Here we are at least! After months of high profile releases, critic and guild awards, and tons of speculation over nominees and potential winners, the awards season reaches its dramatic finish tonight with the best of the best, the 85th Annual Academy Awards. All season long we’ve been asking question after question – will Argo take Best Picture? Can anyone stop Daniel Day-Lewis and Anne Hathaway? Who will win Best Director? Will Tommy Lee Jones or Christoph Waltz take Best Supporting Actor? Will Seth MacFarlane be one of the funniest Oscar hosts? – and tonight all questions will be answered and a handful of actors and movies will join Oscar history along side some of the best movies ever made. With the big show just hours away, here are our final Oscar predictions for all of the major categories; Who do you think will be walking with golden statues tonight?
Murphy: It’s not my personal choice but ARGO seems like the film to beat at this point. It’s the least daring, the least original, yet the most accessible picture to be up for the big prize and if that’s what it takes to win Best Picture, then Argo hit all the right beats with all the right people. A Lincoln or Silver Linings Playbook upset seem possible and Amour’s chances lie within a different category, so Argo is poised to make Oscar history as the first film since Driving Miss Daisy to win Best Picture without a Best Director nomination to match.
Sharf: ARGO, Argo, Argo!!!! If any film is going to surprise it’s ganna be Silver Linings Playbook – and how amazing that would be – but the chances of that are slim to none. Whether I like it or not, Argo is taking the big prize tonight.
Could have been here: The Master, Cloud Atlas, Skyfall
Lucky to be here: Django Unchained, it’s beyond deserving of the recognition but being nominated is the film’s biggest accomplishment being that the Academy’s stand on Django is still pretty unclear. Like not love? We’ll see where it plays in other categories.
Murphy: I’m in Denver currently and my in-flight movie happened to be Argo. I was working the whole time, so Argo played in the background without sound and I found myself sucked into it more than a few times simply based on its excellent craftsmanship. Affleck was snubbed and there’s no arguing about that, he’s come quite a long way and he’s far more deserving of recognition than the movie is as a whole, but alas he’ll watch from the sidelines as Ang Lee hopefully accepts the award instead. However, The Academy will feel honored to have Steven Spielberg in their presence and I think they will decide to honor him a third time for simply changing up his own game instead of Lee who redefined the usage of 3D and CGI in contemporary cinema. Typical, Academy.
Sharf: With Argo taking Best Picture, this category is the most competitive of the night, and something tells me the Academy will honor the groundbreaking visual work of Ang Lee. Life of Pi is the most gorgeous looking film I’ve ever seen and Lee is worthy of the prize. Watch out for Michael Haneke though, his challenging direction of Amour was unshakeable.
Could have been here: Ben Affleck, Kathryn Bigelow, Paul Thomas Anderson
Lucky to be here: Benh Zeitlin, it’s not unlikely for a first timer to get nominated but this was quite a jolt. When Seth McFarlane and Emma Stone read the name Ben off the teleprompter, don’t tell me you didn’t expect Affleck to be the surname immediately following!
Murphy: Daniel Day-Lewis decides to grace the world with his presence and the world decides to grace him with an Oscar. That’s just how this game works. It’s a packed race and many phenomenal performances are on the outside looking in, but Day-Lewis was a frontrunner before Lincoln had even wrapped. It’s an otherworldly performance, but so is Joaquin Phoenix’s turn in The Master. Phoenix has close to zero chances of upsetting, especially after his anti-awards comments, but fingers are always crossed.
Sharf: I agree with Murphy 100%. Phoenix was an unexpected powerhouse but Daniel Day-Lewis will take his third trophy for Best Actor tonight; such a remarkable talent!
Could have been here: John Hawkes, Liam Neeson, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Jack Black
Lucky to be here: Denzel Washington, who unfairly booted out The Sessions’ John Hawkes with his great but hardly awards worthy work in Flight. Joaquin Phoenix, to some degree, is lucky to have his name amongst the top five as well.
Murphy: I’ve claimed for a while that this was a two-person race with Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence fighting to the top for their equally seminal work in Zero Dark Thirty and Silver Linings Playbook. While that is still entirely possible, the few times they’ve been positioned against Emmanuelle Riva, the French veteran has claimed victor. I’m swinging for the fences on this one and saying that Riva is going to trump both frontrunners in a phenomenal upset. Besides the fact that Chastain and Lawrence are both in perfect positions for award-filled careers, the Academy loves to make history and Riva winning would make her the oldest recipient of an Oscar ever (she’s already the oldest nominee)
Sharf: The multi-layered work that Jennifer Lawrence pulled off in Silver Linings Playbook was extraordinary – she was emotional, sexy, vibrant, witty, vulnerable, and a pure fire breather of talent, the perfect performance to take Best Actress. Watch out for Riva, the French New Wave veteran who gives the bravest performance I’ve ever seen in Amour. I also would love Chastain to win, though her introverted work in Zero Dark Thirty isn’t as show-stoppingly showy as Lawrence and Riva.
