Sunday, December 16, 2012

Post BFCA/SAG/HFPA Oscar Predictions

Best Picture
Beasts of the Southern Wild
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Django Unchained
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
Moonrise Kingdom
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Other Contenders - The Master, Amour, Skyfall, Flight, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Hitchcock, Anna Karenina

Commentary - Leading the nominations for SAG, BFCA, and HFPA, Lincoln has catapulted to the frontrunner status in the Oscar race. After days of Zero Dark Thirty love, the tides have changed, as that film, while still a major contender, missed the SAG ensemble nod, making its ride to a Best Picture win a lot more difficult. Early favorites Argo and Silver Linings Playbook showed some late-season muscle, and proved why they are still very much in contention, albeit still behind the mammoth Lincoln. Les Miserables also did well, but Tom Hooper missing the Golden Globe nod, and its continued mixed reviews have placed a few hurdles in its path. I maintain that it makes the Oscar cut. But let me remind you that a couple of years ago, Nine hit the BFCA, SAG, and HFPA trifecta, only to be left off the extended list, most likely booted out by its mixed reviews. Les Miserables seems to have better reviews than Nine, and its supporters are a lot more passionate, but I still worry. I maintain that in light of this week's events, these five films are the top contenders, with Ang Lee's Life of Pi, a clear number six, who will most likely make the cut. That part hasn't changed. But in the back end of the top ten, some contenders have risen, and others have fallen. Despite no HFPA or SAG love (wasn't eligible for SAG, and it's not a Golden Globe kind of movie), I maintain that the critical support, and the emotional pull of this film keeps it in the running. Django Unchained took a hit at SAG, but Golden Globe love, and tons of great reviews rolling in have quickly helped it rebound. I know this isn't an Academy film, but my guess is that PGA, WGA, and maybe even DGA come to bat for it, and push it into the top ten (or nine, or eight, etc.). Moonrise Kingdom has been flirting with the top ten all season, and while it also missed the SAG cut, the love shown by BFCA, and the Golden Globe Best Picture nomination are big boosts. I also get the sense that people have not forgotten this film, that it remains on the minds of the Academy, just from reports I have heard. Also still on their minds is Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which pulled a coup this week and got a SAG ensemble and Golden Globe Best Picture nomination. Some may still keep it at bay, but this love combined with guaranteed BAFTA support makes me think that the older contingency within the Academy will push this one into contention.

Best Director
Ben Affleck "Argo"
Tom Hooper "Les Miserables"
Steven Spielberg "Lincoln"
David O. Russell "Silver Linings Playbook"
Kathryn Bigelow "Zero Dark Thirty"
Other Contenders - Ang Lee "Life of Pi", Quentin Tarantino "Django Unchained", Paul Thomas Anderson "The Master", Benh Zeitlin "Beasts of the Southern Wild", Michael Haneke "Amour", John Madden "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", Wes Anderson "Moonrise Kingdom", Sam Mendes "Skyfall", Peter Jackson "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"

Commentary - Until the DGA shines some light, I am keeping my predictions intact. Although Ang Lee and Quentin Tarantino have certaintly staked their claim, and David O. Russell and Tom Hooper are definitely vulnerable.

Best Actor
Bradley Cooper "Silver Linings Playbook"
Daniel Day-Lewis "Lincoln"
John Hawkes "The Sessions"
Hugh Jackman "Les Miserables"
Denzel Washington "Flight"
Other Contenders - Joaquin Phoenix "The Master", Richard Gere "Arbitrage", Jack Black "Bernie", Anthony Hopkins "Hitchcock", Jamie Foxx "Django Unchained", Jean-Louis Trintignat "Amour"

Commentary - This is a six man race with only five final slots. I feel pretty confident that Daniel Day-Lewis is on his way to his third Academy Award. I also feel pretty confident about John Hawkes, who despite being in a small film, is definitely one of the best performances of the bunch. It is the last three slots that could give way to Joaquin Phoenix. Bradley Cooper and Hugh Jackman seem like the last two in, but with their films being so popular, I think they are definitely in. Despite SAG and HFPA love, Denzel Washington may be the one that is most vulnerable, simply because it appears the only award love is going to be for his performance. But if you ask me, don't bet against Denzel, and don't bet for Joaquin as long as his antics turn people off, and as long as The Master continues to be under-rewarded.

