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2013 Oscar Predictions/Results

I’ve already said my piece about how very disappointed I am with this year’s crop of nominees. What’s more, I still haven’t forgiven the Academy for taking the cinematography award from The Tree of Life last year, or for unfairly denying David Fincher and The Social Network their due the year before that. I wish this could be the year when I ignore the awards race entirely, but even a lowly amateur film blogger like myself must hold himself to standards of some kind. For better or worse, the Academy Awards is the closest thing movie geeks have to a “championship game.” It’s arguably the biggest annual event in Hollywood, which means that I’d be remiss not to cover it.

And also, as much as I’m loathe to admit it, I’d be lying to say that I don’t get caught up in who wins and who loses. It’s an old established rule that horse races are only truly addictive when you have a horse to bet on. As someone who’s seen almost all of the Oscar-nominated films this year, you’d better believe I have some horses to bet on.

Today, I’ll be combing through expert opinions and drawing up a set of Oscar predictions so you won’t have to. Of course, there’s a wrinkle this year: Traditionally, Oscar forecasters would be wise to start their final list by looking at the Director’s Guild Awards. Whoever wins top honors at the DGAs will take home Best Director, and the picture that wins Best Director will win Best Picture. Nine times out of ten, that’s how it goes. This year, however, is guaranteed to be that one time when it doesn’t work, since the DGA’s big winner (Ben Affleck) wasn’t even nominated for Best Director. Call it another sign of the Oscars’ growing irrelevance, but that’s a story for another time.

The point is that this is an unusual situation, but I’m going to try my best anyway. I’ve done this twice before and correctly guessed roughly two out of three awards both times. Hopefully, this will be the year I get three out of four. Fingers crossed.

For those of you who are relatively new to the blog, here’s how it works: I put my predictions down in black text with minimal commentary a week before the actual ceremony. On the night of February 24th, I’ll be live-blogging the results and my commentary in red text. When all is said and done, there will be three movies listed for each category: The one that should win, the one that will win, and the one that actually did win.

I was told by so many advertisements that the ceremony was going to start at 4 PM, Pacific Time. Turns out that’s when the red carpet bullshit was scheduled to start. Yet another reason to grow frustrated at the Oscars, I suppose.

Instead of watching the Red Carpet proceedings with the mute turned off, I will instead read this fascinating article about some very intriguing and highly relevant goings-on just outside the Dolby Theater. I’d encourage you all to do likewise.

It’s long been one of Hollywood’s dirty little secrets that VFX artists are overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated for all the movie magic they create. If they want union protection, more power to them. #vfxprotest

We’re finally on! And MacFarlane is already bombing his hosting duties. Didn’t even take all that much, either: All Tommy Lee Jones had to do was laugh. Stick to the Comedy Central Roasts, bro.

William Shatner, what the fuck do you think you’re doing? You’re not playing Kirk anymore, you’re just playing yourself at this point. Of course, it’s not like Chris Pine would’ve been contractually allowed to play Kirk instead, but the whole schtick was worthless in general. Throw in an utterly tasteless and unfunny musical number, and McFarlane’s tenure has completely jumped the shark only eight minutes in. Things are so bad that I’d expect Anne Hathaway and James Franco to be preparing an intervention backstage.

I never thought I’d say this, but thank God for Channing Tatum and Charlize Theron. Their dance number was brief, but wow, that man can move. Theron wasn’t too shabby, either. Then Daniel Radcliffe and Joseph Gordon-Levitt come in for another musical number, and I find myself wishing that any one or two of these actors was hosting instead.

Get your scorecards and your TiVo ready, folks. Here goes nothing:

Best Supporting Actor:

Should Win: Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master

Will Win: Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

Did Win: Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

Wow, Waltz won a second time in a row. I don’t know if anyone saw this coming, but I think the crowded field worked to his advantage. In any case, he seems like a genuinely sweet guy (good on him for saluting his worthy competitors) and he’s a phenomenal actor. I’m sure he’ll go far.

