The first annual TPY Oscar preview spectacular

21 Feb

There are one thousand of these on the internet this week. I don’t care. Here’s mine.

Best Motion Picture
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Who will win: Lincoln. It’s the quintessential Oscar movie. People will vote for it lest their peers think they approve of slavery. Plus it’s actually a pretty good movie. The movie with the most overall nominations usually wins. The sense of inevitability surrounding it might actually be it’s biggest weakness. If I were a voter, I could imagine going against a movie if everyone always talked about how it would win. I hear Argo is getting a lot of heat. Roger Ebert thinks it’ll win. I don’t see it. It wouldn’t be the worst choice ever. I don’t think the other nominees have any chance.

Who I hope wins: Amour. Now that I’ve had some time to reflect, I think it’s pretty clearly the best movie nominated. The acting, the director, everything about this one was great. It’s hard for me to imagine a foreign language movie winning, but last year a silent film won, so who knows.

Who should win: The Master. This was the best movie of the year. Amour might be close. In twenty years, people will be talking about them as classics and no one will give any thought to Lincoln or Argo. Unfortunately I think that’s pretty common. If you look at the list of past winners, there are some really embarrassing choices. Maybe I’ll write a post about that sometime.

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

Who will win: Spielberg. One of his periodic big prestige pieces. This one was a lot better than some of this others. Good for him I guess.

Who I hope wins: Haneke. To me what he did in Amour was more difficult and more impressive than what Spielberg did in Lincoln. Amour takes place entirely in an apartment. There are really only three characters. It’s a story that could easily drift into schmaltz. Haneke managed it all perfectly.

Who should win: Paul Thomas Anderson, The Master. Again, I think Haneke is a close second. Maybe I’ll change my mind after I see these again. Anderson will eventually win this in 2022 or something for a movie not as good as The Master and everyone in Hollywood will congratulate themselves for giving him the award. But there will be a younger director in 2022 with a better movie who should have won and the cycle will repeat all over. This happens all the time. The Oscars really are stupid.

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Denzel Washington, Flight
Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

Who will win: Day-Lewis. I think this is the lock of the night. He’s a really good actor.

Who I hope wins: Day-Lewis

Who should win: Day-Lewis. Although Jean-Louis Trintignant should have at least been nominated. He was better than any of the other four.

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Naomi Watts, The Impossible
Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Who will win: Lawrence. It’s not really her fault she’s ten years or so too young for the role. She was good. I’ve been impressed with Ms. Lawrence in every movie of hers I’ve seen. She has a surprising amount of emotional intelligence. I say surprising because if you’ve ever seen an interview with her, she comes off as kind of…well…dumb. Sorry Jennifer. Maybe that’s just a function of her being 22. I think voters will give her a little extra credit for Winter’s Bone two years ago. Most years that would have been a winning performance. Best actress that year was the most stacked acting field I can remember.

Who I hope wins: Riva. This movie wouldn’t have worked without a great performance from her. It’s hard to be as affecting as she was without anything flashy to do. She hardly moves in the entire movie. Probably the most memorable performance of the year.

Who should win: Michelle Williams, Take This Waltz. She should win every year. The best actor working in Hollywood. This wasn’t a great movie, but that didn’t really matter. Ms. Williams brings so much accessibility and vulnerability and general emotion to her roles that I don’t know if there’s anyone else who can compare. I just love watching her in movies. I like her so much that sometimes I wish I had watched Dawson’s Creek when I was in high school.

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Alan Arkin, Argo
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

Who will win: Arkin. He was the best part of Argo, and in the supporting categories you’re allowed to be funny, which is his strong suit.

Who I hope wins: Hoffman. His self-job description was one of the best things in the movies this year. I’d be fine with any of these guys winning. Tommy Lee Jones would probably be my least favorite.

Who should win: Hoffman. He had sort of a tightrope to walk in that he played a cult leader and still spent a lot of time playing straight man to Joaquin Phoenix. He’s a really good actor.

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams, The Master
Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook
Sally Field, Lincoln

Who will win: Hathaway. Seems like a lock. I didn’t see Les Mis, so I can’t really comment. I do like her generally.

Who I hope wins: Adams. She’s been nominated in this category four times in the last eight years. Why doesn’t anyone offer her good starring roles? She’s terrific.

Who should win: Adams

Best Animated Feature Film
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Wreck-It Ralph

Who will win: Wreck-It Ralph. I didn’t see any of these. I’d like to see this one. I hear it was good.

Who I hope wins: Don’t care.

Who should win: Don’t know.

Original Screenplay
Amour, Michael Haneke
Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino
Flight, John Gatins
Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola
Zero Dark Thirty, Mark Boal

Who will win: Boal, Zero Dark Thirty. Seems like a good consolation prize for Zero Dark Thirty. It was a good enough screenplay I suppose.

Who I hope wins: Anderson/Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom. I don’t think Mr. Anderson will win any time soon, but I’d love to see it. It would also be cool to see Mr. Tarantino win. I’m really surprised that Flight was nominated. I didn’t think that was a good script at all.

Who should win: Haneke, Amour. I think. It’s hard to evaluate a screenplay in a different language. I always wonder how much gets lost in the subtitles. The fact that this movie was so powerful without dialing up the tears was quite an accomplishment. I was surprised it worked as well as it did.

Adapted Screenplay
Argo, Chris Terrio
Beasts of the Southern Wild, Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin
Life of Pi, David Magee
Lincoln, Tony Kushner
Silver Linings Playbook, David O. Russell

Who will win: Kushner, Lincoln. I don’t think this is much of a competition.

