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Final 2013 Oscar Predictions with Analysis

AMPAS Monday Nights With Oscar Screening Of "Driving Miss Daisy"

Only a couple hours left to go. Below, you can see my predictions for this year’s Oscar winners, finally set in stone. I’ve included a bit of insight and reasoning for each category.

Make sure to also check back for live updates as the awards are announced.

BEST MOTION PICTURE OF THE YEAR

Will Win: “Argo”
Could Win: “Lincoln”
Analysis: This year’s Best Picture race is, without a doubt, the most upside down it’s been in recent memory. All logic (and good judgment) would point to “Lincoln,” as not only the year’s best film, but also the most nominated and a genuine perfect storm of concept and execution. However, the combination of a sweep of all four guilds, the BAFTA, the BFCA and the Globes, along with (and perhaps the cause of the former) the sympathy vote for Affleck and his lack of a Director nomination, one would have to be a fool not to predict it for the final showdown. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for an upset, but not my predictions.

BEST DIRECTOR

Will Win: Steven Spielberg – “Lincoln”
Might Win: Michael Haneke – “Amour”
Analysis: Even though his film is getting the shaft, I don’t think there’s a candidate on the ballot with enough klout to take down Mr. Spielberg. Without Ben Affleck or Kathryn Bigelow, most of the competition is out of running. “Amour is definitely a threat in all categories, but when the voters have 2 other places to vote for him, it’s hard to tell if any one of them will garner enough support. Plus, if Spielberg wins (his first in fifteen years), he will become only the 4th individual in history to ever win three or more in their career.

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis – “Lincoln”
Might Win: Hugh Jackman – “Les Miserables”
Analysis: Speaking of history, Daniel Day-Lewis is about to become the first performer to ever win three Best Actor awards. Many probably though Tom Hanks would break that barrier, but he’ll have to wait in line. You can actually rule out any other candidates on this ballot. I’ve tried to find the conflict, but Danny had this award pre-ordained from the moment he was cast in the film. It was the ultimate match made in heaven.

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence – “Silver Linings Playbook”
Might Win: Emmanuelle Riva – “Amour”
Jessica Chastain seemed like she would be a formidable contender in race, but I feel as if “Zero Dark Thirty” has largely fallen off in support as of late. After the BAFTA victory, perhaps voters will go with their hearts (and brains) and go with Emmanuelle Riva. However, Jennifer Lawrence is arguably the most popular actress in America and her moment is very much now. And as embarrassing as it is to say, the largely white male Academy has never ceased to vote with their penises in this category. If you don’t believe me, take a look at Best Actress over the last twenty years and count the winners over forty. Doesn’t add up to much.

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Will Win: Tommy Lee Jones – “Lincoln”
Might Win: Robert De Niro – “Silver Linings Playbook”
Analysis: This category is one of the few from tonight that is 100% wide open. Waltz took the BAFTA and the Globe. Hoffman took the BFCA. Jones took the SAG. Arkin is in the Best Picture frontrunner and De Niro is a legend has been garnering a lot of support on the circuit. I’m going to go with Jones since none of the above awards is as indicative of an Oscar winner. However, an upset by De Niro could easily be on the horizon. He’s been out of awards contention for so long and some might really want to welcome him back.

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Will Win: Anne Hathaway – “Les Miserables”
Might Win: Sally Field – “Lincoln”
Analysis: No justification necessary. She has absolutely no competition. This is as surest a thing as you are to see tonight.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Will Win: “Argo”
Might Win: “Lincoln”
Analysis: This another award that I’m particularly frustrated about. A month ago, Tony Kushner’s brilliant script was all but sealed for victory. But in the “Argo” surge, not much chance remains. Both Kushner and O’Russell remain dark horses (and I will be strongly rooting for the former), but after the WGA and the Scripter, everything is pointing to “Argo” nailing this to its tally.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Will Win: “Django Unchained”
Might Win: “Amour”
Analysis: Bleh. I so wish the Academy will hold off awarding Tarantino until he makes a movie that truly deserves it, but it’s looking very likely, at this point. However, all all it’s possible victories (outside of the Foreign Language shoo-in) this is the easiest place for the Academy to honor Michael Haneke for what is certainly the best script he’s ever written. Don’t count out “Zero Dark Thirty,” which just took down the WGA. But then again, don’t take that win for much since the two formerly mentioned titles weren’t even eligible.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Will Win: “Wreck it Ralph”
Might Win: “Brave”
Analysis: I don’t have a lot to say in this category since, shamefully, I haven’t seen a single one of the nominees. However, it seems that the way “Wreck It Ralph” came out of nowhere to win over it’s audience’s hearts is a great underdog story. Though never count out any juggernaut that has the name “Pixar” on it, not to mention all of the campaigning money that comes with said company.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Will Win: “Searching for Sugar Man”
Might Win: “The Invisible War”
Analysis: I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if any of these titles took home the gold. “Searching for Sugar Man” is definitely the frontrunner, taking the guilds and the most accolades. However, the Academy loves a doc with strong themes that actually makes a visible change/impact for the sake of its subject, which is why the powerful “Invisible War” might triumph. Meanwhile, you have the underdog freshman effort “How to Survive a Plague” which seems to have a lot of support. Then, you have the heavy-handed powerhouse “The Gatekeepers”. It might be anybody’s game.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Will Win: “Amour”
Might Win: “No”
Analysis: This certainly is a category that has unveiled some truly “WTF” upsets in the past (“The Secret in their Eyes” over “The White Robbon”; “Departures” over “Waltz with Bashir”). However, nothing has come close to the amount of press, buzz or head-over-heels admiration that “Amour” has garnered. And let’s face it, if it lost, it would be a true shame.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Will Win: “Skyfall”
Might Win: “Life of Pi”
Analysis: It seems that every time that Roger Deakins is nominated, everyone has the impulse to say, “Come on, it’s gotta happen this year…” But in 2013…come on, it’s GOTTA BE THIS YEAR. Let’s face it, after eleven nominations and no victories, the Academy has to smarten up. “Skyfall” is nowhere close to his best work, but that ship sailed along time ago. And the worst work by Roger Deakins is still miles ahead of what most DPs would ever dream of. Chances are, Claudio Miranda’s green screen landscapes will conquer, but I’ll continue to stick my neck out.

