Hello everyone! Reporting live from Brooklyn, NY (my new home), I’m Phillip Brogdon ’12, and I was last year’s SGA Films Chair. I love movies of all shapes, sizes and pedigrees, but there’s something about the Oscar game that I’m particularly attracted to. So, in honor, of the approaching Oscars ceremony, and in an attempt to get my Grinnell fix before my Block Party visit in May, I thought I’d share my predictions with my favorite college newspaper. Here is how I, someone with a less-than-stellar record at predicting this sometimes incredibly surprising event, see things turning out this Sunday evening in the major categories (Check the full list of nominees at oscar.go.com for reference).
BEST PICTURE: This is an incredibly peculiar year for this category. On the surface, it seems like Argo has this sewn up. The Ben Affleck-helmed flick has literally won every precursor there is to win: the Screen Actors Guild Ensemble award, the Directors Guild Award, the Producers Guild Award, the Critics’ Choice, the Golden Globe and even the British equivalent to the Oscars (BAFTA). But here’s the kicker: in a decision that left journalists across the country reeling from shock, Ben Affleck was not included among the five Best Director nominees. This is significant considering the last movie to win Best Picture without having its director nominated was Driving Miss Daisy in 1989, and before that it was Grand Hotel in 1932. But despite this monumental historical obstacle, I’m still going to predict Argo because it is completely steam-rolling through this awards season. It might just be unstoppable. My personal favorite? I’ve seen all nine and I say easily Django Unchained. Call me problematic, call me infantile, call me whatever you’d like, but I was totally on board with that movie from start to finish.
BEST DIRECTOR: This category is the twilight zone. I am totally throwing my hands up… I have never in my life been so surprised by a single category in the eight years that I have woken up at the crack of dawn to watch the nominations ceremony. Ben Affleck has won every important directing award this season that I can think of, but given his inability to even be short-listed with the Academy, I genuinely think it could go to about 4 of the 5. I’m hoping Michael Haneke can pull it out for Amour, but I’m inclined to think the Academy will go the uninspired route and choose Lincoln, given it received the most nominations of any other film this year.
BEST ACTOR: Look for Daniel-Day Lewis to take home Oscar #3 for Lincoln. There was a time where I thought Bradley Cooper’s chances were being underestimated here, but it’s clear that Lewis’ portrayal of Abraham Lincoln is one of those ‘for the books’ kind of performances. And ultimately, I can’t say that I disagree.
BEST ACTRESS: It’s bewildering to me that this race is still being painted as a Jennifer Lawrence/Jessica Chastain battle to the death. Jennifer Lawrence wins this in a landslide, for four reasons: 1. The Academy clearly loved Silver Linings Playbook exponentially more than it liked Zero Dark Thirty, given David Russell’s surprising inclusion in the Director category and Kathryn Bigelow’s surprising exclusion. 2. Chastain’s part is very subdued, and I can’t say that the Oscars much care for subtlety, especially in this category (I still shiver with horror when I consider Halle Berry’s 2001 win for her over-the-top scenery-chewing mess of a performance in Monster’s Ball, a movie I adored). 3. J-Law is Hollywood’s new it-girl. 4. She also received high-praise this year for the phenomenally huge hit The Hunger Games.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: I think they’ll go with Tommy Lee Jones because he’s popular, the film is popular, and it’s the most interesting performance out of an absolutely dreadful crop of nominees. There were so many fantastic performances that were garnering great notices throughout awards season, notably Matthew McConaughey in Magic Mike (I am NOT kidding, just go see the movie) and instead we get Alan Arkin in Argo for doing the same shtick that already won him an Oscar in 2006 for Little Miss Sunshine.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Signed, sealed, delivered… stamp Anne Hathaway’s name onto that golden boy right now. If I had a vote, it would be Sally Field’s no question about it, but Oscar loves to award young, beautiful starlets for performances that involve tears, hysterics, and prostitution. They just can’t resist.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Django is the frontrunner here, and for that reason all is right in the world. I haven’t seen a movie balance so many tones so effectively… probably ever. It’d be a shame if he somehow misses out.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: For some reason Argo is favored here. Lincoln’s dialogue is, in my opinion, its strong suit… and the only dialogue of note in Argo is Alan Arkin’s somewhat cringe-inducing ‘Ar-go fuck yourself!’ refrain that is for some reason gaining traction with audiences. So I’m predicting Argo here, but just know that I’m not happy about it.
That’s it for me, folks! Enjoy the awards Sunday night. I’ll be watching on the Upper West Side wishing I was there with all of you.
Until Block Party,
Phillip Brogdon ’12