In a change of pace, the nominations for the Academy Awards were announced today, before the Golden Globes were presented. Some of the nominations were surprising, though many were fairly predictable.
Below is the full list of Oscar nominations to be announced February 24, 2013. On some of the categories, I give my analysis and opinion of what will more than likely win, and what my choice to win is. Keep in mind that I have not seen some of the nominees (such as Zero Dark Thirty, which comes to theaters nationwide Friday, January 11), but I have seen a great deal of them.
Here they are:
Amour (Sony Pictures Classics), Nominees To Be Determined
Argo (Warner Bros.), Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck and George Clooney, Producers
Beasts of the Southern Wild (Fox Searchlight), Dan Janvey, Josh Penn and Michael Gottwald, Producers
Django Unchained (The Weinstein Company), Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin and Pilar Savone, Producers
Les Misérables (Universal), Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward and Cameron Mackintosh, Producers
Life of Pi (20th Century Fox), Gil Netter, Ang Lee and David Womark, Producers
Lincoln (DreamWorks), Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers
Silver Linings Playbook (The Weinstein Company), Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen and Jonathan Gordon, Producers
Zero Dark Thirty (Sony), Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow and Megan Ellison, Producers
There are a total of nine nominations, and the none of the nominees are surprising, given the other awards handed out throughout the last few months, and these don't differ dramatically from what the Golden Globe nominations are.
What will win: Given several Best Film wins in several awards programs already, Zero Dark Thirty is probably where the smart money lies. Director Kathryn Bigelow's last film The Hurt Locker caused quite the upset in 2010, and this film has received nearly universal praise from both critics and audience. The downside is that this kind of publicity The Social Network received before the 2011 Oscars, but ultimately lost to The King's Speech, so nothing is written in stone.
What should win: With so many good nominees, it's hard to pick just one. Luckily, that's what the Academy is for. Argo is a magnificent thriller. Silver Linings Playbook is the funniest drama of the year. Lincoln is one of Spielberg's finest movies. And both Django Unchained and Les Mis were Christmas's best entries. Any of these films mentioned taking the biggest honor of the night would be great.
Who will win: With Kathryn Bigelow out of contention, it's anyone's game. However, Steven Spielberg seems to be the smart bet, though newcomer Benh Zeitlin has been making some huge waves, so don't count him out.
Who should win: David O. Russell. Silver Linings Playbook is a brilliant film, and Russell knocks it out of the park here.
Who will win: Again, it's too close to call. Bradley Cooper, Daniel-Day Lewis, and Joaquin Phoenix have been all causing a stir, and each have a dynamite chance of taking the coveted prize.
Who should win: Bradley Cooper, for once, plays a mentally challenged person who doesn't make the illness look cute, so I would love to see him take the trophy. However, it's impossible to deny underdog Hugh Jackman, who is more than worthy.
Actress in a Leading Role
Jessica Chastain - Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence - Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva - Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis - Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts - The Impossible
Who will win: Jessica Chastain has won several awards already for her role in Zero Dark Thirty, but counting Jennifer Lawrence out would be completely unwise, seeing that she's been nominated before and starred in the blockbuster film The Hunger Games.
Who should win: Without seeing most of the films here, my vote goes to Jennifer Lawrence for giving one of the most heart-wrenching and hilarious performances of the year.
Who will win: Though Christoph Waltz and Tommy Lee Jones have been awards favorites in the last few months, the smart money would be on Philip Seymour Hoffman, who is the critics' favorite.
Who should win: Alan Arkin. Providing the much-needed comic relief in Ben Affleck's taut CIA thriller is not an easy task, but Arkin pulled it off in spades.
Who will win: Amy Adams and Sally Field are safe bets, but Anne Hathaway seems like the closest thing to a sure bet at the Oscars.
Who should win: Anne Hathaway, who stole the show in Les Mis, even though she is only in the film for maybe a half-hour.
Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Argo, Written by Chris Terrio
Beasts of the Southern Wild, Written by Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin
Life of Pi, Written by David Magee
Lincoln, Written by Tony Kushner
Silver Linings Playbook, Written by David O. Russell
Who will win: Who knows? All these writers put in great screenplays, and have received a lot of attention for their work.
Who should win: Chris Terrio and David O. Russell both deserve this equally, and I'm not sure who deserves it more.
Writing (Original Screenplay)
Amour, Written by Michael Haneke
Django Unchained, Written by Quentin Tarantino
Flight, Written by John Gatins
Moonrise Kingdom, Written by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola
Zero Dark Thirty, Written by Mark Boal
Who will win: Mark Boal will most likely take it, seeing that he's already won several awards for his screenplay for Zero Dark Thirty.
