Monday, February 25, 2013

Were Your Predictions Spot on with this Year's Oscar WInners?

Clockwise top to bottom: Daniel Day Lewis, Anne Hathaway,
Christoph Waltz, and Jennifer Lawrence
As many people undoubtedly know by now, the 85th Academy Awards was a success for the most part. True, it seemed more fragmented than normal, but it wasn't an egregious year for the most part. There weren't too many upsets, at least in terms of winners. However, it is that time to reflect on how YOU the viewer did and see if you predicted the show, or was left in awe of Ang Lee's Best Director win for Life of Pi. As my results will show, it wasn't exactly a great year for me. However, let's run down the winners and see how they matched up.

Yes, as I stated before, it was a pitiful 9 out of 24 for me. I had to face the realization early on when I struck out on the first five categories that I wasn't going to have a strong night. Still, while i have a few personal biases of the Academy showing favoritism, this was an excellent year in terms of overall quality. The following is a compilation of my locked-in, final predictions, who I predicted will win from my initial Oscars post, and what actually won. This will shortly be followed by the accuracy test in which I put a percentage to which method worked best.

Ben Affleck


One of the easiest categories of the year, and I kind of called it back upon initial release. There is no surprise that the film that has been sweeping up every award but Best Director won on the sole basis that it featured Hollywood being the hero in a culturally relevant way. In all honesty, it works because it is the most universally appreciated and therefore results in one of the few times that the film is actually relevant to the zeitgeist and also meets the Academy's desire to show love to the power of movies. Was it the best? No. That's Life of Pi or even Zero Dark Thirty, but Argo is the best because it represents the Oscars very well and the film was well shot to boot.


SHOULD WIN: Joaquin Phoenix in The Master
WILL WIN: Joaquin Phoenix in The Master
DID WIN: Daniel Day Lewis in Lincoln

Okay, this was kind of obvious and no matter how much I spun it to be dumb hype, it worked. True, Joaquin Phoenix will go down in my books as turning in the better performance, but it still feels strained that one of Lewis' lesser roles came out with the prize, especially since Lincoln doesn't have as much longevity as My Left Foot or There Will Be Blood. I cannot complain for anything except obvious bias, which would later be proven in the night by the Argo Best Picture win. Mind you, I was actually okay with that last one.


SHOULD WIN: Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty
WILL WIN: Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook
DID WIN: Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook

Not really much of a shocker, as she has been leading the wins since the beginning, including the Golden Globe win. However, that was prior to me actually seeing any, I still firmly believe that Jessica Chastain was far and away more deserving. After seeing Amour, I even wanted Emmanuelle Riva to pull an upset just because she was amazing. However, since Amour was not that much in the discussion, I took my bet on Chastain, and unfortunately the lesser talent won. On the bright side, she isn't half bad in speech giving charisma.


SHOULD WIN: Ang Lee for Life of Pi
WILL WIN: Steven Spielberg for Lincoln
DID WIN: Ang Lee for Life of Pi

Another divisive category where I went with the most hyped about talent in the bunch as opposed to personal favorite. Whereas that failed for majority of the acting categories, I should have stuck with my guns here. Life of Pi is a phenomenal movie and one that has some breathtaking direction and story telling that officially makes Ang Lee a force to be reckoned with. Entertaining, uplifting, and overall an inventive approach to what is the future of cinema.

Michael Haneke

DID WIN: Amour

It wasn't much of a stretch for this one. Usually when Best Picture is part of your nominations, you are guaranteed to win in a subsequent category, as proven in 2010 with Up. There wasn't much shock, though it is a shame that the other films didn't stand a chance on the sole basis that Amour had five nominations and has been in the public conscious more than No or War Witch.

Chris Terrio


Of all of the screenplays that were nominated, Argo's was the most lively and fun to listen to. This is a big reason that the story was successful, so it is no wonder that it won. 

