Yes, it is time for The Grandstander's predictions for the 2012 Academy Awards. Let it be noted that I went 7-for-8 in my predictions for the Oscars last year, which says two things. One, I'm better at this than I am at predicting the NFL Playoff games, and two, it ain't going to be easy to top that performance. Nevertheless, I'm going to give it a go.
I am going to add a category this year, and predict the award for Best Original Song. This award category has really fallen a long way down since the days when Henry Mancini was winning the Oscar every year. Last year, only three songs were even nominated, so how relevant an award is this? Anyway, there are four nominees in 2012, and I am calling for Adele Adkins' "Skyfall" from the James Bond movie of the same name to take home the Oscar. This will also serve as a way to honor this terrific Bond movie, which, not so incidentally, wracked up HUGE box office numbers world wide.
For Best Adapted Screenplay, I call for Tony Kushner of "Lincoln" to win. This may get pushed out by Chris Terrio for "Argo", but Kushner has been winning all of the other writing awards leading up to this, so his string will most likely continue in Hollywood on Sunday.
The Best Original Screenplay will go to Quentin Tarantino for "D'Jango Unchained". Despite his not being nominated for Best Director, Hollywood loves Tarantino, and this is how they will honor him and his movie.
Best Director. Perhaps the most discussed category this entire Oscar season due to the well publicized snubs of Ben Affleck, Tarantino, Katheryn Bigelow, and Tom Hooper. All of the pre-Oscar directing awards have gone to Affleck, but, alas, he's ineligible for the Oscar. So, this one goes to Steven Spielberg for "Lincoln", and, the injustice of Affleck's snub aside, how can you possibly argue with such a choice?
Best Supporting Actress. I have seen only two of the nominees, Sally Field in "Lincoln" and Jacki Weaver in "Silver Linings Playbook", but I will call a win for Anne Hathaway for her nine minute appearance in "Les Miserables". She has won every such award leading up to this on, and that trend will continue.
Best Supporting Actor. All five nominees are previous Oscar winners, and while I wouldn't mind seeing Alan Arkin sneak in a win here for his turn in "Argo", this one seems to come down the Tommy Lee Jones, "Lincoln", and Christopher Waltz, "D'Jango Unchained". Both have won important awards leading up to the Oscars, but I am going to use the SAG Awards as a bell weather, and call this one as a close win for Christopher Waltz.
Best Actress. The Golden Globe and the SAG Awards both went to Jennifer Lawrence, which would seem to give her a big edge for this one, Also, I have seen it suggested that Lawrence might win this one not only for "Silver Linings Playbook" for which she is nominated, but also for her work in that bow-and-arrow, box office biggie, "Hunger Games." My own preference would be Jessica Chastain for "Zero Dark Thirty." All indications say Lawrence, who is quite charming, but let's call this one my wild card pick, and predict a win for Jessica Chastain for this one.
Best Actor. Should Bradley Cooper, Hugh Jackman, Joaquin Phoenix, and Denzel Washington even bother showing up on Sunday night? In the surest of sure things of the night, Daniel Day-Lewis takes home the Oscar for his amazing performance in "Lincoln."
Best Picture. Of the nine movies nominated for Best Picture, I have not seen "Les Miserables", "D'Jango Unchained", "Life of Pi", "Amour", and "Beast of the Southern Wild". At this point, I will wait to catch Les Miz when it comes on DVD, and perhaps, maybe, I will see the ultra-violent D'Jango on DVD as well. Not a chance that I will see any of the other three. So that leaves four nominees that I have seen, and I am confident that the winner will come from those four: "Argo", "Lincoln", "Silver Linings Playbook", and "Zero Dark Thirty".
While I found "Silver Linings Playbook" a charming, enjoyable, and very good movie, it is certainly not the "best" movie of the year. Absolutely worth seeing, but certainly not the Best. That leaves three survivors, and I would be happy if any one of those three won the big prize of the night. I believe that the controversy that has surrounded "Zero Dark Thirty", which may have led to Bigelow's non-nomination for Director, will also serve to keep this one from winning Best Picture.
That leaves it between "Argo" and "Lincoln". The non-nomination of Affleck for Best Director has been much written about and discussed, and I have mentioned it many time myself on this blog. Both Affleck and the movie have been cited in numerous other award venues (Golden Globes, SAG, Director's Guild), and I think that the Academy as a whole will make up for the snub he received from his fellow Directors within the Academy, and that Producer Ben Affleck will get his Oscar anyway when "Argo" is called for the Best Picture of the Year.
There you have it. As always, watch but don't bet!