This Sunday sees the end of this year’s Awards season with the envelopes being torn open at the 85th Academy Awards. It looks to be quite an interesting ceremony this year as the results are harder to predict than they have been in the past.
The only real certainty this year is that Anne Hathaway will pick up the award for Best Supporting Actress. I was sure of this the second I saw the Les Miserables trailer back in August. Her performance is brief but staggering and the Oscars already love her following some significant involvement in the ceremonies across the last few years. Her performance as Fantine has been criticised for being a little overwrought but the character had just lost any real means to support her daughter, sold her hair and two of her teeth and been forced into prostitution so I think she was entitled to be a tad emotional. Hathaway was also excellent in The Dark Knight Rises and while this hasn’t had any recognition in the nominations, I’m sure it hasn’t done her profile any harm. (Amy Adams will just have to wait another year or two but like Kate Winslet before her time is definitely coming.) With regards to the aforementioned Batman movie I’m disappointed not to see it turn up in the Cinematography and Visual Effects categories but both of these awards will deservedly go to Life of Pi for good use of the gimmicky 3D and CGI tools used liberally in contemporary film making.
Best Actress I really can’t call this year, there is a good chance it will go to Emmanuelle Riva for Amour but my gut feeling is that Jennifer Lawrence will have more to do at the podium this weekend than read clumsily off an auto cue. Amour’s inclusion here and in the Best Picture section make it favourite to win Best Foreign Film but since each country puts forward their one best film for the year this is always a strong field. I’m sad not to see Rust & Bone in this list but having not seen Amour, I’m rooting for the wonderful A Royal Affair.
Best Picture is very interesting this year. (Didn’t it used to be called Best Film? Is this because so few of them are actually shot on celluloid now meaning they are not technically films anymore?) There are some great movies listed here (apart from Django Unchained which was indulgent and sloppy and doesn’t deserve the nomination). Argo has built up some great momentum with previous wins at the BAFTAs, The Golden Globes, The Critic’s Choice Awards and The Director’s Guild of America Awards which makes it a likely victor here too although I am a little surprised by its success. I really liked it but I certainly don’t think it is a better film than Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, Life of Pi, Beasts of the Southern Wild or my personal favourite Les Miserables. There is no Best Director nom for Ben Affleck which hurts its chances a little but I am pleased to see Affleck doing well. It is nice to see him using his talent to turn his career around and make some really poor movies less prominent on his résumé. People should not be surprised by this though, he did win an Oscar for writing Good Will Hunting way back before his agent suggested he go for Armageddon and Pearl Harbour after all. Actually his filmography also includes Shakespeare in Love, State of Play, Hollywoodland and Chasing Amy so perhaps it’s unfair that we ever obsessed over Gigli in the first place.
As much as I am sad to admit that the amazing cinematic achievement that is Les Miserables will not win the biggest award, I do think it will do well in terms of numbers. I’m expecting it to do well in lots of the smaller categories; Costume Design, Make Up, Production Design, Sound Mixing etc. I’d also like to see Les Miserables get a statuette for Hugh Jackman (another Academy Darling just like Anne Hathaway) although this is a Daniel Day Lewis year and while he’s not portraying the devastating effects of illness or disability he is inhabiting an American Hero so should probably be pushing his two Oscars a little closer together on the shelf to make space for a third.
Elsewhere I’d like to see a win for The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists, especially following its inexplicable omission from the BAFTA nominations. The Animated Feature category has three stop motion films going up against two computer animations this year and I really hope one of them takes it, stop motion is such an engaging art form. Besides, Brave was good but far from Pixar’s best effort and I really don’t understand all the love there is for Wreck It Ralph. The best thing about that film was the 10 minute cartoon Paperman which showed before it. Hopefully that charming little movie will win Best Animated Short.
Apparently the ceremony is going to celebrate 50 years of James Bond this year which is frightfully nice of them. In light of this Skyfall really ought to win something and I’m expecting it will be for Best Original Song.
Finally I want to mention the screenwriting awards. This is where the Academy give statuettes to films that they don’t quite have the guts to reward with the big accolades so fingers crossed for Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Of course the whole thing is arbitrary and ultimately irrelevant. I don’t care about any of it, you understand. I’ve barely given it a second thought.