Who I hope wins: Kushner, Lincoln. For me this was the best part of Lincoln.

Who should win: Kushner, Lincoln

Best Foreign-Language Film
A Royal Affair (Denmark)
Amour (Austria)
No (Chile)
War Witch (Canada)
Kontiki (Norway)

Who will win: Amour. When in doubt go for the movie with other nominations. I didn’t see any of the others.

Who I hope will win: Amour. I’ve talked enough about it already.

Who should win: Amour

Original Score
Anna Karenina, Dario Marianelli
Argo, Alexandre Desplat
Life of Pi, Mychael Danna
Lincoln, John Williams
Skyfall, Thomas Newman

Who will win: Desplat, Argo. This is his fifth nomination. He’s due.

Who I hope will win: Anyone but John Williams. His kind of big dramatic orchestral music is the worst thing about this kind of movie. Dial it down a notch pal.

Who should win: Desplat, Argo. He also did the music for Moonrise Kingdom and Zero Dark Thirty this year. Prolific.

Original Song
“Before My Time,” J. Ralph; Chasing Ice
“Everybody Needs a Best Friend,” Walter Murphy and Seth McFarlane; Ted
“Pi’s Lullaby,” Mychael Danna and Bombay Jayashri; Life of Pi
“Skyfall,” Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth; Skyfall
“Suddenly,” Claude-Michel Schönberg, Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boulil; Les Misérables

Who will win: “Skyfall”, Adele. This is the only song any of the voters will know.

Who I hope will win: Anyone but Les Mis. Adding a new song to an adaptation of an established stage musical to try and win this Oscar is a well-established practice. It’s stupid and should never be rewarded.

Who should win: “Skyfall”, Adele. Were there any good rap songs in movies this year? I like when they’re nominated but I can’t think of any.

Achievement in Production Direction
Anna Karenina
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Misérables
Life of Pi

Who will win: Les Mis. It has to win something.

Who I hope will win: Anna Karenina. Go underdogs. This would be a good category for this to win. It seems foolhardy to try to adapt a Tolstoy novel into a movie in most aspects other than production design.

Who should win: Moonrise Kingdom. This is what really makes Wes Anderson movies. He’ll never get recognition here because his movies aren’t big and flashy. That’s too bad. Although a Wes Anderson period drama could be incredible.

Achievement in Cinematography
Anna Karenina, Seamus McGarvey
Django Unchained, Robert Richardson
Life of Pi, Claudio Miranda
Lincoln, Janusz Kaminski
Skyfall, Roger Deakins

Who will win:Kaminski, Lincoln. Seems like an easy choice for lazy voters.

Who I hope will win: Deakins, Skyfall. This is his tenth nomination. He’s never won. He shoots all the Coen brothers movies and a lot of other good movies also. A shame he’s never won.

Who should win: Deakins, Skyfall

Achievement in Costume Design
Anna Karenina, Jacqueline Durran
Les Misérables, Paco Delgado
Lincoln, Joanna Johnston
Mirror Mirror, Eiko Ishioka
Snow White and the Huntsman, Colleen Atwood

Who will win: Les Mis. See above.

Who I hope will win: Anna Karenina. See above.

Who should win: Don’t know.

Best Documentary Feature
5 Broken Cameras
The Gatekeepers
How to Survive a Plague
The Invisible War
Searching for a Sugar Man

Who will win: Searching for Sugar Man. I’ve heard this is really interesting. I haven’t seen any of these. It should be easier to see documentaries.

Who I hope will win: Don’t care

Who should win: Don’t know

Best Documentary Short Subject
Kings Point
Mondays at Racine
Open Heart

Who will win: ?
Who I hope will win: ?
Who should win: ?

Achievement in Film Editing
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Who will win: Zero Dark Thirty. I don’t know how to tell if a film editor did a good job. I think this is a good guess.

Who I hope will win: Don’t care.

Who should win: Don’t know.

Achievement in Makeup & Hairstyling
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Misérables

Who will win: The Hobbit. Lots of makeup in these movies, right?

Who I hope will win: Don’t care.

Who should win: Don’t know.

Best Animated Short Film
Adam and Dog
Fresh Guacamole
Head Over Heels
Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”

Who will win: ?
Who I hope will win: ?
Who should win: ?

Best Live-Action Short Film
Buzkashi Boys
Death of a Shadow

Who will win: ?
Who I hope will win: ?
Who should win: ?

Achievement in Sound Editing
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty

Who will win: Argo. In the telecast this year they should scrap one of the montages and instead explain how this award works. Unless you’re in the industry, how can you tell if a movie’s sound editing is good? Could they at least explain what’s good about each of these nominees in more than a sentence fragment?

Who I hope will win: Don’t care.

Who should win: Don’t know.

Achievement in Sound Mixing
Les Misérables
Life of Pi

Who will win: Argo. I don’t know how this is different from sound editing.

Who I hope will win: Don’t care.

Who should win: Don’t know.

Achievement in Visual Effects
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Life of Pi
Marvel’s The Avengers
Snow White and the Huntsman

Who will win: Life of Pi. Just because it’s a “serious” movie.

Who I hope will win: Not Life of Pi. I like to see big dumb blockbusters beat “serious” movies in these categories.

Who should win: Don’t know.

Thanks for reading, folks. Check back next week for the first annual TPY Oscar review spectacular.

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