As I begin putting together my annual Academy Awards predictions, one thing is certain — if Ben Affleck had been nominated for Best Director as he should have been, this year would be a whole lot easier. I don’t recall a time in recent memory when the Directors Guild nominations differed so much from the Best Director Oscar nominations. Only two of them matched this year (Steven Spielberg and Ang Lee) which makes it especially hard to call the Best Picture and Director winners since the DGA winner is usually a good indicator of both. As usual, if I have any last-minute changes before the big night, I’ll post them in the comments section. For those playing along, here are my results in recent years: 2010 (17 out of 24), 2011 (20 out of 24) and 2012 (17 out of 24).
Amour (Margaret Menegoz, Stefan Arndt, Veit Heiduschka and Michael Katz, Producers); Argo (Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck and George Clooney, Producers); Beasts of the Southern Wild (Dan Janvey, Josh Penn and Michael Gottwald, Producers); Django Unchained (Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin and Pilar Savone, Producers); Les Misérables (Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward and Cameron Mackintosh, Producers); Life of Pi (Gil Netter, Ang Lee and David Womark, Producers); Lincoln (Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers); Silver Linings Playbook (Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen and Jonathan Gordon, Producers); Zero Dark Thirty (Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow and Megan Ellison, Producers)
PREDICTION: Argo. When attempting to call these things, it’s never a good idea to predict a split between Best Picture and Best Director because it just happens so rarely. In this case, I’m predicting a Best Picture winner which doesn’t even have a nomination for its director, which is even more rare. The last time that happened was at the 1990 Academy Awards when Driving Miss Daisy took the top prize with no nomination for director Bruce Beresford. But Argo has won so many of the top prizes this awards season, it seems unstoppable at this point. A “safer” bet might be Lincoln given the rarity of a film winning without its director being nominated — plus Lincoln has the most nominations which also goes in its favor. But with Argo gaining such momentum recently, that’s what I’m going with.
Michael Haneke for Amour; Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild; Ang Lee for Life of Pi; Steven Spielberg for Lincoln; David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook
PREDICTION: Steven Spielberg.
Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook; Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln; Hugh Jackman for Les Misérables; Joaquin Phoenix for The Master; Denzel Washington for Flight
PREDICTION: Daniel Day-Lewis.
Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty; Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook; Emmanuelle Riva for Amour; Quvenzhané Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild; Naomi Watts for The Impossible
PREDICTION: Jennifer Lawrence.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Alan Arkin for Argo; Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook; Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master; Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln; Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained
PREDICTION: Tommy Lee Jones.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams for The Master; Sally Field for Lincoln; Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables; Helen Hunt for The Sessions; Jacki Weaver for Silver Linings Playbook
PREDICTION: Anne Hathaway.
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)
PREDICTION: Lincoln. This is a puzzler. Until the WGA Awards were announced, I was certain Tony Kushner would take home the Oscar for his superb Lincoln screenplay. The WGA Award ended up going to Chris Terrio for Argo, but on the other hand Kushner received the WGA’s annual Paul Selvin Award. Okay, so now what? After spending several days second-guessing myself and going back and forth between Argo and Lincoln, I’ve decided to stick with Lincoln.
Amour (Michael Haneke); Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino); Flight (John Gatins); Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola); Zero Dark Thirty (Mark Boal)
PREDICTION: Zero Dark Thirty. Though Mark Boal won the WGA Award for Zero Dark Thirty, it does seem like Django Unchained is gaining some momentum in this category. Quentin Tarantino was not nominated for the WGA Award, as he is not a member of the Writers Guild. I am still going to go with Zero Dark Thirty here but will not be shocked if they call out Quentin’s name.
