Oscar predictions for the films of 2012

This should be Affleck’s. Or maybe Kathyrn Bigelow’s for Zero Dark Thirty. Neither were even nominated.

This is what I thought before the Oscar nominations came out: Lincoln would win Best Picture and Ben Affleck would win Best Director. Then Affleck inexplicably wasn’t even nominated for Best Director, though he was for Best Actor; he subsequently won Best Director in the Golden Globes, and more importantly, the Directors’ Guild. Now I’ve pretty much switched the two places. The picks here are who I THINK will win, not who I WANT; sometimes, such as in the Best Actress category, I haven’t seen enough of the performances to have a rooting interest.

* means I saw that movie

Best Actor:

Bradley Cooper – Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln
*Hugh Jackman – Les Miserables
Joaquin Phoenix – The Master
Denzel Washington – Flight

If there is a mortal lock this year, it’s Day-Lewis, who BECOMES Lincoln, just as he has inhabited every other role he’s played.

Best Actress

Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva – Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis – Beasts Of The Southern Wild
Naomi Watts -The Impossible

Riva is old, not that well known and in a depressing movie, though she’s quite good. Wallis was SIX when she made HER movie. Watts just isn’t getting as much buzz as I would expect. So it’s between Chastain, reportedly good in a controversial film, and Lawrence, who was a blockbuster star this past year in The Hunger Games. I pick Lawrence.

Best Supporting Actor

Alan Arkin – Argo
Robert De Niro -Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Master
*Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln
Christoph Waltz – Django Unchained

My personal favorite of the three I saw was Arkin. The smart money says Jones. I think the Academy will give Django something, and this may be the place. Yet it’s De Niro I’m going to pick because he’s DE NIRO.

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams -The Master
Sally Field – Lincoln
Anne Hathaway – Les Miserables
Helen Hunt – The Sessions
*Jacki Weaver – Silver Linings Playbook

Anne Hathaway, who emoted greatly, is another mortal lock. Wish I’d seen the Hunt role.

Best Director

Steven Spielberg – Lincoln
Ang Lee – Life Of Pi
Michael Haneke – Amour
*David O. Russell -Silver Linings Playbook
Benh Zeitlin – Beasts Of The Southern Wild

This should be Affleck’s. Or maybe Kathyrn Bigelow’s for Zero Dark Thirty. Neither were even nominated, nor was Tarantino for Django; I’m really surprised Haneke and Zeitlen were. The only person other than Spielberg who has a chance is Lee, and that only if people saw it in 3D, rather than the 2D screeners Academy voters likely got.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Beasts Of The Southern Wild
Life Of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook

Lincoln or Argo? My preference is Argo, but my guess is Lincoln.

Best Original Screenplay

Django Unchained
Moonrise Kingdom (my review)
Zero Dark Thirty

Does this go to the movie about torture (ZDT) or Tarentino’s movie about slavery (Django)? I’m pulling for Moonrise Kingdom myself, but I’m guessing Zero.

Other picks:

Best Animated Feature Film: *Wreck-It Ralph (my review) over Brave
Best Cinematography: *Life Of Pi, another near-lock
Best Documentary: Searching For Sugar Man. I’ve seen none of them, but this one I know the story about an obscure US musician who hits it big in South Africa without even knowing it.
Best Film Editing: *Argo over Zero Dark Thirty
Best Foreign Film: *Amour. Mortal lock. A Best Picture nominee.
Best Makeup: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey over *Les Miserables
Best Original Song: Skyfall, because it was, Adele.
Best Short Film (Animated): *Paperman, because Disney was smart to make it widely available online and as the tease to Wreck-It Ralph. *Adam and Dog is lovingly rendered in watercolor, but it left me cold. Could win, I suppose.
Best Visual Effects: *Life Of Pi, deservedly so
The rest of the categories: I have no idea.

Best Picture (links to my reviews), with box office (from Box Office Mojo), and release date

Amour $4,081,541 12/19/2012
Argo $127,654,188 10/12/2012
Beasts of the Southern Wild $12,306,988 6/27/2012
Django Unchained $157,656,712 12/25/2012
Les Misérables $145,963,845 12/25/2012
Life of Pi $111,745,023 11/21/2012
Lincoln $176,962,546 11/9/2012
Silver Linings Playbook $100,870,102 11/16/2012
Zero Dark Thirty $89,047,400 12/19/2012

Argo was taut, interesting, and not too long. Its campaign has been excellent.. I don’t remember so many good box office films up for Best Pic in a while.
Predictions by The Huffington Post and Roger Ebert.


Will Lincoln become the definitive Lincoln biopic?

On Black Friday, my wife and I went to the Spectrum Theatre in Albany to see the 1:50 showing of the new Steven Spielberg movie Lincoln. It was sold out! That hasn’t happened to me since the original Star Wars. We bought tickets for the 3:15 show and were advised to be back by 2:45.

We bought some hot chocolate, then went to a charming little toy store/food emporium. By the time we got back to the theater, there was this long line. I assumed it was to buy tickets; no, the 3:15 was SOLD OUT, and the line was for the ticket holders, which included us, fortunately. Also, the 6:25 showing that night also sold out, we noted as we left.

I was glad to have seen a recent interview with Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Team of Rivals, the Lincoln book upon which the movie was based. I wasn’t as surprised by the relatively high-pitched voice that Lincoln (the extraordinary Daniel Day-Lewis) had. All that he had lived through, the secession, the war, and the death of a son all wore on him so that General Grant said that he had aged ten years in the past 12 months. Yet, despite all that, he could be very funny!

I wonder if the 10% of the critics on Rotten Tomatoes who DIDN’T like the movie thought it was boring, etc. I think they may have had different expectations. It is, above all, a political movie, based in the first four months of 1865. Lincoln has been re-elected President. A number of Democrats in the House of Representatives have been defeated, but are in a lame-duck session. Can Lincoln get the 13th Amendment, to abolish slavery, through the House? And how will that affect the chances for peace in that great civil war?

For the most part, it didn’t feel like a Spielberg movie. I can’t explain that exactly, except to note that the second scene in the movie, involving people quoting Lincoln, to Lincoln, did have a Spielberg “feel”.

Great appearance by Sally Field as a haunted Mary Todd Lincoln, a role she noted recently that she had to fight for; Lincoln was older than Mary, who he called Molly, but Day-Lewis is a bit younger than Field. Also, there were stellar roles by David Strathairn as William Seward, Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens, and others. I must admit that the character James Spader played didn’t seem all that different from his role on Boston Legal.

Will this film become the definitive Lincoln biopic? It may very well do so. People cried, and applauded at the end of the film. I liked it a lot.

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