Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Oscar Nominations Are In, and It Is Looking Great!

For movie fans around the world, this morning was one of the greatest days of the year. Okay, maybe second favorite. Today was the day that Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone got up on stage and announced this year's Oscar nominations. As usual, there are many cheers and jeers to be given out. However, in a very interesting year for film, even what ended up snubbing superior films isn't all that embarrassing. It is actually a strong year for nominations, in fact and I cannot wait for the ceremony. Following the jump is my personal thoughts on each category as well as my official votes. Feel free to share your opinions in the comments section.

As I hoped, Beasts of the Southern Wild and Amour showed strong this year. This is pretty impressive considering that I was initially concerned based on the lack of attention that the former was receiving. However, I felt right to stick by my guns. However, there are many things that surprised me, upsetted me, and was relieved to hear. That is what makes the Oscars so exciting for me. Plenty to dissect and hopefully won't continue my bashing Silver Linings Playbook streak that has been happening on this blog in the last week (which I apologize for. You all have been troopers). 

Also linked in the subject header of each category is any predictions that I had for said area.

Russell Crowe in Les Miserables
Beasts of the Southern Wild 
Silver Linings Playbook 
Zero Dark Thirty 
Les Misérables 
Life of Pi 
Django Unchained 

PRO: I was almost spot on with my nominations, save for Moonrise Kingdom and The Master. I initially had Amour in my predictions, but I realized that I was going over the majority of 10, so I axed it. Still, it is a fascinating list, and it includes all of my perceived front runners. Also, hurrah for Beasts of the Southern Wild on officially joining the ranks. I knew that you could do it. Also, it is nice to see Django Unchained get in there despite my initial concern of appeal.

CON: Besides Silver Linings Playbook somehow getting a lot of nominations (which will be spoken about later), the choice to go nine positions yet again does seem funny and almost makes me wish that they would just admit that they have wanted to keep 10 slots all along.


WILL WIN: In a tough decision, I will just put my back-up as Zero Dark Thirty, though my official vote is Argo.

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

PRO: Ang Lee and Michael Haneke get well deserved nominations. Also, it is nice to see Benh Zeitlin managing to sneak in there as an unexpected first timer. Those three are well deserving of some love.

CON: It was a tough year, but I felt like David O. Russell and Steven Spielberg should have been cut for Ben Affleck or Kathryn Bigelow. In fact, I argue now that this will be one of those rare years where the Best Picture and Best Director wins do not go to the same picture. It also seems to be an underwhelming result to an otherwise intriguing category.

SHOULD WIN: Ang Lee. Of all of these names, I am most impressed by Lee's visual style and my consistent belief that his film is deserving of a lot more acclamation than it has been receiving.

WILL WIN: Probably Steven Spielberg. Lincoln has been getting unfairly hyped for awhile now, so I kind of am counting on it.

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

PRO: Quvenzhane Wallis made the cut, which is kind of refreshing, considering that the alternatives were all the familiar old hats that we saw get nominated at the Golden Globes. Also, I am intrigued that The Impossible got nominated. However, nothing is more satisfying than Jessica Chastain, who I hope will pull an upset.

CON: Marion Cotillard was robbed for Rust and Bone. That is such an amazing movie. Please watch it.

SHOULD WIN: Jessica Chastain

WILL WIN: Jennifer Lawrence, which is Silver Linings Playbook's only solid entry in the competition.

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

PRO: Joaquin Phoenix made it! Also, with exception to one slot, this is the closest that I came to predicting 100% this year.

CON: I cannot help but feel that Bradley Cooper somehow got nominated and left a far more worthy John Hawkes in The Sessions out of the race. Second of the "Silver Linings Playbook stole thunder" nominations.

SHOULD WIN: Joaquin Phoenix to the end.

WILL WIN: As long as it isn't Daniel Day Lewis, which I am still convinced is a gimmick to finally get that guy three Best Actor trophies and clarify the obvious that he is one of the modern great performers. I cannot even pretend to support him. I'm supporting Joaquin Phoenix to the end. 

Pirates: Band of Misfits 

PRO: Paranorman got in there somehow. After a long time speculating that it will not make the final cut, it did. Also, I am proud of the voters for recognizing Pirates: Band of Misfits. In fact, kudos on making 3/5 of the nominees stop motion. 

