I probably should have put up my actual Oscar predictions a week ago, but let’s be honest: nobody is using what I say to place any bets in office betting pools. There are certainly a lot better qualified people to use as a basis for gambling, say Nate Silver, for example (whose predictions I still haven’t looked at beyond bookmarking the page). Hell, I still haven’t even seen all of the contenders, which is why I still haven’t posted a “Best of 2012″ list yet (although that should be coming soon).
Still, I do have an opinion on who should take home the statues tonight and I tend to like to have those documented, so with the awards ceremony only a few hours away, here are my predictions for most of the awards of the night. I’ve only left out a handfull of categories, mostly things like “Best Short” where I haven’t seen the nominees and the ever-confusing sound categories where anyone who doesn’t work specifically in sound can’t seem to tell you the difference between the two awards or how the nominees are selected. If you want to see the entire list of award nominees, check out our original nominations post here.
The Oscar broadcast, hosted by Seth MacFarlane, will air tonight, February 24th on ABC at 8:30 p.m. Eastern. We will be gathered in the Widescreen Warrior chatroom to discuss the proceedings during the broadcast and a new episode of our podcast will come out tomorrow with our reactions to the night’s best and worst moments. Of course, you can sound off with your predictions or tell me how incredibly wrong I am in the comments section below!
85th Academy Award Predictions
1st Place: Argo
2nd Place: Beasts of the Southern Wild
3rd Place: Silver Linings Playbook
Other Nominees: Amour, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty
Rafe says: While it’s become popular to back Argo as the victor, I’ve been saying it ever since I saw the movie, and of all of the nominations it was the most appealing before I saw it as well. Affleck shows his maturity as a director with this picture and since he really was snubbed by not getting a direction nomination, I suspect the movie will wind up getting honors instead. Expect this to lead to some sort of overhaul of the nomination process, much like we got a few years ago when “popular” films were being excluded. If Argo doesn’t somehow take top honors, I’m picking some of the smaller films to take top honors instead. I suspect Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, and Les Miserables are simply too specific with their audiences to win over a majority. Life of Pi remains a wild card, simply because I still haven’t seen it.
1st Place: David O. Russell - Silver Linings Playbook
2nd Place: Steven Spielberg - Lincoln
Other Nominees: Michael Haneke (Amour), Ang Lee (Life of Pi). Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild)
Rafe Says: Without Affleck in the running, this becomes a bit of a challenge. Silver Linings Playbook is pretty well-directed and, as I said before, I suspect some of the movies are too focused to win everyone over. I could see the Academy honoring Spielberg with another Oscar, but I kind of hope they don’t – he’s won before for movies better than this and I’d hate to see him encouraged not to rise to that level again, even if Lincoln is a solid picture.
Actor in a Leading Role
1st Place: Daniel Day-Lewis - Lincoln
2nd Place: Joaquin Phoenix - The Master
Other Nominees: Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables), Denzel Washington (Flight)
Rafe Says: This has been Daniel Day-Lewis’s award ever since Lincoln came out. Everyone knows it. I even heard Bradley Cooper on an NPR interview the other night say his big reward will be if Lewis congratulates the other nominees in his acceptance speech. The only way Lewis loses this is if so many people are confident about his ability to win that they throw a vote towards Phoenix for his excellent performance in The Master and wind up unseating Lewis’s victory. Of course, that assumes they can weigh Phoenix’s Masterful performance without thinking about his crazy antics over the past few years (documented intentionally or unintentionally in I’m Still Here).
Actress in a Leading Role
1st Place: Jennifer Lawrence - Silver Linings Playbook
2nd Place: Quvenzhané Wallis - Beasts of the Southern Wild
Other Nominees: Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), Emmanuelle Riva (Amour), Naomi Watts (The Impossible)
Rafe Says: Lead Actress has always been a difficult category for me to pick and this year is no different. I think it’s Lawrence’s turn to take the award home, but I could very easily be wrong. I don’t think it’s going to go to Wallis, who is exceptionally young (and young winners have never proven to make good award-winning moments), despite the quality of her performance (although it could be argued that they shot a ton of footage and used the best to make her performance seem so sophisticated). I think Chastain’s out as most people’s assessment of Zero Dark Thirty has waned, but Riva or Watts could be a wild card. This is the category I’m least confident about predicting.
