Archive for January 2013

85th Academy Awards: Best Picture Rankings   6 comments


Since the Academy’s timeline for this year’s awards ceremony is pretty much different from the previous years, it gives both the voters and viewers more chance to catch up on all the nominated films at this year’s Oscars. Luckily for me, I was able to finally see all nine of the nominated movies for Oscar’s top award. It’s an eclectic group of films this year ranging from musicals to biopics to rom-coms and war films with some foreign language movie also in the mix. And it’s not as if the Academy is lazy this year, as there’s no The Blind Side or Chocolat type of nomination from this year’s group. With that said, here’s how I’ll personally rank the nine films in contention. So, if I was an actual AMPAS voter, this would be my ballot. But since I’m not and I can only dream of that, I’d do it as a blog post. LOL.

Director: Tom Hooper

Exactly ten years since the last musical was nominated for Best Picture (FYI that was Chicago and it even won Best Picture), the next in line that followed it is Tom Hooper’s adaptation of probably the most famous musical in history Les Miserables. There’s a lot of things that one can like in the 2012 version. For one, the live singing worked well in its favor as it was able to make the emotions more captured specifically during Hathaway’s I Dreamed a Dream number. The visual technical aspects were really good as well. Costumes, production design, and cinematography were such eye candies that it’s good to see it in the theaters for full maximum effect. Heck, the opening scene alone was well done. With that said, the main problem lies with Tom Hooper’s direction. The energy that he had during the opening parts instantly died down and wasn’t able to overcome it until the credits rolled. There’s a lot of dizzying and confusing shots (which was my concern during The King’s Speech too), but it was more visible here. With that said, the movie, as a whole, was just okay. I really felt that for a musical with this caliber, just okay is not enough. But see it for Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, and the revelation that was Eddie Redmayne. 3/5

Director: Benh Zeitlin

Beasts,which focuses on the relationship of a female kid named Hushpuppy and her ailing father in the middle of an unknown community on the brink of being cut off from the rest of the world, is one of the most heartwarming films in this year’s line up. What I particularly like about the movie is how it works up the viewer’s imagination in the juxtaposition of the feelings of Hushpuppy and the current environmental situation in their place. Oscar nominee Quvenzhane Wallis (the youngest ever) was more than capable enough as the lead performer in the film and gives not only her character but the film itself so much heart with her performance. Her chemistry with onscreen father Dwight Henry was raw and organic that it makes you more impressed knowing that these are both their breakthrough performances. Zeitlin’s first feature is remarkable that I’m excited to see what else can he bring to the table in his succeeding efforts. 3.5/5

Director: David O. Russell

David O. Russell’s Oscar comeback was more than welcomed than his previous effort which was The Fighter. In Silver Linings Playbook, we meet crazies Pat (Bradley Cooper) and Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) as we’re treated to some football, dancing, and Mi Cherie Amour in between. For the most part, I was really hooked and I enjoyed it, particularly thanks to Russell’s writing of the two characters. However, it can’t help but remind us at the end of the film, that it was still a rom-com after all. I could have done without the dolly pan near the end nor the contrived dance scoring. Among the two simultaneous stories though, I prefer the dancing one more than the football. With that said, I’m still a big fan of the film. It was a good character study of two engaging characters that I could also have lived without the other characters popping every now and then, and even if it just focused on Lawrence and Cooper, I’d still buy it. Jennifer Lawrence is the Oscar frontrunner for Best Actress for this performance, and she is, indeed, memorable here and there’s a lot of Oscar clips they can choose from. As a stand alone performance (and not the competition), I wouldn’t be upset if she wins the Oscar this year. However, I wish more attention was given to Bradley Cooper as I find him equally (if not better) here, and while it’s up against President Lincoln, his is one of my favorite film performance this year. This is probably one of the few films in the group that I think I will see again. 4/5

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Inglourious Basterds is probably in my three favorite Tarantino films, so expectations were quite high with this one, but nevertheless, Tarantino succeeds in coming up with an enjoyable take on a film whose main theme is slavery. The violence is prevalent more than ever, and can I just say how much I love the techs here. Quentin’s strongest suit lies with his writing interesting characters to watch and he has a lot of those in here. Ironically though, despite the 2 hour 40 minute screentime, it still somehow feels incomplete or a bit rushed. It occurred to me that he still has some things he’d like to polish or add but they’re probably rushing for Oscar season. I just mentioned that Tarantino has a knack of writing interesting characters, and the two that takes the cake for me are Christoph Waltz and Leonardo di Caprio. I don’t pretty much get the Waltz is playing the same role argument, because while I love Hans Landa, it’s not as if he’s the same here. di Caprio was probably the one who expanded the most in terms of approach and I would have been fine if this was his Oscar winning role (which sadly won’t be because he wasn’t even friggin nominated). Jamie Foxx was restrained here (which is good in my book), but felt quite blah-ish at times. But this was still a fun treat from start to end, though I’d understand if you ahve some reservations with the long screentime. 4/5

Director: Steven Spielberg

The last Steven Spielberg film that I thoroughly enjoyed was way back in 2005 with the Oscar nominated Munich. But alas, after seven years, Spielberg comes back with a film that will doubt those naysayers that he can’t come up with a great film anymore via this year’s Lincoln. The movie, which was the most nominated this year with 12, focused on the process of passing the Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution which focused on the abolishing of slavery and involuntary servitude. This is probably one of the more important films in the line up, but the credit doesn’t go to a sole person. If anything, this film was one of the best collaborations this year. Tony Kushner’s script might come off as wordy, but it was one of the film’s strength. That meshed well with Spielberg’s direction of the movie.  And boy Daniel Day Lewis was magnificent in this. All talks of a possible third Oscar is really warranted. In the movie, he defied all the criticisms about him being a character actor that’s dependent on showy hammy approach. If there’s a performance that will win a deserved third lead Oscar, it’s his Lincoln’s. 4.5/5

Director: Ben Affleck

Well I already did a review about this, but this is one of my favorite films of the year. While I was already sold with Ben Affleck the director way back in 2007’s Gone Baby Gone, it’s only in this that he made a movie that even casual fans can really appreciate. Well for one, the story is really too good to be true, but given that, I don’t know anyone who wasn’t tensed during the climax airport scene. I still think that there’s artistic license inserted in that part to make it more interesting, but for the most part, it was a solid thriller that was cleverly written by Chris Terrio and tightly directed by Ben Affleck. The film’s strongest aspect is showing that Hollywood, amidst the glitz and glamour, is still in touch with the country and a part of the whole US community. Like what I mentioned in my earlier review, “It is safe to say that Argo is one of the best thrillers of the past few years, and it certainly deserves that distinction. If anything, this is a solid impressive film that benefits from a lot of good characteristics that mix together. That’s enough to be considered as one of the best pictures of the year.” 4.5/5

