a theatre, film & pop culture review
Note: This is my personal ranking, listed in order from best to worst, with #1 being my favorite. Prediction for the actual winner is in orange.
Missing: The Sessions
If you’ve been following my Oscars predictions, you already know my feelings on all of the nominees, as well as what film I believe is going to pull off the biggest win of the night. But for form’s sake, here’s a brief breakdown:
The Academy loves musicals, but Les Misérables was such a manipulative mess thanks to Mr. Close-Up that even the Academy won’t touch it.
As much as the Academy loves Silver Linings Playbook, it doesn’t love it enough to give the comedy (masquerading as serious commentary on mental illness) the big award. Oscar loves Drama with a capital D.
Beasts of the Southern Wild’s nomination was a gesture of kindness and appreciation for the magical little indie, but everyone knows it was just that – a gesture.
We love Ang Lee and we love pretty things and Life of Pi features both, but it’s the (far superior) Avatar of the group, and we all know how that turned out for the special effects heavy nominee.
The Academy appreciates Tarantino’s films, but if Pulp Fiction didn’t get the Oscar, the indulgent Django Unchained certainly won’t.
Amour already has the award for Best Foreign Language Film in the bag, so why get greedy? If the excellent A Separation couldn’t pull off a double win in a much weaker year, Haneke’s severe depiction of our mortality won’t either.
And then there were three. Zero Dark Thirty is not a contender, but it’s my personal heartbreak of the year because it never had a chance thanks to the crazies that insist a fictional film act like a documentary and that depiction (of torture) equals endorsement. When all is said and done, it’s a stunning political thriller and a singular feat of badassery by director Kathryn Bigelow. And I still want to be her when I grow up, Oscar or no Oscar.
Lincoln is political thriller and history lesson rolled into one – and the result is the best kind of presidential biography. Kushner’s dense, literary script is gorgeous, Spielberg’s direction is superbly subtle and subservient, and Daniel Day-Lewis knocks it out of the park as the 16th president. But though Lincoln leads the pack with twelve nominations, it’s going to win a fraction of them at best, and the only sure thing is Best Actor. If anything can spoil Argo’s ludicrous win, it’s this Obama-endorsed beauty, and I’m pulling for it to spoil, spoil, spoil.
Alas, Argo’s win is all-but inevitable at this point. It’s not quite a sure a thing as Anne or Dan, but it’s close enough, with Ben Affleck’s snub inciting a furiously enthusiastic backing of the terrifically suspenseful film. No one cares that the script is flawed with hokey Hollywood hijinks and a superfluous sentimental father-son side story. They’re just so darn mad that Ben wasn’t nominated, and they’re going to exact their revenge right where it counts the most.