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89th Academy Awards Nominations Predictions   Leave a comment

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With months and months of speculations, all predictions will finally be decided upon as the Academy unveils its 89th Academy Awards nominations tomorrow night, Manila time. This season, just like the previous one, brought in lots of crazy moments as we progress the past few months. Frontrunners like Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, and Nate Parker’s Birth of a Nation both sizzled mid-way. Viola Davis competed in Supporting after talks of being in Lead a year before, and who knew that Mel Gibson can still do a Hollywood comeback after all these years? Anyway, here we go, I’ll share my predictions in all 24 Oscar categories.

BEST PICTURE

As you may know, Best Picture is a fluid category which can have as many as ten and as low as five nominees. We have a really strong triumvirate heading to Oscar season with Damien Chazelle’s LA-set musical La La Land, Kenneth Lonergan’s small drama Manchester by the Sea, and critically acclaimed Moonlight from Barry Jenkins. All three led the season in terms of critical acclaim and precursor performance. Consider three all set and locked in.

Next up, two films which really overperformed all season, overcoming doubts and possible barriers throughout their campaigns. The Amy Adams-starrer Arrival has managed to sweep both critics, audience, and guilds off its feet, beating possible “genre bias” against it. And despite all the behind the scene shenanigans over The Weinstein Company, Harvey Weinstein proves he still has it in him pushing Lion to a distant but comfortable fifth place spot.

And then it gets tricky. I’d say that Hell or High Water is sixth, with its whirlwind of a performance, getting remembered when it was very low-key, and getting snubbed for guilds when it started to pick up some steam. That said, I think it’s one of the few films that target the dude-bros/majority of the AMPAS membership so I think it’s safely in. next up are two POC led films whose sequel Hidden Fences has been repeated a lot this season (sadly, not in jest). Fences, directed and starred by Denzel Washington is a film adaptation of a Broadway winning play, while Hidden Figures, who defies box office expectation each week peaks at the right time during voting. While I won’t be surprised if one of these two gets snubbed (because these + Moonlight and Lion will mean half of the eight nominees are about POC and as much as Hollywood claims they are embracing, the past two years proved otherwise), I’m still sticking them both in and close my predictions at eight.

In the event that these surpass the eight, I think Mel Gibson’s sorta Hollywood comeback Hacksaw Ridge which surprisingly did well the last few weeks, can fill in the AMPAS membership quota targeted at old, white grandpas. After Clint Eastwood’s Sully sizzled, this can be their feel good movie of the year. Then there’s also Martin Scorsese’s opus Silence which was a victim of Paramount handling three strong films this season; thus coming really late to the party.

Predictions:
• Arrival
• Fences
• Hell or High Water
• Hidden Figures
• La La Land
• Lion
• Manchester by the Sea
• Moonlight

9th (but not predicted): Hacksaw Ridge
10th (but not predicted): Silence

BEST DIRECTOR

It’s really not safe to stick with the DGA five considering that the only time that happened was back in 2000. That said, the last time it also happened was a group of all first-time nominees, which also reflects this year’s batch. Well, it only becomes a problem when you consider that the biggest spoiler to this group is welp… another first timer. I think Damien Chazelle, Kenneth Lonergan, and Barry Jenkins are all safe here, while Denis Villeneuve strikes me as one who’ll finally get his welcome to the club mention. After all, his previous films have been slowly getting Oscar nominations, so it’s just a matter of time to finally get one for him. Last spot I see is between Garth Davis who pulled off that surprise DGA nod (over favorites such as Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, and Mel Gibson) or David Mackenzie (whose film did not submit for the DGAs.) Toss a coin to get your answer and mine right now says Garth Davis.

Predictions:

• Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
• Damien Chazelle, La La Land
• Garth Davis, Lion
• Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
• Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

SPOILER: David Mackenzie, Hell or High Water

BEST ACTOR

Casey Affleck is back nine years after receiving his first nod for The Assassination of Jesse James, but not only is he back as a nominee, moreso a frontrunner to win the Oscar this year for Manchester by the Sea. Two of his closest contenders include Denzel Washington, on his way to pick up his seventh career nod for his role in Fences and Golden Globe winner Ryan Gosling, the effortlessly charming pianist in La La Land, whose only Oscar nod was exactly a decade ago for Half Nelson. With two major films this year, more exposure can only help Andrew Garfield to finally include “Oscar nominee” before his name, but with Silence coming in too late in the game, all his previous mentions were for his role as the lead soldier in Hacksaw Ridge. The last spot can go to Joel Edgerton in Loving, or maybe a late gamechanger Jake Gyllenhaal for Nocturnal Animals, but I’d play safe and predict Viggo Mortensen for Captain Fantastic, as he has earned Globe, SAG, and BAFTA nods for this already.

