Oscar Nominations 2012-13 – reactions

The Help star Emma Stone and 2013 Oscar host Seth MacFarlane woke up bright and early today to read off this year’s Academy Award nominations.  They were not the only ones at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, as hundreds of reporters were on the scene for the big scoop, hoping to make the evening papers.  I was with them in spirit, of course, watching the live broadcast from my apartment.  And although it was 7:30 out here and not 5:30, that was still damn early – for me at least.

As expected, there were a few surprises, but the actual list of nominees closely mirrored my own predictions from yesterday, with most categories predicted to 80% or 100% accuracy. (Best Director notwithstanding.  Yikes!)  Lincoln leads the race, with 12 nominations including Best Picture.  Life of Pi is a close second, garnering 11 nods.

For now, I’ll try and hold off from commenting on who I think will actually win, though I make no promises.  Here we go….

Best Picture

My predictions (in alphabetical order):
Argo
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Django Unchained
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
Lincoln
The Master
Silver Linings Playbook
Skyfall
Zero Dark Thirty

Actual nominees:
Amour
Argo
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Percent correct: 70%

Comments: It looks like the Academy went with nine nominees this year instead of the expected 10.  Does that get me any kind of handicap?  It seems that I – and many other prognosticators as well – overestimated Skyfall’s chances a bit (though the film did well in the technical categories, earning five nominations including the expected Best Original Song (Adele’s “Skyfall”)).  The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, last summer’s sleeper hit and a surprise Golden Globe nominee, was a stab in the dark on my part.  I should’ve gone with Beasts of the Southern Wild instead.  As for The Master (the missing slot #10), I’m guessing it didn’t miss the list by many votes.

Best Director

My predictions:
Ben Affleck, Argo
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Tom Hooper, Les Miserables
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln

Actual nominees:
Michael Haneke, Amour
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Percent correct: 40%

Comments: Whoa, whoa, whoa.  Stop the press!  What happened here?!  In my not-so-humble opinion, this category is flawed without the inclusion of Ben Affleck, who was snubbed at least once before and who made the year’s most entertaining film with Argo.  As I (half-jokingly) posted on Facebook, is Hollywood really still sore at him for Gigli?  I doubt it, as there was a very audible groan in the Samuel Goldwyn Theater when the last of the nominees was read off and it wasn’t Affleck.

As for Kathryn Bigelow’s exclusion, that all but kills her film’s (Zero Dark Thirty) chances in the Best Picture category as well.  The only film from the last 30 years to win Best Picture without a Best Director nomination was 1989’s Driving Miss Daisy, and I’m fairly certain that Academy would vote differently if the same five films from that year were nominated today.  At any rate, methinks controversy regarding ZDT’s source material and supposed pro-torture stance may have inadvertently pulled Bigelow out of the running.  That she was “replaced” as a nominee by Beasts of the Southern Wild’s Benh Zeitlin (another big surprise!) is ironic as well, considering the flack Beasts received for allegedly using non-professional (non-SAG/AFTRA) actors, namely lead Quvenzhane Wallis, herself a nominee today.  I wonder, is the tide slowly turning as regards Hollywood unions?  Probably not – Beasts was acclaimed since it was first received early last year, and unlike Argo, The Master, and others, its buzz only grew with time.

One more thing: You’ve likely noticed that Tom Hooper (Les Miserables) was snubbed as well.  This is a bit of a surprise, but then again, musicals are divisive among Academy voters, especially in this category.  Moulin Rouge’s Baz Luhrmann was snubbed in 2002.  Rob Marshall was nominated – but lost – for Chicago, which took home the top prize in 2004 without its director doing the same, while Dreamgirls was shut out of both Best Director and Best Picture categories in 2007.