Quentin Tarantino

SHOULD WIN: Moonrise Kingdom
WILL WIN: Zero Dark Thirty
DID WIN: Django Unchained

Okay, now I do like myself some Quentin Tarantino, but I was not a fan of Django Unchained to an extreme degree. I felt that it was racism disguised as heroic gestures by making white people look ignorant while still not allowing the titular Django to ever feel... unchained. This win makes little sense other than a delayed Inglourious Basterds win and to prove that Pulp Fiction was a really good script and that they still liked Tarantino. However, that doesn't mean that I don't still find it to be an egregious example of modern day black face. At least with Zero Dark Thirty, there was a fascinating, masterpiece-worthy narrative being linked through the whole thing. Django Unchained was far too incoherent to even come close.

Left to right: Brenda Chapman and Mark Andrews

SHOULD WIN: ParaNorman
WILL WIN: Wreck-It Ralph
DID WIN: Brave

I am not doubting that the Academy has a bias towards Pixar, but I found this to be very ridiculous. Even in terms of quality, Brave was the weakest of all of the nominees and with a plot twist that isn't all that amazing, it lacked the emotional depth that the others had. True, I knew that ParaNorman was just lucky to be nominated, but still, even on an innovative standpoint, it was far superior to Brave. Also, Wreck-It Ralph was by far the most creative and entertaining of what actually stood a chance of winning.

Rick Carter

SHOULD WIN: Les Miserables
WILL WIN: Les Miserables
DID WIN: Lincoln

I admit that the scale of Lincoln is actually more impressive than I initially gave it credit for. However, I felt that it was far more impressive to have designed sets of France. Either way, this is not that egregious of an upset for me.

Claudio Miranda

SHOULD WIN: Life of Pi
WILL WIN: Lincoln
DID WIN: Life of Pi

Another example of the categories almost all feeling evenly matched (saved for Django Unchained). Still, Life of Pi is a beautiful film and one that I feel is very much deserving of every technical award it can receive. However, the best part of Lincoln remains its cinematography (as for Skyfall), so I was thinking that the love could be spread. Overall, I feel like these wins were an example of how impressive Life of Pi was on a technical level.

Left to right: Simon Hayes, Andy Nelson, and Mark Paterson

SHOULD WIN: Les Miserables
WILL WIN: Les Miserables
DID WIN: Les Miserables


SHOULD WIN: Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master
WILL WIN: Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln
DID WIN: Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained

Not really an upset, though Philip Seymour Hoffman was my preference over Christoph Waltz, who ended up being my runner up. Of course, Waltz is a very charismatic actor who could make anything look smooth. He was easily the best part of Django Unchained and after his Golden Globe win, it wasn't too much of a shocker. However, there was still that sense that the Academy would skewer to an older film like Lincoln, thus giving me big confusion. Overall, the nominees weren't that amazing, thus making it one of the more up in the air, lackluster batches of the night.


SHOULD WIN: Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables
WILL WIN: Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables
DID WIN: Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables

Probably the most predictable winner of the bunch, and also a personal favorite of mine. She gave a knockout performance and made it hard for anyone to really compete with her talent. She did a great job and while I argue that Rachel Getting Married could possibly have been her more deserving role, Les Miserables was nonetheless an example of her talent and where she can go.

Left to right: Karen Baker and Per Hallberg

SHOULD WIN: Zero Dark Thirty
WILL WIN: Zero Dark Thirty
DID WIN: Zero Dark Thirty AND Skyfall

Ties are rare at the Oscars, but it was an interesting choice to make this category, Zero Dark Thirty's sole win, to be tied with Skyfall. I feel like it was just another bias to prove that the Academy likes James Bond, but at the same time, I am just glad that Zero Dark Thirty didn't get entirely ignored at the Oscars, like The Master.

Mychael Danna

SHOULD WIN: Anna Karenina
DID WIN: Life of Pi

I will admit that Anna Karenina remains my favorite score of the nominees and while I have heaped praised on Life of Pi, I haven't quite had as much of an attachment to the score as the other films. Also, I am glad that Lincoln didn't win on the sole basis that it is John Williams, but not as interesting or authentic.


