Famous Monster’s 2013 Oscar Predictions
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It’s Thursday morning and I’m watching the theatrical cut of George Lucas’s 1977 film Star Wars as I make my final Oscars predictions, which you can read here below. At the 50th Academy Awards in ’78, Star Wars was nominated for 10 awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, and ended up taking home six: Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Costume Design, Best Visual Effects, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, and Best Sound.

Back in those days, there were only five Best Picture nominees: Annie Hall, The Goodbye Girl, Julia, Star Wars, The Turning Point. Ultimately, Star Wars would lose to Woody Allen‘s neurotic romantic comedy Annie Hall, even though Lucas’s sprawling space saga had changed the film industry – and the world – forever.

Fast-forward to 2013, where the casual filmgoer may argue that the Academy Awards are irrelevant because they don’t reflect popular taste. The truth is – they never have, and that was never the purpose. Overseen by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Academy Awards were created to maintain and celebrate a standard of excellence that is often contradictory to box-office returns and pop culture trends.

There are roughly 6,000 voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – actors, directors, producers, writers, cinematographers, editors – artists and professionals in the film industry who nominate and reward films and the individuals that help create them. There is no way to compare two films like Star Wars or Annie Hall; it ultimately comes down to the votes of extremely talented, knowledgable people who understand the craft and – to be honest – have extremely strong opinions on who and what should win.

I say all of this to point out that the Academy Awards are relevant – but perhaps not in the way mainstream moviegoers would like. They don’t reflect popular taste, but often the Academy attempts to expose lesser-known films to the public and challenge ‘popular taste’ to consider new and unique films.

Consider last year’s Best Picture winner, The Artist – a silent, black-and-white film – that toppled box-office successes like The Help and Moneyball. Because of that win, The Artist made more money in theaters (and home video sales) and was seen by more eyes than it would have otherwise. For people who love cinema, that’s a victory; for people who only go to the theater to turn off their brain and munch popcorn while watching forgettable cash-grabs like The Twilight Saga and A Good Day to Die Hard, it doesn’t matter at all – it’s just a bunch of uppity snobs in tuxedos doling out awards to the most boring movies of the year.

I don’t always agree with the Academy (I think The King’s Speech is the most overrated film since Paul Haggis’s ham-fisted movie Crash), but I’ve always enjoyed following the Oscar race – the streaks and slumps, the controversies and campaigns – and the Academy Awards are a nice way of saying goodbye to an entire year of cinema I invested time in participating – a year in which I saw 143 new releases in theaters. Anyway, I’ve went on far too long here – so let’s get to my predictions. If you’re like me and you enjoy filling out play-at-home ballots, voting in office pools, and throwing Oscar parties, then take a look at my picks and let me know what you think!

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

Tommy Lee Jones won Best Supporting Actor for the 1993’s The Fugitive. He also received a supporting actor nomination for Oliver Stone’s 1991 film JFK, and a lead actor nomination for the 2007 drama, In the Valley of Elah. Jones won a SAG award and was also nominated for a Golden Globe, but lost to Django Unchained‘s Christoph Waltz, who also won BAFTA. It’s a very tight race at this point between Jones and Waltz, but I think the Academy will ultimately take the safe and easy path and give Jones the Best Supporting Actor statue.

Best Supporting Actress
Predicted Winner: Anne Hathaway – Les Miserables
Sally Field – Lincoln
Jacki Weaver – Silver Linings Playbook
Helen Hunt – The Sessions
Amy Adams – The Master

Anne Hathaway was previously nominated for Best Actress for the 2008 drama Rachel Getting Married. Hathaway and the cast of Les Miserables won the National Board of Review best ensemble honor and the 30-year-old Dark Knight Rises actress also won a Golden Globe and a SAG Award for her role as Fantine in Tom Hooper’s film. This is a definite lock for Hathaway – and while I would love to see Amy Adams recognized for her work in The Master, there’s no disputing that Hathaway’s performance in Les Miserables is breathtaking.

Best Actor
Predicted Winner: Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln
Hugh Jackman – Les Miserables
Bradley Cooper – Silver Linings Playbook
Denzel Washington – Flight
Joaquin Phoenix – The Master

With his performance as Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s film, Daniel Day-Lewis earned his fifth Academy Award. The 55-year-old actor has already won two Academy Awards: for the 1989 film My Left Foot and Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2007 drama, There Will Be Blood. Day-Lewis has won the Golden Globe, the SAG, and the BAFTA – as much as I would like to see Denzel Washington or Joaquin Phoenix pull an upset for their underrated, seemingly forgotten performances, Daniel Day-Lewis will no doubt win his third Best Actor statue.

Best Actress
Predicted Winner: Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook
Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty
Emmanuelle Riva – Amour
Quvenzhane Wallis – Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts – The Impossible

Jennifer Lawrence has been nominated twice for the lead actress Oscar “” two years ago for her performance in Winter’s Bone and now for her role as Tiffany in David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook. The 22-year-old Hunger Games actress won a SAG award this year while Jessica Chastain took the Golden Globe and Emmanuelle Riva won the BAFTA. Personally, I think Lawrence gave the best female performance of the year and is the clear-cut winner in this category. While Chastain was terrific, her role was more of a cipher and less of a real, fully-developed character.

