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

Written by on February 21, 2013 

Actress in a Supporting Role

Amy Adams in The Master
Sally Field in Lincoln
Anne Hathaway in Les Misérables
Helen Hunt in The Sessions
Jacki Weaver in Silver Linings Playbook

Anne Hathaway’s command over this category has basically been sealed since Tom Hooper’s divisive film was first screened in New York City. It is a testament to the force of her work that a performance so brief — not to mention how early most of it happens in the nearly-three-hour film — has struck such a universal chord. In retrospect, the combination of Hooper’s nitty-gritty close-up and Hathaway’s ability to belt out “I Dreamed a Dream” within a single take makes for an obvious front-runner. For me, there’s much more nuance and range in Helen Hunt’s sensitive work in The Sessions — which itself probably should’ve been cited in the Best Actress category — but it’s satisfying nonetheless to see a diverse talent like Hathaway getting an early-career boon.

Who Will Win: Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables)

Who Should Win: Helen Hunt (The Sessions)

Who Should Have Been Nominated: Emily Blunt (Looper), Isabelle Huppert (Amour)

Actor in a Supporting Role

Alan Arkin in Argo
Robert De Niro in Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master
Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln
Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained

This is not a category I’m all that confident in, mostly because Christoph Waltz, seemingly the on-paper favorite (he won at the Globes and the BAFTAs), won this exact award for a Quentin Tarantino film three years ago. That’s not meant to imply that his work is derivative — he’s comfortably my second favorite of the nominees, and I even think his role qualifies him more for a Best Actor bid — but I do wonder if some voters will hesitate before checking off his name and think, “Hey, didn’t we just do this?” Tommy Lee Jones, too, has felt like a powerful candidate since Lincoln was first screened: though his campaign hasn’t quite caught fire (his demeanor at the Globes sure didn’t help matters). He’s absolutely one of the major talking points of Steven Spielberg’s film. Silver Linings Playbook, meanwhile, is loved throughout the Academy (it received nods in all four acting categories), making Robert De Niro — in his first Best Supporting Actor nod since The Godfather: Part II role that won him a trophy — another possibility. I even find myself wondering if the magnitude of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s role — like Waltz, I think he has Best Actor-like amounts of screen time — could earn him some support.

Who Will Win: Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained)

Who Should Win: Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master)

Who Should Have Been Nominated: Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty), Garrett Hedlund (On the Road), Dwight Henry (Beasts of the Southern Wild)

Actress in a Leading Role

Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva in Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts in The Impossible

If you told me in September that Jennifer Lawrence would be winning the Best Actress Oscar for her sharp turn in Silver Linings Playbook, I wouldn’t have questioned it. She is still predominantly in the picture — many will tell you she remains the frontrunner — but the subsequent arrival of Zero Dark Thirty and the crossover success of Amour has clouded the picture. A Lawrence win, like one for Robert De Niro, wouldn’t surprise me, but, in a passion-play prediction, I’m going with Emmanuelle Riva here, who will be turning 86 on Oscar night, and who gives one of the year’s most lasting performances in Michael Haneke’s unforgettable film. Jessica Chastain looks like she’s in third-place, if only because the controversy surrounding Zero Dark Thirty has turned the film into such a hot-topic, and not always in a beneficial way.

Who Will Win: Emmanuelle Riva (Amour)

Who Should Win: Emmanuelle Riva (Amour)

Who Should Have Been Nominated: Marion Cotillard (Rust and Bone), Rosemarie DeWitt (Your Sister’s Sister), Meryl Streep (Hope Springs)

Actor in a Leading Role

Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln
Hugh Jackman in Les Misérables
Joaquin Phoenix in The Master
Denzel Washington in Flight

When the dust was still settling around Lincoln, I found myself wondering if Daniel Day-Lewis’ long-time success at the Academy Awards — two Best Actor wins, plus three other nominations — would keep him from becoming the unchallenged favorite in the field. Would, for example, someone like Joaquin Phoenix, who has been nominated twice before (Gladiator, Walk the Line), finally catapult to the front of the pack for an aggressive, unhinged, undeniable performance? The season, however, has gone down the more predictable path, with Day-Lewis picking up almost every award in his path — a domination that would be more of a bother if it weren’t so richly deserved. I personally keep going back to what Denzel Washington communicated in Flight — the only role here from an original screenplay-nominated film — but Day-Lewis’ Lincoln is indeed its own immaculately subtle achievement.

