And the OSCAR goes to…

Best Picture Oscar Nominees 2013
Pic: The Academy and Gallery1988

Here are my Oscar predictions made on the eve of the biggest entertainment show in the World along with the winners updated after the ceremony… For most categories, I listed who I thought will win and who was more deserving in my opinion. I did not include documentaries and short films in my original predictions (winners are updated now) as I have not seen them except Paperman – nominee, favourite and eventual winner in the Short Film (animated) category.

Let’s see how many predictions came true, how many favourites won and how many upset wins ruined the leading nominees’ evening…

Best Picture

Will win: Argo, unless the Academy voters do not want to own up to the mistake they made by not nominating Ben Affleck for Best Director

Should win: Zero Dark Thirty, but there is too much negative (and unnecessary) buzz around the film

Upset potential: Lincoln – a good film, but not the best (drags too much). However, it is tailor-made for the Oscars… the Academy loves biopics and add the element of patriotism to it… oh, and there is the Spielberg factor!

What about the others: The Academy seems to love Life of Pi but it’s more like Hugo – too many nominations, too little love in the main categories except the technical ones. Silver Linings Playbook is really a romantic comedy and the Academy rarely rewards rom-coms with the top prize. Django Unchained is a serious contender for Original Screenplay, not for Best Picture. Amour should be happy with an assured win in the Foreign Film category. Beasts of the Southern Wild… other nominees are asking this question – “where did this come from? How many people have seen this film?”

Who actually won: Argo. Hoorah!

Direction

Will win: I do not want to name him but I have no choice, Steven Spielberg for Lincoln

Should win: Ben Affleck for Argo or Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty; but I’m in denial, these

two are not even nominated

Upset potential: Michael Haneke for Amour, though I want Ang Lee to be the one for Life of Pi

Slim chances but Affleck’s votes may go there: David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook

Good intentions but seriously, who? Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild

Who actually wonAng Lee. Not as predicted but as I hoped. Respect.

Actor in a Leading Role

Will win: Daniel Day Lewis for Lincoln – the safest bet and he was very good in the film

Should win: Daniel Day Lewis (since John Hawkes is not even nominated for The Sessions)

Upset potential: Hugh Jackman for Les Misérables – who doesn’t like a singing Wolverine?

Upset delight: Denzel Washington for Flight… his win calls for a round of Tequila shots!

Academy is too snooty to vote for you but if you win, it will be the Sandra Bullock moment once again: Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook

You killed your own chances: Joaquin Phoenix for The Master. You don’t call the Oscar season bullshit while the voting is on.

Who actually won: Daniel Day Lewis

Actress in a Leading Role

Will win: Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty… for all the negativity around the film, her performance has been unanimously appreciated

Should win: Jessica Chastain or Jennifer Lawrence, though the latter can wait for the next time

Upset potential: Emmanuelle Riva for Amour, if the Academy shows extra love because of her age. Naomi Watts for The Impossible – it was a film designed to make you cry but Watts’ suffering in the film does not match up to Maya’s (Jessica) determination or Tiffany’s (Jennifer) craziness.

Not possible: Quvenzhané Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild… she has too difficult a name to be pronounced by any presenter for a live telecast. On a serious note, she is sweet in the film but I was surprised with her nomination.

Who actually won: Jennifer Lawrence. She was in my deserving list but this one belonged to Jessica Chastain really. 

Actor in a Supporting Role

Will win: Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln

Should win: Tommy Lee Jones or Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master or Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook… all are so good!

Upset potential: Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained

Why was he nominated again? Alan Arkin for Argo

Who actually wonChristoph Waltz. What was I thinking?

Actress in a Supporting Role

Will win: Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables because life killed the dream she dreamed as Fantine

Should win: Anne Hathaway or Helen Hunt for The Sessions (but hers was really a lead role)

Upset potential: Sally Field for Lincoln if the Spielberg love rules the evening

Did we forget she’s in the running? Amy Adams for The Master

Why was she nominated again? Jacki Weaver for Silver Linings Playbook

Who actually won: Anne Hathaway. It came true.

Adapted Screenplay

Will win: Lincoln or Argo

Should win: Life of Pi, this book was once considered un-filmable!

Upset potential: Silver Linings Playbook

Who actually won: Chris Terrio for Argo

Original Screenplay

Will win: Django Unchained

Should win: Zero Dark Thirty or Moonrise Kingdom

Upset potential: Amour

Who actually won: Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained

Animated Film

Will win: Wreck It Ralph

Should win: Wreck It Ralph

May have a chance: Frankenweenie

Major upset: Brave

Who actually wonBrave. The most undeserving winner. It is not about the animation only but how the whole film was! Brave is one of the dullest films from the Disney stable. I have a theory here… Disney really pushed for Brave and got what they wanted. It makes business sense as they are trying to establish Merida among the other much loved Disney princesses – Snow White, Cinderella, Ariel, etc. Just go to any Disney store or Disney Land and you’ll see how much they are pushing Brave and most merchandise is on sale. After the Oscar win, I think Merida has a second chance. Sorry Ralph, she stole your Oscar.