Best Animated Short:

As if MacFarlane wasn’t bad enough, now we have Melissa McCarthy and Paul Rudd to sap all the humor out of the room.

Should Win: No preference

Will Win: Paperman

Did Win: Paperman

I don’t know a thing about the other nominees, but this was a very sweet and very well-crafted short. Here’s hoping this buys another few years for 2D animation at Disney.

Best Animated Feature:

Should Win: ParaNorman

Will Win: Wreck-It Ralph

Did Win: Brave

So the Academy will go with the Pixar film, instead of the film most like what Pixar would’ve made. Got it. Also, I’m so glad Brenda Chapman got a statuette for her time and trouble.

Best Cinematography:

Should Win: Roger Deakins, Skyfall

Will Win: Claudio Miranda, Life of Pi

Did Win: Claudio Miranda, Life of Pi

Sweet Jesus, who does Deakins have to fuck to get his hard-earned and well-deserved Oscar?!

Best Visual Effects:

Well, that almost-acknowledgement of the VFX protest was certainly interesting.

Should Win: Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley and Martin Hill, Prometheus

Will Win: Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott, Life of Pi

Did Win: Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott, Life of Pi

If I had known just how much of this film was CGI, I would’ve changed my preference. Every shot of that tiger looked so damned lifelike.

Whoever picked the Jaws theme as awards play-off music deserves a serious pay raise.

Best Costume Design:

Such a pity that Steven Soderbergh wasn’t behind the camera when Channing Tatum needed him.

Should Win: Eiko Ishioka, Mirror Mirror

Will Win: Jacqueline Durran, Anna Karenina

Did Win: Jacqueline Durran, Anna Karenina

Fun fact: Eiko Ishioka died of pancreatic cancer before Mirror Mirror was released. It’s a damn shame she didn’t get a posthumous award, her work in that film was amazing.

Best Makeup:

Should Win: Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Will Win: Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Did Win: Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell, Les Miserables

This was a shock. On the other hand, I guess the Academy knew better than to vote for the same stuff that won a decade ago.

Incidentally, Halle Berry? She was the best they could get to pay tribute to Bond? Was Judi Dench out of town or something? They couldn’t get Sean Connery to talk about the role he helped make famous? They couldn’t get Daniel Craig or Pierce Brosnan to give their thoughts on how far the franchise has come? Well, at least they got Shirley Bassey — one of the Bond franchise’s defining musical voices — to sing. That’s cool. She still looks great, too.

Best Live Action Short:

Should Win: No preference

Will Win: Curfew

Did Win: Curfew

Best Documentary Short:

Should Win: No preference

Will Win: Open Heart

Did Win: Inocente

Best Documentary Feature:

Good God, MacFarlane sucks tonight. I think it speaks volumes about this ceremony that MacFarlane introduced Liam Neeson with a joke about the Taken films, while the music introduced him with the theme from Schindler’s List. Whoever put together the music for this ceremony, they know their shit.

Should Win: Searching for Sugar Man

Will Win: Searching for Sugar Man

Did Win: Searching for Sugar Man

Nothing to say here except that this is a wonderful movie that totally deserves all the recognition it gets and you should check out Rodriguez’ music ASAP.

Best Foreign Language Film:

“It’s like church, only with more people praying.” My God, did MacFarlane just tell a funny joke?!

Should Win: No preference

Will Win: Amour

Did Win: Amour

Oh, the only nominee that also got a Best Picture nod won? The devil you say! Such a pity Haneke is so boring to listen to, though.

So the orchestra for this ceremony is live, but piped in from another location. Very clever!

Well, that was a neat little musical segment. I’m getting rather tired of Catherine Zeta-Jones hamming it up, but she did okay. What the hell happened to Jennifer Hudson? The girl’s as talented as she ever was, so where’s she been all this time? As for Les Miserables, this was really a confirmation of what we already knew: That this cast is really damned talented. Except for Russell Crowe, who still can’t sing for shit.