Director: Ang Lee

Probably the ultimate visual treat of the year, Ang Lee’s Life of Pi is one of the films that made me cry this year. For a novel that was deemed as “unfilmable”, Lee managed to do more than just film it, but deliver a heart-wrenching story that does not dictate you with what to believe but gives you the freedom to discover it for yourself. I’m in awe of these directors that managed to use the 3D format not for solely ticket sales, but as an integral part of bringing the experience more spectacular to its viewers. Rarely do we use the 3D format in a necessary format and I think before this, only Martin Scorsese’s Hugo and to a certain extent, James Cameron’s Avatar as the more successful ones. But past the 3D efforts, it also managed to convey this story of someone off to discover more about survival and faith without being preachy and being dictated on what to act or how to feel. Life of Pi is actually the opposite of that. It gives you the option to feel and understand and internalize it for yourself, and the credit mostly goes to Ang Lee’s concrete vision. Indeed, it’s one film I’ll recommend you to go straight to the theaters as downloading it won’t give it justice. 5/5

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

On the outside, Zero Dark Thirty can easily be identified as the film that shows the killing of Osama bin Laden. But then again, it was more than that. It was simply not only about that. And that’s what I like the most about this. Bigelow’s follow up to 2009 Best Picture The Hurt Locker is something that even surpasses it, in my opinion. For the most part in the film, it follows a procedural format of what transpired. But it was just never bombing left and right, and I’d even say there are more quiet moments in the film. And in those quiet moments is where the best parts happen. It is where the room is opened for the viewer to take in what’s happening and what’s about to happen. The team up of Mark Boal as the screenwriter and Kathryn Bigelow as the director hit aces once again, and while most of the fouls were directed towards Ben Affleck being snubbed, Bigelow was indeed snubbed as well, and it is such a crime (though she can look at her Best Director Oscar at home if she wants to). And can we spare a moment to talk about how Jessica Chastain totally nailed this role. As Maya, you can see the enthusiasm that she puts into this character and how she’s more focused on portraying it as part of the bigger picture and not as an acting vehicle. So when the final scene sets in, that’s when she all lets loose and that moment was really golden. Definitely a must see! 5/5

Director: Michael Haneke

Definitely my favorite from this bunch is the surprise (or was it actually surprising?) inclusion of Palme d’Or winner Amour in the Best Picture line up. Michael Haneke’s take on a specific old couple where in the wife, Anne, was just waiting for her final days. If some of the films here are what I instantly recommend, I don’t think this belongs to that group. Haneke’s take on undying love is something that is not of the conventional, and in the shallowest way, one can see it in the form of “in pain, there is love.” The movie was mostly quiet, and we’re just confined to Georges and Anne’s house, but it helped in defining an environment of what happens from the most external (their day to day activities) up to the internal (their relationship with each other). And wow at the performances of both Jean Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva. By the near climax part, I was already sobbing.  If there was only a way to nominate them both, it would have been better. The love for Amour (no pun intended) is one of the sweetest surprises in this year’s Academy Awards nominations, and I’d be happy if it gets even three trophies this year. I’d always say that it Haneke finally decides to stop doing filmmaking after this, then I’d be alright with that as it’s one helluva way to close his filmography. 5/5

Whew that was pretty long! Anyway, that’s it! That would have been how my Oscar ballot would look like. How many have you seen so far? And how would you rank the contenders? Write them in the Comments section below!

And as always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl


Best Dressed List at the 70th Golden Globe Awards   1 comment

The 70th Golden Globe Awards were held earlier this day (here in Manila), and it was the kick off this awards season (because the BFCA sucked too much to be taken seriously). Sadly, the red carpet was a lot tamer this year in terms of red carpet dresses. Most were just safe and even those best dressed have already shown better looks during their past Golden Globe appearances. With that said, here are the fourteen looks that rocked the red carpet. You can

You can also click the photos for them to look bigger. (Photos courtesy of justjared and Yahoo!)

jennifer lawrence

14. JENNIFER LAWRENCE in Dior Haute Couture

The Silver Linings Playbook Best Actress winner started her journey to the Oscar with this red Dior Haute Couture dress that she embellished with a thin belt to further emphasize both her waist and her cleavage.

jessica alba

13. JESSICA ALBA in Oscar dela Renta

Although Jessica Alba’s dress looks quite similar to the color of J.Law’s, they’re actually different. Alba mixed both old and new Hollywood in this dress especially with that attention grabbing necklace, though we could have lived without that feather duster purse.

taylor swift

12. TAYLOR SWIFT in Donna Karan Atelier

Swift did great on her Golden Globe debut with this violet Donna Karan dress that she wore at last night’s event. It was too light for the Oscars and too formal for the Grammys, and she successfully got the right mood for some Globes partying. Now if she can only work on her bitchface mode when Adele won…

hayden panettiere

11. HAYDEN PANETTIERE in Roberto Cavalli

Golden Globe nominee Hayden Panettiere was at her best red carpet look evah as she steps out of this ethereal white Roberto Cavalli creation that she finally looked like she’s dressing her age and that she’s comfortable with it.

jennifer lopez

10. JENNIFER LOPEZ in Zuhair Murad

J.Lo still proved that age is nothing but a number as she steps out of this nude Zuhair Murad that perfectly embraced her curvaceous body. Definitely a photogenic dress that gets plus points for the woman wearing it.

sarah hyland

09. SARAH HYLAND in Max Azria Atelier

Though Modern Family went 0/3 at last night’s show, star Sarah Hyland was a stunner in this black Max Azria creation that made her look mature but still having fun look.

claire danes

08. CLAIRE DANES in Versace

Wow. Who knew that just a month ago, Danes just gave birth to her new born baby boy. This red hot Versace gown is the perfect comeback for a new mommy like Danes.

anne hathaway

07. ANNE HATHAWAY in Chanel

While Hathaway is one of best dressed actresses of her generation, this was a bit of  a letdown especially since her last Globe appearance in 2011 was my top look of that year. This year though, she went with a safe but every inch regal in a white Chanel piece that looks a bit like a wedding gown.

naomi watts

06. NAOMI WATTS in Zac Posen

Best Actress nominee Naomi Watts probably looks too covered in this cherry red Zac Posen gown, but all it needs is one look at the back that showed her flawless tsunami-free skin.

sally field

05. SALLY FIELD in Alberta Ferretti

It’s good to see when acctresses who are already in their 60s still strut to the world how fabulous they look. That’s what Sally Field did when she donned up this blue Alberta Ferretti gown which was a breath of fresh air from her usual black short dresses.