CON: I really have no idea what to say here. Maybe if Brave got ignored, but even then, this is one of the most solid categories on the entire lists.

SHOULD WIN: Paranorman

WILL WIN: Wreck-It Ralph. I seriously believe that in a year that has seen quite a progressive selection of nominees, that this film will have its day.

Amour, Austria 
No, Chile 
War Witch, Canada 
A Royal Affair, Denmark 
Kon Tiki, Norway

PRO: Amour is having a really strong year.

CON: As many foreign films as I saw this year, I haven't seen any. I will probably fix that soon. Also, still upset that Rust and Bone somehow fell out of contention in the final set.

SHOULD WIN: Sight unseen, the only one that I can back really is Amour. I figure that Best Picture nominations are a dead giveaway.


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

PRO: Honestly, I could only peg 4/5 of the slots when I made predictions, and all of them came through. Not much to complain about. However, let's give a big applause for Amy Adams making the cut.

CON: It was a weak year. I really wish that I could complain about Jacki Weaver, which I felt is undeserved, but I don't know who she would have lost the spot to.

SHOULD WIN: Anne Hathaway, don't kid yourself.

WILL WIN: Anne Hathaway, don't kid yourself

Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained 
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Master 
Robert de Niro, Silver Linings Playbook 
Alan Arkin, Argo 
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

PRO: Philip Seymour Hoffman and Alan Arkin made the cut, which is always a good sign. 

CON: I don't get the Tommy Lee Jones or Robert De Niro love here. Basically, both were apt performances. However, the first big shocker on this list is that while Django Unchained got a nomination, it was for Christoph Waltz. Everyone's money was on Leonardo DiCaprio, and to see Waltz get a second nomination is just surprising. However, I have yet to see it, so I cannot comment on if it is deserved (though I do love Waltz). Also, what is up with everyone of the nominees being preexisting winners?

SHOULD WIN: Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master. This film really needs to compensate for lack of nominations with these wins. I mean, the performances alone have plenty of gravitas to stand on their own.

WILL WIN: Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln. I don't know why either, but he's been front runner for too long now.

Quvenzhane Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook

PRO: Such an interesting category on the sole reason that you have a bunch of radically interesting movies that somehow all are tonally different. Still, a decent selection.

CON: I guess that Lincoln and Silver Linings Playbook are passable fare, but were they really the most intriguing screenplays of the year? No.

SHOULD WIN: Argo is a nonstop ride through history and features enough wit and tension to make for an engaging story. While Ben Affleck was robbed a Best Director statue, I feel like a win here will only kind of compensate.

WILL WIN: Lincoln, because people like Steven Spielberg.

Denzel Washington in Flight
Django Unchained 
Moonrise Kingdom 
Zero Dark Thirty

PRO: Moonrise Kingdom got at least one Oscar nomination, and it was in an applicable category. I am really proud of that. Also, the expected hits Django Unchained and Zero Dark Thirty are nice touches.

CON: Was Flight really that great of a screenplay? Was it better than The Master? Did not think so.

SHOULD WIN: Moonrise Kingdom. It is my favorite movie of the year after all.

WILL WIN: Zero Dark Thirty. I have a running joke that Kathryn Bigelow beat Quentin Tarantino for Best Original Screenplay last time. My theory is that he will unfortunately make a career out of losing to Kathryn Bigelow in this category.

Hugh Jackman in Les Miserables
"Before My Time," Chasing Ice 
"Pi’s Lullaby," Life of Pi 
"Suddenly," Les Misérables
"Everybody Needs a Best Friend," Ted 
"Skyfall," Skyfall

PRO: Glad to see "Skyfall" and "Suddenly" in the mix here. Also nice to see that none of the music from Brave was selected. Not a terrific selection, but following the crisis that was this category last year, at least it feels like they are trying.

CON: Ted is officially an Oscar nominee and John Legend's "Who Did That to You" from Django Unchained continues to be ignored. Justice will never be served.

SHOULD WIN: I have a long standing belief that the Academy loves Adele for some reason, so "Skyfall" has been my go to.

WILL WIN: I seriously believe that "Skyfall" is going to take it, if just because the Academy is also taking this opportunity to recognize 50 years of James Bond at the ceremony.

