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Oscar Nominations 2013



The nominations are in for this year’s Academy Awards.  I’ve put an asterisk next to each movie that I have seen already.

Best Picture
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
*Les Miserables
*Life of Pi
*Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

There are nine nominees this year out of the maximum of ten, four of which I’ve seen already – Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, and Silver Linings Playbook.  I also have Beasts of the Southern Wild at home now, waiting to be watched this weekend.  Hopefully I will be able to fill in the rest in short order.

From what I’ve seen and heard, I think this is going to come down to Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty.  With the controversy surrounding Zero Dark Thirty and the fact that a Kathryn Bigelow war movie has already one best picture (The Hurt Locker), I’m going to predict that Lincoln takes this one.

Best Actor
*Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”
*Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”
*Hugh Jackman, “Les Miserables”
Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”
Denzel Washington, “Flight”

I have not seen The Master or Flight yet, but I don’t think it matters.  Daniel Day-Lewis‘s embodiment of the 16th President of the United States is just the type of performance that gets Oscar recognition.  While more subtle than most of the other parts nominated, I ceased to think of the man as an actor and merely saw him as Abe Lincoln – something which certainly merits this award.

Best Actress
Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”
*Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour”
Quvenzhane Wallis, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
Naomi Watts, “The Impossible”

As much as I enjoyed Jennifer Lawrence’s eccentric character in Silver Linings Playbook (the only one of these films I’ve seen yet, sadly), the fact is that this lineup includes the oldest woman ever nominated for best actress (Riva, 85) as well as youngest (Wallis, 9 [she was 6 during filming] ).  If there’s one thing that people seem to agree on, it’s that Wallis’s Hushpuppy is impossible not to love, so I’m going to give the win to her.

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”

This is another case where I don’t think not having seen the entire playing field won’t matter.  Tommy Lee Jones carried Lincoln nearly as much as the top-hat-wearing man himself.  It was great to see him in such a serious role, which he fully embraced, with just enough humor to make it real.

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, “The Master”
*Sally Field, “Lincoln”
*Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables”
*Helen Hunt, “The Sessions”
*Jacki Weaver, “Silver Linings Playbook”

The Master must be a good movie with all the nominations it’s gathering, and I look forward to finally watching it.  My nomination for the win here, though, is Anne Hathaway for her wrenching performance as Fantine in Les Miserables.  She throws herself into the part with such fervor, her quaking vocals screaming “give me an Oscar.”  Hunt, Weaver, and Field all did admirable jobs in their roles, but in Hathaway’s case, despite having a fraction of the screen time as other characters in Les Mis, it is her image that haunts you afterward.

Best Director
Michael Haneke, “Amour”
Benh Zeitlin, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
*Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”
*Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”
*David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook”

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that when you create a successful and moving film from a book that was deemed “unfilmable,” you are going to get some recognition for that.  My choice for best director goes to Ang Lee.

Best Foreign Language Film
“Amour,” Austria
“Kon-Tiki,” Norway
“No,” Chile
“A Royal Affair,” Denmark
“War Witch,” Canada

I haven’t seen any of these, but with the extraordinary amount of non foreign category nominations Amour has, I’m going to guess it takes this one.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Chris Terrio, “Argo”
Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
*David Magee, “Life of Pi”
*Tony Kushner, “Lincoln”
*David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Perks of Being a Wallflower.  Wait, what, that’s not a choice?  Well, I already gave Life of Pi best director.  It could take this one also, but something is telling me it might be the quirky Silver Linings Playbook that walks away with the award.

Best Original Screenplay
Michael Haneke, “Amour”
Quentin Tarantino, “Django Unchained”
John Gatins, “Flight”
Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, “Moonrise Kingdom”
Mark Boal, “Zero Dark Thirty”

As unlikely as it seems, I’ve managed to avoid seeing any of these films, though they are all on my “to watch list.”  I like Quentin Tarantino, and people are raving about Django Unchained.  With that movie fresh in people’s minds and being incredibly original, sure, that gets my uneducated vote.

