In advance of tonight’s Oscar ceremony, I thought I’d make my picks for the 2013 Academy Awards. Note: my tradition is to make my picks the morning the nominations are announced, so that the choices aren’t affected by Oscar campaigning (as much as possible). So, without further ado, my choices (picks in bold):
Best Picture: Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty
Why: Like others, I think Argo is going to take home the big prize because Ben Affleck got snubbed. Also, out of all of the nominated movies, it was easily the one I enjoyed the most. For good measure, it might be Ben Affleck’s finest work since the State of Play trailer (“I tuh-rusted you”).
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Bradley Cooper (aka Cooper Bradley, as my friend Rachel calls him), Daniel Day-Lewis, Hugh Jackman, Joaquin Phoenix, Denzel Washington
Why: Well, he’s the greatest actor ever. And no one from the main cast of Wedding Crashers has ever won an Oscar (unless you count this), so Cooper Bradley is probably out of the running. Still surprised John Hawkes didn’t sneak in this category.
Best Actress: Jessica Chastain, J-Law, Emmanuelle Riva, Quevenzhane Wallis, Naomi Watts
Why: Obviously Lawrence is the popular pick, and Riva would be the sentimental choice. Plus, Wallis (don’t make me type her first name again) is precocious and adorable and all that. And Naomi Watts was phenomenal in “The Impossible.” But I actually think that Riva will siphon votes from Lawrence, and Chastain will ultimately be rewarded as being the face of Zero Dark Thirty. Similar to how people are rallying around Argo for Best Picture because of Affleck’s snub, maybe Chastain will take some of the goodwill coming from Kathryn Bigelow’s snub. I’ll likely end up being wrong about this choice, but again, it was made weeks ago and I’m locked in now.
Best Director: Michael Haneke (Amour), Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Ang Lee (Life of Pi), David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook), Steven Spielberg (Lincoln).
Why: The bigger story in this category obviously is who wasn’t nominated: Affleck, Bigelow and Hopper. Because of that, I think this one’s a toss-up. I think the Academy likes to reward older directors who may not have another chance to win (see: Roman Polanski, Martin Scorsese), and I don’t see Amour taking home other prizes (outside of Best Foreign Film), so I think Haneke (a well-respected director) takes home this award.
Best Supporting Actor: Alan Arkin, Robert De Niro, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tommy Lee Jones, Christoph Waltz
Why: I think it’s time Tommy has an Oscar for something other than this. Also, as all of these men have taken home an Oscar before, there doesn’t seem to be a sentimental choice to be made. The Master never really took off as an awards juggernaut, Argo’s already going to get its reward for Best Picture, Christoph Waltz won recently and this role isn’t different enough from that one to stand out, and while De Niro has been campaigning furiously, the role really wasn’t that meaty. I actually wish Eddie Redmayne had gotten nominated – to me, he was the best part of Les Miz. And I would’ve been happy if Matthew McConaughey had been rewarded for this.
Best Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, Sally Field, Anne Hathaway, Helen Hunt, Jacki Weaver
Why: Well, because. Because she’s a lock at this point, unfortunately. But since it seems pretty foregone that Anne Hathaway’s going to win, let’s talk about how great an actress Amy Adams is. Did you know she’s been nominated four times for an Oscar? And that doesn’t even count how amazing she was in Enchanted (no sarcasm). While she totally creeped me out in The Master, her performances seem effortless, and she adapts to so many different roles (which I guess is the best compliment you can pay an actor?). She needs a statue soon. Also: I have a real soft spot for how great Jacki Weaver was (crabbies and homemades!).
Best Animated Feature: Brave, Frankenweenie, Paranorman, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Wreck-it Ralph
Why: Are you serious? Did you see this movie? I could not love Wreck-it Ralph any more than I do already – it is wonderful. The bad guy support group is hilarious, Sarah Silverman and John C. Reilly’s voice work was phenomenal, and it was the best animated movie since Up. Yes, I liked it more than Toy Story 3. Also, Brave was Pixar’s second weak effort in a row (after Cars 2), and that stupid twist (spoiler alert: the mom turns into a bear) did that movie no favors.
Most importantly, Paperman has to win Best Animated Short. It has to. Have you seen it? If not, leave this blog immediately (but come back!), watch it, grab a tissue and realize you have seen the best animated short in years. Anytime I say something should beat The Simpsons? You know it’s good.
Finally, I have low, low, low expectations for Seth MacFarlane. Look, I love Ted, and still watch Family Guy most weekends. But his humor is not going to play to that room. I’m hoping that because my expectations are so low, he can at least meet them and maybe I’ll be impressed, or at least pleasantly surprised. But I have a feeling we’re in for a long, relatively humorless night. That said, I hope everyone enjoys the show, and feel free to leave comments about how my choices ultimately ended up wrong. Then go watch Paperman again. Seriously, it’s so good.