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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Oscars 2012

The Stars, The Snubs, and The Golden Statuette

By Chris Sabga

The nominations for the 85th Annual Academy Awards have been announced, and as always, it's both exciting and infuriating.

I've broken down the higher-profile awards into three categories:

Will win: This is simply my prediction of what the Academy will choose. I'll likely change my mind a hundred times between now and Oscar night, but these are my unscientific thoughts as of January 10th, 2013.

Should win: What I'm personally rooting for.

Should have been nominated: The snubs, and there were some big ones!  

And the Oscar goes to...

Best Motion Picture of the Year

Amour: To Be Determined

Argo: Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck, George Clooney

Beasts of the Southern Wild: Dan Janvey, Josh Penn, Michael Gottwald

Django Unchained: Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin, Pilar Savone

Les Misérables: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, Cameron Mackintosh

Life of Pi: Gil Netter, Ang Lee, David Womark

Lincoln: Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy

Silver Linings Playbook: Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen, Jonathan Gordon

Zero Dark Thirty: Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow, Megan Ellison

Will win: Lincoln (But does Les Mis have a shot of being the rare movie to win Best Picture without also being nominated for Best Director? The last was Driving Miss Daisy in 1989.)

Should win: Silver Linings Playbook

Should have been nominated: Bernie, The Sessions, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Moonrise Kingdom

I am not a fan of the recent change to allow more than five films to be nominated for Best Picture. The new field, which usually consists of nine or ten movies, is too crowded and bloated – and there are still snubs, so what's the point?

Bernie is the biggest victim of this year's Oscar race. It was criminally overlooked in every category. If it was snubbed because it's technically a 2011 release (even though very few people got a chance to see it then because it wasn't widely distributed until 2012), that's another silly Oscar loophole that really needs to be revised.

Moonrise Kingdom also should have scored a nomination. It was visually brilliant and surprisingly touching.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook

Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln

Hugh Jackman for Les Misérables

Joaquin Phoenix for The Master

Denzel Washington for Flight

Will win: Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln

Should win: Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln, but my heart wants Bradley Cooper to get the Oscar for his incredible performance in Silver Linings Playbook.

Should have been nominated: Jack Black for Bernie, John Hawkes for The Sessions, Frank Langella for Robot & Frank

No one thought Jack Black or Frank Langella would get nominated, even though they both should have (especially Black, who completely reinvented himself for the role), but the omission of John Hawkes is a stunner since he was widely expected to land a spot on this list.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty

Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook

Emmanuelle Riva for Amour

Quvenzhané Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild

Naomi Watts for The Impossible

Will win: Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty

Should win: Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook or Naomi Watts for The Impossible

Should have been nominated: Quvenzhané Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild. Wait, she is nominated. Damn the Academy – how dare they take away another chance for me to express outrage at some perceived injustice!

No major slights here that I can see. If you can think of anyone, leave a comment below.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Alan Arkin for Argo

Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook

Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master

Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln

Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained

Will win: Too close to call

Should win: This is a tough one. I adore Robert De Niro's performance in Silver Linings Playbook, and my heart is with him. But I would not be disappointed if Tommy Lee Jones wins, because he almost steals the movie from Daniel Day-Lewis.

Should have been nominated: Tom Holland for The Impossible (even though it's really a lead role, but we all know how the Academy works when it comes to these things).

The Academy doesn't shy away from nominating children, as Quvenzhané Wallis proves this year, which makes it all the sadder that Tom Holland was overlooked. But to be fair, this is possibly the most packed and competitive of all the categories.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Amy Adams for The Master

Sally Field for Lincoln

Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables

Helen Hunt for The Sessions

Jacki Weaver for Silver Linings Playbook

Will win: Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables

Should win: Jacki Weaver for Silver Linings Playbook

Should have been nominated: Susan Sarandon for Robot & Frank

Actresses simply aren't given enough good material in Hollywood, and this weak field proves it.

