Oscar Picks – 15 Nov 2012

We’re now getting into the thick of awards season, with many of the most anticipated releases finally getting their audience assessments. But there are still miles ahead. Here’s where we are today.


The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
The Master
Moonrise Kingdom
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Falling off: Django Unchained
Rising star: Skyfall
The skinny: Too soon did I cast off Best Exotic from this list of contenders. I thought it might have been too slight. What was I thinking?! This is EXACTLY the kind of movie the older bloc of the Academy is going to eat right up. Alas, this means I must also join the legions of bloggers who have dismissed Django Unchained as a serious contender. There shall be only one Civil War-era movie getting a Best Picture nod, and it shall be Lincoln.


Ben Affleck, Argo
Paul Thomas Anderson, The Master
Michael Haneke, Amour
Tom Hooper, Les Misérables
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln

Falling off: No one
Rising star: Ang Lee, Life of Pi
The skinny: Could Anderson be in trouble? I don’t think he has reason to panic yet. Directors of more difficult fare tend to stick around in this category. But if Life of Pi or Silver Linings Playbook become massive hits, he’s in the most danger to lose his spot on this list.  


Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Anthony Hopkins, Hitchcock
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Denzel Washington, Flight

Falling off: No one
Rising star: Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
The skinny: Cooper has star power, but that doesn’t necessarily get you a whole lot of traction in this category. If Hopkins proves to be as unnecessary as last year’s Actor Caked in Make-up to Play a Fascinating Figure (DiCaprio), Cooper will find himself among the five.


Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Meryl Streep, Hope Springs
Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts, The Impossible

Falling off: Keira Knightley
Rising star: Helen Mirren, Hitchcock
The skinny: Word is Riva must must must be nominated or there will be a very big round of shaming coming the Academy’s way. There won’t be two nominees from a foreign language film in this category, so she has to prove herself more vital than her fellow Frenchwoman Marion Cotillard (Rust and Bone) and beat out the incomparable Meryl Streep. Only Riva or Cotillard will make the five and right now it’s on Riva.


Alan Arkin, Argo
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

Falling off: Jim Broadbent, Matthew McConaughey
Rising star: Javier Bardem, Skyfall
The skinny: While I would love to see John Goodman nominated instead of Arkin (for his work there as well as two great supporting turns in Flight and Trouble with the Curve), Arkin seems a lock for his third nomination. McConaughey seems to have fallen out in a crowded field, but if he finds favor at the Globes and SAGs, he’ll be right back in it. And then there’s Skyfall, which will end up as the highest-grossing Bond ever. Bardem is a major reason for its success, playing the most menacing villain 007 has faced in years. Voters will likely find him too similar to his winning role in No Country for Old Men, but he surely deserves another nod this year.


Amy Adams, The Master
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Maggie Smith, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Falling off: No one
Rising star: Judi Dench, Skyfall
The skinny: As mentioned above, Skyfall is going to be a huge hit, and Dench could show up onscreen just to sneeze and she’d be mentioned as a potential nominee. But she’s quite stellar as M in Skyfall (and has been for 17 years). She has some extra support from a movie older voters are sure to lap up: the aforementioned Best Exotic.


Django Unchained
The Master
Moonrise Kingdom

Falling off: Nothing
Rising star: Flight
The skinny: Flight is spectacular all around, but we’ll see if the award givers view it as anything more than a Denzel vehicle.


Beasts of the Southern Wild

Silver Linings Playbook

Falling off: Nothing
Rising star: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The skinny: Maybe this is just my own desire talking, but a well-respected adaptation like Perks could well end up as a nominee if Summit works hard enough.


The Painting
The Rabbi’s Cat
Wreck-It Ralph

Falling off: Ernest and Celestine, Frankenweenie
Rising star: Rise of the Guardians
The skinny: Personal bias alert: I have absolutely no desire to see Rise of the Guardians, so that may be why I keep it back. But if it’s a box-office smash, it could be DreamWorks’ representative this year. Also, it’s either Frankenweenie or ParaNorman for the spooky animated feature slot.

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