megan fox

04. MEGAN FOX in Dolce & Gabbana

Motherhood has its way of showing the natural beauty in everyone. That seems to catch up on first time mom Megan Fox as she showed up looking pretty in this Dolce & Gabbana creation that gives her this simple but stunning look.

marion cotillard

03. MARION COTILLARD in Christian Dior

Speaking of natural beauty, my God can Marion Cotillard look any prettier than this one. The Best Actress nominee, who was simple in Dior which she matched with same colored pumps, can pass off as a 20 year old woman here. Une jolie femme!

miranda kerr

02. MIRANDA KERR in Zuhair Murad

Kerr is certainly no actress, but the red carpet is definitely her territory. And boy does she rule in it! This red Zuhair Murad creation gives her part sexy, part flirty, but whole goddess look.

nicole kidman

01. NICOLE KIDMAN in Alexander McQueen

She might not have won any Globes that night, but she’s clearly the red carpet winner. Kidman is still on top of the fashion list in this Alexander McQueen gown which she fits like a glove. And check out that see through middle part. Not only that but Kidman seems to be the last few actresses we have whose posture in the red carpet is perfection (along with Cate Blanchett, Penelope Cruz, and Charlize Theron). I particularly like the shorter hair as well, as it’s different from her usual long blonde hair.

Who are your fashion picks last night? Pipe them in below at the comments!

And as always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

70th Golden Globe Awards Winner Predictions   4 comments

One and a half days from now, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association will hand out their winners for the Golden Globe Awards. As far as awards season surprises go, nothing tops the snubs after the Oscar nomination announcement, but let’s see what the HFPA chooses as their winners on their 70th year. I still argue that the Globes are the most fun awards night as everyone is just drunk and you have both movie and TV stars in the same room with overflowing wine and chocolates. Anyway, this year’s Globes is also more exciting because we have the funny duo of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler doing the hosting stint. Let’s go with the predictions:

pic drama

Best Motion Picture, Drama
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty

PREDICTION: Argo. This Hollywood drama seems to be the HFPA cup of tea especially since voting was done prior to the Oscar nomination reveal.

ALTERNATE: Lincoln. The star power in this biopic might be too hard to resist for the voters.

film actor drama

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
Daniel Day Lewis, “Lincoln”
Richard Gere, “Arbitrage”
John Hawkes, “The Sessions”
Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”
Denzel Washington, “Flight

PREDICTION: Daniel Day Lewis, “Lincoln”. Oscar frontrunner who’s playing Abraham Lincoln. Instant win. It’s also the perfect moment to hear his delayed 2007 speech.

ALTERNATE: Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”. If the voters are gunning for controversy, why not embarrass Phoenix live to do something he’s not a fan of.

film actress drama

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama
Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”
Marion Cotillard, “Rust and Bone”
Helen Mirren, “Hitchcock”
Naomi Watts, “The Impossible”
Rachel Weisz, “The Deep Blue Sea”

PREDICTION: Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty.” Baity role plus being the only performance coming from a Globe nominated movie.

ALTERNATE: Naomi Watts, “The Impossible”. Actors vocal support can overcome the deafening buzz this performance has received the past few weeks.

pic musical comedy

Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Les Miserables
Moonrise Kingdom
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
The Silver Linings Playbook

PREDICTION: Les Miserables. Biggest musical of the year that HFPA will ignore the not so good reviews. This one’s made for the Globes y’all. Every now and then, the Globes will give win to musicals to further prove the purpose of the MUSICAL/Comedy category.

ALTERNATE: The Silver Linings Playbook. Depends where Harvey ended with their talk prior to the actual votation.

film actor musical comedy

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Jack Black, “Bernie”
Bradley Cooper, “The Silver Linings Playbook”
Hugh Jackman, “Les Miserables”
Ewan McGregor, “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”
Bill Murray, “Hyde Park on Hudson”

PREDICTION: Hugh Jackman, “Les Miserables”. One of the biggest celebrities in the world for his performance in one of the most well known musicals. I’d say Jackman wins by a hair over…

ALTERNATE: Bradley Cooper, “The Silver Linings Playbook”.  Would have been a shoo-in if Jackman was not in the conversation.

film actress musical comedy

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Emily Blunt, “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”
Judi Dench, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”
Jennifer Lawrence, “The Silver Linings Playbook”
Maggie Smith, “Quartet”
Meryl Streep, “Hope Springs”

PREDICTION: Jennifer Lawrence, “The Silver Linings Playbook”. Oscar frontrunner and also for the good year she had both with this and the Hunger Games.

ALTERNATE: Meryl Streep, “Hope Springs”. The category is that weak.

film supp actor

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Alan Arkin, “Argo”
Leonardo di Caprio, “Django Unchained”
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”
Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”
Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained”

PREDICTION: Leonardo di Caprio, “Django Unchained”. During the votation period, di Caprio was still a possibility. He’s the biggest celeb in this batch and OMG Actoring!

ALTERNATE: Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”. They haven’t rewarded this veteran in two decades. Comeback win!

film supp actress

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Amy Adams, “The Master”
Sally Field, “Lincoln”
Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables”
Helen Hunt, “The Sessions”
Nicole Kidman, “The Paperboy”

PREDICTION: Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables”.  She is already a lock. This is just one of her stops on the way to the Oscah.

ALTERNATE: Sally Field, “Lincoln”. They haven’t rewarded this veteran in two decades. Comeback win!

film director

Best Director
Ben Affleck, “Argo”
Katheryn Bigelow, “Zero Dark Thirty”
Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”
Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”
Quentin Tarantino, “Django Unchained”

PREDICTION: Ben Affleck, “Argo”. An actor doing a well reviewed social relevant movie? Double bingo.

ALTERNATE: Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”. In case they went ‘aww‘ by the total technical achievements of the movie.

film screenplay

Best Screenplay, Motion Picture
Django Unchained
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

PREDICTION: Lincoln. One of the most rewarded and praised parts of the movie. Probable place to reward it if it won’t win Best Picture or Director.

ALTERNATE: Silver Linings Playbook. All in one trophy for David O. Russell’s directing and writing of this book adaptation.

film foreign language

Best Foreign Language Film
Amour (Austria)
A Royal Affair 
The Intouchables 
Rust and Bone 

PREDICTION: Amour (Austria). Oscar frontrunner and one of the best well received foreign films of the year.

ALTERNATE: Kon-Tiki (Norway/UK/Denmark). In a battle of the two Harvey funded campaigns, I’ll go with the one that got nominated for an Oscar.

film animated

Best Animated Feature Film
Hotel Transylvannia
Rise of the Guardians
Wreck it Ralph

PREDICTION: Wreck it Ralph. The best received film of the year both by critics and the viewing public.

