Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Oscar Nominations - Final Predictions

Ciao! The time has come to predict the Oscar nominations, which are announced tomorrow at around 1.30pm GMT! For this reason it's usually my favourite afternoon of the year, although there will be inevitable disappointments to quell the jubilation.

In this year more than any other it feels like a number of scenarios could occur in various categories. It used to feel as if things were done and dusted for most of the major awards but things are not the case this time around. Last year's change in the voting procedure has left Best Picture looking very crowded with only a maximum of ten (or more likely nine) slots available for around thirteen films, and it's also unclear what effect (if any) this year's earlier nominations deadline will have.

I'm going to have a bash at guessing the nominees in all categories (minus the shorts) anyway, as it's all good fun. An added impetus this year is my contest with Pete Sheppard of In the Mood for Blog. Check out our latest podcast for extended reasoning for these predictions, and the full stakes of our contest!

Predictions as follows:-

Picture

"Argo"
"Beasts of the Southern Wild"
“Django Unchained”
"Les Miserables"
"Life of Pi"
"Lincoln"
"The Master"
"Silver Linings Playbook"
"Zero Dark Thirty"

Alternates: “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”; “Amour”; “Moonrise Kingdom”; “The Impossible”

I've gone with nine because so many of these films are still being thrown around in the conversation, and all appear to have pockets of fans. It's also important to note that -- with the exception of "The Impossible" -- all of these films have continued to show up among critics and guild nominations. Bayona's disaster film may be behind all of these, but I just have a hunch that its broad humanist themes and populist action feel will sway many voters.

This seems to come down to a scrap between around seven films for two spots, although it's perfectly plausible that none of them end up making a lineup which could see anywhere between five and nine nominees. "Beasts of the Southern Wild" wasn't embraced by the Globes (films of this size and stature rarely are) but was ineligible for SAG, making it quite the wildcard. I think that its inclusion in the Top tens of the Producers' Guild, AFI, and NBR organisations stands it in good stead. "Django Unchained" is a bit of an unknown quantity, too, given that it was the last film that anyone saw and hasn't done well with the guilds.

"The Master" hasn't done as well as many thought, but the film feels like the elitist pick "The Tree of Life" was last year, and with the new 5% rule it could easily slip in. The same rule might pose a problem for the popular, old-skewing "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" as it isn't a particularly hip top pick for a ballot so much as something likely to appear on the back-end of one. Still, it's important to note that a similar pattern at Globe and SAG took "Midnight in Paris" to a Best Picture nomination last year.

"Amour" and "Moonrise Kingdom" are two films skewing towards totally different age-ranges, but which both have legions of support. My guess is that "Amour" has more widespread appeal within the academy but that many of its older members may be more deterred by the effect of the subject matter than enraptured by it, and foreign nominees in this category tend to be more uplifting.

Director

Ben Affleck, "Argo"
Kathryn Bigelow, "Zero Dark Thirty"
Michael Haneke, "Amour"
Ang Lee, "Life of Pi"
Steven Spielberg, "Lincoln"*

Alternates: Tom Hooper, “Les Miserables”; Paul Thomas Anderson, “The Master”; Quentin Tarantino, “Django Unchained”; David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook”

The DGA five line up with Oscar once in a while, but I'm confidently betting that Michael Haneke usurps either Tom Hooper or Ang Lee, based on the directors' branch's more refined taste. I think Hooper's the most likely candidate to be bumped given the barrage of criticism his direction is (rightly) receiving from some quarters, although the film is more popular than Lee's.

Actress in a Leading Role

Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty"
Marion Cotillard, "Rust and Bone"
Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook"
Quvenzhané Wallis, "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
Naomi Watts, "The Impossible"

Alternates: Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour”; Helen Mirren, “Hitchcock”; Rachel Weisz, “The Deep Blue Sea”; Dame Judi Dench, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”

This category feels particularly up-in-the-air right now, with only really Chastain and Lawrence completely guaranteed spots in the lineup. It would be surprising if Watts were not to be included, given her great precursor record and her ability to nail her big scenes, but if the film doesn't prove to be that popular, then who knows? That may also pose a problem for Cotillard, who has also gotten Globe and SAG nominations for "Rust and Bone," a film likely to irk voters with its subject matter as much as appeal to them. 

Emmanuelle Riva isn't particularly well-known on the circuit and is starring in a foreign language film, but she does have a BAFTA nomination and two major critics' awards to back up the buzz. Rachel Weisz's film is tiny and came out very early in the year, but more and more people are seeing and responding to it, so a nomination wouldn't be totally out-of-the-blue. And what about little Quvenzhané Wallis, who has been winning breakthrough awards and playing the circuit like a pro? Keisha Castle-Hughes had the SAG nomination to foreshadow the Oscar inclusion but SAG couldn't vote for Wallis; maybe the fractured field will work in her favour?

Actor in a Leading Role

Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln"
John Hawkes, "The Sessions"
Hugh Jackman, "Les Miserables"
Joaquin Phoenix, "The Master"
Denzel Washington, "Flight"

Alternates: Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”; Richard Gere, “Arbitrage”

The only safe member of the race is Daniel Day-Lewis, leaving one of these five men (Gere would be a shock) to duke it out for four spots. I feel lost in predicting the outcast so I've gone with the youngest guy, as the Academy often goes older with their male nominees than their female ones (Remember Hirsch and Gosling in '07?). I don't want to see Bradley Cooper miss out, but that's what I'm going with.

