2013 Oscar Nominations – First Look

Oscar Nominations 2013Well, the Oscar nominations have been released, and they stimulate interest largely lacking over the past several years. I will forgive them their need to nominate Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams for their performances in The Master, but there are several major categories that will be difficult to pick before the February 24th ceremony. Regardless, let’s briefly try.

Lincoln seems to be the obvious favorite for Best Picture given its large number of nominations, but the challenges rest justifiably with Silver Linings Playbook, Les Misérable sand Life of Pi. Any of them could win, though my heart still lies with Silver Linings Playbook.

Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained and Argo are also in the Best Picture category, but none of their directors were similarly acknowledged. That hurts all three. And while I truly was a great fan of Django, the last 30 minutes were so ridiculously violent that it almost destroyed an otherwise great film.

The Best Actor category is obviously dominated by Daniel Day Lewis for his phenomenal portrayal of Lincoln. While I will discuss this further down the road, forget Denzel Washington from Flight and Joaquin Phoenix from The Master. The challengers rest with Bradley Cooper’s extraordinary portrayal in Silver Linings Playbook, and Hugh Jackman in Les Misérables. However, I can’t see how anyone beats out Mr. Day Lewis.

Quite frankly, I also consider the Best Actress category a close lock for Jennifer Lawrence from Silver Linings Playbook. Though Naomi Watts from The Impossible and Jessica Chastain from Zero Dark Thirty lurk in the weeds, I think that this is Ms. Lawrence’s year.

The Best Director category presents a real challenge, particularly given the nominations of David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook, Ang Li for Life of Pi and Mr. Spielberg for Lincoln. All of them are profoundly deserving, and I want to sit on this awhile before trying to engage in my amateur analysis.

As for Best Supporting Actress, Anne Hathaway from Les Misérables clearly stands front and center. Ironically, I wasn’t that moved by Sally Fields’ performance in Lincoln or Helen Hunt in The Sessions. I love Amy Adams, but I thought her performance in The Master was the most nondescript acting role of her career.

That said, the real challenger to Ms. Hathaway is the wonderful Jackie Weaver, the super actress who played Robert DeNiro’s wife in Silver Linings Playbook. She was previously nominated for her startling role in Animal Kingdom (2010), so she may be nipping at Ms. Hathaway’s heels. However, I think this is Ms. Hathaway’s to lose.

Best Supporting Actor is a complete toss-up given the fact that all five nominees are previous winners. Alan Arkin was extraordinarily funny in Argo, but I don’t see him prevailing here. The same is true with Phillip Seymour Hoffman from The Master, a recognized performance that I simply don’t understand. On the other hand, Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln), Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) and Robert DeNiro (Silver Linings Playbook) were all magnificent, and again all three are extraordinarily deserving. At this time, it is my feeling that Mr. DeNiro could sneak through.

In the Best Original Screenplay category, this is the area where small, provocative films usually prevail. In this case, my suspicions go to West Anderson and Roman Coppola for their wonderful Moonrise Kingdom.

In regard to the Best Animated Feature, I think that is a choice between the extraordinary ParaNorman and the intriguing Brave. However, other than my disappointment with the fact that The Secret Life of Arrietty was not nominated, I’m leaning toward ParaNorman at this point.

As for the Best Visual Effects, I think Life of Pi will sneak through over The Hobbit. The special effects in Life of Pi were fabulous, so it is deserving by any definition. The same is true with Best Cinematography, as I think Life of Pi is the leader.

The last category I want to touch is the one that concerns all of you, Best Makeup and Hair Styling! The Hobbit has to win something, and I think it will be here over Les Misérables.

There is a lot more to say along the way, but let me touch base after I get some responses from my wonderful gang of demented movie lovers.