I wanted to post this as I am fascinated with the predictions, and new tales woven this year, and though I pledge not to watch the Oscars each year, I do find myself curious about the results, so here is the predictions set by my friend, Steve Givens:
Category: Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams The Master
Sally Field Lincoln
Anne Hathaway Les Misérables
Helen Hunt The Sessions
Jacki Weaver Silver Linings Playbook
Who I think will win: It will be the biggest shock of the evening if Anne Hathaway doesn’t win an Oscar for her performance in Les Miserables. In fact, I will go so far as to say that her win is the most assured of any category, even Best Actor. There’s been some last minute rallying for Sally Field, but I seriously doubt it will be enough to derail the train of awards Hathaway has been collecting the last few months.
Who I want to win: Although I found Les Miserables to be a very flawed movie, Hathaway just owned the screen for the short time she was on it. Unlike the other actors in the cast, she was the perfect marriage between stage-quality vocals and screen-caliber acting. In her big film moment, she made the most of singing live and created five minutes of raw and blistering emotion. And. she did this while singing a song that has become such a Broadway cliché it often elicits groans when the opening chords start to play. She is the only actress I’ve heard sing “I Dreamed a Dream” in such a way as to invoke the reality of the lyrics. And, she deserves the Oscar because not only did she sidestep boring the audience, but she moved us with unfettered emotion.
Category: 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
Who I think will win: For the first time in recent memory, the Best Supporting Actor category is the tough one to predict. There is no clear frontrunner here, but I think it is safe to say the race comes down to Robert DeNiro and Tommy Lee Jones. Right now, my money is on Robert DeNiro because he is a well-respected actor who hasn’t been nominated in a long time and hasn’t won in over thirty years. I think the Academy will want to see him win again.
Who I want to win: I respect the performance Tommy Lee Jones gave in Lincoln because he managed to stand out and be memorable in a movie with a powerful performance from Daniel Day-Lewis. Jones doesn’t really tread new ground in this role, but he does show that he is at the height of his acting prowess by doing what he does best.
Category: Best Leading Actress
Jessica Chastain Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts The Impossible
Who I think will win: For a while there, Jessica Chastain was the frontrunner, but the buzz about her performance has died down in the weeks following the release of Zero Dark Thirty. Now it seems like it will be a photo-finish between Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence. I admire both actresses very much and see them as being Oscar worthy. However, I have to give the edge to Lawrence here. In many ways, she had the thankless role in Silver Linings Playbook since it could have been the usual understanding-woman-to-a-troubled-man role, but she flew with it by all accounts. Plus, her movie hasn’t been tainted by recent controversy.
Who I want to win: I was positively blown away by Quvenshane Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild. Despite some detractors who say her performance was created more by editing and the director, the movie is filled with moments in which Wallis has to handle some very tense and difficult scenes. The fact that she was around six years old when she filmed the role makes it all the more amazing. She won’t win because she is too young, but hers was the most emotionally powerful of the female performances I saw.
Category: Best Leading Actor
Bradley Cooper Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis Lincoln
Hugh Jackman Les Misérables
Joaquin Phoenix The Master
Denzel Washington Flight
Who I think will win: Even money is on Daniel Day-Lewis taking home his third Best Leading Actor Oscar, and it would be well-deserved. As always, Day-Lewis completely disappeared inside the character and created a believable and human portrait of one of the most famous presidents in U.S. history. He has been racking up one award after another for this performance, and there is reason to believe he won’t take home the Oscar as well. I will be very surprised if Day-Lewis doesn’t win.
Who I want to win: I don’t have a strong preference in this category except to say that I don’t want Hugh Jackman to win. His performance in Les Miserables was okay and his singing only okay. In order to declare him as Best Actor, he needed to have hit this role out of the ballpark, and that just didn’t happen.
Category: Best Director
Amour Michael Haneke
Beasts of the Southern Wild Benh Zeitlin
Life of Pi Ang Lee
Lincoln Steven Spielberg
Silver Linings Playbook David O. Russell
Who I think will win: This will be the most anticipated category of the night because of who isn’t on the list: Ben Affleck. Had he been nominated, most critics would be saying his win was a foregone conclusion. But, without Affleck in the mix, it becomes anybody’s game. I think it comes down to the old veterans: Ang Lee and Steven Spielberg, with a slight advantage to Spielberg because his film, Lincoln, has been more widely embraced by the Academy.
Who I want to win: This is another category in which I don’t have a strong preference. If pushed, I would go with Ang Lee because I feel he had the more challenging story to film, and he did it magnificently.
Category: Best Picture
Amour Margaret Menegoz, Stefan Arndt, Veit Heiduschka and Michael Katz, Producers
Argo Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck and George Clooney, Producers
Beasts of the Southern Wild Dan Janvey, Josh Penn and Michael Gottwald, Producers
Django Unchained Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin and Pilar Savone, Producers
Les Misérables Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward and Cameron Mackintosh, Producers
Life of Pi Gil Netter, Ang Lee and David Womark, Producers
Lincoln Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers
Silver Linings Playbook Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen and Jonathan Gordon, Producers
Zero Dark Thirty Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow and Megan Ellison, Producers
Who I think will win: Conventional wisdom says that the film with the most nominations will most likely win Best Picture. If that trend continues, then Lincoln will take home the big prize. However, that particular trend has been unreliable in recent years. On top of that, many reports indicate that there is a huge swelling of support for Argo, driven mostly by sympathy for Ben Affleck because he didn’t receive a Best Director nomination. With the influx in recent years of younger Academy voters, Best Picture wins have often been driven by emotion and the desire for dramatic moments. I predict a win for Argo as a way of those younger voters thumbing their collective noses at the directing branch responsible for Affleck’s snub. However, not to hedge my bets, I wouldn’t completely discount a Lincoln upset.
Who I want to win: Out of the nominated films I saw, the one I enjoyed the most was Life of Pi. It’s a highly imaginative and visually beautiful film that had every opportunity to fall flat and didn’t. Plus, with the pervading political themes of many of the other nominees, Life of Pi stands out for tackling spiritual and philosophical issues, topics not usually dealt with in mainstream movies. In such a strong year for movies, I won’t be upset if Life of Pi doesn’t win as most of the other nominees are worthy contenders, but it is the only one that consistently sparked some very deep thinking and conversations out of movie goers, myself included. That alone makes it the choice for me.