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

Written by on February 21, 2013 

Documentary Short Subject

Inocente (Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine)
Kings Point (Sari Gilman and Jedd Wider)
Mondays at Racine (Cynthia Wade and Robin Honan)
Open Heart (Kief Davidson and Cori Shepherd Stern)
Redemption (Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill)

Clocking in between 30 and 40 minutes each, the Documentary Short Subject nominees use their extra time to share emotionally weighty topics all deserving of a win. The goal here is to expose the uninitiated to a subject they wouldn’t necessarily know or care about and this eclectic mix did just that for me. I loved the personal stories of young Inocente’s journey from homeless immigrant to rising artist (Inocente), the many “canners” trying to survive the faltering economy in NYC (Redemption), and the harrowing experiences of Cambria and Linda coping with chemo and cancer (Mondays at Racine). Unfortunately, however, I feel the Academy will bite on the heartstring tug of Open Heart and its call to action for the Western world to help a great cause in Africa. To me its message was way too commercialized and ultimately rendered hollow unlike the rest. – Jared M.

Who Will Win: Open Heart (Kief Davidson and Cori Shepherd Stern)

Who Should Win: Mondays at Racine (Cynthia Wade and Robin Honan)

Who Should Have Been Nominated: Asian Gangs (Lewis Bennett and Calum MacLeod), Let the Daylight into the Swamp (Jeffrey St. Jules)

Short Film (Animated)

Adam and Dog (Minkyu Lee)
Fresh Guacamole (PES)
Head over Heels (Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly)
Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare (David Silverman)
Paperman (John Kahrs)

Out of all the Animated Short nominees Fresh Guacamole is still the selection that puts a smile on my face. A viral video by a director who has made a following for himself online and via Showtime, its originality is well-deserving of the praise. I don’t, however, see it winning the prize despite Logorama’s victory in 2010 launching from a similar path. No, in order to earn the trophy this year you’re going to have to go up against a juggernaut in Disney Animation. On a pure aesthetic level I can see Adam and Dog stealing the crown, but then I remember the gorgeous hand-drawn animation mixed with charcoal textured flourishes courtesy of John Kahrs’ gem Paperman and can’t see it losing. The film harkens back to Disney’s heyday of heart, love, humor and a fair share of magic and I think the Academy will agree. – Jared M.

Who Will Win: Paperman

Who Should Win: Paperman

Who Should Have Been Nominated: Daffy’s Rhaspsody (Matthew O’Callaghan), Bydlo (Patrick Bouchard)

Short Film (Live Action)

Asad (Bryan Buckley and Mino Jarjoura)
Buzkashi Boys (Sam French and Ariel Nasr)
Curfew (Shawn Christensen)
Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw) (Tom Van Avermaet and Ellen De Waele)
Henry (Yan England)

If I were to come up with one adjective for this year’s Live Action Short nominees it would be depressing. From Alzheimer’s to suicide to lost love to Third World political strife and tragedy, there is very little to laugh at despite Shawn Christensen’s likeable infusion of comedy. There is some real inventive filmmaking at work in Death of a Shadow and the stunning transitions of Henry, but I believe it really comes down to Somalia vs. Afghanistan. Both wonderful depictions of humanity’s strength and our desire to live free and unencumbered by our lineage or surroundings, I have a sinking feeling Bryan Buckley has a leg up due to his notoriety with Hungry Man Productions. An Oscar would go nice next to his Cannes Lions. If there was one that stuck with me after the credits, though—make that two with Henry—it’s Buzkashi Boys’ universal tome on friendship and sacrifice in the Middle East. That’s where my vote would have gone. – Jared M.

Who Will Win: Asad (Bryan Buckley and Mino Jarjoura)

Who Should Win: Buzkashi Boys (Sam French and Ariel Nasr)

Who Should Have Been Nominated: The Worst Day Ever (Sophie Jarvis), Sullivan’s Applicant (Jeanne Leblanc), Faillir [Struggle] (Sophie Dupuis)

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)

It’s taken some time for Chris Terrio’s Argo screenplay to match the level of recognition of the film overall, but with recent wins at the USC Scripter Awards and with the Writers Guild of America, an Oscar feels like the next logical step in the progression. It’s a respectable piece of writing — more memorable for its dialogue than its character work, for my money — but it feels slightly outmatched by some of the other nominees. Though I found David Magee’s Life of Pi script generally inconsistent (especially in the opening act), it’s a challenging feat of adaptation regardless. The same goes for Beasts of the Southern Wild: based on a stage play (Lucy Alibar’s Juicy and Delicious), it balances environmental acuity and Terrence Malick-like philosophizing with an energetically cinematic ear. The best of them all, however, has always been Tony Kushner’s rigorously detailed Lincoln: the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer would make a handsome winner, though the script’s distinguishing wordiness may keep voters from putting it at the top of their ballots.

Who Will Win: Argo (Chris Terrio)

Who Should Win: Lincoln (Tony Kushner)

Who Should Have Been Nominated: The Grey (Joe Carnahan and Ian Mackenzie Jeffers), On the Road (Jose Rivera), The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky)

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)

Django Unchained could very well be the favorite here, as Quentin Tarantino’s controversial (though highly successful) revenge story has accumulated high-profile wins at the Golden Globes, the BAFTAs and the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards. He has only won one Oscar to date – for his writing job on Pulp Fiction – but the haul of nominations for both Django and his previous Inglourious Basterds suggests a newfound respect within the Academy for the American rebel. Nevertheless, I’m banking on Amour and Michael Haneke here; the film feels too respected and admired to be limited to a single victory on the night, and this often forward-thinking branch would make for a sensible show of support. I was over the moon when John Gatins stole a spot here — Whip Whitaker is the most complete, rounded protagonist in the category, I think — but it’s hard to argue with the frankness with which Amour confronts its subject.

Who Will Win: Amour (Michael Haneke)

Who Should Win: Flight (John Gatins)

Who Should Have Been Nominated: Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master), Reid Carolin (Magic Mike), Rian Johnson (Looper)

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