2013 Oscar Nominees & Predictions

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 6:16 pm

The 2013 Oscar nominees were announced on the morning of January 10th, and now the frenzy over awards season can officially begin. While ceremonies such as the Golden Globes and BAFTA precede it, there’s little doubt that the Academy Awards show is the pinnacle. On February 24th, the Hollywood elite will arrive at the Dolby Theatre with capped teeth and designer outfits, and soccer moms across the nation will be glued to their televisions for the red carpet portion of the show. And while the stated goal of the Oscars is to award excellence in filmmaking, you can also expect plenty of self-promotion and political messages. It’s a circus, albeit an extremely well-groomed one.

Seth MacFarlane, the creator of Family Guy and director of Ted, will serve as this year’s host, and he’s got his work cut out for him. Over the last several years, Oscar hosts have been ripped in the media and on social networking services, and even the venerable Billy Crystal wasn’t immune to such criticism. Can MacFarlane, whose greatest contribution revolves around an animated fat guy randomly fighting a giant chicken, succeed where the likes of James Franco have failed?

The purpose of this article, however, is not to lay odds on how successful the co-creator of American Dad! will be as a host. Instead, I wanted to familiarize you with the 2013 Academy Award nominees in the 10 most important categories, as well as offer my predictions for the inevitable winners. If you take my advice, you’ll be collecting a fistful of cash from your Oscar pool while a lot of good-looking Hollywood types are heading home disappointed.

How I Make Oscar Predictions

While artistic merit does factor into my Oscar predictions, there are other elements to consider. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences can be a little odd when it comes to handing out the industry’s most coveted trophy. If you’ve won it before, you may be at a disadvantage to win it again. And even if you’ve walked away empty-handed in the past, there’s no guarantee that you’ll capture Oscar gold. Martin Scorsese is a perfect example: he was nominated for Raging Bull, The Last Temptation of Christ, Goodfellas, Gangs of New York, and The Aviator before finally winning for The Departed. And don’t forget about Al Pacino winning Best Actor for his over-the-top performance in Scent of a Woman after being passed over for And Justice for All, Dog Day Afternoon, The Godfather Part II, Serpico, and several others.

Whenever I watch the Oscars, I always think back to my junior year in high school. We were in the gym for cheerleader tryouts, something which the student body voted on. We were constantly reminded that it wasn’t a popularity contest, although we all knew it was. One girl, who was already a cheerleader, was auditioning for a spot in her senior year, but she managed to land on her head while doing a series of backflips. Lots of other, less popular, cheerleader hopefuls didn’t give themselves a piledriver, but the half-concussed girl won the spot anyway. While the Oscars may not be that bad, the members of the Academy definitely take other things into consideration besides artistic merit.

My Record Thus Far

This is my third year to make predictions about the Oscars. In case you’re wondering about my track record so far, here it is: Over a stretch of 14 predictions, I’ve racked up a record of 10 hits and 4 misses. While not perfect, it’s good enough that you should feel confident placing some cash in your Oscar pool based on my predictions.

2013 Academy Awards Predictions

I’d like to say that I’m going to make predictions for all the categories, but that would be a lie. Since I’m not a member of the critical elite and also live in a rural area, seeing documentary films and such aren’t in the cards unless I want to make a multi-hour round trip to the Angelica Theatre in Dallas. Heck, there are plenty of films in the mainstream categories that I haven’t seen either, but that won’t stop me from picking the winners. Just have a little faith in yours truly.

BEST PICTURE

And the Oscar Goes To: Argo. The field is tough this year, with a number of deserving films being nominated. However, Argo has already brought home wins at the Golden Globes and the BAFTA awards, so I’m counting on it keeping the streak alive. Several of the other nominees have a legitimate chance to win, but I like Argo based on its winning record, quality cast, solid direction, and historical content.

BEST DIRECTOR

And the Oscar Goes To: David O. Russell. This is the category I’m least sure of, but I’m going to go ahead and pick Russell for his first Oscar win (he was also nominated in 2010 for The Fighter). Ang Lee, who did a masterful job of combining live-action and CGI in Life of Pi already has a win, and Spielberg has two golden statues. A foreign director won last year, so Michael Haneke is out of luck. Benh Zeitlin is a first-time filmmaker, so I’m also scratching him off the list. That only leaves Russell, which makes sense considering that Silver Linings Playbook is up for eight awards. It’s interesting to note that Ben Affleck, who won Best Director awards at BAFTA and the Golden Globes, wasn’t even nominated.

BEST ACTOR

And the Oscar Goes To: Daniel Day-Lewis. If Day-Lewis wins for Lincoln, he’ll become the all-time leader in Best Actor Oscar wins (with three), passing up the likes of Spencer Tracy, Tom Hanks, Marlon Brandon, Gary Cooper, Dustin Hoffman, Sean Penn, Fredric March, and Jack Nicholson. It’s hard to imagine him not winning, though, as he’s already picked up wins at the BAFTA, SAG, and Golden Globe ceremonies. If you’re picking for your Oscar pool, Day-Lewis is the safe choice.

