The Zero Hour

Reviews, rants and oddities on video game and film culture.

Oscar Predictions 2013 edition

Ironically, the year I unintentionally put the site on the back burner is the one where I actually got off my ass and saw, to use actual maths, a shit-ton of movies, so for once I have actually seen the vast majority of Oscar nominees. This is kind of a big deal for me, I’m usually really far behind the Oscar zeitgeist, I still haven’t seen most of the nominees from the past few years), so to be able to go “Oh yeah, these are all pretty good, it’s definitely a contender” But if you’re interested in my opinion (which I hope you are because I assume that’s why you’re here) in a bit more depth, I’ll no doubt speak critically about the movies later.

So, like any person interested in movies or pop culture around awards season, I have opinions on what’s been nominated, what was snubbed, and who should win. So let’s see what’s in the running to win, and moan about how our favourite movies were snubbed.

Best Film

Amour
Argo
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Misérables
Lincoln
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Who will win: Argo
Who should win: Argo
Notable snubs: The Master

So let’s start off with THE BIG ONE. Unsurprisingly for an the big American film awards, a lot of our best picture nominees deal with America as a nation past and present, from with themes of slavery (Django, Lincoln) and political turmoil in other countries (Zero Dark Thirty, Argo) on a related note, The New York Times referred to Beasts of the Southern Wild as “A passionate and unruly explosion of Americana” Blimey, I should go see that movie… Anyway, if I’d have written this 2 weeks ago, I would have given you a different answer to “who will win” I’d have said Lincoln without batting an eyelid, but in the midst of Argo picking up the award pretty much everywhere, it suddenly became more likely that the Academy will follow suit. But Lincoln is still a movie that is very much in the running; its subject is a landmark in American history and the film very much attempts to be definitive documentation on that with strong performances and Spielberg holding back his “box of tricks”. I really liked the movies I saw that got nominated, Life of Pi and Les Mis are both jaw dropping visual spectacles, I remember in Les Mis in a couple of scenes just being overwhelmed by how “big” it was (Also singing every line? This has to be the first movie to do that since Umbrellas of Cherbourg in the 1960’s). Django is just a fantastic homage to Blaxploitation and westerns that could only be done by Tarantino and Zero Dark Thirty is a fantastic showcase of the hollowness of desperation and dedication. And speaking of dedication, it was a shame to not see The Master nominated. One of my favourite films of last year, Paul Thomas Anderson’s slow burning character piece really divided people on release despite early critical praise, obviously it divided the academy the wrong way for the most part…

This was supposed to be about Argo and I only briefly mentioned it. That movie was really good and will probably win, or else the academy can Argo fuck themselves. (THERE I SAID IT)

Bribe the Academy all you want Affleck, we still haven’t forgiven you for Gigli.

Best Actress

Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva – Amour
Quvenzhane Wallis – Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts – The Impossible

Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence
should win: Jessica Chastain
Notable Snubs: Marion Cotillard – Rust and Bone

One of my big movie regrets of the year is not getting round to see Silver Linings Playbook. Jennifer Lawrence is one of my favourite people just in general and despite this being her second Oscar nomination, she really “made it” this year with this movie and more importantly The Hunger Games earlier in the year, and with her picking up awards like Katniss pisses off the Capitol (REFERENCES!) an Academy Award will probably the next thing on her shelf. But that doesn’t mean she has it in the bag. Naomi Watts has been getting very high praise for The Impossible playing a mother figure, based on a real life person and being an actress who has been on the radar for some time. This is also an interesting year in that it features both the youngest person and the oldest person to be nominated in the category, and Emmanuelle Riva picked up the BAFTA for this category. Maybe the Academy will do something similar, maybe this’ll be a historic year. However, my favourite performance here is Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty, emotionally raw, and powerful, we watch her go from naïve agent to hunting down the most wanted man in the world, a subject still fresh in our minds and it’s based on a real life character. Ticks off academy boxes, is all I’m saying.

Now for snubs. I’ve not seen Rust and Bone, but the high praise and expectation led me to think Marion Cotillard, already an award winner, would get a nomination, if not for the “token foreign nominee”. Of course, with Emmanuelle Riva nominated, they’ve already pandered to the foreign market I guess, so no need for anymore. Besides, it’s more important what everyone wears on the red carpet anyway, so it doesn’t really matter who wins… Eurgh, society…
Best Actor

Daniel Day Lewis – Lincoln
Bradley Cooper – Silver Linings Playbook
Hugh Jackman – Les Misérables
Joaquin Phoenix – The Master
Denzel Washington – Flight

Will Win: Daniel Day Lewis – Lincoln
Should Win: Joaquin Phoenix – The Master
Notable Snubs: ???

