2) Anna Karenina
3) The Great Gatsby
6) On the Road
7) Les Miserables
8) The Silver Lining’s Playbook
9) Cogan’s Trade
10) Life of Pi
Last year was so ripe in this category, and yet I still went 1/5 here. LOL, my predictions were pretty terrible last year, and yet in retrospect they all somewhat make sense so I can’t say that I was stupid in making them. Leaving Les Miserables off may seem stupid, but the source material may be too straightforward, and hopefully it will be transferred accurately and so I can’t see the writing branch giving a nomination to a transference of songs + one original, unless support for the film is SO overwhelming that they can’t NOT nominate it. Still, Les Miserables could win everything else without getting in here. Just look at other spectacles that took home top honors. They don’t always get in here.
For me, Lincoln seems like a shoe in, as does Anna Karenina (literary classic adapted in a unique, less straightforward manner). The Great Gatsby, if considered a success, should be a rather easy nomination as well, even if it misses in other top categories because of the adoration surrounding the novel itself.
After those three, I’m a bit stumped. Lawless (formerly ‘The Wettest County in the World’) could be the surprise of the year, akin to Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy last year. I somewhat get that vibe from it, actually, which leads me to wish I had given Hardy or Labeouf a mention in Lead Actor. Then we have On the Road. I don’t know quite what to make of this film yet. The trailer seemed a tad light, and then again it seemed earnest in a way. The stars are young and popular and the supporting cast is filled with rich talent (Moss, Adams, Dunst!!!). This is sure to be that ‘important’ film that grabs a younger audience and may actually be a box-office hit thanks to Stewart’s involvement. Hedlund and Riley are both talented actors who have shone in the past…so maybe this will make a splash, and if it does then it could wind up nominated here even if not shown in other categories.
I’m waiting to hear more The Silver Linings Playbook. I almost find it laughable that people think it’s a shoe-in because of David O. Russell being a recent Oscar nominee. He’s been shunned for all of his signature work and gets welcomed in when he makes an ‘above average’ sports drama. Seriously, this seems more in line with his standard fare, which is better than the stuff the Academy wants to recognize but is just that, not something the Academy will recognize. Still, it could land in here or maybe somewhere else (many are claiming Lawrence heir to the Lead Actress throne, but I’m hesitant on that).
Life of Pi is a questionmark for me. I mean, it could be just the type that makes a dent in a place like this, where devotees on the book vote for it en mass, and it is Ang Lee, so he should always be considered and then again, it is Ang Lee and he has far more misses with the Academy than actual hits; regardless of quality.
I’ve decided to swap out On the Road for Argo, Ben Affleck’s next picture. His directorial efforts garner respect from the Academy, and I left him off my Director predictions rather foolishly (I was saying all last year how he’d be a shoe-in for a nomination on his next go around and then I totally forgot he had a film coming out this year while making my Director predictions). Anyways, Argo is probably going to snag at least one if not three or four nominations thanks to his growing respect in the industry as a multi-tasker (he really is a very astute and talented director, and he’s grown leaps in just two films) so I could see it getting in here.
1) The Surrogate
2) Django Unchained
3) The Master
4) Inside Llewyn Davis
5) Low Life
6) Moonrise Kingdom
8) Hyde Park on Hudson
9) Zero Dark Thirty
10) To Rome with Love
Let’s just get out of the way that Woody Allen should always be in contention, but considering the overwhelming love he received last year (quite undeservedly) and the fact that this film looks really bland, I place him at a distant 10th spot here.
After that, I think it looks rather stacked. You have inspired young directors who always find themselves honored in this category because it is easier to congratulate them for writing a great film than for directing it. Wes Anderson, Quenton Tarantino, The Coen Brothers, PTA; this is their niche and most likely they’ll all be in serious contention for a nomination.
I also think that The Surrogate seems like a lock here considering it’s buzz, it’s stars and the fact that an Indie drama usually lands in one of these categories thanks to sustained press and other nominations. In fact, I think it’s the safest bet at this point in the game. I’m also throwing Low Life a bone here considering the talent behind the film and the baitiness of the plot. It just seems like a film that we could be underestimating a tad.
I wanted to predict Brave in my top five, especially since I think it has a great shot at a Best Picture nomination, but animated films really need to KILL in order to break in with this category; and it’s already so crowded.