Who Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)

Who Should Win: Denzel Washington (Flight)

Who Should Have Been Nominated: Jean-Louis Trintignant (Amour), Denis Lavant (Holy Motors), Liam Neeson (The Grey)

Directing

Amour (Michael Haneke)
Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin)
Life of Pi (Ang Lee)
Lincoln (Steven Spielberg)
Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell)

Perhaps the category I’m most fascinated to see play out. I have little-to-no confidence in my prediction, and I think that each of the nominees — save for new-kid-on-the-block Benh Zeitlin — has a shot at winning. David O. Russell (The Fighter), for his part, has made two Academy favorites in a row, and, in a year when the director of the Best Picture frontrunner is absent from the Best Director slate, voters may be willing to gloss over Russell’s shoddy public image and reward him. Michael Haneke might be a more severe longshot, but I’m already predicting his Amour to win Best Foreign Language Film, Best Original Screenplay and Best Actress: why shouldn’t I think it has a fighting chance here? Ang Lee, meanwhile, though having won recently for Brokeback Mountain, has made a film that the entire Academy has fallen for, and it’s possible that many directors will see his work as the main reason why Yann Martel’s novel was even able to be brought to cinematic life in the first place. So why, then, am I going with Lincoln’s Steven Spielberg? Because his is a household name, because it’s a film that people respect and admire and because I didn’t feel like flipping any more coins.

Who Will Win: Lincoln (Steven Spielberg)

Who Should Win: Amour (Michael Haneke)

Who Should Have Been Nominated: The Grey (Joe Carnahan), The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson), Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow)

Best Picture

Amour (Margaret Menegoz, Stefan Arndt, Veit Heiduschka and Michael Katz)
Argo (Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck and George Clooney)
Beasts of the Southern Wild (Dan Janvey, Josh Penn and Michael Gottwald)
Django Unchained (Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin and Pilar Savone)
Les Misérables (Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward and Cameron Mackintosh)
Life of Pi (Gil Netter, Ang Lee and David Womark)
Lincoln (Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy)
Silver Linings Playbook (Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen and Jonathan Gordon)
Zero Dark Thirty (Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow and Megan Ellison)

Argo’s Best Picture chances were thrown into question when Ben Affleck was rather shockingly snubbed in the Best Director category (in favor of outside-the-box choices like Michael Haneke and Benh Zeitlin). But the days and weeks since nomination morning has reaffirmed Argo’s status as the year’s most well-liked, universally agreed-upon title. With major wins at the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, the Golden Globes, the SAGs, the BAFTAs, as well as guild victories with both the PGA and the WGA (not to Mention an Affleck win at the DGA awards), Affleck’s third film has been maintaining its momentum on a seemingly unstoppable basis. The film’s far from my favorite in the category, which admirably includes films as good and diverse as Lincoln, Amour, Zero Dark Thirty and Beasts of the Southern Wild, but I do think it is a genuinely entertaining, skillfully-crafted crowdpleaser, and I’ve come to enjoy the sight of Affleck at the podium quite a bit over the course of this roller-coaster season.

Who Will Win: Argo

Who Should Win: Lincoln

Who Should Have Been Nominated: Flight, The Grey, The Master

To wrap  it up, check out my complete predictions below in all 24 categories:

Best Picture: Argo
Best Directing Steven Spielberg for Lincoln
Actor in a Leading Role: Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln
Actress in a Leading Role: Emmanuelle Riva for Amour
Actor in a Supporting Role: Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained
Actress in a Supporting Role: Anne Hathaway for Les Miserables
Animated Feature Film: Wreck-It Ralph
Original Screenplay: Amour, Michael Haneke
Adapted Screenplay: Argo, Chris Terrio
Foreign-Language Film: Amour
Original Score: Life of Pi
Original Song: Skyfall
Production Design: Anna Karenina
Cinematography: Life of Pi
Costume Design: Anna Karenina
Documentary Feature: Searching for a Sugar Man
Documentary Short Subject: Open Heart
Film Editing: Argo
Makeup & Hairstyling: Les Misérables
Animated Short Film: Paperman
Live-Action Short Film: Asad
Sound Editing: Life of Pi
Sound Mixing: Les Misérables
Visual Effects: Life of Pi

What are your Oscar predictions? What should have been nominated?

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