2013 Oscar Predictions – Ben’s Picks

This has been a great year for films, and the Academy for the most part has reflected that in its nominations. Besides being good, movies have also been surprising, with several categories lacking clear frontrunners. That makes this one of the most exciting award years in some time. So predictions are, of course, almost impossible—but what’s the fun in that?! So here are my guesses for who will win, and thoughts on who should win.

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams, The Master
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook

Will win: Anne Hathaway

Should win: Sally Field

Les Miserables 1

Analysis: Hathaway has won the Broadcast Critic Award, the Golden Globe, the SAG, and the BAFTA. She is playing a depressed character that has to become a whore, dies, and sings what is to many one of the saddest emotional songs period. She can’t lose.

Personal Bias: Hathaway is fine in the role, but I don’t think her time on screen really left that much of an impact. While Jacki Weaver was in a movie I loved, I have a hard time pointing to anything in particular that made her performance that memorable or interesting. Helen Hunt does some good work but was easily overshadowed by John Hawkes, so it is hard to get behind her. Amy Adams continues to do some very strong work and deserves the nomination, and a win would not be a bad thing. But my choice is Sally Field, who does a great job of balancing the craziness of Mary Todd Lincoln while also making her a loving wife and, at times, politically astute.

Best Supporting Actor

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

Will win: Tommy Lee Jones

Should win: Philip Seymour Hoffman

Lincoln 1

Analysis: This award is harder to predict than usual. We have Waltz winning the Globe and the BAFTA, Hoffman the Broadcast Critic award, and Tommy Lee Jones the SAG. If the love for Argo or Silver Linings Playbook comes out on top, giving the award to Arkin or De Niro wouldn’t be that much of a surprise. With all that, I am still going with Tommy Lee Jones. He does have the SAG, and for much of the year he was the presumed frontrunner; nothing seems that strong to take that away. But if there is a surprise winner this year this category seems the most likely bet.

Personal Bias: With all the love the Academy sent towards Beasts of the Southern Wild it is hard to complain, but would it have been so hard to put Dwight Henry in here? He is my choice for best performance of the year, period. I would have loved to have seen him with his justified award. With that being said, we have Christoph Waltz who wasn’t even my favorite acting job in Django Unchained (that would have been Samuel L. Jackson), Tommy Lee Jones who I really don’t think did anything special in Lincoln beyond being gruff, and Alan Arkin, who was fine in his role but didn’t stand out over any of the other supporting performances in Argo.

So that leaves Robert De Niro and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Now I loved De Niro in this role—he was emotional, funny, and realistic in his portrayal of a man with mental issues, especially OCD. But I have to give this to Hoffman, who, as the cult leader in The Master, is able to be charismatic and manipulative, but also easily angered when his views are questioned. He places an enormous strain on himself to keep going. How strongly he believes what he is speaking comes into play, as well as the happiness he has when he just lets go. De Niro winning would be a good choice as well, but this should be Hoffman’s.

Best Actress

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

Will win: Jennifer Lawrence

Should win: Jennifer Lawrence

Silver Linings Playbook 1

Analysis: This award is down to two people, Jennifer Lawrence and Emmanuelle Riva. Lawrence has the SAG and the Golden Globe, and Riva has the BAFTA. The BAFTA has been a great indicator in the last few years, but I still give the edge slightly to Lawrence. For much of the year she was the frontrunner, and Silver Linings Playbook did a lot better with the Academy than anyone expected. She does have Harvey Weinstein behind her, and he knows a win is possible here. This category is the best shot for the Academy to reward Silver Linings Playbook, and Lawrence has had the momentum most of the year.

Personal Bias: I love this line-up. Seriously, I cannot remember when we had all deserving nominees in this category. Watts brought heart and real terror dealing with the tsunami’s effect on her character’s family. Wallis was the center of one of the most creative movies of the year. Chastain brought the cold intensity of a driven professional to life. Riva transformed from being a loving older woman to one very much aware of her physical and mental downfall, wanting to end her life. While no one is a bad choice here, I do want Lawrence to win. She brought raw emotion to every scene she was in, showing her character’s mental illness with a realism that has stayed with me all year. She can win this and I very much hope she does.


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Benjamin is a film connoisseur and Oscar watcher who lives in Minneapolis and, when not reviewing movies, works at the Hennepin County Library.

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