Academy Awards, Thoughts and Predictions

I will never forget the year Jack Nicholson announced the Best Picture winnerCrash. When the words Brokeback Mountain didn’t come out of his mouth, I cried, shut the TV off, and didn’t even bother listening to the acceptance speech. I learned my lesson and understand now that I will not always agree with the Academy’s decisions; however, it hasn’t stopped me from attempting to see all of the films nominated for the Awards. Unfortunately, as a college student in Granville, Ohio, it was rather difficult. First of all, my film professors could care less about the awards and on top of the load of films they gave us to watch, it was difficult to find time to watch the Oscar nominations as well. In fact, there were instances where they would schedule screenings on the night of the Oscars. Guess what. I skipped those. Second, I was a broke college student living off of minimum wage jobs and could barely afford a pizza bagel, let alone a film. And last, the closest theater to Denison would rather play the Twilight series than something like Beasts of the Southern Wild. Not only am I a college graduate, but I’m an unemployed college graduate working at a restaurant next to a movie theater. This made things so much easier this year. I ventured to RedBox, went to the theater before and after work, can now afford Netflix, and watched some last minute films online.

So how did I do? I didn’t watch all 50. I am lacking in Animated Feature, Costume Design, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short, Foreign Language Film, and Visual Effects. As the Academy Awards approached, I decided that I would rather miss out on a few categories than have to sit through something like Mirror Mirror, Snow White and the Huntsman, The Avengers, and The Hobbit. I made sure to complete the “important” awards though.
Best Picture, check.
Leading Actor, check.
Supporting Actor, check.
Leading Actress, check.
Supporting Actress, check.
Cinematography, check.
Directing, check.
Adapted Screenplay, check.
Original Screenplay, check.

Others I completed:
Film Editing.
Original Score
Animated Short Film.
Live Action Short Film.
Sound Editing.
Sound Mixing.

Do I have a favorite this year for the Awards as a whole? Of course I do. It’s Argo. Luckily for me, my favorite has matched the Academy’s two years in a row. The Artist was one of my favorites from the beginning. I saw it at both Cannes and Telluride. This does not mean I expect Argo to take every award it’s nominated, nor do I want that. I’ll tell you what I think and I’ll tell you my predictions. Hardly do these two match.

Best Picture
Let’s start with the final award. Why not? I recently completed the nine nominations earlier this weekend with Amour. The first I saw was Argo in November when I returned from New York. The first twenty minutes of the film kept me on the edge of my seat and I haven’t forgotten about the film since. Do I think anything is missing from this list? It would have been nice to see Flight. I was surprised when The Master was nominated for three acting categories and not the Best Picture, and then I watched it and agreed. I was surprised to find The Dark Knight Rises missing from the awards as a whole. If the Academy expanded the list from five to ten in order to include box office hits, why don’t we start including them?
My pick: Argo. I loved the film from start to finish. What could have been a confusing historical film actually was a lot of fun to watch. Weird, I know. My second favorite? Life of PiDjango Unchained and Zero Dark Thirty are my tie for third. If you must know, I hated Les Miserables. I’ve never walked out of a film that I’ve paid for… and I was so close to doing it.
Will winArgo. To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if we have another surprise. I know everyone is saying Argo is a shoe-in, but clearly the Academy didn’t like something about it to not nominate Affleck. I know he was in Gigli, but get over it. If there was an Argo upset, it will go to LincolnSilver Linings Playbook, or even Amour.

Leading Actor:
Why even discuss this? Daniel Day Lewis is winning his third Oscar tonight. Fair and square. He deserves it. If anyone thinks otherwise, they didn’t see Lincoln.
My pick: Daniel Day Lewis.
Will win: Daniel Day Lewis.

Supporting Actor
All five of the nominees have won in the past. Everyone loves Alan Arkin, and they should have loved him in Argo, but the role wasn’t unique enough for him to snag another Oscar. In fact, if he loses and Argo wins, this will be the first time sinceGrand Hotel 1932 when a film wins Best Picture without a Director nomination and a winner from the acting categories. Robert De Niro is an actor again! Reason enough to give him an award. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is always a delight and he is the reason why I actually sat through The Master. Him, and the score. Was it aCapote performance? No, but superb. I don’t know what it is about Tommy Lee Jones that I don’t like, but I just can’t get into any of his performances. Sorry, Tommy. This is a personal matter. CHRISTOPH WALTZ STOLE THE SHOW, in my opinion. So smart and so funny. He is the reason anyone should see Django Unchained. It’s a Tarantino film, so he must die. I just wish his character could have lived forever.
My pick: Is it obvious? Give Christoph Waltz an Oscar. I love him so much that I can’t even mark against him on my ballot. I’ll be crossing my fingers throughout this award. If he wins, he’ll be two for two.
Will win: Do I have to say it? Tommy…

Leading Actress
All of these performances were unique and successful. I cried my eyes out in The Impossible because of Naomi Watts alone. Sure, Wallis is a joy to watch in Beasts of the Southern Wild, but I feel as if they are awarding her because she did this performance at the age of 6, and that seems like an accomplishment. Not saying it is not an accomplishment, I wish I was at the Oscars at her age. Is she really deserving? No. Riva, the oldest of the nominees. Happy 86th birthday! Are you deserving? Definitely. Watching her body fall apart was genuine and heartbreaking, but let’s get down to business here. It’s Chastain vs. Lawrence. J Law is my favorite human. I might cry if she wins. This would not be the first, as I cried uncontrollable when my favorite, deserving actress Kate Winslet finally took home the golden statue. As the ceremony approaches, Chastain is slipping away and Lawrence is becoming the clear favorite. You can’t go wrong either way. Chastain’s performance is strong, but subtle, while J Law is taking risks in a loud way.
My pick: Jennifer Lawrence
Will win: Jennifer Lawrence

Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, I love you, but you did nothing in The Master. Jacki Weaver also does not stand out. Completely the opposite for Helen Hunt. She did everything. She was even naked for most of the film. She was genuine and vulnerable. She was believable in a role that could so easily not be. It’s a race for Hathaway and Sally Field though. Kristen Stewart could have played Fantine and she’d get a nomination. Everyone knows that there are roles you take simply for Oscar recognition and this is one of those roles. It becomes a question of whether or not Hathaway really deserves this award. Sally Field is screaming “Give me an Oscar” in her role as Mary Lincoln.
My pick: Helen Hunt
Will win: Anne Hathaway

Directing
Today is the day of the ceremony and yet I’m still puzzled as to why Tarantino, Bigelow, and Affleck are missing from this category. As a female filmmaker myself, I am appalled that Bigelow is missing. There aren’t that many of us, so when we deserve a nomination. Give it to us. Best Director is back to being a man’s category. Who will win? This is completely up in the air. Affleck has taken every important directing award this year and I wish we could accept a write-in to show the Academy that they fucked up.
My pick: Ang Lee. They said Life of Pi could never be transformed on the screen, but he did it. And it’s flawless.
Will win: David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook. I only choose this because its four actors were nominated. It also might be Spielberg.

Adapted Screenplay
My pick: Life of Pi. For same reasons as directing.
Will win: It’s looking like Lincoln.

Original Screenplay
My pick: Moonrise Kingdom was the most delightful and feel-good film that I saw this year. I absolutely loved it. If this is the only nomination it has, I would like for it to win.
Will win: Amour.

I’ve gotten through the major awards right here, so I’ll keep it short and sweet for the rest of the categories.
Animated Feature
The only film I saw was Brave, unfortunately. None of these films are Beauty and the Beast or Toy Story 3, but I’m going to predict Wreck-It Ralph or ParaNormanfor the top prize.
Cinematography
Anna Karenina surprised me in so many ways. This was a film I was reluctant to see, but enjoyed it so much. The cinematography was so interesting with the vast amount of sweeping shots throughout the theater. (The whole film takes place in a theater, if you didn’t know). I think either Life of Pi or Anna Karenina will take this award.
Costume Design
It’s all about the period pieces here. This one will go to either Anna Karenina orLincoln.
Documentary Feature
I could kick myself for not see The Gatekeepers when I was at Sundance. It was on my schedule, and then I changed my mind last minute. I only watched two of the nominees: The Invisible War and How to Survive a Plague. Both are hard hitting and emotional stories. Out of the two, I preferred The Invisible War. What will win? Searching for Sugar Man, and I wish I had time to watch it before the show tonight.
Documentary Short
I wasn’t able to catch the Doc Short program when it was showing at the Capital Theatre, but Inocente is online and I watched it. Apparently, it’s the favorite. The others must not be that great then, because I found myself playing Words with Friends while it played on my laptop.
Film Editing
Zero Dark Thirty deserves this award. Please. The raid scene alone deserves this award. It’s really between Argo and Zero Dark Thirty for this award. If you’re going to deny Bigelow, give her film this award.
Foreign Language Film
Because of my Tribeca internship, I was able to see War Witch and I could only imagine how excited they were when it landed an Oscar nomination. If Amourloses, it will be the biggest upset of the night.
Makeup and HairStyling
I’m partial to Hitchcock. I did not see The Hobbit and I hated Les Miserables. The second will most likely take this award.
Original Score
So, why isn’t The Master nominated? It had such a UNIQUE score. My favorite film composer, Thomas Newman, will lose for the eleventh time. This does not upset me though. If Newman is going to win, I’d rather him win for something other than SkyfallLife of Pi will take this award. It’s deserved.
Original Song
I am embarrassed to say that I don’t even know what Chasing Ice is. Adele is taking this award. Do we even need to talk about it?
Production Design
I would love for Anna Karenina to take this award because I fell in love with the theater concept. I was amazed that it was accomplished so successfully. This award will most likely go to Lincoln.
Animated Short Film
I enjoyed EVERY single one of these short films. You can’t go wrong with any of them. Even the short two minute film Fresh GuacamoleHead Over Heels was delightful and realistic, despite its content. Any other year, as a dog lover, I would be swooning over Adam and Dog, but Disney’s Paperman stole my heart. I almost had a tear in my eye it was that beautiful and heartwarming. This is one award that I might find myself completely disappointed if it loses. This is my first time seeing all of the shorts, and I will never watch an Oscar without going to see these programs again. Shorts are great.
Live Action Short Film
Last short category. Curfew is the favorite, and it is my favorite as well. The dancing scene at the bowling alley did it for me. Also, the nine year old in the film is the girl who voices Dora in Dora the Explorer. This makes me love it more. It’s a serious film performed in a light hearted manner. Perfection.
Sound Editing/ Sound Mixing
If you’ve seen any of my student films, you will know that I know nothing about sound. So, Academy, I trust your judgement 100% here.
Visual Effects
The category in which I am lacking the most; however, Life of Pi, the only film I saw is the favorite. They created the tiger. Enough said.

Thanks for reading 🙂 Enjoy the show tonight. I will live tweet the whole thing, so follow me on Twitter @gabsgesicki for some more unnecessary opinions from an unemployed film graduate.

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