Actress in a Supporting Role

Ann Dowd, "Compliance"
Sally Field, "Lincoln"
Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables"
Helen Hunt, "The Sessions"
Maggie Smith, "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"

Alternates: Nicole Kidman, “The Paperboy”; Amy Adams, “The Master”; Jacki Weaver, “Silver Linings Playbook”

For Nicole Kidman to get a nomination here relies on Academy members watching "The Paperboy," a crass and messy film few people were pleased with. If we weren't talking about acting royalty then there wouldn't be a hope in hell, but as it's Kidman the nomination is possible, if not quite predictable for me. Ann Dowd also has a small, controversial film, but seems to be becoming a passion pick, and (like Sally Kirkland in '87 and Chill Wills back in the sixties) she's gained publicity  from funding her own campaign.

Dame Maggie Smith has arguably never been more popular right now, given Downton Abbey's massive success overseas, so a nomination here isn't unlikely -- especially if the film turns out to be a Best Picture nominee. Amy Adams, who is in danger of becoming Thelma Ritter Mark II (this would be a fourth nomination and defeat in seven years) doesn't really have a big Oscar scene in "The Master," but they really really like her, so why not?

Actor in a Supporting Role

Alan Arkin, "Argo"
Robert De Niro, "Silver Linings Playbook"
Philip Seymour Hoffman, "The Master"
Tommy Lee Jones, "Lincoln"
Ewan McGregor, "The Impossible"

Alternates: Javier Bardem, “Skyfall”; Leonardo Di Caprio, “Django Unchained”; Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained”; Dwight Henry, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”; Eddie Redmayne, “Les Miserables”; Michael Pena, “End of Watch”

If Di Caprio didn't have to contend with internal Django competition, then I'd happily predict him to slip into the one spot not already occupied by veteran actors. Instead, I'm going to go out on a limb and predict Ewan McGregor for "The Impossible," who gets and nails a teary breakdown scene in an already emotional film. Bardem could happen if the field is really fractured, as could Henry and Redmayne, if their films are more popular than anticipated. I've thrown in Michael Pena as a possible spoiler, too, because of the nature of his role.

Original Screenplay

“Amour”
“Looper”
“The Master”
Moonrise Kingdom
“Zero Dark Thirty”

Alternates: “Flight”; “Seven Psychopaths”; “Django Unchained”

Adapted Screenplay

“Argo”
“Beasts of the Southern Wild”
Lincoln
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”
“Silver Linings Playbook”

Alternates: “Les Miserables”; “Life of Pi”; “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”

Animated Feature

“Brave”
“Frankenweenie”
“The Painting”
“The Rabbi’s Cat”
“Wreck-It Ralph”

Alternates: “Paranorman”; “Rise of the Guardians”

Documentary Feature

“Bully”
“The Gatekeepers”
“The Imposter”
“The Invisible War”
“Searching for Sugar Man”

Alternates: “How to Survive a Plague”; “Chasing Ice”; “The Waiting Room”

Foreign Language Film

“Amour” (Austria)
“The Intouchables” (France)
“Kon-Tiki” (Norway)
“Sister” (Switzerland)
“War Witch” (Canada)

Alternates: “Beyond the Hills”; “The Deep”; “No”; “A Royal Affair”

Art Direction

“Anna Karenina”
“Django Unchained”
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"
“Les Miserables”
Lincoln

Alternates: “Argo"; “Life of Pi”; “The Master”

Cinematography

“Django Unchained”
Lincoln
“Life of Pi”
“The Master”
“Skyfall”

Alternates: “The Dark Knight Rises”; “Zero Dark Thirty”; “Les Miserables”

Costume Design

“Anna Karenina”
“Argo”
“Django Unchained”
“Les Miserables”
Lincoln

Alternates: “Mirror Mirror”; “Snow White and the Huntsman”

Film Editing

“Argo”
“Life of Pi”
Lincoln
“Skyfall”
“Zero Dark Thirty”

Alternates: “Les Miserables”; “The Master”; “Django Unchained”; “Silver Linings Playbook

Make Up & Hairstyling

Lincoln
“Les Miserables”
“Snow White and the Huntsman”

Alternates: “”The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”; “Hitchcock”

Visual Effects

“The Avengers”
“Cloud Atlas”
“The Dark Knight Rises”
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
“Life of Pi”

Alternates: “Prometheus”; “John Carter”; “Skyfall”

Sound Editing

“The Avengers”
“The Dark Knight Rises”
“Life of Pi”
“Skyfall”
“Zero Dark Thirty”

Alternates: “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”; “Les Miserables”; “The Impossible”

Sound Mixing

“The Dark Knight Rises”
“Les Miserables”
“Life of Pi”
“Skyfall”
“Zero Dark Thirty”

Alternates: “The Avengers”; “Cloud Atlas”; “The Impossible”

Original Score

“Anna Karenina”
“Argo”
“Cloud Atlas”
“Life of Pi”
Lincoln

Alternates: “Zero Dark Thirty”; “The Impossible”; “The Master”

Original Song

“Brave” ("Touch the Sky")
“Joyful Noise” ("From Here to the Moon and Back")
“Les Miserables” ("Suddenly")
“Paul Williams: Still Alive” ("Still Alive")
“Skyfall” ("Skyfall")

Alternates: "Act of Valor" ("For You"); "Snow White and the Huntsman" ("Breath of Life"); "Sparkle" ("One Wing"); "Django Unchained" ("Ancora Qui")

1 comment:

Alex in Movieland said...

We have the same predictions for Original Score. :) Little to choose from, I guess. (I mean from stuff with actual changes). I think our choices would match GG's 100%, so won't happen :)) we're doomed.

I have Cooper as 2nd. Denzel-must-fail-and-I-will-be-King-of-all-predictions. (with Cate's voice from her LOTR). :P