Oscars 2013… And the Nominations are…

Oscar-NominationOscars 2013… And the Nominations are….

Love or hate the Oscars, the announcement of the annual Academy Awards is still one of the biggest events in the calendar for everyone connected with the film industry, both on the inside and outside. Pouring scorn over the Academy’s annual glaring omissions has become something of online tradition for film critics and film fans.  As always, there are some big names and films that have been overlooked – no nomination for Ben Affleck as director of Argo or Academy award winner Kathryn Bigelow for the much talked about Zero Dark Thirty, those are two decisions that leap out this year but equally this year, the Academy have acknowledged some films that weren’t being talked about in the pre-Oscars buzz and really should have been like the delightful Beasts of the Southern Wild, Michael Haneke’s powerful Amour and even the magnificent Life of Pi.

The Academy have gone for an edgier pick as host for the 85th Academy Awards, giving the role to satirist Seth MacFarlene. MacFarlene announced the nominations, and gave a teaser taste of his comedic style as he delivered them, quipping derisively at certain film figures with particularly witty digs at Harvey Weinstein, suggesting he is going to take influence from  Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais’ anarchic and irreverent style. That should make a welcomed change from the self-aggrandising, pomposity and shameless back slapping that often mars the ceremony.  MacFarlane and his nominations co-host, the delightful Emma Stone, were genuinely funny as they delivered the nominations with a sly and cheeky wit – it bodes well for the ceremony which will be held on February 24th. It seems like MacFarlane will be an inspired choice for a change.

The front runner in terms of the number of nominations, receiving a whopping 12 noms is Steve Spielberg’s three hour epic tribute to Abraham Lincoln called Lincoln.  The film with the second largest amount of nominations is Ang Lee’s enchanting Life of Pi. Silver Linings Playbook has come out of nowhere to be the first film since the 1981 Robert Redford film Reds to get nominations in all four of the acting categories which makes the film, according to the Academy, one of the best acted films of all time. The film received eight nominations as did the adaptation of the long running stage musical Les Miserables.

So here are the nominations complete with what I consider to be glaring omissions:

The Best Supporting actor category was announced with a funny running joke acknowledging that the nominations were all big time Academy favourites who already possess a golden statute.

Best Supporting Actor:

Christophor Waltz, “Django Unchained”

Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”

Robert De Niro, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Alan Arkin, “Argo”

Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”

Predicitons: This will no doubt open the account for Lincoln on the night with a win for the always excellent Tommy Lee Jones.

Glaring omissions:

Mathew McConaughey – Killer Joe McConaughey playing a dark twisted murderous sheriff is terrifying and mesmerizing in William Friedkin’s perverse black comic thriller.

Javier Bardem – Skyfall  He gave another interesting, complex and magnetic performance as the villain in Skyfall – no one would have objected to another Best Supporting actor nomination for one of the most interesting screen presences around.

Best Supporting Actress:

Sally Field, “Lincoln”

Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables”

Jacki Weaver, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Helen Hunt, “The Sessions”

Amy Adams, “The Master”

Predictions: Everyone who has seen Anne Hathaway’s turn in Les Miserables has been blown away by it. The co-host of a few years ago might well win an award this year. I wouldn’t bet against her being the first big crier on the night either.

Glaring omissions: You would have to say a number of excellent British actresses have been overlooked. Helen Mirren has been winning plaudits for her portrayal as Hitchock’s long suffering wife in Hitchcock. Both Judi Dench and Maggie Smith created compelling older characters in the underrated The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Best Actor:

Daniel Day Lewis, “Lincoln”

Denzel Washington, “Flight”

Hugh Jackman, “Les Miserables”

Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master

Predictions: Daniel Day Lewis could make history by becoming the first actor to win in The Best Actor category three times. I think he will be denied on the night by another win for a former Oscars host Hugh Jackman for his performance in Les Miserables.

Glaring omissions:

Ben Affleck – Argo – it was his best performance ever, understated and pensive but the Academy snubbed him completely.

Suraj Sharma – Life of Pi. Sharma’s moving performance was really quite special as the entire film hinged on his ability to command the screen, but the Academy completely overlooked him.

