Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The National Board of Review Ensures "Zero Dark Thirty" Stays In The Hunt

It's my annual attempt at predicting something relatively unpredictable, the prizes bestowed by the National Board of Review. The 'freemasons' of the awards circuit, I'm not sure anyone quite knows who sits on this board or how it has gotten to be such a fixture in the season, nevertheless, it's always fun to look at what they choose each year.

[Updated with winners -- prediction score 13/24]

Picture: “Zero Dark Thirty"

Top 10: 
"Beasts of the Southern Wild”
"Django Unchained"
“Les Miserables”

”The Perks of Being a Wallflower"
"Promised Land"

“Silver Linings Playbook”
”Zero Dark Thirty”

Prediction score: 6/11

Prediction summary: You would think the assumed six safe bets for Best Picture nominations are among the 11 (10 + winner) championed by the board, those being “Argo,” “Lincoln,” “Life of Pi,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” and “Zero Dark Thirty.” After that, it could be a free-for-all; “Flight” and “Trouble with the Curve” fit that middle-of-the-road movie that this group often includes – the latter being basically a Clint Eastwood movie, despite him not officially directing it. “The Master” and “Beasts of the Southern Wild” seem to be on the decline right now, but I’m going to suggest that they come through based on their passionate pockets of fans. 

“Moonrise Kingdom” too, in that regard, although it’s resurrecting awards steam and should be a strong contender for a screenplay nomination with Oscar. You could replace “Skyfall” with “The Dark Knight Rises” or “The Avengers” or even “Magic Mike” in my predictions: it’s that smash hit entrant I figure makes it in like “Star Trek” and the final Harry Potter film did. 

Director: Kathryn Bigelow, “Zero Dark Thirty”
Leading Actor: Bradley Cooper, "Silver Linings Playbook"
Leading Actress: Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty"
Supporting Actor: Leonardo Di Caprio, "Django Unchained"
Supporting Actress: Ann Dowd, "Compliance"

Prediction score: 1/5

Prediction summary: Bigelow seems like the perfect choice for Director critics prizes (more so than the film as Best Picture because of the severity of “Zero Dark Thirty”) although this could easily go to Ang Lee, Tom Hooper, or Steven Spielberg instead. I’m expecting Daniel Day-Lewis to sweep, and Hathaway and Jones to start ascending to frontrunner status. As for leading actress, this could go anywhere, so I’m picking Keira Knightley as a semi-outsider pick, based on the classic nature of the role and that they’ve tended to go for younger actresses of late. 

Original Screenplay: “Moonrise Kingdom”
Adapted Screenplay: “Lincoln”
Ensemble: “Les Miserables”
Breakthrough Actor: Tom Holland, “The Impossible”
Breakthrough Actress: Quvenzhane Wallis, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
Animated Feature: “Frankenweenie”
Documentary Feature: “Searching For Sugar Man”
Foreign Film: “Amour"

Prediction score: 6/8

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