Daniel Craig in Skyfall
Anna Karenina
Django Unchained
Life of Pi

PRO: All of these films look gorgeous. Also, hurrah for not ignoring Anna Karenina entirely.

CON: Is Django Unchained's highlights really cinematography? This is a dumb thing to complain about as I haven't seen the film yet, but it seems like an odd choice.

SHOULD WIN: Life of Pi somehow edges everyone out for me. Don't get me wrong, this is the one category that I feel that Lincoln can admirably win, but the selection is too impressive.

WILL WIN: Lincoln is going to be my choice here just because my hope that Skyfall is somehow the front runner is probably not going to happen.

Lily Collins in Mirror Mirror
Anna Karenina
Les Misérables
Mirror Mirror
Snow White and the Huntsman

PRO: Another nomination for Anna Karenina. Also, the expected period pieces made the cut, and I am fine with that. However, the biggest applause that I should give this category is Mirror Mirror. Those costumes are amazing to look at.

CON: Competing Snow White project Snow White and the Huntsman somehow made the cut? Is it just for continuity?

SHOULD WIN: Mirror Mirror

WILL WIN: Les Miserables. I feel like the oldest period usually wins, and with a more elaborate scale, I figure this film is more impressive in the costume department.

How to Survive a Plague
5 Broken Cameras 
The Gatekeepers 
How to Survive a Plague 
The Invisible War 
Searching for Sugar Man

PRO: I am familiar with three of these, and they all have gotten rave reviews. I probably will be watching them soon as a result. 

CON: I am not familiar with the other two, but for the most part, I have trouble properly criticizing this category.

SHOULD WIN: Searching for Sugar Man

WILL WIN: The Invisible War

Kings Point
Mondays at Racine
Open Heart

PRO: I know even less about this category. I am sorry.

CON: ?

SHOULD WIN: This is all blind voting, but Mondays at Racine

WILL WIN: Mondays at Racine

Life of Pi
Life of Pi 
Silver Linings Playbook 
Zero Dark Thirty

PRO: Argo, Life of Pi and Zero Dark Thirty are in the mix, which makes me already admire this category.

CON: I don't know that Silver Linings Playbook exactly had the best film editing. Also, it is interesting that the first post-Sally Menke Quentin Tarantino film Django Unchained didn't make the cut. That is more interesting than a con, actually.

SHOULD WIN: Life of Pi is the future of cinema in a nutshell.

WILL WIN: Life of Pi

Keira Knightley in Anna Karenina
Dario Marianelli, Anna Karenina 
Alexandre Desplat, Argo 
Mychael Danna, Life of Pi 
John Williams, Lincoln 
Thomas Newman, Skyfall

PRO: Anna Karenina made the finals, and I am really excited by that. It is an engagingly interesting choice of score. Also, while I have complaints about which Alexandre Desplat score got a nomination, at least it was just Argo and not something more embarrassing.

CON: I hate to harp on a legendary composer who deserves nothing but respect, but John Williams does not deserve a nomination for Lincoln. Also, where are the interesting scores like Cloud Atlas, The Master, or Zero Dark Thirty? All of them are equally more interesting than some of these selections. Also, am I alone in being annoyed that Jonny Greenwood was disqualified for There Will Be Blood for using preexisting music, but Skyfall gets nominated and features familiar franchise themes? This is probably one of the bigger annoyances in this category.

SHOULD WIN: Anna Karenina

WILL WIN: Hopefully Argo, because I believe that the film at least did something interesting with the music.

Ian McKellen in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 
Les Misérables

PRO: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey finally got a nomination.

CON: First off, where is the true champion of makeup and hairstyling: Cloud Atlas? I really wanted it to sweep the costume categories, and with only three nominees, this one almost seemed fitting. Also, in an interesting twist, Hitchcock is an Oscar nominated film because of makeup and hairstyling? This makes no sense. At least Les Miserables makes some sense. Cloud Atlas got robbed big time this year.

SHOULD WIN: Les Miserables

WILL WIN: Les Miserables. As much as I think that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey can pull an upset, I feel there is too much of a deja vu "been there, done that" thing going on with the Academy and Peter Jackson this year that is stopping it. Also, I feel like Les Miserables is going to be a surprise hit with the costume categories.

Les Miserables
Anna Karenina
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Misérables 
Life of Pi 

PRO: All of the familiar hits are here, though I feel like Life of Pi is getting a different concept of Production Design from the other choices.