Best Achievement in Directing

Michael Haneke for Amour

Ang Lee for Life of Pi

David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook

Steven Spielberg for Lincoln

Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild

Will win: Steven Spielberg for Lincoln

Should win: David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook

Should have been nominated: Ben Affleck for Argo, Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty, Wes Anderson for Moonrise Kingdom

Ben Affleck being left off the list is the major shock of this year's Awards season. Not only did he deserve to be nominated, it can be argued that he would have had a good case for winning too.

Bigelow's snub is also an eyebrow-raiser, but as a previous winner, her absence from this category is unlikely to garner the same outrage.

It's not particularly surprising that Wes Anderson wasn't nominated, be should have been because he brings a style to Moonrise Kingdom that's uniquely his.

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

Amour: Michael Haneke

Django Unchained: Quentin Tarantino

Flight: John Gatins

Moonrise Kingdom: Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola

Zero Dark Thirty: Mark Boal

Will win: Zero Dark Thirty

Should win: Moonrise Kingdom

Should have been nominated: The Cabin in the Woods

Yes, I think a "lowly" horror movie belongs on this list. That's because The Cabin in the Woods isn't your typical horror flick. It's brilliantly written. Of course, as usual, the Academy has turned a blind eye to genre material like this. That's a shame, but what else is new?

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

Argo: Chris Terrio

Beasts of the Southern Wild: Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin

Life of Pi: David Magee

Lincoln: Tony Kushner

Silver Linings Playbook: David O. Russell

Will win: Lincoln

Should win: Silver Linings Playbook

Should have been nominated: Stephen Chbosky for The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Richard Linklater for Bernie, Ben Lewin for The Sessions

No one was expecting to see Bernie on this list, which is unfair, because it's wonderfully written and a spot-on adaption of Skip Hollandsworth's entertaining article, Midnight in the Garden of East Texas.

The Sessions, which was also based on an article – Mark O'Brien's On Seeing a Sex Surrogate – seemed to be a more likely possibility. Alas, it was overlooked.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower should have been included because it's a unique case of a book's author writing and adapting his own script for the screen.

Other thoughts:  I would love for Wreck-It Ralph to win in the Best Animated Feature category because it's a brilliant love letter to video games. The short film that preceded it, Paperman, is even more incredible and I hope it wins in its own category.

In the Foreign Film category, Best Picture nominee Amour seems like a lock, but I have to wonder if A Royal Affair will score the upset. The Other Son should have been irresistible to the Academy with its tantalizing premise: two babies – one Palestinian and the other Israeli – are switched at birth. Unfortunately, Oscar voters didn't see it that way (who knows if they saw it at all). I was hoping – but not expecting – Sleepless Night to be nominated (assuming it's eligible for 2012).

Here are the rest of the categories and nominees:

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

Brave: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman

Frankenweenie: Tim Burton

ParaNorman: Sam Fell, Chris Butler

The Pirates! Band of Misfits: Peter Lord

Wreck-It Ralph: Rich Moore

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

Amour (Austria)

War Witch (Canada)

No (Chile)

A Royal Affair (Denmark)

Kon-Tiki (Norway)

Best Achievement in Cinematography

Anna Karenina: Seamus McGarvey

Django Unchained: Robert Richardson

Life of Pi: Claudio Miranda

Lincoln: Janusz Kaminski

Skyfall: Roger Deakins

Best Achievement in Editing

Argo: William Goldenberg

Life of Pi: Tim Squyres

Lincoln: Michael Kahn

Silver Linings Playbook: Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers

Zero Dark Thirty: William Goldenberg, Dylan Tichenor

Best Achievement in Production Design

Anna Karenina: Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: Dan Hennah, Ra Vincent, Simon Bright

Les Misérables: Eve Stewart, Anna Lynch-Robinson

Life of Pi: David Gropman, Anna Pinnock

Lincoln: Rick Carter, Jim Erickson

Best Achievement in Costume Design

Anna Karenina: Jacqueline Durran

Les Misérables: Paco Delgado

Lincoln: Joanna Johnston

Mirror Mirror: Eiko Ishioka

Snow White and the Huntsman: Colleen Atwood

Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling

Hitchcock: Howard Berger, Peter Montagna, Martin Samuel

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: Peter King, Rick Findlater, Tami Lane

