Oscar Race 2012 – The Other Races

So, since I’ve already shared my thoughts on the Best Picture race , I see no reason not to share my thoughts on the other big races as well, and, having seen most of them, I suppose I have a somewhat valid soapbox upon which to stand.  So, here goes:

Best Picture Argo

See here for the explanation as to why.

Best Director – David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook.

If Ben Affleck were here, this would be easy – give it to Ben.  But since he’s not, somebody else has to get my vote.  I have little doubt Spielberg will win and when he does it will be for a movie that is clearly substandard.  It was boring, overlong, lazily-directed, tedious, etc.  Because Spielberg didn’t make the engaging film he could have, he loses, hands down.  In other words, there will be no bonus points handed out to ‘important’ films versus ‘actually good films’.  On the other hand, David O. Russell skillfully brought his film to life, finally coaxed another good performance out of De Niro, and didn’t leave me bored once.  In my book, that makes his direction the best.

Best Actor –  Joaquin Phoenix, The Master.

Yes, it seems a foregone conclusion that Daniel Day-Lewis will prevail on Oscar night because, after all, he’s won everything else in sight.  And yes, he was good in the film and if he did win it wouldn’t be a travesty.  (To be fair, winning or losing awards given out to the best man or woman at pretending will never be a travesty).  Nevertheless, his performance was nowhere near as exhilarating as Phoenix’s.  Yes, the character was weird and unhinged – which will turn off a lot of people – but that scene he shares with Philip Seymour Hoffman, taking inventory, just blows me away and carries the day.

Best Actress – Jennifer Lawrence, The Silver Linings Playbook.

It seems pretty apparent Jennifer Lawrence is going to win and why not?  She was great in the film and a perfect counterpart/partner to Bradley Cooper.  Still, as much as I think she will and should win, part of me wants Jessica Chastain to take the Oscar because, while she didn’t have the big emotional scenes that seem to scream ‘acting’, she did carry the movie pretty much on her back and was extremely subtle in what she did.  Plus, look at the films she’s done over the past two years (The Help, Tree of Life, Zero Dark Thirty, etc.) and you see an actress of real skill, not just one relying on ‘tricks’.

Best Supporting Actor – Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained.

And if not Waltz, then Philip Seymour Hoffman.  Yes, I suspect Tommy Lee Jones will be the winner here but, come on, between his work in Inglorious Basterds and his work here, Christoph Waltz has offered conclusive proof that he is an actor of serious range and power.  After all, the characters he played in both films could not have been more different and yet, Waltz made them come alive and seem unique and believable.  Tommy Lee Jones, on the other hand, seemed to be playing that same character he always plays – the gruff old coot.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I like Tommy Lee Jones and thought he was fine in Lincoln – one of the few bright spots in the film – but liking him and thinking he gave the best performance are two different things.

Best Supporting Actress – No preference.

I suspect Anne Hathaway will be the winner but as I’ve not seen Les Miz, I can’t say if she should or not.  Of the three I have seen (Sally Field, Amy Adams and Jackie Weaver) I don’t honestly think either of the three should win.  Sorry, ladies – you were nominate-able but weren’t award-worthy.

Best Screenplay (Original) – Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom

My struggle in this category is with the word ‘original’.  I want to award it to the most original film of the nominees, as opposed to something as mundane as the best script that was not based on something else.  From an originality standpoint, this immediately pushes Django Unchained aside, simply because the entire film is an homage/rip-off of things that came before it.  Also, it gets pushed aside because, while the first half was magnificent, it’s second was not, and therefore, it cannot be best.   Amour and Flight are easy to dismiss because I simply have not seen them.  Zero Dark Thirty was a great movie and a great movie needs a map, but I don’t know how much of the movie was script and how much was director – that’s a question I struggle with.  Perhaps it might be easier to give it the Oscar had not Moonrise Kingdom been here, but Moonrise Kingdom was there.  Since that script hits all the marks for originality and for simply being the best, I’d give it the award.

Best Screenplay (Adapted) – (tie) Christ Terrio, Argo and David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook.

Having read none of the source materials for any of the nominees, I can’t say which film had the best adaptation and which simply regurgitated exactly was in the book.  That leaves me just to determine which script was best.  Given my disdain for the uninvolving history lesson that is Lincoln, I cannot possibly give it the award.  I so disliked the film I would put any of the other four nominees above it, including The Life of Pi, which I still have not seen.  But, given that I thought Argo the Best Picture, it’s script should win as well.  Though, to be fair, of the nominees, the most script-dependent (as opposed to visuals-dependent) was Silver Linings Playbook and I see no reason why these two scripts shouldn’t saw that Oscar in half and each take part  of it home.

So, what did you think?  Think I’m a moron?  Well, if you do, don’t be afraid to comment and say so.

1 Comment

Filed under The Best Picture Project, Things I've Seen, What I'm Watching

One response to “Oscar Race 2012 – The Other Races

  1. Rob

    The Best Actor category this year is simply full of great performances. While Daniel Day-Lewis will definitely win the Oscar, the other four certainly deserve praise. Like you mentioned, Joaquin Phoenix’ return to film was masterful (no pun intended) and the questioning scene alone should win him some type of award. Then there’s Hugh Jackman, the only actor in the world that could’ve pulled off Jean Valjean. Denzel delivers arguably his darkest and most emotional performance in Flight. And in addition, John Hawkes was snubbed but for anyone who watched The Sessions, there’s no doubt he gave it his all in the very challenging role. What a great year for movies 2012 was.

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