Hollywood’s favorite night of giving themselves pats on the
back and handjobs is fast approaching, so I thought I’d give you
my picks for who SHOULD win the major awards. It doesn’t
necessarily mean they WILL win—but they should.
Daniel Day-Lewis for LINCOLN: This is pretty much a no-brainer. Day-Lewis should, and
likely will, walk away with the award. He’s one of the best actors around, and he was able
to breathe real life into the marble-statue of Abraham Lincoln. We’ll never get to see how
the real Lincoln talked and walked, but I’m willing to bet all the five dollar bills in the world
that Day-Lewis’ performance is pretty darn close. (note: any other year, I would say this
award should go to Joaquin Phoenix for his haunting performance in THE MASTER, but
you just can’t beat Day-Lewis).
Best Supporting Actor:
Christoph Waltz for DJANGO UNCHAINED: This is a hard one. All of the actors
nominated in this category gave great performances, especially Tommy Lee Jones in
LINCOLN and Phillip Seymour Hoffman in THE MASTER. But Waltz is so damn fun in
this role, his charm is irresistible.
Jessica Chastain for ZERO DARK THIRTY: The media has pretty much all but declared
this award for Jennifer Lawrence, and she will likely win, and that’s a damn shame. Don’t
get me wrong, I love JLAW as much as the next fellow. She seems like a charming young
lady, and she does give a fine performance in SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK. But
Jessica Chastain’s work in ZERO DARK THIRTY is one of the strongest performances
I’ve ever seen on film. It’s not a very showy performance, but it’s a thing of beauty.
Chastain’s character Maya is in almost every frame of this film, and even when she’s not
saying anything, you can constantly see the gears turning behind the eyes of this
character. She is obsessive and determined, and in the final moments of the movie, she
finally lets her guard down and we as audience see what a terrible toll this manhunt has
taken on her. This award should be a lock for Chastain, and the fact that it isn’t goes to
show you how flawed the Oscars can be.
Best Supporting Actress:
Amy Adams for THE MASTER: Now, who am I kidding? This year this award might as
well be called The Anne Hathaway Award for Excellence. Hathaway will be going home
with this award come Oscar night, and it wont be entirely undeserved. Her performance is
one of the best things about the messy train-wreck that is LES MISERABLES. But the
fact of the matter is, Hathaway doesn’t really do much. Her performance of I Dreamed a
Dream is no doubt a show-stopper, but she’s more or less out of the picture after that
scene. Amy Adams’ performance in THE MASTER, however, is a tour de force. Adams’
character first seems like a timid wife, but we slowly begin to realize how cunning and
ruthless she can be. She also delivers perhaps the most awkward handjob in film
Best Original Screenplay:
Quentin Tarantino for DJANGO UNCHAINED: Tarantino’s bloody, brutal, hilarious
screenplay for DJANGO UNCHAINED is the stuff cinema dreams are made of. The
screenplays for ZERO DARK THIRTY and MOONRISE KINGDOM both come very,very
close to getting my pick, but when it comes down to it, Tarantino’s screenplay is just too
damn good to ignore.
Best Adapted Screenplay:
Tony Kushner for LINCOLN: Chris Terrio’s script for ARGO will probably win this, but
really it should go to Kushner. Kushner turned what could’ve easily been a boring cradle
to the grave bio-pic into a heartfelt, touching, and surprisingly funny slice-of-life film about
the final days of Abraham Lincoln. Kushner took Doris Kearns Goodwins massive book
Team of Rivals and whittled it down into a tight, fast-paced story.
Kathryn Bigelow for ZERO DARK THIRTY: Okay, this is cheating, because Bigelow
wasn’t even nominated—but remember, this is my list of who SHOULD win. And god
damn it, Bigelow SHOULD WIN. The fact that the Academy chose NOT to nominate her is
a joke. Bigelow’s direction for ZDT is masterful—she has complete and total control of
everything that is going on, and moves the story along at a break-neck speed. The
Academy should all get a swift kick in the ass for overlooking her this year. That said, if I
have to pick someone who was ACTUALLY NOMINATED, I would go with Steven
Spielberg for LINCOLN. It’s the SECOND Best Directed film of the year…
Zero Dark Thirty: It seems like ARGO is going to win this award, since it has won pretty
much every other award in this category, and frankly, the Academy LOVES movies
ABOUT movies, so it’s probably a safe bet that ARGO will win. But, to borrow a phrase
from the film—Argo fuck yourself. ZERO DARK THIRTY is hands-down the best film of
the year. What could’ve simply been a propaganda piece, or a heavy-handed diatribe
about post 9-11 politics is, in the hands of Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal, a break-neck
thriller for our times. The lengthy hunt for Osama Bin Laden is stripped down to one
woman’s relentless quest to get her job done. The ending raid on Bin Laden’s compound
is one of the best pieces of directing ever put up on the silver screen, and while many in
the media have talked out of their asses about the “message” of the film, Bigelow and
Boal never point fingers or even take a specific stance—they present the story as-is, and
let the audience draw their own conclusions. This is challenging, thrilling filmmaking, and it
should be rewarded.
So there you have it. Feel free to tell me YOUR opinions/picks.