Anthony Hopkins – Hitchcock. The Academy were not impressed enough with Hopkins transformation in Alfred Hitchcock in the forthcoming film about the legendary director.

Best Actress:

Naomi Watts, “The Impossible”

Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”

Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour”

Quvenzhané Wallis, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

Predictions: This field I think is the most wide open category this year. It could go to Naomi Watts for her frantic performance in the film about the 2004 Tsunami disaster The Impossible. At 85 years-of-age, legendary French actress Emmanuelle Riva could be one of the oldest ever winners for her moving portrayal of an elderly women succumbing to a debilitating mental illness in Amour, but personally I would love it if the award goes to nine-year-old Quevenzhane’s  Wallis for her outstanding performance – given when she was just six years old – in the enchanting Beasts of the Southern Wild. It would make her the youngest winner ever, and to add to the fairy-tale if she won is the fact that she lied about her age to get the part in the first place, auditioning at just five years old. What a journey she has been on with this excellent film.

Best Director:

David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”

Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”

Michael Haneke, “Amour”

Benh Zeitlin, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

Predictions:  It’s lovely to see Ben Zeitlin get a nomination for his direction in Beasts of the Southern Wild is some achievement. It looks like a two titan battle between Ang Lee for Life of Pi and Steven Spielberg for Lincoln. I would like to see Ang Lee win as I thought Life of Pi was something really special due to Lee’s artistry, but I think Spielberg will win his third Best Director award for his political drama in Lincoln.

Glaring omissions:  There were plenty of surprise omissions in this category. It is always odd when a film gets nominated in almost every notable category except the best director class, that is always quite a snub to the filmmaker, with that in mind, considering Les Miserables has eight nominations, no Best Director nomination for Tom Hooper seems on oversight.  Hooper of course won the best director gong a few years back for The King’s Speech, which adds to the surprise he hasn’t been nominated again.

Continuing the theme of the Academy snubbing former Best Director winners, Kathryn Bigelow has surprisingly been overlooked for Zero Dark Thirty. She unexpectedly scooped the award for The Hurt Locker a few years ago. There will not be a repeat of that this year as she didn’t get nominated for her film about the pursuit of Osama Bin Laden.

Ben Affleck has been rightfully lauded for his astute direction in Argo, so it’s a major surprise he didn’t get nominated. If Argo is a great film, and it is, it’s down to Affleck’s ability at blending humour with a serious political drama absolutely seamlessly.

Best Picture:

“Beasts of the Southern Wild”

“Silver Linings Playbook”

“Zero Dark Thirty”

“Lincoln”

“Les Miserables”

“Life of Pi”

“Amour”

“Django Unchained”

Predictions: The fact that there are nine nominations for Best Picture but only five for Best Director nominated films gives quite a telling indication of the films that don’t really stand a chance. I think we can rule out wins for Django Unchained; Les Miserables and Zero Dark Thirty right now since their directors didn’t get nominated. Beasts of the Southern Wild is a dark horse, but it looks like a two horse race between Life of Pi and Lincoln. I would love to see Life of Pi win but I suspect this will be another big win on the night for Lincoln.

Glaring omissions. Sam Mendes did a wonderful job of making the fiftieth Bond film character-driven, intelligent and complex. Given the Academy are set to honour fifty years of Bond with a special feature at this year’s awards, it would have been a tribute to the markedly improved new look Bond if it had finally been recognised by the Academy. Given it was one of the best films of 2012, it absolutely should have been included in the above category.

Best foreign film:

Amour

No

War witch

A Royal Affair

Kon-Tiki

Predictions: Amour will win this one since it’s the only foreign language film that actually got nominated for Best Picture as well, but A Royal Affair was quite an impressive piece of work too.

Best animated film:

Brave
Frankenweenie
Paranorman
Pirates! Band of Misfits (UK title: Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists)
Wreck-it Ralph

It’s been quite an excellent year for animation, but ParaNorman is a dead cert for this one.

