Our Academy Award 2013 Predictions

By on February 22, 2013

Well, it’s Academy Award time again, and that can only mean one thing: Oscar predictions. Join me and see how my choices line up with the real deal—or if they don’t at all. If you feel so inclined, send me your own predictions via the comments section. Let’s get this show on the road, shall we?

Oscar statue

Best Picture
At nine competitors—by far the broadest of the nomination categories—that also makes this one the hardest to call. Still, with a little ingenuity, one can narrow down the pack a bit.
“Amour” is nominated for Best Foreign Film, meaning it falls into the “honor to be nominated” category, since it will likely win that one by default, so we can rule that one out for that reason. “Django Unchained” is exceedingly violent and controversial, so that one’s likely out as well.

I think that “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and “Life of Pi” are too art house to win—critics loved them both, but they’re too niche to win in my estimation. “Les Miserables” would be an obvious choice, as it combines both musicals, which Oscar has been known to go for—and high drama. However, I suspect that Oscar may seek to spread the wealth this year, a la the Golden Globes, and I think Anne Hathaway will likely win Best Supporting Actress and possibly best song, if Adele doesn’t pull out a steal.

Then there’s “Zero Dark Thirty”—which is undeniably great, but Kathryn Bigelow already proved she had the right stuff with similar subject matter in “The Hurt Locker.” In addition, “Lincoln,” a crowd-pleasing biopic of the sort Oscar has been known to love. I think those may well cancel each other out, and as much as I love “Silver Linings Playbook,” I can’t recall a romantic comedy ever winning Best Picture in recent memory, and this is definitely of the more modern, quirky variety, so I can’t see it winning here.

That leaves “Argo” by default, and with its fantastic mix of political drama/thriller and Hollywood being put to better use than usual, how can it lose really? Hollywood loves nothing more than to celebrate itself, but to combine that with serious-minded drama as Affleck does here—now that takes real talent. Not only does it stand a real shot at winning, but I’d argue it actually deserves to win, which makes this one of the rare instances where my taste and Oscar’s actually line up.

Best Actor
Things get a bit easier from here on out. Daniel Day-Lewis is as close to a sure thing as this year’s Oscars get. He’s won pretty much every award an actor could want to for “Lincoln,” and he’ll likely win this too. They may as well engrave the trophy for him now. If anyone were to pull an upset, it’d be Bradley Cooper but that I highly doubt that will happen. Cooper is good enough in “Silver Linings” that he probably won’t have long to wait until he gets that magic role that bags him an Oscar. It might even happen next year, as he’s already lined up to reteam with Jennifer Lawrence for “Serena,” which looks promising. But come on, let’s get real here: this is Lewis’ to lose, and he’s not going to.

Best Actress
Things get a little more interesting here. If Quvenzhané Wallis won, it’d be a historic moment, but really? A Nine-year old winning an Oscar? Wouldn’t that be tantamount to saying literally anyone can do this? Basically she just read a lot of narration well, and the rest of the time, she was just being herself. That’s not a performance, that’s doing what comes naturally. File this under the “honor to be nominated” category, to be sure. Ditto Emmanuelle Riva, for “Amour,” as aforementioned, that’ll win for Foreign Film.

I wept like a baby watching Naomi Watts in “The Impossible.” She’s phenomenal and absolutely deserves an Oscar and totally should have one for “Mulholland Drive.” As wrenchingly great as she is, I fear that Oscar voters may feel the scenario and well, frankly, the water, actually did most of the job for her. Also, the family that inspired the film’s true-life events was Spanish, and though the filmmakers were as well let’s just say that Watts is good, but she isn’t that good. Last I checked, she and Ewan McGregor and Co. were as lily-white as it gets. What, there weren’t any Spanish actors available? Awkward.

That leaves Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain, both of whom are so good in everything I’ve ever seen them in that I can hardly believe they don’t have an Oscar already. Lawrence was brilliant, funny, and oh-so endearingly f’d-up in “Silver Linings,” that you couldn’t help but fall in love with her. However, she’s also young, and is averaging a pretty good rate of Oscar nominations for her age, much like Kate Winslet before her. She’s going to win, but it may just be a question of when.

Chastain, on the other hand, struggled for years, only to make a small army of films that didn’t see release for years after she made them, to the point that her family thought she was making things up about working in Hollywood. In other words, she paid her dues, and then some. She’s fantastic in “Zero Dark Thirty,” and more importantly, whereas Lawrence is more part of a fantastic ensemble, Chastain is the show in her movie. If she doesn’t work, the film doesn’t—simple as that. If the controversy surrounding the film doesn’t screw things up, and I suspect it won’t, who doesn’t love “Homeland,” for instance? I think Chastain’s got this. But I’d be just as happy if Lawrence won it too. Truth be told, she was my favorite. Oh to be her dance partner in that final scene…mmm. Where was I? Oh yeah…

Best Director
This one is a tough call too. It’s tempting to do the “they won before” thing and rule out Ang Lee and Steven Spielberg, but one should never rule either one of those two out for anything; they’re geniuses and one made a movie about a boy stuck on a raft with a tiger for nearly two hours and the other made a history lesson feel fun again. No way Benh Zeitlin wins for “Beasts” because he’s a first timer. Michael Haneke is amazing. True, “Funny Games” and “Cache,” among others, were great, but I just don’t see him winning the big prize for “Amour.” Even by his standards, it’s a bit of a downer.

That leaves David O. Russell, who probably came within spitting distance of it for “The Fighter” previously, but might the Academy still hold it against him that some people just don’t like the guy—remember the dust-ups with George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg and others? I don’t know, however. His movie “Silver Linings” is so beloved that some people might not care about that stuff. If they hold it against him, I’m going with Spielberg by default, but I think he’ll ultimately emerge victorious. I loved the film too, and with Ben Affleck not even in the running— which is who should have won in my opinion—I don’t have a horse in this race.

Well, that’s it for the biggies! Look for my expanded Oscar preview on UAB’s Kaleidoscope channel on YouTube for more, and I’ll see you there for the wrap-up as well. Check us out at: http://www.youtube.com/user/uabkaleidoscope.

Mark Trammell
Staff Writer

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About Mark Trammell

Mark Trammell is the resident entertainment critic at UAB, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he is also a Graduate Student and does a vid-cast movie review show. He is a life-long fan of films and has a pretty whacked-out, all-over-the-place movie collection that would give most sane people pause. He loves horror movies and Disney flicks and isn't entirely sure there is a difference. He one day hopes to put his money where his mouth is and inflict his own perverse vision on society, entirely so that he can tell people who ask: "If you think you can do better, why don't you make a movie yourself?" to shut up.
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