PREDICTIONS:
• Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
• Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
• Ryan Gosling, La La Land
• Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
• Denzel Washington, Fences

SPOILER: Joel Edgerton, Loving

BEST ACTRESS

If we’re being diplomatic about it, it’s a “good” problem to not figure out the Best Actress lineup this year when it was the easiest to do so the last few years. That means great roles for women in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s have all been receiving great ink for their memorable performances. But for prediction’s sake, it’s still difficult to pin down how this category will be like. I guess we better start with Emma Stone then, as she’s probably the safest here and the likely recipient of this award come Oscar night. As much as we salivate over the possibility of a Portman snub (after those really career-best notices), it’s not gonna happen. Pencil Natalie’s turn as Jackie Kennedy another sure contender here. After that, I’m tempted to say Meryl Streep is third. This role, in another “transformative” performance is something the members of the Academy will eat up. Add the fact that her iconic Golden Globe speech came right during voting period just surely helps her more. Now this is where it gets tricky. I’d put Isabelle Huppert for Elle in fourth, and while I think it’s the pessimist in me talking, I’m still open to the idea of a possible snub. After all, it’s a movie that’s not a priority watch with an actress in her 60s carrying the film in one of the strongest years of this category. I really should comfort myself with the fact that she earned the critics trifecta, the Drama Globe upset, and SPC’s priority but I;m just preparing myself for the worst here. Then there’s Amy Adams, who’s some sort of a name-check but not in a Meryl or C/Kate level yet. This will be her sixth nod in 12 years and that ratio is good to predict her. That said, we had an extra week of voting which could help Annette Bening in the little and underseen 20th Century Women or Taraji p. Henson as the face of Hidden Figures to spoil the party, and in the event that happens, I’d say Adams is the first one good to go.

PREDICTIONS:
• Amy Adams, Arrival
• Isabelle Huppert, Elle
• Natalie Portman, Jackie
• Emma Stone, La La Land
• Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

SPOILER: Annette Bening, 20th Century Women

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Proving to be the category that provides the clusterfuck, Supporting Actor can either be as easy as 1-2-3 or as confusing as that Math lady meme we’ve all used by now. I feel like Moonlight‘s Mahershala Ali, Hell or High Water‘s Jeff Bridges, and Lion‘s Dev Patel are already sure locks here. Hugh Grant feels like it can go eitherway. He fits the bill of someone nabbing precursor nods only to come short in the end, but then he also fits the bill of a filler, carried over nod. But when the one who drags your nod is none other than Meryl Streep, then I guess he’s in too. Now that last spot is indeed very tricky. The obvious option is Golden Globe winner Aaron Taylor-Johnson who also picked up a BAFTA nod for his turn in Nocturnal Animals. If not him, then maybe Lucas Hedges of Manchester by the Sea. But then this is the category that has provided us Jonah Hill in Wolf of Wall Street and Tom Hardy for The Revenant, so a coattail is very much in talks here. Possible performances that fit the bill are Michael Shannon for Nocturnal Animals, Issei Ogata for Silence, and Ben Foster for Hell or High Water.

Predictions:
• Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
• Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
• Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins
• Dev Patel, Lion
• Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Nocturnal Animals

SPOILER: Ben Foster, Hell or High Water

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Probably the most “boring” of the four acting categories, this one seems like it’s set in stone. Davis, Harris, Kidman, and Williams have appeared in all precursors by far. Critics went for Lily Gladstone whose film isn’t even being campaigned. The BAFTAs went with Haley Squire of I, Daniel Blake which is the BAFTA-est pick they can go to at BAFTAs. Thus, it benefits Oscar winner Octavia Spencer who picked up GG and SAG nods for Hidden Figures. I don’t see a scenario of Greta Gerwig spoiling the race especially considering that her possible coattail Annette Bening is struggling to get hers too. Maybe Spencer’s co-star Janelle Monae is the only alternate here, as she’s helped by starring in both Hidden Figures and Moonlight. That said, Octavia is the more established name here, and a good narrative to boot as the first black actress to receive a nomination after her win.

Predictions:
• Viola Davis, Fences
• Naomie Harris, Moonlight
• Nicole Kidman, Lion
• Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
• Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

SPOILER: Janelle Monae, Hidden Figures

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Count on the Writer’s branch to revive the lesser buzzed films in contention this year, and I think The Lobster has that slot all filled up. Thus, as much as I, Daniel Blake makes sense as an Oscar morning surprise, I’ll stick with the consensus of La La Land, Manchester by the Sea, Hell or High Water, and Captain Fantastic in here.

Predictions:
• Captain Fantastic
• Hell or High Water
• La La Land
• The Lobster
• Manchester by the Sea

SPOILER: I, Daniel Blake

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Yes I’m predicting a Fences snub here which makes sense and doesn’t make sense simultaneously. First up, I think Moonlight, Lion, and Arrival are semi-locks here already. While Hidden Figures surprisingly got in a nice haul of Adapted Screenplay mentions from the BAFTAs to the WGA up to the USC Scripter and BFCAs. The last spot can easily go to Fences (which is the safe choice to be frank about it), or to Silence (which was once perceived as the frontrunner here). I went with Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals here instead because the baity adaptation can probably overcome the writers’ judgment of Ford being a writer.

