The Illumi-Nerdi Predicts the 2013 Academy Awards

Best Picture- Argo, Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty

Will Win: Argo. The talk has been all Argo this Oscar season with it taking home the big prize at the BAFTAs, Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards, and Directors Guild Awards and I’m thinking it gets the big prize too. Plus, how much fun is it to say Argo fuck yourself?

Should Win: Argo. Not to say Argo was a spectacular piece of filmmaking (I actually liked The Town more) but Argo was the best movie this year. It was funny when it needed to be (pretty much any scene involving John Goodman and Alan Arkin) and incredibly tense, particularly the last third of the movie. Ben Affleck has really come a long way from his Gigli and Surviving Christmas days (….kinda liked Surviving Christmasnot gonna lie). 

Could Win: Silver Linings Playbook. I really loved this movie. I’m not really a David O. Russell fan; The Fighter’s only captivating quality was Christian Bale as drug addled Dicky Eklund. But everything about this movie really clicked for me and I might have even liked it more than Argo. But I have to go with the odds and say Argo’s going to take this one. 

Best Director- Michael Haneke, Ang Lee, David O. Russell, Steven Spielberg, Behn Zeitlin

Will Win: Steven Spielberg. Spielberg turned in another excellent film. I don’t think he’s ever made a bad movie since 1975 (though arguments could be made for The Lost World and War of the Worlds, both perfectly watchable movies). Though in a year where there are some noticeable absentees Spielberg will win this. 

Should Win: Ben Affleck (though not nominated).This entire category is one big snub. Ben Affleck, Kathryn Bigelow and Quentin Tarantino all should have been nominated and all could have won. I just don’t understand how a movie can be nominated for best picture, be a favorite for best picture and the academy does not nominate the director. Can someone explain this to me?

Could Win: Ang Lee.  Filming an unfilmable movie and only receiving positive acclaim is a pretty good accomplishment and there’s an outside chance he goes home with a Best Director Oscar. This movie received the second most nominations (second only to Lincoln) and it is pretty likely it only takes some of the technical awards. But Ang Lee does have the best chance besides Spielberg.

Best Actor- Bradley Cooper, Daniel Day-Lewis, Hugh Jackman, Joaquin Phoenix, Denzel Washington

Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure
Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis. There’s not much discussion on this one. It’s kind of a no-brainer and he really does deserve it. He completely transformed into Lincoln (as he does for any role). But as much as he earned this one, I wouldn’t mind seeing someone else win. Like…

Should Win: Bradley Cooper. I am NOT saying Bradley Cooper was better than Daniel Day-Lewis. What I am saying is that anytime Daniel Day-Lewis is in a category, it’s kind of unfair for everyone else in said category. So, let’s talk about who should win BESIDES the esteemed DD-L. Any other year Bradley Cooper would have a damn good chance at the best actor win. He took me completely by surprise in this performance and kind of blew me away. I’m actually pretty excited to see what he’ll do next (besides the sequel to the abysmal Hangover II). 

Could Win: Hugh Jackman. I’m hearing some minor talk of Hugh Jackman for Les Mis but Daniel Day-Lewis is as close to a lock as can be. Also any other year Joaquin Phoenix would have a pretty good chance at this (his performance really was excellent, though the movie itself shockingly slow moving).

Best Actress- Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, Emmanuelle Riva, Quvenzhané Wallis and Naomi Watts

Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence. One of many surprisingly great performances in this movie. I think it’s a toss-up between Chastain and Lawrence for this category with Lawrence taking a slight edge. 

Should Win: Jessica Chastain. I liked Zero Dark Thirty. It was good. Not great. It took a long time to get moving, a real long time. Once it did, it was pretty damn good. Most of the time we were kind of following Jessica Chastain around and she really pushed this movie forward. It’s refreshing to see a movie completely driven by a strong female character. Chastain has only been in movies where she won buckets full of praise. While it might not happen this year, Chastain’s time is coming real soon
Could Win: Emmanuelle Riva. There’s a good chance J-Law and Chastain split some of the votes so Riva could get the elderly vote.

Best Supporting Actor- Alan Arkin, Robert De Niro, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tommy Lee Jones, Christoph Waltz

Will Win: Tommy Lee Jones. This is as much of a toss-up category as we’ve seen in recent years so anyone can really win this. I find it hard to believe that Jones only has one Oscar win (1993’s The Fugitive) and I think he has a pretty good chance at getting his second. 

Should Win: Robert De Niro. I love anytime an actor can step out of his or her comfort zone and do something different. And this is especially true for Robert De Niro. I’ve been sick of him playing stereotypical Italians or gangsters or stereotypical Italian gangsters. He did something else for Silver Linings (as the father of a man with serious emotional problems and has a few pretty serious ones himself).

Could Win: Christoph Waltz. As I said, this race could go to any one of these actors and I’m only giving Tommy Lee Jones a slight lead over Waltz and De Niro. But I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Waltz come home with his second Oscar.

Best Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, Sally Field, Anne Hathaway, Helen Hunt, Jacki Weaver

Will Win: Anne Hathaway. Another great performance for Hathaway and I’m giving her good odds at beating out Sally Field for her turn in Les Miserables. 

Should Win: Jacki Weaver. Another situation for Silver Linings in a case of “always a bridesmaid never a bride” with the only exception possibly being Jennifer Lawrence. I think I’ve harped on about the performances for this film enough but Jacki Weaver was wonderful in this movie. 

Could Win: Sally Field. She was pretty good in this movie. She didn’t shock me with an unbelievable performance, but she did what she needed to do. There’s a decent chance she wins this after not even getting nominated for 1994’s Forest Gump.