Who should win: As great as Quentin Tarantino's script is, it would be incredible to see Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola's script for Moonrise Kingdom win.
Animated Feature Film
Brave (Disney•Pixar), Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman
Frankenweenie (Walt Disney Pictures), Tim Burton
ParaNorman (Focus Features), Sam Fell and Chris Butler
The Pirates! Band of Misfits (Sony), Peter Lord
Wreck-It Ralph (Walt Disney Pictures), Rich Moore
What will win: It's almost not fair to say, since Disney is competing against itself, but what is fair to say is Band of Misfits won't be able to contend with the other four nominees.
What should win: Though all these films are great, my heart belongs to Wreck-It Ralph, which is probably Disney's best outing since Wall-E.
Who will win: Without Zero Dark Thirty nominated, it's truly anyone's game. Roger Deakins has been nominated 10 times in total without a win, so this could be his year. But Claudio Miranda has won several awards this season as well, so he's a probable choice as well.
Who should win: Roger Deakins. With the Oscars paying a special tribute to the James Bond franchise, giving Deakins his first Oscar win for arguably the best Bond film ever would be perfect.
Who will win: Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg's work on Zero Dark Thirty has won several awards, and is looking to take the prize here.
Who should win: William Goldenberg's work on Argo was brilliant, but Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers' work on Silver Linings Playbook amazing, conveying as much of the characters' emotions as the screenplay does.
Music (Original Song)
"Before My Time" from Chasing Ice, Music and Lyric by J. Ralph
"Everybody Needs A Best Friend" from Ted, Music by Walter Murphy; Lyric by Seth MacFarlane
"Pi's Lullaby" from Life of Pi, Music by Mychael Danna; Lyric by Bombay Jayashri
"Skyfall" from Skyfall, Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
"Suddenly" from Les Misérables, Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg; Lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil
Who will win: Adele's amazing theme for Skyfall has been favored by critics, audiences, and other awards as well, and, with the Bond tribute this year, a win would be too perfect.
Who should win: "Everybody Needs A Best Friend". Let's face it: Ted was the funniest movie this year, and, with host Seth MacFarlane being nominated for the song, a win in this category would be amazing!
And here are the rest of the nominees. I either have not seen these films, or have no honest opinion one way or another.
Foreign Language Film
Amour (Sony Pictures Classics), Austria
Kon-Tiki (The Weinstein Company), Norway
No (Sony Pictures Classics), Chile
A Royal Affair (Magnolia Pictures), Denmark
War Witch (Tribeca Film), Canada
Anna Karenina, Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Production Design: Dan Hennah; Set Decoration: Ra Vincent and Simon Bright
Les Misérables, Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Anna Lynch-Robinson
Life of Pi, Production Design: David Gropman; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
Lincoln, Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Jim Erickson
5 Broken Cameras (Kino Lorber), Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi
The Gatekeepers (Sony Pictures Classics), Nominees to be determined
How to Survive a Plague (Sundance Selects), Nominees to be determined
The Invisible War (Docurama Films), Nominees to be determined
Searching for Sugar Man (Sony Pictures Classics), Nominees to be determined
Argo, John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Jose Antonio Garcia
Les Misérables, Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes
Life of Pi, Ron Bartlett, D.M. Hemphill and Drew Kunin
Lincoln, Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Ronald Judkins
Skyfall, Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell and Stuart Wilson
Argo, Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn
Django Unchained, Wylie Stateman
Life of Pi, Eugene Gearty and Philip Stockton
Skyfall, Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers
Zero Dark Thirty, Paul N.J. Ottosson
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and R. Christopher White
Life of Pi, Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott
Marvel's The Avengers, Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams and Dan Sudick
Prometheus, Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley and Martin Hill
Snow White and the Huntsman, Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Philip Brennan, Neil Corbould and Michael Dawson
Documentary (Short Subject)
Inocente, Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine
Kings Point, Sari Gilman and Jedd Wider
Mondays at Racine, Cynthia Wade and Robin Honan
Open Heart, Kief Davidson and Cori Shepherd Stern
Redemption, Jon Alpert and Matthew O'Neill
Short Film (Animated)
Adam and Dog, Minkyu Lee
Fresh Guacamole, PES
Head over Heels, Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly
Maggie Simpson in "The Longest Daycare", David Silverman
Paperman, John Kahrs
Short Film (Live Action)
Asad, Bryan Buckley and Mino Jarjoura
Buzkashi Boys, Sam French and Ariel Nasr
Curfew, Shawn Christensen
Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw), Tom Van Avermaet and Ellen De Waele
Henry, Yan England