It’s that time of year again, where the best films of the year are judged, legends are made and tragic hosts take to the stage. Yes the Oscars! With 2013’s nominations JUST being announced, let’s get into the top 4 categories of the night, starting with Best Picture…
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty
‘Amour’, is rare in that a foreign language film barely ever makes this list of the top films of the year, so props must go to that. Another I must see, is ‘Argo’, the tale of American hostages in Iran, and based on the judgement of those I trust, it deserves its place here. Next, ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’, a film with three nods in the top four categories, and it earned them! Filmed for just over £1million, and with a cast of unknowns, it’s an incredible film, from visuals to its score, and should be seen by all.
The new Tarantino flick, ‘Django Unchained’, is next, and a film I have been eagerly anticipating for months on end. Tarantino. Foxx. Waltz. Di Caprio. Slavery-Spaghetti Western.. ‘Les Miserables’, a film almost entirely made up of songs, is Tom Hooper’s follow up to ‘The King’s Speech’, don’t rule this one out just yet. ‘Life of Pi’, is technically a great piece of work, Ang Lee creating a visual delight, it’s a shame for me that the film didn’t build on its earlier promise, but deserves its place here.
Clear favourite’, ‘Lincoln’ is next. I’ve got a strong feeling it’ll win, buoyed on by star Daniel Day-Lewis and director Steven Spielberg’s nominations, it’s the film America has been waiting for, for years, and don’t be surprised to see it take a batch of awards from it’s 12 nominations. ‘Silver Linings Playbook’, sees David O. Russell delight the Academy again after ‘The Fighter’, a few years back. And finally, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’, which were it not for a series of allegations about where the film got classified information from, would probably be right up in the running for this award.
My Prediction: Lincoln
Michael Haneke, Amour
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
A curious mix of old (Spielberg, Lee) and new (Zeitlin), the Academy has picked some good choices. Whilst I haven’t seen it, ‘Amour’s presence in the top categories, alongside it’s stunning reviews, shows it’s a well made film, with credit going to the director for that. Ang Lee managed to anchor ‘Life of Pi’, spectacularly well, given the ‘unfilmable book’ tag that haunted it for years, David O. Russell tackled the challenging concepts of mental illness brilliantly, with Messrs Cooper and Lawrence also reaping the benefits from it.
Spielberg just HAS to be there for his epic about America’s mast famous president and Benh Zeitlin, the first-time director of stunner, ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’, a raw, fierce film, that owed much to his sharp, almost docu-drama style. One surprising admission, would be Ben Affleck for his third picture, ‘Argo’, it seemed a certainty Affleck would be included somewhere, but bar a ‘Best Picture’ nod, he’s been excluded from this category and ‘Best Actor’.
My Prediction: Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Denzel Washington, Flight
Were it not for the presence of one of the names on this list, it could arguably be claimed that anyone of these fine actors could be in with a chance of grabbing the coveted golden statuette. As it is, one name jumps out from this last as the sewn-up winner. That name: Daniel Day-Lewis. It’s hard to see anyone else grabbing it from Day-Lewis, he of two gongs already in this category, for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln has been critically acclaimed by those who’ve seen it. I haven’t yet, so should refrain from judging yet, but he looks to be the clear winner. Bradley Cooper probably just about deserves to be on this list, his performance as a mentally unstable man with a troubled past is interesting, the chemistry between himself and Jennifer Lawrence being the main draw. I don’t really plan on seeing ‘Les Miz’, but it’s nice to see Hugh Jackman proving his more than a man with claws.
If ‘Lincoln’, wasn’t about, then Joaquin Phoenix would be my winner. He made ‘The Master’, bearable, as the unpredictable Freddie Quell, with twitches and speech impediments galore. This last nomination is expected, but interesting to me. Reading an article the other day, got me interested in Denzel Washington and this film, the Robert Zemeckis-helmed, ‘Flight’. Washington put on the pounds for the role, and is a vulnerable pilot, who relies on addiction to keep him going, but pulls off a massive feat in the process. Probably deserved nom for one of the few black actors working in Hollywood today.
My Prediction: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts, The Impossible
The most open category of the ceremony, for me anyway, is this one, Best Actress. Anyone of these fine actresses could take home the gold, for various reasons. Jessica Chastain, a nominee for ‘The Help’, might see the stars align for her, with a starring role in Osama Bin-Laden-hunt-em-down, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’, which looks amazing and featured on many American top 10 lists of 2012. Jennifer Lawrence had a stellar 2012, barring ‘The House at the End of the Street’, with ‘The Hunger Games’, shooting her to stardom, and another Oscar nom, although I don’t think it’s her ‘time’, as of yet. Emmanuelle Riva is the oldest nominee in this category in the history of the Oscars, at the age of 85, which is great for the Academy to be giving recognition to these non-English speaking actors, aswell as her old age.
Then the polar opposite, 9-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis becomes the youngest nominee! She sparkles with energy in ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’, at times encompassing her youth, and at others exceeding it with maturity far beyond her years. Naomi Watts could battle with Wallis, for the award, for her harrowing performance in Tsunami-drama, ‘The Impossible’, sure she may be bed-ridden for the majority of the film, but in the water with her son, the desperation is clear to see, and even when injured, she is emotive in every sense of the word.
My Prediction: Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
So, those were the main nominations, but what about the rest? The two behemoths of 2012, ‘The Avengers’ and ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, didn’t make the cut at all, surprising for the latter given it’s the last of the Nolan trilogy, and fellow big-hitters, ‘Skyfall’ and ‘The Hobbit’, reduced to only minor nominations, for editing and sound, although Adele’s title song for 007 did get a ‘Best Song’ nod. All in all, it was a bad time for British veteran actors/actresses, with the ‘Hitchcock’ pairing of Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren not getting a look-in, nor Judi Dench, for ‘Skyfall’.
Ideally, I would’ve liked more recognition for Wes Anderson’s beautiful ‘Moonrise Kingdom’. Hilariously, Oscars host, Seth MacFarlane might actually win an award, going against Adele and ‘Skyfall’, with his title song for his debut motion picture, the hilarious, ‘Ted’. His banter with Emma Stone, who helped him out presenting the nominations, was great and a little hint of what the full-length awards show could be like, a little bit daring and risky.
With only 44 days to go, let the predictions begin!