Film
Predicting The Oscars: Best Picture
By LaDale Anderson
Feb 20, 2013 - 5:42:54 AM

HOLLYWOOD—Ok I have to admit it, I’m not a fan of the new rules with Best Picture nominees.  I’d like the old rules when there were only 5 nominees.  The race seemed more competitive, in a sense its still 5 pictures vying for the other prize and the others are just in the category as a consolation.  This year’s nominees include “Amour,” “Argo,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Django Unchained,” “Life of Pi,” “Les Misérables,” “Lincoln,” “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Zero Dark Thirty.”

 

I’ll be the first to say it, “Amour,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Life of Pi” and “Django Unchained” don’t have a chance at the Best Picture trophy.  While they are all great pictures, this is a race between powerhouse titans and that race is between “Argo, “Lincoln,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Les Misérables” and “Zero Dark Thirty.”  If there were only five nominees these would be the pictures nominated.

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"Django Unchained" is a contender for Best Picture.

 

“Les Misérables” chances are quite slim.  It’s the musical you either love or hate, there is no in between and that’s never a good sign with the Academy. The movie has its highpoints, but it also has its low-points as well. The picture is likely to be shown Oscar love in the Supporting Actress race (Anne Hathway), Costume and Make-Up. 

 

“Zero Dark Thirty” this was hands down one of the best films of the year in my opinion.  It was tense, thrilling and well-crafted.  That raid scene at the climax was absolutely phenomenal thanks in part to director Kathryn Bigelow.  It also doesn’t hurt, that Jessica Chastain is indeed the powerhouse heart of the movie, delivering a performance so raw, gut-wrenching and emotionally powerful it’s impossible to take your eyes away from the screen. The fact that Bigelow was snubbed in the Best Director race hurts the pictures chances, as does the fact that so much scrutiny has been placed on the picture for allegedly being pro-torture. 

 

So that just leaves three contenders, which I think have an equal shot of taking home the prize.  “Silver Linings Playbook” is the first picture in nearly 20 years to pick up nominations in all of its acting categories.  In my opinion that’s one of the reasons the movie should claim the top prize.  To be considered a Best Picture in my book there should be stellar acting on all parts lead and supporting and it doesn’t hurt to have a great story crafted in the mix as well.  The movie tackles the issue of mental illness with such a delicacy you fall in love with the characters.  This is my selection for Best Picture, but it’s not likely more on that later.

 

Steven Spielberg’s biopic “ Lincoln” is what great movies are made of us.  It has a stellar ensemble cast with awesome performances from Daniel Day-Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones and Sally Field, but the front-runner this awards season is losing its steam.  While the picture is an esteemed period peace, some have considered it a bit long and because of that a bore at times.  I can see the film winning the Best Picture prize, if Spielberg takes home the Best Director award. 

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Could "Silver Linings Playbook" take the Best Picture prize?

 

Oscar is notable for pairing the Best Director with the Best Picture, because to split the categories doesn’t really make much sense in my opinion. As long as I’ve been around I’ve only experienced three occasions where that didn’t happen.  In 1998, Steven Spielberg won Best Director for “Saving Private Ryan,” but Best Picture went to “Shakespeare in Love.”  In 2000, Steven Soderbergh won Best Director for “Traffic,” while “Gladiator took home the Best Picture award. And who can forget 2005, when Ang Lee won Best Director for “ Brokeback Mountain,” but Best Picture went to “Crash.”  The rules have been broken a few times in the past, but nothing gargantuan. I have a feeling everyone is suspecting Best Picture and Best Director will not match, but I have an inkling the Academy might throw a curve ball to the public. 

 

The last picture on the list is “Argo.”  It was absolutely the front-runner this awards season when the picture hit screens in October. It stayed on radar, until other pictures like “ Lincoln,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Les Misérables” and “Zero Dark Thirty” started gaining steam.  The turning point for the picture is the snub to Ben Affleck in the Best Director race.  Let’s face it; the picture was pushed to front-runner status because of that slap in the face.  If Affleck would have received a nomination I think things would be playing out quite differently this awards season. “Argo” is likely to take the Best Picture as a consolation prize to Ben Affleck for being snubbed by the Academy, but he’s not the first director to face stuff antics.  I’m still livid over the fact that Steven Spielberg was snubbed for Best Director in 1985 for “The Color Purple.”  Heck the movie had the most nominations and didn’t walk away with a single award. 

 

So in conclusion, “Argo” may be the odds on favorite for Best Picture.  If Spielberg wins Best Director, there is a chance “ Lincoln” could still be crowned Best Picture.  However, if the Academy chooses to give the Best Director prize to David O. Russell for “Silver Linings Playbook” there is a chance that movie will take the coveted Best Picture award in my opinion. 



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