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Brave (Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman); Frankenweenie (Tim Burton); ParaNorman (Sam Fell and Chris Butler); The Pirates! Band of Misfits (Peter Lord); Wreck-It Ralph (Rich Moore)
PREDICTION: Wreck-It Ralph.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Amour (Austria); Kon-Tiki (Norway); No (Chile); A Royal Affair (Denmark); War Witch (Canada)
Anna Karenina (Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer); The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Dan Hennah, Ra Vincent and Simon Bright); Les Misérables (Eve Stewart, Anna Lynch-Robinson); Life of Pi (David Gropman, Anna Pinnock); Lincoln (Rick Carter, Jim Erickson)
PREDICTION: Les Misérables. This race is a very close call, seemingly between Les Misérables and Anna Karenina. The Art Directors Guild winner was Anna Karenina for period films, while Life of Pi won in the fantasy category. Ultimately I am going with Les Misérables.
Anna Karenina (Seamus McGarvey); Django Unchained (Robert Richardson); Life of Pi (Claudio Miranda); Lincoln (Janusz Kaminski); Skyfall (Roger Deakins)
PREDICTION: Life of Pi. Roger Deakins won the ASC Award this year for Skyfall and that sometimes does indicate an Oscar win, but it seems to me that Skyfall doesn’t have the kind of imagery that Academy voters go for. Lincoln probably should win, but I think the smart play is Life of Pi. Please note this is a category I have consistently gotten wrong for the past three years in a row, so what do I know?
Anna Karenina (Jacqueline Durran); Les Misérables (Paco Delgado); Lincoln (Joanna Johnston); Mirror Mirror (Eiko Ishioka); Snow White and the Huntsman (Colleen Atwood)
PREDICTION: Anna Karenina.
Argo (William Goldenberg); Life of Pi (Tim Squyres); Lincoln (Michael Kahn); Silver Linings Playbook (Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers); Zero Dark Thirty (Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg)
Hitchcock (Howard Berger, Peter Montagna and Martin Samuel); The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane); Les Misérables (Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell)
PREDICTION: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
Anna Karenina (Dario Marianelli); Argo (Alexandre Desplat); Life of Pi (Mychael Danna); Lincoln (John Williams); Skyfall (Thomas Newman)
PREDICTION: Life of Pi.
“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 Misérables (Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, Lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil)
Argo (John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Jose Antonio Garcia); Les Misérables (Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes); Life of Pi (Ron Bartlett, D.M. Hemphill and Drew Kunin); Lincoln (Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Ronald Judkins); Skyfall (Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell and Stuart Wilson)
PREDICTION: Les Misérables.
Argo (Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn); Django Unchained (Wylie Stateman); Life of Pi (Eugene Gearty and Philip Stockton); Skyfall (Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers); Zero Dark Thirty (Paul N.J. Ottosson)
PREDICTION: Zero Dark Thirty.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and R. Christopher White); Life of Pi (Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott); The Avengers (Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams and Dan Sudick); Prometheus (Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley and Martin Hill); Snow White and the Huntsman (Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Philip Brennan, Neil Corbould and Michael Dawson)
PREDICTION: Life of Pi.
5 Broken Cameras (Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi); The Gatekeepers (Dror Moreh, Philippa Kowarsky and Estelle Fialon); How to Survive a Plague (David France and Howard Gertler); The Invisible War (Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering); Searching for Sugar Man (Malik Bendjelloul and Simon Chinn)
PREDICTION: Searching for Sugar Man.
DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
Inocente (Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine); Kings Point (Sari Gilman and Jedd Wider); Mondays at Racine (Cynthia Wade and Robin Honan); Open Heart (Kief Davidson and Cori Shepherd Stern); Redemption (Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill)
PREDICTION: Open Heart.
ANIMATED SHORT FILM
Adam and Dog (Minkyu Lee); Fresh Guacamole (PES); Head over Heels (Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly); Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare” (David Silverman); Paperman (John Kahrs)
LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
Asad (Bryan Buckley and Mino Jarjoura); Buzkashi Boys (Sam French and Ariel Nasr); Curfew (Shawn Christensen); Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw) (Tom Van Avermaet and Ellen De Waele); Henry (Yan England)