M. Baker
Zero Dark Thirty (2012): Paul N.J. Ottosson

As far as I have heard from others, “Zero Dark Thirty” is the front runner in this category. They do not love the movie a lot, but they may reward it with one award at least.

Prediction: Zero Dark Thirty
Preference: Life of Pi

small_lifeofpi07Best Achievement in Visual Effects
The Avengers (2012): Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams, Daniel Sudick
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012): Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, R. Christopher White
Life of Pi (2012): Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik De Boer, Donald Elliott
Prometheus (2012/I): Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley, Martin Hill
Snow White and the Huntsman (2012): Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Phil Brennan, Neil Corbould, Michael Dawson

“Life of Pi” will not leave the ceremony with empty hands because of this category.

Prediction: Life of Pi
Preference: Life of Pi

Small_Searchingforsugarman04Best Documentary, Feature
5 Broken Cameras (2011): Emad Burnat, Guy Davidi
The Gatekeepers (2012): Dror Moreh, Philippa Kowarsky, Estelle Fialon
How to Survive a Plague (2012): David France, Howard Gertler
The Invisible War (2012): Kirby Dick, Amy Ziering
Searching for Sugar Man (2012): Malik Bendjelloul, Simon Chinn

Critics’ Choice Award, BAFTA, PGA, DGA, and WGA all align with “Searching for Sugar Man”, a moving and amazing tale about a talented but obscure artist who found his fans in an unexpected place. The documentary is one of the best documentaries I saw in the last year.

Prediction: Searching for Sugar Man
Preference: Searching for Sugar Man

Best Documentary, Short Subject
Inocente (2012): Sean Fine, Andrea Nix
Kings Point (2012): Sari Gilman, Jedd Wider
Mondays at Racine (2012): Cynthia Wade, Robin Honan
Open Heart (2013): Kief Davidson, Cori Shepherd Stern
Redemption (2012/V): Jon Alpert, Matthew O’Neill

Prediction: Open Heart

Best Short Film, Animated
Adam and Dog (2011): Minkyu Lee
Fresh Guacamole (2012): PES
Head Over Heels (2012): Timothy Reckart, Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly
Paperman (2012): John Kahrs
The Simpsons: The Longest Daycare (2012): David Silverman

Prediction: Paperman
Preference: Paperman

Best Short Film, Live Action
Asad (2012): Bryan Buckley, Mino Jarjoura
Buzkashi Boys (2012): Sam French, Ariel Nasr
Curfew (2012/I): Shawn Christensen
Death of a Shadow (2012): Tom Van Avermaet, Ellen De Waele
Henry (2011/III): Yan England

Prediction: Curfew

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1 Response to My prediction on the 85th Annual Academy Awards

  1. S M Rana says:

    Agreed: Amour is the best. Transcendental.

    SC: It was at the top of my annual list in last year.

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