SHOULD WIN: Adele's "Skyfall" in Skyfall
WILL WIN: Adele's "Skyfall" in Skyfall
DID WIN: Adele's "Skyfall" in Skyfall

Jacqueline Durran
SHOULD WIN: Mirror Mirror
WILL WIN: Les Miserables
DID WIN: Anna Karenina

Don't get me wrong, I am excited that Anna Karenina won something. In fact, while I still need to see it, I argue that it is possibly the best costumes of the batch. While it may not be as creative as Mirror Mirror, I am willing to believe that director Joe Wright's long time costume designer, who has been nominated for his movies before, would one day win an award after a few snubbings. 

Left to right: Malik Bendjelloul and Simon Chinn
SHOULD WIN: Searching for Sugar Man
WILL WIN: The Invisible War
DID WIN: Searching for Sugar Man

It is the least bleak nominee of the batch and has been receiving the most hype. Now the question is why I thought that the buzz around it far surpassing Kirby Dick's war rape documentary seemed even the remote least bit plausible.

Left to right: Sean Fine Innocente Izucar, and Andrea Nix Fine

SHOULD WIN: Mondays at Racine
WILL WIN: Mondays at Racine
DID WIN: Innocente

No lie, I voted blindly on this category, so I have no idea how things really went with this. However, from the speech, I am curious to see what it is exactly this is about. Bringing up their documentary subject was definitely a subtle but brilliant way to capture the audience's interest and get them to see it.

William Goldenberg

SHOULD WIN: Life of Pi
WILL WIN: Life of Pi

I feel bad that the Best Picture winner walked away with so little, but compared to Life of Pi or Zero Dark Thirty, it wasn't close to my pick for Best Film Editing. Still, it isn't that egregious of an upset, even though Zero Dark Thirty was robbed of a lot of statues during the ceremony.

John Kahrs

SHOULD WIN: Maggie Simpson in: The Longest Daycare
WILL WIN: Maggie Simpson in: The Longest Daycare
DID WIN: Paperman

Since I have seen all of the nominees, I do feel more okay with saying that Paperman was the second worst of the bunch (the worst being Adam and Dog). I felt that Head Over Heels and Fresh Guacamole applied more interesting aspects and techniques to the genre more than the familiar old Disney style that we have grown up on for numerous years. Of course, the dream was for Maggie Simpson in: The Longest Daycare to actually take it, but in retrospect, I still feel like anything else would have been better.

Shawn Christensen

DID WIN: Curfew

While I make an argument that this year's nominees weren't as exciting, I consider my top three choices to all be worthy of winning. Curfew was my third favorite, but nonetheless an entertaining story and one that showed a promising new talent. While I feel it was picked largely because it was American, it was still very well made. However, I still feel like the authenticity of Asad elevates that short above Curfew just a little bit.

Left to right: Guillaume Rocheron, Bill Westenhofer,
Donald R. Elliott and Erik-Jan De Boer

SHOULD WIN: Life of Pi
WILL WIN: Life of Pi
DID WIN: Life of Pi

There is really no contest for Life of Pi's win. The sheer ingenuity that went into the production is amazing and Richard Parker, a CGI tiger remains one of the most endearing pieces of cinema from 2012.

So, how did I do? Here is the percentage of how many I got right:
SHOULD WIN: 12 out of 24 - 50%
WILL WIN: 9 out of 24 - 37%

As this shows, sometimes going with your hear is not the best way to go. I admit that my Joaquin Phoenix admiration was on overkill, but when those cards are being announced, there is no greater feeling than the possibility that things could go your way, even if it is just for a moment. That is the joy of the Oscars. I am kind of happy with how diverse and split up the awards went this year, even though I don't quite agree with them all. Stay tuned during the rest of the week for personal highlights from the actual ceremony.

How did you do? Were you closer to 100% than I was? 

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