It's 10:15pm, Manila time, on a Sunday, February 24th. In about 9 hours, the live telecast of the arrivals will air here and that's at about 6am on a Monday. By noon, the awards season would already have come to an end with the Oscars wrapping up.
What a season this has been. One of my most favorites, if I may say. The magical moment this year is how the first ever front-runner, Argo, was getting all the buzz in early October of 2012 and having been released in the theaters internationally, suddenly lost steam when the Spielberg-spectacle, Lincoln, started receiving the early critics awards. But it doesn't stop there. The early front-runner, after having been almost forgotten because of its very early release along with the hype on other short-listed films, suddenly bounced back to its original top-most position and is on its way to winning the biggest awards of all.
It's the Oscars already, like, tomorrow. I need to tell this to myself over and over because this may be the first time when I'm gonna enter the Oscar realm without a solid bet in several categories. The top categories where there's the 'clearest' and sure-shot winner for me at this point are the following: Lead Actor, Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay, and Original Song.
OK, breathe. I blog tonight to share with everyone my take on how the landscape of the awarding will be and my fearless forecast in the key categories (ones I think are, um, key enough).
I saw this photo online when I googled Oscars 2013. This photo pretty much got it correctly--- it's Lincoln and Argo who have both managed to make it to the top despite all the buzz on Zero Dark Thirty and Silver Linings Playbook. And yes, even the magical film that is Life Of Pi.
Lincoln has always had that "Oscar Best Picture- feel" to it. From the casting to the score to the promotion, it has Oscar winner all over. But it's the film that has been released in the year when a biopic wasn't really the "flavor of the season". The intensity on thriller-drama films such as Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, plus the big screen production on Life Of Pi and Les Miserables have given the audience that sort of rush this Oscar season. Not to discount the brutal-honesty with the Tarantino signature in the film Django Unchained, the all-out highly emotionally-charged acting in the romcom Silver Linings Playbook, and the "what-are-these-films-I-wanna-watch-them" curiosity Amour and Beasts Of The Southern Wild have managed to shed to the viewers, Lincoln has ended up, possibly being the most boring in the roster. With this, and all the love everyone's expressed for Ben Affleck after his snubbing, for Best Picture:
Should win: LINCOLN
Would win: ARGO
I'll make this really quick because I never really got to see Beasts Of The Southern Wild, and I don't think David O. Russell will win for a totally step-down from the genius film of his that is The Fighter, and given that his Silver Linings actors are all A-listers for a reason which leaves him little efforts in honing their skills. (Or maybe I'm wrong, who knows). On this being the most controversial category with Ben Affleck's snubbing, my take is, maybe Affleck didn't really deserve it all along. Argo owes it to the screenplay and the make-up. And yes again, maybe I'm wrong. For me, and for me alone, the Achievement in Directing Oscar should be awarded to Michael Haneke for Amour. Have you seen the film? It is the sum of the writing and the directing going along. Given that it lives and breathes on subtitle, Haneke managed to make the viewer multi-task on scrutinizing, and well, feeling the emotions from the characters, while going through the translation. With, of course, the scenes where the camera is just idle and all you do is feel the moment as if you were there, in France.
Should win: MICHAEL HANEKE, Amour
Would win: STEVEN SPIELBERG, Lincoln
(Spielberg is Spielberg, and given that he stands to lose the Picture, the Academy might as well give this one to him.)
BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
If it wasn't for Hugh Jackman and Bradley Cooper's receiving of their first Academy Award nomination, this category would be so totally boring. In here we see two two-time Oscar winners with the other as the front-runner and about to take his third in five years, two first-timers as mentioned, and the fifth slot was given to Oscar nominee Joaquin Phoenix whose all-out, character acting has trampled on my bet, John Hawkes and his subtle, soft, and straight-to-the-heart performance. To my surprise, I am honestly at the point of wanting Phoenix to win his very first Oscar, after only his second nomination. Maybe just because Day-Lewis already has two. Or probably because of something else. But in terms of acting, with all honestly, the Oscar goes to...