Predictions:
• Arrival
• Hidden Figures
• Lion
• Moonlight
• Nocturnal Animals

SPOILER: Fences

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

I think at this stage it’s already hard to deny that Toni Erdmann is probably winning this one, so a nod is already assured for this FLF frontrunner. Denmark has a successful streak in this category this decade as well, and Land of Mine appeals to such an AMPAS demographic I think it’s getting in. Sweden’s A Man Called Ove strikes the perfect balance between comedy and drama, and is reminiscent of the other nominees in this category the past few years. Paradise is a bit of an  out of the box pick, but I guess they can’t resist another World War II film in contention from the Venice Best Director of last year. And the only reason I had The Salesman in here is because of Asghar Farhadi’s 2011 victory in this category that we’ve had some sort of reception already to his works. That said, don’t be surprise to see Xavier Dolan joining the race as this type of family melodrama and him working with a lot of Hollywood actors can certainly push him to a nom.

Predictions:
• Land of Mine (Denmark)
• A Man Called Ove (Sweden)
• Paradise (Russia)
• The Salesman (Iran)
• Toni Erdmann (Germany)

SPOILER: It’s Only the End of the World (Canada)

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Still ahead of this race is Zootopia which had both the critical and audience backing to be one to beat in this race. Hot on its heels though is Kubo and the Two Strings which has overperformed a tad during this previous guilds run. I actually can see a scenario of them pitting it as the non-Zootopia vote. With it hitting both the Foreign Language Film and Best Animated Film shortlist, I expect My Life as a Zucchini to at least nab one, and since I’m not predicting it in FLF, I’ll go ahead and insert it here. Moana, which was supposed to be a last minute challenger to Zootopia just fell short in the end and while its decent box office performance and pop culture impact push me to predict it, I won’t be surprised to see it get snubbed on Oscar morning.Lastly, The Red Turtle seems more of a personal preference than a prediction here, but we’ll be needing the traditional animated representative in this category and I’m leaning to it by a hair over the hit animated film Your Name.

Predictions:
• Kubo and the Two Strings
• Moana
• My Life as a Zucchini
• The Red Turtle
• Zootopia

SPOILER: Sing

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

At the start of the season, O.J.Made in America can suffer a bit of a backlash since its a seven hour documentary feature that originated from TV. But it seems like it has the support now to not only get nominated, but even go all the way to a win. Joining it willbe the foreign documentary Fire At Sea, two films that will probably speak close to the voters due to their “cinematic” themes: Cameraperson and Life, Animated. And in the race (no pun intended) for that last spot are two documentaries that tackle about race — Raoul Peck’s I Am Not Your Negro and Ava Duvernay’s 13th. The latter seems like one who’s bound for a snub so I’m going with the former.

Predictions:
• Cameraperson
• Fire At Sea
• I Am Not Your Negro
• Life, Animated
• O.J.: Made in America

SPOILER: 13th

Now as for the rest of the technical categories…

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
• Arrival
• La La Land
• Lion
• Moonlight
• Silence

SPOILER: Nocturnal Animals

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
• Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
• Florence Foster Jenkins
• Hail, Caesar!
• Jackie
• La La Land

SPOILER: The Dressmaker

BEST EDITING
• Arrival
• Hell or High Water
• La La Land
• Manchester by the Sea
• Moonlight

SPOILER: Lion

BEST HAIRSTYLING & MAKE UP
• Deadpool
• A Man Called Ove
• Star Trek Beyond

SPOILER: Florence Foster Jenkins

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
• The BFG
• Kubo and the Two Strings
• La La Land
• Lion
• Moonlight

SPOILER: Jackie

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
• “Audition” (La La Land)
• “Angel by the Wings” (The Eagle Huntress)
• “City of Stars” (La La Land)
• “How Far I’ll Go” (Moana)
• “A Minute to Breathe” (Before the Flood)

SPOILER:  “Drive It Like You Stole It” (Sing Street)

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
• Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
• Hail, Caesar!
• Jackie
• La La Land
• Silence

SPOILER: The Handmaiden

BEST SOUND EDITING
• Arrival
• Deepwater Horizon
• Hacksaw Ridge
• Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
• Sully

SPOILER: Hell or High Water

BEST SOUND MIXING
• Arrival
• Hacksaw Ridge
• La La Land
• Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
• Sully

SPOILER: Silence

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
• Arrival
• Doctor Strange
• Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
• The Jungle Book
• Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

SPOILER: Passengers

MULTIPLE NOMINATIONS:
13: La La Land
9: Arrival
8: Moonlight
7: Lion
6: Manchester by the Sea
4: Hell or High Water
3: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Fences, Florence Foster Jenkins, Hacksaw Ridge, Hidden Figures, Jackie, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
2: Captain Fantastic, Hail Caesar!, Kubo and the Two Strings, A Man Called Ove, Moana, Nocturnal Animals, Silence, Sully

89th Oscars Predictions: May Edition   2 comments

It’s that time of the year! As Cannes is currently going, here’s my first stab at predictions for the 89th Academy Awards. Ten years ago, The Departed won in the tightest Best Picture race (prior to the one early this year), Forest Whitaker and Helen Mirren steamrolled through critics and televised awards, an Idol reject named Jennifer Hudson took Oscar glory, and an overdue Martin Scorsese finally can call himself an Oscar winner.

