While I’m no Nate Silver of the Oscar race (see this article by Salon and visit my personal favorite alter-Nate at The Film Experience), I’ve been predicting this thing since 2005 so I might as well share my final predictions. Might as well open this up to public forum in which no one will participate than have spent hours and days and weeks obsessing over this to keep it stuck in my sticky notes. Also I want bragging rights if some of my ballsier guesses come true. Without further ado, here are my predix in the top 8 category. Should have done Editing and Cinematography but oh well, next year.
This rolling number shit is so hard. And after so much toiling I almost decided to say fuck it and go with ten, but I also highly doubt the nominees will match the PGA’s verbatim and I also just don’t see Amour or The Master sneaking in here with an already pretty insanely competitive field. I do think that my 7/8 picks could be swapped for 9/10 or any combination thereof so it’s anyone’s guess, ugh.
3. Zero Dark Thirty
4. Les Miserables
5. Silver Linings Playbook
6. Life of Pi
7. Django Unchained
8. Beasts of the Southern Wild
9. Moonrise Kingdom
Verdict: 8/8 but missed #9 Amour
The top three are locked and loaded and try as I might to ignore Life of Pi, I see Ang Lee getting here because the faction that like his film really love it and the credit goes almost solely to him. Meanwhile, Hooper is duking it out with Tarantino, Haneke and Russell but my guess is that the Academy’s love for the performances in the film will get him in here, however deserving or undeserving he may be. The acting branch won’t care as much for his controversial camera choices and more for the live singing/performance angle. T Hoops is in is my guess. (Also they must like him since he won when Fincher one thousand percent deserved to)
1. Ben Affleck – Argo
2. Kathryn Bigelow – Zero Dark Thirty
3. Steven Spielberg – Lincoln
4. Ang Lee – Life of Pi
5. Tom Hooper – Les Miserables
Verdict: 2/5. Ouch.
Denzel, Phoenix, Hawkes. Alcoholism and disabilty, Oscar’s favorite favorite things. Only two spots. Is Denzel really a lock? Who’s talking about Flight anymore? Is anyone talking about The Sessions? But The Master has been losing consistent steam. In the end I think Denzel’s star power will get him in and the sheer craft of Joaquin’s powerhouse performance will win out despite his volatile comments towards Oscar. After all, a true thesp will never like the Academy but they’ll love him despite it all. Maybe.
1. Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln
2. Bradley Cooper – Silver Linings Playbook
3. Hugh Jackman – Les Miserables
4. Denzel Washington – Flight
5. Joaquin Phoenix – The Master
What a weird category. The two J’s are locks and Naomi has star power behind her plus a rising tidal wave of praise (bad pun, sorrrrry) so I think she’s a lock too. But I’m gambling here with Wallis and Riva. Precursors have gone for Marion Cotillard and Helen Mirren for what I think is star power appeal. Little 9 year old Wallis was ineligible for SAG and doesn’t have the name for GG but she’s a powerhouse of a thing and I think she’s in. The Academy loves the little guys. O’Neal, Osment, Paquin, Castle Hughes, Breslin?! And the two most recent performances don’t hold a candle to what she did in Beasts. Similarly, I think the reverence for an aging actress giving the performance of a lifetime will snag Riva a spot despite their love affair with Dame Helen. Cotillard less than likable character in an also-foreign-language-film may have gotten her the SAG because she’s an A-lister. I think the Academy will choose the other foreign language performance here.
1. Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty
2. Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook
3. Naomi Watts – The Impossible
4. Quvenzhane Wallis – Beasts of the Southern Wild
5. Emmanuelle Riva – Amour
Verdict: 5/5 fuck yeahhhhh!
The first are locks, that makes it quite easy, right? Except the revolving door for slot five is headache worthy. I’m betting that the top three Django performances will cancel each other out, and for a while I had Javier Bardem in their stead. He snagged a SAG because his film was probably seen by almost every member, but for the smaller Academy, could their pending epic love affair with Les Mis result in a Redmayne surprise nomination? Stranger things have happened. And he does carry the film when Valjean takes a back seat during most of Act 2. He’s being fondly remembered and singled out in a cast of vast talent and size. He just very well may be the Academy’s version of SAG’s Bardem.
1. Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln
2. Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Master
3. Alan Arkin – Argo
4. Robert De Niro – Silver Linings Playbook
5. Eddie Redmayne – Les Miserables
So as I’m going through this I realize I’m taking tons of risks and I’ll probably get all of them wrong. Those 4th and 5th slots arguably belong to Amy Adams or Maggie Smith, queen of everything at the moment. But like I said, the appeal of The Master seems to be waning, and can’t they just be cool with Maggie Smith and her Emmys for Downton Abbey? Kidman made a last minute campaigning plea and it paid off handsomely with surprise precursor attention. Plus, they love her (as they should, actual queen of everything) and her performance, albeit in a hated movie, is ballsy, brave and bold. Dowd may be wishful thinking, but her self funded campaign and powerful, chilling performance should get her votes on both merit and pity (though she doesn’t need pity votes, but if the movie is little seen, they might help).
1. Anne Hathaway – Les Miserables
2. Sally Field – Lincoln
3. Helen Hunt – The Sessions
4. Nicole Kidman – The Paperboy
5. Ann Dowd – Compliance
I don’t know, these kind of speak for themselves. There are tons of alternatives but I’m tired and I don’t have any strong convictions like in the other categories. (Sorry writing).
1. Zero Dark Thirty
2. Django Unchained
3. Moonrise Kingdom
Same as above really. If they love Les Mis it’ll sneak in here (and would be a huge indicator that it could possibly be the winner too).
3. Silver Linings Playbook
4. Life of Pi
5. Perks of Being a Wallflower