FEB 23 – It’s that time of the year again when the attention of the (movie-crazy) world is on the upcoming 2013 Oscars. Even if you’re an anti-Hollywood film geek, you just can’t help but be interested in what’s going to happen come Oscar time. The nominations this year have been very interesting (and probably better than the last few years’), but it’s so varied that it’s kind of hard trying to predict who will win. But try I must!
Best Picture – Lincoln (with an outside chance of Argo stealing it)
Of all the nominees, the only one I haven’t managed to see is Silver Linings Playbook. Lincoln would be the traditional Oscar favourite, as it is what you would call a “prestige” picture, and the fact that it’s a commercial success as well (ringing up US$175 million or RM543 million at the US box-office) brings memories of recent Oscar winners like The King’s Speech and The Artist. But since it’s likely that Lincoln would be winning quite a few of the big categories, Argo might just steal Best Picture to make up for the fact that Ben Affleck was snubbed of a Best Director nomination, and the fact that it has the most momentum right now after winning the Critics Choice, the Golden Globes, the Producers and Screen Actors Guild awards.
Best Director – Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)
Benh Zeitlin’s nomination is already a win. Michael Haneke’s film is a foreign language one, so his nomination can also be already considered a win. No one seems to really love Ang Lee for Life Of Pi, which leaves only David O. Russell a contender for Silver Linings Playbook (which I haven’t seen). If Ben Affleck was nominated he’d be a real challenger, but since he wasn’t then a win for Steven Spielberg is more than likely.
Best Actor – Daniel Day Lewis (Lincoln)
I think there’s not even the slightest doubt that Daniel Day Lewis will be the winner here for his finely understated performance as Abraham Lincoln. Bradley Cooper may be excellent in Silver Linings Playbook, but comedies rarely take home the main acting awards. Denzel Washington has already won a Best Actor Oscar, so it’s unlikely he’ll win again for Flight (even if it’s a much better performance than Training Day). I’d personally pick Joaquin Phoenix’s masterclass in method acting in The Master, but this is Day Lewis’ award to lose.
Best Actress – Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
The tide is clearly in Jennifer Lawrence’s favour here, with French legend Emmanuelle Riva gaining momentum for her work in Amour. Nine-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis’ nomination can already be considered a win for her and I loved both Jessica Chastain and Naomi Watts’ performances, but I’m predicting here and not making my own personal choice so I will not ignore the tireless vocal and critical support for Lawrence.
Best Supporting Actor – Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)
Christoph Waltz is the most entertaining one for his performance in Django Unchained, Alan Arkin is the funny one in Argo and Philip Seymour Hoffman is the consummate professional in The Master. But Tommy Lee Jones’ role is pretty much the heart and soul of Lincoln, and nobody leaves that movie without being touched by his alternately grumpy, funny and soulful performance, so he’ll probably and deservedly win it.
Best Supporting Actress – Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)
I’d go for Helen Hunt’s wonderfully warm performance in The Sessions any day. Even Sally Field’s tortured Mary Todd Lincoln is a vital part of Lincoln. But who doesn’t love Anne Hathaway, and the fact that she sang and acted the hell out of her part in Les Miserables will probably result in a win.
Best Foreign Film – Amour
When a foreign film also gets nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Original Screenplay, you can be sure that it’s most definitely a lock for winning the Best Foreign Film category. Anything less than a victory for Amour here would be shocking.
Best Animated Film – Wreck It Ralph
This is a really tough category to predict. My personal favourite would of course be the gorgeous black & white shadow play of Frankenweenie, and it probably does stand a good chance at winning, but Wreck It Ralph’s conceptual brilliance (it’s Tron meets Toy Story!) probably puts it ahead of the pack.
Best Original Screenplay – Amour vs Django Unchained vs Zero Dark Thirty
Another very tough category to predict as the nominees are all equally good in their own ways. Flight is slight, and Moonrise Kingdom is probably too quirky to win an Oscar, so they’re out of the picture. Amour has got to win something, so there’s a good chance of a win here, but right now the Academy is getting younger and younger so there’s always hope that Tarantino’s deliciously entertaining Django Unchained might get a look in as well. And if The Hurt Locker was an Oscar contender and winner, the even better Zero Dark Thirty (from the same writing-directing team) should at least get something too, right?
Best Adapted Screenplay – Lincoln
Tony Kushner’s screenplay for Lincoln is quite simply a work of art. As good as Argo and Life Of Pi are as adaptations, the masterfully literary Lincoln is the one looking very likely to win it.
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.