Best Animated Feature Film
*The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Wreck-It Ralph

There were a lot of good animated films this year, yet the one I wanted to see the most, I never got around to seeing.  Hurricane Sandy canceled my Wreck-It Ralph screening and I never got around to seeing it in theaters.  Brave was good, but still not up to Pixar‘s gold standard.  Frankenweenie, is, well, Tim Burton and morbid, and black and white, and artistic, and homagey.  The Pirates! was fun, but mostly forgettable, and ParaNorman is quite strange, and doesn’t seem to be appropriate for the PG audience, despite the rating it got.  I’m going to have to go with Wreck-It Ralph then, on instinct alone.

Best Production Design
Anna Karenina
*The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
*Les Miserables
*Life of Pi

I’ll be honest – I’m not quite sure all what is considered in production design.  Life of Pi, however, astounds with the realistically surreal mix of CG and live actors, pulling everything in coherently.  Does that count?

Best Cinematography
Anna Karenina
Django Unchained
*Life of Pi

Life of Pi, without a doubt in my mind, due to the reasons stated above.

Best Sound Mixing
*Les Miserables
*Life of Pi

Recording the actors singing live, on set, was an astounding accomplishment, on the part of the actors, as well as everyone behind the scenes.  I can’t imagine it was easy, and for that reason – as well as the excellent result (minus a certain person whose name sounds like a bird), my choice here is definitely Les Miserables.

Best Sound Editing
Django Unchained
*Life of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty

How is this different from mixing?  I’m sure it is, I just want someone to explain it to me.  I’ll give it to Zero Dark Thirty because it needs to win something after all.

Best Original Score
“Anna Karenina,” Dario Marianelli
“Argo,” Alexandre Desplat
*”Life of Pi,” Mychael Danna
*”Lincoln,” John Williams
“Skyfall,” Thomas Newman

I liked the music in Life of Pi, but it could probably go to any of these.

Best Original Song
“Before My Time” from “Chasing Ice,” J. Ralph
“Everybody Needs a Best Friend” from “Ted,” Walter Murphy and Seth MacFarlane
*”Pi’s Lullaby” from “Life of Pi,” Mychael Danna and Bombay Jayashri
“Skyfall” from “Skyfall,” Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
*”Suddenly” from “Les Miserables,” Claude-Michel Schonberg, Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil

Shame on you, Les Miserables, for writing a new song for the movie just so you could get this nomination.  Adele‘s Skyfall theme is so James Bond that I can’t help but love it, despite the fact that I’m not a James Bond fan.  There, I said it.

Best Costumes
Anna Karenina
*Les Miserables
Mirror Mirror
Snow White and the Huntsman

Anna Karenina has all those fancy period costumes that the Academy seems to like (at least in my mind) so I’m predicting a win for that one here.

Best Documentary Feature
5 Broken Cameras
The Gatekeepers
How to Survive a Plague
The Invisible War
Searching for Sugar Man

No comment other than that I need to watch more documentaries.  A 2013 resolution.

Best Documentary (short subject)
Kings Point
Mondays at Racine
Open Heart

See above.

Best Film Editing
*Life of Pi
*Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Life of Pi could have been a disaster if it weren’t for the artful editing keeping things together.  It wouldn’t have mattered how great the cinematography and acting were, I think the editing needs to be recognized here.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
*The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
*Les Miserables

The Hobbit.  Do I really need to say more?  Beards, Dwarves, Hobbit feet, Orcs, etc.  There, I said more.  Just don’t see it in HFR or you will see this wonderful makeup too close for comfort.  But that’s a discussion for another day.

Best Animated Short Film
Adam and Dog
Fresh Guacamole
Head over Heels
Maggie Simpson in `The Longest Daycare

I’m not really a short film person.  Perhaps I should become more of one.

Best Live Action Short Film
Buzkashi Boys
Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)

See above.

Best Visual Effects
*The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
*Life of Pi
*Marvel’s The Avengers
Snow White and the Huntsman

You know what?  The biggest movie of the summer really needs to win something, and if The Avengers didn’t have some bangup spectacular visual effects, I don’t know what did.  One of the greatest superhero films ever, despite its comic book flaws.  I’d like to see it take home this prize.

Well, that wraps up my thoughts on the upcoming Oscars.  Will my opinions change as I see more of the nominated films between now and February 24?  Perhaps.  What do you think about the nominations?  Upset about some snubs?  Surprised by some dark horses?  Predictions?  Awards season is now in full swing!

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