Saturday, January 26, 2013

Sullivan's Travels: And the Oscar race heats up...

Good to be back online and getting the chance to share some thoughts with you...

While I did particularly well in predicting the 'best picture' nominees a few weeks ago, I'm not yet so confident that I can make final predictions on who is going to win... and that goes for almost every category, with the exception of Film Editing, which I believe is a solid shot for ARGO.

I can, however, take a quick look at the possible trends that may be developing as I write this.  First off, in the Best Picture category I still believe that LINCOLN is the one to beat, although the momentum around ARGO has heated up quite a bit.  But ARGO has no Best Director nomination and that makes it a longer shot, together with ZERO DARK THIRTY.  That leaves an open channel for SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, the sort of 'Oscar sleeper' that can come from left field and walk away with the gold... especially if its nominated actors start racking up awards throughout the night.  As for the other Best Pic contenders, here's my current take:  AMOUR will win in the Best Foreign Language category and that's it.  DJANGO UNCHAINED is only nominated because there were ten slots to fill (and the Academy wrongfully filled nine of those, shutting out opportunities for THE MASTER and FLIGHT).  In a year where only five films would be nominated, DJANGO would only score a Screenplay nomination and nothing else.  LES MISERABLES would be nominated even with only five slots, but like ARGO and ZERO, its director apparently didn't have a hand in creating the Best Picture contender.  LIFE OF PI has a weird kind of CRASH-like chance, especially after its director, Ang Lee, made the top five slots, and since CRASH beat his front-running BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN back in 2005.  A PI win would be the Academy's way of letting Ang know they like him a lot, but unfortunately had to quit him back in '05.  And finally, BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD is such a dark horse, I can't even comment on its chances of landing a Best Picture win.  As for its little actress, Oscar nominee Quvenzhan√© Wallis, don't be too shocked if she beats out Oscar fave, Jessica Chastain, or runner-up contender, Jennifer Lawrence. The only thing wrong with such a win would be the fact that little Ms. Wallis only got that nomination because her director, the nominated Benh Zeitlin, shaped her performance into what it was.  Ms. Wallis was only seven at the time the film was shot and I have huge doubts that she was aware of and able to manage her character arc all on her own, which also explains why Mr. Zeitlin got nominated.

That's it for now... On my next travels I'll take a look at some of the other categories...

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

'Twas The Night Before Nominations...

Okay, so... without getting too philosophical about stuff, let me just throw out some predictions before the Academy officially announces its 2012 nominees... Assuming they go with ten best pic nods, here's the way I think it'll go down:

Best Picture
AMOUR
ARGO
BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
DJANGO UNCHAINED
LES MISERABLES
LIFE OF PI
LINCOLN
THE MASTER
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
ZERO DARK THIRTY

(dark horses: SKYFALL & MOONRISE KINGDOM)

Director
Ben Affleck (Argo)
Tom Hooper (Les Miserables)
Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)
Michael Haneke (Amour)
Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty)

(dark horses: Ang Lee "Life of Pi" and P.T. Anderson "The Master")


Actor
Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables)
Daniel Day Lewis (Lincoln)
Joaquin Phoenix (The Master)
Denzel Washington (Flight)
John Hawkes (The Sessions)

(dark horse: Bill Murray "Hyde Park on Hudson"Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook)


Actress
Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)
Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
Helen Mirren (Hitchcock)
Emmanuel Riva (Amour)
Rachel Weisz (The Deep Blue Sea)

(dark horse: Naomi Watts "The Impossible" & Quvenzhane Wallis "Beasts of the Southern Wild" )

Supporting Actor
Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master)
Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)
Javier Bardem (Skyfall)
Alan Arkin (Argo)
Robert DeNiro (Silver Linings Playbook)

(dark horse: Matthew McConaughey "Magic Mike")

Supporting Actress
Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)
Sally Field (Lincoln)
Amy Adams (The Master)
Helen Hunt (The Sessions)
Ann Dowd (Compliance)

(dark horse: Nicole Kidman "The Paperboy")

I can go on and on... but I will stick to these top categories for now... and the nomination goes to... 

Darko Sullivan signing off!