BEST EDITING

Will Win: “Argo”
Might Win: “Zero Dark Thirty”
Analysis: Once again, this should be a no-brainer for “Zero Dark Thirty,” but the “Argo” freight train will likely steal this away, as well. It’s between those two, for sure. None of the other nominees really have the right vibe.

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Will Win: “Anna Karenina”
Might Win: “Les Miserables”
Analysis: Through all of its faults, “Anna Karenina” is a visual FEAST, and has the type of art direction and set decoration that the Academy will absolutely eat up. If “Les Miserables” performs a mini-sweep, this may follow through. Also, if the members notice the immense attention to period detail in “Lincoln,” it may end up triumphing. But it never hurts to be the showiest of the bunch, and “Anna Karenina” triumphs there.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Will Win: “Anna Karenina”
Might Win: “Les Miserables”
Analysis: You can pretty much see the award above. The exact same principles apply.

BEST SOUND MIXING

Will Win: “Les Miserables”
Might Win: “Skyfall”
Analysis: I can’t remember when a film’s on-set sound recording has taken such a huge part in both campaigning and publicity. It’s something that critics and audiences have both taken a note of, and I believe the Academy will do the same. Deservingly so, too. I can feel the possibility of either an “Argo” or “Skyfall” sweep of the audio categories, but “Les Miz” feels pretty solid.

BEST SOUND EDITING

Will Win: “Skyfall”
Might Win: “Life of Pi”
Analysis: Yet another award in which the accomplishments of “Zero Dark Thirty” are going to be tragically overlooked. I’m going to guess that one of the two films that won big at the MPSEs is going to take home the gold. The explosive action of “Skyfall” will likely ring truest in the ears of Academy members.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Will Win: “Life of Pi”
Might Win: “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
I don’t have a lot of great things to say about “Life of Pi,” but in terms of VFX, it’s a stunner. I feel as though Academy members don’t even need to see the movie to know that the effects are a pretty overwhelming statement in the film. Plus, if you want to find the last time that a Best Picture nominee lost out in this category to a film that wasn’t, you have to go back about 40 years.

BEST MAKEUP EFFECTS

Will Win: “Les Miserables”
Might Win: “The Hobbit: “An Unexpected Journey”
Analysis: “Les Mis” may not have the showiest work this year, but from the wounds to the aging to the period authenticity, voters have a lot to love. “The Hobbit” is as stunning as always, but many members will feel that they’ve been there before (which isn’t entirely incorrect). “Les Miserables” will take this down to make itself one of the most awarded films of the night.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

Will Win: “Skyfall” from “Skyfall”
Might Win: “Everybody Needs a Best Friend” from “Ted”
Analysis: This doesn’t need much explanation. Adele is taking over the world, and now its the Oscars turn. Doesn’t hurt the the song is absolutely brilliant. Perhaps the only longshot to take it down would be the bouncy theme from “Ted,” perhaps just for the chance to make the host an Oscar-winner, himself. But let’s be real. There’s a chance Adele could get every vote.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Will Win: “Life of Pi”
Might Win: “Argo”
Analysis: Overall, what voters and audiences really crave in a score are great themes, and this one really has that covered. It certainly has a nice international flair which is also a plus. It would be nice if John Williams got back up on the stage for the first time in almost twenty years, and in the event of a “Lincoln” sweep, he probably would. Same goes for Alexandre Desplat for “Argo”, who is still looking for his first overdue win.

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

Will Win: “Mondays at Racine”
Might Win: “Open Heart”
Analysis: Not going to attempt to make intelligent arguments on the shorts. They’re ultimately guesses, no matter how much research you do.

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM

Will Win: “Adam and Dog”
Might Win: “Paperman”
Analysis: N/A

BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT FILM

Will Win: “Curfew”
Might Win: “Bukashi Boys”
Analysis: N/A

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