ALTERNATE: Frankenweenie. Just in case Tim Burton’s film might be appealing for them.

Best Original Song, Motion Picture
“For You” (Act of Valor)
No Running Anymore” (Stand Up Guys)
“Safe and Sound” (The Hunger Games)
“Skyfall” (Skyfall)
“Suddenly” (Les Miserables)

PREDICTION: “Skyfall” (Skyfall). HFPA won’t prevent themselves upon joining the bandwagon and have Adele rock a speech there.

ALTERNATE: “Safe and Sound” (The Hunger Games). This is Taylor Swift we’re talking about. Hello ratings boost.


tv drama

Best TV Series, Drama
Boardwalk Empire
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
The Newsroom

PREDICTION: Homeland.  With no new breakout show or Mad Men in the mixan easy repeat win for Emmy’s best drama series.

ALTERNATE: Downton Abbey. It won in the Miniseries category last year. Sometimes, the HFPA wants to emphasize the word Foreign in it.

tv actor drama

Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama
Steve Buscemi, “Boardwalk Empire”
Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”
Jeff Daniels, ‘The Newsroom”
Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”
Damian Lewis, “Homeland”

PREDICTION: Damian Lewis, “Homeland”. Since he did not win last year, this can be an easy win for him.

ALTERNATE: Jeff Daniels, ‘The Newsroom”. The Globes love their newbies very much.

tv actress drama

Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama
Connie Britton, Nashville
Glenn Close, Damages
Claire Danes, Homeland
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife

PREDICTION: Claire Danes, Homeland. This is the type of performances that Globes go gaga for. The last time they fell in love with a TV character, it was with Carrie Bradshaw. Is there a new Carrie next in line?

ALTERNATE: Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey. Sometimes the Globes just love to reward the hart of the ensemble.

tv musical or comedy

Best TV Series, Comedy
The Big Bang Theory
Modern Family
PREDICTION: Modern Family.  Since the show has just received its first win in this category last year, a consecutive win would not be overkill.
ALTERNATE: Girls. If the Globes felt the bets comedy is in cable, then here’s the it show they can go to.
tv actor musical comedy

Best Actor, TV Series Comedy
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Louis CK, Louie
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
PREDICTION: Louis CK, Louie.  The Globes might want to be the first to reward comedy’s current it-boy for his acting.

ALTERNATE: Don Cheadle, House of Lies. Cheadle is a movie star doing his stint in TV comedy. Star whores Globes can opt to go for the movie star.

tv actress comedy
Best Actress in a TV Series, Comedy
Zooey Deschanel, New Girl
Lena Dunham, Girls
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Julia Louis Dreyfus, Veep
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
PREDICTION: Julia Louis Dreyfus, Veep. Current Emmy champ Julia Louis Dreyfus can easily see a repeat win here especially since she’s up against the women whom she was co-nominated at the Emmys.
ALTERNATE: Lena Dunham, Girls. The Globes might want to be the first to reward comedy’s current it-girl.
tv movie miniseries
Best TV Movie or Miniseries
Game Change
The Girl
Hatfields & McCoys
The Hour
Political Animals
PREDICTION: Game Change. The Tom Hanks-produce HBO drama is also the Globes most nominated miniseries this year. Easy victory.
ALTERNATE: Hatfields & McCoys. History’s record breaking minsieries in terms of ratings might be a hit to the HFPA members as well.
tv movie mini actor
Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie
Kevin Costner, “Hatfields & McCoys”
Benedict Cumberbatch, “Sherlock”
Woody Harrelson, “Game Change”
Toby Jones, “The Girl”
Clive Owen, “Hemingway & Gellhorn”
PREDICTION: Kevin Costner, “Hatfields & McCoys”. This movie star hasn’t been rewarded for his acting yet, and this can be the perfect venue to do a catch up.
ALTERNATE: Clive Owen, “Hemingway & Gellhorn”.  Owen is a past Globe winner who’s playing Ernest Hemingway. Might be too baity for voters to resist.
tv movie mini actress
Best Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie
Nicole Kidman, “Hemingway & Gellhorn”
Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story: Asylum”
Sienna Miller, “The Girl”
Julianne Moore, “Game Change”
Sigourney Weaver, “Political Animals”
PREDICTION: Nicole Kidman, “Hemingway & Gellhorn”. Between her two nominations and her reputation as an HFPA favorite, Nicole Kidman might snatch this win from the group that clearly loves her.
ALTERNATE: Julianne Moore, “Game Change”. Or they can stick with this Emmy winner who played one of the most famous personalities during the past few years.
tv supporting actor
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series or TV Movie
Max Greenfield, New Girl
Ed Harris, Game Change
Danny Huston, Magic City
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
PREDICTION: Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family. No Modern Family star has won yet, and the Globes might play catch up to the actor whom they’ve nominated for the past three years.
ALTERNATE: Mandy Patinkin, Homeland. I can see him clearly winning but I don’t think Homeland can go 4/4 in an awards show like this one. Definitely in the running though.
tv supporting actress
Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries, or TV Movie
Hayden Panettiere, Nashville
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
Sarah Paulson, Game Change
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
PREDICTION: Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey. For her two time Emmy winning performance, she can easily win here. Oh and for Quartet. And The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. 
ALTERNATE: Hayden Panettiere, Nashville. The Globes love ’em hot young stars. She totally fits the bill in case they feel Smith won’t be there to receive her award.
That’s it! How about you? Who are you predicting to win the shiny Globes on Sunday? Pipe them in below!
As always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl


10 Things You Need to Know About the 85th Academy Awards Nominations   4 comments

Hey everybody! How are you all doing? So yeah, Pandora’s box was finally opened as Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone unveiled the nominees for this year’s Academy Awards. For now, I’m still nursing a heartbreak due to Nicole Kidman’s snub, but then again, so are many of the supposed to be contenders. My predictions this year were just okay getting more or less 3-4 of the nominees per category (except for my 2/5 in Song and 1/3 in Make Up), but I have no 5/5 prediction for this year. Sucks to be me I guess. And by this moment, I’m wondering if you’re still reading this or you just closed the window already because what the hell am I still talking about when I can’t even get my predictions right. But so is the rest of the predictors as this has been one of the shocking years in terms of actual nominees. Anyway here  are ten things you need to know about the 85th Academy Awards Nominees:



2007 Best Supporting Actress winner Tilda Swinton was shafted at the final minute last year despite getting BFCA, Globe, SAG, nad BAFTA nods for her turn as the mother in We Need to Talk About Kevin. It was the first time in awards prognostication history where in a performance hit all precursor noms only to miss in the end (likely, for Rooney Mara). That seems to be the exception to the case though. However, this year, a similar occurrence happened to (incidentally) 2007 Best Actress winner Marion Cotillard who received the same precursor support for her performance in Rust and Bone only to miss again. Mind you, both of these actresses have churned out some of the best post-Oscar resumes in history and they have been shafted countless times since their win. Swinton had Julia in 2009, I Am Love in 2010, and Kevin in 2011. Cotillard had Nine in 2009, Inception in 2010, and even in BP nominee Midnight in Paris last year. What does it take for these gorgeous women to be called back again for another nomination? Hmm.



