Peeping Noms: My Oscar Predictions

oscars-statues-image-1One of the blogs I regularly follow is Rorschach Reviews, a movie-centric blog that’s run some pretty good reviews over the last few months, as well as having been kind enough to link to a few of mine.  For the past few weeks, he’s been asking fellow bloggers to send in their Oscar nomination predictions as we run up to the announcement of the actual nominations Thursday morning. Never being one to shy away from publicly embarrassing myself, I decided to join in the fun.  My predictions are posted here, but that’s just the list.  Here’s the line of thought — or lack thereof — behind it.

Best Picture

  • Argo
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Django Unchained
  • Lincoln
  • Les Misérables
  • Life of Pi
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • Zero Dark Thirty

The new rules don’t require ten nominations, it only allows for that many, and I think this year, we fall short.  For one thing, I don’t think The Master has the kind of widespread support it takes to get into this category.  People love the acting, and the script will likely get some love, but it feels like a lot of people were left somewhat cold by it, which doesn’t usually lead to people putting it on their Best Picture ballots.  I know Amour has been getting some attention.  In fact, the National Society of Film Critics named it their winner just today, but they have a history of going outside the norm, and I think that slot goes to Beasts of the Southern Wild.  By the way, had this been a traditional five-nominee year, I think the field would have been Argo, Django Unchained, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, and Zero Dark Thirty.

Best Director

  • Ang Lee – Life of Pi
  • Ben Affleck – Argo
  • Kathryn Bigelow – Zero Dark Thirty
  • Quentin Tarantino – Django Unchained
  • Steven Spielberg – Lincoln

I’m giving Lee credit for bringing a difficult book to the screen in a visually spectacular fashion, and thinking voters will feel the same way.  But I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s left out in favor of someone like Wes Anderson or David O. Russell.  Even if Les Misérables gets a Best Picture nomination, though, I don’t think anyone has been talking about Tom Hooper’s direction as a reason behind its success, so he’s left out regardless.

Best Actor in a Leading Role

  • Bradley Cooper – Silver Linings Playbook
  • Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln
  • Denzel Washington – Flight
  • Hugh Jackman – Les Misérables
  • John Hawkes – The Sessions

Also known as The Parade to Finish Second to Daniel Day-Lewis.  Hawkes slides into the “Hey, we have to give this movie a couple of nominations” slot, and everybody else is clearly the stand-out in their film.  Joaquin Phoenix probably rubbed too many voters the wrong way with his anti-award sentiments, and I think Jamie Foxx is Django Unchained is too subdued a performance to draw attention, especially compared to the flashier supporting turns in that film.

Best Actress in a Leading Role

  • Helen Mirren – Hitchcock
  • Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook
  • Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty
  • Naomi Watts – The Impossible
  • Quvenzhane Wallis – Beasts of the Southern Wild

Chastain and Lawrence feel like the locks here, with Mirren taking the Meryl Streep grande dame role and Watts emoting her way to a nomination.  I went back and forth on Wallis though.  She clearly carries the entire film, but Oscar has a history of shunting younger performers into the supporting categories, maybe as a better way of winning, maybe as a way of telling them they have to earn it.  But if Keisha-Castle Hughes could get into the category for The Whale Rider, I think Wallis makes the cut here.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Alan Arkin – Argo
  • Leonardo DiCaprio – Django Unchained
  • Javier Bardem – Skyfall
  • Phillip Seymour Hoffman – The Master
  • Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln

This could be a crazy category.  At first, it looked like Hoffman’s to lose.  Then Jones had it wrapped up.  Now DiCaprio is coming on strong, and to be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Christoph Waltz slide into Arkin’s spot.  I just think Arkin is a bit of an Academy darling right now and gets a nomination on that sentiment alone.  And I’m going to ride Bardem’s Screen Actors Guild nomination for Skyfall for all it’s worth.  Actors are the largest voting branch of the Academy, and if they thought enough of Bardem to nominate him for their award, I think he can carry that momentum over to the Oscars.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Anne Hathway – Les Misérables
  • Helen Hunt – The Sessions
  • Maggie Smith – The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
  • Sally Field – Lincoln
  • Nicole Kidman – The Paperboy

Just give it to Hathaway now.  As much as I loved Field in Lincoln, Hathaway walks away with Les Miserables, and it’s a chance to give the film an award it truly deserves.  Smith is pretty much beloved and could grab a nomination for a walk-on at this point, and Hunt and Kidman are Academy favorites with not a whole lot of competition in the category.

Best Original Screenplay

  • Argo
  • Django Unchained
  • The Master
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • Zero Dark Thirty

I screwed up here and forgot Argo was loosely based on published account of events, and so is being pushed for the Adapted Screenplay award.  So there’s two categories I managed to botch right off the bat.  The only other one I’m shaky on here is Moonrise Kingdom, since it opened a good while ago and may not be strong in people’s minds.  Looper could possibly sneak in here — this category hasn’t been afraid of going genre in the past — and this might also be a place to give some a nod to Amour.

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower

A lot of people are pegging Les Misérables for this category, and I’m just not seeing it.  It does a good enough job of bringing the musical to the screen, but it just didn’t feel like Oscar-caliber work to me.  If I had a re-do, I’d slide Argo into Life of Pi’s slot; I think Beasts and Wallflower garnered enough positive attention that they’ll score nominations here.

Best Animated Feature

  • Brave
  • Frankenweenie
  • ParaNorman
  • Rise of the Guardians
  • Wreck-It Ralph

I’m still baffled by all the wins Frankenweenie has been racking up in the critics’ awards, but it’s a lock to get nominated.  There’s always a chance for a head-scratcher here — how else do you explain Puss in Boots‘ nomination last year — but unless people really loved Madagascar 3, I feel pretty comfortable there’ll be no surprises.  The only drama is if they’ll actually end up with five nominees, something that’s only happened three times in the eleven years they’ve been giving out the award.  But I think this year’s field is strong enough for a full boat.

Of course, there’s bound to be something out of left field that throws everything into disarray.  And I’ll be back on Thursday to likely complain about it.

UPDATE:  Rorschach himself has been kind enough to let me fix my screw-up in the screenplay categories.  So I’m going to move Argo into the Best Adapted Screenplay category at the expense of Life of Pi, and add Looper to the Best Original Screenplay category.


2 thoughts on “Peeping Noms: My Oscar Predictions

  1. Love the explanations that go with these, it’s interesting to see how you’ve thought it all out. I’m amazed that not a single person predicted Wes Anderson to get a directing nod for Moonrise Kingdom

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