Actor in a Supporting Role
1st Place: Christoph Waltz - Django Unchained
2nd Place: Tommy Lee Jones - Lincoln
Other nominees: Alan Arkin (Argo), Robert DeNiro (Silver Linings Playbook), Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master)
Rafe Says: Waltz certainly improves the movie he’s in and takes ownership of almost every scene in which he appears. That said, he’s also a recent winner and that might turn people against him. Jones is exceptional in Lincoln but some might argue that he’s just doing what he does best, which he also showed at the Golden Globes may not be too different from who he really is. Still, both are strong additions to their picture and either one is deserving. I still don’t get why Arkin was nominated but both DeNiro and Hoffman are worthy nominations as well; I just don’t think they’ll have the votes to take home the statue.
Actress in a Supporting Role
1st Place: Anne Hathaway - Les Miserables
2nd Place: Helen Hunt - The Sessions
Other nominees: Amy Adams (The Master), Sally Field (Lincoln), Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook)
Rafe Says: It’s become popular to frown at the idea of Hathaway winning over one uncut song, but it’s a killer moment on film – not just for 2012 but for all time. That said, it’s also not her only exceptional moment in the movie and people who have seen all of Les Miserables have to admit she’s a highlight of the picture. Hunt goes vulnerable (and naked) for her role which Academy voters tend to like. I don’t think any of the others are really contenders past the nomination phase, particularly Field who has gotten a lot of backlash for what is a good but not exactly complex performance in Lincoln.
Animated Feature Film
1st Place: Wreck-It Ralph
Other Nominees: Brave, Frankenweenie, ParaNorman, The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Rafe Says: I’m only picking one in this category since it’s the category I’ve seen the least in. Stop-motion may be popular this year, but it didn’t exactly intrigue me enough to see any of those offerings (which is a shame since I’m normally a big stop-motion animation fan). Disney has three out of the five nominations, but Wreck-It Ralph is by far their best of the three, and that’s coming from someone who liked Brave.
Writing (Original Screenplay)
1st Place: Michael Haneke - Amour
2nd Place: Mark Boal - Zero Dark Thirty
Other nominees: Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola (Moonrise Kingdom), John Gatins (Flight), Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained)
Rafe says: Consider this the consolation prize for either of my picks. I don’t expect Amour or Zero Dark Thirty to take home many prizes, so here’s one they can expect. Of the two I expect Haneke to win it because he’s the one directly losing out in the direction category.
Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
1st Place: Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin - Beasts of the Southern Wild
2nd Place: David Magee - Life of Pi
Other nominees: Tony Kushner (Lincoln),, David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook), Chris Terrio (Argo)
Rafe says: Pretty much the same logic as above – consolation prize against movies that may not win much else. Pi has a chance at some of the technical categories, so I expect Beasts has a better chance here, but it’s only a slightly better chance.
1st Place: Life of Pi
Other nominees: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Avengers, Prometheus, Snow White and the Huntsman
Rafe says: It’s the tiger. It’s the 3D. It’s a sure bet.
Music (Original Score)
1st Place: Life of Pi
2nd Place: Argo
Other nominees: Anna Karenina, Lincoln, Skyfall
Rafe Says: As I’ve said over the past few weeks, the best score was Beasts of the Southern Wild which wasn’t even nominated. Of the remaining, I’m more partial to Argo – especially as the tension rises. William’s Lincoln score is unremarkable and I’m not familiar with the other nominees beyond samples, so I’m going with my gut and saying Life of Pi will have the best chance followed by Argo. I wouldn’t rule Skyfall out completely though.