This year, we might have Marty coming back again, the birth of a nation, Ang Lee at another shot to a Best Picture win, as well as Meryl Streep getting nod #20, and Oscar nominee Isabelle Huppert? Here’s my take on the top six races.

Picture

Directing

Actor

Actress

Supporting Actor

Supporting Actress

Talk to me about it on Twitter: @nikowl

86th Academy Awards Winner Predictions   Leave a comment

oscars_effects

So it has finally come to this. After months and months of prognosticating and some crazy stunts (Miranja van Blaricom, NOPRAH!, Alone Yet Not Alone), we’ve finally reached the final destination: Oscar night. This has been such a whirlwind of a season, and with only two days left before the ceremony, trust me when I say this is the most difficult season in a long time. I change my predictions every hour, but I need to come up with a consensus. So whether, it’s slaves, sweepstakes, sex, Sydney, Somalian pirates, Scarlett, Steve Coogan, smuggled drugs, or Sandra, here we go with this year’s batch of my final predictions.

final directing

DIRECTING:

While Best Picture is still up for grabs, this one is more likely a done deal now. Sweeping all the Directing awards this season (except for that flop Satellite awards), regardless of how Best Picture will end up, Alfonso Cuaron will likely win the gold man on Sunday. Because unlike Ben Affleck, Cuaron is actually nominated. Steve McQueen is probably a distant runner up since it’s another historic win just in case (the first for a black director), but then it’s all moot since Alfonso Cuaron has been previously Oscar nominated many times in the past, so this is just a coronation of some sort. Besides, say what youw ant about Gravity as a film, but the directing is just outstanding.

PREDICTION: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
ALTERNATE: Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave

final actor

LEAD ACTOR:

Alright, alright, alright. Sure he missed BAFTA, but who cares? Stars are lined up for him to win the Oscar on Sunday. Matthew McConaughey has the reviews, the Globe, the SAG, and the BFCA under his belt this season. The release of True Detective this season also gave McConaughey the free campaign to solidify his position in this race. The last two years have been very outstanding for this once rom-com mainstay, and his career turnaround is another reason why he’s winning. Add the fact that Dallas Buyers Club over-performed with the nominations which shows solid support from multiple branches. Christian Bale is the token past winner nominee this season, while Bruce Dern, despite his mega heavy campaign, can’t even muster a BFCA or Globe win. Chiwetel Ejiofor could have benefited from his BAFTA win, but the most it can do is position himself as the alternate. His chances really deteriorated with his Globe loss and he almost left empty handed this season. He still has that tiny teeny chance especially to passionate 12 Years a Slave fans who will vote it in all categories. As for Leonardo di Caprio, let’s just say his once runner up dark horse position isn’t even plausible anymore when he can’t even win BAFTA. He can use this as a narrative for his next nomination though. Bottom line is McConaughey is winning this now.

PREDICTION: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
ALTERNATE: Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave

final actress

LEAD ACTRESS:

Okay literally sweeping even the critics mentions, it’s not even worthy to talk long about it. Meryl thank God you won your third Oscar for Thatcher. Sandy, if you haven’t won for The Blind Side,  I’m pretty sure you’re the one sweeping now, but hey, you’re earning at least 70 million for Gravity so who cares about second Oscar (well Cate does?). Judi, honey, if you can’t even pull off the BAFTA win, then it’s toast now. But I’d love to see you attend the Oscars instead of watching Big Momma House in your hotel. And Amy, dear Amy, just be happy you finally escaped your way of the supporting categories. Congrats, your America’s Favorite Housewife no more. In short, Cate wins. The only thing exciting about it is how she’ll incorporate Woody in her speech (because she better right?).

PREDICTION: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
ALTERNATE: Amy Adams, American Hustle

final supp actor

SUPPORTING ACTOR:

Bradley Cooper and Jonah Hill, thanks for playing. But at least you validated your first Oscar nods and proved you’re no one hit fluke (here’s looking at you Keira Knightley!). Fassy, I don’t if you’re still butthurt by that Shame snub (I feel for you tho), but you’ll never ever win an Oscar if you don’t like to campaign. Even Mo’nique did an anti-campaign campaign back then. Barkhad Abdi won the BAFTA and benefited from Leto’s snub there, but like Ejiofor, all it does is put him in a solid alternate position. In the end, Jared Leto, like his co-star Matthew McConaughey, is unharmed by the BAFTA snub since he has amassed already a long distance in this race. Plus, his role is one that screams Oscar here, and it’s one that Academy still can’t get enough off in terms of rewarding.

