I cannot believe the Academy Awards are here. Who even hosted last year? This year, Seth MacFarlane will either knock it out of the park or he will go extremely lowbrow. I’m going to go ahead and predict he won’t exactly fail as a host, but it will be a rough night. I’m just glad he’s a fan of old school musicals; it’s the only advantage he has. And let’s be honest, this year’s Best Picture nominees are all over the place, with almost half of the field focusing on a couple of dark times in American History. Out of the 9 nominated films, I only saw four; oh there will come a day when I will see all of them, but 9 is a steep number to spend all my money on. Here are the ones I did see…
Now if you know Oscar voters (I don’t know any personally) they love a sprawling, epic period piece. Don’t worry, we’ll get to Les Miserables momentarily and the voters love true stories, even if they are so very slightly inaccurate. What’s not inaccurate about Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln is Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance as Honest Abe. And I would say you’ll see Day-Lewis walk away with his third Best Actor award. The only other possibly guaranteed winner is Best Supporting Actor nominee and Grumpy Cat doppleganger Tommy Lee Jones, who won in the same category in for The Fugitive. Nope, Sally Field won’t win Best Supporting Actress and honestly, she was just so-so as Mary Todd Lincoln. Will Lincoln win Best Picture? I would say the odds are very good, like let’s go with it has a 75 percent chance of winning.
Here’s another sprawling, yet musical, story for older Oscar voters to salivate over. It’s the runner-up to Lincoln in nominations with 8, but it may not see but maybe one acting winner, Anne Hathaway. I mean how can you not look at her “I Dreamed a Dream” performance and not fall apart? Very cliche’ and very heartwarming, but she will mostly likely win Best Supporting Actress. Hugh Jackman would win Best Actor if Day-Lewis wasn’t in the mix; will we see a tie? Nah. It may win for many non-acting awards, but Best Picture? Not this time. Thank God for the separate Musical or Comedy and Drama Best Picture awards at the Golden Globes right? I loved it, but at the same time, the last hour was way too long. Sadly, most Best Picture nominees clock in at 2 and half hours. Here? 2 hours and 45 minutes. GAH! It was so long, I’ve forgotten most of it. But I won’t soon forget Russell Crowe’s singing voice.
Silver Linings Playbook
I loved Silver Linings Playbook, and it’s the first of two Best Pictures that can upset Lincoln. Plus, it has an actor nominated in all major categories, however, I wasn’t impressed with Robert DeNiro or Jacki Weaver (both Supporting nominees as Pat’s (Bradley Cooper) parents. Were they good? Sure, but really, both of them? This film will probably catch the fancy of younger Oscar voters; it’s a love story, it’s an honest yet non-scathing look at mental illness, and it has Best Actor nominee Cooper and Best Actress nominee Jennifer Lawrence. Lawrence, who was nominated two years ago for Winter’s Bone is tied with Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty (didn’t see it) for the win, and I can’t really make a prediction without seeing Chastain, but since I only saw Lawrence, I’ll give her the Oscar. Now as far as Best Picture? Maybe. It’s modern, it’s gritty, and David O. Russell nabbed a Best Director nod. However, if one film can topple the Lincoln monster…
I just watched Argo last night, and I thought it was fantastic. Bonus, it’s only 2 hours long! Another Oscar voter hook is true and political, but not too political. We all know the story of the 50 American hostages who were captured in Iran in 1979; those 50 were held for 444 days and they were released the moment President Ronald Reagan was sworn in. I didn’t know of this incredible story to rescue six US Embassy employees who were not taken hostage, and how a CIA operative orchestrated a fake movie (with the fugitives as the crew) to rescue them. The Canadian Embassy played a much bigger part in the rescue than was shown in the film, which served as a bit of controversy and gained Argo that “historically inaccurate” moniker. Even former President Jimmy Carter, who was held hostage in his own right as he could never secure release for the 50 left behind, went on record to point out the inaccuracies. Ironically, you hear Carter’s voice as the prologue rolls at the end of the film, which is a great punctuation mark. So Ben Affleck may not be nominated for Best Director, but Argo could pull off the ultimate upset by winning Best Picture.
Out of the remaining Best Picture nominees, Zero Dark Thirty has the buzz to possibly steal some awards and as usual, Quentin Tarantino’s only win for Django Unchained will be his Original Screenplay. And Beasts of the Southern Wild‘s Quvenzhané Wallis may be cute, but I doubt she can win Best Actress. Nevertheless, who knows? All the odds makers will really be kicking themselves if the 9-year-old pulls off an upset.