Congratulations, Mr. President. Better luck next time, Ms. Bigelow, Mr. Affleck, and Mr. Anderson.
Yep, as you already know, the Oscar nominations were handed down this AM. Like every year, there were some predictable picks and some shocks, snubs, and head-scratchers. The ceremony is Feb. 24; I predict it'll be a three-way tie for Best Dressed among Jennifer Lawrence, Denzel Washington, and Quvenzhané Wallis. As for the big five categories ... let's discuss. (Full list of nominees here !)
Best Picture: Nine nominees but no spot for The Master or dark horse The Dark Knight Rises. Lincoln, which raked in the highest number of nominations overall, is a shoo-in. Second place: Silver Linings Playbook, followed by upstart indie Beasts of the Southern Wild.
The rest: Amour (will win Best Foreign Language Film); Argo, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, and my original pick to win, Zero Dark Thirty (these all have lesser chances, since their directors weren't nominated); and Life of Pi (likely to clean up in the technical categories).
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln. Like, duh. Time to start practicing your "Happy for you, bro!" reaction shots, Bradley Cooper (who should really be stoked just for the invitation, what with The Words and multiple Hangover sequels; here, he's nominated for Silver Linings Playbook); Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables); Joaquin Phoenix (The Master — though I might wager he won't even show up, Brando-style); and Denzel Washington (Flight).
Best Actress: I was certain before today that Jessica Chastain was a lock for Zero Dark Thirty. But with the snubbing of Kathryn Bigelow in the director category, I'm starting to think the Academy didn't love the film as much as I did. So Jennifer Lawrence, so good in Silver Linings Playbook (not to mention her Hunger Games-propelled rise to megastardom in 2012), may sneak in instead. Unless, of course, the Academy's surprising affection for Amour gets Emmanuelle Riva (who turns 86 the day of the ceremony!) in there.
On the other end of the age spectrum, nine-year-old Beasts of the Southern Wild's Quvenzhané Wallis, rocking the "Welcome to the club" nomination, is the youngest Best Actress nominee ever. Naomi Watts should have won for 2001's Mulholland Dr., in my opinion; she spends half of The Impossible in a coma, so this is looking like one of those "It's nice to be nominated" nominations. Hold fast, Naomi. You'll get your gold man eventually.
Best Supporting Actor: Still believe Tommy Lee Jones is gonna podium for Lincoln. Alan Arkin (Argo) and Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) were both the comedic high points of their respective films, but they've won in this category fairly recently, for parts not totally unlike the ones they played in 2012. Robert De Niro could sail in on Silver Linings Playbook love — also, he's Robert Fucking De Niro, which counts for a lot — or, perhaps the Academy will throw a bone to The Master and let Philip Seymour Hoffman in. Doubt it though.
Best Supporting Actress: Love Jacki Weaver, but why is she in here? Can you remember one thing she did in Silver Linings Playbook, other than look nervous and wear sweatshirts? Shoulda nominated Shirley Maclaine for Bernie instead. At any rate, still a two-woman race: Sally Field (Lincoln) and the dreaded Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables). Will the Academy honor weight gain and veteran status, or weight (and hair) loss and ingenue status? Hathaway might have an advantage, since Oscar loves singing. Thank you for playing, Helen Hunt (The Sessions), Amy Adams (aces in The Master), and Weaver.
Best Director: Pick your jaw off the floor, because Zero Dark Thirty's Kathryn Bigelow and The Master's PT Anderson are both MIA. Hope Lincoln's Steven Spielberg has his speech ready ... may I suggest "Four score and seven years ago" as an opener?
Also in the mix: Michael Haneke (Amour), Ang Lee (Life of Pi), and David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook), plus surprise entry Behn Zeitlin, who wrangled magic, a teeny star, and an even teenier budget for Beasts of the Southern Wild.
And for good measure: PARANORMAN for best animated film! Make it happen, voters!