PREDICTION: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
ALTERNATE: Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips

final supp actress

SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

And the hardest acting category to predict this year, this one can really go both way. There’s no real or wrong assessment since both frontrunners are almost on equal levels. But before that. let’s acknowledge the three other ladies. Julia Roberts is dead last here, but if anything. she’s still a winner for picking her fourth career Oscar nomination for the fourth different decade (Steel Magnolias in 89, Pretty Woman in 90,and Erin Brockovich in 2000. She joins the likes of Meryl Streep and Diane Keaton who achieved the same feat. It’s lovely to see Sally Hawkins get nominated, and while she;s great in here, I still consider this as a late sorry for her Happy Go Lucky snub. And god bless June Squibb, that even though she won’t be hearing her name on Sunday, has made a breakthrough for her career at this point in her life. Ultimatelt, it all boils down to Lupita Nyong’o vs. Jennifer Lawrence. On one hand, Lupita is the ingenue that this category loves to reward. She plays a character that is memorable, and she has won the BFCA and SAG award for this performance. She is the new red carpet darling that campaigned her ass off so much. In other open years, this would have been an easy sweep and road to the Oscar. However, one woman stands in the way between her and the Oscar: current Best Actress Jennifer Lawrence. Sure, Lawrence has won just last year and it’s hard to pull off back to back wins, but remember, if anyone in Hollywood can do it, its definitely her. She’s a critical and commercial darling who has achieved a lot in the last two years of her career. Think of Tom Hanks in 93 and 94. It’s not as if she’s sailing her way as well since she won NYFC, NSFC, and both the Globe and BAFTA. As you may know, Globe + BAFTA has been a reliable combo the past few years in open races such as this one (think of Christoph Waltz last year, Meryl Streep in 2011 (against Viola Davis SAG + BFCA, like Lupita’s), Marion Cotillard in 2007, and Nicole Kidman in 2002). Also, as Waltz proved, there is no recent when it comes to follow up acting wins if AMPAS wants to give you one. It is really interesting to note that the two instances that Lupita won the televised awards, American Hustle won the Ensemble category so Lawrence didn’t go home empty handed too. Then in awards shows with no ensemble awards, J.Law beats Lupita. And in her favor, American Hustle is such an actors’ movie picking up nominations in all acting categories, and only two times that a film achieved that without winning at least one (with the last one being in 1950s). Supporting Actress is the only open race and their chance to reward the film with an acting win. Since the BAFTA win, momentum went back with Lawrence, and in this scenario, I’m predicting her to go all the way to the Oscar podium again on Sunday.

PREDICTION: Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
ALTERNATE:  Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave

final adapted screenplay

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:

This is the only “sure” category that 12 Years a Slave is winning in a cakewalk with no single alternate to push it off. It’s one of those instances where in you know Oscar is going one direction where in all the other precursors went to the others. The only way I see 12YAS losing is if it suddenly went on to become this decade’s The Color Purple. In that case, Philomena’s heart tugging screenplay wins instead. 

PREDICTION: John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave
ALTERNATE: Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, Philomena

final original screenplay

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:

The second of the three difficult major categories to predict, this one is between two films: Her and American Hustle. Her has always been the underdog of the season, but it kept on winning the awards from the BFCA, Globe, and even the WGA. So ordinarily, it should be the frontrunner. But then it got snubbed at the BAFTA where American Hustle won the award. The outside factors here is a telling case though since this is the third screenplay nod of David O. Russell for his last three efforts, and while he has amassed lots of acting wins for his actors, he’s still bonkers when it comes to personal wins. After all, Hustle is the most nominated film here, so it indicates a lot of support among many branches and that’s what can catapult it to a win. This is such a close race, but I’m going by a hair with Her since the three times it competed with Hustle, it won them all, and Hustle‘s only win was with a Her-less field. Also, this is the only category where they can reward Her, though like what I said, it’s gonna be a tough race until the end.

PREDICTION: Spike Jonze, Her
ALTERNATE: David O. Russell and Eric Singer, American Hustle

final animated feature film

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM:

I would have thought for sure that The Wind Rises would have at least posed a challenge here, but with how big Frozen continues to be, it’s clear that it’s one of the locks for Sunday night.

PREDICTION: Frozen
ALTERNATE: The Wind Rises

final documentary

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM:

Sure, The Act of Killing might be killing it with the critics mentions, but with the new change of voting pattern here, it’s difficult for a film that is not accessible to everybody to win, and that’s the story of Killing this season. With that said, I think it will be a win for 20 Feet From Stardom for a number of reasons: it’s the accessible film, it’s one that tackles about the industry they belong to, and it’s that uplifting optimistic one that will please a lot of voters. If not it, then expect The Square to hear its name being called by the presenters.