Should win: DANIEL DAY-LEWIS, Lincoln
Would win: DANIEL DAY-LEWIS, Lincoln
***BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
This is my most favorite category this year. Since the beginning of the season, it has been a catfight between two young actresses who have had their "Oscar-spotting" very recently: Jessica Chastain, an Supporting Actress favorite last year for The Help and Jennifer Lawrence who had her Academy-breakthrough two years ago when she got a Lead nod for Winter's Bone. However, on the nominations day, this whole catfight has been put to an end and to an alliance when Emanuelle Riva has come out from being just "that actress in the Foreign Language-winning film" to a Lead Actress nominee. Not to forget also that she's broken records for being the oldest actress to have a Lead nomination. Other nominees include Naomi Watts for The Impossible on her second Oscar appreciation after 21 Grams, and the youngest nominee ever, Q-Wallis for Beasts Of The Southern Wild. Let's take out Wallis because I never really got to see Beasts. Let's also take out Watts, because her acting is "non-judgeable" (just call me should you wish to understand what I mean by that). Now, onto the big three:
Jessica Chastain--- I was so underwhelmed by her acting in Zero Dark Thirty. Yes, Maya is a character that has no home, no one, no heart. And yes, Chastain was able to successfully portray that. And the meaning of no heart to me is no emotion. Chastain showed no emotion because her character demanded so. But it wasn't god acting as anyone could do that, I guess. She got trapped in the emotionlessness of her character that the red-head who should have won last year for The Help was left giving the screen the blandness it did not really need from a Bin Laden thriller.
Jennifer Lawrence--- unlike Chastain, J.Law has defined great acting. Acting is being someone else. Lawrence is young in real life yet she was able to give heart and soul to a mature widow who's been ridiculed for her lasciviousness which is the result of a traumatic event in her life. Complex and an explosion of emotions. But if I may be very honest, I don't really feel that this is Lawrence's time. Kate Winslet and Sandra Bullock had been in two Oscar-baits and they've been both frontrunners for Lead Actress and even if they both didn't deserve their Oscars, I felt that it was their year. Lawrence, on the total opposite ring, deserves an Oscar, but I don't quite feel it at all.
Given this, my Best Actress winner is Emanuelle Riva. It may not be as challenging because she's an old lady playing an old woman. Um, right, whatever. What I'm saying is, if she's a French actress who's been around for a while, her portrayal of Anne wouldn't bee too difficult. Then again, like how I pointed out Amour and Haneke's win, it's the kind of film that captures you much too much, you would feel like you're in the scene with them. Riva has played so little but put in and out so much. It's like one of those granular candies that when you put in your mouth explodes. Plus, who would turn down an 85-year-old woman, who, by the way, is turning 86 on Oscars day?
The Oscars has loved bold acting. Jennifer Lawrence showed bold, all-out, highly emotionally-charged acting, and she can win and if she does, she would be deserving. But Emmanuelle Riva has put in a pinch of sadness on top of her natural acting (as maybe depicted) and she's already left the audience feeling so much with just too little.
Should win: EMMANUELLE RIVA, Amour
Would win: EMMANUELLE RIVA, Amour
***Best Actor / Actress in a Supporting Role
Anyone except for Alan Arkin (Actor), Anne Hathaway for Les Miserables (Actress)
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln (Actor), Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables (Actress)
***BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Should win: Michael Haneke, Amour
Would win: Quentin Tarantino, Django UnchainedBEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Should win: Chris Terrio, Argo
Would win: Tony Kushner, LincolnBEST ORIGINAL SONG:
Should win: Skyfall by Adele, for Skyfall
Would win: Skyfall by Adele, for Skyfall
That's it, I leave you with who you think should win in the technical categories, plus Animated Feature, among others.
See you in the morning on the red carpet!