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film -> 2013 Academy Award Predictions and Snubs

2013 Academy Award Predictions and Snubs

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Awards season is well in swing following the recent Academy Award nominee announcements.  As usual, there were many surprises in the major categories as well as a several noticeable snub.

Best Picture: Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty

Ever since the Academy Awards expanded its Best Picture nominee field to ten entries in 2010, they have only twice nominated ten films. In 2012 and 2013, only nine films have nominated which begs the question, “Why not just nominate a tenth film?” Why not, indeed?  But I digress; I am surprised to see Beasts of the Southern Wild and Amour on the list this year over other acclaimed films like The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Dark Knight Rises, Moonrise Kingdom, Anna Karenina and The Master.  There are many worthy nominees this year; however, Zero Dark Thirty and Silver Linings Playbook appear to be the two favorites.  I’ll give the slight edge to Silver Linings Playbook due to its nominations in all the major categories. Look for Lincoln and Django Unchained as dark horse favorites.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln), Hugh Jackman (Les Miserablers), Joaquin Phoenix (The Master), Denzel Washington (Flight).

The snubs: I can’t say that there are many snubs in this category, however John Hawkes’s performance in The Sessions was fearless and deserves recognition, as does Bill Murray’s classy performance as FDR in Hyde Park on Hudson.  This is really a two-man show with Day-Lewis and Phoenix having been the favorites since speculation began following last year’s Oscars.  Phoenix has been outspoken with his displeasure in the Academy Awards, but I still the Academy cannot overlook the disturbing profundity in his performance as the war-shocked, sex-obsessed, alcoholic Freddie Quell in The Master. Ironically, it would make Paul Thomas Anderson’s second film in a row in which he directed a Best Actor winner—the other being Daniel Day-Lewis in 2008 for There Will Be Blood

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: 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 only legitimate surprise here is Riva, however, that doesn’t make her any less deserving than the other nominees. It would have been nice to see Marion Cotillard get nominated for Rust and Bone and Judi Dench for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  I’m honestly shocked Keira Knightley hasn’t found awards love for her seductive performance in Anna Karenina. I believe this is a two-woman show between Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence.  I give the edge to Jennifer Lawrence here due to the mental complexity of her character and her unrelenting, extroverted performance.

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

This category is the most dynamic and interesting of the year.  Each of the men on this list is as equally deserving as the rest. Every man on this list is an Oscar winner.  It would have been great to see Leonardo DiCaprio get recognized for his performance as a slave-owning Francophile or Tom Hardy for his disappearance into the role Bane for The Dark Knight Rises and his soft, quiet moonshine runner in Lawless. Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell’s performances in Seven Psychopaths were both mesmerizing as well.  It’s hard to pick just one, but I’ll go for Christoph Waltz to win.  Tarantino directed him to a win as a villain, and I don’t see why Tarantino can’t direct to a win as a good guy.  Regardless, every man in this category put on a stellar performance and deserves to win.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Amy Adams (The Master), Sally Field (Lincoln), Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables), Helen Hunt (The Sessions), Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook)

It would have been nice to see Nicole Kidman get nominated for her steamy performance in The Paperboy, but unfortunately, the Oscars stick to five nominees.  For me, this category is the only sure thing.  Anne Hathaway’s performance of “I Dreamed a Dream” stole every audience member’s breath. She’s been the favorite ever since the film came out, and I see that snowball turning into an awards avalanche.

Best Achievement in Directing: 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 few surprises here, Benh Zeitlin’s name hasn’t made awards buzz despite the critical adoration of Beasts. Michael Haneke is certainly no rookie to filmmaking either, but his name hasn’t popped up anywhere.  Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow were the frontrunners to win this award, but neither of them was nominated this year. Nor has Tom Hooper or Quentin Tarantino been nominated.  I have to give the edge to David O. Russell who directed nominated performances in all four acting categories this year for the first time since Reds.

Short list picks:

Silver Linings Playbook, Joaquin Phoenix, Jennifer Lawrence, Christoph Waltz, Anne Hathaway, David O. Russell

 

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