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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 Feature

5 Broken Cameras (Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi)
The Gatekeepers (Dror Moreh, Philippa Kowarsky and Estelle Fialon)
How to Survive a Plague (David France and Howard Gertler)
The Invisible War (Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering)
Searching for Sugar Man (Malik Bendjelloul and Simon Chinn)

I saw quite a few docs in 2012, but virtually none of them clicked enough with the Academy to secure a nomination. Kudos to the branch for at least shortlisting valuable titles like Jafar Panahi’s This Is Not a Film, The House I Live In and The Imposter, though they made a big oversight in not even bringing The Queen of Versailles — a fascinatingly tangled encapsulation of contemporary economic themes in America — to this fifteen-film phase. Nevertheless, as crowded as the field was this year with worthy achievements, Malik Bendjelloul’s Searching for Sugar Man, an uplifting story about discovering a lost talent, has been the leader of the pack for as long as I can remember.

Who Will Win: Searching for Sugar Man

Who Should Win: Searching for Sugar Man

Who Should Have Been Nominated: This is Not a Film, The Imposter, Samsara, The Queen of Versailles

Foreign Language Film

Amour (Austria)
Kon-Tiki (Norway)
No (Chile)
A Royal Affair (Denmark)
War Witch (Canada)

With five total nominations — including Best Picture and Best Director — Michael Haneke’s Palme d’Or-winning Amour is arguably an even bigger favorite in this category than last year’s widely-revered A Separation. Haneke’s work is typically far too austere and self-reflexively intellectual for the Academy’s tastes, but the bone-chilling intimacy of Amour — displayed in the filmmaker’s customarily long-take, stationary-camera aesthetic — made for something even they couldn’t ignore. Here’s hoping, however, that Amour’s success does not limit people from recognizing what a strong year it was for this category on the whole. From No and War Witch to shortlisted-but-not-nominated titles like Beyond the Hills and Sister, this year’s slate was full of noteworthy accomplishments.

Who Will Win: Amour

Who Should Win: Amour

Who Should Have Been Nominated: Beyond the Hills, Holy Motors, Sister

Animated Feature Film

Brave (Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman)
Frankenweenie (Tim Burton)
ParaNorman (Sam Fell and Chris Butler)
The Pirates! Band of Misfits (Peter Lord)
Wreck-It Ralph (Rich Moore)

Several of the nominees here have a shot at winning, I think. Count me as a member of the Brave-is-a-mess contingent, but it was still fairly well-reviewed when it was released in June, and, of course, it boasts the ever-powerful Pixar label. Were I judging solely on aesthetic criteria, I think Frankenweenie and ParaNorman would be considered the finest achievements. Neither film, for my money, really lands on a compelling narrative when it’s all said and done, but their implementation of stop-motion animation (coupled with black-and-white beauty in the former) is top-notch. Nevertheless, I am predicting Wreck-It Ralph, which was a massive commercial hit — over $400 million worldwide — as well as a critical favorite. It’s a nice film with some interesting thematic ideas about the gaming universe, and I think that timeliness will help carry it to victory.

Who Will Win: Wreck-It Ralph

Who Should Win: Wreck-It Ralph

Who Should Have Been Nominated: The Secret World of Arrietty

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