Could have been here: Kara Heyward
Lucky to be here: Naomi Watts, though fully deserving for emotional and haunting work in the under-seen and underappreciated The Impossible, was against the wall fighting for the fifth spot who many believed would go to Marion Cotillard for Rust & Bone.
Best Supporting Actor
Murphy: This is beyond difficult as it’s the tightest race (and was a loaded category with nominees to pick from), so I’ll begin with saying that Alan Arkin is definitely just along for the ride on this one. Tommy Lee Jones’ frontrunner position has lost some steam, though he’s a previous winner with numerous nominations since; Robert DeNiro is a veteran who has watched a score roll by without a nomination and came back in a big way this year; Philip Seymour Hoffman was a commanding master and Christoph Waltz proved that God put him on this Earth to read Tarantino’s dialogue, if nothing else, but who will prevail? I think Django is going to get representation in this category (one of two where its chances are strongest) and Christoph Waltz will take home his second Oscar for his second Tarantino film.
Sharf: Another close, close race. Jones’ name keeps getting tossed around but his stubborn attitude at the Globes and sole SAG win seem like they’ve pushed him out of the race. The great Phillip Seymour Hoffman deserves it for his monstrous work in The Master, and Waltz was a wackily sophisticated delight in Django, but Robert DeNiro, a legend back in prime form, was as tender as he’s ever been in Silver Linings Playbook – I think the Academy gives it to Bobby.
Could have been here: Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, Matthew McConaughey, Ewan McGregor, Tom Hardy, Javier Bardem, Sam Rockwell, Ben Whishaw, Jason Clarke
Lucky to be here: To some degree, Waltz was lucky to be nominated at all. Django’s supporting cast was so strong that it was very possible that DiCaprio, Jackson, and Waltz would split the vote making way for sleepers McConaughey or Bardem.
Best Supporting Actress
Murphy: An upset is beyond unlikely, which is unfortunate because Amy Adams will again sit in the Kodak Theater Oscar-less (4 nominations at her age is astounding). Anne Hathaway milked it for all it was worth and turned Fantine into probably one of cinema’s most memorable performances with her gut-wrenching rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” in Les Miserables. Fantine is tailor-made for awards recognition and Hathaway is in prime position. It’s her Oscar to lose.
Sharf: Anne Hathaway. YAWN! One day, Amy Adams will win an Oscar and when she does, I’ll be giving a standing ovation years upon years in the making.
Could have been here: Judi Dench, Samantha Barks, Nicole Kidman
Lucky to be here: Jacki Weaver, the least likely to nab a nomination from Silver Lining Playbook’s ensemble, but the former nominee (Animal Kingdom) filled out the Top 5 without blinking an eye…and everyone seems pretty alright with that.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Murphy: Turning properties that were supposedly unfilmable into movies was a big trend in 2012, but it was David Magee who scored the nomination for his Life of Pi adaptation. While I’m hesitant to call him the night’s big winner, it can’t be denied that he did exemplary work by creating a frame story and centering Pi’s plight as a flashback. However, this seems to be another two-person race between Tony Kushner and David O. Russell. While Russell will have to wait (probably no more than 5 years) for a Best Director win, I think he’s going to get big marks for his biting adaptation of Matthew Quick’s Silver Linings Playbook. I’m not counting Kushner out, but Russell would be my choice.
Sharf: I’m agreeing with Murphy here; Kushner is the safe choice (and there’s a damn good chance he wins), but something about David O. Russell’s wacky, blunt, and sincere screenplay made you really feel like happy endings were possible.
Could have been here: Stephen Chbosky, The Wachowski Siblings & Tom Tykwer, Richard Linklater, Andrew Dominick
Lucky to be here: Lucy Alabar & Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild was an ambitious and emotionally investing first film by Zeitlin, and his co-adaptation along with original writer Alabar was embraced by many, but it was the Academy who threw them the final bone.
Best Original Screenplay
Murphy: Another stacked category, the minute I pick one I resort to reconsidering another. They all have their merits and this is just as tight a race as Best Supporting Actor. However, I’m going with my gut – and my hopes – and saying that Quentin Tarantino will return to the Oscar stage for writing Django Unchained. Haneke’s relentless Amour is worthy and Mark Boal wrote the best cinematic newspaper article I’ve ever seen, but Tarantino has never been funnier and for someone who prefers non-linear storytelling, he told a straight-up adventure that was as crackling and sadistic as the film’s sound design and its colorful villains. Let’s go, Quentin.