Music (Original Song)
1st Place: “Skyfall” – Skyfall (Music and Lyrics by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth)
2nd Place: “Before My Time” – Chasing Ice (Music and Lyrics by J. Ralph)
Other nominees: “Everybody Needs a Best Friend” – Ted (Music by Walter Murphy; Lyrics by Seth MacFarlane), “Pi’s Lullaby” – Life of Pi (Music by Mychael Danna; Lyrics by Bombay Jayashri), “Suddenly” – Les Misérables (Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg; Lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil)
Rafe Says: I’ve rethought this one since we made our predictions on last week’s podcast. I think Skyfall probably has the best song of the ones nominated and the best chance of winning. I still like “Before My Time” but I think voters will agree that Adele has really captured the feel of a Bond song with her tune – not exactly an easy task to accomplish considering the last few movies’ theme songs.
1st Place: Les Misérables
2nd Place: Lincoln
Other nominees: Anna Karenina, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Life of Pi
Rafe Says: Notice how Les Miserables hasn’t really been a big winner in the other categories? This is where it’s going to shine. The same goes for Lincoln. The production design of both of those movies is exceptional and I don’t see how anyone would cast their vote for The Hobbit (too much of something we’ve seen before) or Anna Karenina (the “stage world” allows for a bit less consistency than Les Miserables or Lincoln‘s “real world” approach).
1st Place: Lincoln - Janusz Kaminski
2nd Place: Skyfall - Roger Deakins
Other nominees: Anna Karenina - Seamus McGarvey, Django Unchained - Robert Richardson, Life of Pi - Claudio Miranda
Rafe Says: I think cinematography is one of the areas Lincoln really shined and I hope it’ll be recognized for it. Otherwise, Skyfall gave us a return to decent cinematography for the Bond franchise, especially after the debacle of Quantum of Solace which was nearly unwatchable in places. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Pi become a wild card, but I wouldn’t expect Karenina or Django to really be contenders here.
1st Place: Anna Karenina
2nd Place: Snow White and the Huntsman
Other Nominees: Les Misérables, Lincoln, Mirror Mirror
Rafe Says: Forget about the primary contenders in all of the other awards. This category sort of sits by itself, and I expect it’ll stay completely by itself by awarding films that have barely been considered in other categories. Where I feel like the “stage world” approach to Karenina may hurt it in production design, it might help it edge out a victory here. Otherwise, look at the diversity that shows up in Snow White and the Huntsman and expect it to claim the award. Maybe if Huntsman hadn’t come out the other Snow White tale, Mirror Mirror would have a shot, but I just can’t see it winning over the others.
1st Place: Zero Dark Thirty - Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg
2nd Place: Argo - William Goldenberg
Other Nominees: Life of Pi - Tim Squyres, Lincoln - Michael Kahn, Silver Linings Playbook - Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers
Rafe Says: Both Zero Dark Thirty and Argo have the advantage here, with stories that require moments of suspense. That suspense is typically created through the editing process and it’s done really well in both films. I expect Zero Dark Thirty to edge out the victory here simply because it’s not getting many other statues for the night.
Foreign Language Film
1st Place: Amour (Austria)
Other Nominees: Kon-Tiki (Norway), No (Chile), A Royal Affair (Denmark), War Witch (Canada)
Rafe Says: I haven’t seen them, but history has shown in the past that a film nominated for Best Picture and Foreign Language Film will usually win this as the consolation prize. I would expect to see that again this year.
Makeup and Hairstyling
1st Place: Les Misérables
Other nominees: Hitchcock, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Rafe Says: I still don’t see how Lincoln wasn’t nominated for this, considering it has just as much (if not more) diversity in beard styles as The Hobbit. I think too many people will be put off by Hitchcock‘s attempt to turn Hopkins into the master storyteller and again The Hobbit has a bit of a disadvantage since we’ve had three previous films that this essentially just follows along. I don’t think Les Miserables is necessarily the best, but I expect it’ll take the award through process of elimination.