PREDICTION: 20 Feet From Stardom
ALTERNATE: The Square

final foreign language film

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:

Like the documentary category, they changed the voting procedures with this one by letting the whole Academy vote for it regardless if they have seen all nominees or not (unless they, of course, abstain y’know). In the old system, I’m pretty certain that The Broken Circle Breakdown would have won this in a cakewalk. Now I’m still not eliminating its chances per se, but The Great Beauty sweeping precursor awards (like the Globe, BFCA, BAFTA, and even Cesar) is jsut the more buzzed film in this group for me to predict it.

PREDICTION: The Great Beauty
ALTERNATE: The Broken Circle Breakdown

As for the rest of the categories, here’s how I see them going down to:

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:

PREDICTION: Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity
ALTERNATE: 
Phedon Papamichael, Nebraska

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
PREDICTION:
 Michael Wilkinson, American Hustle
ALTERNATE: 
Catherine Martin, The Great Gatsby

BEST FILM EDITING:
PREDICTION:
 Christopher Rouse, Captain Phillips
ALTERNATE: 
Alfonso Cuaron, Mark Sanger, Gravity

BEST HAIRSTYLING AND MAKE UP:
PREDICTION:
 Adruitha Lee, Robin Mathews, Dallas Buyers Club
ALTERNATE: 
Stephen Prouty, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:
PREDICTION:
 Steven Price, Gravity
ALTERNATE: 
Alexander Desplat, Philomena

BEST ORIGINAL SONG:
PREDICTION:
 Let It Go (Frozen)
ALTERNATE: 
Happy (Despicable Me 2)

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN:
PREDICTION:
 Catherine Martin, Beverley Dunn, The Great Gatsby
ALTERNATE: 
Adam Stockhausen, Alice Baker, 12 Years a Slave

BEST SOUND EDITING:
PREDICTION:
 Glenn Freemantle, Gravity
ALTERNATE: 
Oliver Tarney, Captain Phillips

BEST SOUND MIXING:
PREDICTION:
 Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead, Chris Munro, Gravity
ALTERNATE: 
Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith, Chris Munro, Captain Phillips

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS:
PREDICTION:
 Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk, and Neil Corbould, Gravity
ALTERNATE: 
Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon,David Clayton, and Eric Reynolds, The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug

And I’ll try to predict the shorts categories again!

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT:
PREDICTION:
 The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
ALTERNATE:
Cavedigger

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM:
PREDICTION:
 Helium
ALTERNATE:
The Voorman Problem

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM:
PREDICTION:
 Get a Horse!
ALTERNATE:
Room on the Broom

There you have it! Oh wait…

best pic

BEST PICTURE:

And this is the most difficult category of them all. Sure there are nine nominees this year, but there are only three real contenders here. The difficult thing about this scenario is that it’s even harder to predict because of the preferential ballot and what film will benefit which votes. First, as much as people want to dismiss it, American Hustle is still in this race. it did not over-perform on Oscar nomination morning for nothing. This film fits the bill of the recent winners such as The King’s Speech and Argo, a middle of the field consensus pick that was solidly done but mostly is more on the enjoyable side. The difference though is that both King‘s and Argo swept of their precursor years, while Hustle struggled except for the comedy wins and that SAG ensemble victory. However, among the three contenders, it’s the most “consensus” pick that I think will benefit from being ranked in the middle and does not have passionate dislike. Also, Hustle benefits from being well liked by the largest branch in the Academy so to dismiss it is really a false move. Then you have Gravity. It won DGA, tied PGA, and won Best British Film at the BAFTAs. In a normal scenario, it’s a perfect set up for an Oscar Best Picture win. With that said, the nature of the film hurts is because it is being boxed as a sci-fi when it will even pass as a drama. It’s also likely to be the sweeping film come Sunday, so it can translate a more scattered support from most branches paving for a win. And besides, it’s seen as a masterpiece of this generation and one that will likely stand the test of time. And lastly, there’s the curious case of 12 Years a Slave. Its whole narrative this season is that it kept on losing all the awards only to win the last one which happens to be Best Picture. Happened at the Globes, happened at the BAFTAs, heck it even happened at the Satellites. Somehow, people seem to feel that it’s the best film but it’s not the best acted, directed, edited, (insert any technical category here). Sure that’s logical (see Gladiator in 2000), but the scenario is such so weird that this has beent he story of this season. It’s even a struggle to come up with three assured wins for the film unless it’s bound to win Picture and Adapted Screenplay only. Then there are also reports of voters avoiding the film altogether because of how it’s difficult to watch or how the film is uncomfortable at all. But then again, it still pulled off all televised Best Picture wins, so I really don’t know what to make of this one. But I guess in a surprising turn of events, I’m going with Gravity as my pick here. Seems like it will be the film that will benefit the most from the #2 and #3 votes. I mean it tied with 12 Years at the PGA, and won Best British Film at BAFTAs, so it’s only loss is at the Globes. In a close race like this, anything can happen, and I’m predicting Gravity to win by a squeak.

PREDICTION: Gravity
ALTERNATE: 12 Years a Slave

So there you really have it! My current win tally predictions: Gravity (7 wins), Dallas Buyers Club (3 wins), Frozen and American Hustle (2 wins), 12 Years a Slave, 20 Feet From Stardom, Blue Jasmine, Captain Phillips, The Great Beauty, The Great Gatsby, Her (1 win each).

