Wow! This is the most difficult year to predict in recent memory. Sentiments are shifting faster than gears at a NASCAR competition. Conventional wisdom of a whole week ago is laughed at as hopelessly outdated today. But we have to hit the subtotal button at some point. So here, with help from best friend and fellow film nerd Clint Morgan, are my predictions, which included changes from just a few days ago.
This one is the one most up in the air because of the two directing omissions, but the two major “snubs” have sent their two films in opposite directions. Zero Dark Thirty was winning many Best Picture awards at the end of the year. Now it’s practically off the radar. Argo, however, has had all sorts of award love thrown at it, from the Golden Globes to the Screen Actors Guide awards to the Directors Guild of America awards. The film may well do an end run around the others because of the affection for Affleck and the fact that he didn’t pick up a much-deserved and expected nomination.
Will (Probably) Win: Argo
Might Win: Lincoln
This is the category that has made all the others so difficult to predict. But remembering that for most directors, the award IS the nomination, it’s likely that the trade-off for Argo winning the big prize will be love for Lincoln in the form of a statuette for director Stephen Spielberg. Recent waves of love for Ang Lee’s accomplishment of successfully directing an “unfilmable” film have put this category up for grabs one more time.
Will Win: Stephen Spielberg for Lincoln
Might Win: Ang Lee for Life of Pi
This is easy. It will be Daniel Day-Lewis, one of the few acting geniuses of our time. No other performance comes close this year in reach or accomplishment.
Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln
Other Possible Winner: Nobody
This was looking like a two-way race between Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty and Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook. It seemed as if it would be one or the other, but since Zero has diminished and Lawrence won the Screen Actors Guild award and Silver Linings is still very much on people’s radar, it seemed likely to be Lawrence. Now Emmanuelle Riva’s performance in Amour is suddenly the hot prediction. Not sure if that sentiment is too little too late, but some are betting the ranch on the French acting legends.
Will (Probably) Win: Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook
Might Win: Emmanuelle Riva for Amour
Best Supporting Actor
This one has changed for me this past week, with my uncertainty being as solid as ever. All nominees have already won an Oscar, so there will be no sympathy awards given this year. It should go to Philip Seymour Hoffman (full disclosure—he is from the area I live in) for his brilliant work in The Master, but that film was only on the radar from one bright and shining moment, and has been generally ignored ever since except by the more curious and perceptive. Then there is Tommy Lee Jones of Lincoln, all literate, verbally dexterous and attractively politically correct as an anti-slavery radical, with just a touch of the lovable grouch we all have come to know as TLJ. He seemed the early frontrunner, and was my early pick. Christoph Waltz just won the Screen Actors Guild award for his work in Django Unchained, and even though he won a couple of years back, that win has thrown this race into official confusion. But Robert DeNiro may well win because “he’s back!” as an actor and has left behind the near-parodic performances based on send-ups of his tough-guy/gangster image.
Will (Probably) Win: Robert DeNiro for Silver Linings Playbook
Might Win: Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln or Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained
Should Win But Won’t: Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master
Best Supporting Actress
There’s no competition for this one. It’s Anne Hathaway for her heart-wrenching role as Fantine the prostitute in Les Misérables, or more accurately, for reinvigorating “I Dreamed a Dream.” It’s the dominant performance on the awards circuit, and people want to honor the film in a real but minor way. This will accomplish both. No one else has a chance.
Will Win: Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables.
Looked Like She Could Have Won Except for Anne Hathaway: Sally Field for Lincoln
Might Win: Nobody else.
Best Foreign Film
Since Amour (technically from Austria with an Austrian director, but in French and starring French actors) is ALSO nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Original Screenplay—and no other Best Foreign Picture nominees are nominated for anything other than in that one category—it’s hard to imagine this won’t be the one category Amour will capture handily. It’s the one easy way to honor the film, its esteemed director, and its legendary stars (Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant).
Will Win: Amour
Animated Feature Film
Brave has some support, but wasn’t top-drawer. Wreck-it Ralph came later and stronger.
Will (Probably) Win: Wreck-it Ralph
Nothing knocked the eyeballs out quite as much as Life of Pi, and in intelligent 3D, no less. Lincoln was beautiful, but dark and lovely almost always get trumped by bright and dazzling.
Will Win: Life of Pi
My Secret Dream: Skyfall. I love Roger Deakins’ work, and this film is a master class in cinematography, both dark/lovely and bright/dazzling.
Though Lincoln and Les Misérables could have won in another year, there is a great deal of respect for Anna Karenina. When the costumes are the plot, the costumes win.
Will Win: Anna Karenina
Will Probably Win: Searching for Sugarman
Documentary Short Subject
Will Probably Win: Inocente
The following guess is based on an Argo win, which would likely sweep this category along, which Best Pics done have traditionally.
Will Probably Win: Argo
Also Deserving: Zero Dark Thirty
Makeup and Hairstyling
This could easily have been a win for The Hobbit, but it seemed a bit of a tired retread when all was said and done. With the previous trilogy’s man awards, there is a sense of “been there, awarded that.”
Will Probably Win: Les Misérables
Music (Original Score)
Lincoln’s John Williams is always a favorite, but Life of Pi’s score, a first-time effort by composer Mychael Danna, is just conspicuous enough to be noticed, and more than lovely and strong.
Music (Original Song)
Will Win: “Skyfall” by Adele Adkins (AKA Adele) and Paul Epworth
Could Win: Nothing else.
Pathetic Oscar Bait: “Suddenly” from Les Misérables
A hard one to call this year with several worthies. Again, in any other year, Lincoln would take this. Or the costumes from Anna Karenina could have pulled in a production design award as well. And Les Miz is bold and bright. But Life of Pi, whose design is more computer-generated design than real-world, is still bowling people over visually.
Will Win: Life of Pi
Short Film Animated
Best Guess: Paperman
Short Film (Live Action)
Best Guess: Curfew
Will Probably Win: Argo
Could Have Won in Another Year: Zero Dark Thirty
This is often joined with the Sound Editing, but there is a great deal of respect for the way director Tom Hooper captured the voices in Les Misérables.
Will Probably Win: Les Misérables
Will Win and Should: Life of Pi
Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
It was assumed by the universe that Broadway legend Tony Kushner would win for his verbally dense Lincoln in this category. But Argo won the recent Writers Guild Award in this category, and assuming a small sweep for Argo, this award is likely to move to writer Chris Terrio.
Will Probably Win: Chris Terrio for Argo
Might Still Win: Tony Kushner for Lincoln
Writing (Original Screenplay)
It seemed a few weeks ago that Quentin Tarantino would get this even as a consolation prize for Django Unchained. Happily, it seems as if cooler heads have prevailed, and Zero Dark Thirty has won the Writers Guild Award. Amour is a possibility, but people still want to honor ZDT somehow, and this award is a good way to do that.
Will Probably Win: Zero Dark Thirty
Possible Dark Horse: Amour
We Know the World Is Coming to A Quick End if This Wins: Django Unchained