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Oscar Predictions 2013

2012 was a fantastic year for film, and, for the first time, I’ve seen a majority of the nominated films, including all nine Best Picture nominees, all five Best Animated Feature nominees, all five Best Live Action Short Film nominees, and all five Best Animated Short Film nominees. I also own and have listened through all five nominated Best Original Scores. Needless to say, I feel relatively prepared enough to type out my own predictions list for this year’s Academy Awards, with a little help from various other people’s lists in the technical area. Just to clarify, though: this does not necessarily reflect my personal favorites (otherwise I wouldn’t have chosen Mychael Danna’s score to Life of Pi for Best Original Score), but it instead shows what I actually think will win.

I’ll give commentary for the first six awards and will simply list the rest.


P.S. If something is linked, it’s a link to my personal review of that material, if you’re interested in reading.

Best Picture: Argo

When I first decided that I was going to type up one of these, I argued with myself for a long time over whether or not Argo would win the Oscar for Best Picture, but now I’m almost positive. In the entire history of the Academy Awards, there have only been three instances ever when the winner of the Best Picture Award did not also win the Best Director Award, so, since Ben Affleck isn’t nominated for Best Director, I was leaning more toward Lincoln/Spielberg for the Best Picture/Director awards, but Argo has gotten enough steam built up behind it to snatch the Oscar, and rightfully so.

Best Director: Steven Spielberg for Lincoln

Had he been nominated, I think that Ben Affleck would have won this award for directing what is sure to win Best Picture, Argo, but, since he’s not, Spielberg seems to be the best choice. He has a long history of bringing us excellent films, and Lincoln was no exception. However, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if Ang Lee received the award for directing Life of Pi, but I don’t expect that’ll happen.

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln

I wasn’t able to see The Master, but of the other four nominees there is no doubt that all four actors did fantastic jobs in their respective roles, but I think that Day-Lewis will take the cake after his incredible portrayal of President Abraham Lincoln in Spielberg’s latest film. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t get the award, but, if I had to make a second guess, it’d be for Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook.

Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook

I may have this one completely wrong, as Jessica Chastain also seems to be a popular pick for her role in Zero Dark Thirty (which I don’t agree with), but I think that Lawrence was the definitely the best of those nominated. I must admit to not having seeing The Impossible, but I’m pretty sure that the winner will be either Lawrence or Chastain, and my hope is for Lawrence.

Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained

I’ve changed my mind about four times while trying to write this because both Christoph Waltz as Dr. Schultz in Django Unchained and Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens in Lincoln were fantastic and are deserving of the Oscar. However, I do believe that Waltz’s performance shines just a bit brighter than Jones’, putting him at least slightly ahead in my book.

Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway in Les Misérables

I am almost completely confident that Anne Hathaway will win this award. While Sally Field was a great Mary Todd Lincoln and Jacki Weaver did a fine job in Silver Linings Playbook (I haven’t seen The Master or The Sessions, but I’m sure that Amy Adams and Helen Hunt were great as well), but I think that Hathaway’s stunning performance of the classic “I Dreamed a Dream” is reason enough to justify her receiving the Oscar.

Best Writing – Original Screenplay: Michael Haneke for Amour

Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay: Chris Terrio for Argo

Best Animated Feature: Wreck-It Ralph

Best Foreign Language Film: Amour

Best Documentary – Feature: Searching for Sugar Man

Best Documentary – Short Subject: Open Heart

Best Live Action Short Film: Curfew

Best Animated Short Film: Paperman

Best Original Score: Mychael Danna for Life of Pi

Best Original Song: Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth for “Skyfall”

Best Sound Editing: Zero Dark Thirty

Best Sound Mixing: Les Misérables

Best Production Design: Les Misérables

Best CinematographyLife of Pi

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Les Misérables

Best Costume Design: Anna Karenina

Best Film Editing: Argo

Best Visual Effects: Life of Pi


Django Unchained (2012)

My experience with Quentin Tarantino films is pretty limited. Before this, the only one of his films that I had seen was Inglourious Basterds, which, I admit, I don’t remember much of because I was working on homework and such while watching. Despite that, my current quest to see all nine Best Picture nominees for the 85th Academy Awards brought me to Django Unchained, a film that I had meant to see quite a while ago but only just managed to watch. And wow…it was worth the wait.

At the start of the film, Django (Jamie Foxx) has just been separated from his wife Brumhilda (Kerry Washington) after the two of them tried to escape from the place where they were slaves together. He is being taken to a new place to work, but plans change when a bounty hunter named Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) shows up looking for Django, who he believes can identify three men who have prices on their heads. Dr. Schultz doesn’t like the idea of slavery, so his relationship with Django is as more of a partnership, with him treating his new friend as a person with the same rights as he does. The pair embarks on a journey to first find these men and then others before they travel to the plantation of one Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), who is Django’s wife’s new owner, where they come up with an elaborate scheme to buy Brumhilda back from Candie so that her and Django can be reunited and free together.

For me, the best part of this film beyond a doubt is Christoph Waltz as Dr. Schultz. His dialogue is fantastic, his character is fascinating, and his overall onscreen likability is fervent. From the very moment in the film when he first appears, he takes control of the situation, managing to show both his aggressive and compassionate sides from the start. Throughout the film, he treats white and black people with the respect they all deserve as humans, which is hugely admirable amid so much racism and hatred. Foxx’s character is likable as well, with his obvious passion for his wife acting as his motivation for everything that he does or, in some cases, what he doesn’t do. In fact, there are several points in the movie when Django “sees” his wife with him, such as when he is bathing in a hot spring or while riding his horse to Candie’s plantation. This sort of hallucination seems to serve as a reminder that everything he is doing, whether it’s killing men for a bounty or ignoring the plight of the enslaved black men around him, is done with the purpose of reuniting him with his wife. As for DiCaprio’s character, I don’t have much to say about him aside from the fact that DiCaprio did a wonderful job with it.

The action in Django is visually incredible, though it’s certainly overly bloody and gory. Bullets often pass completely through the recipient’s body in order to maximize the amount of blood spewed everywhere, and, while it’s certainly gruesome, it’s also quite a spectacle to behold. However, I do have one concern; in the last half hour or so of the film, all of the action is done as a mechanism of revenge from Django’s hand, and it certainly seems to be a bit overglorified. Django is supposed to be our hero, a man who would do anything for his wife, but the eventual acquisition of his wife (you knew it would happen, so I feel no guilt regarding spoilers) doesn’t stop the constant flow of killing and violence. It would have been nice to see him do what had to be done and then leave somewhat peacefully, but, of course, that doesn’t finish with enough of a bang for Tarantino, so he goes instead for something a little bit more…explosive.

This concern, while certainly something to consider, does not overshadow everything else that is great about this film, though, which can be summed up in one word: “fun.” I had a great time watching this film throughout, minus a couple of scenes that were obviously not intended to be enjoyable, but that is another part of what makes it so good: it provides commentary on such important topics as slavery, racism, revenge, and love without losing its entertainment value. The movie lacks a traditional film score (as all Tarantino films do), but the music composed for and used in the film is excellent, and the style of the film is much in the feel of a Sergio Leone spaghetti Western…there is even a song written by composer Ennio Morricone, who composed the scores for Leone’s films. Overall, Django Unchained is a fine film with important social criticism, a well-executed script, and a talented cast of actors who make everything come together in an exceptional way.


Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)

MPAA: R – for strong graphic violence throughout, a vicious fight, language and some nudity