Sharf: Quentin Tarantino has the momentum, but Mark Boal’s powerful docu-drama and Haneke’s devastating meditation on life and love are the real deserving winners here.
Could have been here: Rian Johnson, Joe Carnahan, Martin McDonaugh, Joss Whedon & Drew Goddard
Lucky to be here: John Gatins, who bested hopeful Rian Johnson with his adequate, yet very far from noteworthy screenplay for Flight. Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola, though an early favorite of critics and fans, scored a single nomination in this heavy weight category and it seems that that’s the best they are going to do.
Murphy: With the warm reception Life of Pi earned – warm is actually putting it mildly – for its stunning visuals, Claudio Miranda is probably the frontrunner, but Roger Deakins, the best director of photography in the business at the moment, is long overdue for an Oscar and what better project to award him but for his first ever digital production. Skyfall was one of the best looking films of the year, let alone the best looking James Bond film ever, and Deakins’ work has gone far from unnoticed. Can a win from the ASC bump him to the top? Let the prayers be heard!
Sharf: Deakins’ work on Skyfall is gorgeous, there’s no doubt about that, but nothing is more beautiful than Claudio Miranda’s stunning Life of Pi. Sorry, Murphy, Skyfall aint winning here!
Could have been here: The Grey, The Master, The Dark Knight Rises, Killing Them Softly
Lucky to be here: Janusz Kaminski has earned his stripes and is a staple of Spielberg productions, but his change to digital photography had the opposite effect of Deakins’ for it looked far less authentic and gave it a more stage-like look. If that was the intent, it was lost on me.
Best Original Score
Murphy: I don’t think I could hum a single tune from Life of Pi or Argo if I tried and John Williams’ Lincoln score was no Schindler’s List, Jaws, E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, etc. Thomas Newman was a surprise nomination here, but I personally loved Thomas Newman’s work on the James Bond film. Newman’s scores many time sound too similar – meaning they all sound like American Beauty – but I was happy to see his name listed among the nominees for drastically changing up his style. However, Dario Marianelli knows exactly how to score a Joe Wright film and Anna Karenina’s score is a soaring mixture of classic, opera-inspired pieces, Russian influence, and epics swoons perfectly matching the 19th Century setting. Marianelli last won for Atonement and I think he’s looking at a second win thanks to a Joe Wright collaboration.
Sharf: Murphy makes a valid point for Marianelli’s Anna Karenina, but Mychael Danna’s tribal and poetic music from Life Of Pi has been winning all the precursor awards so far and I expect it to take the Oscar too.
Could have been here: Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek & Reinhold Heil, Marc Streitenfeld, Cliff Martinez, Johnny Greenwood.
Lucky to be here: Thomas Newman was the surprise nominee but Skyfall’s technical swoop included Newman in its bundle, unfortunately he’s looking at another loss, which will make him an 11-time loser. Too bad.
Best Film Editing
Murphy: Again, Michael Kahn is a Spielberg staple, but it’s hardly his best work. The award is going to William Goldenberg, but that could mean either Argo or Zero Dark Thirty could be the winner for he edited both. Zero Dark Thirty is the more impressive showcase of skill and he rightfully should for making that sizable piece of cinema into one of the quickest feeling 160 minutes ever. However, Argo is an Academy favorite so I’m not going to count it out. Etiher way, Goldenberg is going home a winner.
Sharf: Once again, Murphy is right on point. William Goldenberg will take the prize for Argo, but in reality his expertly timed work for Zero Dark Thirty is some of the best editing I’ve ever seen. Oh well, they all go for Argo!
Could have been here: Cloud Atlas, The Master, Skyfall
Lucky to be here: Silver Linings Playbook is a phenomenal film and Russell’s warped direction is held together by some phenomenal editing that many times would go completely unnoticed due to SLP being such a monumental showcase of acting. Glad to see it represented here.
Best Original Song
Murphy: Adele has literally no competition here. I was a fan of Les Miserables but I thought the new song, “Suddenly,” was pretty terrible so if that’s the biggest obstacle Adele could be facing, she’s got this one in the bag…and will be an EGOT within the next five years. Let the sky fall.
Sharf: Adele, for the sultry and subtly sinister “Skyfall”.
Could have been here: “Cloud Atlas Sextet,” “Who Did That To You?” “Acora Qui”
Lucky to be here: All of them because they know they have no shot against Adele.
Let us know your predictions below and enjoy the show!
Article by Reel Reactions Staff