While one Snow White themed movie Blancanieves failed to connect with the Foreign Language voters, there are two other Snow White films which are in contention…for the same category. Colleen Atwood was nominated for Snow White and the Huntsman while Mirror Mirror‘s Eiko Ishioka was the other one in competition. While there’s a large possibility that both designers will lose to Jacqueline Duran for Anna Karenina, can we do a write in vote that says Snow White is the most fashionable fairy tale character? Yes?



One movie that received a lot of amour (that means Love if you still don’t get it by now) is Michael Haneke’s Amour receiving four major nods this year for Picture, Directing, Lead Actress for Emmanuelle Riva, and Original Screenplay together with a Foreign Language Film nod. While the possibility of the film making it to all those categories is not far fetched, it’s still unbelievable that voters went all the way to give it nods for such. This is the first film since 2000′ s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to make it both to best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film, and the consecutive Palme d’or winner to be Best Picture nominated after last year’s Tree of Life. Of course, there are others that even won such as 1957’s Marty but what I’m referring here is back to back nods.



Best Director is the biggest fuckery this year (and probably ever?), as both Ben Affleck and Katheryn Bigelow were snubbed after hitting BFCA, Globes, DGA, and BAFTA nods (plus critics prizes for both of them). Who replaced them? Benh Zeitlin of Beasts of the Southern Wild, and to a lesser extent, David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook. While I was over the moon happy about Haneke getting in (which there was a really huge probability of happening especially with the BAFTA Director nod, and he was always in fifth place), but this category just felt weird with no Affleck and Bigelow in it especially since they’d probably be winning the televised awards. To be fair though, both Argo and Zero Dark Thirty are in a good company with the likes of The Color PurpleSense and SensibilityMoulin Rouge!The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and Inception who all received Best Picture mentions without their helmers getting the nod.



Since the 60s, it has been a tradition of the Academy to have its current president together with a past Oscar acting nominee to present the nominations. It was a in a formal manner where the ten major categories are announced and the names of the nominees were alphabetically one by one mentioned starting from Best Supporting Actress up to Best Picture. However, for this year, we got host Seth MacFarlane and still Oscarless actress Emma Stone to do the presentation job and boy was it the best announcement evah. Starting from Stone’s fake entrance as if she was called to win an award to the Hitler joke in between up to Bryan Cranston’s teeth, this was such a breath of fresh air in terms of announcing. Not only that, but names were randomly announced too that adds the pleasure of the prediction process. If this is an indication of MacFarlane’s hosting stint, then count me in.



Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the James Bond franchise, Skyfall was the first Bond movie in 31 years to receive nominations in any Oscar category. Add to that is the fact that it got five(!) nods for Cinematography, Original Score, Original Song  (for Adele’s Skyfall), Sound Mixing and Sound Editing, and it becomes the most nominated Bond movie ever. As for a quick Bond history with Oscar, prior to Skyfall, there have been only nine nominations since its inception winning two; one is for Goldfinger in Sound Effects in 1965 and a Visual Effects win for Thunderball the following year. The last nomination though was in 1981 in the Original Song category for For Your Eyes Only from the Bond movie of the same title.

silver linings playbook


Four acting nominations for a film is really possible within the Academy. In the past few years, Chicago and Doubt managed to achieve that feat. However, it’s more interesting when the four acting noms came from the four acting categories. After 31 years, Silver Linings Playbook becomes the 14th movie in Oscar history to grab nods for the four acting categories for its stars Bradley Cooper (Lead Actor), Jennifer Lawrence (Lead Actress), Robert de Niro (Supporting Actor), and Jackie Weaver (Supporting Actress). There’s a huge possibility that with this, SLP is expected to win at least one acting trophy (as per history), and our bet is on Jennifer Lawrence to take Best Actress. From the thirteen prior films that managed this feat, only two went Oscarless in all four acting categories: My Man Godfrey in 1936, and Sunset Boulevard in 1950.

riva wallis


Presenter Emma Stone already mentioned this yesterday, but for Best Actress, a record was made when we had the oldest and the youngest Best Actress nominees ever and they happened to be competing with each other. French actress Emmanuelle Riva, currently at 85 (though her birthday will exactly be on the Oscar telecast), becomes the oldest Best Actress nominee ever for her turn as the wife in Amour. Previous title holder was 1989 winner Jessica Tandy for Driving Miss Daisy who was 80 when she was nominated and won the Oscar. On the other hand, the youngest now is Quvenzhane Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild who was nominated at the age of 9. It’s pretty fascinating to learn that while shooting the movie, Wallis was just 7. She beats previous record holder, 2003’s Keisha Castle Hughes, who was nominated for Whale Rider at the age of 13. Moreover, co-nominee Jennifer Lawrence became the youngest actress to receive two Best Actress nods by the age of 22.



If you’re an aspiring Hollywood writer, there’s no better person to write a screenplay for than Joseph Gordon Levitt. Maybe it’s because of his immense talent, or he really has just a knack for interesting stories, but for the past four years, Joseph Gordon Levitt has made films whose screenplays always receive Oscar buzz particularly in the Original Screenplay category. However, there always seems to be a hurdle at this. The buzz is there, but the nod is not. In 2009, his 500 Days of Summer despite getting WGA and NBR wins failed to make it to the final list. The same can be said for his cancer movie last year 50-50. And despite getting critics nominations and a WGA nod again, Looper also failed to make it to the final line up. You know what the exception was? The one film he starred that nabbed an Original Screenplay nom is the one where he was in supporting… Christopher Nolan’s Inception.

amy adams


In a span of eight years, Amy Adams has already received four Supporting Actress Oscar nominations for 2005’s Junebug, 2008’s Doubt, 2010’s The Fighter, and this year again for her role in The Master. Pretty impressive achievement I must admit. However, with no such luck, she still wasn’t able to snatch an Oscar of her own for the four performances (yes, four, because Anne Hathaway has that thing locked up). Now while it’s an achievement of its own, I fear for dear Amy, sweet Amy, that she’ll belong to the list of voters just want to nominate but not win. After all, eight years is pretty quick to gain 4 Oscar nods (Julianne Moore got 4 in five years), what lies for her future Oscar chances? Among all actresses, Thelma Ritter, Deborrah Kerr, Glenn Close (the only one left still alive) hold the record for most nominations without winning (6), followed by Irene Dunner (also gone now) with five. From those living, Adams is currently in the same page as Annette Bening, Jane Alexander, Marsha Mason, and Julianne Moore that can still win despite four losses while Rosalind Russell and Barbara Stanwyck are the other four time Oscarless winners who were already departed. Here’s wishing the next time Amy Adams get nominated, she’ll finally win.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

85th Oscars: Acting Class of 2012   Leave a comment

Yeah, lots of surprises, but here are this year’s acting nominee recipients.