Best Actress
Jessica Chastain "Zero Dark Thirty"
Marion Cotillard "Rust & Bone"
Jennifer Lawrence "Silver Linings Playbook"
Helen Mirren "Hitchcock"
Emmanuelle Riva "Amour"

Other Contenders - Naomi Watts "The Impossible", Quvenzhane Wallis "Beasts of the Southern Wild", Rachel Weisz "The Deep Blue Sea", Meryl Streep "Hope Springs", Judi Dench "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", Kiera Knightley "Anna Karenina"
Commentary - This once week race is all of the sudden competitive and exciting. I still think that the win will be between Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence, and it could be an exciting finish. Marion Cotillard might finally get her second nod, after years of solid work being ignored since her win. It is the last two slots that seem like trouble. Helen Mirren is a legend, a recent winner, and with SAG and HFPA, and probably a big push from BAFTA, she seems like a safe bet. Naomi Watts surprised with a nod from SAG (Golden Globe nod was predictable), and while most people now have her in the slot, I still hesitate. The film is kind of floundering in terms of buzz, and it missed the cut in categories like Visual Effects and Makeup and Hairstyling. That doesn't mean that she won't be nominated, it just may mean that like Denzel in Actor, they will probably be the film's big reward. I just get the sense that this category is very fluid, and that by January 10th, a surprise nominee will make it in. Maybe I'm wrong, but I feel like the more high-minded members of the Academy, may be just the group to include the devastatingly beautiful performance of Emmanuelle Riva. The day before Oscars are announced, BAFTA will sound off and help us sort some of these out, and my opinions may change drastically. But for now I am sticking with my guns.

Best Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin "Argo"
Robert DeNiro "Silver Linings Playbook"
Leonardo DiCaprio "Django Unchained"
Philip Seymour Hoffman "The Master"
Tommy Lee Jones "Lincoln"
Other Contenders - Javier Bardem "Skyfall", Christoph Waltz "Django Unchained", Samuel L. Jackson "Django Unchained", Matthew McConaghuey "Magic Mike", Eddie Redmayne "Les Miserables"

Commentary - Four contenders are in, and are fighting for the win: Arkin, DeNiro, Hoffman, and Jones. It if the fifth spot that is causing trouble. Javier Bardem was rewarded for Skyfall by SAG, and BAFTA will probably follow suit. I think that if anybody can be nominated for a Bond film it is the ever popular Bardem (and Dench for that matter), but I still find it hard to conceive the Academy going for it, although if the next three contenders are all from the same, and also un-friendly to the Academy, film, then Bardem could be a tiebreaker. I am still going for DiCaprio for Django, as it starts to pick up steam just as ballots go out. Although I am getting a sneaking suspicion that the now moved (again) contender Christoph Waltz could surprise his co-star and get that coveted fifth slot.

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams "The Master"
Sally Field "Lincoln"
Anne Hathaway "Les Miserables"
Helen Hunt "The Sessions"
Maggie Smith "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"
Other Contenders - Nicole Kidman "The Paperboy", Samantha Barks "Les Miserables", Kerry Washington "Django Unchained", Helena Bonham Carter "Les Miserables", Ann Dowd "Compliance", Jacki Weaver "Silver Linings Playbook"

Commentary - Nicole Kidman's nomination for The Paperboy by SAG and HFPA is still shocking, although both groups are definitely fans of hers. It is still almost too shocking, so for now I am keeping her out of the mix. I just can't see the Academy following suite, despite their respect for Kidman as well. Although Melissa McCarthy was nomianted for shitting in a sink, so even the high-brow Academy sometimes likes to make fun, loose, and daring choices. For now I feel pretty confident about Smith, Hunt, Field, and Hathaway. Despite The Master's lack of love, Amy Adams, like Kidman, is also popular, and is the safe choice. We'll see about BAFTA, but for now, I sticking with safety.

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