BEST ACTRESS

 

And the Oscar Goes To: Jessica Chastain. Emmanuelle Riva and Quvenzhane Wallis are the oldest and youngest nominees in the history of this category, and I don’t expect either to win. Folks in Hollywood like actors to pay their dues, so they’re not going to hand over a trophy to a nine-year-old girl. Riva, meanwhile, is a respected French actress, but she’s hurt by the fact that The Artist picked up awards last year for Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director. I’m betting that Academy members are ready to bring the trophies back to the United States in 2013. It comes down to Chastain, Watts, and Lawrence. Chastain won Best Actress in the dramatic category at the Golden Globes, while Lawrence won in the comedy/musical division. There’s the possibility that these two actresses split the vote and allow Watts to walk away the winner, but my money is still on Chastain. First off, her performance in Zero Dark Thirty is worthy of a win. Secondly, I believe her age (35) will give her a boost over Lawrence. Remember what I said about people paying their dues? Well, Lawrence is only 22, and the youngest person to win in the category was Marlee Matlin at the age of 21. Matlin, by the way, is deaf. It’s not the politically correct thing to say, but don’t tell me that didn’t have something to do with her win. Lawrence, meanwhile, is not deaf, and the film she’s nominated for is a romantic comedy. She’s got a tremendous future ahead of her, but she’ll have to wait at least another year for an Oscar.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

And the Oscar Goes To: Tommy Lee Jones. This is a tough one. Christoph Waltz won the Golden Globe and BAFTA awards for his role in Django Unchained, while Tommy Lee Jones scowled his way to a win at the Screen Actor’s Guild ceremony. However, Waltz won the Best Supporting Actor in 2010 for his role as Hans Landa in Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, so it’s hard to imagine the Academy turning around and giving him another one in the same category so quickly. I also don’t see Philip Seymour Hoffman winning, as The Master is a thinly-veiled look at Scientology, and there are way too many of those loons in Tinseltown. Jones, meanwhile, has been nominated for four Oscars over the course of his career, and his lone win came back in 1993 for The Fugitive. That’s been 20 years ago, so I’m betting he’ll get the nod over someone who won in the last few years (even if the latter’s performance is more entertaining).

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

And the Oscar Goes To: Anne Hathaway. She’s only a couple of years removed from hosting the Academy Awards, although she’s yet to win a golden trophy. Her work as Fantine in Les Miserables has been widely lauded, and she’s already picked up wins at the Golden Globes, SAG, and BAFTA ceremonies. She’s put together an impressive body of work to only be 30, and I’m confident that this is the year when the Academy finally recognizes her contributions.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

And the Oscar Goes To: Django Unchained. I’ve always viewed this as a consolation category. When a film is nominated for some of the bigger awards but doesn’t have a realistic chance of victory, it will often pick up a win in this category (see Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting, and Midnight in Paris). Django Unchained won at the Golden Globes, and Tarantino failed to win in 2010 for the Inglourious Basterds screenplay.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

And the Oscar Goes To: Silver Linings Playbook. This romantic comedy adapted from the novel by Matthew Quick earned eight Oscar nominations, including one in each of the four acting categories (the first time since 1981). While it’s not going to win eight awards this year, I do expect it to pick up a few. This should be one of them, especially when you consider that it won the Best Adapted Screenplay prize at the BAFTA Awards earlier this month.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

And the Oscar Goes To: Brave. The field in the animation category is weaker than usual, with none of these films generating much buzz in the world of pop culture. Still, when all things are equal, place your bet on the movie from Pixar. Since the Best Animated Feature category was created in 2001, Pixar films have won the prize six times. I expect Brave to make number seven.

BEST FOREIGN FILM

And the Oscar Goes To: Amour. In 2009, director Michael Haneke’s film The White Ribbon won the Palm d’Or at Cannes and also garnered a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nomination. It failed to win the latter, however, getting passed over in favor of The Secret in Their Eyes. Just a few years later, Haneke is back in the same position. Amour captured the Palm d’Or, earned a Best Foreign Language Film nomination, and is even contending for Best Picture. While it doesn’t have a chance in hell of winning the industry’s top prize, it’s also the only film in this category to be nominated for both awards. This one’s a lock.

That wraps up my 2013 Oscar picks. I hope you found them insightful, and I wish you all the luck in the world if you’re taking part in a betting pool based around the ceremonies. If you consider yourself a hardcore fan of the Academy Awards, you should also check out these gems from Only Good Movies:

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 20th, 2013 at 6:16 pm and is filed under Academy Awards, Thoughts on Film. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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