Foreign Film

Will win: Amour (Austria)

Should win: Amour

Upset potential: I have not yet seen Kon-Tiki (Norway), War Witch (Canada) and No (Chile) but Amour seems to be the favourite. A Royal Affair (Denmark) is good but not better than Amour

Who actually won: Amour

Film Editing

Will win: Argo

Should win: Argo

Upset potential: any other film will be an upset if Argo doesn’t win

Who actually wonArgo

Cinematography

Will win: Life of Pi

Should win: Life of Pi or Moonrise Kingdom, which is sadly not nominated

Upset potential: Lincoln

Who actually wonClaudio Miranda for Life of Pi

Original Score

Will win: Mychael Danna for Life of Pi

Should win: Mychael Danna for Life of Pi

Upset potential: Lincoln

Who actually wonMychael Danna for Life of Pi

Original Song

Will win: “Skyfall” from Skyfall (Music and Lyric by Adele and Paul Epworth)

Should win: “Skyfall” from Skyfall

Upset potential: “Suddenly” from Les Misérables as a consolation prize (Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg; Lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil)

Who actually won: “Skyfall” from Skyfall (Music and Lyric by Adele and Paul Epworth)

Visual Effects

Will win: Life of Pi

Should win: Life of Pi

Major upset:  any other film

Who actually won: Life of Pi

Costume Design

Will win: Anna Karenina

Who actually wonAnna Karenina

Makeup/Hairstyling

Will winLes Misérables

Who actually wonLes Misérables

Production Design

Will win: Anna Karenina or Life of Pi

Who actually wonLincoln. Did the voters even watch Anna Karenina?

Sound Mixing

Will win: Les Misérables

Who actually wonLes Misérables

Sound Editing

Will winZero Dark Thirty

 

Who actually won: Zero Dark Thirty and Skyfall (a tie)

Other winners (not predicted in this post earlier):

Animated Short Film: Paperman

Live Action Short Film: Curfew

Documentary Short Subject: Innocente

Documentary Feature: Searching for Sugar Man

Out of 20 predictions, I got 15 right. Happy about getting the Best Director prediction wrong and pleased with the Best Actress too (Lawrence was in my “should win” bracket along with Chastain). I under-estimated Christoph Waltz’s potential win (his nomination was in my upset category); I should have seen the signs! Regarding Brave’s win over Wreck It Ralph and Lincoln over Anna Karenina for Production Design, I stick with my picks and think the Academy voters failed the deserving winners. 

Post updated: February 25, 2013

 

Zero Dark Thirty

The Best Film Of 2012

Source: rottentomatoes.com

How do you make a thriller that’s more than two-and-a-half hours long; keeps the audience in a constant state of tension, despite them knowing what’s going to happen next? Ask director, Kathryn Bigelow and screen-writer, Mark Boal – the Oscar winning duo who are all set to be contenders again after their win in 2010 for The Hurt Locker.  Zero Dark Thirty is easily the best film I have seen in 2012 and to put it mildly, it simply blew my mind.

Zero Dark Thirty spans a decade, following a team of CIA agents whose job is to find the world’s most wanted man, Osama Bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks and gather intelligence on any more acts of terrorism planned by Al Qaeda. The film focuses on one CIA agent, Maya (Jessica Chastain) who gets obsessed with one lead and despite many setbacks, stays firm on her trail to catch Bin Laden. We first meet her as a young agent, sent to the field (read Afghanistan and Pakistan) in 2001 where she’s visibly disturbed at the way detainees are tortured for information. We see her character’s growth over the course of the film as she stands her ground and is instrumental in creating history.

We all know what happens in the end with Bin Laden getting killed in a Seal Team Six operation in May 2011; but the build-up to that finale is what makes this film brilliant. For ten-years, not only Maya’s patience is tested but the audience is put to test too as the director puts together all the pieces slowly. She makes you re-live the horrors of the terror attacks around the world, staring from 9/11 to London to Islamabad, Saudi Arabia and the Camp Chapman suicide attack in Afghanistan. With his brilliant screenplay, Mark Boal depicts the frustration that the CIA operatives feel after every terrorist attack and their failed attempts to capture and kill the top brass at Al Qaeda.

Jessica Chastain is brilliant as Maya and this could very well be her shot at all the best actress trophies next year. From a nervous new recruit to a determined agent with nerves of steel, she plays the part perfectly. In the supporting cast, Jason Clarke as another CIA agent, Dan is very good and like Jennifer Ehle’s character (CIA agent, Jessica) you think there will be a romantic angle between him and Maya. However, the film-maker does not shift her focus a bit and it is all about getting the job done. Joel Edgerton has an interesting cameo where he plays the squadron team leader who leads the final attack on Osama in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Cinematography by Greig Fraser; editing by William Goldenberg and Dylan Tichenor; music by Alexandre Desplat are all perfect. The film comes together as a well-researched docu-drama and a brilliant thriller that keeps your heart pounding hard. Do not miss watching this one on the big screen.