This one of the awards that’s set in stone. Daniel Day Lewis is one of the best actors out there. He has a dedication to his craft that borders on insanity and he didn’t play Lincoln, he BECAME Lincoln (and bizarrely sounded a bit like Bane in the process) and it’s pretty much a given he’s going to get it. But because I loved The Master, I’m going to go ahead and say I want Joaquin Phoenix to win, like Day Lewis he undergoes some serious stuff to get into character and Freddy is just an incredible harsh, damaged, frustrated character, shell shocked from the war and lack of sex. Also if he won, he’d be the first actor to win an award for humping a mermaid made of sand. I hope.

Best Supporting Actor

Alan Arkin – Argo
Robert De Niro – Silver Linings Playbook
Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln
Christoph Waltz – Django Unchained
Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Master

Will Win: Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln
Should Win: Phillip Seymour Hoffman – The Master
Notable snubs: Leonardo DiCaprio/Samuel L Jackson – Django Unchained

I think Lincoln is going to get a good run this year, with Tommy Lee Jones on fine form delivering a character who is so very different to that of Lincoln, yet shares ideals, but in my opinion, whilst he was a strong character, I didn’t think he was “that” strong and I think he has stiff competition from Alan Arkin, but again Arkin is barely in Argo, and whilst he’s key to the plot, his character was made up for the movie, and didn’t exist in the real-life documents. No, in my mind, the strongest actor on this list is unsurprisingly, Phillip Seymour Hoffman in The Master, the manipulating charismatic leader of The Cause. He has this incredible powerful presence on screen that draws you in and makes you hold on to every word, and I’m sure he’s the only nominee here that just breaks into song and it’s terrifying (Russell Crowe could have learned something here)

Also I’m only going to touch on this because pretty much everyone on the internet has said this, but Leonardo DiCaprio was fantastic and completely owned every scene he was in in Django Unchained, and Samuel L Jackson played a surprisingly deep and multi-faced character that was not what I expected. He really proved to be a much more sinister and compelling character.

Tommy Lee Jones, believeable in all areas except hairpieces

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams – The Master
Sally Field – Lincoln
Anne Hathaway – Les Misérables
Helen Hunt – The Sessions
Jacki Weaver – Silver Linings Playbook

Will Win: Anne Hathaway
Should win: Anne Hathaway
Notable snubs: ???

Yeah, I loved Amy Adams in The Master and her character was an interesting and important influence on the actions of the characters (like Samuel L Jackson in Django, but with less explosions and more grim handjobs) within the movie. But Anne Hathaway crying and singing covered in snot and dirt in close up in one take for over 4 minutes? No-one else comes close to being that captivating this year. She’s only in that movie about 25 minutes total and she steals THE WHOLE FILM. Which is kind of a worrying thing in Les Mis, Jean Valjean stole some bread and had a dude spend his whole life chasing him down, I dread to think that would happen if you stole a movie…

Best Director

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

Who will win: Steven Spielberg
Who Should win: Steven Spielberg
Notable snubs: Kathryn Bigelow – Zero Dark Thirty, Ben Affleck – Argo, Paul Thomas Anderson – The Master

Ok, let’s get this out of the way. Yes. Ben Affleck should have been nominated, he’s won every directing gong this year for it and it’s clearly been an oversight of the Academy. Bigelow, I feel should also have got a look in and it is strange that both Argo and Zero Dark Thirty got nominated for best film, yet not best director (possibly one of the biggest influences in the final product leading to that nomination) when everyone else nominated has. And obviously, you’ve probably figured out I “quite liked” The Master and I think it was beautifully shot (on 70mm no less, which is a heck of a feat now a days) and it’s interesting how it’s 3 main players got noticed for acting awards, yet the director, who encouraged and nurtured the actors doesn’t. It’s a strange year and I’m all for bucking the system, just I wish perhaps they could have nominated some directors who really deserved it…

BUT. That’s not to say they haven’t, as I’ve said before, in Lincoln, Spielberg gives his finest movie in a really long time,  taking away the emotional manipulation for the most part, he gives us, well, history. He’s been doing this for 40 years, and this is him at his best.

Best Animated Film

Brave
Frankenweenie
ParaNorman
The Pirates! Band of Misfits in an Adventure with Scientists
Wreck-It Ralph

Will Win: Brave
Should Win: The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists (or Frankenweenie)
Notable snubs:  ???