Best Actor

My predictions:
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Denzel Washington, Flight

Actual nominees:
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Denzel Washington, Flight

Percent correct: 80%

Comments: No real surprises here, except perhaps that it was John Hawkes who was snubbed, not Joaquin Phoenix or Denzel Washington.  Hawkes was wonderful as paraplegic, virginal poet Mark O’Brien in The Sessions, but as good as he was, Phoenix and Washington were even better.  I need to see Silver Linings Playbook.

Best Actress

My predictions:
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts, The Impossible

Actual nominees:
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts, The Impossible

Percent correct: 100%

Comments: My predictions were spot-on, but this was also an easy category to predict.  It’s worth noting that 85-year-old Emmanuelle Riva is the oldest-ever Best Actress nominee, while nine-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis is the youngest.  A win for either would really be something for the history books.

Best Supporting Actor

My predictions:
Alan Arkin, Argo
Jason Clarke, Zero Dark Thirty
Robert DeNiro, Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

Actual nominees:
Alan Arkin, Argo
Robert DeNiro, Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

Percent correct: 80%

Comments: So it’s the linguistically-gifted Christoph Waltz over newcomer Jason Clarke.  Waltz, who previously won in this category for 2009’s Inglourious Basterds, probably won’t pull a repeat, but regardless, he’s likely thanking his lucky stars right now that he ever met Quentin Tarantino.  Of the Best Supporting Actor nominees – all of whom have won before – I was most impressed by Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master.  The category has no clear front-runner at this point, however.

Best Supporting Actress

My predictions:
Amy Adams, The Master
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook

Actual nominees:
Amy Adams, The Master
Judi Dench, Skyfall
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions

Percent correct: 80%

Comments: Yep, I really need to see Silver Linings Playbook.  That said, I was secretly rooting for Skyfall’s Judi Dench, who infused her stuffy “M” character (Dench’s seventh time playing 007’s superior) with surprising warmth.

Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay

My predictions (I originally guessed just eight, so I will add my long shots here to bring the total to 10):
Argo
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Looper (long shot)
The Master
Moonrise Kingdom
Ruby Sparks (long shot)
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Actual nominees:
Amour (Original)
Argo (Adapted)
Beasts of the Southern Wild (Adapted)
Django Unchained (Original)
Flight (Original)
Life of Pi (Adapted)
Lincoln (Adapted)
Moonrise Kingdom (Original)
Silver Linings Playbook (Adapted)
Zero Dark Thirty (Original)

Percent correct: 70%

Comments: Although I failed to guess Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, or Flight, I’m not surprised by the actual nominees.  Several critics had predicted Flight would sneak in here, though to me the film is a tour-de-force of acting, not writing.

Other categories

There were a few surprises, namely the inclusion of Argo and Skyfall in so many technical categories.  Zero Dark Thirty received just two technical nominations, which also surprised me, seeing as it was made by many of the same people who crafted the much-lower-budgeted The Hurt Locker (2009), which fared so well at those Oscars, even when going up against Avatar.  I was pleasantly surprised to see Ridley Scott’s Prometheus earn a Visual Effects nomination, as the film was generally regarded as a disappointment.

I’m stunned that France’s The Intouchables did not receive a Best Foreign Film nomination, likely paving the way for Michael Haneke’s Amour.  Then again, Haneke’s The White Ribbon was also expected to win in 2010, but instead lost to The Secret in Their Eyes, from Argentina.  Anything goes.

You can find the complete list here.  Oscar night is Sunday, February 24th.  Meanwhile, be sure to check back with me closer to the Big Night for more thoughts about the nominees, including my predictions of who will win the big prize.  I’d like to hear your predictions, too!

Author: gringopotpourri

Gringo - aka Scott - was born outside of Chicago and has lived most of his life in or around big cities. He spent two years of his adult life in Mexico City (talk about big cities!) and fell in love with Mexican food, history, and women, all while weathering the culture shock. Life's journey has since brought him to rural Tennessee, perhaps the biggest culture shock of them all. Scott also enjoys movies, hiking, and travel in general.

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