Hammerle’s Preliminary Oscar Picks – 2013

For those of us who are unapologetic movie fans, it is THAT TIME OF THE YEAR AGAIN! The Oscar awards will occur in late February, so it is time to stick our neck out and make predictions. Sure, I could be wrong, but when has that ever happened before? These are only preliminary picks, and I reserve the right to make occasional changes before Judgment Day.

BEST PICTURE – This is one of the toughest calls this year, and I think it comes down to Lincoln, Life of Pi, and Silver Linings Playbook. Clearly, Lincoln has been favored for a lot of good reasons, not the least of which is the fact that we have just celebrated the second inaugural of America’s first African-American President. Life of Pi is a stunning work of art, and it is an experience that almost transforms the human spirit. Les Misérables, Argo and Django Unchained work, but I sense that they have already received their reward coming from their nomination.

However, I’m going to have to call this for Silver Linings Playbook. This is a unique, accomplished film that deserves this award, and I hope it gets it.

And the Winner is: Silver Linings Playbook

BEST ACTRESS – Cutting to the heart of this nomination, I think it is a choice between Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty and Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook. These are two great, deserving actresses, and you really couldn’t fault the winner, regardless of who it proves to be.

However, Jennifer Lawrence was magnificent as a young, mentally troubled young woman in love with a mentally troubled young man. It is an extraordinarily memorable performance, and that is why I pick her as the winner.

And the Winner is: Jennifer Lawrence

BEST ACTOR – Quite honestly, in any other year Bradley Cooper should win this award for Silver Linings Playbook. It is an unforgettable performance, and spectacular in every respect. Hugh Jackman captured Les Misérables, and Denzel Washington was, well, Denzel Washington in Flight. However, for the third time this award belongs to Daniel Day-Lewis for a portrayal of Lincoln that is a performance for the ages. Wrap it up and give it to him.

And the Winner is: Daniel Day-Lewis

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – Again, Silver Linings Playbook had a positively darling additional actress in Jacki Weaver. However, though Sally Field would be a popular selection for Lincoln, this award belongs to Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables. It is a role nearly as memorable as Daniel Day-Lewis’ Lincoln, and I expect her to be recognized.

And the Winner is: Anne Hathaway

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – This is the most difficult category to pick other than the winner for Best Picture. To begin with, while all of the nominees are deserving, so was the overlooked Javier Bardem for his stunning role in this year’s great Bond movie, Skyfall.

All of the nominees have won before. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is a truly brilliant actor, but I don’t see his performance in The Master as breaking through in any respect. Alan Arkin, along with John Goodman, really made Argo a sensational picture, but I think the award goes elsewhere.

In the end, it comes down to Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln, Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained and Mr. DeNiro in Silver Linings Playbook. To be quite honest, Mr. Waltz’ performance may be the best of the three, but I see Mr. DeNiro being recognized after last winning in 1974 for The Godfather, Part 2. He played an extraordinary blue-collar dad, and it is again an unforgettable performance.

And the Winner is: Robert DeNiro

BEST DIRECTOR – This is the third difficult choice to pick. Cutting to the heart of the matter, I think it comes down once again to the three best movies of the year, in this case Ang Lee’s Life of Pi, Mr. Spielberg’s Lincoln and David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook. While I may be wrong, I’m rolling the dice on David Russell as the winner. Regardless, Mr. Lee and Mr. Spielberg are already shining in the artistic night sky, and it would be great for Mr. Russell to be there also. Although he could miss out given the fact that he also wrote the screenplay, it would be a deserving award.

And the Winner is: David O. Russell

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM – Though none of the five nominees have made it to Indianapolis at this point, can there be any other winner than Amour? It has been nominated for Best Picture, for God’s sake, so this appears to be the ironclad lock of 2013.

And the Winner is: Amour

ANIMATED FEATURE – This one is also a hard call, but I believe it comes down to Brave, Frankenweenie and Paranorman. Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie is a recreation of the Frankenstein story, and it has a lot going for it if you ignore the fact that it will scare children under the age of 8 nearly to death.

As for Brave, it comes from a big studio and tells an overdue story of a young girl preferring to be good with a bow and arrow rather than be a princess bride. However, it drags a bit and is a tad overlong.