Best Cinematography
Predicted Winner: Claudio Miranda – Life of Pi
Roger Deakins – Skyfall
Janusz Kaminski – Lincoln
Seamus McGarvey – Anna Karenina
Robert Richardson- Django Unchained

Claudio Miranda will win his first Academy Award for his impressive, awe-inspiring work in Ang Lee’s Life of Pi. There is, however, a slight chance that Roger Deakins could pull a major upset. Shockingly, the Skyfall cinematographer has been nominated nine times without a win – and after being honored by the American Society of Cinematographers recently, Deakins could walk away with the statue. Then again, the Academy has awarded Life of Pi with 11 nominations and Miranda won a similar cinematography honor from BAFTA.

Best Director
Predicted Winner: Steven Spielberg – Lincoln
Ang Lee – Life of Pi
David O. Russell – Silver Linings Playbook
Benh Zeitlin – Beasts of the Southern Wild
Michael Haneke – Amour

66-year-old Steven Spielberg received his seventh director nomination for his historical epic, Lincoln. Spielberg has, however, only won the director Oscar twice: for 1993’s Schindler’s List and 1998’s Saving Private Ryan. Of course, the biggest story regarding this year’s Best Director race is the fact that Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow were snubbed for their respective films – both of which were nominated for Best Picture. Ben Affleck won the Golden Globe and the BAFTA – but without a nomination here, it seems like Spielberg stands unopposed.

Best Picture
Predicted Winner: Argo
Silver Linings Playbook
Life of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty
Les Miserables
Django Unchained
Beasts of the Southern Wild

If I were voting, I wouldn’t hesitate to put Life of Pi at the top of the list, followed by Silver Linings Playbook and Zero Dark Thirty – but if I’m being honest with myself, those three films don’t stance a chance at winning Best Picture. At this point, it’s down to two films: Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln and Ben Affleck’s Argo.

Argo won Best Picture and Best Director at the Golden Globes, the Critics’ Choice Awards, and the BAFTAs. Affleck won Best Director from the Directors Guild of America and Argo won Best Picture at the Producers Guild of America. Chris Terrio’s screenplay won Best Adapted Screenplay from the Writers Guild of America – the list of accolades go on and on. Argo is a movie about the power of movies (like The Artist) and that’s why it will win Best Picture.

Additional Predictions:

Best Writing – Original Screenplay
Predicted Winner: Django Unchained
Zero Dark Thirty
Moonrise Kingdom

Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay
Predicted Winner: Argo
Silver Linings Playbook
Life of Pi
Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Film Editing
Predicted Winner: Argo
Silver Linings Playbook
Life of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty

Best Animated Feature
Predicted Winner: Wreck-It Ralph
The Pirates! Band of Misfits

Best Foreign Language Film
Predicted Winner: Amour – Austria
A Royal Affair – Denmark
Kon-Tiki – Norway
War Witch – Canada
No – Chile

Best Documentary – Feature
Predicted Winner: Searching for Sugar Man
The Gatekeepers
How to Survive a Plague
The Invisible War
5 Broken Cameras

Best Original Score
Predicted Winner: Mychael Danna – Life of Pi
Alexandre Desplat – Argo
John Williams – Lincoln
Thomas Newman – Skyfall
Dario Marianelli – Anna Karenina

Best Original Song
Predicted Winner: “Skyfall” – Skyfall
“Suddenly” – Les Miserables
“Before My Time” – Chasing Ice
“Everybody Needs a Friend” – Ted
“Pi’s Lullaby” – Life of Pi

Best Sound Editing
Predicted Winner: Zero Dark Thirty
Life of Pi
Django Unchained

Best Sound Mixing
Predicted Winner: Les Miserables
Life of Pi

Best Production Design
Predicted Winner: Anna Karenina
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
The Hobbit

Best Visual Effects
Predicted Winner: Life of Pi
The Avengers
The Hobbit
Snow White and the Huntsman

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Predicted Winner: Les Miserables
The Hobbit

Best Costume Design
Predicted Winner: Anna Karenina
Les Miserables
Snow White and the Huntsman
Mirror Mirror

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Seth MacFarlane hosts the outstanding film achievements of 2012 televised live by the ABC Television Network and in more than 225 countries worldwide, SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24 (8:30-11:30 p.m., ET). The Oscars will include multi-platinum selling singer-songwriter Adele performing the Oscar-nominated theme song from Skyfall, the latest James Bond movie, and Barbara Streisand singing at the event for the first time in 36 years.

The show will also feature a tribute to the James Bond movie franchise, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The cast of Oscar Best Picture winner Chicago will reunite on the 10th anniversary of their win during a special celebration of movie musicals. In addition, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Norah Jones will perform the Oscar-nominated theme song from Ted, “Everybody Needs a Best Friend,” and the cast of The Avengers will be on hand to present.

[Academy Awards information via The Oscars; Kodak theater image courtesy of Shuttershock]

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