Best documentary film:

5 Broken Cameras
The Gatekeepers
How To Survive A Plague
The Invisible War
Searching For Sugarman

Music (original song):

Before My Time (Chasing Ice) – Music and Lyric by J. Ralph
Everybody Needs A Best Friend (Ted) – Music by Walter Murphy, Lyric by Seth MacFarlane
Pi’s lullaby (Life Of Pi) – Music by Mychael Danna, Lyric by Bombay Jayashri
Skyfall (Skyfall) – Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
Suddenly (Les Miserables) – Music by Claude-Michel Schonberg, Lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil

Adele’s moody credits accompanying song for Skyfall is my favourite to win original song

Music (original score):

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

Who would bet against long time Spielberg collaborator John Williams in the score category?

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

David Magee did some great work with the script for Life of Pi.

Original screenplay:

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

This could be the third win of the night for the hard-hitting examination of the true meaning of love that is Amour.

Cinematography:

Anna Karenina – Seamus McGarvey
Django Unchained – Robert Richardson
Life of Pi – Claudio Miranda
Lincoln – Janusz Kaminski
Skyfall – Roger Deakins

Roger Deakins work on Skyfall made it the most beautiful Bond films of all time, but The Cinematography in Life of Pi is absolutely spell-binding.

Costume Design:

Anna Karenina – Jacqueline Durran
Les Miserables – Paco Delgado
Lincoln – Joanna Johnston
Mirror Mirror – Eiko Ishioka
Snow White and the Huntsman – Colleen Atwood

This one will go to the period designs of Lincoln.

Best documentary short subject:

Inocente
Kings Point
Mondays at Racine
Open Heart
Redemption

Film editing:

Argo – William Goldenberg
Life of Pi – Tim Squyres
Lincoln – Michael Kahn
Silver Linings Playbook – Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers
Zero Dark Thirty – Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg

Argo should get something, perhaps it will win in the Film editing since the two aspects of the story, although, contrasting in tone, are juxtaposed seamlessly due to some great editing.

Make-up and Hairstyling:

Hitchcock – Howard Berger, Peter Montagna and Martin Samuel
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane
Les Miserables – Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell

A token win for the Tolkein adaptation here. It must have taken a while grooming the dwarves many elaborate beards.

Production Design

Anna Karenina – Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Dan Hennah, Ra Vincent and Simon Bright
Les Miserables – Eve Stewart and Anna Lynch-Robinson
Life Of Pi – David Gropman and Anna Pinnock
Lincoln – Rick Carter and Jim Erickson

Life of Pi has to win this one.

Short film (animated)

Adam and the Dog
Fresh Guacamole
Head Over Heels
Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare
Paperman

Short film (live action)

Asad
Buzkashi Boys
Curfew
Death of a Shadow (Dood Van Een Schaduw)
Henry

Sound editing:

Argo – Erik Aadahl and Ethan van der Ryn
Django Unchained – Wylie Stateman
Life Of Pi – Eugene Gearty and Philip Stockton
Skyfall – Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers
Zero Dark Thirty – Paul NJ Ottosson

The sound design in Life of Pi added to the considerable impact of the film.

Sound mixing:

Argo – John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Jose Antonio Garcia
Les Miserables – Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes
Life Of Pi – Ron Bartlett, DM Hemphill and Drew Kunin
Lincoln – Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Ronald Judkins
Skyfall – Scott Millan, Greg P Russell and Stuart Wilson

I’m going for Les Miserables in this field since it is a musical.

Visual effects:

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and R Christopher White
Life Of Pi – Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R Elliott
Marvel’s The Avengers (UK title: Marvel’s Avengers Assemble) – Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams and Dan Sudick
Prometheus – Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley and Martin Hill
Snow White and the Huntsman – Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Philip Brennan, Neil Corbould and Michael Dawson

The work the Life of Pi team did to perfectly render the animals and Ang Lee’s visions, has to land the film the award, despite tough competition from the great visuals in the best Summer blockbuster this will be another win for Life of Pi.

So there you have it. I think Lincoln will be the big winner in the big categories and be named as Best Picture with a win for Steven Spielberg as Best Director, but I think Life of Pi will win a lot of accolades in the technical categories. I also feel that Les Miserables will get two acting awards. Let the Oscar buzz begin.

About Filmfella Darren
Film critic, writer and long-time cinema appreciator. I write about cinema matters, because cinema matters. Like your clothes and your laptops, my articles were made in Taiwan.

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