It’s been a really good year for stop motion. 3/5 of the nominees are made of clay and I’m all for it, especially if it keeps DreamWorks bobbins off this list. That said, computer generated movies are the standard and whilst Claymation looks and feels like a more artistic endeavour, it looks out dated compared to Merida’s locks. Which is a shame because whilst I really enjoyed Brave visually, I felt it lacked a little in the narrative, whereas Pirates! In an Adventure of Scientists! (I’m calling it by its British title, because it and me are British and its American name is silly(er)) is 90 minutes of fun, tightly packed gags, wonderful looking animation, great voice acting and just Aardman at its best and I bloody love it, me. Frankenweenie also was a movie that I was kind of surprised at how much I enjoyed it and if it won, I think that would be a really great thing, its Tim Burton back to his roots and making his strongest movie since Ed Wood. Maybe he should make more movies in black and white about people and dealing with real human issues. It was also massively overlooked on release, so for it to get recognition because it’s warm and charming. But yeah, I think Brave will get it for the sheer beauty in its animation.

Pirates love Oscar night, mostly because of the amount of ham.

Music – Original Song

“Before My Time” from Chasing Ice
“Everybody Needs A Best Friend” from Ted
“Pi’s Lullaby” from Life of Pi
“Skyfall” from Skyfall
“Suddenly” from Les Misérables

Will Win: Skyfall
Should Win: Skyfall
Notable snubs: ???

Skyfall will probably win on popularity here. It was a big hit by one of the biggest artists in the world, and considering the lack of Skyfall nominations, this will be the Academy’s only real chance to acknowledge 50 years of Bond.

Music/Original Score

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

Will Win: John Williams – Lincoln
Should Win: Thomas Newman – Skyfall
Notable snubs: Jonny Greenwood – The Master

So once again, my love of The Master (and Radiohead) pops its head, and once again Jonny Greenwood has been snubbed for his work on a P.T Anderson movie. I really loved the score for The Master, heck I bought the Vinyl I liked it so much. It’s menacing, yet calm it perfectly sets the mood of the period and the movie. But whilst it’s a shame, we have the return of fantastic composers like John Williams, who’s score for Lincoln is kind of the type of music you’d expect from a movie set in that period (trumpet heavy, sustaining notes and melodies that wouldn’t be out of place on a national anthem) and once again Spielberg used it to its full potential. But Thomas Newman, Sam Mendes frequent collaborator joins the James Bond franchise and works wonders with its famous iconic theme and keeping that classic “James Bond spy sound” fresh and exciting for a new generation.

Best Adapted Screenplay

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

Will Win: Chris Terrio – Argo
Should Win: David Macgee – Life of Pi

Life of Pi was deemed “unfilmable” Apparently someone never told David Magee. Whilst, obviously Ang Lee was the one who actually filmed it, someone had to take that book and transpose it into a feature film and when that task not only succeeded, but at the level it ended up, clearly was above and beyond. Honestly, it’s tough to judge this category, not only because screenplays are essentially confidential documents that people don’t usually see, but they also have to be true to its original material, which again you have to have read. So I honestly don’t know.  But Chris Terrio taking the Argo documents and adding small elements (and a new ending) just to add to narrative tension really made that story something special.

Original Screenplay

Amour, Written by Michael Haneke
Django Unchained, Written by Quentin Tarantino
Flight, Written by John Gatins
Moonrise Kingdom, Written by Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola
Zero Dark Thirty, Written by Mark Boal

Will Win: Django Unchained
Should Win: Django Unchained

No-one writes dialogue or story like Tarantino, many have tried, and all have failed. He writes great characters that just snap, he’s written a story that follows his own rules, he picks and chooses what he wants out of historical accuracy and at no point should Django really work, it’s tonally all over the place, a rip roaring revenge about slavery that doesn’t shy away from its realities, yet makes jokes, takes no shame in being ultra-violent and throws narrative convention out the window. And it’s amazing.  I loved Moonrise Kingdom’s script a lot (it was my favourite movie of last year) and Mark Boal’s heavily researched Zero Dark Thirty is cold and factual and almost documentary in its proceedings, but Tarantino always stands out on the page, and not just because his spelling is notoriously bad.

They all said the D is silent, hence why no-one can pronounce Leonaro iCaprio

So there you have my prediction list of the big hitters at tonight’s awards, apologies if I didn’t talk about your favourite award, I just decided to focus on the “big ones”. Have opinions on who should win, will win and snubs? Leave me some comments, otherwise I’ll see you tonight for the big awards themselves (which I will probably sleep through) where I look forward to being proved wrong.

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