The 85th Academy Awards Nominations

by deerinthexenonarclights

Though they may well be just as arbitrary and meaningless as all of the Top Ten lists we let out a month or so back there is still something fascinating about seeing who and what wins big during Awards season, and no win is bigger than an Oscar; the Academy’s nominations forming the primary list of pictures that people will see when they look back on our now. But why wait for prosperity? Let’s have a look at what they have chosen – for both politics and prestige – now… or after the jump.

Best Picture
“Argo”
“Django Unchained”
“Les Miserables”
“Life of Pi”
“Amour”
“Lincoln”
“Silver Linings Playbook”
“Zero Dark Thirty”
“Beasts of the Southern Wild”

To be honest there isn’t much to be surprised about here, all the big Awardsy films have their slot locked in and thanks to the new “up to ten films” format a couple of smaller but equally deserving films like Amour (my personal preference from these picks) managed to slip in. Some people may look at that vacant tenth slot and say “Why not Skyfall?” (Them) or “Why not The Master” (me) but those were never going to make it and for the most part it is a fine if predictable list. As for my predictions now, given where the other awards went it has to be Lincoln, or maybe Les Mis on the longshot.

Actor in a Leading Role
Bradley Cooper – “Silver Linings Playbook”
Daniel Day-Lewis – “Lincoln”
Hugh Jackman – “Les Miserables”
Joaquin Phoenix – “The Master”
Denzel Washington – “Flight”

Again something of a predictable list and it would seem like the gong would have to go to the stars of the year’s big two, Lincoln or own Hugh, but perhaps not. There is one outlier in there who may change the mix somewhat (Masterful pun), Joaquin Phoenix from The Master. Phoenix was phenomenal in his part and if the Academy can overlook his recent politics he may come out with a trophy. Washington on the other hand is a supremely popular and well-liked actor and gave a performance almost as good. These two on the outside may work to swing things into a strange place, maybe a four-way tie with Brad Cooper the last man standing?

Actress in a Leading Role
Jessica Chastain – “Zero Dark Thirty”
Jennifer Lawrence – “Silver Linings Playbook”
Emmanuelle Riva – “Amour”
Quvenzhané Wallis – “Beasts of Southern Wild”
Naomi Watts – “The Impossible”

This category is more interesting for the actors involved then their films. Unfortunately female lead roles are harder to come by than their male equivalents and this leaves the section with a few spots each year in which strange choices inclusions can be made (the male list, for example, simply has no room to spare). This year that means seeing both the youngest (Wallis) and oldest(Riva) ever Best Actress nominees competing side-by-side; neither though will win (unless by novelty vote). Jennifer Lawrence is the hot, young thing of the list (not just literally) and may gain some stead through that popularity but Chastain is an actress that has been on the border of Oscar for a few years now and Zero Dark is her one big chance to walk away with one, I can’t see them skipping it.

Actor in a Supporting Role
Alan Arkin – “Argo”
Robert De Niro – “Silver Linings Playbook”
Philip Seymour Hoffman – “The Master”
Tommy Lee Jones – “Lincoln”
Christoph Waltz – “Django Unchained”

Everything I said about Phoenix goes double for Phillip Seymour Hoffman, my personal preference in this category filled to the brim by prestigious older actors and Chistoph Waltz. Hoffman is deserving of the Oscar in terms of talent and his role is the largest bar Waltz so he should also take it for workload but when dealing with people like Jones, like De Niro and like Arkin, great actors who may never see themselves on such a list again (because of age or diminishing respect) you cannot count out the career retrospective award. I’m thinking that if The Master is snubbed then one of those three will take it home, my prediction Jones because he had a great year all round (Hope Springs just missing out on my Top Ten) but there is little science behind it.

Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams – “The Master”
Sally Field – “Lincoln”
Anne Hathaway – “Les Miserables”
Helen Hunt – “The Sessions”
Jackie Weaver – “Silver Linings Playbook”

Have you seen Les Mis? If so then you know why this category should go without explanation. Her role is short but it defines and even defies the film for many, Catwoman for the win. The only real competition is the chance that a Lincoln sweep will carry Sally Field to victory; it’s possible but I wouldn’t put money on it.

Animated Feature Film
“Brave”
“Frankenweenie”
“ParaNorman”
“The Pirates! Band of Misfits”
“Wreck-It Ralph”

As far as I’m concerned you can’t go past PIXAR for these things. Both Paranorman and Frankenweenie were built around a love of film that is popular with The Academy but it’s genre movies they adore, horror movies, a place that the Oscar’s fear to tread and so one that they probably won’t have found such a treat.

Directing
“Amour” – Michael Haneke
“Beasts of the Southern Wild” – Benh Zeitlin
“Life of Pi” – Ang Lee
“Lincoln” – Steven Spielberg
“Silver Linings Playbook” – David O. Russell

The clear choice here is Paul Tho- Oh…, um ok, he’s not nominated. Kathryn Bige- …. Ben Aff- Sam Men- No, hmmm well hell. Lee’s work was the defining feature of Pi, a film without much of a script or a strong cast, something that Amour had in spades, so I guess I think he deserves it from this list but again, Lincoln seems most likely. I’m just glad that Tom Hooper isn’t here.

