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2013 Oscar Predictions: Who Will Win, Who Should Win & Who Should Have Been Nominated

Written by on February 21, 2013 

Music (Original Song)

“Before My Time” from Chasing Ice (Music and Lyric by J. Ralph)
“Everybody Needs A Best Friend” from Ted (Music by Walter Murphy; Lyric by Seth MacFarlane)
“Pi’s Lullaby” from Life of Pi (Music by Mychael Danna; Lyric by Bombay Jayashri)
“Skyfall” from Skyfall (Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth)
“Suddenly” from Les Misérables (Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg; Lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil)

I’ll be curious to see how Sam Mendes’ global phenomenon fares on Oscar night: with five total nominations, Skyfall’s massive success (critical adoration, over $1 billion in worldwide grosses) didn’t go unnoticed by the Academy, and it’s a possible winner in a number of the below-the-line fields for which it was nominated. This one, however, seems like a no-brainer victory, and it’s hard to argue with how pervasively Adele’s title-song number has become aligned with the film as a whole. I don’t quite get the hoopla, if I’m being honest (come on, you know those lyrics are silly), but it says something about my connection with this category that my favorite original song of the year — Kylie Minogue’s “Who Were We” from Holy Motors — wasn’t even ruled eligible for contention.

Who Will Win: “Skyfall” from Skyfall

Who Should Win: “Skyfall” from Skyfall

Who Should Have Been Nominated: “Who Were We” from Holy Motors

Music (Original Score)

Anna Karenina (Dario Marianelli)
Argo (Alexandre Desplat)
Life of Pi (Mychael Danna)
Lincoln (John Williams)
Skyfall (Thomas Newman)

Unfortunately, I don’t find this crop of nominees interesting in the slightest: John Williams’s quietly beautiful Lincoln score is the only one that’s been kicking around in my head since seeing the film. I certainly haven’t thought twice about Mychael Danna’s work on Ang Lee’s technologically impressive Yann Martel adaptation, but, considering the Canadian’s accomplished resumé — The Ice Storm (another Lee film), The Sweet Hereafter, Moneyball — it’d be rewarding to finally see him take home an Oscar. It’s still upsetting, though, that this branch failed to nominate some of the more exciting in-contention scores: the fine Argo score, for instance, was hardly Alexandre Desplat’s best work of the year, while the absence of the magically composed Beasts of the Southern Wild is particularly mysterious, considering the film’s love in several higher-tier categories.

Who Will Win: Life of Pi (Mychael Danna)

Who Should Win: Lincoln (John Williams)

Who Should Have Been Nominated: Beasts of the Southern Wild (Dan Romer, Benh Zeitlin), The Master (Jonny Greenwood), Zero Dark Thirty (Alexandre Desplat)

Costume Design

Anna Karenina (Jacqueline Durran)
Les Misérables (Paco Delgado)
Lincoln (Joanna Johnston)
Mirror Mirror (Eiko Ishioka)
Snow White and the Huntsman (Colleen Atwood)

Joe Wright’s aesthetically forward-thinking Leo Tolstoy adaptation mostly disappeared as the season went along, gaining a reputation as an ambitious-but-hollow attempt, though the remarkable costuming of the film was justly remembered by Academy voters. Jacqueline Durran should’ve won this category last year for the evocatively dusty 1970s threads she created for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy — stunningly, she wasn’t even nominated — but it’s likely that she’ll get her deserved due this time around. The late Eiko Ishioka, who won an Oscar two decades ago for Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula, may have a slight chance at spoiling things.

Who Will Win: Anna Karenina (Jacqueline Durran)

Who Should Win: Anna Karenina (Jacqueline Durran)

Who Should Have Been Nominated: Magic Mike, The Master

Makeup and Hairstyling

Hitchcock (Howard Berger, Peter Montagna and Martin Samuel)
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane)
Les Misérables (Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell)

I don’t particularly like any of these films, but the work done on Les Misérables was the only one that didn’t actively pull me out of the film. It may be off-puttingly grungy, but it’s at least of a piece with the film’s overall aesthetic. You could perhaps say the same thing for Hitchcock, I suppose, considering that the film is often striving for a light-comic tone, but the job done on Anthony Hopkins was one of the main reasons I found the role more caricature than character. As for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the makeup is just one of the many artistic cues that made me want to turn my eyes away from the screen. Nods for Holy Motors (which, after all, does contain entire scenes of a character applying makeup) and The Grey (which hauntingly captures ice- and snow-filled beards) would’ve been nice surprises.

Who Will Win: Les Misérables (Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell)

Who Should Win: Les Misérables (Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell)

Who Should Have Been Nominated: The Grey, Holy Motors

Production Design

Anna Karenina (Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer)
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Production Design: Dan Hennah; Set Decoration: Ra Vincent and Simon Bright)
Les Misérables (Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Anna Lynch-Robinson)
Life of Pi (Production Design: David Gropman; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock)
Lincoln (Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Jim Erickson)

The formerly-named Best Art Direction category has a new moniker this year, and it’s a logical one, seeing as how the production designers have always been mentioned alongside the set decorators in this field. As with Best Costume Design, I’m pegging Joe Wright’s film as the favorite: extravagance often spells victory in both situations. That said, I could still see things going a few different ways. Lincoln, handsomely mounted though it may be in nearly every respect, might be a tad muted to pull off a win, while The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has long been suffering (at least critically and awards-wise) with been-there-done-that syndrome. But Les Misérables and Life of Pi could both make strong cases here: their Best Picture nominations imply more widespread admiration than there is for Anna Karenina, and that could very well do the trick for one of them.

Who Will Win: Anna Karenina (Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer)

Who Should Win: Anna Karenina (Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer)

Who Should Have Been Nominated: Cloud Atlas, The Impossible, The Master

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