2012 yearbook


BRADLEY COOPER |as Pat Solitano in Silver Linings Playbook  | 1st nomination
DANIEL DAY LEWIS | as President Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln| 5th nomination, 2 wins
HUGH JACKMAN | as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables | 1st nomination
JOAQUIN PHOENIX | as Freddie Quell in The Master | 3rd nomination, 0 wins
DENZEL WASHINGTON | as Whip Whtaker in Flight | 6th nomination, 2 wins


JESSICA CHASTAIN | as Maya in Zero Dark Thirty | 2nd nomination, 0 wins
JENNIFER LAWRENCE | as Tiffany Maxwell in Silver Linings Playbook | 2nd nomination, 0 wins
EMMANUELLE RIVA | as Anne in Amour | 1st nomination
QUVENZHANE WALLIS | as Hushpuppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild | 1st nomination
NAOMI WATTS | as Maria Belon in The Impossible | 2nd nomination, 0 wins


ALAN ARKIN | as Lester Siegel in Argo| 4th nomination, 1 win
| as Pat Sr. Solitano in Silver Linings Playbook | 7th nomination, 2 wins
| as Lancaster Dodd in The Master | 4th nomination, 1 win
| as Thaddeus Stevens in Lincoln | 4th nomination, 1 win
| as Dr. King Schultz in Django Unchained | 2nd nomination, 1 win


AMY ADAMS | as Peggy Dodd in The Master | 4th nomination, 0 wins
| as Mary Todd Lincoln in Lincoln | 3rd nomination, 2 wins
| as Fantine in Les Miserables | 2nd nomination, 0 win
| as Cheryl Greene in The Sessions | 2nd nomination, 1 win
JACKIE WEAVER | as Dolores Solitano | 2nd nomination, 0 wins

Posted January 10, 2013 by Nicol Latayan in Uncategorized

85th Academy Awards Nominations Predictions   14 comments


After months and months of predicting, it all boils down to this. Tomorrow, we’d figure out who the 85th batch of nominees for Hollywood’s top film awards were. This year has been pretty weird with the early announcement date, so precursors can be hit or miss this year. So before host Seth MacFarlane and the lovely Emma Stone mention the nominations tomorrow, here are my predictions on whose names will be called. For the record, I’ll be putting my sixth choice in a parenthesis just to see how coward am I in case the sixth spot eventually gets nominated (but I would not count it in my official tally score). Let’s start!

• Argo
• Beasts of the Southern Wild
• Django Unchained
• Les Miserables
• Life of Pi
• Lincoln
• Moonrise Kingdom
• Silver Linings Playbook
• Zero Dark Thirty

10th (but not predicted): The Impossible

For the second year in a row, we’d have the unsure number of Best Picture nominees in the top Oscar category. Last year, I predicted only seven though we got nine (and a surprising Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close) films all in all. As for this year, I’m sticking with nine films as well. Argo, Django, Les Mis, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver, and Thirty  are pretty safe bets and I won’t be surprised if it stops there. However, Beasts (while underperforming at the precursors) still got a PGA nod and Moonrise Kingdom with all the talent involved in it can easily land too. Both also benefits from the 5% rule. Lastly, if there’s a tenth spot this year, I’m thinking The Impossible gets in as it really resonates well with what Academy goes for: a sappy true to life fare that rekindles the faith in the human spirit.

• Ben Affleck, “Argo
• Katheryn Bigelow, “Zero Dark Thirty
• Ang Lee, “Life of Pi
• Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln
• Quentin Tarantino, “Django Unchained

Ain’t that fifth slot a bitch? Affleck, Bigelow, Lee, and Spielberg are sure bets now. And yes, despite the Spielberg BAFTA snub, it’s not as if they’re actually fond of him in the first place. The fifth slot I guess goes to Tarantino who, despite missing a DGA nod, got in for Globe and BAFTA. It’s a flashy work that voters might actually appreciate and be compelled to rank first. In sixth place, I’d probably go with Tom Hooper who got boosted by the DGA earlier in the day only to be shafted when his own BAFTAs dismissed him. Most of the negative crticisms re: Les Mis was pointing to the direction, and that will probably cost him the nod.

• Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook
• Daniel Day Lewis, “Lincoln
• John Hawkes, “The Sessions
• Hugh Jackman, “Les Miserables
• Denzel Washington, “Flight

Truth be told, aside from DDL, no one is safe. And I can see a scenario where each of the four remaining contenders miss. After all, there’s a viable contender with The Master‘s Joaquin Phoenix. But with no one really solid that can easily be eliminated, I guess it’s safe to stick with the SAG line up.

• Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty
• Marion Cotillard, “Rust and Bone
• Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook
• Helen Mirren, “Hitchcock
• Naomi Watts, “The Impossible

Chastain and Lawrence are locks here. Then I’m also confident with Helen Mirren here. After all, this is the type of performance and role that makes these Academy voting bloc’s wives relatable. Plus, she got in in 2009 with only GG + SAG, and she even had a stronger backbone now. I’m also confident about Naomi Watts. She’s really hitting the campaign trail like crazy, and had the likes of Reese Witherspoon publicly endorsing her. As for the last spot, I see it as a battle of the Frenchies. On one hand, one must not doubt Marion Cotillard. After all, she even had a better precursor run that Mirren and Watts. But then, you have Emmanuelle Riva who’s slowly gaining momentum despite Globe/SAG snubs. I really want to predict Riva, but there’s no one I can replace here, so I’d stick with Cotillard in my final line up.

• Alan Arkin, “Argo
• Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master
• Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln
• Ewan McGregor, “The Impossible
• Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained

And this is where gets messy. Hoffman, Jones, and Arkin are in hitting all the necessary precursors. di Caprio was the more buzzed Django contender on paper, but I see it as a The Departed scenario (woops another Leo film) where in two guys from the film got nommed for the Globes (Nicholson and Wahlberg) and both being snubbed at the SAG, then the lesser expected contender gets in at the Oscars. With that said, Waltz is stealing all of the thunder, and it’s enough for me to predict him. I just don’t see Leo getting in with solely a Globe nod. And while the logical fifth slot goes to a comeback Robert de Niro, this can also be room for a surprise contender, and with that I’m going with my NGNG prediction Ewan McGregor. in The ImpossibleI feel that voters might check both him and Watts easily especially since they got sappy Oscar clip moments in the movie. Anybody supporting Watts can easily list him for a nod as well.