Also, I can’t be the only one relieved that Sacha Baron Cohen isn’t making another movie right now. You know that if he was, he’d have stepped onstage as another character entirely.

Did MacFarlane just diss William Shatner with a Captain Kirk/Priceline joke? Man, what a dick! Incidentally, the thought just occurred to me that MacFarlane has been making a lot of jokes at the expense of dead people. This year’s “in memoriam” segment is going to get very awkward.

Best Sound Mixing:

Oh my God, they actually did it. Ted the stuffed bear is onstage. They actually brought out a Seth MacFarlane character to present an award. What the hell was the Academy thinking?! Did anyone in the Academy actually see… never mind. Of course no one in the Academy actually saw Ted.

Should Win: Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes, Les Miserables

Will Win: Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes, Les Miserables

Did Win: Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes, Les Miserables

Everyone saw this one coming, but damned if they didn’t deserve it.

Best Sound Editing:

Should Win: Eugene Gearty and Philip Stockton, Life of Pi

Will Win: Paul N.J. Ottoson, Zero Dark Thirty

Did Win: IT’S A TIE!!! Paul N.J. Ottoson, Zero Dark Thirty / Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers, Skyfall

Holy shit, I knew it was going to be close, but I didn’t know it’d be this close! These awards are both hard-earned and I’m thrilled that they could both win. Honest to God, “thrilled” doesn’t even begin cover it.

Best Supporting Actress:

Should Win: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables

Will Win: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables

Did Win: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables

Good for her. Hathaway thoroughly earned this award, and it’s always great to see genuine humility in an acceptance speech. I won’t pretend to like everything she’s been in, but I keep rooting for her anyway. Keep on keeping on, girl!

Best Film Editing:

Should Win: Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg, Zero Dark Thirty

Will Win: William Goldenberg, Argo

Did Win: William Goldenberg, Argo

In a fair world, the climactic raid scene would have been enough to get Zero Dark Thirty the Oscar. Of course, the editing was a huge part of what gave Argo its superlative pacing and tension, so there’s that.

I wonder if Adele insisted on having her band and backup singers onstage with her. Also, I wonder if any of the other Best Song nominees will perform or if we’re just going to stop pretending anyone else has a chance of winning. It’s a great song, we all knew this performance would be great, and it was. More than that, she makes it look so goddamned easy.

So Nicole Kidman (or her writers, anyway) just called Silver Linings Playbook an instant classic. Even if I was a fan of the movie, I’d have to respectfully disagree.

Best Production Design:

Should Win: Hugh Bateup & Uli Hanisch, Cloud Atlas

Will Win: Sarah Greenwood & Katie Spencer, Anna Karenina

Did Win: Rick Carter and Jim Erickson, Lincoln

Another toss-up. It could’ve gone to the historical Lincoln or the fantastical Life of Pi. I foolishly chose to split the difference.

George Clooney was brought out to introduce the “in memoriam” segment. Bullet dodged. I’m so glad MacFarlane didn’t get a chance to screw this up, because the segment was elegantly done this year. And bringing out Barbara Streisand to honor Marvin Hamlisch? Classy. In point of fact, that performance of “The Way We Were” was a lovely tribute for all of those we lost this year.

Best Score:

So it’s been ten years since Chicago unfairly won Best Picture. So fucking what?

I finally looked it up: This year’s ceremony is produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, both of whom were exec-producers on Chicago. So I guess that’s one mystery solved.

Should Win: Alexandre Desplat, Argo

Will Win: Mychael Danna, Life of Pi

Did Win: Mychael Danna, Life of Pi

More than anything, I wanted Desplat to win because he turned in so many damned good scores last year (Rise of the GuardiansZero Dark Thirty, Moonrise Kingdom, etc.). I would also have settled on Thomas Newman getting an award after eleven freaking nominations. Still, Life of Pi had a wonderfully exotic score, so I can’t get too upset.

