I watched Oscar telecasts when I was in elementary school in Turkey. Then (this was the 80’s), it was broadcasted one day later, but it did not matter, this was before internet.
I did not know about the backstage deals, the guild awards, the politics surrounded it. I watched it with awe, jealous of the stars who won the awards. I enjoyed moments like Gregory Peck giving four Total Recall visual effects guys the Academy Award who then gave a collective thank you speech.
Nowadays, the ceremony is more micromanaged and there are almost no surprises, especially if you are an Oscar junkie like me.
This year was a strong year and there are many movies that deserve awards. However, when it comes to Oscars, momentum and likeability are two concepts that overcome the merit of these movies, which were nominated. I do not want to spend too much time analyzing some of the categories because they are almost set in stone. Daniel Day Lewis is a lock for Best Actor. Anne Hathaway is probably practicing her thank you speech for Best Supporting Actress. Steven Spielberg must win Best Director because Ben Affleck was not nominated. It also looks like Argo is going to the Best Picture of 2013 now that they won the best ensemble SAG award.
This brings me to two major acting categories which might be open for surprises. First category is Best Actress. The nominees are Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, Emmanuelle Riva, Quvenzhané Wallis, Naomi Watts. Wallis has no chance; her honor is to be nominated. Watts is due for recognition, but The Impossible did not get a nomination in the best picture category. Chastain was frontrunner, until Lawrence got the SAG award. I will never argue against Chastain getting an Oscar, but unfortunately, she is in Zero Dark Thirty, a very controversial movie. I think Emmanuelle Riva might be the dark horse here, as Amour was recognized in almost all major categories by the academy. They might like to give the movie a second award (Amour is a lock in the category of Picture in Foreign Language). It is still a 3 actress race, but if I’d bet, my money is on Lawrence.
The second acting category rife for a surprise is the supporting actor category. The nominees are Alan Arkin, Robert De Niro, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tommy Lee Jones and Christoph Waltz. The most fascinating part is that every one of these actors has already an Oscar. Therefore, there will be no Adrian Brody type surprise. From this group, Jones solidified his bid by winning the SAG award. Although Waltz has won the Golden Globe, I think the Academy will not grant him his second Oscar in five years for another Tarantino movie. From the merit point, Hoffman should win, but The Master did not get any major nomination except for its actors. If DeNiro wins, I guarantee a Lawrence win also. I was not so high on Arkin, until Argo started to sweep all the major guild awards (Watch for the DGA next week!). I still think it is Jones’ award to lose, but Academy sometimes like to throw curveballs in supporting categories and supporting actress category is already a lock. I say watch this award for a surprise.
All in all, a year which could have been more exciting turned into another predictable one, thanks to the guilds. Maybe screenplay and technical awards will be more surprising, but in major acting categories, the results are pretty much set. Maybe Lincoln still win the Best Picture, but I think the academy will split the awards: Argo for Best Picture, Spielberg for Best Director, Day Lewis for Best Actor. A win by Tommy Lee Jones might signal a sweep by Lincoln, but we will see what happens on February 24th.
Written by OMActivities guest writer Kemal O. Yariz
Kemal O. Yariz is a lifelong film buff who watches movies religiously. He received a Film Studies minor from Bogazici University, a certificate in screenwriting from UCLA and works for Chesler/Perlmutter Productions as a Script Coverage Intern.