Hey kids, you like Oscars?
Sometimes it takes an out-of-touch group of (mostly) old white men to remind us that there is better art in the world. Other times it doesn’t…but most of the time it helps to have a group of old white men. But still each year we gather around our television to watch the same cavalcade of stars strut down the red carpet draped in gowns, tuxedos and the occasional garish pant-suit (Diane Keaton) to honor their industries finest.
This year the Academy has chosen Seth MacFarlane to usher us through the year in movies. I think the move would have been seen as bold when Family Guy was relevant but now it reeks of desperation. Yes, Ted was mostly funny but I can’t help but feel this is the Academy’s last grasp at the 18-49 demographic. Why not ignore that tendency and honor the best films of the year, rather than the films you deem worthy of the precious naked, hairless statue?
Despite the relative tone-deafness of this ceremony, every year I still watch, vaguely hoping the films I like that are nominated will be given their just-praise. If not, at least I can mock each thespian’s wardrobe from the comfort of my own sweatpants. Here are my predictions:
PREDICTION | BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Should Win: Amy Adams – The Master
The Master is a difficult film. It’s often impenetrable, leaving us spectators rather than active participants in the narrative. Amy Adams is one of a very few reasons why I broke through that barrier. Here she gives one of the most honest, troubling portrayals of a fiercely devout, confused woman who cares deeply for her husband and his cause. I know she’s America’s sweetheart but she deserves to be recognized for her achievement.
Will Win: Anne Hathaway – Les Misérables
Les Misérables was brutal. It’s an insufferably lengthy exercise in close-up. I now know more about Hugh Jackman’s nostrils than I ever cared to. That being said, the first hour or so of the film is relatively promising buoyed by Anne Hathaway’s performance as Fantine. Her raw rendition of “I Dreamed A Dream” will net her the award, even if we all have to change the channel during her insufferable acceptance speech.
PREDICTION | BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Should Win: Phillip Seymour-Hoffman – The Master
I’m not sure what the Academy defines as “supporting” but if it means “main character” than Phillip Seymour-Hoffman should surely have this in the bag. His haunting portrayal of Lancaster Dodd, the charismatic cult-leader in The Master is a towering achievement. He’s a master of manipulation and in the role he slithers his way into the hearts of his followers. It’s a complex, not always successful film that hangs on the performance of Hoffman and his fellow performers.
Will Win: Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln
Tommy Lee Jones seems tired. After such a lengthy, storied career I suppose that makes sense. But in his role as Thaddeus Stevens in Lincoln he embodies that war-torn persona giving his best performance in 20-years. Jones chews on Tony Kushner’s snappy dialogue giving Stevens a reverence and introspection rarely seen in recent Spielberg projects.
PREDICTION | BEST ACTRESS
Should Win: Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty
Jessica Chastain’s performance as Maya in Zero Dark Thirty is a gut punch. She not only embodies the war on terror post-9/11 but she finds subtle humanity in the crazed drive of the CIA-operative. Chastain is the best working actress of this era and I hope she continues to challenge herself with roles like this.
Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook
I can’t really argue with this one. Lawrence’s performance as a slightly deranged Philly-twenty something with a dark past is compelling. She and Bradley Cooper delivered the best on-screen couple of the year by far. Lawrence is only 22 and already her performance-to-oscar-nomination ratio is ridiculous. Keep it up and she’ll be the most decorated actor of our generation.
PREDICTION | BEST ACTOR
Should Win: Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln
Uh…did you see Lincoln?
Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln
PREDICTION | BEST PICTURE
Should Win: Zero Dark Thirty
Unfortunately after the bogus controversy that preceded ZDT’s release I have a hard time believing it has any shot at this award. The Academy rarely chooses the film that represents the era, mostly opting for safe choices. Zero Dark Thirty is a generation defining film, a scathing critique of our countries murky politics and an ode to those that protect our freedoms. It deserves this award, which is precisely why it won’t win it.
Will Win: Argo
To the surprise of most, Argo has been absolutely crushing it on the awards circuit. It’s even more surprising considering the Academy decided to ignore Ben Affleck in the Best Director category. Sure, Argo is a fine film but it’s exactly what Hollywood loves…a story about the redemptive powers of Hollywood. That’s not a bad thing in this case. Argo may play completely dumb with the real facts of the story but who cares? It’s a damn good time at the movies.