Regardless, I’m going to pick Paranorman, as I was enchanted with it in every respect. Besides, when will you ever find an animated film that forces the citizens of this country to pay attention to the Salem Witch Trials, an event that should bring nothing but shame to our national heritage. I’m picking it, win or lose.

And the Winner is: Paranorman

CINEMATOGRAPHY – Again, I loved Django Unchained, Lincoln and Skyfall, and the only good thing about Anna Karinina was its physical beauty. However, this has to be given to Life of Pi, as it left the audience in visual splendor.

And the Winner is: Life of Pi

MAKEUP AND HAIR STYLING – There are three nominees, Hitchcock, The Hobbit and Les Misérables. Eliminate Hitchcock, and either of the other two would be worthy. On the other hand, how can you beat a story involving numerous trolls and angry dwarfs? The Hobbit should win.

And the Winner is: The Hobbit

PRODUCTION DESIGN – The scenes in The Hobbit made the film, and they also added to the splendor of Les Misérables. And how can you ignore the fact that Lincoln recreated Washington in 1865.

On the other hand, the splendor of Life of Pi was profoundly captivating, and I again will give it this award.

And the Winner is: The Life of Pi

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – Nearly every year, an exceptional, little film carries the day in this category. While I’ll talk more later, this one has to go to Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola for Moonrise Kingdom.

A quirky little film of enormous meaning, I’ve seen it twice, and you truly need to track it down.

And the Winner is: Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola

for Moonrise Kingdom

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY – This again could involve some recognition for other films than Mr. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook, although I still believe that his was the best adapted screenplay. Nonetheless, who can fault the talented Tony Kushner for Lincoln; David McGee for the spiritually overwhelming Life of Pi, or Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Though I should stick with my call for Silver Linings Playbook, I somehow think the recognition for Beasts of the Southern Wild cannot be ignored. It might be a long-shot, but it would certainly be a fine moment to watch.

And the Winner is: Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin

for Beasts of the Southern Wild

VISUAL EFFECTS – The Hobbit is knocking on the door, and I had a great time at the Avengers, Prometheus and Snow White and the Huntsmen. However, this was the strength of Life of Pi, and it should win here again.

And the Winner is: Life of Pi

COSTUME DESIGN – It’s really a toss-up between the regrettable Anna Karinina, Les Misérables and Lincoln. While Lincoln could poke through, I pick Les Misérables for a whole host of reasons. All of the designs were stunning.

And the Winner is: Les Miserables

FILM EDITING – Traditionally, the winner of Film Editing also receives the Oscar for Best Picture, so I’m sticking with Silver Linings Playbook. Again, I loved that movie in every respect, and think of the crazy, enjoyable dance scenes if you question its recognition for Film Editing.

On the other hand, the editing for Life of Pi was standout also, and I again emphasize that it could win the Best Picture and receive no argument from me.

And the Winner is: Silver Linings Playbook

SOUND MIXING and SOUND EDITING – While these two categories could recognize different award winners, I think it is deserving that Life of Pi win both awards. Les Misérables will prove to be a challenger in Sound Mixing, but the battle of the boy and his Bengal tiger will carry the day in my opinion.

And the Winner for Sound Mixing and Sound Editing is:

Life of Pi

ORIGINAL SCORE – If I am right, Life of Pi will be widely honored even if it doesn’t win Best Picture that I predict for Silver Linings Playbook. The original music is captivating beyond words, and it is deserving.

And the Winner is: Life of Pi

Original Song – Three great songs are deserving. First is “Pi’s Lullaby” in Life of Pi; second is “Skyfall”, which involves the classic voice of Adele, and finally, there is “Suddenly” in Les Misérables. Life of Pi can’t win all of the ancillary categories, and this song from Les Misérables captures your heart.

And the Winner is: “Suddenly” from Les Misérables

As you may have noticed, I have made no prediction in the categories of Documentary Feature, Documentary Short, Animated Short Film, or Live Action Short Film. Some of these will still make it to Indianapolis before the Awards show, so I will pass judgment then.

In any event, make your picks, and get on board. After all, nothing is gained in life unless you are willing to make a profound ass out of yourself.