|2012's Best Director winner Michael Hazanavicius (The Artist)|
We are in an exciting time for Oscar enthusiasts. We are officially one week away from the announcement of this year's nominees. In order to contribute some thoughts, I will be going down the major categories (Acting, Directing, and Best Picture) and predicting who will be the most likely to get nominated, as well as a few tidbits on why I agree with these decisions. Be warned that every story that I am going to write in relation to predictions will not actually feature any bias towards who should win. However, I will be detailing why I think each should be nominated. Also stay tuned for post-coverage in which I will actually be sharing my thoughts on the nominations and solidify who I believe should win in each category.
I've already done Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Actress, and Best Actor. Now it is moving into a category even more crowded than the other fields. This year has been jam packed with great, original films all varying in degree of scopes and direction. The Best Director category is exceptionally hard because there can only be five, and therefore some toes will be stepped on. Unfortunately, there will be a lot that won't make it that I feel deserve it. The follow is done as per usual with the definitive Front-Runners and the Possible Upsets who stand a chance of mixing things up.
WHO: Ben Affleck
WHY: I am so convinced that the film will win because of Ben Affleck's intense direction. While the movie gets arguably too congratulatory on Hollywood, the rest of the film is a very tight film dripping with a solid balance of tension and humor to the extent that Affleck already seems like a master. His work on this film is so solid that I cannot think of too many even coming close to making a film this gripping.
WHO: Ang Lee
WHAT: Life of Pi
WHY: If you are aware of the beauty of Life of Pi, you will have to thank Ang Lee. The amount of effort that he puts into this film not only is visually impressive, but the pacing and character development is so strong that it makes you believe in the power of where cinema can go. Lee is at very least innovative with this film and his ambitions are well deserving of a nomination. If you don't believe me, just watch the scene in which a cruise liner sinks. That alone gives me hope for the future of cinema.
WHO: Kathryn Bigelow
WHAT: Zero Dark Thirty
WHY: After her win for The Hurt Locker, she stands a good chance at continuing her winning streak with the Osama Bin Laden thriller that has been critically praised (and opens Friday nationwide). Most of all, her praise comes from her ability to wind tension together in the final moments. While she, too, is a victim of controversy over violence, her story may end up feeling more timely and therefore give her an edge. At very least, the film is getting too much acclamation to not get a nomination here.
WHO: Michael Haneke
WHY: Because it is the surprise hit of the consideration process. Almost everyone that has seen it loves it and director Michael Haneke is a big reason to say thanks. I wish that I could say more on the film, but as I haven't seen it, I can only assume that the film's portrayal of love growing old is so tender that it justifies my belief that he'll get nominated.
WHO: Steven Spielberg
WHY: Why is a good question for an apt movie. However, if he can get War Horse into the Best Picture race last year, he is capable of getting a Best Director nomination for a film that has been blown out of proportion. Admittedly, if this movie has one thing going for it, it is cinematography. Of course, that is a different category, but at least Steven Spielberg knows how to shoot around it. It is a tough race, but somehow, I believe that Spielberg will come out on top in terms of nominations.
WHO: David O. Russell
WHAT: Silver Linings Playbook
WHY: Because his direction wasn't the most embarrassing element of the film?
WHO: Paul Thomas Anderson
WHAT: The Master
WHY: Because I believe somewhere along the lines, The Master fell behind. While it has great performances and brilliant direction, the film is somehow too prestige for this year's ceremony. As much as I would love to see Paul Thomas Anderson get a surprise nomination, it is a tough year, especially with higher caliber names striving for the top spot. Still, his direction almost trumps that of Steven Spielberg and overall should win points for just making challenging cinema again. Also, after There Will Be Blood, I would hope that would guarantee a nomination, but that's unfortunately not the case.
WHO: Benh Zeitlin
WHAT: Beasts of the Southern Wild
WHY: The surprise hit of the year may have missed out on Golden Globe nominations, but I still hold out hope that it will pull through and get at very least a Best Actress nomination for Quvenzhane Wallis and I really hope a Best Original Score nomination just for this piece alone. Still, his profile is too small and his film not nearly flashy enough to guarantee a slot on the list.
WHO: Joe Wright
WHAT: Anna Karenina
WHY: For some reason, I want this film to succeed. As a period piece, it looks elegant and as a Joe Wright fan, I am sure that his work will be sweeping, awe inspiring, and features yet another reason to invest in Keira Knightley. However, the film hasn't garnered enough attention to really be more than a pipe dream at this point. Still, along with another great score by Dario Marianelli, it would be a shame if this film walked away without a nomination.
WHO: Tom Hooper
WHAT: Les Miserables
WHY: I am convinced that people who hated the movie was because of Tom Hooper. His direction and penchant for close-ups ranged from emotionally effective to ridiculous. Even though I loved it, I can see why people would complain and I feel like the small niche who disliked that aspect are going to keep it from getting nominated here. However, I still think that Les Miserables will rank in the top five nominees for Best Picture.
WHO: Wes Anderson
WHAT: Moonrise Kingdom
WHY: There isn't enough traction to get him a guaranteed Best Director nomination, but as the director of my favorite film of 2012, I cannot help but be supportive. I am almost sure that it will get a Best Original Screenplay nomination, but it would be a dream to see the most Wes Anderson-styled Wes Anderson film get a slot. The aesthetic is already impressive enough that it is hard to imagine why he hasn't gotten nominated already. Of course, in a year when Paul Thomas Anderson somehow is not in the top five, then it makes sense why Wes Anderson is probably not going to make it.
WHO: Sam Mendes
WHY: Because he made James Bond look gorgeous. I may have not liked the film at all, but I do admire how many scenes were shot. Sam Mendes definitely brought an aesthetic to the film that made it feel intimate while also being very artistic. However, despite winning previously for American Beauty, this will probably not be the year that Bond makes it into the Oscar nominations outside of Best Original Song.
WHO: Quentin Tarantino
WHAT: Django Unchained
WHY: No offense, but for some reason, I keep coming back to the racist and violent aspect of the film being a big turn off for voters. True, western films have long been something that the Academy has appreciated, but I feel like unlike the love letter to cinema that was Inglourious Basterds, it will be harder to give a stylized western a Best Director nomination. Even if it turns out to be one of the most gorgeously shot movies, the violence, I feel, will eventually cost it a nomination, though possibly will keep it in circulation for Best Original Screenplay.
Is Ben Affleck a shoe-in for Best Director? Is Quentin Tarantino's new epic going to be a little too much for voters? Will Beasts of the Southern Wild pull a surprise batch of nominations? Can Paul Thomas Anderson sneak into the top five slots?