• Amy Adams, “The Master
• Sally Field, “Lincoln
• Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables
• Helen Hunt, “The Sessions
• Nicole Kidman, “The Paperboy

The triumvirate of Hathaway, Hunt, and Field can sleep safe and sound for tomorrow. They’re easily in. I see Amy Adams going fourth place with her fourth nom (and loss) with The Master. Despite missing the SAG, she has built enough momentum for a filler nomination. Speaking of SAG, Maggie Smith was once supposed lock Smith seems to be the fluke nom this year when even BAFTA did not recognize her for such an Oscar baity role. You know who got the BAFTA nod? Judi Dench. But then again, Oscars have such a hard time recognizing anything major for the Bond series. I seriously would have wanted Ann Dowd to get in, but her film’s theme is something that’s uncomfortable for these conservative voters. In the end, I went with my mind (and mostly my heart) and predicted Nicole Kidman to close the category. Globe + SAG is enough for an Oscar winner and three time nominee like her to get in the final list.

• Michael Haneke, “Amour
• Quentin Tarantino, “Django Unchained
• Paul Thomas Anderson, “The Master
• Wes Anderson, “Moonrise Kingdom
• Mark Boal, “Zero Dark Thirty

This seems to be the final line up, but it breaks my heart that there exists such a Joseph Gordon Levitt curse in this category as his films probably always ended up in sixth place in this category like what happened in 2009 (500 Days of Summer), 2011 (50-50), and the same can be said this year for Looper. The only time his movie got in was in 2010 for Christopher Nolan’s Inception.

• Chris Terrio, “Argo
• Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin, “Beasts of the Southern Wild
• Tony Kushner, “Lincoln
• Stephen Chbowsky, “Perks of Being a Wallflower
• David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook

I’m taking a risk here with Perks of Being a Wallflower over Life of Pi. However, the writing branch isn’t as lazy as the others, and they might go and reward an author who successfully translated his own writing into another film thus giving him a nomination. If all else fails, then yeah, expect David Magee getting in here.

Amour  (Austria)
• The Intouchables  (France)
• A Royal Affair  (Denmark)
• Sister (Switzerland)
• War Witch (Canada)

Austria, France, Denmark, and Canada seems shoo-ins already. As for the last spot, I’m going with Switzerland’s entry Sister over the Chilean Gael Garcia Bernal starrer No.

• Brave
• Frankenweenie
• The Painting (La Tableau)
• The Rabbi’s Cat
• Wreck It Ralph

This category is one that embraces foreign films the most (after FLF duh), so I’m predicting the pair of La Tableau and The Rabbi’s Cat in the top five. I won’t be surprised to see Paranorman get in over one of the two though.

• The Gatekeepers
• How to Survive a Plague
• The Invisible War
• Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God
• Searching for Sugar Man

I just listed those that performed the best among the precursors to get nominated here. With that said, Bully can still get in here.

• Django Unchained
• Life of Pi
• Lincoln
• Skyfall
• Zero Dark Thirty

• Anna Karenina
• Django Unchained
• Les Miserables
• Lincoln
• A Royal Affair

• Argo
• Les Miserables
• Life of Pi
• Lincoln
• Zero Dark Thirty

• Les Miserables
• Lincoln
• Men in Black 3

• Anna Karenina
• Argo
• Life of Pi
• Lincoln
• Zero Dark Thirty

Ancora Qui (Django Unchained)
Learn Me Right (Brave)
Skyfall (Skyfall)
Still Alive (Paul Williams: Still Alive)
Suddenly (Les Miserables)

• Anna Karenina
• Argo
• Les Miserables
• Life of Pi
• Lincoln

• The Avengers
• The Dark Knight Rises
• Django Unchained
• Les Miserables
• Skyfall

• Les Miserables
• Life of Pi
• Lincoln
• Skyfall
• Zero Dark Thirty

• The Avengers
• The Dark Knight Rises
• The Hobbit
• Life of Pi
• Prometheus

The following categories, I have no idea what they are so I’m just picking random names out of the list.

• The Education of Mohamma Hossein
• Inocente
• Mondays at Racine
• Open Heart
• Paraiso

• Adam and Dog
• Dripped
• The Fall of the House of the Usher
• Maggie Simpson in the Longest Day Care
• Paperman

• Curfew
• Death of a Shadow
• Kiruna-Kigali
• The Night Shift Belongs to the Stars
• when you find me

13 – 
10 –  Les Miserables
8 – Django UnchainedLife of PiZero Dark Thirty
7 – Argo
4 – Silver Linings Playbook, Skyfall
3 – Anna KareninaThe Master
2 – Amour, The AvengersBeasts of the Southern Wild, Brave, The Dark Knight Rises, The Impossible, Moonrise Kingdom, A Royal Affair, The Sessions

That’s it! Who are you predicting tomorrow? Will McGregor pay off? Can Nicole Kidman finally get a fourth nod? How many Best Pic nominees do you think will there be? Pipe them in below!

And as always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

85th Oscar Master List Nomination Predictions   2 comments

The nominations for the 85th Academy Awards will be unveiled six days from now, and a lot of the precursors have already released their choices in Hollywood cinema for 2012. The first master list that I did last year went actually great. In the top 8 major categories I included last year, I had a 95% correct rate in the predictions missing only Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Max Von Sydow for Supporting Actor for the same movie. 

To clear things though, this is a master list of possible predictions meaning that these are the possible final contenders vying for each category. If you are joining any Oscar nomination prediction contest, then this is pretty much what you can use as a reference point. Also, I’ll be including those shortlists from the Academy in some of the technical categories. Here we go!




Beasts of the Southern Wild
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Django Unchained
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
The Master
Moonrise Kingdom
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

There’s a huge possibility that we’d get ten nominations for Best Picture this year, as there have been lots of passionate supporters of the movies we have in contention for the top honor. With that said, those who are safer are Argo, Django Unchained, Les Miserableles, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, and Zero Dark Thirty. Both Beasts of the Southern Wild and Moonrise Kingdom are safe bets, too, though they probably fit the likes of filler nominees. As for the rest, there’s a chance that we can hear them nominated but guilds aren’t too fond of Amour (let’s see how it catches up with other guilds), The Master (not even at the SAG and the art directions guild), and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (can be supported by the British bloc and the age correlation of Oscar voters).



