85th Academy awards: Best Picture Oscar predictions
Sparkling dresses, pulled white smiles and red carpet fuss all add up to the manufactured prestige of the 85th Academy Awards. Now officially called “The Oscars”, it will certainly be grabbing cinematic attention this Sunday evening.
The most coveted gong of the night, the Best Picture award is judged by a set criterion; the judges always play it somewhat safe, favouring the sentimental and overlooking the totally wild, experimental achievements. This year’s omission of The Master from Best Picture nominees hits home the politics of the Academy’s nomination process.
That being said, all the nominations are at the very least, decent films (unlike last year when one or two real shockers somehow made it into the running, presumably by ticking the sentimental box).
Here are the reasons why each Best Picture film should win, and why they shouldn’t.
Win – Celebrator of bourgeois despair, Michael Haneke shows his softer side with a beautiful portrait of love and loss in the latter stages of life. It is desolate, but touching, considerate and very effective.
Lose – Nominating Amour as Best Picture is merely a token given by the “of age” Academy board; the film is nominated in the Best Foreign Language category where it surely will win.
Win – With universal appeal, the film seamlessly blends political drama, sharp comedy and thrilling suspense, keeping audiences glued to their seats. Ben Affleck cements his name as a technically flawless director (the fact his name is missing from Best Director is a real shock).
Lose – By doing so many different genres well, it doesn’t do one particularly brilliantly, and by creating universal appeal it undoubtedly has to sacrifice elements. There may be political depth at first, but it shakes off all sense of the political for pure thrills by the end.
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Win – This independent film creates a big enough festival tornado for the Academy to acknowledge it, and it by all means deserves it. Benh Zeitlin, with his debut feature, brings to the screen incredibly fresh and original realist fantasy with energy, poetry and grace.
Lose – The Academy will treat nominating this film as an award in itself. Powerful though it may be, it is still no match for a Weinstein-backed production (the only chance for art house to win, as last year’s awards proved).
Win – Tarantino is back on form with original and creative characters, a uniquely witty script and even heavyweight history. He is arrogant, parading the fact that he has created a modern day dialogue of slavery, but he is partly right – even if you hate to admit it.
Lose – A film where every white American character is racist, vile and eventually killed will never win a Best Picture. Regardless, the film is overlong with a necessary but flat third act.
Win – Replete with great performances, and director Tom Hooper brings an intimacy that transcends the stage experience.
Lose – The film is a mess whenever it isn’t in close up, making a large section of it (especially the battle sequences) incredibly dull.
Win – In a year when cinema romantics have criticised new technologies, accusing digital film and 3D blockbusters of being soulless, Ang Lee strikes a light in the eyes and hearts of cinema audiences that burns quicker than a celluloid film.
Lose – Flawless for its time, but technological masterpieces are often overlooked for their creative genius, which this also has in abundance.
Win – An American classic that will be respected, admired and played in schools for years to come. Daniel Day-Lewis is towering and Spielberg stays faithful; creating a deep exploration into a snippet of the life of an historical icon.
Lose – Heavy with Hollywood construct, a soundtrack that dictates mood without subtlety, performances scaled and controlled to perfection, cinematography with not a hair out of place; it all makes the entire a film seem a little inanimate.
Silver Linings Playbook
Win – A twist on the rom-com, with the love-crazed lead acting zany due to manic depression.
Lose – This is the surprise of the nominations. Although an entertaining film, it never challenges or decides to explore mental illness, and just reverts to being a piece of fluff.
Win – With a subject so close and important to recent American history, Kathryn Bigelow spans a decade of intelligence and action in a well performed, incredibly intense procedural.
Lose – With such a broad timescale to cover, its markedly rushed production does render the film rather vague. Whether this is a considered decision or chance, it doesn’t quite fit. Once the film’s energy and immediacy disappears, it perhaps won’t be considered as highly.