Oscar predictions (and wishful thinking) for 2013
Best Supporting Actress It's going to be Sally Field, the nutty-yet-sympathetic Mary Todd in Lincoln, versus Anne Hathaway, the weepy, shorn Fantine in Les Misérables. I am not a Hathaway fan, but if the Academy — who are not immune to being emotionally manipulated by director Tom Hooper (2010's Best Picture The King's Speech) — wants to award someone from Les Mis, she's more likely to squeak in than Jackman. Plus, she hosted the Oscars a few years ago. That's got to count for something, right?
Other nominees: I'm hoping both Amy Adams (spooky in The Master) and Nicole Kidman (daffy in the Paperboy) get nods, but any slots left over will probably be filled by The Sessions' Helen Hunt or Maggie "Dowager Countess 4-Lyfe" Smith, for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
Best Screenplay (Original and Adapted) The Golden Globes, the Oscars' boozier little bro, doesn't differentiate between original or adapted, but its lumped-together nominees contain the likely winners in each category: Mark Boal for Zero Dark Thirty (original), and Tony Kushner for Lincoln (adapted). Other original nominees could include Django Unchained, The Master, Amour, and Looper; other adapted nominees will be sure-things Argo and Silver Linings Playbook, with The Sessions and Beasts of the Southern Wild possibly filling out the category.
Best Documentary The 15-film short list was released in early December, so there's a bit of navigational help with this one. I have seen most (but not all) of the films on the list; with that disclaimer, my predictions for the final five are: The House I Live In, The Imposter, Searching for Sugar Man, This Is Not a Film, and the SFFCC's top doc, locally-made hospital drama The Waiting Room. I'm still awaiting the chance to check out Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, a highly-praised look at clerical sex abuse from oft-nominated (and once-rewarded, for 2007's Taxi to the Dark Side) director Alex Gibney.
Best Foreign Language Film Since only one film per country can be submitted, and The Intouchables snagged France's spot, my favorite movie of the year (Holy Motors) isn't even eligible. But that doesn't matter, really — Intouchables will likely get a nod, but this race is for the critically-beloved Amour (from Austrian director Michael Haneke, whose The White Ribbon was nominated in 2010) to lose. Other short listers (there are a total of nine) include Canada's War Witch, Chile's No, Denmark's A Royal Affair, Romania's Beyond the Hills, and Switzerland's Sister.
Best Director/Best Picture As Steven Spielberg surely recalls, just because you win Best Director (for 1998's Saving Private Ryan) doesn't mean Shakespeare in Love won't swoop in and steal your Best Picture prize. Oscar can tap between five and ten nominees for Best Picture, so the categories won't necessarily line up — but this year, they just might. Look for the top contenders to be Kathryn Bigelow-Zero Dark Thirty (see my review elsewhere in this issue; it's also my pick to win), and Spielberg-Lincoln. Other likely nominees: Paul Thomas Anderson-The Master; Ben Affleck-Argo; Tom Hooper-Les Misérables; David O. Russell-Silver Linings Playbook; and Michael Haneke-Amour.