Best Song:

The song excerpts are nice and long this year. I like it. Also, the song from Les Miserables was performed tonight? Was the song really that unmemorable or did I just miss it completely somehow?

Yet another reason to hate Seth MacFarlane: He gave Norah Jones more work. Sorry, but her career was a terrible mistake to begin with. She’s especially useless now that we have Adele doing the exact same raspy retro schtick, only a billion times better.

Should Win: Adele, “Skyfall”

Will Win: Adele, “Skyfall”

Did Win: Adele, “Skyfall”

Like I just said….

We all knew this was coming, but bless Adele’s heart for being so humble and ecstatic about it. No matter how many awards she gets, this never seems to get old for her. She’s an amazing talent who’s only just begun to hit her stride, and that’s a great thing for all of us.

Best Adapted Screenplay:

Should Win: Chris Terrio, Argo

Will Win: Tony Kushner, Lincoln

Did Win: Chris Terrio, Argo

The nominees were all fine choices. I predicted Kushner because Lincoln had more nominations and fantastic dialogue, but I preferred Argo for its wonderful skill at blending genres and — again — keeping the tension up. Good on Terrio for winning.

Best Original Screenplay:

Should Win: Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom

Will Win: Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained

Did Win: Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained

As much as I loved the quirky fairy-tale romance of Moonrise Kingdom, Tarantino is a master screenwriter and it’s great for him to get some recognition for it.

Best Director:

Should Win: Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Will Win: Steven Spielberg, Lincoln

Did Win: Ang Lee, Life of Pi

Sorry, but I can’t bring myself to approve of this choice after he so badly botched the ending. But at least he made two-thirds of an incredible film, so there’s that. Also, curse the Academy for refusing to nominate Ben Affleck and making the award so hard to predict this year.

On a completely unrelated note, I am so sorry to see Suraj Sharma so far in the back. He deserves to be up front with the nominees, dammit!

Best Actress:

What the hell is Jean Dujardin high on right now? Come to think of it, what’s being passed around backstage?

Should Win: Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

Did Win: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

Wow, Lawrence is so overwhelmed that she tripped on the way up!

I’ve made no secret of my deep admiration for Jennifer Lawrence. I’ve known since Winter’s Bone that she would get an Oscar someday, and here she is. I’m sincerely thrilled for her, and I’m comforted with the knowledge that Jessica Chastain and Quvenzhane Wallis have many more nominations in them. Hopefully some awards, too.

Best Actor:

Looking at these performance clips, I’m reminded just how superb the nominees all were.

Should Win: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

Did Win: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

Sweet Apollo, this one was so obvious that Meryl Streep didn’t even have to open the envelope! Also, good on Daniel Day-Lewis and Meryl Streep for making some good-natured jokes at each other. The guy is clearly a class act, with a great deal of passion for the craft and an absence of ego. Good on him.

Best Picture:

Michelle Obama is announcing the Best Picture winner?! I can honestly say I didn’t see that one coming.

Should Win: Beasts of the Southern Wild

Will Win: Argo

Did Win: Argo

My mother hypothesized that Argo picked up so many awards and nominations because it’s ultimately a movie that celebrates movies. It’s as good a theory as any I could come up with. It’s a good movie, to be sure, though I don’t think I would call it the year’s best.

TOTAL GUESSED: 16.5/24

***

To sum up: There were a few minor surprises, but the awards generally went to worthy winners. Some of the acceptance speeches were very nice as well. So basically, the only people who knew what they were doing tonight were the voters and the nominees. The producers plugged their decade-old Best Picture winner more than they had any right to, every single presenter looked totally wasted, nearly every attempt at humor was a failure, and Seth MacFarlane bombed worse than anyone could have possibly feared.

So 2012 is officially, finally over and done with. Hopefully, this will mean the premiere of films that are worth a damn in 2013. Good night, everyone! Thanks for reading!

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