So what do you think? Lupita or J.Law? Hustle or Her? Gravity or 12 Years a Slave? Waaah this crazy season!!!

You can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

85th Academy Awards Winner Predictions   1 comment

So it is finally coming to an end. After months and months of continuous debates, endless discussions, and statistic searching, the Oscars will finally be handed out in two days. To say that this season has been one hell of a ride is an understatement. When the precursors don’t mean much and the tides change every other day, it’s really difficult to settle on a concrete prediction. On one hand, it makes for a really exciting and engaging Oscar ceremony; on the other, it makes prognosticators like me look foolish, as I’ll see first hand how I’ll miserably fail at this. As of this writing, I’m still not settled with Directing, Supporting Actor, and Production Design. And if I write this post on some other day, I’ll probably be writing another set of predictions. But I guess, I’ll go with this group as my final predictions for the 85th Academy Awards.

best picture

BEST PICTURE

Amour
Argo

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

With how crazy this whole Oscar season this been, there’s really nothing impossible now. But then again, it seems that Argo is in it to win it. The sweep that it did definitely makes up for its lack of Directing nom. As a matter of fact, it has been his official kickstarter to its steamroll this season. It also benefits with the way of ranking the votes in this category; this makes a safe (despite being, yes, asolid thriller) choice is likely to get the upper higher rankings rather than a movie with visible detractors (almost any other movie in the line up). Not even Brokeback Mountain  steamrolled and overperformed this way, so second Oscars for Ben Affleck and George Clooney are almost guaranteed. However, I’m still open to the possibility of Harvey Weinstein’s Silver Linings Playbook campaign, so it might give them some votes, but I don’t have the balls to predict that.

PREDICTION: ”Argo”
SPOILER: “Silver Linings Playbook”

best director

BEST DIRECTOR

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

Now that there’s no Ben Affleck in this list, it goes the predictions a little bit cray cray. Spielberg seems to be the safe and logical choice, but I haven’t seen an Oscar campaign go down in swindles just like what happened to Lincoln. It just saturated the whole campaign period for their team. I don’t think they’d give Spielberg a second Oscar for Directing for them to deny it again the Best Picture just like what happened in 1998. I’m currently using the same logic to Ang Lee’s chances, seeing they denied Brokeback Mountain the top prize, but then again, seeing that Life of Pi is a director’s masterpiece, and since he’s the only one who sailed to all these precursors, then the support might actually be there.  I’m also considering to go with David O. Russell. Hollywood loves ’em comeback stories, and his impressive feat of directing seven nominated performances (and at least three wins by Sunday) in his last two features might show support from the largest Oscar branch. I switch back and forth to Ang Lee and David O. Russell, so might as well go with Lee. He seems to be the more respected of the two, and it makes more sense since Life of Pi will sweep the techs and is likely to be the biggest winner on Sunday.

PREDICTION: Ang Lee, Life of Pi
ALTERNATE: David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

actor

BEST ACTOR

Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day Lewis, Lincoln
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Denzel Washington, Flight

It’s even crazy to consider doing a long post about it, but this is Daniel Day Lewis to lose. Even non-Lincoln fans vocally admire this performance. It’s such a shame that this year produced an embarrassment of riches when it comes to lead actor performances, and they’d have to resort to giving a third Oscar to an actor, but in this case, I’d say I’d totally give in as well. In Lincoln, Day Lewis literally disappeared into the role. That’s a big FU to all the criticisms barred against him for being an over the top method actor. Since this is a historic third Oscar for Best Actor, might as well give it to an actually deserving performance, and Daniel Day Lewis fits the bill.

PREDICTION: Daniel Day Lewis, Lincoln
ALTERNATE: Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook

actress

BEST ACTRESS

Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts, The Impossible

While I personally am happy with the sudden surge of love for Emmanuelle Riva (and if she wins, it’ll be one of my most favorite Oscar moments, BAR NONE), it’s not enough to overcome the buzz that current it girl Jennifer Lawrence has already amassed during this whole season. She’s won the Globe, SAG, a critics prize, and three BFCAs. She’s backed up by Harvey, and is a young hot babe whose on her second nomination in a film the Academy showered with nominations. If it’s a battle between 22 year old rising star and an 84 year old French actress, expect the demographic Oscar voters to root for the hot one.

PREDICTION: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
ALTERNATE: Emmanuelle Riva, Amour

supporting actor

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Alan Arkin, Argo
Robert de Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

Definitely the most confusing acting category of the year, I see it going in three directions. Christoph Waltz won both the BAFTA and the Golden Globe. In any other year, that would have been enough to seal the deal. But he just won three years ago for a role mostly deemed as similar to his nominated performance, so it’s seen as a too soon to give a second Oscar. Robert de Niro despite not winning anything at all, is a Hollywood legend whose last win was  way back in 1981. It will be 31 years, and Oscar voters then are definitely different from Oscar voters now. If there’s a sudden surge of love for Silver Linings Playbook, expect him to join the love train. After all, Harvey campaigned the hardest for him and Lawrence. However, I’d probably go for Tommy Lee Jones. He still seems to be the safe choice. He played a “real” person, has lots of baity monologues in the film, won the SAG, and seems overdue for a second Oscar than de Niro being overdue for a third one.

