So here we are already nearing the end of awards show season with the Oscars only days away and I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve seen only three of the nine Best Picture nominees. Shame on me, I know. But considering I have a three year old who completely runs my schedule, I’m actually in better shape than I thought. One more film and I’m almost half way there! And if they hadn’t gone and upped the pool from 5 to 9 nominees, I would actually be doing great. Thanks a lot, Academy. Try as I did this past weekend to go see Silver Linings Playbook, it just didn’t happen – I really hope I can find a way to see it before Sunday because there’s nothing I hate more than watching the Oscars without having seen the handful of pictures that inevitably tend to rise in multiple categories. You just feel so out of touch – like the outsider missing every inside joke. I mean, I’ll still watch, but it’s just not as fun.
So in an effort to feel “in the know” and a part of all the pre-Oscar buzz, I thought it might be fun to do a little Oscar predicting of my own – I know it sounds silly, but I think it’s safe to say that each of these three pictures will undoubtedly be winning at least one major award.
Let’s go in the order in which I saw them. We’ll start with Lincoln. Now, it’s no surprise to me or anyone else for that matter that Daniel Day-Lewis was so convincing as the Great Emancipator that I felt more like I was watching a documentary than a Hollywood film. And no matter how great the competition, I’m betting entirely on DDL winning Best Actor. I just can’t imagine a universe in which it goes any other way. While the film may not take Best Picture, I do think that Sally Field may even nab Best Supporting Actress for her (very few) very powerful scenes. Then of course there are all the other categories for the behind-the-scenes folks who make it all happen and I’m sure there will be a win or two in there for them – period pieces always tend to win some of those, as well they should. But with Les Mis in the running, it’ll be interesting to see which way categories like Best Costume Design will go. And last but not least, there’s Best Screenplay. If Tony Kushner doesn’t take home the statue, I’ll be shocked. Period.
Next I saw Argo. Who knew a film about a CIA mission to save American hostages from imminent death could be so darn entertaining? While Ben may not have been nominated for Best Director (at least he won the Golden Globe) the picture is likely to take Best Picture for the simple fact that it was universally entertaining / educational / suspenseful and very well acted, directed and shot. It may have had the typical “formulaic” Hollywood feel to it, but that hasn’t stopped other films from winning the category before. And it also happens to be about a top secret government mission that was only recently made public – those types of scenarios tend to give movies a leg up. And although I haven’t seen all nine contenders, I’m rooting for Argo all the way.
Lastly there was Zero Dark Thirty. The tricky thing with this film was that Kathryn Bigelow had set the bar so high with The Hurt Locker that she was up against the very difficult task of outdoing herself. In my opinion, the film fell short of that expectation, but it was still very well executed in her gritty, true-to-life kind of way. I’m not sure what I think of Jessica Chastain’s nomination – she did a fine job, but Oscar worthy? I’m not sure. I think I need to watch it again, truth be told, because having just seen Argo two days prior- I was still coming off what I’ve been calling “the Argo high” so it wasn’t really fair to compare, if even subconsciously. It didn’t stand a chance
That said, they are all truly great films – and it never ceases to amaze me how Hollywood is able to churn out so many remarkable movies each and every year. I for one have a hard time keeping up but this year I can rest easy knowing that I’ve seen at least three sure fire winners among the group.
Zero Dark Thirty