Writing – Original Screenplay
“Amour” – Michael Haneke
“Django Unchained” – Quentin Tarantino
“Flight” – John Gatins
“Moonrise Kingdom” – Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola
“Zero Dark Thirty” – Mark Boal

This may be something of a controversial choice given that Mark Boal’s script is currently up for review in the senate and that it is one of the more spartan pieces ever put up for nomination but his writing is what threads the line in Zero Dark between the political elements, the moral issues, the history lesson and the over the top action and although it’s not normally what we praise his softness of touch was a near impossible trick to pull off so he gets my choice. On the other hand though The Academy loves something shiny and Tarantino’s writing is always that; his script has all the speeches, twists of phrase and narrative trickery that you could ever wish to see and that may well net him the win if they can look past the bad words and overlong descriptions of blood effects.

Writing – Adapted Screenplay

“Argo” – Chris Terrio
“Beasts of the Southern Wild” – Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin
“Life of Pi” – David Magee
“Lincoln” – Tony Kushner
“Silver Linings Playbook” – David O. Russell

Though I wasn’t anywhere near as big a fan of the film as many others were the story in Argo was a very good one and although at first I wrote off the script, thinking it a mere translation of the book’s brilliant tale I later sought out the novel and found it to be dreadfully dry and almost boring, so credit clearly needs to go to Terrio. Kushner though is very highly thought of in the world of Theatre, where he usually resides, and that crowd often overlaps with the Academy members who will likely be willing him on to win here; plus Lincoln.

Music – Original Song
“Before My Time” from “Chasing Ice,” music and lyrics by J. Ralph
“Everybody Needs a Best Friend” from “Ted,” music by Walter Murphy, lyrics by Seth MacFarlane
“Pi’s Lullaby” from “Life of Pi,” music by Mychael Danna, lyrics by Bombay Jayashri
“Skyfall” from “Skyfall,” music and lyrics by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
“Suddenly” from “Les Miserables,” music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil

Though it saw no real nominations elsewhere I think Skyfall has this one in the bag, turn on your radio if you are wondering why. It’s also, strangely, the only real song here. I’m surprised that St.Valentine’s Day Massacre from Don’t Fade Away didn’t see a mention over some of these but alas.

Foreign Language Film
“Amour” (Austria)
“Kon-Tiki” (Norway)
“No” (Chile)
“A Royal Affair” (Denmark)
“War Witch” (Canada)

Though it’s great to see it so strongly nominated Amour will not walk away with a single of the primary awards, if it win’s anything it will be this one, which is surely a lock.

Cinematography
“Anna Karenina”
“Django Unchained”
“Life of Pi”
“Lincoln”
“Skyfall”

Roger Deakins, every single time. Unless Lincoln wins every single time.

Costume Design
“Anna Karenina”
Les Miserables”
“Lincoln”
“Mirror Mirror”
“Snow White and the Huntsman”

A sympathy nod for the once seen sure thing.

Documentary – Feature
“5 Broken Cameras”
“The Gatekeepers”
“How to Survive a Plague”
“The Invisible War”
“Searching for Sugar Man”

Film Editing
“Argo”
“Life of Pi”
“Lincoln”
“Silver Linings Playbook”
“Zero Dark Thirty”

Makeup And Hairstyling
“Hitchcock”
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
“Les Miserables”

As it is set over several years Les Mis utilized extensive make-up and did a decent job of it. It will beat The Hobbit out of sympathy as much as sheer talent I think.

Music – Original Score
“Anna Karenina”
“Argo”
“Life of Pi”
“Lincoln”
“Skyfall”

I havn’t seen the film, thus I havn’t been able to choose it as my personal preference, but I have heard the rousing, melancholic score for Lincoln and it is a great one. It’s not Greenwood great, but as was the case with There Will Be Blood Greenwood is excluded for trying to make the best possible score rather than the best one possible according to Academy rules.

Production Design
“Anna Karenina”
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
“Les Miserables”
“Life of Pi”
“Lincoln”

Short Film – Animated
“Adam and Dog”
“Fresh Guacamole”
“Head over Heels”
“Maggie Simpson in ‘The Longest Daycare'”
“Paperman”

Short Film – Live Action
“Asad”
“Buzkashi Boys”
“Curfew”
“Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)”
“Henry”

Sound Editing
“Argo”
“Django Unchained”
“Life of Pi”
“Skyfall”
“Zero Dark Thirty”

Sound Mixing
“Argo”
“Les Miserables”
“Life of Pi”
“Lincoln”
“Skyfall”

Visual Effects
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
“Life of Pi”
“Marvel’s The Avengers”
“Prometheus”
“Snow White and the Huntsman”

First of all, The Hobbit shouldn’t be here, those Radagast and Warg effects were horrible enough to discredit even the great Gollum. Whatever its problems were you cannot say that Prometheus didn’t look absolutely amazing, the crispness of its cinematic alienation was constantly astounding whereas the similarly stunning Pi ran out of tricks too early on, repeating the horizon gimmick. The Avengers though made a lot of money and thus, to seem cool, the Academy will likely grant it this. Plus, Hulk.

So, what are you thoughts on this list? On my choices and picks? Dislike any major winners?  Any snubs I missed? Any films they did? Chime in below if so.

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