Les Misérables: Lisa Westcott, Julie Dartnell

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score

Anna Karenina: Dario Marianelli

Argo: Alexandre Desplat

Life of Pi: Mychael Danna

Lincoln: John Williams

Skyfall: Thomas Newman

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song

Chasing Ice: J. Ralph ("Before My Time")

Les Misérables: Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg, Herbert Kretzmer ("Suddenly")

Life of Pi: Mychael Danna, Bombay Jayshree ("Pi's Lullaby")

Skyfall: Adele, Paul Epworth ("Skyfall")

Ted: Walter Murphy, Seth MacFarlane ("Everybody Needs a Best Friend")

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

Argo: John T. Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, José Antonio García

Les Misérables: Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson, Simon Hayes

Life of Pi: Ron Bartlett, Doug Hemphill, Drew Kunin

Lincoln: Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom, Ron Judkins

Skyfall: Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell, Stuart Wilson

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

Argo: Erik Aadahl, Ethan Van der Ryn

Django Unchained: Wylie Stateman

Life of Pi: Eugene Gearty, Philip Stockton

Skyfall: Per Hallberg, Karen M. Baker

Zero Dark Thirty: Paul N.J. Ottosson

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

The Avengers: Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams, Daniel Sudick

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, R. Christopher White

Life of Pi: Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik De Boer, Donald Elliott

Prometheus: Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley, Martin Hill

Snow White and the Huntsman: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Phil Brennan, Neil Corbould, Michael Dawson

Best Documentary, Features

5 Broken Cameras: Emad Burnat, Guy Davidi

The Gatekeepers: To Be Determined

How to Survive a Plague: To Be Determined

The Invisible War: To Be Determined

Searching for Sugar Man: To Be Determined

Best Documentary, Short Subjects

Inocente: Sean Fine, Andrea Nix

Kings Point: Sari Gilman, Jedd Wider

Mondays at Racine: Cynthia Wade, Robin Honan

Open Heart : Kief Davidson, Cori Shepherd Stern

Redemption : Jon Alpert, Matthew O'Neill

Best Short Film, Animated

Adam and Dog: Minkyu Lee

Fresh Guacamole: PES

Head Over Heels: Timothy Reckart, Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly

Paperman: John Kahrs

The Simpsons: The Longest Daycare: David Silverman

Best Short Film, Live Action

Asad: Bryan Buckley, Mino Jarjoura

Buzkashi Boys: Sam French, Ariel Nasr

Curfew: Shawn Christensen

Death of a Shadow: Tom Van Avermaet, Ellen De Waele

Henry: Yan England


  1. I absolutely disagree with you about Bradley Cooper in SLP, as well as Jacki Weaver to some degree. I liked the movie, a lot. I had little to no expectations walking into the movie, and I walked out saying, "Wow." The WOWs, however, were for Jennifer Lawrence and the script, not Cooper or Weaver.

    I'll start by saying that I am not a Bradley Cooper fan, and this role didn't do much to change my mind. Don't get me wrong - he WAS good, very good... but not great. I feel as though many other 30-somethings could have been cast in that role and played it as successfully as Cooper. Ryan Gosling - check. James Franco - check. Joseph Gordon-Leavitt - check. Chris Pine - check. You catch my drift. There was nothing outstanding about Cooper's performance.

    I feel the same way about Jacki Weaver to a lesser degree. Her role was your basic suburban housewife role with not a whole lot of variations on the theme. I also have problems with non-nationals playing a role of a person from a different country, ala Renee Z in Bridget Jones, EVERY Meryl Streep non-American, etc etc. What? The casting people couldn't find an American woman in her 60's to play this role? Hello? Every 60 year old American actress would drool for a role like this, a prominently featured role in a major motion picture.

    That is all. I am stepping off my soapbox now. *:D

  2. I don't know if you should have an opinion about who YOU think should win unless you've seen every performance. Mostly, I agree with you, but I can't in certain cases (specifically, Supporting Actress....Anne Hathaway is brilliant with her small amount of screen time).


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