CON: I guess the White House looked good in Lincoln

SHOULD WIN: I am stuck in a three way tie between Anna Karenina, Les Miserables, and Life of Pi. However, continuing my belief that Les Miserables is a big, boastful musical, it will win this category.

WILL WIN: Les Miserables

Maggie Simpson in "The Longest Daycare"
Adam and Dog
Fresh Guacamole
Head over Heels 
Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”

PRO: The Simpsons are officially an Oscar nominated property now. As a life long fan, this is a big deal to me. 

CON: I haven't seen too many of the others besides Paperman, but that will hopefully be resolved when they make these shorts readily available (information will be provided when available). I should have a better idea of what is good and bad when the time comes.

SHOULD WIN: Maggie Simpson in "The Longest Daycare." As a lifetime fan of The Simpsons, that would be the dream to see the show also become an Oscar winner.

WILL WIN: Maggie Simpson in "The Longest Daycare."

Buzkashi Boys
Death of a Shadow

*I do not know anything about these. I will provide a vote when the footage becomes available for me to peruse. However Rust and Bone star Matthias Schoenaerts is in Death of a Shadow, so it may win me over.

Zero Dark Thirty
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty

PRO: No complaints for most of this category. It is all very strong and at worst, these categories are hard for me to choose between Zero Dark Thirty and Argo because, well, they feel like they are equally going after the same things.

CON: No complaints here.

SHOULD WIN: Zero Dark Thirty

WILL WIN: Zero Dark Thirty. I think Kathryn Bigelow won this category last time for The Hurt Locker, which is my sole reason for believing that she'll win again.

Daniel Day Lewis in Lincoln
Les Misérables
Life of Pi

PRO: All of these films are good examples of sound mixing.

CON: I'm sure the White House sounded good in Lincoln. Someone tell me why this is is a significant nominee in this category.

SHOULD WIN: Les Miserables

WILL WIN: Les Miserables will probably win just because it is the most intricately tied to sound mixing. Also, I figure that it is a significant award for the aspect of live singing that has been a marketing point of the film for months now.

Left to right: Scarlett Johannson, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine,
Jeremy Renner, Robert Downey Jr., and Mark Ruffalo in The Avengers
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Life of Pi 
Marvel’s The Avengers
Snow White and the Huntsman

PRO: That's Marvel's The Avengers one, The Dark Knight Rises zero. It is an interesting turn of events, especially after The Dark Knight and Inception racked up a lot of technical nominations during their go's. Also, if any category is worthy of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey winning, it is this one, if it wasn't for Life of Pi.

CON: I guess that Snow White and the Huntsman somehow had two nominations this year. I don't know why. I guess Prometheus is acceptable because it at least looked intriguing, but these two feel like odd men out. Also, Cloud Atlas needed to get nominated here.

SHOULD WIN: Life of Pi

WILL WIN: Life of Pi

Halle Berry in the heavily overlooked Cloud Atlas
VERDICT: I am sure that I am alone in thinking that Lincoln is going to walk away with that little amount of awards, but I don't think it deserves most of them, including Best Actor, Best Director, or Best Original Score. I also feel like Silver Linings Playbook unfairly places high in terms of nominations, as only Jennifer Lawrence was deserving of a nomination. Also, congratulations to Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild for doing so well, including Best Director, which I did not see coming entirely. There are definitely some gaping holes, but the technical fields will be interesting, as I hope that Life of Pi sweeps them. Still, I cannot help but feel like Cloud Atlas got robbed big time. It was quite a technical achievement and to see not even one nomination is kind of sad. Hurrah to Mirror Mirror and their gorgeous costumes. Where's Leonardo DiCaprio and John Legend for Django Unchained? Those should have been obvious. Also, while Moonrise Kingdom only got one nomination, I am glad that it got recognized. Also, is anyone else having trouble determining if Argo or Zero Dark Thirty is going to win in their respective fields?

I acknowledge that my votes are kind of vague, despite being all there. I will be posting in a sidebar my official picks in a clearer fashion sometime later. For now, I would like to say that for the most part, this is a really solid year for nominations and it is going to make discussions way more interesting to talk about in the upcoming weeks.

What are your thoughts? Any surprises or upsets? Do you wish somebody made it that didn't?

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