The 2013 Academy Awards airs this Sunday, Feb. 24, and the array of films, directors and actors up for consideration is no less impressive than previous years. I have made my own Oscar predictions for this year based on professional reviews, critical acclaim and, of course, the films themselves. While I don’t believe any film nominated for an award was falsely endorsed, I do have my own personal hopes for the outcomes.
My estimates give Best Picture to Ben Affleck’s “Argo.” This film follows a CIA agent’s attempted rescue of American diplomats after the U.S. embassy in Tehran is taken over by Iranian revolutionists in 1976. It had the second-highest audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes of all the Best Picture nominees at 93 percent. Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” received a 94 percent, but will be passed up on the Best Picture front due to its lack — in comparison to “Argo,” at least — of emotion. “Django,” a fantastic film about a freed slave and a German dentist’s journey as bounty hunters through the mid-1800s United States does not play so much at the heartstrings as “Argo” does, and the Academy does so love its films with less humor and more pain, especially in the endings (past winners include “Schindler’s List,” “The English Patient,” “Gladiator,” “A Beautiful Mind” and “The Departed”). Additionally, 2009’s Best Picture victory for Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker” shows that the Academy has a soft spot for films about struggles with the Middle East. Why, then, won’t Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty” capture the statue? The LA Times said it best in claiming that the controversy surrounding the film’s portrayal of torture gives it little chance of winning gold for Best Picture.
I expect Daniel Day-Lewis to take home the Oscar for Best Actor for his performance as Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln.” It’s hard to believe this Irish-English actor is capable of portraying the soft-spoken, thoughtful American president, but if his Oscar win in 2007 for “There Will Be Blood” and 1989 for “My Left Foot” prove anything, it’s that Day-Lewis is probably one of the most dedicated and immersive actors on the market today. Not to say that Hugh Jackman in “Les Miserables,” Joaquin Phoenix in “The Master,” Bradley Cooper in “Silver Linings Playbook” and Denzel Washington in “Flight” weren’t masters of their own performances.
Best actress is a more difficult award to predict. Time Magazine has its money on “Zero Dark Thirty’s” Jessica Chastain, but Huffington Post claims Jennifer Lawrence’s performance in “Silver Linings Playbook” will win her the trophy. Indiewire predicts “Amour” actress Emmanuelle Riva, the oldest Best Actress nominee in Academy history at 86, will beat out these other women, but in this instance, I’m going to have to agree with Time Magazine. Chastain’s performance as a CIA officer obsessed with capturing Osama Bin Laden was forceful and convincing.
Regardless of the outcome of the 2013 Oscars, I look forward to a night of film appreciation and hope that host Seth MacFarlaneis funny enough to keep up.