CC Issue 36 / Film / TV

And the Oscar Goes to…

Well, it’s Oscar season and yours truly has decided to weigh in on the nominees.  Not that the Oscars are a particular favourite of mine (Cannes being my film festival holy grail for all its agony and ecstasy), but I can’t seem to resist joining the hubbub. Below, I have selected a few of my favourite categories, chosen a winner who I think deserves the golden statue in the category, and then chosen who I believe will actually win. Enjoy!

Best Picture:

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

Deserved: There can only be one: “Amour.”
Likely: A tough call between “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Lincoln,” and “Argo,” all of which feature some patriotic relevance and American politicking. But while two of the films in the aforementioned list deal with two rather enormous figures in US history (though admittedly for very different reasons), only one manages to tackle an episode in national history and celebrate Hollywood’s salvific power. The Oscar goes to “Argo.”

Best Supporting Actor:

Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained”
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”
Robert De Niro, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Alan Arkin, “Argo”
Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”

Deserved: Christoph Waltz was scintillating – managing to adeptly tightrope between humour, brutality, and humanity and giving voice to some truly sparkling dialogue.
Likely: Christoph Waltz, because of the above, mostly.

Best Supporting Actress:

Sally Field, “Lincoln”
Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables”
Jacki Weaver, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Helen Hunt, “The Sessions”
Amy Adams, “The Master”

Deserved: While I am a sucker for Amy Adams’ portrayal in “The Master” (which, incidentally, was my favourite film of 2012), Anne Hathaway took my breath away as she managed to both sing and act with a magnificence rarely seen on the screen.
Likely: Anne Hathaway, because I should stop giving away all my reasons in the aforementioned “deserved” explanations.

Best Director:

David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”
Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”
Michael Haneke, “Amour”
Benh Zeitlin, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

Deserved: Michael Haneke, of course. Although I do have reservations about what a type a-anal retentive personality he is when it comes to directing (using Hitchcockian precision to film “Amour,” on a sound stage, in order to control everything comes springing to mind), he is pretty darn good at it… even if there is absolutely zero (dark thirty) sentimentality in the process.
Likely: Ben Affleck…oh wait, this is embarrassing. I guess we’ll have to give it to Spielberg.

Best Actor:

Daniel Day Lewis, “Lincoln”
Denzel Washington, “Flight”
Hugh Jackman, “Les Miserables”
Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”

Deserved: Dang it. Daniel Day Lewis is the best actor on the planet, so of course I’m tempted to say he deserves an Oscar simply for bothering to read a script, move according to a few markers on the floor, and open his mouth. But I’m going to go against the tide of popular opinion and choose Joaquin Phoenix, whose impish portrayal of a drifter in “The Master” was simply mouth-watering. I know he’s a wild card, but boy was he convincing.
Likely: Abraham Lincoln, I mean Daniel Day Lewis, in “Lincoln.”

Best Actress:

Naomi Watts, “The Impossible”
Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour”
Quvenzhané Wallis, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

Deserved: I’m not actually sure about this one. Jessica Chastain, probably, because I admire her work ethic and because she managed to portray a rather stoic character (in a fashion true to life, I’ve heard) with conviction, feeling, and purpose.
Likely: Jessica Chastain or Jennifer Lawrence will walk away with the Oscar for sure, and my vote would be for the former to be the Academy’s preferred choice.

Best Original Screenplay:

“Zero Dark Thirty”
“Django Unchained”
“Moonrise Kingdom”
“Amour”
“Flight”

Deserved: “Django Unchained” was pretty original, had (as I said earlier) truly sparkling dialogue, and managed to be fairly captivating for its two hour plus run-time.
Likely: I don’t see how “Zero Dark Thirty” could not win.

Best Adapted Screenplay:

“Lincoln”
“Silver Linings Playbook”
“Argo”
“Life of Pi”
“Beasts of the Southern Wild”

Deserved: “Life of Pi,” though I feel a little disingenuous saying so since I have not read the novel.
Likely: Though I’m tempted to say “Life of Pi,” because my guess is that the Academy did read the eponymous novel and felt the film adaption was pretty good, my vote is for “Argo,” because how can Hollywood not vote for a film in which Hollywood saves the day?

Best Foreign Feature:

“Amour”
“A Royal Affair”
“Kon-Tiki”
“No”
“War Witch”

Deserved: “Amour,” hands down. Which would be embarrassing if it also won Best Picture, which it should, but probably won’t because the Academy will not likely give the Best Foreign Film the Best Picture.
Likely: One of the others which, sad to say, I have not seen. I’d say “Kon-Tiki” because it’s the most pleasurable to repeat in a high pitched voice.

Best Cinematography:

“Skyfall”
“Anna Karenina”
“Django Unchained”
“Life of Pi”
“Lincoln”

Deserved: “Django Unchained” again.
Likely: “Life of Pi,” because you see wonderful colours and things.

Best Documentary Feature:

“Searching for Sugar Man”
“How to Survive a Plague”
“The Gatekeepers”
“5 Broken Cameras”
“The Invisible War”

Deserved: “5 Broken Cameras” was pretty remarkable, but I have a vested interest as I am quite interested in Palestine and the protests against the Israeli Separation Barrier (aka the ridiculous Israeli land-grab mechanism). Also, it was quite an interesting and compelling way to structure a narrative, which was replete with all sorts of magic, surprise, and feeling.
Likely: “Searching for Sugar Man,” because pro-Palestinian causes (even those that are non-violent in nature) tend not to sit well with the American majority, and also because I’ve heard it’s a great film (though I’ve not seen it).

Best Music (Original Song):

“Before My Time” from “Chasing Ice”
“Everybody Needs A Best Friend” from “Ted”
“Pi’s Lullaby” from “Life of Pi”
“Skyfall” from “Skyfall”
“Suddenly” from “Les Misérables”

Deserved: “Skyfall.”
Likely: “Skyfall.” Adele nailed it, as did the opening titles.

5 thoughts on “And the Oscar Goes to…

  1. Tell me more about why “Amour” is your best film pick, please. (I’m not disagreeing, just curious since it hasn’t come here yet.)

    • That’s a great question… I think probably because I like the director and am a little partial to him, but also because the performances were so vivid and realistic, and the story was a deeply honest and human one. Also it was a pleasant surprise because I’ve not seen a lot of films which so truthfully deal with old age and yet manage to do so without much sentimentality. Of all the ones in the list, this one has stayed with me the longest. I’d love to know what you think when you see it Colleen.

  2. I actually don’t agree with any of that…will be interesting if your predictions are right. except…anne hathaway, and jennifer lawrence…of course…

  3. I loved Amour also – so bleak and yet so good. Emanuelle Riva has a real shot at (surprise) winning for Best Actress but for some reason no one is talking about Jean-Louis Trintignant, who I thought was even better. She has the showier role obviously, but he was just terrific.

    The real Oscar races are in screenplay and best director this year where everything is wide open. I think if Amour does any surprising t will be with a win in one or both of those categories.

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