2013 presents an interesting crop of nominated films. Without that "OMG" film that previous years have birthed, such as ‘The Artist’, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, ‘The Departed’ and ‘Million Dollar Baby’, we’re left with a fairly even playing field. This leaves room for films like the low budget ‘Beast of the Southern Wild’ and foreign feature ‘Amour’ to garner nominations in multiple categories. Even animation power house Pixar isn’t the favourite to take out Best Animation after last year's disappointing ‘Brave’. Sporting the most nominations this year is Steven Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’, with 12 in total. The great man is certainly not at odds with the Academy, but he certainly doesn’t have as many nominations or wins as one would think from his six decades in the industry - ‘Lincoln’ would make Oscar number three for the famed filmmaker.
I’ll admit that at the time of the nominations announcement back in January there were no clear cut winners, however as the award season kicked off and the ceremonies get ticked off one by one - Golden Globes, BAFTAS, Critics Choice and all the Guilds - the chance of surprise gets dimmer and dimmer. But fear not, the Academy made a most shocking a grievous omission this year when it failed to nominate Argo writer/directer/producer/star Ben Affleck in the Best Director category, an omission that has left voters scratching their heads mumbling, “Well how the hell did that happen?” The film itself is the hot favourite to take home Best Picture gold. Yes, in its 85 year history, Best Director and Best Picture have never been mutually exclusive, but the act of separating the two, while not rare, is an uncommon occurrence. One can’t help but wonder if write-in votes are an option. Well actually they are - that precedent was set in 1935 when Cinematographer Hal Mohr won for ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. Sure, it’s been 78 years, but a precedent is a precedent. So in the unlikely event of this happening (Sorry Ben), who takes home the shiny Oscar? Will Steven Spielberg now have enough for a pyramid? Can Ang Lee make it number two and move past the “Gay Cowboy” mantra? Or will it be a first-timer gracing the stage in David O. Russell, or newcomers Behn Zeitlin and Michael Haneke?
So for now we can’t guarantee a best director, but what we can pretty much unanimously agree on are the actors. Daniel Day-Lewis is the embodiment of arguably the greatest American president in history will undoubtedly take home Oscar #3, his last win only six years ago for ‘There Will Be Blood’. As for Best Actress - In 2010, a 20-year-old Jennifer Lawrence practically came out of nowhere and surprised everyone with an Oscar worthy performance in ‘Winter's Bone’. Lawrence may not have walked away with the win, losing to Natalie Portman, but as a result she did walk away with starring roles in two of the biggest film franchises in modern cinema and a followup nomination this year for ‘Silver Linings Playbook’, proving that despite her age, the girl's talent in no fluke. Lawrence’s film is also shaking things up - for the first time in more than 30 years, a single film has nominations in all four acting categories, as well as Best Picture and Best Director for David O. Russell.
Musical ‘Les Miserable’ made history at the end of last year by becoming the first film to use live singing. The film wasn’t the critical success everyone was expecting, but ingenue Anne Hathaway blew everyone away as Fantine, a role once made famous on stage by her mother. In the film, Hathaway has her luscious locks hacked off for real, and as we’ve seen in the past, the Academy love it when an actor does “ugly” and/or physically transforms themselves for a role. In addition to the hair loss, Anne also shed 25 pounds to play the dying prostitute.
For the Best Supporting Actor category, the Oscars don’t always love Quentin Tarantino’s films, but they love his words and his characters. A shoe-in for Best Original Screenplay, Tarantino is also set to give one of his favourites, Christoph Waltz, his second gong, the first was only three years ago for ‘Inglourious Basterds’.
I won’t take you through the technical awards, but I will point out that after dominating their respective years previously, the third Batman film, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, received no nominations this year, while Peter Jackson’s ‘The Hobbit’ only scored three after the final ‘Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King’ took home 11, more than they could carry. Having said that, the first two LOTR only laid claim to six statues combined, so there’s still hope in the coming years.
And there you have it. A (possible) look at what’s to come. Don’t forget to have a punt and cast you votes right here at SWITCH for your chance to win some prizes. So keep your eyes and ears open on the 25th of February for those fabulous gowns, those tearful acceptance speeches, those fake concession smiles and those inevitable “oops” moments that make us so very very happy. And with the no-holds-bared host Seth McFarlane, my funny bone is twitching at just the thought of it all.