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Random thoughts about sound and vision.

"...and the Oscar goes to...."

It's that time of year again.  

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Tomorrow is the 85th Academy Awards ceremony - easily the world's best known prize-giving ceremony. Backs are slapped,  and thirteen-inch high gold-plated statuettes are handed out - occasionally to the most deserving.

This year's shindig is going to be one of the most interesting in years. There are a couple of sure things - Actor In A Leading Role, Actress In A Supporting Role. Most of the categories, however, are wide open and up for grabs. So - time to stick my neck out and make some predictions in the major classes as to what will win...and what I think should win.

BEST PICTURE

  • Will win: ARGO
  • My choice: ZERO DARK THIRTY

ARGO is a good movie - very good, in fact - but it lacks the gravitas, that cinematic "X Factor" a Best Picture winner should possess. ZDT has this in spades; controversy over its torture scenes, though, has effectively ruled it out of the race.

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

  • Will win & my choice: Daniel Day Lewis for LINCOLN.

A lock for the prize and with good reason. It's an astonishing performance - unshowy, yet DDL commands every scene he's in. He'll also be making Oscar history, as the first person to win Best Actor three times.

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

  • Will win & my choice: Jennifer Lawrence for SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

A tough one to call. There's fierce competition from ZDT's Jessica Chastain and AMOUR's Emmanuelle Riva but Lawrence's complex, confident performance in PLAYBOOK will deservedly win out.

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

  • Will win: Robert De Niro for SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
  • My choice: Philip Seymour Hoffman for THE MASTER

De Niro will collect the Oscar because it's the best role he's had in years and he gives it 100% - something these days that's not always guaranteed . As good as De Niro is, however, I prefer Hoffman's work in THE MASTER. The film has its flaws but Hoffman's charismatic performance is not one of them.

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

  • Will win: Anne Hathaway for LES MISERABLES
  • My choice: Sally Field for LINCOLN

Hathaway's virtual certainty of winning win can be pinned down to just five minutes of LES MISERABLES - her performance of I Dreamed A Dream, where she bares her soul in unflinching close-up in one magnificently sustained shot. As admirable as Hathaway is, Field demonstrated in LINCOLN yet again what an excellent actress she is.    

DIRECTING

  • Will win: Steven Spielberg for LINCOLN
  • My choice: Ang Lee for LIFE OF PI

The absence in this category of both Kathryn Bigelow for ZDT and Ben Affleck for ARGO is noteworthy. They delivered fine work but it's an intensely competitive year and there had to be casualties. Spielberg will probably secure his third Oscar for direction (after SCHINDLER'S LIST and SAVING PRIVATE RYAN) but it really should go to Ang Lee for his extraordinary work with LIFE OF PI.  

I'll review how my predictions fared in another post.