Oscar Odds and Nods

The 85th Academy Awards ceremony is shaping up to be a fun night. It features notable snubs, several wide-open races, and a young, hip host, Seth MacFarlane, who can’t possibly be worse than last year’s young, hip co-hosts, James Franco and Anne Hathaway.

oscar
Published February 9, 2013 5:00 AM
4 min read

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oscarThe 85th Academy Awards ceremony is shaping up to be a fun night. It features notable snubs, several wide-open races, and a young, hip host, Seth MacFarlane, who can’t possibly be worse than last year’s young, hip co-hosts, James Franco and Anne Hathaway.

 

By Noah Gittell

 

oscarThe 85th Academy Awards ceremony is shaping up to be a fun night. It features notable snubs, several wide-open races, and a young, hip host, Seth MacFarlane, who can’t possibly be worse than last year’s young, hip co-hosts, James Franco and Anne Hathaway.

 

My favorite thing about Oscar night, however, is that it is an opportunity to do my favorite thing: prove that I’m smarter than my friends and colleagues. Using the guide below, you can do the same on February 24.

 

Best Picture

What Will Win: “Argo”

What Should Win: “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

 

When Ben Affleck was snubbed for a Best Director nomination, the conventional wisdom was that “Argo” had no shot at Best Picture. Then it won the Golden Globe, followed by the Screen Actors Guild, Producers Guild, and Directors Guild awards. Now it seems close to a sure thing, although in my original review, I saw it only as a solid piece of genre filmmaking. “Beasts”, on the other hand, thrilled viewers with its newness and vitality, and its depiction of poverty brought with it a sense of urgency and purpose that “Argo” was lacking.

 

Best Actor

Who Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”
Who Should Win: Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”

 

Daniel Day-Lewis probably has this one wrapped up, and I can’t exactly take issue with that. His portrayal of Lincoln exceeded the extraordinary expectations that come with playing a mythical American figure rarely depicted on film. But Day-Lewis has his two Best Actor awards, and no one has ever won three – not Jimmy Stewart, Marlon Brando, nor Tom Hanks. If the Academy decides to spread the wealth, I’d like to see the odd and reclusive Phoenix take home his first statuette for his marvelous portrayal of the perverted war veteran in the enigmatic drama “The Master.”

 

Best Actress

Who Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Who Should Win: Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour”

 

Lawrence has won all the pre-Oscar awards, and her performance in “Silver Linings” showed newfound depth and comedic ability. While her performance was impressive, I think we can do better. Riva gave a quietly devastating performance in the Austrian “Amour,” and her career is worthy of a lifetime achievement Oscar, having been a key actress of the French and Italian New Waves. Plus, Oscar night is her 86th birthday, which would make her both the oldest to win a major Oscar and the recipient of one of the world’s best birthday presents.

 

Best Supporting Actor

Who Will Win: Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”

Who Should Win: Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”

 

As the fiery abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens, Jones sunk his teeth into some of the best rhetoric in “Lincoln.” He’s already got one Oscar (“The Fugitive”), but he seems like the kind of actor who deserves two, and that’s often how the Academy goes about its business. “The Master” confounded many critics, but all agreed that the two leads – Phoenix and Hoffman – were compelling. Hoffman’s performance as a cult leader, who appears at once both ancient and made up on the spot, is easy to take for granted, but only because he is so good in every film.

 

Best Supporting Actress

Who Will Win: Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables”

Who Should Win: Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables”

 

It’s a weak year for this category, which is historically most prone to surprise winners. Still, Hathaway seems to have this one in the bag. Yes, her performance as the impoverished lady of the night in “Les Miserables” really only impressed us in one scene – but man, what a scene it was. Her raw performance of “I Dreamed A Dream,” performed in a stunning single take, is the kind of moment that lives forever in film history. Her legacy will be cemented on Oscar night.

 

Best Director

Who Will Win: Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”

Who Should Win: Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”

 

This is the toughest call. If the Academy could go back and nominate Affleck for “Argo,” he would probably win. As it stands, Spielberg will likely get his third directing Oscar for deftly balancing two genres: historical biopic and political procedural. “Life of Pi,” on the other hand, is likely to get shut out of all the major awards, but I would love to see Lee get the nod here. I found “Life of Pi” thematically rich, visually stunning, and endlessly thought provoking – and it was adapted from a novel many called unfilmable.

 

 

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