PREDICTION: Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
ALTERNATE: Robert de Niro, Silver Linings Playbook

supporting actress

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Amy Adams, The Master
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Jackie Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook

It’s so boring to talk about this category since we all know Anne Hathaway is winning this in a cakewalk. I’d probably just imagine her face if Jackie Weaver’s name was called. That’ll be her greatest acting requirement of her career. But nah. Hathaway is so Hathawin on Sunday. So I’d just hope that she keeps as it as less rehearsed as possible. Girl, you’re every inch deserving but just TONE.IT.DOWN.

PREDICTION: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
ALTERNATE: Sally Field, Lincoln

original screenplay

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Amour
Django Unchained
Flight
Moonrise Kingdom
Zero Dark Thirty

It’s funny that Mark Boal won the WGA when in fact, he’s definitely third best in show. This one is between Quentin Tarantino and Michael Haneke. Tarantino won both the Globe and BAFTA, and is in seen as overdue for a second Oscar as well, but with all the love Amour received, it seems this is Michael Haneke’s to lose. Since he won’t get to take home the Oscar if Amour wins Foreign Language Film, this is his only shot at bagging one home.

PREDICTION: Michael Haneke, Amour
ALTERNATE: Quention Tarantino, Django Unchained

adapted screenplay

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Argo
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Life of Pi

Lincoln
Silver Linings Playbook

For a while, I think it was Tony Kushner all the way. I think that he will be remain unscathed despite the deteriorating buzz for Lincoln. And then David O. Russell won the BAFTA. Then Chris Terrio won the WGA. Since I’m predicting Argo to win the Best Picture Oscar, it’ll probably be one of the categories it will sweep along the way. I’m still holding on the fact that Lincoln is in the race, at least in the Adapted Screenplay category. But the love for David O. Russell might go here instead of the Best Director category, so he can still mount a win as well.

PREDICTION: Chris Terrio, Argo
ALTERNATE: David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

foreign language film

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Amour (Austria)
Kon-tiki (Norway)
No (Chile)
A Royal Affair (Denmark)
War Witch (Canada)

In the history of foreign language films being nominated for Best Picture, only one managed to lose the Foreign Language Film category. That is a pretty solid statistic to rely on, so I’m basing my Amour prediction on that. I’m aware of the slight backlash that it received from the FLF committee, but it’s already far and away i the competition that I doubt it will affect the overall votes. With no Intouchables on the list, I’d expect Weinstein to work double hard and push his other bet in the race. After all, Kon-Tiki is based on an Academy award winning documentary in 1951.

PREDICTION: Amour (Austria)
ALTERNATE: 
Kon-tiki (Norway)

animated feature

ANIMATED FEATURE

Brave
Frankenweenie
Paranorman
The Pirates: Legend of the Misfits
Wreck it Ralph

This one is between Brave and Wreck it Ralph, as they have been sharing the spread of all the precursor groups this season. With that said, I’m expecting that the high box office returns for Ralph will do the trick over the low critical appreciation for Brave. 

PREDICTION: Wreck it Ralph
ALTERNATE: Brave

OTHER CATEGORIES:

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Prediction: Life of Pi
Spoiler: Skyfall

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Prediction: Anna Karenina
Spoiler: Mirror Mirror

BEST FILM EDITING
Prediction: Argo
Spoiler: Zero Dark Thirty

BEST MAKE UP AND HAIRSTYLING
Prediction: Les Miserables
Spoiler: The Hobbit

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Prediction: Life of Pi
Spoiler: Skyfall

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Prediction: “Skyfall” from “Skyfall”
Spoiler: “Pi’s Lullaby” from “Life of Pi”

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Prediction: Life of Pi
Spoiler: Anna Karenina

BEST SOUND EDITING
Prediction: Life of Pi
Spoiler: Argo

BEST SOUND MIXING
Prediction: Les Miserables
Spoiler: Life of Pi

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Prediction: Life of Pi
Spoiler: The Hobbit

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Prediction: Searching for Sugar Man
Spoiler: The Gatekeepers

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
Prediction: Open Heart
Spoiler: Mondays at Racine

BEST ANIMATED SHORTS
Prediction: Paperman
Spoiler: Adam and Dog

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
Prediction: Curfew
Spoiler: Death of a Shadow

Final Oscar tally: Life of Pi – 6; Argo, Les Miserables – 3; Lincoln, Amour – 2; Silver Linings Playbook, Anna Karenina, Wreck it Ralph, Skyfall – 1

Happy Oscar day everybody!

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