Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thoughts on the Oscar Nominations

Oldest and Youngest Best Actress Nominees in Oscar History

Hurray for the shorter voting period. It produced many surprises, worthy nominees and less reliance on precursors. I am happier than I usually am on nomination morning. While I was sad to see some of my favorites (Hawkes, Cotillard, Perks of Being a Wallflower) miss out, so many favorites made it.

I was very happy that AMPAS embraced Amour, Beasts of theSouthern Wild and particularly both Emmanuelle Riva and Quvenzhane Wallis. Look at them, this season still can become a real treat. Helen Hunt was nominated for a fantastic performance, so was Naomi Watts. And can I admit that I was very happy to see both Helen Mirren and Tom Hooper miss out? Mediocre work did not just coast through.

Not all was roses. Just look at the mostly aggravating Supporting Actor category. Waltz over Jackson from Django? Arkin for a fun but unremarkable performance? De Niro for shedding a measly tear after decades of coasting? Color me not impressed.

Let’s dig into the top 8 categories and see how I did with my predictions:

Best Picture
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django unchained
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Very happy that Amour made it here as the first foreign language film in this category since Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon a decade ago. This is a pretty good list, not a dud in here. Now if Amour can continue surprising and actually manage to win. I know, I know but one can dream.

My Predictions : I predicted 8 but got all 8 correct plus Amour which I had as an alternate so I think 9/9.

Best Director
Michael Haneke -  Amour
Ang Lee -  Life of Pi
Ben Zeitlin - Beasts of the Southern Wild
Steven Spielberg - Lincoln
David O. Russell - Silver Linings Playbook

The most surprising category with Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow missing out. I think there was an abdundance of deserving directors this year and not an intentional snub. Even the controversial Zero Dark Thirty got 5 nominations overall so I'm thinking Bigelow just missed out.

My Predictions : As with most everyone only got 3/5. But I'm happy to have predicted Russell despite DGA snub and to be surprised by Haneke and Zeitlin, directors of two movies that I loved.

Best Actor
Bradley Cooper - Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis - Lincoln
Hugh Jackman - Les Misérables
Joaquin Phoenix - The Master
Denzel Washington - Flight

Very sad to see Hawkes miss out when he gave such a beautiful and funny performance. Phoenix's thespian Olympics, look at me acting won voters' hearts. I admire but do not love any of these performances. Where are the French guys; Jean Louis Trintingnant, Matthias Schoenaerts and Denis Levant? And is AMPAS really going to give DDL a 3rd Oscar so soon after making Meryl wait almost 30 years. I guess so but I don't like it.

My Predictions : 4/5 Phoenix replaced Hawkes.

Best Actress
Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty"
Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook"
Emmanuelle Riva, "Amour"
Quvenzhané Wallis, "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
Naomi Watts, "The Impossible"

I just love these 5 nominees. Yep Cotillard would’ve been great but she has one and her snub got us the delight that is Riva and Wallis together. And while the 8 noms that Silver Linings got implies that Lawrence is way ahead, I think we got ourselves a real competition here.

My Predictions : 4/5 So happy to be wrong about Riva.

Best Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin - Argo
Robert De Niro - Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman - The Master
Tommy Lee Jones - Lincoln
Christoph Waltz - Django Unchained

I already dissed this category. But happy to see Jones, he had the most personal and emotional arc in Lincoln. And Hoffman was unusually subtle and as good as ever. All 5 are previous winners so all bets are off.

My Predictions : 4/5 I had Di Caprio instead of Waltz.

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams - The Master
Sally Field - Lincoln
Anne Hathaway- Les Misérables
Helen Hunt - The Sessions
Jacki Weaver- Silver Linings Playbook

When I saw Silver Linings Playbook, I left loving Weaver and wishing she had more to do. Apparently it didn’t matter and she is in. Hathaway is way ahead but 6 weeks is a long time and people might tire of her specially if her acceptance speeches are as grating and high faluting as her interviews so far.

Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Argo - Chris Terrio
Beasts of the Southern Wild - Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin
Life of Pi - David Magee
Lincoln - Tony Kushner
Silver Linings Playbook - David O. Russell

Very respectable list. I am in the minority that didn’t mind the framing subplot of Life of Pi that many blamed on Magee. Still I had hoped Perks of Being a Wallflower would’ve made it here.

My Predictions : 4/5, went with my heart for Perks.

Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Amour - Michael Haneke
Django Unchained - Quentin Tarantino
Flight - John Gatins
Moonrise Kingdom - Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola
Zero Dark Thirty - Mark Boal

Another good list. Wll Haneke surprise or will Tarantino or Boal win their 2nd Oscar in this category?

My Predictions : 4/5. It’s a pattern. Had The Master instead of Flight.

Finally I really liked the nominations presentation. I was not very happy that they chose Emma Stone and not a recent winner/nominee as per tradition but she was funny and complemented Seth McFarlane well. I also liked doing away with the alphabetical order, that kept it flowing and surprising. While the Hitler joke was a dud Seth was charmingly off kilter and awkward which could work to his advantage at the big show.Hopefully he tested the material he wanted to and now knows what worked and what didn’t.
Are you happy with the nominations? What was your favorite nomination? Let me know in the comments or on twitter @ME_Says.

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