Ben Affleck, Argo
Paul Thomas Anderson, The Master
Katheryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Tom Hooper, Les Miserables
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained

And it all boils down to eight. Affleck, Spielberg, and Bigelow are safe for now. Ang Lee seems to be a director’s favorite, as he’s rewarded with nominations for all his past Oscar efforts. He’d also be getting a DGA nomination and has won that twice so he ahs the support of his own guild. The last spot is somehow tricky. David O. Russell seems the likeliest fifth contender, especially for all his efforts in Silver Linings Playbook. Thanks to The Fighter, it’s now easier for him to throw his name in the game. Quentin Tarantino can also fill up the last spot, as most of his efforts (especially those with Oscar buzz) has specified out his direction. It’s also a flashy performance that can resonate well with voters. Then there’s also Tom Hooper. I really don’t think he’s out per se, though that Globe snub was a big miss. He pulled off the surprise win in 2010 both at the Oscar and the DGA, so he must really have fans within the Academy. Then Paul Thomas Anderson can still sneak in his way to a nod if he maintains a solid passion among voters ala Terrence Malick last year.

lead actors


Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day Lewis, Lincoln
Richard Gere, Arbitrage
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Jean Louis Trintignant, Amour
Denzel Washington, Flight

Technically, this is just a six way race for the nomination but before we shock ourselves with a Daniel Day Lewis sweep within the next few weeks, here’s a more interesting race to look at. Daniel Day Lewis is in. No questions about that. Then, I’d say Bradley Cooper is also in. He got all the necessary precursors, won a critics award, newbie nominee, and has Harvey Weinstein on his back. That’s as sure as one can get. The next few slots can be tricky, but here’s the way I see the race. Hugh Jackman is in third. Les Mis is a box office juggernaut now, and  its critical appeal is slowly rebuilding its momentum. Plus he’s like the most likable man in Hollywood now. Denzel Washington comes next. He’s a major Hollywood superstar in a comeback Oscar vehicle. Think of it as a sure but filler Oscar nomination. The last spot is between John Hawkes and Joaquin Phoenix. Hawkes plays an Oscar weakness role but is in a really small movie. Meanwhile, Joaquin is funded by Harvey but the nature of his role plus his utter bluntness about the whole Oscar fare can affect his chances. It’s really a battle. As for Richard Gere, congrats on your Globe nod, and Trintignant on your EFA win!

lead actress


Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Helen Mirren, Hitchcock
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts, The Impossible
Rachel Weisz, The Deep Blue Sea

Best Actress is also crowded this year. First, we have the frontrunners Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence. They’re in. No Matter what happens, they’re getting in. Next will probably be Naomi Watts and Marion Cotillard. Both are the flagship accolades that their movies can get and has hit all precursors so far. The fifth slot can be tricky and is between five women. Helen Mirren can get in especially since she only needed a Globe and SAG nod when she got nominated for The Last Station and she got the same nods now. Quvenzhane Wallis is one of the year’s biggest breakthrough talents, and if there’s really a Beasts following, then it’s hard to see her miss. Emmanuelle Riva has the LAFCA win behind her, but no other precursors. However, it had the likes of Nicole Kidman buzzing about her performance. Then we have Rachel Weisz too, who got a Globe nod along her NY critics win, so she’s still in the race as well.

supporting actor


Alan Arkin, Argo
Javier Bardem, Skyfall
Robert de Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Leonardo di Caprio, Django Unchained
Dwight Henry. Beasts of the Southern Wild
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

Now this is the most crowded major category for this year. I still think there’s room for a few more contenders that were not mentioned here, and I won’t be shocked if this will ruin (once again) my predicting skills this year. The only safe man here is Tommy Lee Jones. The rest can still miss though we’d have (in alphabetical order) Alan Arkin who was rewarded for a similar role so Oscar might not bother this time, Javier Bardem who was memorable in Skyfall but was rewarded for a far more iconic villain in this category  in 2007. Both Django Unchained guys can cancel themselves out especially in a crowded category like this. Hoffman is an actor’s actor, and he can get in even if the movie’s not a hit, but he can also cancel himself this year as The Master isn’t getting any support at all. de Niro also is a huge possibility, but with all the accolades focusing on lead stars Cooper and Lawrence, he might sit this one out as well. Lastly, Henry is the newbie we might be waiting here (since there’s always a newbie in the line up since the category’s inception), but he can also easily miss due to lack of precursor support for the performances in Beasts of the Southern Wild.

supporting actress


Amy Adams, The Master
Judi Dench, Skyfall
Ann Dowd, Compliance
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Nicole Kidman, The Paperboy
Maggie Smith, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Hathaway, Field, and Hunt are sure bets. There’s no way they’re missing for a nod this year. However, the last two spots can still be a race for five actresses. Amy Adams seems like a sure thing, but with a SAG miss this year, she haven’t had any past Oscar nom that translated despite a  SAG snub. This might be telling. Judi Dench can get a farewell nom for her Bond work, and this can also their way of recognizing her good year. But then again, Bond films doesn’t attract serious buzz within the Academy. Ann Dowd is slowly gaining momentum, but the nature of the film can hurt her the way it hurt Tilda Swinton last year despite getting all precursor nominations. Nicole Kidman got Globe + SAG nods, and while it’s actually a strong combo, the dislike of the film and her role in it can turn off some voters. Lastly, Maggie Smith got a SAG nod only in her name, but she’s Dame Maggie Smith, and that can be enough campaign for her… or not.

As for the rest of the race:

original screenplay


Django Unchained
The Intouchables
The Master
Moonrise Kingdom
Zero Dark Thirty

adapted screenplay


Beasts of the Southern Wild
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Les Miserables
Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Sessions
Silver Linings Playbook

animated feature


From the Poppy Hill
Hotel Transylvania
The Painting
The Pirates: Legend of the Misfits
The Rabbi’s Cat
Rise of the Guardians
Wreck it Ralph

foreign language film


Amour (Austria)
Beyond the Hills (Romania)
The Deep (Iceland)
The Intouchables (France)
Kon-tiki (Norway)
No (Chile)
A Royal Affair (Denmark)
Sister (Switzerland)
War Witch (Canada)


Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
Chasing Ice
5 Broken Cameras
The Gatekeepers
The House I Live In
How to Survive a Plague
The Imposter
The Invisible War
Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God
Searching for Sugar Man
This is Not a Film
The Waiting Room


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Miserables
Men in Black 3
Snow White and the Huntsman


The Amazing Spider-Man
Cloud Atlas
The Dark Knight Rises
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
John Carter
Life of Pi
Marvel’s The Avengers
Snow White and the Huntsman

As for my Oscar nominations predictions, they’ll be posted here on Tuesday. Happy Oscar predicting!

And as always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl