Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Consensus, or: Oscar Predictions (Because why not?)

As somebody that occasionally writes for my friend Nathaniel's website The Film Experience I was privy to taking part in a little bit of award season fun. All of the blog's little helpers were asked to nominate five titles for most of the Academy's categories and the figures were tabulated to select the inaugural "Team Experience Awards". By far nothing grand or prestigious, just a fun gathering of ideas and the results were as interesting as they were obvious.

Having not had a chance to see many of the Oscar contenders - Life of Pi, Django Unchained, Anna Karenina, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playlist, etc - as a byproduct of local distribution, it did mean that it allowed my ballot to be filled with some unusual, individual choices. Sadly, none of those selections made the winner/runner-up list. It's not like I expected Nadezhda Markina to show up for Best Actress in Elena, the costumes of Mirror Mirror (by the late Eiko Ishioka) and Rock of Ages to trump Anna Karenina, or for a surge of support for Megalyn Echikunwoke from Damsels in Distress in the Supporting Actress category (although Echikunwoke, she of the eloquent enunciation of "playboy and operator", did apparently come closer than one may have imagined, ranking fourth behind Oscar heavyweights Amy Adams, Anne Hathaway, and Sally Field.)

It just goes to show that even in an eclectic bunch of filmy types from around the world, consensus rises to the top. I personally don't quite get what others are seeing the Roger Deakins' cinematography for Skyfall, but it still somehow keeps winning or placing very highly amongst these sort of things. If I could vote for half of Deakins' Skyfall work then I'd be all for it. Alas, I felt half of that film was so boring to look at that it detracted from the entire project. What can you do, hey? I at least still have my ballot that I want to hug and love for all time because it's a brilliant list of films and accomplishments that is entirely unique for me.

The Academy Award nominations that are announced in about 36 hours will surely be full of disappointments and celebrations, but that doesn't mean the films I loved from 2012 cease to exist. Something some people out there in the online universe would do well to remember. No, the Oscar nominations you don't like are not an affront to you and your personal favourites. Still, if the Oscars and all the brouhaha that surrounds them allows for certain films to find an audience they otherwise may not have - Holy Motors, The Paperboy, Middle of Nowhere, etc - or for Hollywood titles to reach a far larger audience than expected for an industry that routinely tells us teenage boys and man-children are where the big bucks are at - Lincoln, Argo, Les Miserables, etc - the better. Alas, the fun part is in trying to suss out their ever-fluctuating fandoms, prejudices, dislikes, and feverish love affairs. Here's what I think the Academy will go for, which inevitably means they'll go for stuff that's entirely different.

Best Picture
Les Miserables
Life of Pie
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Best Director
Michael Haneke, Amour
Ben Affleck, Argo
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty

Best Actor
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Denzel Washington, Flight

Best Actress
Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Naomi Watts, The Impossible

Best Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin, Argo
Robert DeNiro, Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Samuel L Jackson, Django Unchained
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

Best Supporting Actress
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Maggie Smith, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook

Random hunch on Weaver. I'd love for Nicole Kidman to make it in though, if for no other reason than to make The Paperboy an official, forever until the end of time Oscar nominee. It'll make the performance clips a bit more excitement, too, no?

Best Original Screenplay
Michael Haneke, Amour
Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
Ava DeVernay, Middle of Nowhere
Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom
Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty

Best Adapted Screenplay
Chris Terrio, Argo
Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
David Magee, Life of Pi
Tony Kushner, John Logan, & Paul Webb, Lincoln
David O Russel, Silver Linings Playbook

Best Cinematography
Robert Richardson, Django Unchained
Claudio Mirando, Life of Pi
Janusz Kaminski, Lincoln
Roger Deakins, Skyfall
Grieg Fraser, Zero Dark Thirty

Best Costume Design
Jacqueline Durran, Anna Karenina
Jacqueline West, Argo
Paco Delgado, Les Miserables
Eiko Ishioka, Mirror Mirror
Manon Rasmussen, A Royal Affair

Best Production Design
Sharon Seymour & Jan Pascale, Argo
Sarah Greenwood, Anna Karenina
Hugh Bateu & Uli Hanisch, Cloud Atlas
Eve Stewart, Les Miserables
Rick Carter, Lincoln

Best Editing
William Goldenberg, Argo
Chris Dickens, Les Miserables
Tim Squyres, Life of Pi
Michael Kahn, Lincoln
William Goldenberg & Dylan Tichenor, Zero Dark Thirty

Best Make-Up and Hair Styling
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Miserables

Best Visual Effects
The Avengers
The Dark Knight Rises
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
John Carter
Life of Pi

Best Sound Mixing
The Dark Knight Rises
The Impossible
Les Miserables
Zero Dark Thirty

Best Sound Editing
The Avengers
The Dark Knight Rises
Life of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty

Best Original Score
Dario Marianelli, Anna Karenina
Alexandre Desplat, Argo
Mychael Danna, Life of Pi
John Williams, Lincoln
Gustavo Santaolallo, On the Road

Best Original Song
Brave, "Learn Me Right"
Casa de mi Padre, "La Casa de mi Padre"
Django Unchained, "Ancora Qui"
Les Miserables, "Suddenly"
Skyfall, "Skyfall"

Best Animated Feature
The Painting
Wreck-It Ralph

Best Foreign Language Film
Austria, Amour
Chile, No
Denmark, A Royal Affair
France, The Intouchables
Norway, Kon-Tiki

Best Documentary
Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry
The Gatekeepers
The Invisible War
Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God
Searching for Sugarman

Tada! Watch we be hilariously wrong when the Oscar nominations are announced on Thursday morning, US time (about Midnight Australian time, usually). Not that I do this for a living so I don't particularly have to be accurate, do I? I do it more for the fun. Any hunches you've got? Anyone you're barracking for? Let us know in the comments!

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